Blue Pill vs Red Pill
I've been somewhat critical of certain 'hot' MS technologies on Twitter this week. Particularly: Azure, Nuget and Entity Framework, and I didn't even bother to complain about the troubles I've had with the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Powershell today. And I've noticed that whenever I voice a negative opinion on a Microsoft technology that is considered cool or great, I lose a few Twitter followers. My reaction to that is: good riddance. I prefer losing a few followers because of it, than having to deal with the responses from certain fanboys who either haven't stepped outside of the MSDN world, or are just trying to impress others with a devotion that they're hoping will increase their status within their organization or within the Microsoft developer community in general.
A lot of people think that I'm anti-Microsoft. And I'm really not. I'm not anti-anything. I am pro-quality. I have high standards because I've seen and experienced high quality solutions elsewhere and when I have to deal with lower quality alternatives to those solutions, I tend to compare them, which is only natural. If Microsoft releases good stuff, I'm more than happy to use it. I even considered creating an Entity Framework training course, similar to my NHibernate training course, because I was hearing many good things about it. But after trying to deal with a certain Entity Framework problem that came up this week in the one project at work that uses Entity Framework, I couldn't help but think "I don't want this mess in my life, no matter how much money I could make with it". I sincerely want to use good Microsoft technology, but too often it just disappoints me. And that in itself, isn't much of a problem since there are plenty of good Open Source alternatives around. What I do consider to be a problem is the reaction that many people have when you're critical of Microsoft technology.
I've often compared it to living in The Matrix. A lot of us are living in a world where they are being pushed into believing something that just isn't true. And some of us at some point get to choose between taking the blue pill or the red pill. The blue pill symbolizes blissful ignorance of illusion, while the red pill symbolizes the sometimes painful truth of reality. A lot of developers in the Microsoft world choose to keep their eyes closed and blindly believe whatever Microsoft tells them to believe. They'll run into a variety of problems with the technologies they've been told to use but a lot of people just accept it for what it is because they don't know any better, or because they're scared of the seemingly harsh world that awaits them should they choose to ignore Microsoft's guidance and venture out into a world that is more chaotic, yet offers more possibilities and flexibility. If you take the red pill, you learn a lot about what's really possible yet you face the added burden of having to deal with the people who've picked the blue pill and even worse, the technology that comes with it. Because that truly is the only bad part about taking the red pill. You'll start taking some things for granted, and when faced with technologies that don't quite match up to what you've recently become used to, you will get frustrated because of it. After all, you know things can be done much better with less friction, yet here you are, dealing with problems that have been solved by other libraries/frameworks already. That is the only sour taste you'll experience after having swallowed the red pill.
The choice between the blue pill or the red pill is one that everyone has to make for themselves. And honestly, I can't be bothered anymore to try to convince people to take the red pill instead of the blue pill. I've learned to adopt a "whatever floats your boat without sinking mine is fine with me" attitude, but sometimes, I can't help but wish for a world were people would try to think just a little bit more for themselves instead of blindly following what a dominant entity is telling them to do or use. Look around, see what other people and communities are doing and honestly ask yourself "are they doing things better than I am?". And if they are, put in the effort to figure out why and how they're doing what they're doing. The worst thing that could possibly happen is a temporarily sour taste, and there are many ways to wash that away.
Written by Davy Brion, published on 12/15/2011 9:44:40 PM