Sometimes a lot of us, even the heavy weight ones, want to write like fanatics. David Heinemeier Hansson wonders if he would Windows is the most unsuitable platform for web and open source development. I am an open-source-fanboy Linux user, but I am aware of a lot of good open source tools on Windows. So I find this statement by David less than suitable.
Jeff Atwood, as a Windows loyal, is right in lambasting David. But in the end he too falters by generalizing that all Rails users on Macs are douchebags.
However David brings in a deeper context – using choice of tools to judge one’s cultural standing and performance. I think it is a mistake if we cannot disassociate tools and talent. I completely agree that a programmer’s attitude, aptitude and famliarity with new developments should be compatible with rest of the team. But using the tools to judge this sounds naive. And then asking them to switch to Mac to be able to fit in makes David look more as a marketer.
One of the most important lessons I have learnt in the software industry is that true expertise is not tool dependent. Development of cross-platform tools and open source has increased availability on multiple OSs has made this more possible. Which means that I can be an equally good Rails programmer, whether I am using Mac, Windows or Linux. Which also means that the community around such open source tools is contributing to it through diverse environments. So David’s statement actually poses him against this open source and cross-platform culture.
I agree to the fact that Windows can be judged against Mac on technical merit and suitability. But assuming a programmer’s practice and expertise by looking at his/her tools is a blunder.