The latest issue of Redmond Developer News has a column by William F. Zachmann (got to have the middle initial), BTW he doesn’t appear to have a blog…I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Somehow blogless commentators feel less “authorative” to me…or something. Anyway, he talks about a phenomenon that he terms GWHHMs or Gwhyms, otherwise known as “Geeks WHo Hate Microsoft”. His main point is a good one: “Remain open to alternatives that make sense when they do in fact make sense.” However, I think he comes down a bit to harshly on the “alternatives” in my opinion.

He does a good job of condemning some of the zealotry that’s out there, but unfortunately he really only talks about half the problem. There is another side. GWOLMs (pronounced Qualms) or Geeks Who Only Like Microsoft. Much like Gwhyms, Gwolms are found in every IT department across the Industry. They will turn a blind eye to any and all solutions that are not stamped with the Redmond Seal of Approval. They can cost your company thousands of dollars in licensing fees for potentially inferior products. They are the ones who dismiss AJAX until Microsoft releases their AJAX Library or dismiss Ruby until Microsoft releases IronRuby and then fawn over how wonderful it all is.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Microsoft in a number of ways, I make a living coding in C# using the .NET framework. However I also run Firefox as my main browser and use a GTK based IM Client (Pidgin). I use these not _because _they are open source or _because _they are not Microsoft. I use them because they are (in my opinion) the best solutions out there. I recently utilized PDFBox in a solution for the same reasons.

Also, I can not agree with his recommendation to make Microsoft solutions your “default choice”, my advice is to look at all possibilities in a problem area and choose the best one that fits in with your style, budget, and resources. One shouldn’t have a “default choice” in my opinion.

Personally, that’s why I can’t wait for the next CodeMash, a conference like that epitomizes how software development should work (incidentally Microsoft was a sponsor of CodeMash, so even they realize the importance of learning from one another).