Coding Horror

programming and human factors

Configuring The Stack

A standard part of my development kit is Microsoft's Visual Studio. Here's what I have to install to get a current, complete version of Visual Studio 2005 on a new PC:

  1. Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite Edition
  2. Visual Studio Team Explorer (Team Foundation Client)
  3. Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1
  4. Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista
  5. SQL Server 2005 Express Service Pack 2
  6. Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals
  7. Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals Service Pack 1

Note that this is only a partial list; it doesn't include any of the other Visual Studio add-ons you might need to code against newer Microsoft technologies, such as ASP.NET AJAX, WF, or .NET 3.0.

What's wrong with this picture?

I appreciate that some of these products were released out of order, which is partially why the install is so convoluted. But if one of the disadvantages of open-source software is "configuring the stack", I'm having a hard time seeing how Microsoft's commercial stack is any easier to configure than the alternative open source stacks these days. Either the open source stuff has gotten a lot more streamlined and mature, or the Microsoft stuff is somehow devolving into complexity. I'm not sure which it is, exactly, but the argument that choosing a commercial development stack saves you time rings more and more hollow over time.

As the old adage goes, Linux is only free if your time is worthless*. But apparently your time can be worthless even if you've paid for the privilege.

* attributed to Jamie Zawinski.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: