Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Microsoft Hell

About a week ago the company I'm working for this summer purchased a brand new Dell PowerEdge 2950. It's the biggest, baddest computer that I've gotten to work with to date and boy was I eager to configure it!

But now I'm as jaded as a used piece of toilet paper. There wasn't anything particularly special or exotic about how we wanted to configure it but Microsoft sure made it a bitch for us.

The plan was to use this server to host SharePoint Services 3.0 and Exchange 2007 for a few small businesses. The Small Business version of Windows Server 2003 runs SharePoint Services and Exchange (just not in a shared environment) along with various other server rolls so I didn't think setting this up would be that difficult. I was wrong. Even though I was only installing Microsoft products, they somehow found a way to make it a nightmare.

I believe that SharePoint is the root of all evil. The documentation for it consists of thousands of blog posts scattered throughout the net describing problems and providing solutions that may or may not actually work. All users of a SharePoint site must be domain users which I believe is because they Microsoft want's to charge you for more CALs. It is possible to install a third party "solution" to use a custom authentication source. Installing this "solution" was as easy as manually editing web.config files, running a few command line scripts, and working around the occasional mysterious error message.

Finally after countless reinstalls it's all working in harmony. Honestly a lot of this could have been avoided if I wasn't learning everything as I went, but seriously Microsoft, linux is much more intuitive than this crap. At least with linux you know everything that's going on, none of this "oh yeah, im uninstalled... except for all my configuration files, the database I created, and my IIS configuration site, good luck finding out how to completely remove me!"

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