Have you ever felt that Windows NT professionals lacked a sense of community? Apparently, some people in the UNIX and Linux world have identified a need to foster an NT community. These people have declared the nonexistence of an NT community, in part because NT professionals don't worship or demonize any particular industry personalities. In contrast, the Linux community can rally around a love of Linus Torvalds and a hatred of Bill Gates.
I can't relate to such thinking. I'm sure some NT professionals think Dave Cutler is a god and hate somebody else, but this type of thinking is rare in the NT world.
What I can relate to is the Linux community's love of technology and how it helps them do their jobs. The Linux open source movement is a perfect example of the love of technology. To get thousands of developers working together to build a great OS is an amazing thing. I can also relate to Windows NT Magazine readers who brought NT into their organizations and are now using Linux as well. If Linux helps you do your job, it's a good thing.
It's About Technology
Thinking about an NT community built around love of technology, I start remembering the old days. The Windows NT Magazine staff recently celebrated our 50th issue (September 1999). During the party, I recounted a story about exhibiting at our first trade show, the 1995 TechEd. I recalled that as handouts, all we had were T-shirts with the slogan, "I helped launch Windows NT Magazine." People willing to fill out our survey mobbed the booth in the hope of winning a shirt. Back then, NT was an underdog, the OS for enthusiasts, and nobody could guarantee NT's success. Everyone involved with NT felt an instant sense of community.
A love for technology and NT professionals' desire to help each other do their jobs created that NT community, and you can still find that spirit by visiting the hundreds of NT user groups and online communities that exist today. (On our magazine's Web site, you'll find a list of user groups from all over the world.) I remember taking the initial editorial and design ideas for Windows NT Magazine to the Rocky Mountain Windows NT User Group (http://www.rmwntug.org/). The group's feedback and suggestions formed the foundation of what you see today in Windows NT Magazine. I'll be forever grateful for the support we received from the user groups, the NT community.
In addition to user groups, hundreds of newsgroups and online forums are available where the NT community can participate in discussions and find help on every NT-related topic. For example, in Windows NT Magazine's support forums (http://www.winntmag.com/support), you can join discussions with your peers about such topics as Windows 2000 (Win2K) and NT, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, and security. And NT professionals share tips and solutions in the Reader to Reader section of the magazine and on our Web site.
Over the past 4 years, the NT community has grown to include millions of professionals, and many of them specialize in particular areas. Even in specialized areas, community has formed around interest in and excitement about the technology. You can find user groups, publications, and Web support for such specialties as Exchange; SQL Server; NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition; and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS).
Win2K will generate a whole new level of energy as the NT community seeks to understand and implement all the new technology that this version introduces. IT professionals, software vendors, and service providers are all buzzing about the opportunities that Win2K brings. Next year will be an exciting year for the NT community.
Alive and Well
As I see it, the NT community is alive and well. What do you think?