I have recently been engaged in starting an IT users group and since it has been consuming most of my time I thought I would post some of my observations about the process as I have gone about it.
Although Microsoft catches a lot of flak for being the 800 pound gorilla in the operating system space, it has had an undeniably positive influence on the computing industry as a whole since its inception. That being said, they have certainly engaged in their fair share of questionable business practices over the years which has hurt their reputation seriously.
I am by no means a Microsoft fanboy; however, I do prefer using the right tool for the job. Sometimes that tool is Microsoft, sometimes Mac and sometimes Linux. Implied in that last statement is my lack of preference between closed source and open source. I am not planning on delving into the differences or my preferences between open source and closed source in this article. Instead I wanted to take a moment to point out some truly interesting tools that Microsoft has released for free.