Thursday, February 21, 2002

Mixed Feelings. I am no fan of Microsoft for a number of reasons, but the foremost is their insecure and flawed software. As someone who specializes in service delivery certain qualities and characteristics are important - reliability and availability are the top two.

So, security issues aside, flaws such as memory leaks that require therapeutic reboots and blue screens of death are anathema to someone with my background. Lest we forget, the 'patch-o-rama' in which system administrators engage to keep up with the latest defect and security vulnerability fixes (some of which introduce more defects and vulnerabilities) is unique to enterprises that heavily use Microsoft products. TCO? Down the drain. Compute the lost productivity that accrues from unscheduled maintenance (those patches, er, service packs, need to be installed), scheduled maintenance (until Microsoft I had never heard of a 'therapeutic reboot'), and the extra support staff and equipment to support buggy, resource hungry software and total cost of ownership becomes a joke. And not a funny one at that.

Are We Fighting the Right War?. You would think that the recent news that the EU Grid Project is emerging as an open-source .NET competitor (see Wired News' article, The Grid Draws Its Battle Lines) would be well received by someone with my opinions. On one hand it is. On the other hand, though, it is an indicator of future trouble.

Before proceeding I am going to give my view of what's happening in the world today. Most Americans believe that we're engaged in a battle against terrorism. We are sending troops to places many Americans never knew existed before 11 September. However, the real war [in my opinion] is not one that is being fought with bullets and bombs - it's being fought with value migration, economic unity and power, and maneuvering. You catch occasional glimpses of this very real war, but rarely does it look like a war. Consider the recent Wired News report, EU Approves Net Tax Rules. Is it significant? In and of itself, no. It is, however, an indicator of increasing economic maneuvering.

Who is the Enemy? Am I faulting the EU? No. They have understandable self-interests and are doing a remarkable job of looking after those interests. I am alarmed at how exposed the US software industry is, because we've allowed a company to attain a monopoly position built on products and practices that give the EU a rationale for imposing protectionist measures. These would impede the US software developers' efforts to grow market share among EU customers, and ultimately hurt our economy.

For some historical parallels and additional issues see my 17 January 2002 entry here that's timestamped 6:31 AM. More on this topic at a later time.

Genuine Good News. I am delighted to see that the industry is becoming serious about an alternative to Microsoft's Passport. For once the other players are actually acting instead of spewing forth rhetoric, but never coming up with viable counter-solutions. The ZD Technet news proclaiming, More joining the Liberty Alliance shows that we have real choices for a critical piece of web-based computing. We need to choose wisely, because there are significant differences between Liberty and Passport, as explained in Robert Lemos' article titled, Liberty Alliance, Passport Miles Apart.

End Note. Kate Hartshorn and I will be talking more about the political and economic issues I touched upon here in a site she and I will be maintaining on business intelligence.

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