Letters to Redmond

Readers Respond November 2005

Suffering from PMS, Smokey Visions Everywhere and BSD=Best ROI?

Suffering from PMS
I was reading "Creative Server-Naming Conventions" [Ten, October 2005] to my wife and we both thought they were a hoot. They reminded me of my first week at my job 18 years ago. I had just started with a government agency when the computer operator added the statement, "All users have to be logged out by 5 p.m. today due to PMS," to the message of the day (/etc/motd). I quickly called the operator and asked if her day was going that bad and should she be broadcasting her problems? "No, and what problems?" she replied. I asked about the PMS. "Permanent Monthly Saves, you idiot!"
Robert Jordan, MCSE
Wilmington, N.C.

Smokey Visions Everywhere
I'm the founder of a VoIP Application Services play and our products revolve around the Linux/Open Standards world. Our company runs on dozens of Linux boxes and we own two Windows 2003 Servers. Our population of laptops is (mostly) Macintosh, Fedora 4, and Windows XP in roughly equal proportions. Our company browser population is Firefox and Safari.

I'd like to take issue with Doug Barney's "The Vision Thing" [Chief Concerns, September 2005]. I'm old enough to remember "Information at your fingertips" and the various iterations of "Windows Everywhere," including, I might add, "Windows at Work."

All of the vision elements Barney alludes to for Microsoft are variations of the same underlying theme, which is: Extending the Windows desktop monopoly both deeper into and wider across the corporation. Granted, this vision of Windows everywhere is exactly what I would be preaching if I were Microsoft, but mistaking a logical next step for vision is hardly endearing.

Microsoft absolutely would have achieved server hegemony had it not been for the Internet and Linux/BSD. These two are inextricably intertwined, because without the Internet as a distribution mechanism, Microsoft would have kept control over the distribution channel, Dell, et al. and Linux would have been marginalized.

Microsoft absolutely has achieved desktop hegemony, and continues to control the pace of innovation on the desktop, but by and large companies have come to accept the status quo that is Microsoft and live with that reality.

To an outsider the "Windows" strategy is fractured and diffuse. The Xbox, Windows Media Center, MSN search—even Longhorn (oops, Vista)—is viewed as a reaction to the obvious deficiency when compared to Mac OS X.

Even the pundits have given up on Windows XP and compare Tiger to Vista.

So who is showing a grander vision?
Greg Royal
CTO, Cistera Networks
Dallas, Texas

I've been programming for 39 years. In my experience, (and that of my generation in general) people with so many "visions" have been smoking something, which is probably why so many of the visions disappear as so much smoke.

In all fairness, I think some of the other "visionaries" Barney sighted have made significant contributions. Perhaps Microsoft's most significant contribution is that it has managed to place an extremely vulnerable system on the desks of half a billion people.
Mike Parker
Lake Forest Park, Wash.

BSD=Best ROI?
I was sorry to see the BSD family of Unix completely ignored in the Redmond Roundup last month ("Linux Living in a Windows World," September 2005). While the two flavors of Unix chosen, Solaris and OpenServer, are good products, they both have a significant cost impact and are very proprietary. The BSD version is one of the bulwarks of the Unix clan and is revered across all platforms and uses.

The BSD family tree is ultra stable, [can host] almost any program you can find that will run on any flavor of Unix or Linux and is supported across the globe with documentation and developers. Best of all, it's free.

There are three different versions: FreeBSD offers the best, all-around choice for a machine; OpenBSD is for the security aficionados who need one of the hardest OSes around; and NetBSD is for the admin looking to venture into the Ultra64 world of speed and beyond.

Again, I'm sorry BSD wasn't included. I feel, of all the options available to compare against Windows, BSD offers the most [value and] the best ROI. 'Course, that's just my opinion.
Dan Deatherage
Orange County, Calif.

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