Good Thing the Dollars Aren't Virtual

VMware, which keeps obscuring the fact it's owned by storage maker EMC, is kicking (Microsoft's) butt and taking names. While others were killed (or at least neutered) by the Redmond onslaught (does anyone remember NetWare, SmartSuite, Quattro Pro or Navigator?), VMware is thriving like a weed in an old cow field. The virtualization company is raking in the dough, growing 64 percent year over year. Do you love virtualization, or does it just create more complex and difficult-to-manage servers (when you go from one OS on a box to 12, things can get messy, no?). Send your answers to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Did the Entire Linux Community Actually Listen to Barney?
If you read Redmond magazine, I hope you read my column, Barney's Rubble. It was only this March that my column chided the entire Linux community for doing such a shoddy job on the desktop. The fundamentals are there, desktop Linux distros do the basics -- after all, it's all based on a solid server OS. But let's face the facts: These distros are rougher around the edges than a Texas chainsaw -- and you know how much damage one of those can do. My advice: All the vendors should get behind a unified distro.

I'm not saying that they read my column and took my advice (though everyone clearly should), but a month later, the major Linux players all announced that they would support more common components, which seems to suggest that they actually want to compete with Microsoft on the desktop (maybe they read my cover story or PDF on that topic and realized how lame they were as Windows competitors; the PDF is the extended version where a couple dozen readers reflect on what it would take to ditch Windows: http://redmondmag.com/techlibrary/resources.asp?id=172 ).

I think the Linux guys now have a great idea (wish I'd thought of it), and my 12-year Mac-loving son David agrees. He's itching to try out a serious Linux contender to XP.

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Work Like Gates
I recently heard that Bill and Melinda Gates were on Oprah talking about a digital-only school that their foundation created (I missed the show because it conflicts with Springer). Whether this is a good idea or not is an open question (answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com).

Maybe Bill based the school on his own style of work, where he tries to eschew paper and instead focus on the three screens in front of him (the left one that lists e-mail, the center to read and respond, and the third to play Spider). Gates says that Microsoft largely runs on e-mail, which brings certain efficiencies, but makes me worry about losing that good ol' personal touch. And unlike Gates, who has helpers to sort his mail, most of us are overwhelmed by too much legit mail and way too much spam. Is e-mail making you more or less productive, and how do you handle e-mail overload? Tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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