It's Good To Be Green

On the heels of IBM's announcement last Thursday that it was devoting $1 billion to build business-advancing green technology and services, industry analyst Forrester Research has published a report that provides a snapshot of IT understanding, attitudes and progress toward building and maintaining energy-efficient computing. Titled "Tapping Buyers' Growing Interest In Green IT," the report surveys IT purchasing managers on their knowledge of green technologies available for the data center, and the relative importance of purchasing such technologies.

Among the findings was the growing importance of environmental concerns. Fifteen percent of IT purchasing managers in North America said environmental concerns were not important in buying decisions, 52 percent said they were somewhat important and 33 percent said they were very important.

However, green doesn't rate very highly in the typical purchasing decision. Fully 78 percent of purchasing managers in North America said that green factors are not written into the evaluation and purchasing criteria of IT hardware and software.

It probably comes as no surprise that IT purchasing managers need more information on energy efficiency from their vendors. "Only 15 percent of survey respondents said they have a high level of awareness of vendors' green initiatives," the report said. Greater levels of information may spur IT to make green considerations a higher priority in buying decisions.

Are you buying green? Why or why not? E-mail me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

IP Battles Heat Up
Microsoft confirmed over the weekend that it had determined Linux and other open source software to be infringing on 235 of its patents. However, Microsoft's dominant position in the IT market and the dispersed nature of open source development and distribution has limited its ability to seek legal recourse. Taking legal action against the many vendors of open source software could be expensive and of limited value, and filing suit against open source users almost certainly means it would be suing its own largest customers.

Of course, the GNU General Public License (GPL), under which much open source software is distributed, is a thorn in the company's side. Any successful Microsoft claims against developers and distributors will have the counterpoint of running afoul of the GPL. And with Microsoft's deal with Novell last fall that has the company distributing Linux certificates (effectively a promise to indemnify from Microsoft's patents), many are claiming that Microsoft is now effectively a Linux distributor, and bound by the GPL itself.

And the kicker is that Microsoft's legal options may have been dealt a blow by the recent Supreme Court decision that appeared to weaken the case for software patents in general.

A common defense among software companies is to build up patent portfolios that can be used to initiate counterclaims against one another. IBM and others have effectively donated patents for open source use, and can use this portfolio to do battle with Microsoft.

Do you think Microsoft is a Linux distributor? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

CodeGear Beefs Up Development Tools
CodeGear, the new development tools subsidiary of Borland, announced a new version of its C++ Builder, as well as an all-new, integrated development environment for Web platform Ruby on Rails. The C++ Builder is strictly native code development, but provides support for the Vista APIs. CodeGear refers to it as a rapid application development toolkit for native apps.

For those interested in dynamic languages, the Ruby on Rails is particularly interesting. The Ruby language using the Rails framework is rapidly becoming one of the more popular ways to rapidly build Web applications.

It's not at all clear that there is a viable business in building and selling IDEs any more, but you have to applaud the effort. Many developers of a certain age learned Windows programming on the Borland (now CodeGear) Turbo products, and there's a certain nostalgia in once again seeing these inexpensive, high-quality dev tools.

Do you look beyond Visual Studio for Web or native code development tools? I'd like to hear from you at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Losing "Longhorn," More
It looks like Microsoft will be dumping the "Longhorn" codename for "Windows Server 2008," which sounds about "as boring as an Al Gore press conference," Doug wrote. But a few readers actually don't seem to mind:

I disagree with you. I never liked the name "Longhorn." What makes sense about the equation "Microsoft = Cowboys or Westerns"? Unless, of course, we are being given a subliminal message about the great "Bonanza" which Vista and Office 2007 bring us every day. "Windows
Server 2008" is exactly the name the product should have. It says what it is, and it brings it current. Perhaps you should research where the name Longhorn came from. Perhaps someone took a virtual snapshot of Bill Gates roping cattle -- I don't know.

And, yes, nothing is more boring than Al Gore. Except perhaps Tribal Chief Ubuntu.
-Steve

Just one man's opinion, but "Longhorn" seems boring to me. I feel like I'm at Al Gore's press conference!

But I like "Windows Server 2008" because it fits the norm since Windows 2000. Longhorn tends to make me think, "Where does it belong?" With the year in the name, I think we can focus on a lot, such as how to support it from where it fits in a particular environment.
-John

I actually like that I will be able to remember the year it came out. My clients will easily be able to realize the aging of their systems.
-Mary

And readers chime in on the recent patent scuffle between Microsoft and the open source software community:

It certainly makes me wonder why Apple isn't squeezing MS on patents. Seems to me that the GUI and mouse were theirs first.
-John

The really apparent patent that nobody is talking about is FAT. With this patent Microsoft can shut down most disk users.
-Anonymous

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below, or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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