On Sat, 1 Jun 1996, C Matthew Curtin wrote:
> Haven't the lessons of the closed IBM machines and proprietary DEC
> boxes gotten through? Openness in architecture provides so many
> advantages that I'm nearly dumbfounded by the number of people who
> insist on following their black-box solutions, happily paying for
> every little component, without the foggiest idea of what's happening.
> This is silliness, and anything BUT computer science.
> (Maybe the older guys who can remember aren't speaking loud enough,
> and maybe the younger folks need to spend a little less time writing
> code, in favor of doing a bit more study of the history of their
I remember in the mid-70's when we all hated monolithic mainframe
punch-card batch-processing IBM and we gravitated to the Honeywell time
sharing system with neat Bell Labs tools like the QED editor, ROFF and the
B programming language. Then when they came out with their own programming
language, life was good. When the DOS PC came on the scene lots of us
gravitated to it because it was cheap enough to own our very own computer
and if you stuck a 10-meg drive on an XT those babies really screamed. I
remember getting large program compiles in only 5 minutes! A quarter of
the time it took on a minicomputer. And Microsoft made wonderful tools
like the Multiplan spreadsheet and MS Word with a consistent user
interface (ESC, T, L) to load your file, (ESC, T, S). And when they
announced MS-DOS 2.0 with subdirectories and their plans to grow DOS and
XENIX into a single merged OS, life was better.
But then things turned ugly, Microsoft changed, IBM changed, the world
changed, a new generation grew up, the Internet was born. There's a story
I once read about two high-school buddies who grew up and went to the same
college. The first one became active in a Marxist organization, the other
joined the Young Republicans. They ceased to speak with each other,
graduated and went their separate ways. Many years later, they encountered
one another again. The first one said, you know, after years of working
for the people's revolution, I've come to realize that you were right
after all and I'm now the campaign manager for the Republican
Congressional candidate in my district. The other fellow's smile dropped
off his face. Oh, he said, it happens that I'm leaving next week for
Nicaragua to help train teachers in the Sandanista's literacy program.
The moral of this story is that you really cannot judge a company on past
glories, you are foolish to attach your company's well-being to the
fickleness of another company, and don't believe what Microsoft says they
are gonna do next year because they may change their minds yet again.
I still think firewalls should be chosen based on security criteria and
the OS platform used is 100% irrelevant to the decision. Remember the old
advice, determine your system requirements, find the software that will
meet those requirements, buy the platform that runs this software best.
Why do people always insist on doing it the other way around?
Michael Dillon ISP & Internet Consulting
Memra Software Inc. Fax: +1-604-546-3049
http://www.memra.com E-mail: michael @