This blog entry summarizes what I've learnt over the last ten years - and sets the agenda for the next ten as learning to express it better.
A free-ranging daily blog on issues related to Unix - including Linux, BSD, and Solaris - with a particular focus on enterprise-level decision-making.
Paul Murphy (a pseudonym) is an IT consultant specializing in Unix and related technologies.
T'was the day after Christmas and all through the house there was.. well, nothing but doom, gloom, and a whole bunch of predictions for 2010 - many of which I hope will be be wrong.
Reviewing the year that technology stood still
This is an open letter to Larry Ellison - pointing out that there's a significant Sun business opportunity in saving American democracy.
For IT people what's the lesson from the NY District 23 electoral fiasco? When you buy a hammer, you find yourself compelled to use nails as fasteners - and if a couple of nails don't the do the job the tendency is to drive in a few more until the nail holes themselves weaken the structure to the point of collapse. When that happens, as it seems to have in NY 23, it typically isn't the process that's wrong, it isn't the people, and it certainly isn't the nails or the lumber - the fault ultimately comes back to the decision to buy a hammer.
Reading through the programmer's notes released as part of the Hadley leak had me squirming in sympathy with the writer(s). Data that's supposed to say one thing saying another, data with no referents, measures or provenance; bad code with magical jumps to right answers hard coded right in? been there - seen all that. What bothered me, however, was how this mess got so far out of hand: one mistake piled on another, one compromise after another, and another - why didn't this guy hang his employers out to dry years ago?
When you tell a user decision maker that thing X will work better for some job than thing Y, are you an educator or an advocate? Think you know? try it with specifics: "Linux is better than Windows for web services." Education or advocacy? that is indeed the question - and it's not just words words words - this kind of thing has real consequences, for your company, for your career - and for the technology you prefer.
Virtualization or not - you're still spending too much on hardware if you buy it new. Whether you need one server or a pallet load, it's all available at 15-20% of the original price, for equipment that is only 2 - 4 years old, made by your favorite manufacturers.
A reader's question about how I can recouncile right wing political views with the belief that the market has it generally wrong on technology had me reaching for my tulip (and Enron, and Google, and Bre-X) sales brochures -but then I realized that this was an opportunity to hype the organizational tools and structures that free users from IT arrogance.
PC style virtualization, derived from IBM's zVM ideas and now supported in both AMD and Intel hardware, is a revenant of data processing's failure to adapt to the age of digital computing - an expensive, user punishing, detour into 1920s management ideas in pursuit of that period's holy grail: 100% systems utilization.