The best part of this job is the interplay with the ZDNet community. A selection of the best reader quotes of the week in no particular order.
1. Ask a question like: Can Microsoft brand its way to coolness? And you'll get a bevy of good answers.
In a word, NO: Corporate thuggery and bullying aren't really cool. Flouting EU law because the fines don't make a dent in their profits, isn't cool. Entering into meaningless pacts with Novell in an attempt to undermine Linux ain't cool. Supporting SCO through Baystar wasn't cool. Selling hugely expensive licenses for buggy, virus prone software that needs ever more resource to run it, isn't cool. Paying people to astroturf on user groups and forums isn't just uncool, its creepy. And any organisation that's ever stooped to using the names of dead people on its astroturfed letters to US senators, is very uncool. Microsoft can't be cool in the same waythat the IRS or a Debt Collection Agency can't be cool. You can't buy cool, you can't infiltrate cool, steal all its secrets and then pretend you've become it. So no, I don't think Microsoft will ever be cool.
Can Revlon make Bill Gate's Lips Kissable? Not if you believe the "lipstick on a Pig" theory. Throw $35 billion at a porker and you still get...an oinker. What's more likely needed is...a soul transplant. And, of course, that's even less likely to happen. "Finish your bacon, honey, there's more where that came from."
It's like Dick Cheney trying to be cool. MSFT trying to be cool reminds me of some creepy guy hanging out at nightclubs trying to hit on his daughters college friends. It's just not happening. Not ever.
2. Zune was another hot topic. When Steve O'Hear discussed the Zune's antisocial tendenciesthis to say: jcg_z had
Why do you expect...Microsoft to recreate another Napster? I mean here is a cool capability to share a song, to beam it over to a friend maybe during study hall, and your big complaint is that it's too bad that the Zune doesn't facilitate illegally duplicating it to everyone else, and somehow that's Microsoft's fault. Like, how quick do you think they would have been sued over that? What you're really griping about is the law, and the inability of Microsoft to facilitate people's breaking it. So, go talk to your congressman.
3. Dana Blankenhorn says control is the real open source advantage.
The advantage is in costs. Here's what I've noticed with vendors. You put out an RFP describing your need. Severral vendors send in thier solutions to your problem. You pick one then start negotiations. During these negotiations you find you like the software but like it a lot more if it did a little more for your business. So you get to customizing. Customizing costs big dollars and vendors love it when a customer pays for a customization that they can sell as feature to the rest of thier customers. So you get the customizations and the upgrade comes out, pay again for those customization if they didn't get into the new software. The cost really start piling up when as your business grows so does your needs for customizing the software. Pretty soon you're paying the price of 10 man developement team every year in maintenance and customization costs. I've even seen some vendors that tie licensing to the maintenance so if you stop paying maintenance you lose the license and when license renewal time comes up you SOL unless you pony up the bucks for maintenance. Now had you go Open Source you control the code. Want to customize it then go ahead. That does have a more up front cost but you get a product more customized to your business than going through a vendor and you aren't on an upgrade treadmill. In the long run you save money and employ more people. It's win win for everyone. That's the advantage. Now this advantage is not for everyone. If you find software that does everything you need and more by all means purchase it. Another situation might be where you don't have the funds to pay the up front costs of developing customizations for open source software. In this case you probably can't afford to pay vendor to customize either so you make do with what's being sold.
Blankenhorn also commented on IBM's griping about Sun's plan to open source Java.
If IBM wants to stop paying royalties to Sun for its Java-derived software, then IBM has to release its software under the GPL. Until then, Sun preserves its revenue stream from IBM, along with any other vendors that license its technology. Where Sun will lose is vendors like HP and Apple that may be paying Sun some nomimal amount so that they can port the Sun JVM to their own platforms. These vendors could care less whether their JVM is GPL or not as long as it works.
4. Joe McKendrick noted XML was not meant to be ‘human readable’
Think integration geeks. Let's face it. The most common xml data integration methodology is for one geek to give an xml instance over to another geek. The other geek looks at the instance and codes to it. (Not saying it *should* be that way, but it is reality.) For significant chunks of the xml (i.e. PersonName element and PostalAddress element), the xml is self describing and can be coded to easily. It is only when the data relationships are more complex that the 2 geeks need to talk to one another.
5. Toss in anti-virus software and whether it's needed on Vista and you're bound to stir the pot. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes took on the debate and whisperycat struck again.
The only aspect of Vista protecting it from infection by virus/trojan/worm/spyware/keylogger is the fact that it hasn't been released yet. We'll see if Allchin is still letting his son loose on the internet withour AV in a year or two, shall we? Skirmishes on the antivirus topic were everywhere even among our own bloggers.
Meanwhile something tells me Mary Jo Foley and George Ou aren't going to be having dinner together anytime soon after duking it out on Ou's "What if Jim Allchin is right about no AV on Vista?" rant.
6. When Adrian Kingsley-Hughes asked what game console our readers would choose he included Nintendo's Wii as an option. Whoops.
Startx.jeff, who was quite busy this week bantering with Phil Wainewright too, said
Man, you know how to make a guy feel completely ungeeky. Okay... I know about the XBox360, but I really like the demo of the PS3 (looking forward to buying a PS3 - staying away from M$ on principle), but you've made me sooooo ungeeky. I had to go look up 'Wii' --- I guess I'm not the geek that I used to be. I should know this stuff!
Thanks for participating.