Have you ever heard the joke about opinions and technology writers? No? Well every single one of them has one. Or was that about rectums? Oh well. I forgot.
When you write for a high-profile technology news site like ZDNet, you're going to get dinged by people who don't agree with you or find some reason to dislike you. In the ZDNet TalkBacks and in private email feedbacks, I get my honest share.
Much of the material I write is controversial and thought-provoking in nature and I can expect a certain amount of ad-hominem flak and missile attacks in response to the types of things I usually write. Naturally, I get a rather dis-proportionally large amount. The guys doing Wild Weasel runs over Hanoi never had it so good.
I'd also be a complete liar if I said that I didn't relish in it either. Conflict is in my blood, I grew up in Queens and I live in New Jersey. "Whaddayoulookinat?" is a greeting of endearment between friends and family where I come from.
Like the legendary Spartacus, I enjoy the thrill of combat in the great arena that is the Web, and the blood and gore that goes along with it. However, unlike my ripping gladiator equivalent on STARZ I don't enjoy the nice perks of oil baths and the endless supply of Nubian slave women to satisfy my loins and sew up my wounds.
I'll need to take this up with ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan the next time my contract is up for renewal.
Rarely, however, do I face an opponent that is worth responding to directly. But it looks like today someone of equal stature has chosen me. Who is this feared warrior? Why, it is the legendary Paulus Thurrottus, Champion of the WinSuperSite who has thrown down his hairy gauntlet. I accept.
So Paul, you don't think that my "advice" to virtualize Windows is applicable to mainstream users? Wow, you must have an advanced degree in recognizing the patently obvious.
First let's start where you made your mistake in assuming that anything I try to write about is "Mainstream".
There's nothing mainstream at all about this blog. Tech Broiler is about pushing the envelope and recognizing future trends. It also has the unique position on ZDNet of being the only blog with no specific technology focus besides that of our own main editorial blog, Between the Lines.
On Tech Broiler I address everything under the sun -- Enterprise computing, Virtualization, Desktops, Smartphones and MIDs, Embedded Systems, Public/Private Clouds and Social Networking, you name it.
If it computes, and data and electricity is flowing through it, it's probably game for this column. And you can bet that I won't have a "mainstream perspective" on any of these. On ZDNet we have blogger specialists in verticals whose job it is to identify what the "mainstream" is.
If you want mainstream PC advice, then I'd advise you to read the excellent works of my colleagues Ed Bott and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who will gladly educate you on how to optimize and protect your Windows systems.
Now that we've clarified what this blog is about, let's get to your next point.
"When you read this post, and his endless descriptions of his computing setup, his hardware and software environments, and so on, the disease this guy has is clearly revealed: He's an overly technical guy with way too much time on his hands who overthinks everything."
First of all lets stop with "endless descriptions" of my hardware and software because I think I devoted an entire 100-200 words to it over the scope of a 1000+ word piece. So If anyone is magnifying this completely out of proportion, it's you.
What I did do in this article was write in a completely transparent manner and describe the problem I encountered and what I did to rectify the situation, based on my unique needs.
I would never presume for one minute that anyone reading my column has needs that are the same as mine. I would certainly never presume that my needs are anything resembling your needs. But let's start at where my needs are.
This dovetails with your assertion that I have a "disease" with "way too much time on my hands". You made a big mistake with that assumption, Captain Caveman. I don't write this blog as my day job nor make my primary living doing it.
I work for a large technology company as an enterprise Infrastructure Architect designing large-scale heterogeneous best-of-breed computing solutions for the largest and most complex IT environments in the world. I act as a trusted advisor in that capacity, having to integrate technologies from different vendors.
Unlike you, I don't work with nor do I write about single-vendor solutions. Microsoft and Windows is only ONE of the many vendors and Operating Systems that I have to create solutions for as a working IT professional.
I also test these solutions and dog food them, particularly if it's our own products running on these various platforms. As such, and being home-based as many of us technologists employed by these large firms now are -- welcome to the 21st century virtual corporation -- I need to prototype and test these in my own home lab.
So yes, I have a "Disease". A chronic illness of immersing myself in technology and needing to be years ahead of the curve. However, if you think I have "too much time on my hands" you're sorely mistaken. When was the last time you billed a 60-hour work week in services delivery? Can't remember? Did it happen in the Pleistocene, perhaps?
Lets get back to needs and advice. For the past 10 years I've always run a virtualized environment in some form of another, whether it was Windows acting as the hypervisor for other Windows and Linux instances, or Windows running on top of some other hypervisor, such as VMWare ESX, VMWare Server or Xen.
The only difference with this change is I'm using Linux with Oracle's VirtualBox as my hypervisor, which in your own response to my column you agree has a superior security architecture and is less vulnerable to attack than Windows.
Do I think every Windows user should be running desktop Linux as their base OS? No, of course not. Not everyone has the resources to devote to this type of computing environment that I do, let alone ridiculously powerful desktop PCs with 16GB of RAM and 8 Opteron cores. In fact I'd say only a small percentage of IT professionals with their own home PCs have this level of flexibility. But we do exist.
This doesn't make what I did to solve my problems any less relevant, however. Desktop hypervisors may not be mainstream now, but in 5 years or less, if the commodity Desktop for the enterprise and the home user isn't replaced mostly by Cloud Computing offerings and Thin Clients, we'll almost certainly see this in the next version of Windows for your "average" user.
And if Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 isn't a strong indication that Microsoft is moving in that direction for the "mainstream", then you're the one thats delusional, not me.
16GB of RAM and 8 or more cores doesn't sound like an unreasonable configuration for an entry level PC in 2013, based on Intel and AMD's current processor roadmaps and the almost certain transition to a 100 percent 64-bit desktop with Windows 8. Microsoft has already killed 32-bit on the server with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 -- the desktop is surely next to follow.
I have also outlined recently why we may need hypervisors and process/component isolation within Windows itself to improve its security, and not just for cross-platform compatibility. Again, this may be a futuristic notion of what we should be asking from Microsoft. Isolating my own Windows environment itself was a first step towards this.
But in your own words, proceeding down this path was a "crazy overreaction?" I don't think so.
I make the technology choices I do because unlike you, I have to live in and keep pace with the future -- today.
And that future is one where Windows fits in as part of a healthy, heterogeneous, multi-platform ecosystem -- one whose definition is changing dynamically -- that makes sense for my customers and for my readers. But most of all, it is a future which feeds my never-ending thirst for understanding technology.
So if I'm diseased, throw me in the isolation ward. I don't want to meet your definition of what "healthy" is.
Welcome to our future, Paul Thurrott. Maybe someday you'll join us.
The postings and opinions on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.