Page Two

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2003-12-19 Print this article Print

Ou added, "From my perspective, the sooner Win9x goes away, the better. If you want to keep it for home, just make sure youre behind a router and/or have a free personal firewall installed. Win9x is about 6 years old, and NT4 is about 8 years old, and its time for support to end. A worst example is when Oracle ended support for Oracle 10.7 even though people are still refusing to upgrade to that beast 11i."

He concluded, "Bottom line, Im not complaining about the competition that Linux and the others bring because it only serves to keep MS honest with better prices and better innovation, but … Licensing 6 is beginning to look good when compared to Red Hat where they dont get you on the licensing but they nail you many times over on the support. Everyone is in business to make money, but it just cracks me up to hear Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy lecture Microsoft on high prices. Red Hat isnt far behind when it comes to milking enterprises for all those dollars."

Robert Thomas, vice president of engineering for the high-tech manufacturing consulting firm of A. S. Thomas Inc. based in Westwood, Mass., agreed with Ou. "Some of what Microsoft is doing is just retiring support for products that are more than two years and typically four years past their end-of-life cycle, having been replaced with newer products. In the software industry, indefinite support for obsolete products has never been the practice."

That said, Thomas also points out, "This announcement is poorly timed and implemented. The various channels and customers were not properly prepared and the messages that pop up and the redirection to a worthless Microsoft information site is at best poor CRM [customer relationship Management]. Microsoft has again left an opportunity for others to gain some income from a dwindling niche market."

Porowski agreed that Windows retirement of these programs, whether premature or not, opens the door for Microsoft alternatives. "In my humble opinion, the soon-to-be-released Linux 2.6 kernel, in conjunction with upcoming support for the XFS file system, will offer a world-class, enterprise-level platform that far surpasses any Microsoft offering. By the time MS Longhorn is officially released, Microsoft will have lost significant market share in the server arena."

Porowski added, "Suns push into the desktop space [Java Desktop Platform] will provide both the security and stability needed for the corporate desktop. What competition GNU/Linux and Sun JDP do not address [the home market] can easily be covered by Mac OS X, if only Sun would bring StarOffice to that platform.

"Microsofts dominance, by way of embrace and extend tactics, have fouled their own nest and nest egg," Porowski concluded. "They have been arrogant in their marketing at a time when adherence to open standards, and to quality software, really counts."

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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