As we pause at the end of the year to catch our breath from the whirlwind that is this industry, it has become a tradition for us to look back over the past 12 months and reflect on what weve said. Here are the most important positions weve advocated on your behalf in 2000.
Uncle Sam v. Microsoft: We still believe we would all be better off if Microsoft is split up so that it cant use its OS monopoly to dominate new markets. We, along with many in IT, urged a quick outcome to the proceedings. Because of appeals, however, no resolution is imminent. That kind of delay plays into the hands of those who maintain that IT shouldnt be subjected to the strictures of fair play because things in IT change too rapidly for the lethargic legal system. Microsoft may yet be acquitted, but the legal system stands indicted—of slowness.
Linux and open source: The news here is much more favorable. We supported a number of important open-source initiatives this year and continue to be encouraged by the growing maturation, manageability and interoperability of open-source software. While the boosterism surrounding open source often generates more heat than light, anything that provides more choices and keeps IT in the drivers seat will always get our backing.
UCITA: The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act gets the thumbs down from us on converse grounds: It puts vendors interests ahead of customers interests. Thankfully, variants of UCITA have been passed in only two states so far.
H1-B visas: H1-B visa quota limits and application fees both rose this year, but neither increase represents a long-term solution to the IT labor crunch. The current H1-B application process still makes it too hard for U.S. enterprises to access the skilled IT professionals they need. At the same time, the temporary nature of H1-B visas makes it difficult for skilled workers, once here, to obtain the permanent-resident status that many seek. H1-B fees generate only token revenue, and even that is squandered on ineffective educational programs. Real technology education starts with K-12 and requires years of commitment.
In security we trust: Security isnt fundamentally a technical problem, its a management, methodology and training issue. Shame on vendors that keep dropping the ball—but thats all the more reason for IT to keep its eyes on it. Protection against viruses is just as much about social engineering as it is about technical wizardry.
Finally, Internet commerce isnt, but still needs to be, taxed and treated like commerce anywhere else; and Sun still needs to cut the strings from Java and let its baby fly solo. And with that, heres to a prosperous 2001!