Take on the Challenge to Invest Technology

Sun's aim to "make the Net work" also brings a challenge to the tech community in general.

"We make the Net work," Sun President Scott McNealy told the gathering at last weeks annual stock analysts meeting. While there are lots of company symbols and logos that make little sense, McNealys statement on the 21st anniversary of the company is concise in presenting both the challenge and the opportunity not only for Sun but also for the technology industry in general.

The industry as a whole too often provides flip answers that do not prompt IT managers or company CEOs to invest technology. A customer does not need Web services because it is a cool new buzzword. You dont need to think about Linux because the message boards are full of Linux boosters. Customers need products that will make their companies more productive or give them capabilities beyond the reach of competitors.

And making the Net work takes hard work. That work probably starts with identity management. If you cant control access to your network, you dont have a computer architecture—you have a free-for-all. In this weeks lead Tech Analysis, eWeek Labs analyst Cameron Sturdevant delves into the issue of identity management. Anne Chens accompanying article looks at the journey Whirlpool took to develop a single-sign-on architecture. A third piece of the package is an interview with Nelson Ramos, CIO at Sutter Health and an eWeek Corporate Partner, regarding single sign-on. In addition, eWeek Labs Director John Taschek interviews Sun Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz. He is a feisty advocate of the Sun position, a position many folks at Sun feel has not been explained to the outside world. See Johns interview to get Suns take on Linux and Dell and how the company plans to take its "making the Net work" slogan from words to reality.

Ive been using OpenOffice for a while now, and although I am still not a total advocate, I find the features compelling—sufficiently compelling to make me wonder what Microsoft will include in the next version of Office to offset a free suite with some decent features. See "Office Beta Eyes SMB" by Peter Galli to get the inside story on Office 2003, which is expected to debut midyear.

And in the possible obit category, see Evan Koblentzs story on the floppy disk to see whether floppies are in line to become just one more techie flea market attraction.

What technologies and devices would you unload at your flea market? Tell me at eric_lundquist@ziffdavis.com.