Open source hippies and opinionated bloggers

This week, the sniping is fast and furious while the software is slow and tedious

According to basic e-mail etiquette, mass-forwarding an e-mail message is annoying, inconsiderate, and just plain bad form. (And don't get me started on those "REPLY ALL" scoundrels-- grrrr!). But I'm going to break with protocol here, because I simply must share a few choice words from Randall Kennedy, our Enterprise Desktop blogger. Kennedy and I had been trying to come up with a descriptive subtitle for his blog. To tell me about his approach, the ever colorful Mr. Kennedy sent me a deliciously juicy e-mail, which I excerpt below.

"Seriously, I am -- and likely always will be -- a total curmudgeon. I'm cynical, jaded, and basically unimpressed by anything I deem faddish or 'cool.' Virtualization? Blah! Open Source? I say 'sue the hippie bastards for IP infringement!' Multi-core CPUs? I was preaching the desktop computing parallelism message back in the 90s, for cryin' out loud!

"I'm a person who firmly believes that the 'Wintel' duopoly will continue to rule the world for many years to come, and that firms like Google and VMware will eventually go the way of Borland, Novell, Netscape, and a host of other niche also-rans that were eventually absorbed into the amoeba-like entity that is Windows."

Well, at least we know where Randy stands. And we did ultimately settle on a subtitle for the blog. It's "A curmudgeon's-eye view of desktop computing." Fitting, no?

Bloggersdon't hold back

Over the years, I've come to appreciate just what an opinionated bunch our bloggers are. (If you have any doubts, just check out Robert X. Cringely any day of the week.) As of today, the bunch is getting bigger, and even more opinionated. Let me welcome Sean Gallagher, who launched the Enterprise Windows blog last week. Sean, who initially proposed the subtitle "How I stopped worrying and learned to love ctrl-alt-del" for the blog, has been tracking Redmond since he worked as a government contractor installing Microsoft LAN Manager. "Windows, for good or ill, is still a growing part of both the corporate desktop and the backend application infrastructure," Gallagher says. "I plan on being an advocate for the unfortunates who have to make it work there -- the system administrators, developers, and application acolytes who put the parts together and keep them from falling apart."

Gallagher will be joined by Bill Snyder, who will mine the terrain where technology meets Wall Street in the " Tech's Bottom Line" blog. A former senior editor at TheStreet.com, where he wrote the popular TechWeek column, Bill has been covering the business of technology for 25 years. As soon as I heard he was a free agent (we worked together at PC World many years ago), I snapped him up pronto. His credo for the new blog: "I'm here to cut through the FUD and give you the straight scoop."

Software misery: Slow as you go

I'm writing this letter on a laptop that I recently bought for my home office. It's slick and shiny and tricked out with the latest goodies: a dual-core processor, a rockin' DVD+/RW drive, an enormous hard drive, Vista, and Microsoft Office 2007. It's also excruciatingly slow, especially when I'm starting the computer, launching a big application, or shutting down.

Somehow, this wasn't what I envisioned when I plunked down all that scratch. I always expect my next computer to be faster than the one it replaces. Contributing Editor Neil McAllister tsk-tsks my naivety. "For most people I know, the excitement of a brand new PC lasts about a month, tops. After that, the honeymoon's over." In 7 reasons why software is too slow, Neil identifies the chief culprits, and also offers prescriptive advice to developers. What he doesn't offer, however, is an optimistic view of the future, even as hardware makers continue to crank it up. "Putting a more powerful engine into your car might let you drive faster, and that's fine if all you want is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," Neil says. "But if it's a nice Sunday drive you're hoping for, there are a thousand other factors to consider. Windows Vista is a perfect example of software that's incredibly complex and powerful yet returns almost nothing to the user in terms of increased productivity."

Hmmm. We'll have to see what Gallagher and Kennedy say about that.

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