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A Benevolent Bigotry

17-May-07 09:35 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

In a recent eWeek article, I found myself reading and simultaneously valuted back in time – to a time before Web 2.0 – when it Microsoft vs. Java, Microsoft vs. GPL (General Public License); indeed, Microsoft vs. everyone who wasn’t.  I refer to it as ‘time travel’ because as I advanced in my career as a software developer, and as my skills matured, so did my attitudes and willingness to subscribe to blanket characterizations about technologies and where they belonged.  And, perhaps not coincidentally, those with whom I worked also seemed to be adopting a kind of professional skepticism about hyperbole on either side of the line, at both management and delivery levels on the org chart of organizations I worked for.  So I’ve gone from working with clusters of pro-this or pro-that groups to groups of very mature developers who may have expertise with a particular subset of technologies on one dominant architecture – but who also are generally open-minded about the others with which they are not proficient.  And if one architecture is competitive with another, the caveat "I recommend A or B because of my own experiences doing Y or Z" is typically attached somewhere.

And so, it’s hard to imagine how the eWeek editorial cited above could possibly be winning any buy-in.  But there they were – over a dozen comments in the hours following the article’s publication dissing Microsoft in one way or another – both summarily and collectively – for being uninnovative, for being dishonest and misleading consumers; for being generally speaking evil.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact there are far more important things both in the world of technology and elsewhere, it is my view this endless, lopsided, oft-augmented, theological bashing of Microsoft has long ceased making any constructive point and should be collecting dust with other tech relics – alongside floppy disk drives and punch cards.  Even the eWeek article (a semi-reputable online journal, so far as I can tell) made all kinds of claims about how Microsoft’s ongoing theatre of patent litigation, but drifted away from supporting facts on many of the claims made.  Ultimately, it was I alone who decided to post a couple paragraphs pointing out that, in the end, nothing’s proven until there’s a judgement behind it. And it doesn’t support the arguemnt to point out that because one unrelated court battle was lost by Microsoft in the past that this means it hadn’t and never would win again in the future.

Indeed, the facts are very much to the contrary.  Microsoft has won a number of its litigations – but even that doesn’t give pause to the techno-bigots.  To many, an out-of-court settlement is as good as being found guilty.  Again, the reality is quite different.  A settlement means the litigation is over; satisfactorily resolved by both sides and endorsed by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Techno-bigotry is, in the final analysis, is either an indulgence of the adolescent or junior IT resource, or the product of unimaginative, and perhaps lazy or unskilled corporate spin-doctors preaching to the converted – with the increasing risk of backfire.

At least so far as this reader is concerned.

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Terry Glavin

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