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LinuxPlanet: .comment: In Praise of IBM

Nov 21, 2001, 16:17 (20 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)
"The first time I saw it was late in the first game of this year's World Series, when the score was something like 7,265 -1 DiamondBacks, and it was wonderful.

I'm talking about the IBM commercial in which the servers in an enterprise had disappeared. The police had been summoned. A real mystery. Then comes an IT guy who says, "No -- we moved everything to one server," to which he points. And the voice-over guy says, "IBM servers running Linux. They'll save you a bundle."

It was a delight to see a big company advertising Linux. It was a delight seeing any commercial for computers or software that made actual sense. (I mean, you Gateway owners: Does it instill confidence to learn that Ted Waite, who already looks as if he might be on heavy meds, gets corporate policy from a talking cow?) That IBM might break from tradition to run advertisements which give a sense of what the product is and why you might want it was positively inspiring.

Unfortunately, IBM's track record in PC operating systems and applications is not all that we'd hope for; indeed, it's not anything that one would hope for unless one were in competition with IBM. From TopView, which was a first attempt at what later became, more or less, Windows, to what Lotus, once the biggest maker of PC software, has become, there's little to point to with much pride.

Sadly, for the most part IBM's PC software failures were not due to poor-quality products. Okay, TopView pretty much sucked. But there are few who know but do not love OS/2; SmartSuite and Organizer are dandy products; even the woebegone Signature, a product in which a nifty, menu-driven front end was put on the excellent but difficult XyWrite, was a good application. The latest PC-DOS is superior to the latest MS-DOS. These products have all fallen victim to indecision and a lack of resolve at IBM brought on by factors including but not limited to infighting in a huge corporation so complicated that it is not always easy for employees to know who their supervisors are."

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