2969 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
Re: @Trevor_Pott, Gil Grissum, Oh4FS, et al.
@Sean Timarco Baggaley
No, as a matter of fact, I don't upgrade Adobe every year. In fact, several of my clients are still working just fine on Photoshop 7. There are several CS1 installs a large base of CS3 and I think we have one or two CS5.5s around.
As regards upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Office: no. The reasons why are spelled out in my posts above and I won't rehash them.
Regarding your bullshit sarcasm stating that I am bitching at Microsoft specifically - while ignoring that other vendors do this too - stuff it. That's a crock of shit and you know it. I take everyone to task who does this. Just because I choose not to rant at Apple (or Google) in a thread about Microsoft doesn't mean I don't have a large helping of "fuck off" for those twunts as well. (Google, stop moving my fucking buttons.)
Let me try to explain this to you very simply: my clients do not spend a single dollar on anything - hardware, software, or services - without having a clear ROI on what they are getting for that dollar. If they are being asked to buy another version of something they already have, it must present a clear advantage to the thing they already have; a compelling reason to spend money on it. I am very sorry if this is a concept that you are unable to grok.
You might have bought in to the idea that we are morally and ethically obligated to refresh our hardware and software every three years or you may believe that "new" is a reason to change what works. If so, I fell sorry for you. I don't buy into pointless consumerism and – shockingly – neither do most of my customers.
If you want my money – or that of my customers – then you provide value for that money. You make our lives even easier than they are with the tools we already have. Not harder. Not more incompatible. Not requiring retraining or changing to a subscription model that drives up the average revenue per user while providing nothing but further lock-in, interface changes and frustration.
If you want my money, work for it, you son of a bitch. You don't deserve my money. You earn it.
LibreOffice and a new mail client will be the way forward on this. There is zero return on investing more into Microsoft Office.
Cheers and Happy Chrismakwanzika.
Re: Dear Microsoft
I have at least two clients that absolutely require the ability to import and export things from outlook on a regular basis. They exchange information with their clients (and suppliers) in this fashion all the time. They have a massive Office 2003 install base - across the whole "cloud" of companies involved - and this would basically create a wall between anyone using Office 2013 and previous versions.
So what are the alternatives? Downgrade new installs to 2010? Possible; but it involves fighting with India for each bloody install. Especially since these tend to be smaller businesses, so not using volume licensing. (Certainly not using SA.)
I can migrate to a new mail client – and probably LibreOffice – which involves finding a new mail client. A lot of research, a pain in the ass, but the likely route out of this.
Alternately, my clients can reward Microsoft for being douches by giving them more money for a product they don't want (Office 2013) to replace a perfectly functional product (Office 2003) that they actually like.
@Sean Timarco Baggaley
Re: "Office 2003 formats are standard."
I did not mean - or say - that they were official standards. I said that they were standard. As in they are "standard for those clients and their clients, and their clients' clients." They are the standard format used by the particular "cloud" of interacting companies here.
Official standards or not official standards are completely irrelevant. What is a good archive standard or not is completely irrelevant. What matters to these businesses is simple: that they be able to continue doing what they are doing exactly as they are doing it without retraining, fighting with clients/suppliers on formats or spending wodges of cash to buy another copy of something that works just fine right now.
"Standard" in this sense is "everyone within the cluster of these interconnected companies uses it." That's the only standard that matters. They give zero fucks about what is or is not an international standard or what other methods they could use for long term archival. Change costs money, training and a lot of political capital wrangling back and forth.
Unless there is a compelling reason – read new "must have" features or something that provides a demonstrable return on investment you won't convince these companies to splash out on upgrades to Microsoft's latest "pay for the same song, but on CD this time!" grab.
Regarding your "it's IT, for crying out loud, obsolescence is guaranteed" crack: stuff it. I'm not in the mood. That isn't something that SMBs accept – I believe the word "cop out" is generally used – and it's not something I accept either. Fuck planned obsolescence and fuck each and every spineless asshole that supports the tactic. Fuck them with a lacquered bus.
You want more money, provide more functionality. Give a return on investment or just fuck absolute miles of off.
Even "just" nerfing the ability to import and export from Outlook using these older formats is enough to cause a lot of troubles at two of these companies – not to mention their suppliers, clients, etc. I don't need, or want the headache. There's no good reason for it. There is no value to me or to my customers behind this move.
So fuck Microsoft. And fuck everyone who supports them in this too.
Re: @Trevor_Pott, Gil Grissum, Oh4FS, et al.
You're right, I was wrong. You can still preview things.
That saves me updating at least three clients.
That said, there are two clients who *do* use import/export heavily, and the inability to do so using Office 2003 formats will be an absolute showstopper. It will trigger a bunch of research into finding an alternative client before the May timeframe: a headache I don't want or need.
It is still Microsoft shitcanning older format support to drive adoption of their newer stuff for no good reason whatsoever. Pay the tithe sir. Use our new interface sir. Buy our training for our new interface sir...
It's crap. It's crap that doesn't need to be causing headaches, but is so that Microsoft can add a few bent coppers to the pile. Nothing more.
I'm still not buying a new version of Office. Bastards.
The problem is twofold:
A) Office 2003 formats are standard. That isn't changing any time soon for most of my clients.
B) They absolutely rely on being able to "preview" XLS spreadsheets in their outlook. The lack of this won't prompt a change in workflow - or an upgrade to Microsoft's latest GIVE ME MONEY scheme - it will prompt a move to a new mail client.
Which is more research and work for me. Hence: Fuck you, Microsoft. This was a headache I didn't need and exists only because Microsoft wants to crank the knobs on it's existing hostages to try to squeeze a few more coppers out of them.
Re: Terrestrial broadcast signal propagation...?
Um...it's 12 year lag. We're currently sending them the beginning of the reality TV failwagon.
"We can't send things to other places Really Really Fast."
We've never tried. Voyager is (technologically) about eleventy billion years old. We can do better today. The best part is, we don't even have to work all that hard. We need to build something with A) A bitching power supply and that can B) survive crazy acceleration.
Then we use a great big honking set of chemical rockets (Flacon Heavy?) to shoot the widget into space and strap a whole pile of other chemical rockets to it. We fire the thing in the general direction of Jupiter and go for the gravity assist bonus. Do your maths right and you can whip around Jupiter picking up all sorts of speed, while aiming in the general vicinity of Sol.
The real trick is to get the ++fast grav bonus from whipping around the sun targeting Wherever It Is You Want To Go. You coast along until you get about ¾ of the way to your target. Then you turn on your Really, Really, Overpowered Ion Drive and decelerate for all you're worth. With luck, the drone not only passes through the target system, but might even have slowed down enough to put it in some really oblong, comet-like orbit of that system's star.
At 12 light years away, we might even be able to get the travel time down below 500 years. That's not too bad; and something I think our descendants would appreciate. Wouldn't it be nice to leave them something? We've fucked up everything else…
Advertisements? In my social medias?
I don't think so.
You provide something of value, I return the favour. You compete for my funds, time, attention and care on merit. You do not have a fundamental, inalienable right to anything I have; from money to me giving more than zero fucks.
I'm sorry if that seems cruel, but it is the way I purchase products and services.
That said I treat employees differently. Employees are not expected to constantly prove their own value to the company. It's completely asinine and insane to expect that. The levels of stress you would generate in the employee are unconscionable. People have good times and bad times; a proper employer plans for both and sticks by their employee.
The trade of labour is not merit but loyalty. I am loyal to you; I help you when you need it, invest in your ongoing training and development. In exchange I expect you to be loyal to me: you give your all when realistically possible. You don't take years of training and run. We come to mutually agreeable decisions regarding wages. I am transparent with you about what the company can pay, you help me understand what your financial needs are. We determine if I can meet your needs and if the services you can provide are adequate value for the money. If the balance falls out, we part amicably.
I don't have such loyalty for corporations. A corporation is not a person. It deserves no loyalty. A corporation – or an open source project – is the result of the efforts of multiple people. They are producing a product or service to be consumed. They are expecting you to give up your hard earned in exchange for it, so I expect that they are providing something that has more value (merit) than that of the competition.
You see? There is a difference (at least in my philosophy) between how we should treat people and how we should treat companies. I realise that this isn't a view shared by all, but when it comes to the purchase of products or services from others, I am ruthlessly meritocratic. Capitalistic even.
Philosophy, eh? It requires some complexity for some people. Almost like our perceptual and ethical parsers have more than three lines of code.
The problem is billing. How do you break down compute/storage/network/tech time/etc into atomic items to be costed? 500TB of storage cost X when sourced 6 months ago, yet adding that capacity tomorrow will be (X * 0.9).
Even the top tier stuff - VMware, System Center and so forth - are just shite at being able to handle the accounting stuff. They don't allow for the entry of the truly flexible costing mechanisms required to compute the cost of different tiers of resources purchased at different times, or even operated at different times.
Tech time, network resources and compute are all time-sensitive resources. Tech time is more costly off peak, but compute and network are less so. Storage is a function of amount, speed, vendor used, quality/redundancy of primary storage, quality/style/frequency of backups and "distance" from the compute occurring.
How do we factor in more intangible issues? Like the complexities of Microsoft's VDI licensing? In some scenarios firing up a VDI something or other to widget the workload remotely is straightforward and "cheap." (Where cheap is still 2.7 virgins per remotely connected device, per year.) In other situations you not only need to pay the virgin tithe, you might have to pay it multiple times per connected device *and* use a very specific (and rare) volcano for deity appeasement.
You want a cloud? I'll build you a cloud. Microsoft? VMware? Citrix? KVM? Openstack? Cloudstack? You name it; I'll build it for you. If you've got the cash, putting this stuff together is easy, peasy. (I say that blithely, but frankly, anyone with a couple decade's worth of work in the industry can do this stuff in their sleep.)
The issue isn't the technical bits. It hasn't been for some time. VMware, Microsoft et al have done a damned good job of making the systems administrator irrelevant, they are working very hard on eliminating the network administrator, and storage admins are on the block soon. The issue is the accounting.
To be able to achieve proper efficiency you need to not only be able to reduce your service provisioning to some sort of measurable atomic units, you need to be able to rationally set a price and track usage according to a variety of metrics. You probably need varied costing models to appeal to different departments with different needs and budgetary constraints.
You need support staff that are able to deal with a service-centric model and work in an SLA-style environment. You need a department head who can talk the business talk to vendors, the accounting talk to the beancounters and speak fluent nerd to those at the coalface setting up VMs and swapping dead nodes.
For a "cloud" to work in an efficient manner, the provisioning of that cloudy service needs to be itself treated as a business. Even if it is a business within a business. This goes all the way up to requiring your own dedicated beancounters – tech-enabled, of course, so that they can provide that costing rationalisation discussed above – as well as a "sales" team that will go out and sell your vision of IT to the rest of the company.
The above is why the project-based model remains the dominant purchasing model in most companies. It is because right now the tools to do anything else are complete ass. If you want to provide a true "private cloud" to the rest of the business then you need infrastructure to do so. Not technical infrastructure; business infrastructure.
Nerds are – quite frankly – shit at the business side of things. "Technical accountants" don't exactly grow on trees, and who wants to pay for sales engineers to work in internal IT, selling inward to the business itself? That's before we even get to the cost of CIOs who possess clue.
Until the line-of-business costs for apportioning and metering come down starkly, the false economy of project-based costing will seem intuitively correct at anything excepting hyperscale.
Re: Linux users.....
Indeed, I believe I'm #4 for the humble music bundle. Guess us open source types are all freetards seeking to rob the poor, starving artists, eh?
Re: Linux users.....
I use open source software. I donate to the projects that make the packages or distributions I use. I also donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and OpenMedia.ca (because they support the rights of individuals instead of copyright megacorporates) as well as the Free Software Foundation.
These organisations provide me with value. They deserve compensation for their work. It isn't about business, or milking everyone else around you for every last bent copper. It's about right, wrong and a send of fairness and ethics that a certain segment of our society will never comprehend.
Do well by me and I will do my damnedest to do well by you. Welcome to the meritocracy. If you're a douche, the internet will treat you as damage and…well you know the rest.
the latest Linux Kernel has generic ARM compatibility built in. ARM servers? Let's go.
What is this I don't even
Re: Ms hate
I manage to negotiate with nearly every company in the tech sphere. The exceptions to this are Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Citrix. I know how the game is played - you don't make the contacts required to write articles about things if you can't play the game - but Microsoft doesn't play the game here. In fact, they behave pretty much exactly like all those other legacy vendors desperately clinging to to their customer base whilst simultainiously turning the knobs on them.
There are no "people who can make things happen" here. There is simply massive, faceless bureaucracy, terrified of stepping outside the clearly established rules and held to account for every single dime. Long term thinking is not only discouraged, ti isn't allowed. Make this quarter's numbers.
So yeah, no love for Microsoft's waste-of-carbon licensing department. They are some of the only people on the face of this planet that I put into the same category as Dick Cheney: I really, truly, honestly hope that a rock from space hurtles down through the atmosphere, glowing white hot with the fires of reentry and annihilates the bastards where they sit.
There are people at Microsoft I cherish and respect. But the sons of bitches in the licensing department are not among them.
Re: "I don't have to ... give up my privacy"
@Captain Hogwash Yeah, you have to supply an ID, but so far as I know the appbrain one doesn't track you or maintain a list of the apps you download. (Amazon does.) There are other third-party markets available, and you can always sideload your apps if you really want. (Many developers even post QR codes on their sites linking to APKs.)
Really, you just need an APK repository.
There are two issues at play here:
1) You only see the negative about Russia. Your image of them is that of a country that is far, far more terrible than they actually are. Putin doesn't send Gestapo around to give you a double tap in the chest for saying he's ugly. Russia is a country governed by the rule of law. Just like the United States. Their laws are different - because their culture values different things - but they generally solve their problems in the court room, not with a gun.
2) You completely ignore the US's failings. "Extraterritorial renditions," Torture - which you can't even talk about during a trial, apparently, because that's a state secret - murdering people with drones (including entire weddings) and that's just the really obvious stuff.
There is the inhumane treatment of prisoners – especially "illegals" – the unbelievably high incidence of police corruption and brutality (beyond anything else in any other western culture) and even the introduction of batshit insane laws like "stand your ground." (Which has had some pretty wild consequences.)
There is the persecution of whistleblowers by the government, organisations like Wikileaks, and the continual attempts by every single level of government to destroy the first amendment. (Go look up a website called Popehat. Read. Learn.)
Small businesses in Russia do not have to pay bribes except in exceptional circumstances. But then, the same is true in the US. Corruption is usually local, and not a top-down policy item…true in both countries. It is also where I have encountered requests for bribes (and worse) which – quite frankly - I refuse to detail on a public forum with my name signed to it. I don't need the hassle.
I have been hassled for being a journalist in the US by cops, border guards and at least one state official. My contacts in Russia get the same amount of grief.
Russia cracks down on critics of the government more than the US, but it does so using the law. It passed legislation defining what is okay and what is not. It passed their legislature. It was not a dictat.
It was widely condemned in the western world – often with overtones of OMG IT'S LIKE STALIN ALL OVER AGAIN – but there is little actual evidence of abuse to target legitimate critics as opposed to those advocating revolution. Russia has its own take on human rights abuses within the EU, just by the by, maintaining that every nation has a duty to assess others; it is not merely a right held by western nations.
Russia isn't a bastion of goodness. They are 142nd on the Press Freedom Index. The US is at an appalling 47th place, having dropped 27 slots in a single year over the institutionalised suppression of dissent through mass arrests and intimidation of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Even my home country Canada is at a shameful 10th place, owing largely to our government kowtowing to the US in recent years.
I could go on. And on and on. Suffice it to say that I don't see a hell of a lot of difference between the US and Russia. The US is a lot more fucked up in how it treats people – foreign or domestic – than Russia in many ways. Russia is a lot more likely to imprison you for dissent, and have a lot of local-government-level petty corruption, but actually has improved in a lot of ways recently too.
To me here in Canada, both countries are scum. They are different amounts of asshole on different topics, but the net result is still a stinky, smelly waste orifice.
Re: Ms hate
Oh, it isn't about making a difference. Venting in the comments is aught but catharsis for me. If anyone else gets something out of it, great! These forums are my goddamned bridge and I am going to exact the toll of my own frustrated sanity on those who seek to pass. #muahahahahaha
Re: Ms hate
Here in Canada, the instant you buy an Open Licence product - or anything else volume licensed - you are audited. The pesky little twerps e-mail you and demand an accounting of things. It can take months and often amounts to little more than extorting more licences out of you to meet some obscure clause somewhere in a license agreement.
You could try to fight it - but then the pull out some other obscure clause which allows them to do an on premise inspection. You could of course use automated tools to do your audits as well, but that doesn't change much if you were in fact telling the truth the first time.
You don't get to negotiate much with Microsoft. You don't have "wiggle room." At least not here in Western Canada.
For that matter, if you are playing with budgets where $20K is “a third of the MS IT spend for a year,” you’re still way over the moon for 80% of my customer base. Most of them have IT budgets that are in the $15K for hardware and software over three years. A handful have budgets that are $100K for hardware and software over six years. (And they are trying to push that to 8.)
Now, Microsoft is a large organisation and they will behave differently in different markets. But I can tell you about the markets I have worked in. In Western Canada, in Toronto, in Silicon Valley and in Austin, for deployments where the total Microsoft spend is less than $50K over the course of 6 years, Microsoft not only gives no fucks whatsoever about the customer, they are actively hostile and continually try to extort more licences.
In Western Canada specifically, touching their volume licenceing with a 20-foot poll means instant audits with a laser focus on one thing and one thing only: getting every single licence you have moved to SA. Any other option is not well received, and the sales nerds have nothing whatsoever to do with the audit henchmen. They are from completely different companies (the audit nerds being third-parties hired by Microsoft who simply audit every company on the list they possibly can) that don’t interact.
You can lean on the sales nerds all you want – or on other parts of Microsoft, if you have access – and it won’t have any effect on the douchbaggery of the audit nerds whatsoever. Nor will the crappy treatment you get from the audit nerds help drive down the price of any of the software: they don’t negotiate at these levels.
So yeah, I consider the concept that Microsoft’s licensing department is “easily dealt with” or that “you can just negotiate the problem away” to be cock swinging. It is the guy in the Hummer not comprehending why the bloke in the Pinto can’t climb the rugged mountain track littered with fallen trees to get to the lookout point at the up of the mountain before nightfall.
“It’s easy” says the Hummer owner. “You just push the pedal and drive over.”
So it is indeed a question of experience. If your experience with Microsoft has been favourable; a veritable bed of roses populated with beautiful, rational people who are inviting and joyous, great. Don't change vendors. That would be stupid! Sounds like things work well for you.
For those of us, however, who receive aught but abuse from this Vendor, do you advise that we simply "take it" with a smile on our collective faces? I think not.
People like me – or my clients – have no recourse. There is no "court of appeals." If you get the douchebag brigade as your local reps then you're just plain fucked. Entirely aside from that, none of this resolves the terrible licensing issues that do affect everyone: things like the VDI licensing, or turning the wrench on per-user CALs to keep the stock from crashing.
When you have no troubles finding the cash to meet any requirements, or when the vendors are willing to negotiate and your time spend negotiating has no value, it's certainly easy to wave off interactions with these people. When you're trying to do the best you can for honest hardworking folk under impossible circumstances with virtually no budget, then dealing with Microsoft is a costly aggravation that quickly moves beyond the real of "makes business sense to keep at it."
I used to champion Microsoft, you know that? Was a big fanboy for a long time, when everyone thought they were pretty crap. Ultimately, despite having a lot invested in wanting Microsoft to turn out to be awesome, in having spend my entire career learning their stuff, implementing it and maintaining it…it all amounts to nothing.
People like me don't have a voice within Microsoft, and they don't treat us any better at the negotiating table. We are told what we shall use and Microsoft demand we alter our business practices and workflow to suit their licensing model.
I try very hard not to preach. Not to my customers and not through my articles. I do, however, let off steam here in the comments section of El Reg, because it is "safe" to do so. There are only a few hundred – of a total readership of over 6.6 Million – regular commenters. They are all pretty hard-boiled and opinionated to begin with. My ranting and raving here in the comments won't affect anyone's viewpoint, and Microsoft – who doesn't listen to their own "partners" – sure as hell isn't going to waste a social media nerd's time getting the pulse of the wailing hoi polloi down here in the depths of the deep web.
So you'll excuse me if there is a small element of hyperbole (and really, over time the hyperbole has shrunk, not grown) to me comments. Microsoft's licensing shenanigans are a blocker to innovation and I have been burned more than once. The VDI service Provider thing alone…
I'm going to have a beer now.
Re: Ms hate
Well, bully for you then. That doesn't work here. I can generally negotiate with any other company just fine...but Microsoft doesn't negotiate a damned thing below 500 seats around here. Even then, if you are less than 1000 seats, be prepared to fight for months.
When I factor in the cost of my time to do those negotiations, it is less cost to simply pay to have staff retrained for an alternate solution and exit Microsoft's ecosystem. They provide me software I want with standardised, comprehensible licensing at a price I am willing to pay or I purchase from an alternate vendor.
What is so hard to understand about that? The fact that Microsoft's licensing has gotten more byzantine (and expensive) while competitors have reached not only "good enough" but are starting to close the feature gap on the more obscure features only hastens the jettisoning of these heavy-handed fools.
I am not a substance-addicted prostitute reduced to turning tricks for my next hit. I resent being treated as such by a vendor who should instead be seeking to form a partnership with me and vying for my ongoing loyalty.
It's 2012. I am no longer the dependant one in this relationship.
Re: "Certainly Autocad isn't going to run on Android anytime soon..."
@AnotherNetNarcissist I'll defer to your subject matter expertise on that. I havent' had any opportunity to use Autodesk's iOS or Android apps.
Re: Ms hate
No, I don't get to "negotiate." My business and most of my clients are SMBs or into the SME territory. 20K quid a year "saved" on licensing? You're into the licensing budget for an entire refresh cycle for most of these shops. You don't get to negotiate fuck all at those levels. And guess what…there are a hell of a lot more SMBs than SMEs and a hell of a lot more SMEs than large enterprises.
So put your waving cock back in your pants and think outside the scope of your own experience.
Re: Ms hate
Okay, that's a huge topic. Please understand that if I try to be brief with my answer here it isn't because I am trying to dodge the topic. The motivation is far more mercilessly capitalistic: I think your question is a damned good one, and it deserves the kind of answer that A) I'd really like to get paid for providing and B) The Register should be able to advertise against.
In short: I'll give you the info here in the comments that will allow you to do the research on your own, but the full run down will have to wait for the Feature I am working on. (You'd be surprised just how much research I've put into this already.) I hope that comes across as fair.
First item: VDI licensing. Remote access of any kind, really. That means VDI as "a virtualised copy of an operating system you access only remotely" or "RDPing into your home/work PC." The rules surrounding this are byzantine and asinine. They are designed to strongly discourage the use of VDI in an attempt to cling to the fat client model. Look it up, but make sure you have a bottle or six of scotch to hand when you do.
Second item: CALs. The entire concept of CALs belies the way modern systems work. "Per CPU licensing" for things like SQL is strongly discouraged if you ever actually talk to MS reps – such as during an audit – in favour of a CAL for every user. So how – exactly – are you supposed to use SQL for things like a web application? How do CALs work when something like SQL has no users, because the only things using it are automated services?
This gets really, really complicated quite quickly. I've been asked to hand over my customer list by one auditor because they felt that the only fair way to license this was to ensure we paid a CAL for every single customer we had, as they had "the potential to submit an order to a web service which would (via shell script) convert that order into something injected into SQL which would then be picked up by a robot for action." Others said I could/should just get a per-processor SQL license. Still others said that I should only get two per-device CALs, one for each automated system accessing the server.
Are we having fun yet?
Third item: Backups. There are still provisions in Microsoft licences that basically say "you must pay a licence for every copy of this software, whether it is in use or not." This has been interpreted by MS auditor types to mean "every copy of a VM in cold storage must have a license." #facepalm
Fourth item: Service Provider licensing for VDI. I just…I can't talk about this. I have too much rage.
There's more – don't get me started on exchange or Lync! – but it should give you a place to start, and this is already 500 words…
I seriously doubt I qualify as a Linux zealot. I spend too much time actually getting shit done and not enough time submitting bugfixes or compiling kernels.
If I pay for something, it had better work. More to the point, it had better work as advertised and meet the needs I delineated as requiring to be met when I had discussions with the vendor. I don't care if the solution is Microsoft, Google, Apple or some flavour of Linux.
So now, I'm not a Linux zealot, or an Apple fanboi. I'm not a Redmondian nor a node in the Google hive mind. I'm that rarest of rare things: a technological atheist. I have no religious affiliation with any of the cults out there (except Ninite, but we all get one, right?)
Pick any company or product and I will gleefully rip it to shreds. Even the best designed stuff has some flaws. The difference between me and the vicious pack of internet piranhas around here is that I don't have technology Stockholm Syndrome. I don't sympathise with my hostage takers. I don't cut them slack and say "next time, next time it will be better…right guys?"
Bizzarely enough, it seems that consumers are becoming equally fickle. (Which should terrify marketers, because building consumer loyalty has been a cornerstone of the profession for bloody ages.) Something about being bombarded with PR and marketing 24/7 everywhere we turn is raising a new generation of individuals that are functionally immune to this crap.
Humanity has evolved more reliable bullshit detectors. I just don't let a change in the winds which might threaten my job keep me from acknowledging the fact of it's existence. I rail against VMware for actually spending hundreds of millions of dollars to put people like me out of a job while I spin up their latest greatest on my test lab to prep it for install, documenting it for an article the whole time.
Technology means adaptation. It means thinking back even 10 years ago to when Google was nobody; a start-up that couldn't possibly threaten the mighty Yahoo. It means remembering dial-up and Netscape, the rise of Linux and the Code Red worm. It means remembering when Exchange shipped with an instant messenger and the wonder of migrating a workload from your SQL server to Azure for the first time.
Things change. As technologists we need to adapt with that change. Loyalty to any one technology or company is not only stupid…
…it could ultimately cost you your career.
I don't ultimately want to make a fortune. It sounds stupid, but I am aware of the price that making that kind of money bears. It exacts a physical and mental toll on anyone ambitious enough to pursue it that far, and it exacts a social toll as well, placing you within entirely different circles of individuals who reinforce the worst of your self-destructive habits.
I have ambitions towards personal financial independence, maybe even enough to be considered moderately wealthy by the average North American. I don't ultimately want "a fortune." I want the mortgage paid off, the ability to write for a living and the requirement to only work on computers at a strategic level and then only for a few months every year. It would be really cool if I could also save some money to retire; I've a science fiction trilogy I want to write.
I'm on track to make that goal some time in the next 5-10 years. I don't think any of that is an unreasonable set of goals or expectations of myself. I don't need to come up with the next Great Thing, or run Microsoft. I'm pretty sure I don't want to.
I want to be able to enjoy spending time with my life. I want to stop working 12 hours a day, go to the gym for a few hours every day, do some gardening, spend time with the kitties and take the lizard for a walk. I want to watch my fish swim around their tank and maybe breed some of the more difficult-to-master species.
I've done this working myself to death thing. I've decided I'd rather work myself into a life.
Leave the fortunes for the OCD types and the antisocial. Life is short; I think I'll take the time to enjoy it.
Re: "I don't have to ... give up my privacy"
Um...firewalls, hosts file, packet analysis and so forth.
Also; there are alternate markets. Kindle. Or Appbrain.
Re: @Trevor @ShelLuser
Bus factor is always a consideration.. :/
I've detailed that pretty explicitly already in my comments here. I have also talked about tools I use in my articles. Lots of command line stuff - where I spend most of my non-Office time - and lots of browser-based tools. Lots of browser-based research. Communications...none of this needs Windows.
Even Spiceworks has a smartphone app.
I also recall explicitly stating that some folks would still be tied to legacy apps and forced to use Windows. Great reading comprehension. A+++++++. Would troll again.
Re: Ms hate
Apple is expensive, but their lisencing is clear and simple. They are pirates olundering your wallet, but they are straightforward about it. I respect that.
Or Google, or Oracle, or IBM...
I'm not an Apple user. I'm a journalist and sysadmin. I use the best suited device for the task. Windows, Apple, Android, Linux, BSD...what-have-you.
I have no corporate loyalty excpt to ninite.com ;) (Those guys save me a lot of work. They get my one bit of fanboy. Everyone gets one exception.)
Re: "I don't have to ... give up my privacy"
"Hard work?" I'll root and unlock any Samsung or HTC Android for you in 10 minutes. I'll load the custom ROM of your choice in 5.
This isn't 2009 anymore.
And yes, all my phones are rooted. No, Google doesn't track me.
Random Samsung. Can't remember tbe model. Fiund instructions to root it online on day, got a terminal, realised is was a Samsung Galaxy S with a television attached. Changed the bootloader and installed cyanogen. :)
I don't preach to my clients. I ask them what they want and I make it happen. When they ask me what they shojld do, I look at thier unique situation - from fnds to existing tech to requirements to the local staffing situation - and tailor a response to their individual needs.
Why? Do you merely preach the last whitepaper you read? Or is it that you only preach the solutions for which you paid an assload for a cert? Or who took you out for dinner?
Re: Good for him!
@eadon not at all!
Re: Few use the "smart" features of smart TVs
I have lots of choise with my TV. Shipped with some backwards-ass Linux derivative. I rooted it and installed Android. How do you not have choice just because the hardware is in a case?
Re: Ms hate
You're probably right. Personally, I think that these people don't need to worry; their skills will port away from MS and to other platforms. Mine did. I guess they just need to have a beer and think about things more calmly.
As to "they can coast on the installed base for another 10 or 20 years," I think that depends entirely on how hard they squeeze the lemon to extract the juice. Oracle started squeezing too hard and there was a mass exodus. Now they have to continually ramp up the prices, turning the lever on a shrinking number of customers to get any traction. Meanwhile, NoSQL and other Big Data technologies are exploding.
As I've said before, Microsoft isn't going to disappear overnight. Novell is still with us, as is RIM…people still buy IBM mainframes, for $deity's sake! The question is simply "how much of the empire do they lose to the Gauls?"
Microsoft is not irretrievably fucked. They have a massive amount of cash, a huge install base, millions of loyal fans and some of the smartest, most capable people on the planet. They have to make a a handful of really hard decisions to be able to adapt to the new world. So far, they don't seem capable of recognising the necessity; they still believe that they can alter the course of the market through the force of their sheer largesse.
I don't believe this is the case. I don't believe that they can simply force "Microsoft on every device" on the world and licence – and CAL – appropriately. I don't think that their obsession with fat clients, with licensing one copy of Office, Windows and everything else for multiple devices is really going to work. I don't think people are going to buy into this subscription thing…at least not at the prices they want.
If I am right, and Microsoft is wrong, then the market will shift under them in a big way, and it will shift fast. Microsoft can prevent this all with a simple licensing tweak; a few changes and they can maintain their dominance. Unfortunately, I don't think they see the necessity, let alone have the corporate will to implement it.
What then? What do they become? How much of the empire do they lose and how fast?
That depends more on their competitors executing properly than it does on Microsoft's failure to read the market. Microsoft's competitors are not standing still, and Microsoft's inability to make the tough calls is giving Apple, Google and others the opportunity to fail their way to success.
The next two years are going to tell the tale.
If the consumer market leaves Microsoft's cloistered little world, then people at large - people who work in companies, people who administer network and even people who own companies - will start to see and understand a world without Microsoft.
They will see that it is possible, even enjoyable to move away from the Beast of Redmond. Microsoft is used everywhere only because Microsoft is used everywhere. IT is not (for most people) because they adore the company or the product.
This is my point. I'm pretty sure it's Goldman Sachs' point as well. The spread of "not Microsoft" in the consumer sphere will eventually erode Microsoft's dominance in the corporate sphere. In fact, I already see it happening, despite the ardent protestations of the fanboys.
Microsoft is losing the SMB market and is beginning to lose the SME market. This will edge up the stack until even the Fortune 500 are starting to operate heterogeneous environments.
Perhaps like the massive uptake of non-Microsoft environments at Intel. Or the 30,000 deployed Macbooks at IBM. Those could be examples. It depends on how strongly you feel the need to believe that Microsoft is eternal. But what do I know, it's not like investigating such things is my job or anything...
As to "sustain Microsoft for some time," youa re 100% correct.
RIM still sells handsets. Novell still authenticates users. IBM still sells mainframes and HP still ships Itanics. Even Sco still licences their variant of Unix. Microsoft will be around for a long time yet.
But that doesn't mean it will be anywhere near as important in 5 years as it is today, or that in 10 years it will be aught but a shadow of it's former glory.
I was starting to worry that Juniper lacked anything approaching a decent SDN strategy. I'd hate to see them evaporate during the great commoditisation of networking hardware that is upon us.
We need someone to keep Cisco in check and these upstarts don't quite have the enterprise brand-name chops to do it. Yet. (Arista is close...)
Good for him!
Not all of us are actually capable of learning from out mistakes. It appears that Ballmer can, and good on him for that. Good luck to him next year, and let's hope he rises up the charts a few more points. Better; let's hope he goes up the charts because he's actually gotten better and not because those above suddenly got worse.
Beer, because everyone deserves an attaboy carrot instead of the constant drumbeat of "stick, stick, stick."
Another item; Microsoft no longer owns all the critical protocols and formats. Ask the man why he bought a Mac instead of a Windows notebook: "I can edit Office documents on my Mac, I can't Facetime with my grandkids on Windows."
The world is larger than the inertia of the fortune 500...and those who recognise that will make...a fortune.
Sure, there are plenty of good business reasons to keep using MS excusively. No question. But the analysis in the original article wasn't so limited. It was looking at the use of computers in daily life; including emerging markets like Smart TVs.
That means recognising and accepting that consumer use is part of the discussion...and that computers are no longer merely a business tool. When we look beyond business inertia, we start to see that MS is losing in this wider market. That will affect them in the corporate landscape, just as the "personal computer" evaporated mainframes.
Re: Ms hate
Because they don't listen to customers, attempt to bamboozle us at every turn, have byzantine and purposefully misleading licensing, are insanely expensive and generally treat customers like shit.
The better question is "why do some people feel that pointing out flaws in Microsoft's actions, products or strategies is akin to personally attacking them as individuals?" How and why do people let themselves get so attached to a company that they marry their sense of self worth to it?
You lack imagination and an understanding of how to make technology work for you instead of simply doing whatever the most recent whitepaper you read tells you to do.
I do the majority of my work on Android endpoints. I use an Asus Transformer or a Samsung Galaxy Note II. A huge quantity of that time is spend using them as thin clients to RDP into my Windows XP VM running Office 2003, but this is only because Android lacks a sufficiently good Office package for me to totally jettison that VM.
Browsing, research, even a fair chunk of the server administration I do can be – and is – done directly on my Android devices. I can access Teamviewer, RDP, various terminals, transfer files, compose documents…you name it.
We don't work on TVs you say? Well, my third most frequently used Android device is…my television. I sure do get paid to work on my TV. It's a 47" 1920x1080 screen perfect for doing all sorts of useful work on. In fact, it is generally where I keep browser widows up for research, since the nice large type that appears is easy on the eyes.
Do I have Windows systems? Yes. Do I plan on refreshing them any time in the forseebale future? No. In fact; I am "Libre Office that works with touch, keyboard and mouse on Android" away from being able to walk away from Microsoft for anything except my collection of older Steam games.
For the actual heavy lifting stuff, I find that all the big apps I need have been ported to OSX.
I do "work" on these devices. Systems administration. Writing. Research. Video and image editing. A squillion types of communications. I don't need Microsoft and that – I think – is exactly the point that Goldman Sachs is getting at here. Most of us don't anymore.
Some do. Certainly Autocad isn't going to run on Android anytime soon, and there are a squillion legacy apps still stuck on Win32. Frankly, RDP (especially thanks to things like Nvidia's VGX and Microsoft's RemoteFX) is becoming more than capable of delivering legacy apps to non-Microsoft systems. App-V and ThinApp-style applications exist to also help ease the transition.
For the first time in 30 some odd years Microsoft is actually being forced to compete on merit. They are ill equipped to do so. They have institutionalised mistreatment of their customer base to such an extent that they are corporately incapable of rising to the challenge of getting end users excited about their offerings.
Microsoft – like Oracle, IBM's mainframe geeks, HP's Itanic division and other legacy vendors – doesn't really have very many customers any more. They have hostages. They aren't competing only against their last version anymore, they are competing against "good enough" offerings from others.
Is Libre Office a feature-for-feature replacement for MS Office? No. But for most people, it doesn't have to be. Nor does iWork or anything else trying to play the game.
Browser compatibility is more important than operating system compatibility for the overwhelming majority of users and that given the plethora of options this puts users in a position where they can make choices based on those intangibles like "does the company I'm buying from treat me with respect, listen to my gripes and play ridiculous profit maximisation licensing games that make me feel like I'm dealing with an American cell phone company?"
What nerds and fanboys don't get is that alternatives don't have to exist for every conceivable use case for a migration to begin. Your market share is whittled away every time someone looks at their budget, says "I have $1500 to buy myself some new shiny," and chooses someone who is not you.
A fanboy is bound to pop in and say "Microsoft isn't doomed, it's just that people are updating thier systems on longer cycles than before!" I argue that this means they are, in fact, doomed. People are updating their systems on longer cycles because they don't see a need or reason to update! They do see value in an iPad, a Galaxy Note II or a Kindle.
They are getting something they want – hardware or software that meets their needs – from another vendor. That vendor isn't sitting still, either. Those devices and those vendors are becoming more and more capable every single day.
So what happens when Aunt Tilly's computer finally breaks? When that Windows PC she's been nursing for 3, 6, or 10 years finally gives up the blue smoke or gets that one, final virus? Do you – Microsoft, fanboy, nerd or otherwise – honestly believe that Aunt Tilly is going to rush out the next day to Staples and buy a new Windows PC?
Maybe. Maybe not! Maybe fucking not. Isn't that scary, right there? Aunt Tilly may well look at the broken PC and say "you know what, I never use the damned thing. I don't think I'll replace it."
That is what analysts who understand people - as opposed to those who have attached their nerdy self worth to a corporation or product's success – understand about this whole smartphone/mobile revolution thing.
It is why Smart TVs will, in fact, be "a thing."
Why? Because when Aunt Tilly's PC dies and she wanders in to Best Buy…if the Apple TV is sitting there she may just buy it. That Apple TV has a nice big screen, can do everything she used to do on her old PC – including type with a keyboard and use a mouse – but doesn't take up the space that PC used to…she'll choose it. It's about the same price as a PC, but it's got a bigger screen. Besides which, she's been happy with her Apple iPhone and her Apple iPad…why not get the Apple TV?
This is not a world Microsoft can live in. Microsoft's corporate culture of treating us like substance-addicted prostitutes won't fly in a commoditised world. PCs aren't dead, but Microsoft's dominance is.
In case you missed it, 2012 was the year of Linux on the endpoint. The endpoint just happened to be in our collective pockets, not on our desk.
Apple, Google, Microsoft? Who cares? I – like so many others, it seems – am going to use the device/software/ecosystem that works best for me. I am going to look for return on my investment, and actually care about the total cost of ownership. I am going to assign some value to how I am treated by a company, and whether or not my needs are being met.
The days where I simply do what I am told, eat what's put in front of me and like it are over. I don't have to learn to use whatever interface Microsoft chooses to foist on me. I don't have to use their codecs or live with their DRM or give up my privacy or use only approved apps from only one walled garden store.
I'm the fucking customer and you will make what I want, or I'll take my custom somewhere else.
We can't all do that, yet. Some of us are locked in to one platform or another. But when you get there, when you finally get there and realise that this is the power you have; the choice that you can actually make…it is intoxicating.
Choice. What a novel concept. About fucking time.
Microsoft has audited a number of SMEs I have as clients, with the only justification being "you have signed up for a Microsoft Open License for this one Microsoft product, that gives us the legal right to audit every piece of Microsoft software on your network."
I was informed in each case – in no uncertain terms – that this was standard practice and that I could expect this every single year until the sum totality of the licensing for these locations was on a volume licensed SA agreement and every single system that might ever potentially have Windows, RDP into Windows, use a file stored on a Windows server or otherwise interact with another PC on the network that has Windows (or SQL, Exchange or any other Microsoft application) had SA licences and CALs.
So don't give me "Microsoft has to have a damned good justification" bullshit. Microsoft's justification is that we are using OEM and/or retail licences on our systems instead of paying a subscription. That's all the justification they require.
It's harassment bordering on extortion. End of.
Re: we were audited this year
Yeah, the bastards scammed me out of about $3500 worth of Microsoft Lync licences and CALs. (We were in fact running Office Communications Server, but that wasn't "okay," it had to be Lync. Long story.) After two months of pissing away days tryign to comply with thier insane requests, I ended up just paying the toll to get them to fsck off.
Then moved to Openspark. Followed shortly thereafter by tearing out bloody everything MS that I can. 2013 will be interesting.
Dear Microsoft Licensing,
2013 is going to be a lovely year of showing people how Samba 4, Openfiler, KVM and more are done. Step by step. With pictures.
Audit Victim [number redacted].