Re: Fairly biased article
You are right, I definitely got needlessly wrapped up in all sorts of petty squabbling and side-taking at the time.
I'd forgotten about those bloody Windows servers. The technology team at News was originally led by an ex-Microsoft guy, who was somewhat enthusiastic about his former employer's technology. The News International and Sky systems we left behind were all HPUX or Solaris. He left around the time of launch. The question for the team then, was where, in the long list of priorities, should we put the migration to more stable technology. As you so rightly point out, there were instabilities in the hastily built CMS, and many other problems.
First, was removing the MS replication system, as mentioned. Another tricky migration done long before the web servers, was from from Windows/MS-SQL to Solaris/Oracle. Oddly enough, I think it is precisely because web-serving was shared with IS from early on, that getting rid of the Windows servers was less important, than the database and other elements.
I don't think that anybody at News ever wanted to roll out the CMS to anyone else. However, after the success, senior executives kept suggesting it. The CMS did not intrinsically restrict the look and feel to any particular style: you will remember that the "text only" version was created with the same CMS.
The problem was that it used some complex publishing logic to cope with the fast-changing link dependencies of the News site - several thousand automated link changes a day. Learning about how to write the templates would have been expensive and pointless for other types of site. So, for instance, when the Olympics came along, it was decided to keep the templates which already existed, making it look suspiciously like the News site.
Whatever happened to the Capt Pugwash site? Another scandal.