Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The "New" Rob Enderle

Over the years no pundit has taken quite as much flack as Rob Enderle (some less charitable than myself would probably say deservedly).

Although I still think that his anti-Linux stance really didn't do him any favours it is fair to say that he certainly isn't a pro-Microsoft shill. One of his latest articles could almost be proof of that.

A well written article mixing Apple Computers, Politics and Dancing with the Stars? You betcha!

So is Rob now on the side of good? A reading further through his output unfortunately reveals that his anti-Linux stance is as much in evidence as ever, whilst he can still churn out pro-Microsoft stuff with the best of them.

Whilst I still don't think that he is a paid shill (although he does a darn tooting impression of one I must admit) some of this anti-Free Software stuff just doesn't do him any favours. Many companies can (and do) support free software solutions mixed in with the commercial ones. These days it is so common that it hardly even warrants a mention.

The company I work with supports both Open Office AND Microsoft Office, although we only install Microsoft Office where there is a damn good business case for spending money on the software licence. Does Open Office cost us any more to support than Microsoft Office? Of course not. Don't be silly.

You see, in a support role you often end up supporting desktop applications that you haven't had full (or in some cases any) training on. It doesn't matter whether it is a Microsoft, Sun or Joe Bloggs Open Source program, part of a good technicians skills are being able to deal with new stuff "on the fly" as it were and learn (and remember) enough to be able to support the users.

So what Open Source stuff gets widely used? Apart from the obvious such as FireFox and OpenOffice, tools such as ImageMagick are in heavy use (often as part of the back-end software for commercial products). Some of the more useful Unix commandline utilities have been ported to Windows and again, can often be found as part of the "glue" behind larger commercial products. Samba is so common that it is almost a certainty to find it installed on any given Unix server that you find.

And as for Linux not working on the desktop? Some of us switched to it years ago, and I can tell you this: even with some of the issues I've encountered over the years I'm not switching back! (Using the beta version of Windows 7 has made that decision a damn site easier to handle!)

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