} >> Dear Oracle, who knows more about computers than he probably should,
} >> but is a good guy regardless:
} You should know better than to ask the Oracle's wisdom in the field
} in which you have just insulted him; bad form, old chap............
} Nonetheless, on to the task at hand, eh?
} >> Should my spouse's company stick with the botched-up and antique
} >> version of SCO-Unix on a single 386 (and "save money") or should
} >> they toss all that out on its ear and get a bunch of PCs running
} >> MS-DOS and WINDOWS, hitched together with Novell, and maybe save
} >> time and sanity?
} I've actually conducted a few experiments in this area, using American
} university students and faculty as both test and control groups. The
} bureaucrats involved only *thought* they had original ideas; it's great
} to whisper things in their ear, just like when I whispered "Quayle"
} into George's......oops, never mind.
} I made some universities Unix-only, others used Novellized PCs, some
} were VMS-centric, and a very few were "Big Blued". After one year of
} controlled exposure, I joined the groups under the guise of a "User's
} Conference". It was rather interesting........
} The Unix-centered folks were walking around, dropping shell scripts
} right and left and mumbling strange incantations like "foo-bang-bar-
} percent-bazz-at-uunet", which made them the Witch Doctors In Residence.
} The VMS users insisted on shouting as loudly as possible and placing
} slashes after everything; attempts to SPAWN/NOLOG/NOWAIT were common,
} especially in the hospitality suites. In an interesting twist, those
} in the thrall of IBM also spoke in slashes and capitals, but theirs
} were *prepended* to their words, as in "//GO.SYSIN DD DINNER?" and
} "//* YOU'RE CUTE!". From a linguistic viewpoint, it was fascinating.
} The IBMers kept talking about PUNCHing files, which (of course) offen-
} ded the Unix folks (since *everything* in Unix is a file), and the
} VMS folks kept trying to append slashes and periods to everyone else's
} comments. Of course, they brought their pets; Rexx bit Bash, and
} LOGIN.COMs were licking their lexicals in front of everyone. A good
} time was had by all........
} Except for the Novell/Windows folks. It took me some time to locate
} them; they had segregated (cloistered?) themselves in a few rooms off
} to the side. All that could be heard was quiet cutting and pasting;
} conversation was limited to "which button closes the window?" and "boy,
} it sounds like they're having a good time in there; is there more
} coffee?" Windows were opened and closed, but every mind was vacant. It
} was scary; the only signs of excess were the occasional game of Tetris
} or Minesweeper and the exchange of easter eggs hidden in the various
} mouse-driven programs. There was a tombstone hanging over them (by a
} thread) reading
} "DOS: RIP <any day now>"
} They toiled listlessly in its shadow.
} In conclusion, you have two choices:
} If you want anaesthetized workers, silently drudging their
} work to the printers without a shred of originality, then
} Novell/Windows/DOS is your obvious choice. If you want
} the chance to make all these decisions again within just
} a few years, go look for the Big Red Box.
} If, on the other hand, you want vibrant, excited workers
} who aren't leery of entering the chaotic fray that is
} modern computing, pick one of the others. Which one?
} The Oracle doesn't *do* product endorsements.
} >> Or use dynamite?
} Well, a fresh start is often the best thing. If you want job security,
} wipe out everything they have and introduce products with which only
} your spouse (or you, if you're looking for work) are familiar. This is
} the oldest job-security trick in the information systems world; it
} explains most of the seemingly-mindless decisions made in Corporate
} You owe the Oracle a way to close this User Conference without
} bloodshed; oh my gosh, they're talking about editors