Throw him an informational life preserver

Last week, in Business Week Online, investment columnist Sam Jaffe talked about Microsoft and its stock price. As long as he stuck to traditional business page information (the antitrust suit, the general state of the stock market) he was, I guess, fairly accurate.

Jaffe got in over his head, though, in trying to talk about Windows 2000 ("To put it bluntly, Microsoft goes where Windows 2000 goes," according to Jaffe) and especially when talking about Active Directory.

It's confusing enough that Jaffe talks about Win 2000 as a "program," but he then goes on to say that many corporate customers are slow to migrate to it because of "numerous news reports of the software being bug-ridden and unstable." Actually, Win 2000 is the most stable operating system from Microsoft since DOS 3.1. Jaffe, though, relies on a quote from Eric Raymond, who is the guru of Open Source and sworn enemy of Bill Gates.

Jaffe really gets into deep stuff when he comments on directory services, which he calls "one of the trickiest features in the new operating system" (well, he got that right!). He calls Active Directory Service (ADS) a "feature" that "allows a central administrator to control the network" instead of what he calls the traditional, decentralized method. Jaffe does credit Novell with introducing the modern directory service, but he blithely claims "It wasn't part of an operating system."

He then goes on to state that "Corporate IT managers groaned at the concept of a built-in directory," which simply flies in the face of the information that I've collected from you as well as the information available to Microsoft and Novell.

Jaffe appears to rely on information supplied by Michael Stanek, an analyst with Lehman Brothers who predicts that "two-thirds of Windows 2000 installations in 2001 will be done without ADS." Of course, if you lump together Win 2000 Professional and Win 2000 Server installations, it's quite possible that only one-third will have ADS installed, because it's only installed on servers.

Your life gets harder when business people (and lawyers) start talking about technology as if they understand it. Hopefully, forewarned is forearmed, and you'll be ready when your boss starts spouting off about that new Win 2000 program and its centralized management.

This story, "Throw him an informational life preserver" was originally published by Network World.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon