Now that’s more like it …

I've received the usual flood of interesting tips from readers following my April 8 comments about running Windows apps on Linux. Seems that every man and his dog has tried one thing and another.

The feathers are really starting to fly. This is big business and politics just the way we like them. Washington Post columnist Robert Novak claimed last week that Microsoft’s enemies, including Sun, Novell and Oracle, bribed a number of US state attorneys to keep the antitrust case against Microsoft alive. In one case, the companies are alleged to have contributed between $US14,000 and $US20,000 to the campaign fund of Kansas State Attorney General Carla Stovall who was seeking a nomination for governor. Since when did California-based tech companies give a frog’s fat one about Kansas state politics? Oh, that’s right. Kansas was one of the nine states that didn’t like the DoJ’s proposed settlement. God bless America.

Speaking of which, God bless Bill Gates and April Fool’s Day too. Laugh? I nearly died. The big guy (Bill this is, not God – although to some readers the difference may not be apparent) seems so eager to schmooze with the not-just-rich-but-actually-powerful of the world that he occasionally forgets to check their credentials (he was apparently fooled by two Quebec radio DJs pretending to be Canadian PM Jean Chretien). Poor Bill. First it’s a script-kiddie hacking an MS-powered e-pharmacy sending him Viagra and now this. Oh, don’t forget that cream pie, too. Will the insults never end?

Speaking of insulting and injuring Bill; I’ve received the usual flood of interesting tips from readers following my April 8 comments about running Windows apps on Linux. Seems that every man and his dog has tried one thing and another. One extremely interesting email came from self-confessed Notes wonk, Miles Stafford. I don’t usually name names but I feel that Miles’ was such a very bold admission that – in the tradition of those interminable bloody Glad infomercials – he deserves mention. Persevering with Notes under Linux is a truly weird thing to do. With a bit of help from a product called Win4Lin that he bought on the internet, Miles has Notes and Notes Designer running happily on Mandrake 8.1. Well done that man. I reckon you deserve a prize.

Unfortunately I don’t have any prizes. Maybe the editor could see if he has any of those three-sizes-too-small “Computerworld Quoted” T-shirts left? (Sorry, in-joke … this is his opening to quip back about my three-sizes-too-big body.)

Miles did say that he still had a few issues with getting COM ports to connect through Linux to the outside world. If anyone has any handy hints in this area, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to share your triumphs too.

Last gasp for the week – surveys. I get asked to participate in at least two written (or web-based) ones and five telephone ones every week. I guess I am asked to “contribute” because I have knowledge that is of value to the industry (ie vendors who want me to buy their stuff). I have this valuable knowledge because I am a real, live IT manager. The only problem is that if I did all the surveys I was asked to do, I wouldn’t have time to be an IT manager any more.

I now have a general policy of declining with thanks (except when a couple of the major international IT researchers come calling). Despite this I weakened a few weeks ago and got suckered into doing what was obviously a vendor’s survey. I weakened on the premise that I’d be sent a $50 wine voucher for my trouble. Clever buggers knew exactly how to wear me down. Oh, and the voucher never showed up. Doubly clever. Sigh.

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Son. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

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