Though I found Brian Clegg's review of the latest OS/2 a tad lightweight, I found his defences quite reasonable.
After all, he wasn't defending his review for the most part, but arguing against religious war.
On which subject, what planet does Clarence Braine (Letters 17 December) live on? If "a good OS begets good applications", why can't I buy a scientific visualisation package to run on OS/2? Even IBM's visualisation software doesn't run on OS/2! Why is SPSS for OS/2 two major revision levels below the Windows 3 version?
The most effective driving force for good applications isn't an OS, but a market, which is why you can buy just about anything for Windows 3, (despite a brain-dead file system and memory management from hell).
I use OS/2 for network management: it's great for that, but since there isn't much technical software for it despite its good internals, I use Solaris and NT when I need to be doing serious data crunching.
Dundee University & Teaching Hospitals
OTT on OS/2
The letter by Clarence Braine (PC Week 17 December) was just too much.
Brian Clegg was exactly right.
No one except propeller heads buys operating systems, we buy the applications that just happen to run on operating systems.
What planet does this guy live on? "I have yet to see a good MS app".
Perhaps he is still using Word for DOS and comparing it to good old WordStar with all those arcane key strokes. Remember installing application-specific AND printer-specific drivers? Remember needing a computer science first just to list a file by typing in all those upper and lower case command line switches.
Brian Clegg does an excellent job in my view and I believe that the regular Clegg bashing in your letters page is unfair to him.
I feel that many of the respondents are not operating in the real world.
On the whole, I find Clegg's articles clear and well argued from a practical point of view.
Some of the criticism against his articles is totally ridiculous. For example, the letter from Clarence Braine (17 December 1996) in which he criticises Clegg's observation that "the real business of computers is applications, not operating systems". He asks whether Clegg yet realises that good operating systems beget good applications.
It is not Clegg who is missing the point; a good application is one which makes a difference to the business to which it is applied. I have seen many such applications developed for the most appalling of operating systems and conversely I have seen many very elegant, but fundamentally useless, packages developed for platforms as diverse as NeXT, VMS and Windows NT.
The latest and greatest operating systems at times tend to distract the developers from the proper business issues of functionality, usability and effectiveness.
Other negative criticisms of Clegg's articles tend to come from those with specialist but narrow understanding of particular applications.
Clegg is not writing for such people though. He is addressing what most successful business people will make of particular applications. The fact that product B is a more appropriate tool than product A for a particular task is irrelevant if people are more likely to use product A. (His article on project management tools is the most recent one to come to mind.)
I say, keep up the good work Brian.
Stuart C Moore
Group IS MD
Mott MacDonald Group
I was surprised to see the article on Dell's success in the server market (PC Week 17 December 1996).
We have recently purchased several Compaq file servers because Dell has been unable to respond to our requests for quotations for several weeks.
On a number of occasions, our purchase orders and specifications to quote against have been lost by Dell's server arm and we have had to resubmit information. Our Dell account manager also seems to have problems getting a timely response from the server division.
We expect to purchase a considerable number of servers over the next 12 months or so for both internal and external use. My network specialists no longer wish to purchase Dell servers.
As your item stated, price is not the only factor.
Stuart C Moore
I was disgusted to read about the attitude Dell takes when dealing with its customers, (PC Week 17 December).
The response from Dell that car manufacturers also expect spares to be bought from them is completely irrelevant. I would not need to purchase a set of rails (gaskets, screws, whatever) in order to put a non-Citroen oil filter in my Citroen!
Further, the argument that the rails are to take up the slack caused by slight variations in drive sizes will only stand up if Dell supplies rails of different thicknesses to be used as packing. It would initially be profitable for Dell, I'm sure, but not a good marketing move.
Also, how do other PC manufacturers negate the need for such ridiculous solutions, if it really is a problem?
Dell should not be lumbering unsuspecting customers with such liability in order to keep them loyal. Far better would be the approach of offering better value for money than they could find elsewhere. This would appear as a reward for remaining loyal, rather than a punishment!
In addition, isn't this a small step down that dangerous path of making PCs proprietary?
I can remember with clarity the fate of companies that have taken the "only our bits will go in our PCs" line. Dell would do well to reconsider this policy before it is faced with losing market share over this matter.
Got a gripe, then don't delay, get your pen out and write today send all your correspondence to:
- The Editor, PC Week, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London, W1A 2HG. or by Email to [email protected]
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