NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sun discovers the truth hurts

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sun discovers the truth hurts

I'm beginning to wish I'd never mentioned my new Harley. The subject of the best motor bike manufacturer seems to arouse a passion in people that makes the open-source versus closed-source debate look like friendly banter. So far the Harley fanatics are in the majority, closely followed by the Honda zealots with the Beemers trailing in the dust.

I wish there was more of a consensus around Harleys. It would help validate my decision in buying one.

Unwelcome results

That's the problem with surveys -- they don't always give you the results you want. A few weeks ago I reported a survey on Sun's own developer site that showed that few developers use JSP (Java server pages) for Web-based client applications, preferring instead to use Perl. Yet the folks running the site didn't learn their own lessons. They asked, "Which C/C++ development tool are you using for Sun platforms?" While the poll is ongoing, at the time of writing nearly 70 per cent had said they used the open-source GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), dwarfing the figures for Sun's own development tools. As the tipster who alerted me says, "How long will it be before Sun realises the truth is not its friend?"

Amazon silent is a company appearing not too bothered by hearing the truth - or anything else for that matter - from its customers. "Try finding the 800 customer service telephone number on the Amazon Web site," a reader wrote. "It's not there anymore." I checked and he's right. But you can still e-mail them your tirades.

Motorola's Messaging Solutions division has another way of dealing with those annoying customers. It's the Internet equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears to avoid hearing what you don't want to. A reader reports he spotted a "typo" on the company's Web page and used the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of the page to tell them about it. No prizes for guessing what happened. He got in reply the standard "message undeliverable: user unknown."

Broadbanding together

Rumour has it Sprint may be interested in buying beleaguered broadband services company WinStar. Sprint has given the appearance of having lost its way since the failed WorldCom merger. Given WinStar's financial problems, Sprint is clearly hoping to kick-start its new strategy by getting WinStar at a fire-sale price.

"It's a compliment," Amber said. "Whatever you write about provokes passion in people." Time to see if I can provoke any passion in her.

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