IBM and MS take Bobby's mind off his dentist

IBM and MS take Bobby's mind off his dentist

Two fillings, one extraction, and a root canal. That was the net result of what I had hoped would be a trouble-free visit to the dentist last week.

I could even have handled that, but according to my dentist, that is only phase one of a project that seems to have more complexity than a 5000-seat Windows 2000 deployment.

Funny how the pain of having a tooth pulled reminds me of Windows 2000; but, while I'm on the subject, I heard more last week about the political wrangling between IBM and Microsoft - and it turns out that the issues surrounding the Lotus Notes client and Microsoft Internet Explorer are only one piece of the equation.

IBM is basically dangling the offer of full-fledged support for Windows 2000 in the data centre in exchange for an agreement from Microsoft to bundle IBM's back-office software for Windows 2000 on a CD to give people an alternative to Microsoft BackOffice. The folks at Microsoft are becoming more aware that they need IBM to make Windows 2000 a force in the data centre, but they are loath to give up any competitive edge Windows 2000 gives them in spurring BackOffice adoption. But, as Windows 2000 continues to slip, Microsoft's bargaining position gets weaker, especially as interest in Linux continues to mount. In fact, 20 to 30 per cent of IBM's NetFinity sales now go out with Linux installed primarily for ISP customers, or so I hear.

I also got a follow-up from a reader, concerning my comments about Version 5 of Sun's C++ compiler for Solaris having problems with standard template libraries.

According to the reader, the problem is not limited to these libraries, and apparently, RogueWave has stopped supporting the compiler, at least in the short term, because even with the latest patch it can't handle RogueWave's threads.

Finally, I'm including this one just because it made me laugh. A reader wrote in to draw my attention to the Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 2000 End-User License Agreement, which apparently includes the following `Note on Java support'.

`Java technology is not fault tolerant and is not designed, manufactured, or intended for use or resale as online control equipment in hazardous environments requiring fail-safe performance, such as in the operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communication systems, air-traffic control, direct life-support machines, or weapons systems.'

The reader points out that no such warning about other programming languages is included and wryly asks if we can assume that a program written in Visual Basic has enough fault-tolerance capabilities to run a nuclear installation. I, for one, don't feel like finding out.

Rose accompanied me to the dentist (for moral support).

Everything was great until she got into an argument with the dentist about which was the better anaesthetic - nitrous oxide or vodka. For some reason, he took exception to that.

Robert X. Cringely is a regular contributor to ARN's sister publication Infoworld.

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