In late May I read one of Mark Driver's (Gartner Group) articles in Fawcette's
excellent .NET Magazine, and I was so disgusted with the almost
constant anti-MS droning that this guy and his cronies perpetrate on unsure
developers, corporate managers, and others that I felt compelled to write
a response to the editors. I reprint my letter here:
From: Peter Bromberg �
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 8:46 PM
Subject: Comments on Mark Driver article in .NET
Magazine June 2002 issue
Regarding Mark Driver of Gartner's article in your
June 2002 issue of .NET Magazine:
Mr. Driver begins by inferring
he is a developer in saying "at least we think we do [have
at least a cursory understanding of .NET]".
It's obvious Mr. Driver is
not a developer, but only another anti-Microsoft drone in the "Gurus
of Gartner" clan. Most real developers know that .NET is the
Common Language Runtime and Type System and the various programming
languages from Microsoft and some 20 - odd third party vendors that
target this platform, and have no difficulty separating this in
their own minds from the "marketing hype .NET" that Driver
refers to in his article.
Driver then goes on to enlighten
us that "1.0 technology inherently carries the immature and
incomplete nature of a 1.0 platform" and that "Microsoft
has never been particularly good at a version 1.0 of anything".
The fact of the matter,
Mr. Driver, is that the technology you refer to as "1.0 platform"
has been in continuous development at Microsoft since 1997 - a very
long time by current technology standards - and has undergone more
debugging and beta - testing than virtually any development platform
currently on the market.
Readers need only refer to
the excellent articles in the same June 2002 issue in which Driver's
article appears to see that major organizations who were early adopters
of .NET found even the BETA version of .NET stable and mature enough
to begin developing enterprise - level applications right away.
I might add that .NET also
seems to be good enough for the most respected of the Linux open-source
developer community as well, since the MONO project, taking advantage
of the ECMA certification of the Common Language Infrastructure
and C# language - with Microsoft's blessing - continues to move
Finally, Driver asserts that "unless Microsoft
can follow up with real .NET - based products in an aggressive timeframe,
it's likely to loose [sic] the confidence of its developers."
Driver apparently believes
the purpose of .NET is to enable Microsoft to come out with software
products based on it. Of course, developers are using .NET to create
these very products today - which is the real purpose of .NET.
.NET Magazine is a great
publication with lots of useful material to people who are genuinely
interested in this exciting new platform. I suggest the next time
you consider accepting a similar article from Mark Driver, fill
the space instead with another of the quality pieces of work that
constituted the rest of the June issue.
-- I soon received a response from the editors that they wanted to publish
my letter in their September issue, and I responded saying that was fine.
Not soon after, I receive another email from one of their editors, who
apparently had sent my "letter to the editor" to Mr. Driver
to solicit his "counter response":
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 5:31 PM
Subject: FW: Comments on Mark Driver article in .NET Magazine
June 2002 issue
Our executive editor, Elise, sent your letter on
to Mark for a response (below).
From: Driver,Mark [mailto:email@example.com]
June 23, 2002 9:42 PM
To: Elise Peterson
Subject: RE: Comments on Mark Driver article in .NET Magazine
June 2002 issue
Here you go...
I'm always amazed at how quickly analysts are pigeon-holed
as either drones or goons. For example, if I write a research
note critical of Linux in any aspect, I'm instantly labeled as being
one of Microsoft's goons by somebody. Likewise any critical
comments regarding Microsoft's technology and I'm an "anti-Microsoft
drone". Well you can't please everyone I suppose. My
commentaries are definitely not designed to be anti-Microsoft any
more than they are designed to be love letters to .NET.
To answer your first issue,
no I am not a developer. I was a developer, technical architect, and project manager one for more than 15 years,
but now I'm just a research analyst. I'm not entirely sure
if that's a good thing or a bad thing on some days. As an
analyst, my job is to take a big picture strategic view of technology
from many angles.
When I say "we" have at least a cursory
understanding of .NET, I am referring "we" the IT community,
including end users, developers, managers, etc. The simple
fact is that .NET is many things to many people and the specifics
are quite confusing to many. I know because I speak with hundreds
of them personally from companies all over the world. For
example, what do the .NET Back Office servers currently have to
with CLR or the .NET framework? Not much at all.
And yes, .NET is an immature technology from a company
with a horrible history of introducing new technologies. This certainly
doesn�t mean that .NET is fundamentally flawed in some way; after
all, every technology must mature over time. However, it has been
my experience that identifying risks associated with immaturity
can greatly strengthen adoption strategies.
On one hand you say that .NET has been in development
since 1997 implying that makes it mature is some way. Why
then, didn't Microsoft have a suite of .NET applications ready to
roll the day the framework was officially released? The answer is
simple, even Microsoft must take its time to eat its own cooking
when working from a brand new recipe.
Finally, even if .NET technologies were perfected
today (and they certainly aren't), there remains major issues in
training and skills migration. I daily come across enterprises
who are justifiably very concerned with rolling out .NET technologies
over coming months. This is the audience my commentary was
directed toward. Certainly more leading edge developers with
a greater propensity for risk can and should take a much more aggressive
So no Mr.
Bromberg, I am not an "anti-Microsoft drone" but thanks for your letter.
I'll be sure to use you as a reference in the future when an open
source or J2EE proponent accuses me a being one of Microsoft's goons.
-- To which I replied with the following:
Thanks for soliciting Mr. Driver's response, but
frankly, I am not at all impressed.
I've read a number of his articles over the last
year or so and almost without exception they stand out in my memory
as having been crafted to cater to the anti-Microsoft fervor
that Gartner Group has nurtured (that is to say, so long as their
clients are willing to pay for this type of garbage). These
of course include his company's recommendation that clients abandon
Internet Information Services as a webserver. And of course, a serious
bug, discovered in the Apache webserver, simply
underscores the fact that it is not necessarily the software, but
the people who run and maintain it that is the primary source of
security flaws. ALL software has flaws!
Regarding Mr. Driver's comment
about "we have at least
a cursory understanding of .NET" perhaps Mr. Driver ought to
have considered the fact that a significant portion of his readership
in your magazine is indeed both developers like myself and their
By the way, it might interest Mr. Driver to know
that I have a personal relationship with at least one person who
(with the blessing and encouragement of Gartner) is excitedly developing
world class software for Gartner Group using - you guessed it -
the .NET platform! He took the time to research the opinions and
experiences of other developers along with investing a great deal
of his own free time testing key features of .NET prior to giving
it a thumbs up.
Once again, Driver is showing his ignorance in saying,
"Why then, didn't Microsoft have a suite of .NET applications
ready to roll the day the framework was officially released?"
And once again, I must patiently explain that the
purpose of the .NET platform is exactly that - to empower professional
developers to create the "Suite of .NET applications"
that he refers to. Not only are we busy doing that, but virtually
every major software vendor either has already created or is working
on such software.
Finally, Mr. Driver asserts in his response, "I
daily come across enterprises who are justifiably very concerned
with rolling out .NET technologies over coming months."
This is the classic political scare tactic. You see
this in every political campaign. Sometimes it works, often it backfires.
There is "risk" in any development platform
and effort, including the risk that if you don't move forward
and change, you are almost certain to live with the built-in deficiencies
of the legacy platforms and methodologies that you insist on using!
Microsoft has engineered, in my opinion, a very low-risk
strategy for .NET adopters to follow by carefully integrating the
ability to have non - .NET components and applications interoperate
very smoothly with newer .NET platform components and software,
making the transition progressive and much easier to integrate.
Driver would have us think that it's all Black or White" -
drone away, Driver!
I think the thrust of this whole interchange is very clear:
You should have a healthy mistrust of anyone who holds themselves out
to be "an expert". Of course these are my personal opinions,
they do not represent the opinions of eggheadcafe.com or any of its other
principals, and it doesn't matter what company these "expert opinions"
came from - I would have responded the same no matter who it was. My opinions
are based on my nearly two years of direct experience working with .NET
since its first release as BETA 1 in July, 2000. I've also had the pleasure
of some experience with other platforms such as JAVA. And of course, you
should understand that I have no "axe to grind" with Gartner
Group as a whole, which is a first class operation that offers a number
of innovative products and services.
Whether Fawcette actually go on to publish my letter to
the editor remains to be seen. I just thought it would be interesting
to publish and �highlight some of the - what I consider to be biased "garbage"
that� gets promulgated in the guise of "professional research"
in today's tech development scenario. Do you agree? Disagree? Comments
are always welcome at our forums!
Finally, I've received several emails and comments on this
since I decided to publish it, all agreeing with me. You can read one
N.B. - It turns out that .NET Magazine did publish a stripped
- down version of my letter, along with the canned response from Mr. Driver.
You can view it here.
|Peter Bromberg is a C# MVP, MCP, and .NET consultant who has worked in the banking and financial industry for 20 years. He has architected and developed web - based corporate distributed application solutions since 1995, and focuses exclusively on the .NET Platform. |