% fortune -ae paul murphy

Rearview madness and Wintel customer spin

When I looked, last week, at the lack of fundamental differences between the first iMac G4s and today's wintel7 stuff I was struck, for perhaps the zillionth time, by how the Wintel world first denigrates the Mac and then trails along behind it. Back then Wintel people decried cameras on laptops as pointless - now wintel laptops just aren't cool without them -and the list goes on: tomorrow's wintel7 machine just looks and acts a lot more like a old Mac than it acts like an old PC.

Then I realized something else: it's a general phenomenon in the wintel industry. When AMD developed cohesive multi-core computing for x86, Intel scoffed and its flacks scoffed with it - but now it's selling its i7 reinvention of those same technologies as The Future.

When Sun invented the coolthreads ideas, the wintel community scoffed - then discovered it couldn't match the software or the hardware needed to make it work, and is now pretending that multi-core is the same as core multi-threading.

When Apple introduced the iPhone, the industry scoffed - and all the biggies now find themselves saying the iPhone sucks while their copies are every bit as good.

Most recently Sun has moved to revolutionize storage by using ZFS to integrate flash into the storage hierarchy and their dtrace technology to provide both storage and storage analytics nobody else can match - and what's the industry doing? running down Sun's products while pretending that adding some flash drives and canned reports to their 80s gear is somehow equivalent.

So what we have, I think, is a general thing: when confronted with better technology the wintel/DP world first denies the difference, then denies the value, and ultimately hypes its own copies as new inventions when they finally get them out.

And if it is indeed a general thing, you should be aware when you get their stuff that there's an inevitable bottom line to this behavior: as they fall ever further behind, so do you.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.