Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Edgar Codd, database theorist, dies at 79

Connect computers >> Internet
Connect Tests >> COT
Connect bidders and buyers >> Ebay
Connect book lovers >> Amazon
Connect data >> Relational database

"While working as a researcher at the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory in the 1960s and '70s, Codd wrote several papers outlining his ideas. To his frustration, IBM largely ignored his work, as the company was investing heavily at the time in commercializing a different type of database system.

In 1978 that Frank T. Cary chief executive of IBM, ordered the company to build a product based on Codd's ideas. But IBM was beaten to the market by Larry Ellison, who used Codd's papers as the basis of a product around which he built a start-up company that has since become Oracle. "

Ballmer on Linux

"Innovation is not something that is easy to do in the kind of distributed environment that the open-source/Linux world works in. I would argue that our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that community

Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition.

Some people say it is an advantage that Linux gets built in all of these little pieces. The fact is that if you want to do some kind of integrated innovation that touches the kernel, that touches the user interface--there is no way. Maybe Linus (Torvalds) can control the innovation in the piece called the kernel, but there are many pieces.

If you want a fix now, we may need to perform better, but you know where to go. There is nobody to turn to if you as a (Linux) customer says, 'I need this

. Remember, we brought Windows 1 out in 1983 and we didn't have any real volume until 1991. It took us eight years to get volume. I don't know when we got profit, but it took us eight years to get volume.

Take Windows server. We started on it in 1988, but it was probably 1998 before we had real volume, and I don't know when we would have said we had profitability on that product. But most of the good businesses require long-term patience, commitment, tenacity...and you can't be impatient

Question :
If you put Office on a PC, it can be one-third of the material cost of the system. Is that sustainable? Hard drives are going down in price and processors are going down in price.

Ballmer :
I think that is a bad way to look at it. I don't think the price of software and the price of hardware have some inextricable link. I think what we need to make sure of is customer perception of value versus competitive offerings. I think we've got the right mix of capability, functionality, simplicity, price, etc. I don't think looking at it relative to hardware prices takes you any place.

And I also don't think hardware prices have come down, at least at the client. Hardware prices have not come down significantly in a number of years...The capability goes up, as the capability goes up in our software. "


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