LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Year 2000 costs
In looking at the Office of Management and Budget's estimates for the Year 2000 problem ["Hill OMB clash over Y2K progress " FCW July 14] I was struck by the fact that the estimates stopped in fiscal 2000. I would think that there will still be a considerable set of expenses after 2000 including:
1. Redesigning new systems to replace systems that are not converted.2. Dealing with interfaces between systems which were not previously considered.3. Mopping up the bugs caused by the conversion.4. Paying the higher cost of maintaining the new more brittle systems.
I predict that the forces which created these stovepipe systems will come back to bite us again. We cannot understand the full complexity of the Year 2000 problems by looking down each stovepipe we need to deal with the linkages between them. I suspect that we have not begun to discover all of the costs of dealing with the Year 2000 problem and that we will be paying for them for a long time past 2000.
Tom MunneckeAssistant Vice PresidentScience Applications International Corp.San Diego
Setting the standard
I want to express our concerns and correct for the record some statements made by Colleen O'HARA about Novell's position in the federal market. In her article "Schmidt aims to change Novell's image" [FCW July 7] she states that "many federal agencies including the U.S. Postal Service and the Navy have standardized on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT a main competitor of NetWare...."
Our issues are as follows:
1. Regarding USPS Novell and NetWare 4.11 and NetWare Directory Services (NDS) provide the backbone network operating system for USPS. Today that network supports some 50 000 users throughout USPS. It is growing and will support well over 100 000 users before USPS has finished. It will be one of the largest enterprise networks in existence.
Does USPS also have a significant investment in Microsoft [Windows] NT? Certainly. Microsoft and NT have been chosen to provide the application server for the USPS point-of-sale system for USPS retail services that support individual customer purchases. However NetWare is the enterprise NOS and NT is a major application server. It is just as easy to say that USPS has standardized on Novell and NetWare. To state that USPS has standardized on NT because it has chosen Microsoft and NT to house this application is simply not accurate.
2. Regarding the Navy Novell has some 250 000 users worldwide across all commands and installations. While Adm. Archie Clemins has "declared" NT and Exchange the standard for the Pacific Fleet I'm sure that even Bob Brewin would agree that PACFLT is not the Navy and does not speak for the Navy. By any reasonable assessment the jury is out on whether the Navy will identify a "standard" or whether it will identify a set of functional "standards " designed to provide the best integrated solution that allows the Navy to acquire the best technologies in a rapidly changing technology environment.
I expect that if one added the total users of NetWare NOS NT (as a NOS) and Unix (as a NOS) one would find Novell ahead - probably significantly ahead. To make statements on standardization is dangerous because standardization cannot be defined and is too sweeping to be used casually. If indeed Novell has 250 000 users (approximately 60 percent of the user base) isn't NetWare more the standard than Microsoft and NT?
3. Regarding the rest of the statement that "many federal agencies...have standardized on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT " Novell believes it has between 50 and 60 percent share of the market for network operating systems particularly the enterprise NOS. Has Microsoft's market share grown in the recent past? Clearly it has. Has Microsoft won some customers? Clearly they have. But Novell serves a sizable base of customers in the federal arena including more than 200 000 enterprise users in some of the largest civilian agencies such as USPS EPA FBI BOP INS and nearly 700 000 users in the Defense Department.
4. It is important technically to differentiate between the concept of a NOS (NetWare) and an application server (NT). NetWare and NT each do something different and better than the other and both do what the other does but perhaps not as well. Purchases of one shouldn't always be interpreted as losses for the other i.e. USPS. We do not dispute the tremendous presence of Microsoft but let's not concede the entire playing field to Microsoft. Novell has not does not and will not.
In the end Novell believes that competition and choices best serve the interests of government customers. Users want to buy the best technology available in the marketplace and Novell intends to provide it.
Michael McLaughlinSenior Director Public Sector SalesNovell Inc.