• United States
by Readers

Letters to the editor: “Web site testing anxiety”

Dec 19, 20054 mins
Data CenterMalware

Also, spyware, Novell, more

The human factor

Regarding “Web site testing anxiety”: I’m glad this article didn’t buy the “technology solves all” position that many people believe possible.

The whole idea of usability recognizes that technology is made for use by human beings. I would like to see more ideas like Thomas Powell’s on how to “hide” the testing process so that users don’t skew results by trying too hard. In addition, I would like to see more articles on the subject of ROI so that usability-oriented developers and others can sell usability to upper management.

Elianna James

QA usability engineer


Boulder, Colo.

No security through obscurity

Regarding “10 ways to stop spyware”: Security through obscurity does not work.  I have heard that more flaws have been found in Firebox in 2005 than in Internet Explorer.  Active X is a very important tool as well to developers, so to nix it altogether is not a viable option.

James M. Hinks

Senior specialist

Patterson Office Supplies

Champaign, Ill.

Novell opens up

Your story “Can open source still save Novell?” is lacking in appreciation of what Novell has done so far and overblown in its criticism.

Novell’s third-quarter revenues were down a mere 5% with no loss posted, albeit profits shrank considerably.  Yet the reporting here and elsewhere has been of the “sky is falling” variety for Novell. Similarly, Novell reduced its employee count by 580 jobs out of 5,800 — hardly “slashing” its workforce, as reported here and elsewhere.

Changing a billion-dollar software and services company from one that provides proprietary network services solutions to one that embraces open source at the lower portion of the OSI stack and includes its proprietary networking services at the higher portion of the OSI stack is a new way of doing business.  No wonder the Gartner analyst quoted in your story couldn’t find an example of it.  I’m not sure it existed at all until Novell made the decision to do it.

While Red Hat has a larger share of the Linux market, Novell had no share of the Linux market until two years ago. And from a reseller perspective, Novell is a much more valuable partner than Red Hat. Novell has more than 20 years of experience working with the channel. Novell has more Linux support engineers than Red Hat has employees.

Novell’s 12 years of experience with its multi-platform NDS/eDirectory service compares favorably with Red Hat’s recent acquisition of Netscape’s Directory Server.  In other words, Red Hat is just getting into this area and who knows how well the company will do in it.

Novell’s so-called “layering” of its enterprise networking services doesn’t preclude a customer from running SUSE Linux without them. Novell’s Open Enterprise Server integrates Novell’s proprietary value-added networking services on both NetWare and Linux.  If you don’t want them, then just use SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. And when it comes to Novell’s GroupWise and ZENworks products, you could not ask for more complete cross-platform support (Linux, NetWare, Windows) for collaborative messaging and systems management.

The question is not which company (Red Hat or Novell) is a true open source company.  The question is which company brings more to the table in terms of support for open source solutions combined with the use of proprietary solutions in those areas where the open source community has yet to find an itch to scratch.  Novell bridges this chasm in a meaningful way and should be applauded for its efforts to redirect its business along both lines.

Tim Wessels

Rindge, N.H.

Defining pornography

In his BackSpin column, “Putting lipstick on the Internet porno-pig”, Mark Gibbs writes: “…if we can’t effectively define pornography in the real world, why would new laws for controlled Internet channels make things any better?”

My question is why can’t we effectively define pornography in the real world?  While there may be some debate as to the term “effectively,” it seems like the definition occurs in every other form of media (movies, television, radio, even magazines and books). I argue that we can and should define pornography.  It’s time to stop hiding behind the nebulous cloud of the Internet.

Allan Smart

Orem, Utah