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Diverse it Gets

Entry 981, on 2009-04-04 at 19:37:19 (Rating 3, Computers)

There's an old Dilbert cartoon where various employees in the unfortunate company he works for are forced by their IT department to use certain types of computers. The punch line of the cartoon is when asked about diversity the IT person says "De longer you work here diverse [the worse] it gets". OK sure, its not that funny but it is relevant to the situation found in many large organisations where any users of operating systems other than WIndows must be "eliminated".

The topic often arises on the discussion list for IT staff at the university I work for. I used to participate in these discussions but I no longer do for two reasons: first its a pointless waste of time; and second, staff of certain departments (specifically the one I work in) are more likely to be censored than others.

So there's a lot of ill informed discussion of the relative merits of Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux in this list and most of it is so bad that its hardly even worth reading before you ignore it. But there was one good comment made yesterday that I want to summarise here.

A fairly conservative member of the list said something like: "we should embrace diversity and welcome the extra challenges that involves". OK, so it was a fairly boring comment, and not likely to cause too much controversy, but it was absolutely true and an idea I basically agree with.

Actually I think of it slightly differently. I prefer to let the client decide which platform suits them best and then support them in that choice as well as possible. If their choice is Windows and I think they would be better off with a Mac (as many Windows users would be) I might try to talk them into moving to a Mac, but the choice is theirs and I would support them in that.

Sure there are extra costs with supporting multiple operating systems but there are savings in letting people use the system which is best for them and I think these are likely to be greater than the costs.

So I say let diversity reign supreme. Anything else is just fitting in with the Dilbert stereotype.

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Comment 1 (1932) by SBFL on 2009-04-06 at 09:39:27:

My two cents:
"OK sure, its not that funny..." Sacrilege!! Dilbert is always funny. Always!

"first its a pointless waste of time; " - you don't say why.

"staff of certain departments (specifically the one I work in) are more likely to be censored than others." - good to see the left wing dominating uni politics as always

"So there's a lot of ill informed discussion of the relative merits of Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux in this list and most of it is so bad that its hardly even worth reading before you ignore it." - bloody hell, you can hardly complain if you refuse to participate.

"I prefer to let the client decide which platform suits them best and then support them in that choice as well as possible." - is the University of Otago in a position to be able to afford tech support for Mac OS X as well as existing universally accepted platforms?

Actually reading on you address this, but what are the savings, and how to they compare to the costs? You say the savings will be greater than the costs. Show us.

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Comment 2 (1936) by OJB on 2009-04-06 at 11:53:37:

Well, OK, it is still funny. Maybe just not as good as some other Dilberts!

Pointless because people have decided what they want to believe before they even start and they debate based on their built-in bias and ignorance. I do have to say one thing: most Mac users have had quite a lot to do with PCs as well as Macs, but few PC users have had much to do with Macs, therefore the Mac people tend to be better informed.

The censorship has nothing to do with left wing politics, quite the opposite. It comes from management types who are more used to the oppressive environments in the "real world".

I did participate in the past but was threatened with dismissal after a comment I made. So once I found this so-called forum for free expression wasn't actually free I no longer participated.

We have thousands of Macs here, almost as many as we have PCs. We cannot afford not to support them because the cost of making someone use a PC when that wasn't the best choice for them would be far more than any extra costs which might result from having multiple platforms.

Yes, OK, I need to find some studies to convince you. Give me some time and I'll get back on that.

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Comment 3 (1942) by SBFL on 2009-04-14 at 00:45:06:

"The censorship has nothing to do with left wing politics, quite the opposite.".
Three words: Electoral Finance Act.

"..but was threatened with dismissal after a comment I made."
Sounds like you may have a case for constructive dismissal. Not sure I would call it unfair constructive dismissal though...hehe.

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Comment 4 (1946) by OJB on 2009-04-14 at 18:34:32:

I was talking about the specific instance of censorship we were discussing above. I agree that the EFA was a badly implemented piece if legislation but it was attempting to solve a real problem.

I often get threatened with various things. I find if you call their bluff they usually back off!

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