If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you might remember my Windows XP vs. Vista series. It was a reply to one of the most popular Vista bashers, Randall C. Kennedy, who published an in-depth “comparison” between XP and Vista on InfoWorld. It was no surprise that such an article would appear on InfoWorld because they are well known for their somewhat “critical” views about Microsoft (remember the populist save XP campaign?). To IDG’s (the publisher of InfoWorld) defense, it ought to be said that their German magazine Computerwoche published my pro Vista article which was also a reply to Kennedy’s InfoWorld article.
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I must say that I enjoyed Kennedy’s rants somehow even though I strongly disagreed with most of his views. It is a pity that we probably will have to do without Kennedy’s Windows bashing articles in the future, because InfoWorld publicly announced that Kennedy will not be writing for them anymore because of "a serious breach of trust." They discovered that Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain Software (aka exo.performance.network), and Randall C. Kennedy are the same person.
Devil Mountain Software was Kennedy’s favorite source when he attempted to prove how badly new Windows versions performed. He probably went a little too far when he tried to launch a Windows 7 bashing campaign (falsely) claiming that 86% of Windows 7 machines are consuming 90%-95% of their available RAM.
What I find interesting is that it was only his deception with regard to his identity that caused this “breach of trust.” It was no secret that there was a connection between Kennedy and Devil Mountain Software. In his Vista bashing article he wrote:
I’ve run the tests (repeatedly). I have the hard numbers. (You can see the full range of my results at exo.performance.network)
with which he tried to prove that
Windows Vista is a bloated pig of an operating system.
It was also quite obvious that he was on a personal campaign against Microsoft which dated back to Windows NT times when he was prevented from publishing benchmark results in Network World (according to Wikipedia; citation need). lost a lawsuit against Microsoft. His articles were always full of subjective, emotion- and expletive-laden expressions. Hence, I wonder how there could be any kind of trust in an author whose main intentions were so obviously of a personal nature?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not against writers who have no reservations about expressing their opinion in clear words. What I find questionable is when well respected journals publish articles that seem to be an objective analysis but are in reality only personal vendettas. If this happens in a blog, even if it is a blog for a magazine, then readers can easily distinguish between subjective opinion and an objective report.
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Randall C. Kennedy is certainly not the only Microsoft basher, although he is probably the most famous one out there. In many cases there are personal interests behind these reports. Thus it is important not to take these allegedly objective analyses, benchmarks, or vulnerability statistics too seriously. Sometimes a competitor is a sponsor, or it is just to get publicity, and sometimes it is disguised marketing (for a security product for example).