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.

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).

13 Comments
  1. Bob 13 years ago

    Just to be clear, according to the Infoworld article cited, there is no Craig Barth, CTO. Barth was purely an invention of Randall Kennedy, a real person.

  2. Yes, “Craig Barth” was an invention and it was not the only thing Kennedy invented.

  3. Tom Tancredo 13 years ago

    Since when did writing under a pen name become illegal? The fascinating thing about this entire charade is how quickly the ZDNet, Ed Bott, and pro-Microsoft shills have run behind this drama-filled episode to try paint a pseudonym as a convincing argument against Kennedy’s data points.

    The only thing ZDNet proved is Kennedy wrote under a pen name. The rest of this is nothing more than a well executed ad hominem attack that we call “trolling.” The issue of disproving his data on Windows Vista and Windows 7 is a completely different matter. Michael, you would be wise to make sure you don’t lose your objectivity because it makes you sound like a troll too.

    Dr. Tom Tancredo

  4. Tom, he did not write under a pen name. He lied about his identity when dealing with customers and business partners of his company. I don’t know if this is illegal, but it sheds a light on his trustworthiness.

    I didn’t say anything about the correctness of his data in this post. As far as I remember, in former articles I always argued that most of his findings are irrelevant. If there are five years between two operating systems, then I don’t have to run tests to find out that the new OS needs more resources. What I found amazing is that so many people took this data seriously.

    I also didn’t claim to be objective. In articles like this one I express my personal opinion. What Kennedy did is probably a matter of taste. All I can say is that it isn’t my taste.

  5. frac 13 years ago

    Well, since being bitch-slapped by MS(on that occasion I thought he was right and didn’t deserve to be throttled) he has been on a chip-on-the-shoulder reactionary rail against IT in general. MS, Apple, IBM – they’ve all been in his sights… so at least he is consistant.
    My problem is with sites like infoworld, who gleefully employ bloggers to do their best(worst) to generate hits. The world being what it is, people just accept 100% of the posted hit inducing rubbish, as fact.
    Headline : ‘Trash publishes trash’ …. so what’s new?
    He’ll be replaced by some equally thick-skinned unscrupulous hit-monger before the week is out.

  6. frac, the question is if we should blame InfoWorld or those readers who like his articles. Hmm, this gives me an idea. Perhaps I should ask him if he wants to write for 4sysops. 😀

  7. Tom Tancredo 13 years ago

    He lied about his identity when dealing with customers and business partners of his company.

    You need to check your facts again. This is not the case but even if it was he can call himself santa claus if he so decides because that’s how corporations work.

    What I found amazing is that so many people took this data seriously

    That’s not how you disprove a person’s findings in science. You disprove the findings by demonstrating that you cannot recreate them. Or you tackle the design of the study by offering a better one. None of you have done that. In fact all of you are going for the personal attack angle. If all of you feel this is illegal then put your money where your mouth is and launch a lawsuit. Until that point I’d seriously tone down the slander/libel because it can get all of you sued.

    This is why you, Ed Bott, and other Microsoft-loving shills have latched onto this story because you feel that your love-child (Microsoft) is now vindicated. This is actually no different than what Apple fanboys do. I would hate to think you’ve dropped yourself down to that level.

    Dr. Tom Tancredo

  8. C. Moye 13 years ago

    Could you please provide more info. about the lawsuit that Kennedy lost against Microsoft? There are no records of any suit between Kennedy and Microsoft.

  9. I translated a German article incorrectly. They were referring to Wikipedia. It seems Microsoft just threatened him because of a license violation. I corrected this part in my article. Thanks for the hint.

  10. C. Moye 13 years ago

    You should now go through your articles and correct all your misrepresentations about Kennedy. For example Kennedy’s “expletive-laden expressions” as you put it. Can you give me an example of this? I read a number of his articles and he seems pompous and arrogant but I have not seen a single “expletive-laden expression”.

  11. What about the example I gave here? Tom thinks that Kennedy is a “scientist”. Do you think a researcher would call an operating system a “bloated pig”? Or is this the language of someone who wants to offend?

  12. C. Moye 13 years ago

    Kennedy is arrogant and that is his style throughout his articles. “Bloated pig” is certainly NOT an expletive!!! Besides, how do you offend an operating system??? If you want to prove that Kennedy is wrong, then as Tom pointed out, prove that his results are wrong. None of the pro-microsoft writers have been able to do that. All they do is talk about pointless things (like the pen name) or they invent things about Kennedy(like the Microsoft lawsuit that you mentioned above). You should all take Tom’s advice.

  13. Perhaps this a cultural difference then. The German magazine Computerwoche translated Kennedy’s “bloated pig” in “Ressourcenfresser” which means “resource eater”. If they used the literal translation “aufgeblähtes Schwein”, then they certainly would have received quite a few protests from their readers. I know no German IT magazine that would publish such expletive language.

    As I’ve said before, Kennedy’s measurements are probably correct. He has just drawn the wrong conclusions from his data and I “proved” this in detail.

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