Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jeff Jarvis' Revenge

It takes a lot to move a sluggish giant corporation. Computer maker Dell Inc. has been remarkably slothlike in waking up to the dissatisfaction of consumers about its product quality and (insert joke here) technical support.

Uberblogger Jeff Jarvis mordibly fascinated me some time back with his horror stories of Dell Hell. Jarvis raised hell, but Dell wouldn't listen. As late as this January, CEO Michael Dell was shrugging off the implications of his company's bad reputation in the blogosphere.

A little economic pain, namely Dell's poor quarterly performance, is a wonderful antidote to that surreal obliviousness.

Jarvis predicted Dell's hubris would turn to humiliation. You get my crystal ball award, Jeff.

To get an idea of how clueless Dell is about blogs, PC curmudgeon John Dvorak pointed out on St. Patrick's Day that Dell's dull Linux blog hadn't been updated since 2005. A few hours after Dvorak's column was posted, the Dell Linux blog posted this scintillating item:

"The following Linux related papers were published in Dell Power Solutions Quaterly for February 2006:

* Building Clustered Enterprise Applications with JBoss Application Server on the Dell PowerEdge 1855 Blade Server

* VMware ESX Server Performance on Dell PowerEdge 2850 and PowerEdge 6850 Servers

* Configuring a Highly Available Linux Cluster for SAP Services

* OS Deployment Using Dell OpenManage Server Assistant and Preboot Execution Environment"

The next item, dated March 25, begins:

"In conjunction with the Linux team and OpenManage Install team, we are pleased to announce an unofficial, publicly-available up2date/yum repository containing the Q3 2005 release of OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA), version 4.5. We would like to encourage anybody who uses OMSA on Linux to give this setup a try and let us know what you think. We intend to keep this repository up-to-date with the latest consolidated version of OMSA."

The next item, dated May 9, reads in its entirety:

"Dell Linux Software Architect Matt Domsch has been named as a community member to the Fedora Project Board."

The term shovelware comes to mind.

Either Dell hasn't a clue what blogs are, or is trying to bore readers to death so it won't have to do anything serious about Linux. Perhaps both.

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