It's been a rough year for the IT industry. The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in October grabbed international headlines. But we also lost other major figures from almost every area of technology, including Xerox PARC founder Jacob E. Goldman, who died in late December. Here's one last look at some of the people who made a big difference.
Stories by Frank Hayes
Worried about security in the cloud? Fret over this instead: Last month, a hacker surfaced who claimed he can sell access to more than a dozen government, military and university Web sites all cracked easily because of bad programming.
Maybe it's time to rethink the cloud. Yeah, I know -- at this point, most IT shops haven't thought through the cloud the first time. But Microsoft's recent troubles keeping its cloud services available to users shine a harsh light on the issue of cloud availability and reliability.
Microsoft cuts 5,000 jobs. That's the big news of the week. Not just because the layoffs will cut one in 20 of Microsoft's 91,000 employees. Not only because it signals just how hard Microsoft has been hurt by the failure of Vista and by shifts in the way big customers license and use software. Not even because of the grim sign it represents for the rest of the IT industry.
Heard about a competitor's security being breached? Then you're probably next. In fact, you may already be owned.
The SCO Group 's US$5 billion threat against Linux is effectively finished. On Friday, Aug. 10, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that SCO doesn't actually own the copyrights that it was using to threaten -- and in some cases, sue -- Linux users.
Let's talk about RFID. But first, let's imagine the Internet as it might be. Suppose every ISP required its users to buy only its own brand of modem. And use only its own proprietary Web browser. And connect only to Web sites certified by the ISP to work with that modem and Web browser.
OK, try to follow this: Microsoft has spent the past two years slamming its Open XML file format through the process to make it an international standard. Along the way, there's been arm-twisting, committee-packing, bribery and other chicanery. But by last week, Microsoft was one step away from success.
It wasn't supposed to be this way: Last week, IBM gave the AS/400 a new lease on life. At the Common 2008 user group meeting in the US, IBM announced that its venerable minicomputer hardware is being merged with its Unix product line, once called the RS/6000. Result: The system formerly known as the AS/400 just got cheaper, more modern -- and harder to kill.