Apple should take credit as greatest PC pioneer
Brian Megitt, Cheadle, Cheshire
You note in the 15 August issue of Computer Weekly that IBM changed the world when it launched the first PC.
At the time, IBM was playing catch-up with its competitors. ICL and DEC, for example, had both launched ranges of personal computers that used the C/PM operating system. The only real difference was that IBM had failed to create an OS to support its new hardware. It is therefore arguable that Microsoft changed the world 25 years ago with MS/Dos.
I would suggest that the real change to world computing came in 1984 when the Apple Macintosh was launched. This revealed a personal computer that could do things unheard of in the C/PM or MS/Dos worlds. It broke the tradition of the command line and opened computing to a much wider world, possibly enforcing the term "personal computer" in a way that the IBM box did not. And just to enforce its independence, Microsoft wrote Word and Excel for the Mac.
I also noted your limited coverage on page 20 of the preview of Apple's next major update to Mac OS X, Leopard. Your only comment was that it would feature Bootcamp software.
The release offers much more than Bootcamp, which is just one way of running Windows on a Mac, and is available now for use with the Tiger OS.
With possibly less than 50% of its features revealed at the developers' conference, it is already looking light years ahead of Microsoft's next offering, which appears to be reducing in features while taking more time to reach the marketplace.
Business-led approach is key to ITIL benefits
Paul Whitlock, Plan-Net
Helen Beckett's article "Toolkit for a common approach" (Computer Weekly, 8 August) presents a credible case for ITIL having come of age, yet how many organisations still offer poor service based on reactive helpdesks, haphazard change management and irrelevant service level agreements?
There is no doubt that ITIL has a lot to offer organisations. But to date the main beneficiaries of this best practice methodology have been the software suppliers. Too many firms have undertaken a six-month review process to attain nothing more than a £60,000 bill.
ITIL, as commonly approached, is over engineered for effective implementation into 95% of organisations and, in its vanilla form, is not fit for purpose despite worthy intentions, organisations are still failing to match deliverables to the real needs of the business.
If organisations are to bridge the chasm between business and IT, some ITIL myths need to be dispelled. There is simply no need for complex, resource-intensive and expensive ITIL projects that address all of the 11 disciplines.
Instead, organisations need to take a business-led approach that focuses on the key areas of pain - such as service desk, incident, change, configuration and service level management - to deliver a tailored, relevant and cost-effective service across the business.
Who will need skills once IT is industrialised?
I share the concerns of Peter Skyte of the Amicus union about the threat to skills investment as a result of the influx of IT workers from abroad (Computerweekly.com, 2 August), but maybe he should see a possible silver lining to this cloud.
The buzzword increasingly being bandied about in IT is "industrialisation", and as the vision of IT leaders today is steadily realised and more and more workers become locked down into mundane, repetitive jobs, which I assume are characteristic of traditional manufacturing industries, perhaps it will become easier for Amicus to recruit and organise among IT workers.
Obviously this vision is not one that will inspire bright, ambitious young graduates to seek a career in IT, but then maybe our problem is that we have too many clever people for the level of work available, and not too few. Perhaps we need more of the sort of people who are happy to do assembly-line work. Hence, for an industrial union such as Amicus, there should only be increasing opportunities to expand membership and influence as IT becomes more industrialised.
How many are training to fill their skills gaps?
So the latest report from E-Skills UK says that the percentage of firms reporting skills gaps has increased (Computer Weekly, 8 August).
Perhaps E-Skills would like to go back to these companies and report on how many of them actually provide training in order to fill those gaps.
Do you have a fresh take on someone's opinion on this page, or something to say about a Computer Weekly article? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a daytime phone number.
Vote for your IT greats
Who have been the most influential people in IT in the past 40 years? The greatest organisations? The best hardware and software technologies? As part of Computer Weekly’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we are asking our readers who and what has really made a difference?
Vote now at: www.computerweekly.com/ITgreats