Ten years of getting it mostly right

As Jack Schofield points out in his column this week, he has been a regular columnist with Computer Weekly for a decade, writes...

As Jack Schofield points out in his column this week, he has been a regular columnist with Computer Weekly for a decade, writes Eric Doyle.

Often controversial and always entertaining, Schofield's predictions in his early columns were based partly on five years' experience as computer editor at The Guardian, a job he still does today.

In his first column, on 26 September 1991, he wrote, "In another 10 years, I expect the typical PC to have a 2,000 mips [approximately 2GHz] processor, 1Gbyte of memory and 40Gbytes of disc storage for the same sort of price - less than £2,000. You can work out yourself what kind of system firms such as Sequent, Teradata and NCR will be able to build out of Intel processors."

Critical of his own foresight, he modestly points out that his latest computer sports a Pentium 4 chip, has a larger disc drive, and actually cost less than £1,000, "an undreamed-of sum in those days". To be fair, if he was to add the cost of bringing the memory up to the 1Gbyte of his 1991 specification the price would not be far short of £2,000.

Of course, like Nostradamus, he has not always been accurate but some of his predictions may yet be fulfilled. In his first column he mocked IBM with a question that was to become a recurring theme through the years, "Do we still need traditional mainframes?"

In his second column, he concluded that the war of the operating systems (Unix, VMS, and various mainframe operating systems) was over and that Unix had won. Two years later, it started again with the rise of Windows NT. "If Linux wins out, I can still be proved right," he said.

Thanks, Jack. Here's to the next 10 years.

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