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Diverse it Gets

There’s an old Dilbert cartoon where various employees in the unfortunate company he works for are forced by their IT department to use certain types of computers. The punch line of the cartoon is when asked about diversity the IT person says “De longer you work here diverse [the worse] it gets”. OK sure, its not that funny but it is relevant to the situation found in many large organisations where any users of operating systems other than WIndows must be “eliminated”.

The topic often arises on the discussion list for IT staff at the university I work for. I used to participate in these discussions but I no longer do for two reasons: first its a pointless waste of time; and second, staff of certain departments (specifically the one I work in) are more likely to be censored than others.

So there’s a lot of ill informed discussion of the relative merits of Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux in this list and most of it is so bad that its hardly even worth reading before you ignore it. But there was one good comment made yesterday that I want to summarise here.

A fairly conservative member of the list said something like: “we should embrace diversity and welcome the extra challenges that involves”. OK, so it was a fairly boring comment, and not likely to cause too much controversy, but it was absolutely true and an idea I basically agree with.

Actually I think of it slightly differently. I prefer to let the client decide which platform suits them best and then support them in that choice as well as possible. If their choice is Windows and I think they would be better off with a Mac (as many Windows users would be) I might try to talk them into moving to a Mac, but the choice is theirs and I would support them in that.

Sure there are extra costs with supporting multiple operating systems but there are savings in letting people use the system which is best for them and I think these are likely to be greater than the costs.

So I say let diversity reign supreme. Anything else is just fitting in with the Dilbert stereotype.

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  1. April 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

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