IBM Launches Servers For Truth Campaign
February 15, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In its ongoing and escalating campaign against Oracle and in anticipation of a lot of mudslinging (or worse) as the Power7-based machines start coming to market, IBM has launched a spoof of political campaign advertising promoting the new Power Systems and slapping Oracle for cheating on benchmarks tests.
The site, which is on Facebook here and which has a YouTube video there, is about as amusing as these things tend to be. (What can you expect from a couple of marketeering people, a modest artistic budget, and a few bottles of wine?) IBM is once again trying out viral marketing to peddle very stodgy-looking and expensive servers, as if you could sway public opinion and somehow gain budget dollars. Every little bit helps, of course, and humor can be a good thing, too. But it is difficult to sustain with such a dry and impersonal subject as systems. Which is why I rarely try such stunts.
I did read a funny couple of lines in a magazine article once, comparing DOS, Windows, and Mac operating systems to airlines. I laughed myself silly and then penned this gem, which is all over the Internet and which has been hacked and changed so many times you can’t keep count. (I was riffing on someone else’s work for the first three items, so it is not like I can claim copyrights, and I merely did it to have something interesting to publish in The Four Hundred and Computergram on a day I was bored. I eventually reprinted it in the August 1994 edition of The Four Hundred on page 17 of a 16-page newsletter.) This one is not exactly what I wrote, since it changed MVS for mainframes to VMS for VAXen. Linux did not exist when I wrote this original, so other versions of this Airlines routine have it hacked in. (How appropriate.) Here’s one riff on my riff from 1999, which has all kinds of weird and mostly dead and gone operating systems added. I always get irritated when they take out the Wings of OS/400 entry. What I resent most in these edited versions is people change the names of the airlines and cut out some of the setup that makes it funnier–well, at least my brain thought so. (I have no idea where the original is, with Computerwire dead and gone.)
Anyway, I know why Jon Stewart and Jay Leno and their writing teams get paid what they do to be funny. It is hard enough with people, and damned near impossible with technology. (Yes, Jon. That is a dare.)
As for Servers For Truth, I think what we really need is Process Servers For Truth. What the Consumer Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, or some other Three Letter Agency needs to do is fine the bastards–all of them–each time they bend the facts. But there ain’t enough money in all the pretty blue world to pay for that, now is there?