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Can I quote you on that? The top IT quotes of 2003

They range from pithy and provocative to positive, petty and predictable. They're some of the most notable quotables from IT in 2003. From Linus Torvalds ripping into SCO, to a Microsoft manager's surprisingly "kind words" for open source, to a noted Windows expert's declaration of IT's biggest problem -- they said it all in 2003.

"Howard ... is a smart guy. I didn't always agree with him, but I would prefer to have a smart guy in there who I don't always agree with than a dumb guy who always agrees with me."

No, that wasn't Al Gore on Howard Dean. That was technologist Bruce Schneier, offering his views on former cybersecurity czar Howard Schmidt, in an interview with TechTarget's

Schneier made his comments back in May -- the same month Schmidt stepped down from his post, raising questions about the direction of federal cybersecurity efforts.

But Schneier's was only one of many pithy perspectives offered in the tech news world this year. Here are some other highlights.

Best insults

"Let's be clear. The Linux GUI is a pathetic little toy compared with the Microsoft GUI." -- Windows expert Mark Minasi (

"Why is this ugly stepchild of a handicapped operating system still gaining market share?" -- Unix administrator Eugene Fleischmann, reacting to analysts' predictions that Windows might one day dominate the data center (

"We've been doing trustworthy computing for 25 years." -- Mary Ann Davidson, Oracle's chief security officer, making a slight dig at Microsoft and its "Trustworthy Computing" initiative (

"So Dell basically claimed that R&D is overrated. Let me say the choice is between heaven or Dell." -- Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s CEO, in a keynote address at OracleWorld (

Attempts to persuade, and rebuttals

"This is a good deal for PeopleSoft customers, who will receive extended product support, and for PeopleSoft shareholders, who are looking at a substantial cash offer from a more viable company." -- Robb Eklund, Oracle's vice president for CRM marketing, after the database giant launched a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft (

"At first, I really did think it was a joke. PeopleSoft stock was trading for $18 a share and Oracle was offering $16. It didn't make any sense, but then again it is Oracle. I'll let you draw your own conclusions." -- Bob Dutkowsky, then-CEO of J.D. Edwards & Co., panning the database giant for its hostile takeover attempt of PeopleSoft. Oracle's campaign was threatening PeopleSoft's friendly acquisition of JDE, which has since been completed (

"We are not trying to kill Linux. ... We are trying to deal with the problem, but we are shouted down. So we'll go to court, put our case on the table and say, 'Here we go boys; here's the problem. It's either clean it up or shut it down. And this kind of cleanup is an Exxon-Valdez kind of cleanup. It's not simple." -- Darl McBride, CEO of the SCO Group, which is suing IBM over allegations that Big Blue illegally contributed proprietary SCO code to Linux (

"SCO is unhappy about the fact that IBM wasn't their exclusive valentine, and that IBM screwed around with other partners after having dated SCO." -- Linus Torvalds, mocking SCO's allegations against IBM, which is a former business partner of SCO

Words of enthusiasm

"The coolest thing was one time at Lotusphere, seeing a beta of R6 and people were cheering. This was a software presentation, and people were cheering like it was a Cubs game." -- Deloitte & Touche manager Mike Nemec (

"The certification has been the catalyst to going from Linux secretly at work to Linux frequently at work." -- Joe Sechman, a webmaster and open source enthusiast, describing the political impact of Linux certification programs (

"We built a new continent in cyberspace where we could go live and be free. And the nice thing is that, because we built it, we didn't have to steal it from aboriginal peoples. It was completely empty, and we invite everyone to live there with us. No immigration restrictions." -- Richard Stallman, on the virtues of the free-software world (

"SAP is the marquee brand in this space, not dissimilar to certain German cars that Americans absolutely rave about." -- Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP America (

"SAP has, hands-down, the best products out there. I love SAP and continue to use its products in spite of its murky marketing." -- Lou Costello, an SAP user who works for a manufacturing company in Memphis, Tenn. (

Sad truths

"We've focused on treats, and security is like vegetables." -- Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology (

"It's hard to dance with two elephants at once." -- Erin Kinikin, a Giga Information Group analyst, on the challenge inherent to Siebel Systems Inc.'s decision to partner with IBM as well as Microsoft (

"It's not a good time to be a vendor. Anyone who is not beating up on their IT vendors and suppliers for better pricing or sweeter deals is subject to being held in disgrace by their peers." -- Kavin Moody, executive director of Babson College's Center for Information Management Studies (


"The open source development model -- the way people exchange ideas -- is definitely worth emulating." -- Jason Musatow, manager of Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative (

Close call

"Some would say we were twins separated at birth." -- Craig Conway, CEO of PeopleSoft Inc., in June, explaining how his company is a perfect fit for J.D. Edwards & Co., which PeopleSoft was then in the process of acquiring (


"The big problem with our business is, we've been pre-sold and over-sold by science fiction. We have insane expectations that [have] been built by fantasy. We have cell phones modeled after the flip phones you saw on Star Trek. I'll bet those guys were never in cell hell."-- Windows expert Mark Minasi (

"You can't have American jobs at Indian rates. Choose one." -- Tsvi Gal, CIO of Warner Music Group, talking about the practice of outsourcing jobs to India, where salaries are significantly lower (

"I would say it's in the toddler stage. ... I would say the technology is up and walking around, but it doesn't know exactly what it's going to do when it grows up." -- Tim Thatcher, program director for e-portals marketing in IBM's WebSphere group, talking about Web services (


"Kids graduating from colleges a few years from now will look back at the way we've worked in the past and ask themselves how we survived in this state of anarchy." -- Adam Bosworth, chief architect for BEA Systems Inc., talking about the extent to which XML-based Web services will change the industry (

"I don't know when this happens, whether it's 800 years or three years from now, but at the end of the game, we become the phone company." -- Storage analyst Steve Duplessie, on the changes that utility computing may bring (

"Proprietary software reminds me of ancient alchemists who told people there was only one truth and it was secret and you had to get it from them. The open source community says, 'Here's the code. Do with it what you will.' I liken it to the scientific method, which is why I believe open source will dominate ultimately." -- Jeremy Allison, a developer with the Samba Team (

"Well, I'm not in the business of making predictions, but I know that we'll be around." -- SAP America CEO Bill McDermott, after being asked whether Oracle and SAP would be the last two ERP firms left standing (

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