From the Director

A Word from Our Executive Director

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Four years ago, when I joined UniForum as executive director, I knew I was taking on a unique challenge and opportunity. I also knew that at the end of this period I would move on and rejoin the for-profit computer industry where I've spent the past 20 years. That time has come, and I am using this space not to say good-bye as much as to say thank you to the UniForum family.

These four years have been exciting ones for me. I have witnessed and played a role in some amazing changes, the most important of which I believe is this: Four years ago the competitive landscape for advanced computing was open and clear for Unix to move in and dominate, both down from the mainframe and across the enterprise. What we see today is an enterprise marketplace that has choice. Take network operating systems as an example. Customers today have three options: Unix vendors, Microsoft and Novell. This is true choice, but the result is a significant new challenge for customers who must integrate these and future operating systems as part of their IT solutions.

Customers determine market share, and the successful vendors are those that add value. I believe the UniForum mission now should be to leverage our influence with users by working cooperatively with other groups and organizations that bring unique expertise in areas such as the World Wide Web, Internet and intranet technologies, security, objects, data warehousing and distributed computing. By concentrating our efforts as an educational organization with other groups that provide resources in research, standards, product development and branding, we can help bring vendors and users closer together through an understanding of the added value of open systems. Delivering value will ultimately tell the tale.

The UniForum I came to four years ago was a respected leader in the Unix community, and its primary activity was its trade show. The UniForum I now leave is a respected leader in the open systems community and is known worldwide as the leading educator for users of advanced computing technologies. I am proud of this evolution, as it reflects a direction our members required and to which we responded.

I take great satisfaction to see in place an entirely new and vibrant conference and seminar program that will grow in size and stature over the coming months. I'm gratified to see publications like UniForum's IT Solutions now reaching tens of thousands of readers and to hear from so many of you that you find value in what we write and publish. I'm especially proud of the staff we've built and retained, for their efforts have made UniForum what it is today; all members of UniForum should recognize their achievements and dedication to the organization. I want to thank the entire UniForum family for their support and hard work over the past four years.

-- Richard Jaross