If you believe the results of the first annual Fiasco Awards then the answer would appear to be an unequivocal yes considering that Vista got a rather staggering 86 percent of the vote for the worst performing IT product of the year. But then appearances can often be deceiving, and I wonder if this is not a great example of some quarters of the media, along with the usual Microsoft haters, jumping a little too quickly onto the 'Vista is a pile of pants' bandwagon once more?
First of all, what are the Fiasco Awards exactly?
A good question that many have not bothered to ask, let alone attempt to answer. It seems that it is a Spanish non-profit initiative which aims to reward the "best IT projects that have ended up as a Fiasco" if that makes any sense at all. The official explanation does not get any clearer when it goes on to talk about "both success and fiasco are a part of the same process of leaping forward, head and tail of the same coin" nor to explain an objective of keeping "alive criticism within the ICT sector." Like there is any need for an official body to foster criticism of IT products, we already have that and it is called the Internet community. Behind the almost incomprehensible project is the Fiasco Awards Team, drawn from the ICT sector with the support of "an Institution, called the Godfather, who in the Fiasco Awards 2009 edition is the Catalan Association of Telecommunications Engineers."
Right, so we might imagine that the opinion of this self-appointed group is hardly of global importance then. An argument made all the stronger when you take into account that the 86 percent statistic being bandied around actually works out to represent just 5222 people in all. Yes, that is right, according to just over 5000 of the millions of people who have actually used Vista it is pants.
Don't hold the front page.
The organisers claim that the Fiasco Award wants to "promote critical spirit and a positive attitude towards failure, which is a necessary stage in the road to success." Good luck with that, you will need it, as you will in achieving the dream of becoming "a popular Award."
Instead of jumping on the everything is crap bandwagon, why not take some time out to applaud the positive? I am not the greatest fan of Vista, nor Microsoft for that matter, but dumping on it for no real reason is pointless, at least wait until there is good cause. Talking of good causes, the second placing of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project seems particularly churlish. If any project deserves support for at least trying to make a difference then this is it. An ultimate failure it may well turn out to be, if it has not already, but talking of it in terms of being a fiasco is just wrong. Equally, it is hard to imagine why Second Life has found itself third in the list, although nobody could really argue with the ill-fated and pretty much always doomed to failure Google Lively finishing fourth.
Maybe the FAT behind the Fiasco Awards should change the name to the FUD Awards for next year...