Celebrating 30 years of InfoWorld

Since 1978, InfoWorld has offered a unique perspective on astounding tech developments and computer industry culture.

This week has been a one long celebration of InfoWorld's 30 years of glory. Last night, we threw a big rooftop party overlooking the San Francisco Bay, the highlight of which turned out to be a speech by Pat McGovern, founder and chairman of IDG, the company that publishes InfoWorld.

McGovern had some great stories to tell -- including his first encounter in 1978 with Jim Warren, publisher of Intelligent Machines Journal and organizer of the legendary West Coast Computer Faire. At the Faire, Warren rolled up to McGovern on a pair of roller skates and proceeded to complain about all the work involved in putting together a publication. Would McGovern want to buy Intelligent Machines Journal? He did -- and two years later renamed it InfoWorld.

At the beginning, the InfoWorld formula was simple: Set up a news operation in Silicon Valley where the computer revolution was happening, apply standard journalistic practice, and throw in a large helping of advocacy for technology buyers. Maggie Canon, the first editor of InfoWorld, had the distinction of publishing the schematics for the first IBM PC before it launched, to IBM's dismay.

InfoWorld as we know it today emerged in the mid-1980s, when publisher Jonathan Sacks firmly established it as the leading industry trade publication and launched the InfoWorld Test Center. As it turned out, InfoWorld has been best known for the controversies and expertise arising from the Test Center. When 1-2-3 for Windows arrived late and lackluster, for example, InfoWorld gave it both barrels. The Test Center also uncovered the Pentium processor's infamous floating-point flaw, and it was one of the few organizations to whack Windows 95 for its many shortcomings, despite one of the largest tech advertising campaigns in history.

Today, I'm proud to report that InfoWorld boasts the same unique combination of tech expertise, shrewd trendspotting, and buyer advocacy that marks its history. The Test Center still has an unparalleled reputation, and we call on our deep-tech contributors more than ever to identify hot issues and bring attention to trends with lasting significance.

InfoWorld's Technology of the Year Awards, a regular January event that hands out accolades based on a year's worth of reviews -- mainly of enterprise-class products -- remains wildly popular. The summer of 2008 also marked a major upgrade of our test facilities at the University of Hawaii, which we covered in a big feature package playfully entitled "Pimp my datacenter."

Windows provided the impetus for our advocacy initiative of the year, the Save Windows XP petition campaign, conceived by Executive Editor Galen Gruman. We argued that Windows users should have a choice -- and license Windows XP instead of being forced to license Vista -- after the June 30, 2008, deadline. The petition we delivered to Microsoft in June garnered more than 210,000 signatures. We consider ourselves partly successful: Microsoft will allow "low power" systems to ship with Windows XP until 2010, and major vendors now offer "downgrade" options that allow customer to revert to XP.

Lately, we've been producing a series of articles that address the widening gap between management demands and what IT can humanly deliver, including this week's hit story, "Angry IT workers: A ticking time bomb?"

The best and most popular InfoWorld content springs from total immersion in the details of enterprise technology and the singular culture of IT professionals. We hope you'll stick with us as we chart an exciting course into our fourth decade.