Conflicts of Interest?


Nicholas Carr has a great blog entry about conflicts of interest in blogging.  It got me thinking about a silent policy I’ve always had for myself when blogging here.  I don’t blog about the many vendors in the MSI creation space except the ones that I am affiliated with.  Namely I write about the WiX toolset (because I lead that effort) and sometimes VisualStudio’s Setup Projects (because I work for Microsoft and I’m often asked to relate it to WiX ).  I don’t write about InstallShield or Wise or the many, many others.

My question to those of you who read my blog regularly is, “Do you think this policy is a good one and should I keep following it?”  Please, leave a comment below or send me a comment through the contact link.

Comments (6)

  1. Megh Neupane says:

    I think it depends on how much time you have! Certainly, your “silent policy” makes sense but as a related technologists of the field, personally I would like to hear/read your weblogs about other products too. Oh!…hold on…wait…hummm…let me think again! aaaah! well, considering there are very few WiX bloggers, I would expect majority of your blogs to relate to WiX. But giving some percentage to other products, I think would be a good idea either to keep up with products or let readers know more…It would be even better if you can compare (NOT compete) WiX and other products…

  2. Jonathan Perret says:

    Rob,
    I read every entry of your blog (hoping for more setup-related entries !). It would be much more interesting without this policy. Installshield/Wise/etc. (but also non-MSI setup tools such as NSIS) are the elephant in the room every time I read one of your posts about WiX.

    I don’t think talking about them or their products would qualify as a “conflict of interest” – at worst it could be considered propaganda (if you were to disparage them unfairly), but then again you work for Microsoft so this kind of accusation must be familiar 🙂

    See for example Brian Jones’s blog (Office Open XML formats) where he has no problem talking about OpenOffice… Or Dare Obasanjo who doesn’t hesitate to say that he wishes Windows Live picked up some cool feature from Yahoo or Google, or on the contrary to criticize their implementation.

    Looking forward to your next posts,
    –Jonathan

  3. Jonathan, more posts about setup are in the queue.  Actually, this message was supposed to show up tomorrow after a post about setup stuff today but Community Server’s future-posting is not operating correctly.

    The next post is *definitely* setup related.

  4. Christopher Painter says:

    If I recall some of your earlier posts, you have said that you havn’t used InstallShield, or havn’t used it very much. ( Correct me if I am wrong. )

    I see three roles in the setup domain: SDK Authoring, Tools Authoring and Installation Authoring.

    The WindowsInstaller team is very wise in saying that they support the MSI SDK and are tool independant.

    While you have relatively easy access to the WindowsInstaller team you are not on their team and you are clearly a tools author. In this regard there is nothing wrong in writing about your tools as you know them probably better then anyone else and you have alot of time invested in them.

    You are also from time to time an installation author. Here can come the grey area of the `silent policy.` since you only talk about packages authored in WiX.

    I say blog about what you know and do. If Orca, WiX and VDPROJ are what you know, then don’t worry about InstallShield. If you happen to get to know InstallShield then blog about that. (It really is a good tool despite what some think. ) And if you happen to see things you like about InstallShield, get them added to WiX! 🙂

  5. AJ says:

    I think it would be interesting to hear your feedback concerning the various vendors and how well they make use of the Windows Installer service.

    I am a former employee of Wise Solutions, which was eventually purchased by Altiris. Whenever I have left comments here in the past, I have never mentioned my affiliation because I didn’t want anyone to think I had a bias in my opinion. It was my rule of thumb to leave a mention of the products out of the conversation.

    Since you are not affiliated with the products and aren’t in a position to benefit financially from mentioning or evaluating their products, I would love to hear what you have to say about them.

    I originally went to work for Wise because I was unhappy with InstallShield products. I was even working in the Chicago at the time and it would have been easier for me to work for InstallShield. However, after several years with Wise/Altiris, it’s hard for me to be impartial about the products since for the last several years, I have been searching for the flaws in the competitor’s products. Don’t worry, I am not diluted enough to think Wise doesn’t have any flaws. 😉

    Personally, I started coming here because I was using WiX and Orca in personal projects and wanted to gain insight about WiX and the community.

    Keep up the good work Rob.

  6. Joe O'Sullivan says:

    Sometimes you just have to say if you see something. I understand you are in a position which means you are more visible than most, WIX – Microsoft etc but you should still be able to voice your own opinion.

    I believe you would relish feedback good or bad about the projects you are involved in, the people you may voice your opinion about should also be the same. I doubt you would set out to attack them and if you had done this it would show through. It would not help your cause to behave that way anyway.

    Good luck Rob I am sure you have something you are burning to say ;~]

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