Annus Horribilis, Annus Mirabilis

A few years back Queen Elizabeth referred to a difficult year as “annus horribilis,” a pun on “annus terribilis.” See List of Latin phrases (A–E).

Annus Horribilis
Annus Horribilis

There is also the opposite, “Annus Mirabilis,” or “wonderful year.”

Annus Mirabilis
Annus Mrabilis

It’s now mid-November, so within a few weeks we’ll all be reading those end-of-year summaries and roundup’s. I’m going to do my summary now, so I can include these timely pictures I made as I packed up our Halloween decorations.

I think it is fair to say that 2007 was an “Annus Horribilis” for Microsoft. For example,

  • Vista has been met with a yawn, a very unprofitable yawn;
  • The OOXML standard went down to defeat.Though the ghost lingers on, it won’t be easy to get folks to swallow this standard.
  • Ever-declining hardware costs make the “Microsoft Tax” an ever-increasing fraction of the cost of buying a new computer. Indeed with the cost of entry-level machines approaching $200, the cost of software is now close to that of hardware;

I also think it fair to say that 2007 was “Annus Mirabilis,” a happy, marvelous year. For example,

  • Hardware costs now nearing $200, making Ubuntu even more competitive with Windows;
  • Windows Vista has been a definite flop;
  • The OOXML standard went down to defeat;
  • The first XO Laptops, costing $200 each, are about to be shipped;
  • A new, enterprise-ready release of the Linux kernel comes out ever few months. It took almost a decade to get Vista out the door.
  • ASUS will soon be marketing a micro-laptop for under $300.
  • The first international gathering of experts on education and open-source, the K12 Open Minds Conference, was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in early October. Over 300 people attended, most of them educators;
  • The Ubuntu community just keeps on growing. A new major release, 7.10, came out on schedule. Moreover, you can update existing 7.04 versions without a hitch. Does Vista offer such smooth upgrades, comparable to moving from XP to Vista, at no cost? I don’t think so.

I could think of others, but I suggest the few examples should provide some comfort to the open-source folks.

There is another way to say “wonderful year,” or “Annus Mirabilis.”

It is “Annus Beatitas,” for fortunate, or blessd.

With the change of just a single character, you get “Annus BeatitMS,” or “Annus Beat-it-MS.” Or at least that’s how I read it.

Which photo do you associate with Ubuntu and open-source? Which with Microsoft?

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