These days, there are certain things you can do to ensure a spot on the front page of the computer news weeklies: You can bash Microsoft, ask any operating system maker to release its source code into the public domain, or you can simply tell people that Windows NT 5.0 isn't worth it. This last choice is particularly interesting, since it's far too early to tell how (and when) NT 5.0 will be available in a stable, secure release.

But don't let that stop you from grabbing your fifteen minutes of fame.

The latest entity to take this approach is the Gartner Group, which cited delays in the NT 5.0 beta and the complexity of the product as the reason it is recommending that users shouldn't upgrade to the product any time in 1999.

"There's just no way we see Microsoft shipping a useable, stable version of NT 5.0 anytime in 1999," said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Gartner Group.

Windows NT 5.0 is an easy target: Years behind schedule, the complex and huge operating system may indeed be a bit of a stretch, even for a company with Microsoft's resources. Consider this: Microsoft claims that Windows NT 5.0 has over 30 million lines of code, most of which has been completely rewritten. That's got to turn some heads, especially when you compare this figure with older versions of NT: Windows NT 3.51 was about 5 million lines of code and NT 4.0 was about 12 million.

Perhaps even more alarming is the level of change that NT 5.0 will represent: Microsoft is adding a host of new features, including an Active Directory service that replaces Microsoft's current Domain system, an IntelliMirror feature that replicates smart PCs, and more. Many people, including those at the Gartner Group, cite an over-achieving feature set as a major stumbling block for NT 5.0 as well.

And then there is the Year 2000 problem: With companies scurrying to ensure that their computer networks are ready to handle date problems in 1999, will anyone really want to add the burden of a major operating system upgrade to the mix?

These are all valid points, and they were equally valid when other headline-grabbing groups, such as Summit Strategies and Giga Information Group, used them in their own reports months ago. The point here is that, eventually, some issues take on a life of their own. This is one of those issues