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Microsoft Linux Business

Report From "Get The Facts" 475

Posted by Hemos
from the continue-the-update dept.
Richard W.M. Jones writes "Huw Lynes wrote an interesting report from Microsoft's "Get The Facts" show in London (earlier Slashdot story). Along with the report he provides some analysis of their apparent strategy, which includes equating "Shared Source" with "Open Source" and making out that Linux isn't free."
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Report From "Get The Facts"

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  • by Moblaster (521614) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:49AM (#9483146)
    Microsoft believes in free software too. Ever use Internet Explorer and see how fast all the free software shows up on your computer?
  • by sczimme (603413) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:50AM (#9483155)

    making out that Linux isn't free

    This is one of the few ways that Linux will ever be associated with "making out"...
  • Spin Doctors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:52AM (#9483165) Homepage Journal
    From the article: He quoted heavily from a Meta analysis which shows that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for linux and windows is comparable.

    Microsoft must be suffering if they are going at Open Source head on. I remember taking an advertising class once, and we studied the Coke/Pepsi Cola War. Essentially Coke was the biggest cola company on the block, until they acknowledged Pepsi as a competitor. By doing so, Coke gave Pepsi the kind of credit they needed to gain significant market share, and obtain lucrative endorsement celebrities, who may not have supported Pepsi if Coke had held the "one true cola" stance and simply ignored Pepsi.

    The bottom line is that Microsoft is taking a page from Coke, and they are going to lose out bigtime in doing so, because their math is voodoo math, and they charge exorbitant license fees, so their cost of usage will always be much much higher than Open Source, no matter which spindoctor tries to make it look and taste differently than it is.
    • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SamiousHaze (212418)
      The bottom line is that Microsoft is taking a page from Coke, and they are going to lose out bigtime in doing so, because their math is voodoo math, and they charge exorbitant license fees, so their cost of usage will always be much much higher than Open Source, no matter which spindoctor tries to make it look and taste differently than it is.

      HA! Try telling my BOSS that. --- seriously though, Microsoft is very expensive upfront, but what they do have going for them, and this will keep them around, is
      • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chabotc (22496) <chabotc @ g m a i l . com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:24AM (#9483400) Homepage
        Honestly that is, and always has been one of the strong points of Microsoft. It's not without reason that the famous Balmer 'developers -developers - developers - developers - developers - developers - developers' chant happened.

        Their toolkits are well documented and very easy to get started in. Also a lot of their development (& -tools) is focused not on making the right choice, but giving the most fancy features and ease of use to developers and users alike. Because of this there are many many Windows developers who with limited skill can already contribute to the windows software pool, and thus making more software available for Windows, and making getting Windows developers cheaper then getting Linux developers.

        However there are also those who feel this is also the weakness of Microsoft. By making API's and tools that are not technicly the best solution it'll burst in due time (who doesn't know of the socket handle leak that MS can't fix because otherwise they'd break 1000's of apps). Also by making it easy to develop for and maintain Microsoft software, the engineers and administrators often have no clue of underlying issues thus leading to lots of bugs and exploitable situations..

        There's something to be said for forcing people to understand a situation before allowing them to contribute :-)
        • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:5, Insightful)

          by WormholeFiend (674934) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:55AM (#9483731)
          Because of this there are many many Windows developers who with limited skill can already contribute to the windows software pool

          You might as well have said "there are many many Windows hax0rs who with limited skill can already contribute to the windows worm pool"
          • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dasmegabyte (267018)
            Right. He also could have said that "Open source software is so difficult to interoperate with that worm and trojan developers don't both."

            But that would have been kind of a dumb argument, seeing as how it isn't the simplicity of an API that leads to worms, but rather the size of the install base. If Fort Knox didn't have as much gold in it, it wouldn't need as many guards. Writing self modifying, self replicating code under 10k isn't exactly child's play.
            • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:4, Insightful)

              by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2 AT earthshod DOT co DOT uk> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:22AM (#9485301)
              it isn't the simplicity of an API that leads to worms, but rather the size of the install base.
              Yeah, right. Apache webserver installations outnumber IIS by two-and-a-bit to one (the actual number varies with time), and how many exploits are there for Apache vs. how many for IIS?

              Just because A happens and B also happens, doesn't mean A is the cause of B. If you're still not convinced, I've some elephant repellent you might be intrested to buy .....
              He also could have said that "Open source software is so difficult to interoperate with that worm and trojan developers don't both."
              You actually were much closer than you think with that remark. Open source software is difficult to interoperate with and not get noticed. Nobody ever thought to conceal anything from anybody, so everything is nice and transparent, and there are few places to hide.
              • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dasmegabyte (267018)
                Apache webserver installations outnumber IIS by two-and-a-bit to one (the actual number varies with time), and how many exploits are there for Apache vs. how many for IIS?

                Well, that's kind of an unfair example as well. Comparing IIS to Apache is not apples to apples; it's more like comparing apples to a fruit stand. IIS is WAY more than a webserver that connects to processing modules; it is an ambitious product that also does what PHP, Sendmail, Courier IMAP, Pure FTP, BIND and inetd do, to name a few.
                • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by Alsee (515537) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:35PM (#9488332) Homepage
                  One important point - whether it's inserting code into a project or exploiting a vunlerability - the number of eyes looking at that code goes up with the distribution/usuage of that project. An alomst automagic balancing.There is little incentive or impact to an attack on a project with an install base of 10. Any "high profile" target is going to get "high profile" review.

                  -
        • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gadget junkie (618542)
          from the article:

          "The final part of the show was a Q and A session with the two Nicks, Philip Dawson and Colin Bradford chaired by the aforemention daytime TV horror-show. Eddie Bleasdale of Netproject asked the most insightful question. He talked about a customer of his who had lost data because it was in old Microsoft file formats that couldn't be read by current Microsoft products. This was slickly dealt with by McGrath who suggested that he should get the Microsoft people to talk to him after the sho
        • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kryptkpr (180196) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:31AM (#9484103) Homepage
          Their toolkits are well documented and very easy to get started in

          Which toolkits are you referring to? VB? VC++?

          The toolkit itself may be well documented (in the "this is how you place a button widget" or "this is how you write a click event handler" sort of way), but the actual Windows APIs for doing anything are fucking terrible.

          Different portions of it (interfaces to different .DLLs) were clearly written by teams that had never talked to one another. And don't even get me started on compatibility.. write code for one microsoft OS, and pray to god it runs on the others.

          For example, running any Delphi-written application on XP (with SP1, this problem does not occur pre-SP1) with a P4 processor with HyperThreading enabled causes the app to crash on startup.. (placing it in Win98/ME "compatibility" mode makes the mysterious crash go away, but it took a lot of snopping to find that workaround)

          I'm getting REALLY fed up with windows programming. I don't use Microsoft's toolkits because VB is too simple and VC++ is too complex, but I'm still forced to use their shitty APIs. In fact, I'm so sick of it, that I'm currently learning python, and plan to move most of my development to an OS-neutral platform.. let someone else fight with the Win32 API for days on end.
          • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:4, Informative)

            by stock (129999) <stock@stokkie.net> on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:48AM (#9484919) Homepage
            "For example, running any Delphi-written application on XP (with SP1, this problem does not occur pre-SP1) with a P4 processor with HyperThreading enabled causes the app to crash on startup.. (placing it in Win98/ME "compatibility" mode makes the mysterious crash go away, but it took a lot of snopping to find that workaround)"

            this Article "How Microsoft Lost the API War" [joelonsoftware.com] by Joel Spolsky, really goes into detail on how and why this happened. Definitely a MUST READ.

            Robert

          • Re:Spin Doctors (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Rei (128717)
            Agreed. The first time I had to use scrollbars in MFC, I felt compelled to add in a comment attesting to the fact that the scrollbar interface appeared to have been developed by a flock of drunken geese ;) Of course, it didn't help that our customer at the time wanted to be able to *input points on a graph via scrollbars*.

            We had a resident expert there who was paid god-knows-how-much and was referred to as the "resident guru" because he was the only person who knew all of the obscure things related to th
        • by mike260 (224212) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:58AM (#9484366)
          who doesn't know of the socket handle leak that MS can't fix because otherwise they'd break 1000's of apps

          My sympathy levels for Microsoft engineers skyrocketted after reading this [asp.net] and this [asp.net], detailing the horrors they have to deal with in the name of compatability.
          • by Tony-A (29931)
            My sympathy levels for Microsoft engineers skyrocketted after ...

            It is not a level playing field.
            With Open Source, you let them as committed the horrors figure out how to handle the horrors.
            With Open Source, they are less likely to have committed the horrors in the first place, and even if they did, they are much more likely to have taken precautions so as to make a timely remedy much easier.
            With Open Source, it is much easier to solve problems where the problems reside rather than having to concoct screw
    • A bit misleading (Score:5, Informative)

      by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirste ... minus physicist> on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:14AM (#9483296) Homepage

      Essentially Coke was the biggest cola company on the block, until they acknowledged Pepsi as a competitor.

      You say this as if they aren't still the biggest on the block. Coke is still (as it has always been) well ahead of Pepsi in both global market share and global market value. Their stock price is higher, and they still ship many more units / yaar then Pepsi. Sure Pepsi may have more flashy ads in the US, but that doesn't mean squat to their international presence. Just do a Google on the cola wars.

      This said, if Linux ever got to the point that it was as much of a competitor to MS as Pepsi is to Coke, I'd be damn happy.

      • Re:A bit misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mfh (56) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:19AM (#9483337) Homepage Journal
        I think I was pointing out that Pepsi's market share prior to the Cola wars was much less than it is today. Coke made a mistake and they tried to correct it, but when you ask anyone who the major soft drink companies are, they'll always say Coke and Pepsi. Before the cola wars, Pepsi wasn't mentioned that much.

        The more Microsoft acknowledges Open Source and tries to fight it, the bigger Open Source will become, because of the law of diffusion.
  • by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:53AM (#9483167) Homepage
    My absolute favourite part of the talk was when Barley started to extol the virtues of Windows because everything in it was made by one manufacturer. A fair point which would have been well taken had he not gone on to draw an idiotic analogy. He asked us to imagine an aeroplane where different components were made by different companies. Apparently he's never heard of Airbus.

    Even worse, does Airbus (or Boeing for that matter) manufacture every single of a million parts in a plane themselves?

    Hell no! Certainly not. There's an abundance of suppliers supplying parts for a plane, from the altimeter to the leather chairs in first class.

    You don't even have to go so far as to look at the airplane industry. Car manufacturers make only a miniscule percentage of the components themsleves. The rest is manufactured and delivered by suppliers.

    Otherwise the cost for a car would be comparatively so outrageously high like the cost for some uh! software...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Even worse, does Airbus...manufacture every single of a million parts in a plane themselves?

      Um, no they don't. Airbus is a consortuim of Aero companies in Europe who build 'planes. That's why the analogy by the Microsoft guy is so bad.

      Top tip: Reading is fun. You should try it sometime.
    • by pubjames (468013) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:02AM (#9483223)
      He asked us to imagine an aeroplane where different components were made by different companies.

      That is a truely idiotic thing to say. There is hardly any manufactured product you can buy today that isn't made from components from supplied by other companies. Even the simplest products - like a pair of shoes for instance - will often be made up with leather from one company, rubber from another, laces from a third, metal components from a fourth, thread from another. And that's just a pair of shoes. I bet Boeing has thousands of suppliers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:11AM (#9483282)
      It's an even worse analogy, because aircraft manufacturers CAN share components with each other because parts are all built to published and accurate specifications, so if the specs say it will work, IT WILL WORK!

      Now compare Microsoft software: It is deliberately designed NOT to work with other software products, so it's a miracle that it actually does work in combination with anything else.

      Heck, Microsoft product "A" has even been known to be incompatible with Microsoft product "B"! This even extends down to Microsoft "service packs"!!!
    • Evidently you guys need more brainwashing. Repeat after me.

      Monopoly! Monopoly! Monopoly!

      Monopoly! Monopoly! Monopoly!

      (now speak softer and get that crazy look in your eye)

      Monopoly! Monopoly! Monopoly!

      Monopoly! Monopoly! Monopoly!

      Now you got it!
    • by ohad_l (683421) <lutzky.gmail@com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:18AM (#9483331) Homepage
      Microsoft certainly does not make all of the components in a running Windows system. First of all, I'm pretty sure that most people running Windows are not running any Microsoft hardware except for perhaps a mouse, keyboard, and/or gaming peripheral. So your setup is not 100%-microsoft - it's not even close if you take hardware into account. It gets a lot closer when you look at macs, but nowadays even they use (modified) versions of commodity hardware, such as nVidia and ATI graphics cards. Also, last time I checked, commodity hardware was a good thing, seeing as it drives competition over price and quality. Now, as for your software department - just take a look at drivers. If you're using an nVidia or ATI card, you are probably using their drivers. Microsoft, as far as I know, did NOT write those, and yet they are an integral part of the system (so integral, as a matter of fact, that nVidia drivers have been known to bring X on Linux to a screeching halt). Also, if I am not mistaken, Windows uses BSD's TCP/IP stack. True, today the code is maintained by Microsoft coders, but I can't imagine them having needed to completely overhaul it - they are using a modified version of a product (piece of code) that was manufactured (written) by someone else. And last but not least, a major factor keeping people on Windows is software that is written for it, which they can't do without or find a replacement for which runs on their target OS. Guess what? Most of that software isn't written by Microsoft either. Many people swear by Adobe Photoshop, and don't switch to Linux because they find The Gimp inadequate. Others want to play their favorite computer games, which simply do not work [well] on Linux. And even if, say, their favorite computer game is Microsoft Flight Simulator or Microsoft's Age of Empires - yep, that's right. Microsoft didn't make those. They just bought them. A large, complex product is best manufactured by multiple specialty manufacturers which adhere to well-known standards. F/OSS supporters know this. Microsoft knows this as well.
  • by Mobius_6 (245127) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:54AM (#9483172) Homepage
    "Linux training costs were 15% higher on average"

    Well that's because training to fix windows is "just hit reset"
  • by LaserLyte (725803) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:54AM (#9483175)
    Haha... so Microsoft's strategy of pushing the idea that Linux has an equal or greater TCO than Windows basically ignores the fact that Linux is free and that any businesses wanting to use it will naturally go for the most expensive possible distribution (i.e RedHat uber deluxe professional platinum addition for business).

    Perhaps if they faced the "facts", their study might be worth something.

    And as for the comparison of Linux to a DOS prompt... Microsoft seems to think that adding a huge bloated GUI to a server OS is going to improve things. Well, I say that any half-decent system administrator should be able to do his job completely from a command-line interface and should not need a GUI.
    • by ninewands (105734) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:07AM (#9483257)
      And as for the comparison of Linux to a DOS prompt... Microsoft seems to think that adding a huge bloated GUI to a server OS is going to improve things.

      Moreover, it exposes the degree to which Microsoft is engaging in "Not Invented Here" self-delusion for them to try and compare a DOS prompt (command.com and its standard utilities) to a real shell (bash, tcsh or zsh) and the standard set of utilities (the GNU file utils, find utils and text utils) that ship with most linux distributions.

      Personally, I'd reverse the comparison and say the DOS prompt is "almost as good as a Unix shell."
      • by dossen (306388) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:32AM (#9483478)
        Personally, I'd reverse the comparison and say the DOS prompt is "almost as good as a Unix shell."

        Then you would, IMHO, be lying. The DOS prompt has never been even close to a match to a proper Unix shell. Even running bash with the full gnu toolchain in a Windows XP cmd.exe prompt (thankyou cygwin) is still much worse than using the real thing (even their mouse selection stuff is retarded. OK they cannot have X's nice selection style cut'n'paste, but at least make the default selection tool line oriented, rather than block (I cannot remember even once needing the kind of selection you get in cmd.exe, if your text is not neatly on one line)).

    • by millahtime (710421) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:08AM (#9483266) Homepage Journal
      any businesses wanting to use it will naturally go for the most expensive possible distribution (i.e RedHat uber deluxe professional platinum addition for business).

      Many companies like the one I work for require you to be able to get a service contract for any software. So, to use Linux they have to be able to get a service contract. That's why they go for those expensive ones. They have the service.

      Well, I say that any half-decent system administrator should be able to do his job completely from a command-line interface and should not need a GUI.

      You're figureing on half decent sys admins. Many of the ones I know can't do anyting outside the GUI. And they don't even have half of an understanding of what is really going on. Some have never even herd of /. Sadly many who are called sys admins don't really know a whole lot.
  • by kennycoder (788223) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:55AM (#9483179) Homepage
    It seem MS is pretty scared with all this linux popularity to start making campaigns that make you think windows is *TEH* best and has less vunerabilities. I dunno, i'm using linux for years and after each instalation i didn't get any msg saying that my system is going to reboot automatically after 60 seconds..
    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:34AM (#9483496) Homepage
      From reading Slashdot for several years, it would seem to me that Miscrosoft has been "scared" of Linux for some quite time. Every time one of these studies comes out, someone makes the "Microsoft is getting scared" and gets modded up to +5.

      But despite their apparent terror, they've still managed to maintain their market dominance. I don't really think Microsoft is as scared as some Slashdotters would make themselves believe they are. Show me where Linux has taken a significant bite out of Microsoft; then you might have a case.

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:49AM (#9484284) Homepage
        You're confusing servers and desktops.

        Microsoft's "dominance" in the server market is NOTHING like what it is in the desktop market. Linux marketshare in the server market gives them more than adequate reason to fear the future of their desktop marketshare.

        For the area of discussion of this particular roadshow: Microsoft simply is not "dominant".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:56AM (#9483182)
    View source on the page. They've part commented out. Wonder why they did that.
    • by miltimj (605927) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:37AM (#9483526)
      That's because those two headlines they comment out say the following:

      A 2002 Microsoft-sponsored study of total costs of ownership over five years for working corporate infrastructure in North America shows that lower staffing expenses are a large part of an 11-22% cost advantage for Windows.

      Microsoft-sponsored benchmarks prove that multiple Windows Web servers perform better than a Linux mainframe acting as a Web server consolidator. An independent review by Meta verified the integrity of the results.

      (emphasis mine)

      Apparently the PR slamming they're taking for those studies made them (at least temporarily) remove them from the site...
    • Oh, you meant the Microsoft [microsoft.com] page? Like the MetaGroup Benchmark [microsoft.com]?

      Well, I can understand not wanting to push its own sponsored studies, but why hide the .NET vs J2EE study, do you think? And why can I still download them?

  • It's pretty easy to come up with something like this. Here is how it goes. Someone comes up with a conclusion they want then they write something to get there. It's like with stats or polls. You know the outcome you want to so manipulate the "data" to show that. Then you promote the hell out of it and people believe you.

    They do it because it works.
  • by eltoyoboyo (750015) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:57AM (#9483188) Journal
    MS has $40,000,000,000 USD in cash still before all the lawsuit dust has settled. Certainly they are not going to spend it all buying schools new computers. The noise is only going to grow louder about TCO from them. The open source distro community has to pull together and face them head-on. Eroding into the AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris market share is going to help MS because these companies all have big marketing dollars too.
  • Yeah... Ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SamiousHaze (212418) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:57AM (#9483190)
    The overall tone of this event makes it fairly clear as to Microsoft's anti-Linux strategy.

    1.Claim that linux isn't free.
    2.Pretend that Shared source is the same as Open Source
    3.Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux
    4.Use the forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure
    5.Belittle the quality of the toolset available on Linux

    Point 1 and 2 I won't dignify with a reply.
    On Point 3 - Yes, there are migration costs... but that is a dumb argument. There is ALWAYS a migration cost when upgrading (horse and buggy to car - airtravel - spacetravel etc)

    4. Yes, linux can be insecure ---- so can windows and anything else (except OpenBSD!! :P)

    5. On this point, I dont' care who says what - Microsoft has better (and I mean this in all respects) tools available for Rapid development.
    • Re:Yeah... Ok (Score:5, Informative)

      by Croaker (10633) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:20AM (#9483354)
      On Point 3 - Yes, there are migration costs... There is ALWAYS a migration cost when upgrading

      And they always conveniently forget to mention the cost of upgrading your Microsoft products. My current employer lost a boatload of money when they tried to move from NT to Win2k on the server, because a last-minute backwards incompatibility threw a spanner into the works. The project had to be called off, effectiely wasting several months of effort by about half the engineering group. You do the math on how much that cost the company, nevermind the actual license cost.

      They also don't mention that in many cases, a great deal of the cost is inspired by Microsoft's lock-in. Your data in their products isn't open... you have to pry it out. If your data was in open formats (i.e. actual, for-real XML) then you'd be able to migrate a lot easier. So, it's a cost really imposed by Microsoft, rather than a cost imposed by any alternative solution. The erverse probably isn't true... once in an open format, there's usually not an 'exit cost' associated with moving to another solution.

    • Re:Yeah... Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScouseMouse (690083)
      ooh oooh here we go again. Perhaps you forgot to consider Delphi/Kylix/C++ builder, Its IDE is far better than anything MS has come up with so far IHMO. Admittedly the best versions are not free, but *NO* versions of Visual studio is free. In my experiance, people who havent tried Delphi/Kylix/C++ builder are usually the ones berating it. MS has killed Visual J++, so the borland and sun tools win there by default, Which leaves Visual basic. Now I have to admit that there are no VB language tools are on
    • Re:Yeah... Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eudial (590661)
      5. On this point, I dont' care who says what - Microsoft has better (and I mean this in all respects) tools available for Rapid development.

      Do we want rapid development? The shorter development stage the greater the chance of overlooked bugs. RAD-tools makes programming, which used to be quite a craftmanship - which required a great deal of intelligence and wisdom, to pointless point and clicking.

      // Low level C / Assembly programmer (and somewhat biased by that :-)
    • by gillbates (106458) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:55AM (#9483728) Homepage Journal

      I'm kind of heartened by it, as a matter of fact.

      What this shows, more than anything, is that Microsoft clearly doesn't understand the enterprise market. What they fail to recognize is this:

      • Microsoft believes that as long as they supply patches, they've done their job. They consistently use the "unpatched machine" defense to explain the wave of machines hit by the latest worm or virus, seemingly unaware that an enterprise datacenter cannot be taken offline to apply patches. Even could downtime be found, a patch would first have to be tested, and only then applied to a production machine. A patch that breaks vital software won't ever get applied to a production machine.
      • Microsoft's response has typically been "reboot and reinstall" when a system becomes corrupted or crashes. This is completely unacceptable for an enterprise datacenter - a company cannot afford even a single hour of downtime during peak hours. Microsoft seemingly cannot grasp this key concept.
      • Corporations need a vendor who can gaurantee the reliability and uptime of their software. Microsoft does neither, but their competition does.
      • When figuring TCO, Microsoft conveniently forgets the cost of installing patches, and cleaning up after viruses and worms. This factor alone increases the TCO of Windows by at least an order of magnitude.

      Microsoft just doesn't get it. Corporations could care less about streaming video and DirectX. And they aren't fooled by marketing hype - Microsoft can say all they want about "trustworthy computing", but sysadmins know better.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:59AM (#9483200)
    First they ignore you,
    Then they laugh at you,
    Then they fight you,
    Then you win.

    I'd say that we were at Stage 3 now, we were at Stage 2 last year and the year before.

    Things are looking up!
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:00AM (#9483211)
    Monday morning, and we've already gotten our FDA recommended doses of vitamins F, U, and D for the whole week? OK. Let's find out where this road show is going next and show up with some boxes of LiveCD Linux distributions. I recommend the Gentoo 2004.1 CD's, which perform quite well across a broad variety of hardware. Then ask tough questions about why every Windows machine in the world shares drive C: at all times as \\IP-address\C$ by default and always, always, always re-enables it at reboot even if you explicitly turn it off, making the machine wildly vulnerable to file thefts and password based attacks to take complete control of it?
    • why every Windows machine in the world shares drive C: at all times as \\IP-address\C$ by default and always, always, always re-enables it at reboot even if you explicitly turn it off

      Pet hate o'mine. MS have this tool, MS Baseline Security Advisor, which is actually quite good for hardening Windows - one of the recommendations it makes (every time I run it...) is to disable the default C: share. If only...

      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:25AM (#9483411)
        create a startup batch script, put 'net share c$ /d' in it.

        If you're running and NT-based system (I don't know about the dos-based ones) then you can edit the registry to turn off the auto-creation of the admin shares:

        HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Serv ic es\LanmanServer\Parameters

        Set keys AutoShareServer and AutoShareWks to 0

        There - not much different from editing a linux config file :)
  • by CodeMaster (28069) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:05AM (#9483244)
    Has anyone else noticed that in the metagroup TCO analysis, they compare a windows server running on a two processor intel machine, and a linux server running on (one or two - can't remember) MAINFRAME processors.

    I mean - cm'on, perhaps they should have pitted a walmart PC with windows installed vs Linux running on a Cray server... The TCO takes into account the entire purchase of hardware, and in the Mainframe case - you probably looking at 16 processor machine to begin with, which kind'a spikes the price up...

    But - the graph looks very convincing - and isn't it what it's all about?

    Just a little food for thought...
  • by Alkarismi (48631) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:05AM (#9483248) Homepage
    In the glossy brochure they give out at the event they have a file of 'case studies'. Several are from organisations (such as Newham Borough Council) who were about to transition to Open Source but were then bought off^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H convinced that, in fact, sticking with Windows would cost them less(!).

    The truth is they are terrified. They've got wind of what's on its way over here in the UK.

    Relax, don't panic. Wait and see what us Brits have got coming for MS over the next few months :)
  • Edinburgh event (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linuxci (3530) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:06AM (#9483253)
    I was at the Edinburgh event last week which was the 2nd event in their roadshow.

    Here's some advice for people who'll be at their next two events (Manchester this week I think, and Wales the week after (Newport, IIRC)):

    - Plan in your coffee break questions to ask them (be careful about providing them with the question on paper as they reworded mine - try and ask it in person at the end).

    - Ask more about IBM involvement in Linux, they tried to claim that IBM were trying to lock people in to Linux, try and provide counter examples as to how it'd be easier to escape an IBM stranglehold than an MS one.

    - They cite interoperability as one of Microsoft's main aims, people mentioned the office file formats and recent patents, but they hedged around the question, someone needs to seriously challenge them on this at the event.

    - Talk to the other delegates in clear concise language why you think Linux should be considered as a serious option. Don't sound like a zealot and accept there's many times when Windows would be more suitable than Linux.

    - Point out to people that open source doesn't always mean Linux, in fact doesn't always mean changing an OS at all. There's some quality open source software for Windows - promote Firefox and OpenOffice as examples
  • To summarize... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jadenyk (764614) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:08AM (#9483268)
    The overall tone of this event makes it fairly clear as to Microsoft's anti-Linux strategy.
    1. Claim that linux isn't free.
    2. Pretend that Shared source is the same as Open Source
    3. Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux
    4. Use the forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure
    5. Belittle the quality of the toolset available on Linux

    I don't understand a few things about this. Why do people believe this type of thing when Microsoft brings absolutely *NO* proof of any of these claims? Can any of this be considered slander? They're trying to throw mud on Linux's image with no real proof.

    And why did this guy sit through this entire "seminar" in the first place?

  • "Linux isnt free?" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bludstone (103539) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:13AM (#9483294)
    Really, Well, I just installed mandrake 10 this weekend to replace w2k on an old pc. My first linux. And it was, free.

    I downloaded it, burned it, and installed. I had minimal help and everything went very smoothly.

    Er, right.

    "linux ISNT free?" "really? heres 10 free copies of mandrake right now." "youll have to pay to support it." "ah, then dont you mean linux SUPPORT isnt free? Is windows support free?" *insert adhominem attack they are trained to do here*

    I imagine the best thing you can do at these is hand out free linux install cds, and allow people to make the choice for themselves.

    Again, mandrake 10 was SUPRISINGLY easy to get working.
    • by johannesg (664142)
      Actually this is a great idea. Just go to these events with a stack of various Linux distro's and hand them out for free. If you do it as the people are coming in you will then be able to observe Microsoft representatives in various interesting colors ;-) It also blows away part of their argument right then and there, thereby seriously undermining the rest.
  • Funny moment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linuxci (3530) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:22AM (#9483378)
    I can't confirm this for certain (as it didn't happen to me).

    One of my colleagues who also went to the Edinburgh event was talking to one of the speakers there (one of the Nick's from Microsoft I believe) and I Microsoft guy admitted his niece had thousands of viruses on her machine last time he checked it!

    I wish I could confirm it, but I don't see he has any reason to lie
    • Re:Funny moment (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alkarismi (48631) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:32AM (#9483481) Homepage
      I was at the Secure Britain Masterclass at Olympia a couple of months ago and Stuart Okin (MS UK security primo) admitted pretty much the same thing (about his wife's machine!). All part of their new 'accessible' and 'concerned' approach!

      He went on with the 'industry problem' lie^Hne to reassure us we were all buddies together and all in the same boat, then asked for anyone who trusted their computer to put their hand up (expecting nobody after the 'friendly' subliminals he just slipped us). Both me (FreeBSD user) and my collegue (linux user and security researcher) put our hands up. Mr Okin, bless him, acknowledged our hands but neglected to ask which version of 'windows' we ran :)
  • by DaGoodBoy (8080) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:23AM (#9483392) Homepage
    I jumped in to the "Desktop Linux Consortium" back in the Feb 2003 to offer some thoughts about direction for the forming DLC and the linux desktop in general. If you have any interest in what I said back then:

    http://www.desktoplinuxconsortium.org/pipermail/dl c-discuss/2003-February/000002.html [desktoplin...ortium.org]

    I think that the crucial missing application and management pieces are staring us all right in the face. It is not enough to have an easy install. It's not enough to have a slick desktop and functional apps. Those are important, certainly, but if we are really doing well at them, why hasn't the momentum shifted?

    I've worked IT for fifteen years and the number of systems I've imaged with their OS and software loads dwarfs by 100 to 1 the number of times I've used any OS installer, even if you count the last five years of Install Parties at the Melbourne Florida LUG! The things most developers and non-corporate users think are important don't apply to corporate IT like people outside of IT would think.

    The typical larger IT department has to deal with things like corporate software policies, locking user account profiles, automated application and operating system patches/updates and remote helpdesk. How can I enforce the corporate software policy against instant messengers when every distro except debian bundles all the stock KDE applications (including instant messenger apps) in a few giant RPMs? KDE 3.2 will be doing more profile locking features, but what about applications that don't use the KDE libs? What about Gnome?

    I know people point to things like Red Carpet and the Red Hat Network for updates (still not 100% in my opinion), but I think corporations will need to be able to build or rebuild apps with different attributes or patches for distribution to corporate clients. SUSE is using 'autobuild' internally and Red Hat wants you to buy a Red Hat Network Proxy, but again, no-one other than Debian provides access to the build architecture to be able to modify certain stock bundled apps like removing parts from larger RPM's like KDE.

    Remote helpdesk and other IT-friendly features are available in most distributions at this point, but they aren't really bundled and configured for that role in the context of the distribution. This needs work and attention. VNC is great, but a distro focusing on corporate desktops needs to have that puppy configured for easy remote desktop support by default.

    I've spoken at LinuxWorld and other conferences, but every time I try to submit a topic that addresses some of these kinds of issues, I hear crickets and we get 10 more 'How to install Samba' sessions. We need a focus on what all the "Ticket System Cowboys" know about desktop deployments before some of the spectacular Linux desktop announcements turn into craptastic failures.

    Just my $0.02.
    DaGoodBoy
    • The problems with big and sometimes buggy RPMs are common among the main distributions (Red Hat, Suse). Over and over, I have spotted problems with RPMs - the software underneath it is 100% functional, but some wrong dependency makes installing it a pain. I submit a bug report, it is corrected, only to see the same problem reappear in the next version, on a different package.

      There is a relatively obscure distribution in Brazil that, in my opinion, has solved them in a very clever way- Conectiva. They build small RPMs, one for each application, departing from the standard of KDE and Gnome. They also build "meta-RPMs" with 0 bytes, that have dependencies for other RPMs that contains files. This way, for example, you type "rpm -i task-kernel" and install all the RPMs necessary for kernel building.

      Conectiva has also adapted apt-get to work with RPMs, making the update and upgrade of the operating system a very simple task.Type apt-get install or click on the graphical front end and way you go.

      I don't think that Conectiva is a solution, as they have many problems of their own -their installed base is not big and it takes time to bug reports arrive, compared to Red Hat and Debian. But I would like to see their approach (small RPMS, meta-RPMS, apt-get) copied by other rpm-based distributions.

    • by aegilops (307943) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:26AM (#9484052) Homepage

      Just to expand upon some of your examples a little:

      Software package distribution to end-users (a la SMS or Group Policy)

      Desktop lockdown policies, e.g. very restricted access for, say, a call centre, "normal" access for the general users, maybe a more elevated level of access for the odd rogue punk

      Desktop roaming and profiles, i.e. a user should be able to log on to any desktop and receive all of his/her applications and data

      Expanding the above point - if a PC fails, it should be trivial to either re-image or swap out the hardware and have the user back up and running almost immediately. I.e. no local data / no local installs

      Strong method of validating integrity of the desktop, particularly in regulated industries (banking, pharmaceuticals etc) - i.e. how can you "prove" that the machine has not been tampered with, and so is operating correctly. Sounds daft? Try working in a regulated industry...

      Hardware inventory / monitoring toolkits (in an ideal world, you'd have a single machine image for the whole company to make support of your desktop image easier, but life frequently isn't that simple)

      Software inventory / monitoring toolkits (not all software will be freely licensed, you may be distributing some proprietary software that runs on your free systems

      Remote control software to enable support staff to assist users remotely

      Your examples of automatically distributing patches (and forcing, and preventing logon from un-patched machines) for both OS and applications is exactly right, along with having the control to test and select what patches are distributed to end users. No doubt many of my examples above are already addressed, and this is after all what you'd be paying a Linux expert to help you with (read: commercial support organisation and consultancy - IBM would likely be a good fit, along with many others). Remember, a corporation could well take the view that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right - i.e. choose Linux for the right reasons, but don't automatically assume that they will want to do it for zero cost - both in the initial purchase price as well as the ongoing maintenance.

      Aegilops

  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:25AM (#9483406)
    • Boeing is telling you why Airbus Industries is bad
    • Coca Cola is telling you why Pepsi is worse than Coke
    • George W. Bush is telling you the facts about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

    Why shall I believe any of them?

  • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:30AM (#9483456)
    If you got a bunch of linux users to play "devil's advocate" and come up with reasons to explain advantages of using Windows over using Linux, they would have done a better job than these infomercial drop-outs mentioned in the article. Seriously, for company that has such deep pockets, they seem to manage to blow all their money on the worst there is, from programming quality to advertising and PR. Either they're being stingy and are holding back on spending for quality, or they don't care that they're throwing money away hiring people who just take the cash and do a half-assed job.
  • by rk_nh (725637) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:37AM (#9483519)
    ICAT classified 67% of Microsoft's vulnerabilities as high severity, placing Microsoft dead last among the platform maintainers by this metric.
  • by kakos (610660) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:51AM (#9483684)
    Hate to break it to you /.ers, but Linux isn't free in a corporate setting. I don't know if the TCO is mroe or less or equal than Windows, but it definitely isn't free.

    Sure, you can get Linux for free off any website. However, a company is probabl going to want support for the OS. That costs money. In addition, a company is going to need people to administer the servers. Again, this costs money, both in saleries and training costs.

    The only time is Linux is free is when you use it on a home machine and it is your hobby.
    • by David Byers (50631) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:04AM (#9483831)
      Of course Linux isn't free, and nobody who's not a total moron knows that. The question is whether the cost is higher or lower than the cost of Windows.

      The pro-Windows camp likes to bring up the fact that you need educated system administrators to run a Unix shop, implying that you don't need skilled people to run a Windows shop, all the while neglecting to mention what happens if you place your Windows servers in the hands of an untrained system administrator.

      The also like to rag on the command line, neglecting to mention that it enables Unix people to automate complex tasks and neglecting to mention that Windows admins are *also* tied to the command line, albeit a crappier one since You Should Be Using the GUI.

      One thing I rarely hear the pro Windows crowd talk about is how many machines the average system administrator can manage. In my experience the number is far higher for Unix systems than it is for Windows.
      • Of course Linux isn't free, and nobody who's not a total moron knows that.

        i'm not being pedantic when i say: linux IS free. you can download it for, um, free.

        what you mean is that "the overall cost of running linux is not free", or "contracted support for linux is not free", or "convenient automated OS and application updates for certain distributions are not free".

        i think it's important, especially when dealing with linux-curious windows people, to ensure that this is understood:

        anyone can downlo

    • by yeremein (678037) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:23AM (#9484600)
      You forgot the fact that Linux boxes usually don't run off of self-contained fusion reactors, so you have to pay for the electricity too. And if you have a hardware failure, Linux won't bail you out of that either.

      Of course no one expects that administering a server will be free as in beer, regardless of the OS. But Linux is still Free as in speech, meaning the source is there, so you can examine and/or modify it to your heart's content. You don't have to worry about Licensing 7.0, or pay $thousands more for additional client access licenses when your network grows, or be stuck with unusable orphaned software if the vendor decides they're not making enough money off of it.

  • by no longer myself (741142) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:52AM (#9483692)
    Back when Microsoft first attempted to use that report they bankrolled as proof that the TCO is in favor of Windows, I thought that someone was probably going to either get demoted or lose their job. They were taking the "low road", and it was just not credible. MS going on a roadshow to convince people not to switch to Linux is just plain sad. I expected better Messers Balmer and Gates.

    I'm one of the lucky ones who successfully made the transition away from Windows to Linux. What was my TCO? I'd say I've spent around $300. That includes the cost of books (most of which were of less help than I hoped), and a copy of Lycoris and its Productivity Pak. (It's a nice distro, but it feels constraining.) Ultimately I became a Mandrake user, and it is installed on all three of my PC's.

    Had I stuck with using MS Windows, I would still have spent about $300, and two of my PC's would not be "Kosher" according to MS's EULA. Of course if I were to get "picky" I could toss on the cost of all the additional software (Norton's, Office, etc...) and watch the TCO plow through the roof, but then, I don't want to stoop that low.

    I just wish MS, and even some Linux zealots out there would get it through their heads: There are places to use MS Windows, places to use Linux, and even places where either will do nicely. (OK, I'll even include Mac's as having a place as well...)

    But to make broad claims that draw illogical conclusions based on a pile of inequitable features-- Well, it's just not very professional, and I'm once again disappointed in Microsoft.

  • by Martin Spamer (244245) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:11AM (#9483895) Homepage Journal
    Its looks like Microsoft may be falling foul of UK law with some of their claims.


    The CAP Code (Ed 11) : GENERAL RULES

    SUBSTANTIATION

    3.1 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation.

    Relevant evidence should be sent without delay if requested by the ASA or CAP. The adequacy of evidence will be judged on whether it supports both the detailed claims and the overall impression created by the marketing communication. The full name and geographical business address of marketers should be provided without delay if requested by the ASA or CAP.

    3.2 If there is a significant division of informed opinion about any claims made in a marketing communication they should not be portrayed as generally agreed.

    3.3 Claims for the content of non-fiction books, tapes, videos and the like that have not been independently substantiated should not exaggerate the value, accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness of the product.

    3.4 Obvious untruths or exaggerations that are unlikely to mislead and incidental minor errors and unorthodox spellings are all allowed provided they do not affect the accuracy or perception of the marketing communication in any material way.


    http://www.asa.org.uk/index.asp
  • Here's one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linuxci (3530) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:45AM (#9484237)
    Slightly off topic, but someone could bring it up with the MS guys at the next event (Manchester)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3798393.st m

    Wimbledon switching to Linux
  • by miguel (7116) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:05AM (#9484434) Homepage
    I have seen a few slide decks from Microsoft
    employees claiming some security failures with
    Linux vs Windows.

    For the couple of samples I saw, it seems like they
    have been very selective about what information
    they show. The latest version of Windows Server 2003
    vs Fedora Core.

    They also plot the number of vulnerabilities
    independently of the risk, the impact, or the fact
    that some of the security updates are lumped together. Then there is a section on viruses,
    they list from some Virus web site about 30
    Linux viruses. Never seen a single one of them
    in a machine of mine or a server of mine in the
    last 12 years.

    I would like to know if there are good articulate
    responses to those claims. I have been out of the
    security loop for a long time, and my constrast
    against the Microsoft claims was limited to a few
    bits of my own experience.

    Marc Cox from Red Hat is quoted by the report,
    has he written anything on the subject?

    Miguel.
    • They've been very selective about *all* the information they're showing. The whole pack they gave out at the event was slanted this way.

      I know of a few projects to produce 'articulate
      responses' to MS's claims, not for discussion on a public site yet though ;)

      Of course privately...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:25AM (#9484612)
    "His basic thrust was that everyone is moving from proprietary Unix with its expensive platforms to Windows or Linux on x86 platforms and that it this hardware move, rather than linux versus windows, that will drive all the cost savings."

    Linux has been more widely ported than an other OS in history. It is certainly more portable than Windows. When the next, cheaper hardware platform comes around, I expect that by the time it is a commodity, Linux will already be running on it. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of particular hardware depends on what you are running on it. Windows doesn't scale up on high-end server hardware. Linux does. With Linux, you have a choice.

    Furthermore, the switch from proprietary Unix to Linux is a porting effort that is not particularly difficult. It is certainly easier than making the transition from Unix to Windows. And once you port to Windows, Microsoft has made it very easy to suffer vendor lock-in.

    Linux is not free.

    This has been a standard Microsoft argument for several years. If they failed to articulate that downloading Debian is not free because of the time and effort involved, then it is their fault for not making that argument clear in their presentation. It is worth noting that there are several costs associated with Windows that have no counterpart with a free Debian download. No licensing costs. The Debian project has never sent the BSA to do an expensive audit of any of its customers. If you reconfigure your hardware with Debian, there are no hassles with reactivating the license. No effort is required to keep employees from taking a copy home. Linux doesn't have a history of viruses and worms. If Microsoft changes the licensing terms of Windows or MS Office, you're stuck. Debian can't change the terms of the GPL. You are always free to use the old terms with the old version and the recent X Windows saga is proof that open source software resists licensing changes very effectively.

    "Management tools on Linux are nearly as good as a DOS prompt"

    First, every major distro, including the free ones come with some GUI management tools. Second, there is always Webmin [webmin.com]. Third, the Linux shells are scriptable in ways that the DOS prompt was never able to match. Finally, remote administration of a Linux box can be done very easily. You don't need a GUI. Headless Linux boxes have been around from the start. GUI administration is not cost-effective when you are trying to administer as many boxes as possible.

    "Linux is moving to the same model that Microsoft has been using"

    The GPL won't permit Linux distros to own the code. No matter how many people Microsoft shares their code with, to them sharing means that you can look at it. You can't touch it, play with it, change it, or share it with others. Additionally, Linux and open source have resisted restrictive license changes a couple of times recently. As I said earlier, X Windows is an excellent example of this. If Microsoft wants to make this claim, they have to explain what they mean because several obvious interpretations are clearly not true.

    My absolute favourite part of the talk was when Barley started to extol the virtues of Windows because everything in it was made by one manufacturer.

    Microsoft will stick to this claim as long as it is absolutely convenient. They are quick to blame others when there are buggy third-party device drivers. And as soon as there is an anti-trust suit, they are even quicker to claim they are open to competition.

    He made mention of the Forrester report that claimed more vulnerabilities in Linux than Windows.

    Name one exploit that had a widespread effect on Linux boxes. Now, name three that hit Windows in the past month. You can't install and patch a Windows XP system without either a firewall or cleaning up the malware that infects it between the time you connect to the net
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:04AM (#9485103) Journal
    • Claim that linux isn't free.

      Hmm right. so linux ain't free. Well apart from the fact that it is, what about it? Linux ain't free vs Windows ain't free. At worst this makes it equal to windows.

    • Pretend that Shared source is the same as Open Source

      Right, just get the company lawyer to study the differences. If they can't find any you need a lawyer who can read.

    • Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux

      A really dangerous one. You see there is only migration cost from windows -> linux same as there is for companies going from unix -> windows. From unix -> linux, NO MIGRATION WORTH SPEAKING OFF. Certainly no massive retraining. You might be suprised but starting to use linux might mean you can use all those 40+ employees that learned computers on unix systems. MS is saying that people are moving from unix to windows and linux so it is saying that in those cases linux is the better option because of the lesser migration costs?

    • Use the forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure

      Oh please. The only comment possible is hysterical laughter. Must have been the comic relieve bit.

    • Belittle the quality of the toolset available on Linux

      The only point that can make sense if your ms. After all MS believes in its own way of doing things and since Linux way != windows way of course they are going to think linux does it wrong. Some people prefer the unix way, some prefer the windows way. These two are never going to meet in the middle except to have a fight.

    So a bunch of idiotic claims and 1 that is about taste. Not exactly going to convince me. In fact all this kinda roadshow might do is give linux free advertising. Consider this. How many people will have seen the name linux first in a MS ad? People who never knew there was another OS?

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