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Microsoft Businesses Software Linux

Microsoft Continues Anti-OSS Strategy 857

Posted by Zonk
from the a-little-innovation-here-a-little-bad-press-there dept.
MacDaffy writes "Microsoft's General Manager of Platform Strategy, Michael Taylor, continues Microsoft's press blitz against Open Source in general and Linux in particular in a CNET Interview. He says of Linux: 'You can build it, design it, and it will work great. The trouble begins when you want to add things to it...(due to) the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break.'"
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Microsoft Continues Anti-OSS Strategy

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  • by ebingo (533762) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:20AM (#13123863)
    ... in Windows, you don't have to add things to break it!
    • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:36AM (#13124029) Journal
      what a coincidence, /.'s sig on the bottom of the page says now: "Try to remove the color-problem by restarting your computer several times. -- Microsoft-Internet Explorer README.TXT"
    • Re:This is true... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:02AM (#13124345)
      My favourite bit of the article:

      Q. "So why do you think the ideals of open source... have appealed to so many people?"

      A. "Taylor: Well, first you have to define "people"... And what is open source? It is interesting in how you define it..."

      How shifty is that?

      People: Human beings.
      Open-source: Access to all the source-code for the application, such that you can copy it for no more than a negligible fee, and compile useful applications with it.

      So, simple answer, MS "Shared Source" is not open source and people don't like that, but watch the frantic handwaving and redefinitions so he can avoid saying that.

      Most telling bit of the article:

      Q. "But software patents have been criticized for interfering in software development. Do Microsoft software developers worry about infringing on patents when they develop a piece of software?"

      A. "From a software perspective, we don't think the patent system is perfect... But when I look at the software industry today, we've been getting a lot of innovation from Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Adobe, the list goes on..."

      Yeah. In other words, patents encourage large corporations, and effectively lock out the little guy or smaller, independant ISVs. But again, watch the careful sidestepping of the obvious conclusion. Just once I'd like to see a real interview, between an informed interviewer and a real person from MS who actually answers questions. Or failing that, flying pigs over my house and a hunk of green moon-cheese for breakfast.

      Just more uninformed blathering and semantic tapdancing from Yet Another MS Press Flack - redefining terms to avoid outright lying and regurgitating the same old crap we've all heard before.

      Sigh.
      • by walt-sjc (145127) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:26AM (#13124598)
        hunk of green moon-cheese

        Like THAT will ever happen. Everyone knows that the moon is made of yellow cheese [google.com]...
      • by iamwahoo2 (594922) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:29AM (#13124625)
        How shifty is that?

        Well, that depends on your definition of the word "is".

      • Re:This is true... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tom (822)
        A. "Taylor: Well, first you have to define "people"... And what is open source? It is interesting in how you define it..."

        Standard lawyer-weasel words. Gates used the same kind of escape routes during his trial hearings.

        It does give one important piece of information away, though: The guy was seriously briefed. He's not speaking his mind, he has been told exactly what to say, what not to say, and where to evade the question.
      • Re:This is true... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by HishamMuhammad (553916) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @01:48PM (#13126462) Homepage Journal
        A. "From a software perspective, we don't think the patent system is perfect... But when I look at the software industry today, we've been getting a lot of innovation from Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Adobe, the list goes on..."

        A few weeks ago we had an interview from Steve Ballmer [slashdot.org] saying that Oracle didn't innovate. Seems that MS needs to coordinate their FUD better.

    • Re:This is true... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tolkienfan (892463) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @12:25PM (#13125301) Journal
      "... But I think now, two to three years into this, we're seeing these issues around cost and reliability coming up such that, we now know we need to go back to the basics on how we evaluate a platform and choose it."

      So instead of smearing Linux like they used to, there recommending that IT managers actually use metrics and eveluate the platforms. WTF?

      "First and foremost, we are looking to understand some of the scenarios like why customers are considering Linux, and making sure we have the right offerings for the marketplace."

      Let me help you: The main reasons are:

      1. Avoiding vendor lock-in. This is a long-term cost reducing strategy, because it increases competition.
      2. Increasing agility. Many companies are now actually modifying the platfom to meet their needs. There are different levels of this - many don't involve changing software.
      3. Reducing licensing costs. This is really a small issue for most businesses.
      The problem is that Microsoft cannot compete on the first two points.

      "It was all very complex, and some of the seams of the Linux architecture were beginning to show."

      Show us the money! This is an easy claim to make...

      "... Because of the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break. ... It's about Red Hat, it's about Novell, it's about IBM...really looking for ways to monetize sets of things around Linux. In some ways, this is a good thing for customers because things are more black-and-white now, and it allows us to have a very balanced conversation with them around these key issues."

      Bait and switch? "Don't use Linux it's brittle." ... but ... "It's about issues of cost and vendor now."
      Don't give any evidence that Linux actually IS brittle. And it's nonsense. Linux is more agile than any Windows OS.

      "The GPL is a very complex licensing agreement"
      Has he ever read one of Microsoft's EULAs???! What a dick.
      "... people should have the ability to monetize that and build on top of it."
      That's the choice of the author. Microsoft will choose differently than RedHat.

      "and there's been a lot of innovation (in the last decade or so) in the software industry where patents exist and are enforced in so many countries."
      His implying that in europe, software has been hampered because software patents exists, but are unenforceable.

      "We spend close to $6.8 billion in research and development; it really comes in a variety of areas."
      It's a shame it doesn't show in the products.
    • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel@nOsPam.bcgreen.com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @01:04PM (#13125809) Homepage Journal
      The sound of me falling over.

      A little while ago I was called in to teach a Solaris course. I asked the lab admins to install the Solaris Community CD. They were like "Oh, no. We've got a system that works. We don't want to change anything". The fear in their voice was palpable.

      I was dumfounded for a second. All I was asking them to do was add a CD's worth of random software. Nothing was even being enabled... then it dawned on me. "Oh. You're used to Windows aren't you? This is Unix. It's actually stable when you add software to it.

      Ultimately I had my students add in the software. It was easier. I just mounted the CD image and made it available by NFS. They installed the software and all was well.

      The fact that people are so scared of making changes to Windows disgusts me, but I don't think it's going to change. It's part of their FUD campaign. "If WIndows is so bad, what's it going to be like to go to a new system?"

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:20AM (#13123865)
    "The trouble begins when you want to add things to it...(due to) the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break." The words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' come to mind. Is Microsoft unaware that their registry is far more 'brittle'?
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tehshen (794722)
      Are many people aware that the Windows registry is far more than 'brittle'? There are people that will read this and think "You can't add things to Linux", no matter how wrong it is and how worse Windows is.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

        by dmaxwell (43234)
        MS' own recommended strategy for servers is one box for each function. AD tree that's a box. An IIS server? That's a box. A SQL server? Yet another box.

        I can and have run DNS, Samba, Apache, Netatalk, MySQL and others on the same machine and it just sits in the corner and does it's job. I think MS doesn't want to start throwing stones in this particular glass house.
        • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

          MS' own recommended strategy for servers is one box for each function. AD tree that's a box. An IIS server? That's a box. A SQL server? Yet another box.

          Hmm, they recommend that, but I'd like to mention 2 things here:

          1. This has been a recommended strategy for building servers, one that MS finally adapted itself (tho possibly for the wrong reasons).

          It is a very good idea because it ensures physical seperation between the different services and greatly reduces the potential of compromise of one service sp
          • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

            by robertjw (728654)
            1. This has been a recommended strategy for building servers, one that MS finally adapted itself (tho possibly for the wrong reasons).

            It is a very good idea because it ensures physical seperation between the different services and greatly reduces the potential of compromise of one service spreading to other services.


            Maybe, but there are disadvantages. If you run everything on one machine you have a single point of failure. The more machines you have the more failure points, the more complexity, more
            • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

              Maybe, but there are disadvantages. If you run everything on one machine you have a single point of failure. The more machines you have the more failure points, the more complexity, more nodes available to attack and more maintenance. As a Sys Admin I'm in favor of running as many things as possible on one box for all of the above reasons. If I can't resonably protect a single machine how can I be expected to reasonably protect six, or ten, or a hundred?

              You have services running, and I can guarantee you t
              • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

                by robertjw (728654)
                When distributing functions over servers, the compromise will be limited to the one server running a vulnerable service.

                It's much easier to compromise additional servers once you are on the inside of the system and can see what distribution, kernel, etc... is being run.

                Also, when you have seperate machines for different functions, failure will be far less catastrophic because it means only one service is affected.

                Generally, in my experience, any service failure is very serious. Networks don't exis
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:57AM (#13124270)
      Well, they fail to see that although a Linux system can be hard to configure, once it is configured it is very easy to backup the configuration and as long as there's no hardware failures it remains stable.

      Windows requires a lot more care to do the same. I always advise people not to add and remove software they don't really need to use.

      This article is more FUD from Microsoft. If they are so sure of their software being the best and Linux being so bad they wouldn't need to keep mouthing off. Sadly they know it's actually pretty good and competitive in many areas and will continue to get better. Especially with IBM and Novell on the case. Previous competition was from an OS written by a single company. Linux isn't and some major companies are behind it.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CrkHead (27176) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @12:24PM (#13125297)
        ...(due to) the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break

        This just made me recall the abject fear I have of installing updates to Windows. I don't get an option to boot to the old kernel when the patch breaks everything else.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The trouble begins when you want to add things to it..."

      Like every Windows server I've worked with? Not to mention the expectation with Windows clients that one must wipe and reload the OS annually because of how it falls apart and becomes increasingly unreliable?

      (due to) the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break.'

      I've never thought of Hardened Linux (PaX & Grsecurity, or SELinux) or OpenBSD that way. I'd have to believe most other hardened systems administrators do
  • So.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by cached (801963)
    'You can build it, design it, and it will work great. The trouble begins when you want to add things to it...(due to) the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break.'

    We heard what the thinks about Windows, but what does he say about linux?
    • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theGreater (596196) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:41AM (#13124091) Homepage

      "people didn't really understand buffer overruns and port 80 and I/O issues 10 years ago."

      That's the part that caught my attention. Is he seriously suggesting that 10 years ago no one had ever heard of a buffer overrun? That no one had heard of network security in 1995? Maybe they should have thought of that BEFORE they forcibly tied a Browser into their Flagship product.

      -theGreater.

      • Re:So.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tom (822)
        Is he seriously suggesting that 10 years ago no one had ever heard of a buffer overrun?

        He's not that far away. Aleph1's famous article was from 1996 [phrack.org] and is one of the first publications that got mainstream attention.

        It begins with "Over the last few months there has been a large increase of buffer
        overflow vulnerabilities being both discovered and exploited."
        - so saying this was unknown in 1995 is not quite true, but it certainly was a fairly new and not entirely well understood problem.
      • You are missing... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cnelzie (451984) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:45AM (#13124843) Homepage
        ...the interviewee's point.

        People = "Microsoft Employees", Programmers that program for Microsoft Products, Administrators that run Microsoft Products and similar "people". It's best written as (Microsoft) People, but you can leave the (Microsoft) bit off, if you are one of those people...

        The quote should have been more like this:

        "Ten years ago, (Microsoft) people didn't really understand Buffer Overruns, Port 80 and I/O Issues."

        This is, or should be, similarly inferred when we have another major network news release about a "computer" or "Internet", examples follow.

        "A new (Microsoft) Computer Virus in making the rounds through (Microsoft Outlook) E-mail Clients."

        "A new (Microsoft OS Targeting) Internet Worm was discovered on (Microsoft OS Running) Computers yesterday morning which quickly spread across the (Microsoft OS Running Portion of the) Internet."
  • *yawn* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:21AM (#13123878) Homepage Journal
    When you add new things to Linux, other things break?

    Like that never happened with Windows... If I remember well, adding SP2 to Windows XP breaks compatibility with certain software. And that's just the latest example.

    Note to Microsoft: you have tried FUD in the past, it did not work. Not goona work this time either.
  • by op12 (830015) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:21AM (#13123879) Homepage
    Why would you post such an article on Slashdot?!?

    *Runs for nearest bomb shelter*

    Upcoming article: Why Microsoft is the greatest!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:21AM (#13123882)
    Like say you added a database server to your server installation of windows, and then later on you add an official OS update to the same server, with the interesting side effect of breaking the database.

    Which is why many places have test machines to test windows updates.
  • This isn't news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 (679143) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:22AM (#13123891)
    Microsoft Continues Anti-OSS Strategy

    How is this news? It would be news if they stopped.

  • OSS advocates are stating that Windows is increadibly robust and stable.. until you start adding to it. Infact, after installing and uninstalling programs, testers were suprised to find information still says in the REGISTRY! In addition... some programs leave directory structures behind sometimes with megabytes of data files in them!

    Good Grief... brittle? At least when I do a "make un-install" I'm not left with registry entries filling up all over the place.

    How in the world is Linux brittle when you
    • Re:In other news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BewireNomali (618969)
      I don't really code (other than for small hobbyish things) so I actually wouldn't know how this works. But if an uninstall leaves something in the registry, isn't that due to poor uninstall by the programs in question?

      In fact, I thought I read that a lot of programs leave registry entries for a number of reasons - like to stem piracy in case you install a wares version, or to ease a reinstall since many programs don't assume you want to get rid of them permanently.

      So, I put the question to the experts? Wh
  • His comments make me want to hunt him down and whack him over the head with my copy of "programing windows with MFC."
  • by torpor (458) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:23AM (#13123897) Homepage Journal
    You can't say that Ubuntu is 'brittle', nor GoboLinux, nor MEPIS. If you want to add something to any of these distributions of a Linux-based operating system, you can, with ease.

    Microsoft, however, in their positioning, are exploiting the human incapacity for understanding a generality when confronted with logo/brand positions. "Linux" is a huge field. You can't just say "Linux" and mean "All services that depend on a Linux-based solution". Its pathetic.

    Microsoft know this; they frame the fight so that when they say "Linux" they mean all Linux-based distributions. But to a user of Linux who actually wants to use Linux, and knows how to use Linux, "there ain't no such thing as a Single Linux target" .. you either roll your own, pitch a tent in a distro field, or take a pre-packaged solution from a vendor who has done the hard work for you...

    I say this having used Linux now for 10 years, quite productively. I haven't used Microsoft-based products in that time. I hardly consider that a "GM for Platform Strategy" at Microsoft will have had that experience ...

  • I kind of agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:23AM (#13123900)
    I can use the 16,000 some Debian packages quite easily and happily, but when I want to add software that they didn't package, I have to fight with dependencies myself and really make a whole mess of my system (thank G-d for checkinstall / installwatch). It ends up taking at least an hour to set up most pieces of software that isn't prepackaged.
    • Re:I kind of agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by saintp (595331) <stpierreNO@SPAMnebrwesleyan.edu> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:49AM (#13124182) Homepage
      I can't believe I'm publicly disagreeing with no less than Andrew Tanenbaum, but I *do* have a lower /. ID, so here goes...

      Maybe Debian is brittle -- I highly doubt it -- but when I want to add something to my SuSE box that isn't pre-packaged, it's perhaps more difficult than popping open YaST and clicking around, but I haven't had the experiences you have. I rather prefer to roll my own copies of a lot of big software -- Apache, MySQL, PHP, Samba, and others come readily to mind. Usually, I find that it goes very well. I honestly can't recall the last time it took me anywhere near an hour to compile and install anything on Linux.

      Ironically -- although this might be what Taylor is talking about -- I *do* find that I have difficulty installing proprietary software on Linux. Although it tries to hold your hand more, it frequently fails to Do The Right Thing, IMHO.

      Furthermore, even if Andrew's experience is more typical than mine, it doesn't mean that Taylor was right. Taylor's claiming that installing non-prepackaged software breaks *other* stuff; that's patently false. A difficult system (what Andrew is claiming Linux can be) is very very different from a brittle system (what Taylor is claiming it is). Solaris is, IMHO, a very difficult system to install stuff on -- at least, stuff that's not prepackaged from Sun or SunFreware. Some of the other Unixes, like AIX and Tru64, are even more so. That doesn't make them brittle.

      A brittle system is one where, say, installing a service pack breaks compatibility with many network services and programs. But, as many other posters have pointed out, that is much more descriptive of certain OS's whose names begin with a "w" and end with an "indows."

  • by ZakuSage (874456) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:24AM (#13123907)
    It seems like whenever a Microsoft employee speaks they generalize Linux into a huge ball, never mention a distro, and say it's bad. Surely this distro is not using RPM or Apt, which many distros are based on, and surely it is not Gentoo with portage. I also don't think they quite understand how Linux works in that things aren't breaking when the end user is too stupid to configure the program.

    It's as if Microsoft made their own distro, coaxed it with unstable software from 5 years ago, give it no package managemnet, and say "this is all Linux is!". Ugh, it's enough to drive a sane man crazy.
  • by null etc. (524767) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:26AM (#13123922)
    Q: In the last six months, what have you been focused on in terms of development work?

    Taylor: We continue to do the same things that we've been doing in the last couple of years

    You mean perpetually patch IE security flaws?

  • by Work Account (900793) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:26AM (#13123927) Journal
    They just need to keep hiring away our best Open Source talent.

    I know they did recently -- article here [builderau.com.au] focusing on their "theft" of Daniel Robbins, the former chief architect of Gentoo Linux.

    They claim to be wanting to learn more about Open Source when they try and justify hiring guys who are just getting by financially but are huge braintrusts of the Linux movement. Basically they offer these guys 6 figure salaries to work behind closed doors in Redmond and never release anything of value to OSS ever again.

    Many of them being family guys, they cannot turn these offers down due to finances. Kids are expensive, wives are expensive, SUVs are pricy, gas is pricy, taxes, computer hardware, and on and on.

    I don't blame them but I think it's a dirty trick by Microsoft. I love OSS and use it at home at work and on project I create. We need to keep our talent.

    Shame on you MS.

    • Surely not. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anti-NAT (709310) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:47AM (#13124164) Homepage

      Many of them being family guys, they cannot turn these offers down due to finances. Kids are expensive, wives are expensive, SUVs are pricy, gas is pricy, taxes, computer hardware, and on and on.

      So there aren't any other IT companies that are neutral or pro-Open source left in the world that he could have worked for, that would have paid a decent salary ? Have IBM gone out of business, and I don't know about it ?

      Your statement almost implies that there are no employers left in any field at all, other than Microsoft, that are paying a living wage. Do I need to point out how unrealistic that implication is ?

      The shame is Daniel's, not Microsoft's. Microsoft found somebody with the skills and experience they wanted, and who was willing to work for them. It was Daniel's choice, and he decided to sell out, probably for the money.

      PS. Don't need an SUV. If they are costing too much in fuel, get a smaller car, such as a normal sized sedan ....

    • their "theft" of Daniel Robbins, the former chief architect of Gentoo Linux

      This is the stupidest goddamn thing I've ever heard. Look, I'm a Gentoo dev. The simple truth is that drobbins hasn't been involved in Gentoo development for more than a year. There was no "theft" or "hiring away" here. He was already gone.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:26AM (#13123929)
    One of the main features of Free Software is that you CAN add things to it, you have the source, and since GNU/Linux is a Unix-like system it's easy to automate tasks, and to interface with any software on the system. Each part of the system is a different project, with it's own interfaces well declared and documented. In the case of proprietary software, you are limited to the APIs provided, since you don't have access to the source, and also, all the system is badly designed, many things are just hacked toghether into random librarys, and the whole OS is a single mess, and you can only use the provided API (which is poorly documented) to interface with the system. In many cases, the SDKs and APIs are proprietary, and you have to pay thousands to use them, in many other cases, you are legally FORBIDDEN to modify/interface with certain software, so, again, how it's hard to add things to Free Software and easy to add them to Proprietary soft?.

    Just how many coders outside Microsoft have added parts to the windows kernel?, now think how many coders contribute to Linux, How many plugins are there for MSN, and how many for Gaim?, The list just goes on and on ...
  • Linux vs Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onion2k (203094) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:28AM (#13123947) Homepage
    There's really nothing innovative today that Linux does that we can't do.

    Actually, I agree with his sentiment. He's bang on. There's nothing Linux does that Windows can't do, certaintly if you're willing to invest the time and effort to produce a solution.

    But the opposite is also true. There's nothing Windows does that Linux can't do either.

    So the "battle" comes down to other issues, not simply what each OS can or can't do. Those issues are things like cost, trust, support, availability.. And those are when open source really starts to win. Microsoft is a corporate behemoth. Making decisions in a company that size takes real time.. months, if not years. Things have to be discussed, agreed, signed off, checked, signed off again. Compare that to the open source world where someone sees an issue, writes a patch, submits it to the dev tree, and it's in if the maintainer likes it, maybe with a handful of emails bounced around a mailing list, and open source starts to get a real, tangible business advantage over Microsoft.

    So yeah, I'd agree with Taylor's analysis that Windows is just as capable as Linux on the CPU.. But if he thinks that's where Linux's fighting ground ends, he's dead wrong.
    • by div_2n (525075) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:58AM (#13124276)
      There's nothing Linux does that Windows can't do, certaintly if you're willing to invest the time and effort to produce a solution.

      -modify, recompile and use new object code of any non-kernel module without rebooting

      -heck, for that matter rewrite or modify any portion of the kernel and recompile it (although rebooting is needed)

      -use any number of filesystem or even write your own

      These are just a few. Perhaps if Windows shipped with the source, these would be possible, but something tells me Windows doesn't work that way.

    • To quote Tonto... (Score:5, Informative)

      by schon (31600) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:58AM (#13124283)
      "What you mean 'WE', Kemosabe?"

      There's really nothing innovative today that Linux does that we can't do.

      If by "we" he means Microsoft, then the response is "well duh" (after all, they *do* have the source code.)

      But the obvious response is "then why don't you?"

      I use Linux machines as routers for a local school district. A couple of weeks ago, the HD in one of them died - and nobody noticed (well, I noticed when the nightly backup didn't happen.) This machine was doing packet filtering, traffic shaping, and policy routing (iproute2 rocks! :o) And when the HD died, the machine kept on ticking. This isn't the first time I'd experienced it, so I recommended to them that they not panic and deal with it during the regular maintenance period (on the weekend.) It kept happily running until I powered it off to replace the drive. I've no doubt that it would have continued to run until the power ran out (which would have been a long time, as it was on a big honking UPS.)

      Let's see Windows do traffic shaping.
      Let's see Windows do policy routing.
      Then let's see it keep running when you rip out the hard drive.
  • by Timbo (75953) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:35AM (#13124016) Homepage
    "...because people didn't really understand buffer overruns and port 80 and I/O issues 10 years ago...

    Those damn port 80 and I/O issues. Such a bitch to fix.
  • by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:35AM (#13124022) Homepage
    The original internet worm exploited a buffer overflow in the finger daemon. So for a Microsoft spokesman to stand up and say that this wasn't understood 10 years ago.

    I mean c'mon. That was in 1988; by computing standards that was prehistoric. Everything Microsoft wrote should have been looked at for that bug ever since. They didn't. Microsoft didn't even bother to look at security issues much at all until a few years ago. Unix was ahead of that curve by 5-10 years.

  • by mir (106753) <mirod@xmltwig.com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:38AM (#13124053) Homepage
    For example, this new feature tool we have would allow me to tunnel directly using HTTP into my corporate Exchange server without having to go through the whole VPN (virtual private network) process, bypassing the need to use a smart card. It's such a huge time-saver, for me at least, compared to how long it takes me now. We will be extending that functionality to the next version of Windows.

    Indeed, who needs smart cards, VPN, or security in general. Just send everything over HTTP. This kinda puts in perspective the previous story about the changes in Microsoft's attitude towards security.

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:39AM (#13124071)
    Nice analogy. Makes Linux sound like it's made out of glass. Oh, don't touch it!

    It's using the myriad of custom distributions against it. There are Linux distros for forensics, for security, for graphics, for portability, for a myriad of specialties. These distros are usually booted from CDROM, etc. They have nothing to do with an average workstation distrubution installation of Linux, which has perfectly capable package management using apt-get or rpm. Dependency checking is part and parcel of every decent installation shell. Across a boggling array of packages for every conceiveable app.

    Microsoft is just working the edges, trying to make the somewhat busy rate of new distros into a negative. It's true, I just got the LAST Fedora Core in when the next one comes out. But it's hardly orphaned, is it? apt-get works just fine for something I may want to add.

    Microsoft's war strategy is to drive major Linux distrubutions to being more static, to stop re-releasing new distro updates at such a frenetic rate. They can't compete in this area, it's too costly for them to do major Service Packs all the time.
  • by ehaggis (879721) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:44AM (#13124136) Homepage Journal

    I agree with Martin Taylor that transitioning software on a Linux platform can be difficult. I also believe transitioning software on ANY platform is difficult. If it wasn't, none of us would have jobs.

    I also agree with Martin Taylor that going to a Linux platform may prove more costly than first expected. I also know from experience that Microsoft roll-outs have additional cost.

    For Example: MS Exchange server compared to SuSE OpenExchange [novell.com] (now Netline OpenExchange [openexchange.com]). Similar Products. Exchange is cheaper out of the box until you add Spam Control, Virus Control, etc... Also, Exchange counts licenses by CAL connection, OpenExchange is Licensed by concurrent connections - much cheaper. If you want you can even download [open-xchange.org] the Netline Open-Xchange for free with no license restrictions.

    Martin Taylor is correct on many points. Unfortunately his logic breaks down because those points are universal and not specific to OSS.

  • by DeadVulcan (182139) <dead...vulcan@@@pobox...com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:44AM (#13124142)

    When you look at the issue of buffer overruns, eight to 10 years ago in software development, you did not know how much space you might need for something so you just create a big buffer zone to allow things to happen. Who knew that people could go exploit that and use that buffer space to do malicious things?

    I'm speechless. I have no words. Except... W... T... F! is he blathering on about?!?

    • by DMNT (754837) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:13AM (#13124450)
      I remember a book by A. Tanenbaum - Modern Operating Systems (2nd ed., 2001) - stating that buffer overruns have been there for 30 years and still they keep reappearing. It has been used to gain privileges for ever and it will be used as long as low-level programs with no buffer length checking are used. So this talk about 8-10 years is complete bullshit. That's when THEY had to start thinking about it after the famous Pings of Death and stuff. Because the Windows was never intended to work in a possibly hostile environment.
    • I like that fact that MS buffer overruns written 10 years ago are still hidden in their closed source.
  • The rules of power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:44AM (#13124143)
    If Linux weren't a threat, Microsoft wouldn't be smearing it in a campaign but instead treating it as an annoying little gnat - by ignoring it and lauding it's own positives. By paying so much attention to and attempting to shape Linux's image publicly, Microsoft is validating it by its own advertising despite the negative content.

    People with brains will realize what is propaganda and check Linux out on their own. Thanks to MS.
    • by rsax (603351)
      People with brains will realize what is propaganda and check Linux out on their own. Thanks to MS.

      Right. But what will Management do?

  • Ironic Isn't It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:50AM (#13124188)
    Microsoft has an anti-Linux strategy but nowhere do you hear of anyone migrating from Linux to Windows.

    Linux has no anti-Microsoft strategy yet people are migrating from Windows to Linux.

    • Re:Ironic Isn't It (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jc42 (318812)
      Linux has no anti-Microsoft strategy yet people are migrating from Windows to Linux.

      On the contrary; the linux gang has a strong anti-Microsoft strategy, and it's one of the most insidious, subversive strategies of all.

      They've been providing a cheap, reliable system with no licensing or other legal hassles, which does much of what its users want it to do. It doesn't provide easy entry to viruses, spyware, or other evil stuff, and you aren't tricked into needless upgrades.

      Can you imagine the effect on t
  • Like sound/audio (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kludge (13653) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:54AM (#13124237)
    other things break

    As much as I love and use linux, jwz is right. Sound and audio are a broken mess. Why can't all desktops/distributions/etc use the same damn audio server interface, like they all use X as a video server interface. It drives me nuts!
  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:54AM (#13124243)
    From the article:

    And what is open source? It is interesting in how you define it. Is it in terms of source visibility? Then, OK, in Microsoft's Shared Source program, people can access up to 65 percent of source codes for our core products. And through the government security program around the world, governments can access even more of our source codes, if they choose to. So we're not an open-source company, and yet people can do that.

    Hey Martin, here's [opensource.org] the definition of Open Source. Notice in the first paragraph it says Open Source doesn't just mean access to the source code. I doubt if you'd like it if people went around redefining your company's EULAs to suit themselves.

    Or does it mean that you have technology licensed under the GPL (GNU Public License)? If that's the only definition, then I see a lot of companies that people call open source but aren't, because they're not licensed under the GPL.

    No it isn't the only definition so your answer is irrelevant. The GPL may qualify as Open Source but it is Free Software - big difference. Don't you even know the difference?

    Taylor: The GPL is a very complex licensing agreement, and they are working on different aspects of it.

    It's an incredibly simple licensing agreement actually. Complex for Microsoft to understand perhaps, but simple for anyone else.

    I don't know enough to even hypothesize how I would author it, but I would say that in any approach to licensing technology, the following things are important.

    First, companies need to have some level of indemnification and protection from the technology deployed. When you license technology as a consumer or business, you should be comfortable that you're protected from patent (or) copyright...claims from anyone. That should be a core fundamental principle of licensing software.


    Well, thanks for leading the way there. I'm so glad I'm indemnified when I use Microsoft software. Oh wait, I'm not?


    Second, people should have the ability to monetize that and build on top of it. So if I'm an ISV (independent software vendor), I should be able to take the technology that I've licensed, build something on top of it, and sell it.


    I do that with GPLed software now and have done for years. So have many other people.

    If I'm a reseller or distributor of this technology, I should have a way that I can build and monetize things around that. I think that's what helps you build a very vibrant ecosystem. It also allows you in some ways to protect the intellectual property in different ways.

    The GPL already allows this - and my "intellectual property" (whatever that means) is already protected by copyright law.

    So this ability to patent your technology and have some level of protection against it, and in the course be able to build on top of that and innovate on top of that, is exciting.

    Wait, so it's about patents now? Perhaps you can show me some genuine innovation in software that has been patented by Microsoft? You can't? Oh.


    So what kind of innovation are you doing in your area for Microsoft?
    Taylor: There are things we're excited about, and there are things that are just the basics. We spend close to $6.8 billion in research and development; it really comes in a variety of areas.

    One area is just some fit-and-finish, and taking basic simple processes and doing it better. We have a feature called Configure Your Server Wizard, which allows you to go in and choose a server role so you can take a file server and (rebuild it as a) media server. That takes four to five clicks of a GUI (graphic user interface)


    Reconfiguring a server using the mouse? Goodness me, what will they think of next!

    Taylor: You have to understand why we have security problems today. In some ways, it's because a lot more things are connected today than they
  • INDEMNIFICATION??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Laura_DilDio (874259) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @10:57AM (#13124268)
    First, companies need to have some level of indemnification and protection from the technology deployed.
    This guy is spreading SCO-FUD. If you use FOSS technologies, you might open yourself up to being sued by some IP holder.

    However, it turns out that Microsoft doesn't offer much more than FOSS when it comes to backing their product. The following is from the WinXP EULA:

    16. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. The Limited Warranty that appears above is the only express warranty made to you and is provided in lieu of any other express warranties or similar obligations (if any) created by any advertising, documentation, packaging, or other communications. Except for the Limited Warranty and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft and its suppliers provide the Software and support services (if any) AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS, and hereby disclaim all other warranties and conditions, whether express, implied or statutory, including, but not limited to, any (if any) implied warranties, duties or conditions of merchantability, of fitness for a particular purpose, of reliability or availability, of accuracy or completeness of responses, of results, of workmanlike effort, of lack of viruses, and of lack of negligence, all with regard to the Software, and the provision of or failure to provide support or other services, information, software, and related content through the Software or otherwise arising out of the use of the Software. ALSO, THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, QUIET POSSESSION, CORRESPONDENCE TO DESCRIPTION OR NON-INFRINGEMENT WITH REGARD TO THE SOFTWARE.
    WTF does the NON-INFRINGEMENT statement refer to?
  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#13124431) Homepage Journal
    Fucking lying fuckers. And the same thing never happened to Windows?!?!? [windowsitpro.com] That's just one of a million examples, as we all know, and for crying out loud, it's a patch from MS that's causing the problem in that one.
  • by j-turkey (187775) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:19AM (#13124519) Homepage

    From TFA:

    They're also realizing they can't migrate and evolve (open-source technology) as much as they had thought. For example, U.S. company Flyi.com handles about 90 percent of travel reservations through their online portal, which they run on Linux and Apache.

    The systems were running fine until the company had a huge spike in traffic, and there were all kinds of downtime issues. So they did the upgrades, added a few servers, some hardware, some memory and new technologies around the Web site to do more customer relationship database tracking. It was all very complex, and some of the seams of the Linux architecture were beginning to show.
    So he's saying that they reached the limitations of their hardware and it had to scale? Is Microsoft software somehow immune from the need to scale as the requirements grow? If this is the case, a Microsoft OS would be the better choice. I would hail all kinds of MS solutions if they could pull other magical abilities out of their hat. We all know that this is BS -- requirements change, demands on systems change, and hardware must be scaled, regardless of the platform. Until then, claims like that are simply FUD and double-talk. He's not actaully saying anything, he's just instilling a little fear in the back of managers minds.

    What's funny is that many of these arguments are largely an attack on a licensing model, and it actually has very little to do with the quality of the products. Contrary to RMS' belief, I don't think that the license model necessarily dictates the quality of the software. There are plenty of excellent commercial, closed products out there in the marketplace. There alre also plenty of these products which are absolute garbage. The same goes for OSS, I've seen brilliant stuff and I've seen crappy stuff -- neither are a silver bullet.

    Taylor does make at least one good point, however:

    But at the end of the day, people want to deploy technology to solve business problems, be it Windows, Linux, BSD and so on.
    In many circumstances, people like IT managers don't care about seeing the code. It's not everyone -- there are lots of groups who have a specific need for custom solutions...however I'm talking more about the small-mid size IT group. These IT managers are generally decision-makers, and don't want to ever touch the source code. Many don't even want to hire people to muck about the code...especially in small to mid sized companies. I'm not talking about the idealist hobbyists here, who will sit around and pour through source code all day long looking to understand it, modify it, or break it...or those who build all of their binaries from source, adding in every possible optimization for their target platform. With many of those professionals, it's not about the license model. It's about the solution in the end. Most people like this who I have worked with are generally platform agnostic, and will run whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Scope (Score:3, Informative)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@gmail.TIGERcom minus cat> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:20AM (#13124533) Homepage
    Depends on the scope of the project. Sure things like Firefox [re: not linux] are hard to add to because they are big ...

    But i'd say Linux is a hell of a lot more extensible than windows.

    Say I want to develop a new device [/dev/toms] for some reason. I have the Linux Kernel SOURCE CODE for free to look at. What do I get in the windows camp for free?

    And they really have to learn to distinguish between the kernel [that is Linux] and distros. The kernel for the most part is very stable. Yes, the bleeding edge [e.g. 2.6.12.3 may not work well] versions are a tad buggy but the recent ones [2.6.12 for instance] works just fine on my AMD laptop, AMD64 dual core desktop and P4 Prescott desktop.

    Three different architectures with different drives, graphics, etc [my 64 has SATA drives too and a PCI-X graphics card] but they all work out of the box with a trivial kernel configuration.

    I can take the kernel and use it with Gentoo. In this distro I can add/remove programs with a simple emerge command. You think installshield is easy? How hard is

    emerge firefox

    or

    emerge -C firefox

    etc, etc, etc.

    This is just more fud from a person who obviously doesn't use [or take the time to understand] how the technology actually works.

    I guess that's his job, to spread FUD to sell Windows. Unfortunately for him people are waking up and are not FUCKING MORONS anymore.

    Tom
  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:20AM (#13124534) Journal
    .. they are first and formost a marketing company, They will say, in their marketing any thing they can that they believe will help them "market" their products.

    Second, they are a marketing company that uses law as the game rules they play by, like in chess where you typically sacrifice some of your own players in effort to win. This is verified over and over again with their persistant effort to try and distort the law enough to get away with acts of anti-trust. They simply prefer to not play fair. And this is undersandable as they are least of all a company of innovation, but rather a company buying out innovation of others and then either closing it down or marketing it as their innovation.

    The more the general public understands this, sees MS for what MS really is, a marketing company with a legal team to help them figure out what they can get away with, the better it is for the general public in making an operating system choice.

  • Article Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bimo_Dude (178966) <bimoslash@@@theness...org> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:42AM (#13124792) Homepage Journal
    According to Taylor, businesses that tried out Linux or other open-source tools are now realizing that they are putting in more investment into the technology than they had initially thought.

    Notice he did not say more investment into the technology than Linux.

    But I think now, two to three years into this, we're seeing these issues around cost and reliability coming up such that, we now know we need to go back to the basics on how we evaluate a platform and choose it.

    Is he talking about their customers, or Microsoft?

    We continue to run our lab where we analyze and look at open-source software to understand and ensure we're still building the right things from a short-term or long-term basis.

    Read: If there is some code in Linux that we can use in Windows to make it more competitive, we'll use it.

    ...customers who have been using Linux or an open-source technology in the last three to four years and had gone into this thinking they're going to save money but they actually applied more people to the challenge than they initially thought.

    Apples and oranges: Save money applied more people? Yes, people cost money, but in my experience, there is usually a higher ratio of servers to admins for Windows than Linux. Did these customers use their Windows admins for the Linux boxes?

    The systems were running fine until the company had a huge spike in traffic, and there were all kinds of downtime issues. So they did the upgrades, added a few servers, some hardware, some memory and new technologies around the Web site to do more customer relationship database tracking. It was all very complex, and some of the seams of the Linux architecture were beginning to show.

    Scratch the word "Linux," since this statement can be applied to any architecture using any OS (Win, HP-UX, Solaris, etc...)

    You can build it, design it, and it will work great. The trouble begins when you want to add things to it, add some services and things like that. Because of the brittle nature of the platform, when you do that, other things break. We see that in the labs all the time, and our customers see that as well. So that has a (total) cost of ownership impact on it.

    As so many other people have pointed out, this happens with Windows too. I think the big difference here, though, is that an application issue on Linux does not hose the entire OS, whereas on Windows, there is that possibility.

    It is also more of a commercial discussion now.

    Yes, this whole interview is nothing more than a Microsoft commercial

    So we're not an open-source company ... we have projects available today that make Microsoft technology open source.

    Huh?

    When you license technology as a consumer or business, you should be comfortable that you're protected from patent (or) copyright...claims from anyone. That should be a core fundamental principle of licensing software.

    Is he aware that SCO lost the lawsuit?

    So if I'm an ISV (independent software vendor), I should be able to take the technology that I've licensed, build something on top of it, and sell it.

    Hmmmm... sounds kinda like what Apple's doing with BSD.

    So this ability to patent your technology and have some level of protection against it, and in the course be able to build on top of that and innovate on top of that, is exciting.

    Software patents are exciting for them, I'm sure. Other than that, I have no clue what he means

    From a software perspective, we don't think the patent system is perfect. We had put forward some recommended restructuring to patent laws in the United States

    Oh yes, more money changing hands in Washington to benefit the "legal" person.

    We have a feature called Configure Your Server Wizard, which allows you to go in and choose a server role so you can take a file server and (reb

  • by symbolic (11752) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:42AM (#13124806)
    First and foremost, we are looking to understand some of the scenarios like why customers are considering Linux, and making sure we have the right offerings for the marketplace.

    Sorry...you can't compete with freedom, since everything Microsoft does is exactly the opposite- DRM, rediculous EULAs, closed, proprietary source code, not to even mention the licensing costs. The customer is at their mercy.
  • by nysus (162232) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @12:10PM (#13125131)
    The interviewee heralds Microsoft's server reconfiguration with a few mouse clicks. First, that's a feature that could be coded into any Linux distribution fairly easily. Second, if it weren't for Linux, Microsoft would have never have any need to create such "innovation." They'd let their server software rot from decay just like they did with IE---until they started to feel the heat from Firefox.
  • by ahodgkinson (662233) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @12:29PM (#13125362) Homepage Journal
    I, for one, welcome our OS overlords. They are helping us move up in the food chain:

    1. First they ignore you.
    2. Then they laugh at you.
    3. Then they fight you.
    4. Then you win.
    - Mahatma Gandhi

    Now we're at stage three.

  • News? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bitspotter (455598) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:24PM (#13127002) Journal
    Translation: software has bugs.

    Taylor seems to want to make you think that just because you don't see most bugs in MS apps that are fixed pre-release, they didn't exist, having come pure and bug free from the mind of the programmer. Because OSS shows you these bugs, instead of hiding them from you in the development process, it must be "brittle". Just LOOK at all those bugs!

    A classic attack, long since rebutted.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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