Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business

Unreliable Linux Dumped from Crest Electronics 960

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-thought-they-made-my-teeth-clean dept.
nri writes "The Age writes, Linux misses Windows of opportunity. Crest Electronics chose a Linux operating system, then seven months on, the company chose to abandon it for Windows. Mr Horton says. ".. the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random. It would run for weeks or so and then just bang, it would stop....I fully support Linux but if I had to make the decision again I'd pick Windows. A big reason is the fact Windows was up and running in two hours at all the right patch levels. The installation of SAP took two days on Windows, the installation on Linux Red Hat took two weeks. The total cost of ownership is actually lower in this case than with Linux because of the hidden costs of the support.""
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Unreliable Linux Dumped from Crest Electronics

Comments Filter:
  • by LittLe3Lue (819978) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @10:59PM (#13672827)
    ...we will see what you have to say about hidden costs and core dumps.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:09PM (#13672891)
      It may be true in some cases that Windows runs more stable than linux. I have seen some flakeyness on more bleeding edge distros, X11 crashing, apps crashing. One of my boxes, I have troubled hardware support for my Promise SATA controller and large data transfers would cause system lockups all the time. Supposedly this is fixed in kernel 2.6.12. But I'm running Windows XP on that machine so I don't really know. But really, XP stablity isn't all it's cracked up to be. I have to reboot often (~once a week). Things just slow down and get really sluggish after ~ 2 weeks, or less.

      But hardware/driver issues aside, I don't believe Windows can be more stable than linux. If you don't have to run Windows for some specific compatibility/software requirement. Linux can be a far superior experience.
      • I've seen systems get slow on Windows machines over and over because of memory leaks. Of course Linux will do the same thing, but at least you are free or have more say to your vendor to fix things. Try telling Micrsoft to fix the memory leak in IIS... they just laugh in your face.

        Neither are perfect nor will they ever be, but getting good support for Linux just seems easier.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:04AM (#13673259)
          they just laugh in your face.


          That's if you're lucky, normally they'd throw a chair at you.
  • Windows vs Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mboverload (657893) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:00PM (#13672833) Journal
    Anyone that says that Linux will beat out Windows in every situation is a fool.

    Choose the product that best suits your needs. If Linux doesn't cut it, get Windows. If Windows doesn't cut it, get Linux.
    • by rleesBSD (909405) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:15PM (#13672948) Journal
      If neither one cuts it, get FreeBSD. (Hey, don't forget about us!)

      • by menkhaura (103150) <espinafre@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:50PM (#13673197) Homepage
        Yeah, please don't hurt the feelings of both of us!

        But, seriously, BSD > any Linux flavor > Microsoft's sorry-excuse-for-an-OS.

        The BSDs don't have the fragmentation that Linux has. If anyone asks me what is my OS, I say simply "FreeBSD". By that I qualify my package management, my system boot scripts, where my conf files are, how the system works. "Linux", on the other hand, can mean a bunch of things: maybe the kernel, maybe one of those hundreds of distros, each with its own idea of package management, file placement, system configuration, or boot method. Of course, they are all Linux, they all run roughly the same software (Apache is Apache no matter in which Linux distro you run it), but the details, the little differences, do hurt Linux (okay, Stallman, GNU/Linux, as you wish) by making it into a moving target for support and maintenance.

        Back on topic, that Linux machine must have had some hardware flaw. Bad memory comes to mind...
        • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:23AM (#13673596) Journal
          Nah. Doesn't have to be a hardware problem.

          More than a few Linux kernels have had some memory management issues. If he was using RedHat 9 he'd be having the same problems we had - had to reboot every few days.

          Just do a google search on kswapd and cpu for some examples. If you bother to look around I'm sure you can find other stability problems with Linux.

          I use FreeBSD, SuSE Linux and Windows 2000 at home. They all have their uses. They have their strengths and weaknesses.

          Unlike what the fanatics believe, Linux isn't that much better than Windows. Even in terms of security and stability.

          That said, I'd still prefer to use FreeBSD/Linux for most server stuff.
        • by harves (122617) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:36AM (#13673664)
          Sorry but that's one of the dumbest things I've read in a while.

          You're noting that the name "Linux" covers a broad range of things, and comparing it to the name "FreeBSD" which refers to one thing. You're then trying to say that "the BSDs don't have the fragmentation that Linux has". I call bullshit. Your example proves nothing remotely near that. It proves that FreeBSD isn't fragment, but then neither is the Debian project's distribution.

          If I say "I run BSD" then there at least 3 different systems I could be running. Would you then say that "the BSDs have fragmentation just like Linux does"?

          Inversely, if I say "I run Debian" then "I qualify my package management, my system boot scripts, where my conf files are, how the system works".

          Sorry, I'm not normally this harsh, but what was your point again? If you try to compare Linux to FreeBSD then yes Linux will appear more fragmented. But how about we compare FreeBSD to Debian shall we? Apples to apples? Does your argument that it "damages" Debian still hold?
        • Re:Windows vs Linux (Score:5, Informative)

          by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:46AM (#13673707) Homepage
          The BSDs don't have the fragmentation that Linux has.
          They don't? Then why is there FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD? (And 386BSD, but it's dead, probably mutated into one (or all three) of the ones I just mentioned.) And then there's the sub-flavors, like Dragonfly BSD [dragonflybsd.org].

          I say simply "FreeBSD"
          Sort of like somebody might say `RedHat'. Or `Debian'. You get the idea.

          By that I qualify my package management, my system boot scripts, where my conf files are, how the system works
          Yes. And saying Redhat, or Debian or whatever else would qualify it as well.
          "Linux", on the other hand, can mean a bunch of things:
          Saying "BSD" is almost as imprecise. Really, it's hard to fault an OS just because people don't qualify it very well.

          Do the same applications run on each of the *BSDs without recompliation? I tend to doubt it, but I haven't tried it ...

          Apache is Apache no matter in which Linux distro you run it
          No, it's not. Is it Apache 1 or Apache 2? The two are very different. Which modules are configured? Default configurations vary wildly. Yes, if you know what you're doing you can easily bring them under control, but for an amateur who's just using the Apache that came with his installation, things can be VERY different from distribution to distribution. (Personally, I find myself installing my own Apache and similar daemons, even if one is provided for me, on *BSD, whatever Linux, Solaris, etc. -- it just makes things easier, starting from a known quantity. And more secure.)
          okay, Stallman, GNU/Linux, as you wish
          It's not up to Stallman. Call it whatever you want. Your *BSD box has a lot of GNU stuff on it too ... call it GNU/BSD if you wish.
          Back on topic, that Linux machine must have had some hardware flaw. Bad memory comes to mind...
          That is a possiblity, but Windows hasn't really been more immune to bad memory than Linux since NT came out. Linux even has the ability to map-out known bad blocks of memory (so you can use those iffy DIMMS in the closet), though I doubt many people use it.

          In any event, certain hardware devices have buggy drivers, even in the latest versions of whatever Linux kernels and distributions you prefer. The vendors generally make Windows drivers, where the Linux drivers are often reverse engineered, and it often shows in the quality.

          For the *BSDs, the drivers you get are generally more reliable than those in Linux, but if you've got some new device, where Linux would support it (and the driver might have some issues), *BSD is likely to not support it at all.

          But I do agree with you too -- FreeBSD does make a better server than any of the Linux distributions. However, the commercial application support is very spotty. However, I've heard that the Linux emulation is quite good, and it can run most Linux applications with little trouble. Though that just sounds so ... wrong ... to use it for a production server. But if it works ...

    • Re:Windows vs Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

      by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:32PM (#13673106) Homepage Journal
      What amazes me is that they had IBM hardware and RedHat Engineers working on this and it still didn't work. I've installed Linux servers for 10 years and rarely have experienced such problems. Usually it was the hardware or my screw up at the center of it all.

      Besides the reference they were running IBM hardware, I wonder what their configuration was. That's the tough part of these kind of articles. Very little information and a conclusion. Sure it was IBM certified hardware and it was ruled out as the problem. Perhaps the RedHat engineers simply screwed up. Not like that couldn't happen :-D

      "We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.

      I wonder why they never bothered to respond to RedHat. If it was important then they would have worked with the Vendor. I'd like to see someone work with ANY Operating System and ignore their vendors help. With these tidbits of information, it's difficult to take such a conclusion seriously.
    • Re:Windows vs Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

      by digidave (259925)
      "Anyone that says that Linux will beat out Windows in every situation is a fool."

      True, of course, but in this case it looks like someone seriously screwed up the configuration. By default neither Linux nor Windows will crash every two weeks, so somebody came along and made it worse. I don't know much about SAP, but if it took two weeks to install and configure on Linux and only two days on Windows, then the people who did on Linux it are either incompetent or the software is not very good on Linux, which is
    • by Benwick (203287) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:24AM (#13673353) Journal
      Who would choose to use a distribution called "Unreliable Linux"?

    • Re:Windows vs Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Putting SAP on Linux has been around for over 6 years and is usually very reliable. I was not involved in the consulting process here but when it takes two weeks to put SAP on Linux and 2 days for windows then I know something is very wrong. To install Linux plus patches (3 to 5 hours). Installing SAP (3 to 5 hours) - done. Most of the time you are waiting for the CD's to load and MS windows won't be any quicker. In addition you can build your Application servers at the same time.

      What I cannot understand he
  • There's no debate. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amarodeeps (541829) <dave.dubitable@com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:00PM (#13672836) Homepage
    It costs money to hire qualified admins, Windows or Linux.
    • by detritus` (32392) <{gro.osyasew} {ta} {ekztiwa}> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:03PM (#13672851) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but windows admins come a lot cheaper... at least up here where everyone and their dog has an MCSE
      • by Grax (529699) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:11PM (#13672909) Homepage
        Qualified admins are never cheap.

        I've never hired a dog that was an MCSE.

        I did hire an elephant once. He remembered everything and worked for peanuts. We never had a second problem with a computer if he troubleshot the first one. Amazing what a good stomp will do to a system.
      • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:18AM (#13673971) Homepage Journal
        Admins are cheap. Admins who can get a dead system up and running with an angry customer, manager or both breathing down their necks are a lot more expensive. You can take any will work for food guy off the street, give him a cheeseburger and show him how to install your operating system. If that's the kind of guy you want to trust your company to, more power to you. Chance are he wrote his will work for food sign on the back of his MCSE certificate.

        Problem of course is that most hiring managers can't tell the difference between the will work for food guy and the guy who can actually save your company when its systems are down and millions of dollars are on the line.

  • by little alfalfa (21334) <{pootmaster} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:03PM (#13672850) Homepage
    Obviously, your admins were not qualified to administer a Linux server like this. If it took them two weeks to get software installed and running like that, I'd fire them right away. Even if it is SAP, a complex piece of software. Just because you got it up and running in 2 days on Windows doesn't mean it was done right, or done securely.
    • by bblazer (757395) * on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:15PM (#13672949) Homepage Journal
      A good friend works as an SAP and Retek consultant for Accenture. His installs and integrations have lasted almost 2 years (Nordstrom took 3).
    • by taterbeau (918767) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:44PM (#13673167)
      That's very true. SAP is a very complicated application and it takes an extreme amount of patience both to install it and to keep it working correctly. In other words it takes an administrator who knows how to interpret the SAP documentation and then follow that documentation in a very, very precise manner. I've installed SAP Enterprise on RedHat 2.1 more than a couple of times. The RedHat portion of the installation is so easy that I cannot imagine how anyone could screw it up. It's really the steps following the RedHat installation where an administrator can get into trouble. This includes memory settings and some really crucial environment variable additions in the system profile. Get one of these wrong and a SAP installation will quickly turn into a major headache. But if the instructions from SAP are followed step by step, then the whole process can be done in about 6 to 12 hours (depending on the speed of the machine). We currently have 5 SAP systems running on RedHat Advanced server 2.1 and I cannot ever remember an outtage that was related to an issue at the OS level. It has been a rock-solid stable set of systems that require little intervention. The SAP documentation is so stupidly complicated that one literally has to spend days reading it before attempting an installation. If these admins tried to shortcut that process, then obviously made a mistake. Thanks, - J. Haynes Helena, MT
  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:03PM (#13672852)
    "the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random"

    whereas you can expect windows to core dump periodically and predictably.
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:19PM (#13672993)
      whereas you can expect windows to core dump periodically and predictably

      You know, I've had that happen enough to care about - years ago, with older copies of NT, running on flaky/overheated/bad-sectored hardware. But I run things like SQL, or file services, or IIS under 2000/2003... and have machines that cook along without me doing anything month after month after month. No BSDs, etc. Yes, patch = boot, and that's a few moments of taking a machine out of a cluster for a minute... but not because the machine hangs while doing anything routine. For that matter, not even when I'm doing something non-routine.

      This whole "Windows just crashes all the time" stuff, especially on the server side, is pretty much FUD. Bad RAM and drives can piss off Linux, too. Flaky commercial third-party apps can gum up any OS. But I sure don't have anything like the problems that so many people love to rant about - and even though I only have a running sample of a few dozen specific machines that I actually consistently lay hands on every week, you'd think that the mythical "predictably, always crashing" Windows server would rear its ugly head at some point. But it doesn't. The FUD's an anachronism.
      • by bedroll (806612) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @12:06AM (#13673274) Journal
        Perhaps you're one of the few decent administrators that runs an all MS network. The FUD is slung both ways, in large part because no one wants to blame the administration. Everyone wants to think that the OS is the end of line when it comes to reliability and productivity. Obviously you have to figure in hardware, third-party software, and, most importantly, administration.

        *nix usually gets a better reputation because corporations haven't had much opportunity to hire the off-the-street administrator with a degree in law and a certificate saying they can setup a server. That's changing and, as such, you'll start to hear more and more stories about *nix migrations gone bad and the like.

        Of course, the major difference is that MS is just now learning to try and lock down their machines by default and force the user to unlock what they want to use. This makes the bad Windows admin have a higher likelihood of failure because they start with a bad setup and have try to fix things, instead of starting with good setup and trying to make things work with it.

    • by MikeFM (12491)
      Whereas my Linux servers have each been up for more than a year since I last choose to reboot them to upgrade their kernels. These aren't machines running idle with all stock programs either. They're under heavy load with many custom compiled and even custom written programs.

      I wonder what the hell they are doing that causes the system to crash? Or did they check for hardware problems before deciding to pull the plug? The only times I've had Linux crash in more than 10 years of using it were related to serio
  • Wndows BSOD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:04PM (#13672858)
    the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random.

    Odd that the Windows terminology for the blue screen of death now seems to be the standard term for a computer crashing. Or maybe that's not so odd.

    (please don't mod this as funny, I am very serious here.)

  • by CyricZ (887944) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:04PM (#13672860)
    I wish he would have given us more information regarding the problems he ran into. I'm talking about system specs, the name and version of the Linux distro used, and more information regarding the software they apparently had so much trouble installing.

    When problems do happen, the open source community is notorious for getting them fixed very quickly. If he were to provide us, the community, with more details about the problems he encountered, I just know they could be solved for him and potentially for many other users in a similar boat.

    • RTFA for some of it...

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 was the distro. More info would've been nice, but they DID give this one (which a lot of people seem to be asking about).
    • I wish he would have given us more information regarding the problems he ran into. I'm talking about system specs, the name and version of the Linux distro used, and more information regarding the software they apparently had so much trouble installing.

      Well ITFA it said they were running RHEL 3 and for the server it was an IBM server ... no exact details on the hardware.

      The server was also setup by a contractor that Redhat had recommended per specs that SAP had provided.

    • I wish he would have given us more information regarding the problems he ran into. I'm talking about system specs, the name and version of the Linux distro used, and more information regarding the software they apparently had so much trouble installing.

      RTFA. SAP install on RHEL 3.0 on SAP-certified IBM servers. Also in the article:

      • IBM confirmed that the issues were not hardware related.
      • Red Hat Australia was contacted and did try to help
      • Red Hat requested that Crest perform some diagnostic tests, but
    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:26PM (#13673059)
      RTFA. Redhat EL 3. IBM servers (OK, but which kind?) The whole article smells fishy to me.

      * 2 weeks to install to SAP standards? Hmm. How about 1 day to install Linux, and the rest is setting up SAP and testing? 2 days to install on Windows? How much testing was included there, eh?
      * "Software updates had to be manually installed to ensure SAP certification." So that's like, rpm -Uvh the_update.rpm. The HORROR!
      * "We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says. Most folks who are serious about making it work would probably get back to them when having these problems. Almost sounds like some geek personalities were the problem, not Linux.

      RedHat, IBM and SAP are all cool about running this setup - but the IT department of this consumer electronics distribution company can't handle it effectively? I think I can see where the problem is...

      The cynic in me suspects they got a VERY good deal from MS for publicising this move.
      • Hmm. How about 1 day to install Linux, and the rest is setting up SAP and testing?

        1 day. WTF?!?!? I routinely sell embedded server systems (using Whitebox Linux) that update themselves (a la yum) and have it all set up in under 15 minutes.

        Maybe those SAPs really outta learn what an installer script is - I can (no kidding!)

        1) load an installer CD (maybe 10 minutes for a "minimal" install)

        2) stick in an installation CD, and run the installer

        3) Have a functioning, self-tested software install in a total time (
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The cynic in me suspects they got a VERY good deal from MS for publicising this move.

        I have a good hunch you're right. I think I'll post anonymously and let you know that at one point I've worked for EV1Servers. When they first offered Windows servers, I saw the press release that we were releasing. It was full of quotes about how we love our Windows servers, and how easy it is to install and set up Windows. It included graphs comparing Windows and Linux setup times, and how we can push out Windows serv
  • What is SAP? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:06PM (#13672865) Homepage Journal
    What is SAP? A Google search yields a company that sells business products, but there doesn't seem to be anything related to a point-of-sale system or workstation software. Is it an electronics design software?
    • Re:What is SAP? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:17PM (#13672978) Journal
      It's a German company that sells quite rather a lot of software. Whole large businesses run on it, and a cheap installation starts in seven figures and goes up from there. It's a serious suite of software. Check "SAP Specialist" in your favourite job search engine and check the rates they're getting for clue 2. They're big, as in first-page-of-Hitchhiker's-Guide big.
    • Re:What is SAP? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:27PM (#13673064)
      SAP [sap.com] is one of the biggest software companies in the world. Very, very heavy duty business apps for large companies. Factories. Big retailers, etc. All sorts of "vertical" apps in everything from apparel to insurance.

      One doesn't usually run anything from SAP without a small army from SAP (or one of their annointed consulting firms) completely stroking the install. They don't usually tolerate failed installs. And there's usually a LOT of money involved in these installations, and a lot at stake. SAP products are rarely used with modifications and customization to both the infrastructure and the apps themselves.
  • Smells fishy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SynapseLapse (644398) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:07PM (#13672881)
    This whole article is useless without really saying what the crash was. You could have the most rock solid stable server in the world, and it won't mean much if the applications you're hosting are buggy and badly implemented. It would be nice to know to EXACTLY what crashes he was getting and why. Not just "Uhh, there were core dumps and blue screens, but with a linux blue instead of microsoft blue." I think this would be a great opportunity for an Ask Slashdot poll. Maybe he'd even post some of the core dumps.
  • by The Famous Druid (89404) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:11PM (#13672915)
    That the decision to go Linux was made by his predecessor.

    Looks like 'new manager' syndrome to me...

    • That the decision to go Linux was made by his predecessor.

      Good point - the first thing a lot of new managers do is tell you that everything that was done before they got there was done the wrong way. Also two weeks does make sense - if you have to learn on the job.

      Even when you aren't learning on the job it makes sense to kick a test system around for a few weeks if it is a major change of complicated production software with some consequences if it's down for a while or runs incorrectly. After that you

    • from the article:
      "Crest's IT manager, Anthony Horton, oversaw the deployment of SAP on Linux in November 2004, after inheriting the decision when he took the job. Having previously run SAP on AIX - IBM's version of Unix - Horton was comfortable with deploying such a mission-critical application on Linux."

      This isn't a Windows guy.

    • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @08:15AM (#13674826) Journal
      we have a winner.

      a joke:

      The old manager, on his way out of his old office, with his possessions in a box hands Three Envelopes to his successor.

      Old Manager says "here, this is all you need to know. When you get in a jam, just open these envelopes in order; #1,#2,#3."

      New Manager moves in chugs along for a few months and then runs into a jam with his superiors. They are upset about performance/output whatever.

      He thinks, "AHAH! I'll open one of the Envelopes!". He opens #1, in it a paper says "Re-organize".

      He says "AHAH!" and proceeds to shuffle staff for 12 months. Make org charts and take synergy meetings.

      New Manager chugs along for a few months and then runs into a jam with his superiors. They are upset about performance/output whatever.

      He thinks, "AHAH! I'll open one of the Envelopes!". He opens #2, in it a paper says "Re-organize".

      He says "AHAH!" and proceeds to shuffle staff for 12 months. Make org charts and take synergy meetings.

      New Manager chugs along for a few months and then runs into a jam with his superiors. They are upset about performance/output whatever.

      He thinks, "AHAH! I'll open one of the Envelopes!".

      He opens #3, in it a paper says "Get three envelopes...".
  • by Anthony Liguori (820979) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:12PM (#13672931) Homepage
    When a program dumps core, it means that the program did something that it wasn't supposed to do (like try to read memory that isn't valid) and the operating system has (correctly), stop the program's execution, and to make life easier on developers, copied the program state into a handy file so that the problem can be debugged. No other programs on your system will be harmed by this one malfunctioning program.

    When Windows blue screens, it means *the operating system* has done something it wasn't supposed to do (like try to read memory that isn't valid) and the operating system bails. Often, it will return execution to the next instruction and hope things will be okay. It almost certainly isn't. You're basically screwed.

    The equivalent in Linux is an Oops. They don't happen that often on production systems. A crappy properitary program doing things it's not supposed to is *not* a Linux problem nor an Open Source problem. It's SAP's problem.

    This is a testimonal about the crappiness of SAP and nothing more. They obviously didn't do enough testing on Linux.
  • by AndrewSchaefer (89406) * <andrew&schaefer,nu> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:13PM (#13672936) Homepage
    "The Best Run Businesses Run SAP" is a true statement... SAP says it over and over again. What they're really stating is that only the best run businesses can survive a SAP implementation, the rest run out of money or patience, or worse, end up being driven out of business by the enormous cost and disruption it causes. SAP has a HORRIBLE track record on linux. They claim support for linux and other non-MS platforms, but that's only for their core products. Everything outside of CRM and R3 is riddled with technotes and disclaimers about needing MSSQL and WINDOWS. They don't really write cross-platform systems, they just make claims and back them up with fine-print disclaimers.

    I just left a company that was $10M and 2 years behind on their "$2M" SAP implementation. It's a joke. Once SAP gets their foot in the door, they flood your company with incompetent consultants and rebuild your business around SAP-approved procedures and architecture. At the end of this clusterfuck you end up WAY over budget and desperately looking for a scape goat. Clearly Crest Electronics chose Linux.

    SAP products require patch after patch, and take MONTHS to really install. We had a team of engineers working around the clock (literally) for 5 months to get our base systems set up to SAP specs. Even then we would receive "mystery" patches, frequently resulting in system crashes as they weren't designed to work with other patches. Bottom line - SAP is the problem. They churn out highly unstable software and have armies of consultants who will sweep problems like this under the carpet or find something else to blame.
    • I've had no SAP experience, but I understand the concept.

      Out in the world, there's a software configuration management (SCM) tool called ClearCase. It's developed by a company called Rational, which is now known as a subsidiary of IBM.

      As best as I can tell, the only reason anyone uses this thing is because it integrates cleanly into another product, Rational Rose (a UML modeling tool). Or in my case, because the company says it's a standard (no matter how many stories I hear that every project that uses it
    • by al_broccoli (909467) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:56PM (#13673221)
      SAP products require patch after patch, and take MONTHS to really install. We had a team of engineers working around the clock (literally) for 5 months to get our base systems set up to SAP specs. Even then we would receive "mystery" patches, frequently resulting in system crashes as they weren't designed to work with other patches. Bottom line - SAP is the problem. They churn out highly unstable software and have armies of consultants who will sweep problems like this under the carpet or find something else to blame.
      This is a load of crap. Everyone hires consultants that are idiots, but the interactions you describe with SAP just don't happen. I've been administering SAP systems for 10 years now, and I've never had anything like what you describe.
      They claim support for linux and other non-MS platforms, but that's only for their core products. Everything outside of CRM and R3 is riddled with technotes and disclaimers about needing MSSQL and WINDOWS.
      What a joke. MS SQL/Windows were among the last platforms supported by SAP. In all my years of supporting SAP systems, I have NEVER run across a note saying that something was only supported on SQL Server/Windows.
      SAP has a HORRIBLE track record on linux.
      Bottom line, I've been running SAP products on Linux for over 3 years now, with not a single complaint. You obviously don't know jack about what you're talking about.
      • Or your a SAP troll, just look it up on google, there are hundreds of storys about how freaking bad SAP products are with Linux. I havent heard one good word about them which is why when our boss told us he was thinking about moving to them the entire IT staff said if he did we would all quit.

        Its a overpriced peice of trash that any compitent IT staff can do better for cheaper.

      • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:00AM (#13673760) Journal
        This argument is brilliant.

        User A: I used SAP and had lots of problems and it didn't work and the consultants took lots of money and re-engineered everything around their system. SAP is always crap.
        User B: I've used SAP for years and had no problems. You must be the problem. Never mind that I know nothing about your situation or your dealings with SAP I'm going to call you a liar and say SAP is wonderful.

        Neither of you are being reasonable, but man, pass the popcorn! This is entertaining! Just like Jerry Springer.
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:14PM (#13672938) Homepage
    the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random.

    Blue screen is a Windows thing but core dump is not [wikipedia.org].

    Crest Electronics is trialling Microsoft's Windows Server Update Service, which allows automatic patching for the operating system and other Microsoft software on servers and desktop machines across a corporate network. Its benefits are one of the key reasons why Mr Horton stands by his decision to switch from Linux to Windows.

    "We run Linux on our web server and for an accounting package with great success and we do use the auto-patching in those environments,"

    I work in a Windows shop but we don't do automatic patching. We don't patch until we've done extensive testing on our own to make sure it works in our environment first. SUS/WUSS/whatever is great in the sense that it allows you to control how patches to your Windows workstations are distributed. You can change the workstations' auto-update behavior so they only update from your SUS servers, etc. But the automatic update thing, from what I've heard, is rarely used in a production environment. In fact, Microsoft gives you a considerable amount of control over its behavior, probably because in recognition of the dangers of auto updating in a production environment.

    Mr Horton disagrees: "It might be fine for things like security patches, which don't impact SAP certification rules but with some patches you still actually have to check the release levels and then check against the SAP site. Otherwise SAP might ask you to roll back to the previous version before they will support it."

    Give me a break! The same thing happens in the Windows environment. It took Bloomberg and our other vendors a while before they supported Windows XP SP2. When SP2 first came out, a lot of vendors blamed SP2 for problems that may or may not have been SP2's fault. It took Windows vendors a while to adpot SP2 as well.

    In any case, the whole patching issue he takes with Linux seems absurd. Just a few days ago, I think our server guys patched their cluster with a Microsoft service pack. Now the cluster refuses to fail over properly. Patching in a production environment is ALWAYS a big headache if you want to do it right. Unfortunately for our server guys, we don't have a spare cluster sitting around for them to test patches on like they normally do with other servers.

    • I *know* this guy is not an admin. He is MIS, at best. *Huge* difference. This guy gets paid to write reports and macros for applications for whatever software this businesses uses, clearly SAP, not to install or administer servers.

      I mean, just listen to him. He outsources everything. He seriously believes all operating systems are the same. He complains about having to spend two days a month updating and testing. Then he goes on to include this work in an increased "total cost of ownership" for Linu
  • by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:15PM (#13672956) Homepage Journal
    Yes, because we totally believe that you came up with that arguement on your own. "Total cost of ownership" is a natural concept which simply develops in natural language, like swear words based around bodily functions.
  • *nix incompetence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bombadillo (706765) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:15PM (#13672958)
    From TFA , a quote from RedHat support regarding Crest...

    "We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.

    These Crest guy's didn't even have the ability to use support properly.

    and

    "We run Linux on our web server"

    The entire company has 1 webserver? Unless he was missquoted this guy doesn't have a clue what his IT department should be doing.

    Nuff said.
  • Unix experience? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geoskd (321194) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:18PM (#13672986)
    The person giving the references in this article did not seem to be the long time UNIX user he claims to be.
    first: He put his experience with Linux into a windows context, suggesting that he is in fact an experienced windows administrator.
    second: he did not understand automatic updates. A feature which is and has been available on many linux distro's for quite some time, and a feature which is quite prevalent in UNIX especially from IBM
    third: Red Hat Linux (even enterprise class) does not have a very restrictive hardware requirement, and the odds are pretty good that they would have needed to do the same hardware upgrades to run whatever windows system they eventually moved to.
    fourth: Anyone who is an experienced administrator knows that the core operating systems are tremendously stable, be it windows or Linux, or UNIX, and that the instabilities in any system will be introduced by drivers needed for operation of application specific hardware (for example a custom cash register based peripheral or some such). This tells me that they had just such a piece of equipment in their systems, and that the vendor of this hardware did not supply working drivers. Further, I would conjecture that said supplier probably had a long standing windows driver, and had ported the drivers to the linux platform specifically at the request of this client. The result is what you would expect: a first generation driver which fails intermittently.

    -=Geoskd
    www.geoskd.com [geoskd.com]
  • by clarkie.mg (216696) <mgofwd+Slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:27PM (#13673069) Homepage Journal
    I hate those *false* links that redirect to a registration page. Even if it's free, do they imagine anyone is going to fill those long forms for every page they visit.

    Fortunately, the bugmenot bookmarklet did the trick.

    About the story : so we have *one* situation where a problem happenned between SAP and linux. That kind of conflicts happens all the time in IT. Either you solve it or you change one component.

    In both cases, drawing general conclusions on the abandonned product is common but unfair and a sign of lower qualifiquations.
  • by at_slashdot (674436) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:39PM (#13673143)
    Do you observe that lately if someone puts Windows instead of Linux is news.

    Just like: a dog bites a man is not news, but a man bites a dog is. That's telling.
    • Do you observe that lately if someone puts Windows instead of Linux is news.

      It's 'news' only in the navel gazing world of /. Meanwhile, the rest of the world just keeps on doing business.

  • Two Weeks! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:41PM (#13673156)
    the installation on Linux Red Hat took two weeks

    Only an absolute moron would admit to that. You have idiots working for you fire them immediately! With absolutely no experience with any unix/linux system and very little windows experience, I setup a mail server, webserver and started creating a website for a company. I did that back in 1996 with RedHat 5 & a Linux for Dummies Book. Linux has come a long way since then. If they can't figure out how to install a modern linux distro in less than 4 hours, you should not be let near any computer ever! I could build a PC clone system from parts and install Fedora Core 4 configure it with apache, mysql, ftp and secure it before lunch. I've done it several times at work.

    • by Queer Boy (451309) *

      With absolutely no experience with any unix/linux system and very little windows experience, I setup a mail server, webserver and started creating a website for a company.

      I have a BS in ECE Comm so my experience is a lot less than what those working on this system but more than an average computer user and I was able to install YellowDog Linux on a PowerMac 6100 in about 3 hours, in April of this year. It mainly took that long because it was over 10Mb enet (which was faster than the 2x CDROM). Then it on

    • Re:Two Weeks! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Malor (3658) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:36AM (#13673665) Journal
      At one job, a few years ago, I installed a small, simple SAP program, SAPRouter. It was basically a program that would route net connections over a modem into a foreign network. I don't remember the details very well, because it has been six or seven years, but some of the stuff I definitely do recall. My memory of cursing, intensely, for DAYS is clear and bright. SAPRouter was among the stupidest pieces of software I've ever been forced to work with.

      It was just bizarre. Out in left field.... way, way out. They implemented an entire routing protocol, kind of like IP, but very poorly. It was completely unrelated to any other form of routing I've seen.

      From what I remember, you had to install the router software on a PC that had a modem. That was going to do the call out. (VPN wasn't common at the time, you had to use a modem for a network backdoor.) But then you had to configure the client to talk to that PC over the network... and you also, if I remember correctly, had to tell it about every hop it had to take in the foreign system.

      In other words, it would be like having to manually configure your PC with every hop between you and Slashdot before you could read web pages. And if one of the hops changed, well, too bad. No Web for you.

      There was more, too, lots more, but I have lost the details. All I remember is that it was problem after problem after problem for DAYS. And this is relatively simple software.

      The documentation was horrible too. It made no sense at all. (which shouldn't be that surprising, really, since the program made no sense either.) SAP was kind of bleeding edge in one regard, and provided fairly complete Web documentation. Sadly, instant access helped clarity not a whit. I ended up taking three or four days and making repeated calls to SAP to get the stupid thing working. It felt like I was trying to push my head through a cheese grater. I'm not an idiot... I was learning IP routing at the time, and I can assure you, it was _trivial_ in comparison.

      In some ways(the bad ones), SAPRouter reminded me of learning Netware for the first time. Netware was full of weirdnesses that didn't make sense at first. But after you'd been working with a given feature for awhile, nearly always there was an 'aha!' Netware had a payoff for the struggle... you'd finally see why they had modeled a given problem the way they had, and it was inevitably elegant, powerful, and aesthetic all at once. It was hard to figure out their context, but once you did, their solutions made beautiful sense. They thought out problems incredibly thoroughly, and solved them completely.

      SAPRouter wasn't like that. It felt like, well... like a bureaucracy that's very sure of its own brilliance. They reimplemented, badly, what IP was already doing. It was grossly inferior, complex when it didn't need to be. Once I understood their context, and why they solved the problem how they did, my conclusion was that they were idiots. It felt like something designed by people who had *no idea* what routing is or how it should work.

      To be fair, it was nicely stable once it was up. I didn't have to fool with it anymore after it was (finally) running.

      Basically.... don't be so serenely certain these admins are idiots. The reason you're good at figuring this stuff out is because smarter people than you (or me) took the time to make it (relatively) easy. They chose good models and clean implementations, so the programs are fairly easy to configure and use. You being good at building solutions from open source stuff is partially your brainpower, but the lion's share of the credit goes to the original designers. You had an easy time of it because, for the most part, the software is fairly easy. It could have been far, far worse.

      It could have been SAP.
  • by Queenslander (918787) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:34AM (#13673659)
    I live in Brisbane, and the area where Crest is situated is renowned for power supply problems - only the best UPS's will help. I'll bet that the guys who "fixed" the problems with WINDOWS supplied a new UPS with their gear.
  • by dindi (78034) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @01:49AM (#13673719) Homepage
    when you have your servers up in 2 weeks instead of two might cost some dough .... but stability costs less at the end ...

    when your servers on windows will blue screen at the middle of the production day that wiwill most likely cost a lot more on the long term in productivity loss and people sitting in their offices not being able to access resources ...

    yes i can install windows box in 30 minutes with webserver, however i have bsd boxes running 365days+ with dns/apache restart and having a good sleep while my non windows machines run is just cheaper me than having a blue screened server for 8 hours and loose customers or receive pages to "fix that crap" in the middle of the night ...

    of course your mileage might vary .. if you have 24hr support sitting on a reset button windows might be OK, if a reboot costs you heavy dollars and long distance calls and several minutes of services down you should choose 2 weeks install and no reboots..

    just a note: how can an installation of a software last 2 weeks vs 2days ? Same software ? I know sometimes clicking a defult config together takes less time than building a config file (text) from a bad template/example but 2 weeks ?

    God created all that in 1 week! (including basics for SAP and Linux in a way) -OK He knows more than us I guess
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:30AM (#13674011)
    "We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.

    thats says it all in a nutshell i think. he's a retard.

  • Subject (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:40AM (#13674032) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does this sound like an ad?

    "I fully support Linux but if I had to make the decision again I'd pick Windows. A big reason is the fact Windows was up and running in two hours at all the right patch levels. The installation of SAP took two days on Windows, the installation on Linux Red Hat took two weeks. The total cost of ownership is actually lower in this case than with Linux because of the hidden costs of the support."

    I feel like I'm reading a Microsoft brochure. And keep in mind that I *like* Windows as a desktop OS, for the most part.

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA

Working...