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London Stock Exchange Rejects .NET For Open Source 498

Posted by kdawson
from the next-stop-world-domination dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "This summer, the London Stock Exchange decided to move away from its Microsoft .Net-based trading platform, TradElect. Instead, they'll be using the GNU/Linux-based MillenniumIT system. The switch is a pretty savage indictment of the costs of a complex .Net system. The GNU/Linux-based software is also faster, and offers several other major benefits. The details provide some fascinating insights into the world of very high performance — and very expensive — enterprise systems. ... [R]ather than being just any old deal that Microsoft happened to lose, this really is something of a total rout, and in an extremely demanding and high-profile sector. Enterprise wins for GNU/Linux don't come much better than this."
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London Stock Exchange Rejects .NET For Open Source

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  • It's just a VM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:33PM (#29662453)

    .Net is just a specification and a bunch of languages. There is an open source implementation of .Net itself and certainly many open source projects written in C#. "Rejects windows for open source" would have been a more appropriate headline. I hope they still use some kind of language with bounds checking and type safety, given the dangers of buffer overrun exploits in a national stock trading system.

  • Wall Street (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:35PM (#29662487) Homepage Journal

    Didn't the New York Stock Exchange move over to Linux because Microsoft couldn't provide a good, low-latency RT kernel? They begged Microsoft, wanted to stay with Microsoft, and Microsoft couldn't provide them with a solution.

  • by datapharmer (1099455) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:36PM (#29662497) Homepage
    yes.

    Care to try a self-eating watermelon?
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:40PM (#29662553)

    TradElect platform, supplied by Accenture, has finally been answered: yes, it will. This hardly comes as a surprise â" the issue of the platformâ(TM)s speed and efficiency as well as Accentureâ(TM)s support has been a hot topic for the market in the last couple of months.

    Accenture? Not exactly a low cost vendor there. Meaning, much of the "costs" of this .NET system is Accenture's high fees.

    âWe want to address the entire suite of products and MillenniumIT gives us that scale.â(TM) Indeed, its offshore development centre â" âa hotbed of top graduatesâ(TM) â" with 94 per cent being top-class alumni from Sri Lanka and around the world, including MIT in the US, caters for such magnitude of scope.

    Offshoring. They're going with a cheaper, although quite smart, set of folks.

    Furthermore, he describes LSEâ(TM)s experience with .Net as âvery positiveâ(TM).

    Ok, this looks more like changing vendors and implementation. They also want âfor more control, less costs, and the ability to build and innovateâ(TM).

    This really isn't a damning of Microsoft and its technology. This is about going with a cheaper vendor and a software platform that gives them more control to suit their needs.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:40PM (#29662559)

    It sounds to me like the change was due to a lower bid from a particular Sri Lankan company and not really about technology primarily.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:41PM (#29662571)

    i read the article and found this.

    while TradElect is based on Microsoftâ(TM)s .Net technology. The choice of the latter, which has raised quite a few eyebrows in the market, is defended by Lester. He claims that LSE is coming off TradElect not because of the .Net technology itself (although its trading speed is 2.7 milliseconds compared to Linux-based Chi-Xâ(TM)s 0.4 milliseconds), but âfor more control, less costs, and the ability to build and innovateâ(TM). Furthermore, he describes LSEâ(TM)s experience with .Net as âvery positiveâ(TM).

    i will grant that the 2.7 ms benchmark is definately slower than .4 ms. However, i don't think you can benchmark the trading speed of .Net, only the trading speed of TradElect. Last time i checked msdn, there was no System.StockExchange namespace provided with the .net framework.

    These articles sound more like MilleniumIT's just got a faster, nicer, cheaper product than TradElect. It sounds to me like Accenture failed, not .net

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:41PM (#29662573)

    From what I understand, it was the app that sucked. Why is this then a stinging indictment of the platform?

  • by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:42PM (#29662579) Journal
    Having read the article, and having traded equities on the London Stock exchange and Borsa Italiana for twenty years, I must say that I believe that the declaration that it was not a performance issue is correct.....to the point that I suspect that no amount of performance gains on Microsoft's part would have turned the scales.
    Stock Exchanges are not national monopolies anymore, even if the few remaining big ones are gobbling each other. Controlling the technology involved is much more important than a slight performance hit. The London stock exchange scores a double hit on this one, since not only it will own the system, but the internals of said system will be open source, freeing it for example from limitation of sale to third parties by the US government. And anyway, when an istitution that big uses only Microsoft inhouse, is like having another stakeholder on your back, with an agenda of its own, like having you switch soon to the latest and greatest of its Server suite, if only for its publicity value. By doing the move, LSE is back to setting its own pace. I wish I could do the same on my desktop in the office.
  • by notasheep (220779) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:43PM (#29662615)

    Because it's Slashdot, silly.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:47PM (#29662671)

    Didn't the New York Stock Exchange move over to Linux because Microsoft couldn't provide a good, low-latency RT kernel? They begged Microsoft, wanted to stay with Microsoft, and Microsoft couldn't provide them with a solution.

    I could be wrong, but IIRC the NYSE has never been a Microsoft shop for the hard-core trading systems. They may have wanted to switch to Microsoft from the previous big Unix iron, but Linux won out.

    However, Microsoft got added to the DJIA as a consolation prize.

  • by xzvf (924443) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:53PM (#29662771)
    "Enterprise wins for GNU/Linux don't come much better than this." Enterprise wins like this are happening all the time for Linux and other free software options. What makes this unique is MS touted LSE running their system as a huge win for their solution. The fact it gets ripped out a year latter for Linux is marketing gold if free software needed to market.
  • Re:How fast (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:54PM (#29662775) Homepage Journal

    did Microsoft take down their triumphant "case report" on the original design-in?

    While I'm not sure if .NET / Windows is the appropriate platform for a stock exchange, I find it humorous how quickly so many want to bask in the glow of this, using it as proof of something, when I'm fairly certain that it was discarded as proof of nothing when the LSE first went the .NET route. Now we have some completely and utterly unproven vapourware, supported by some fictitious numbers, and people are using it conclusively, when really it should be more along the lines of "yeah...we'll see...".

    The LSE sounds like it has very incompetent technical leadership, and this sounds very pie-in-the-sky-ish. So now in return for selecting this Sri Lankan company, they get 100% ownership (???) of some speculative wish. Great. .NET is a fantastic development environment, and it is fantastic for virtually any size websites. Probably not so great for real-time trading, though throw enough specialization at it and you can get whatever you want out of it.

  • Because.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:54PM (#29662779) Journal

    They had $60M to throw into development. There's a good chance it's as fast as they could make it.

    Also, Microsoft gets to crow about the awesome power of their platform when they "win" these big installations. It's only fair we get to revel in it when they stub their toe on them.

  • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:54PM (#29662785) Homepage Journal

    You are incorrect, they are trading a $65 million dollar piece of software for a $30 million COMPANY. They bought the MilleniumIT company that had ALREADY IMPLEMENTED a trading platform. They bought the company for the platform, and now they control the development of the platform going forward in house. They are not trading one IT consultancy for another, as they now OWN the software and the company that built it.

    However, they state the platform they bought ALREADY achieves 6 times the performance of the piece of software built by accenture (.4ms vs 2.7ms transaction times).

    While I agree that this is more of an indictment of Accenture's apparently shoddy work than of .NET itself, the fact that they've had 6 years (the article states the TradElect software/project was started in 2003) and $65 million dollars thrown at the problem and haven't been able to make the software perform better does raise some eyebrows about the underlying technology as well.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:59PM (#29662839) Journal
    Strictly speaking, it isn't. However, back before they made the change, the deployment of the app was supposed to be a ringing endorsement of the platform. It was one of the most prominent "get the facts" cases. So, although the relationship between the quality of the app and the quality of the platform isn't obvious in either direction, there is certain symmetry here. If the app's success was going to be an endorsement, and was hyped as such, its failure can plausibly be considered an indictment.
  • Re:How fast (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:04PM (#29662895) Homepage Journal

    As one other note, while OSS fanatics (I'm quite keen about OSS, but not quite a fanatic) go apeshit about this - This was more "switched from Accenture to running it `in house' in the form of a large team of low-paid talent in Sri Lanka" way more than it was "abandoned .NET for Linux! Rah rah rah!". The fact that people are hilariously so focused on the latter while missing the former speaks to how incredibly myopic people can be.

  • Re:How fast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:10PM (#29662975) Journal

    The LSE sounds like it has very incompetent technical leadership, and this sounds very pie-in-the-sky-ish. So now in return for selecting this Sri Lankan company, they get 100% ownership (???) of some speculative wish. Great. .NET is a fantastic development environment, and it is fantastic for virtually any size websites. Probably not so great for real-time trading, though throw enough specialization at it and you can get whatever you want out of it.

    Wait, Microsoft + Accenture built a piss-poor platform. As you may recall, Accenture is a giant in the consulting business. Their combined efforts failed miserably.

    Linux is the OS of most large trading systems. This has been covered on slashdot before.

    MilleniumIT has a proven product in deployment in several exchanges. Their product is not pie-in-the-sky. It works. They've had several big wins in the past decade. They've been collaborating with Intel on optimizing their platform. Their transaction processing times are an order of magnitude better than LSE's current system.

    So, I'm not sure what your angle is... are you trolling? Astroturfing? Or just spouting knee-jerk reactionism without any kind of basis in reality? A quick googling might have helped you out a bit.

  • Re:How fast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:19PM (#29663117)

    I agree, this isn't a big win for open source just yet. They could easily re-implement and run into all of the same problems. But it is still a real loss for Microsoft and .NET. Consider the statement:

    ".NET is a fantastic development environment, and it is fantastic for virtually any size websites. You can even use it to build a real-time trading system."

    That's a pretty powerful statement that Microsoft can no longer make effectively, and it helps force .NET down into a specific market rather than the sky being the limit. No matter who's to blame (who knows, maybe it wasn't .NET's fault at all), the takeaway will still be that .NET didn't cut it in the major leagues (something it really needs to do if it wants more Java marketshare).

  • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:27PM (#29663229) Homepage Journal

    As if Accenture can't "outsource" and hire Sri Lankan developers?

    They are buying the whole company in Sri Lanka, not just hiring them to build a project for them. The software in question already exists, the company in Sri Lanka already built it and is selling it today to other exchanges.

    Further, your statement that its about "going with a cheaper vendor and a software platform that GIVES THEM MORE CONTROL" is very much a damning of Microsoft and its technology. With Microsoft you don't have control THEY DO. And they charge you an arm and a leg to take that control away from you...

  • Re:Still there (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:38PM (#29663355)

    Can't blame them, at least not according to the rumors from the article:

    The cause of the failure remained shrouded in mystery yesterday, though most observers believed a combination of a surge in trading and a complex integration project to tie up the LSE's systems with Borsa Italia, which it purchased last year, had left the exchange open to a computer failure.

    Someone in house could have easily have thrown in an uncaught exception as they have screwed around internally. .NET is not to blame for a poor implementation. A poor implementation is to blame. A finer issue here is that Microsoft and Accenture developed it, which means Accenture developed it. The system had proven to be 100% resilient since 2006, until the first crash. I am not defending the crash in the slightest, but to suggest that it is somehow .NET's fault is a joke.

    I cannot help but relate this terrible article [computerworld.com] on the exact same crash, which assumes facts not in evidence.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:40PM (#29663391)

    I bet they will use Mono to ease the transition. If they've already got a huge codebase written for .NET, wouldn't it be insane to throw it away?

    They don't like the performance, or the feature set of the current codebase. They are buying an entirely new system to address those issues. It would be far more insane to keep any of it, or have to maintain it - they want it out wholesale.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:48PM (#29663467)
    If you really see technology as good guy versus bad guy you're a moron.
  • Re:It's just a VM (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:52PM (#29663521)
    If you're going to criticize someone's understanding, and say he's getting basic stuff wrong, it's a good idea to not be wrong yourself.
    • You can delete values from the middle of Lists, and add to them without running into a size restriction. If you don't see how this clashes with your "contiguous block of memory" assertion I despair.
    • "Jumping around in memory" following a linked list isn't necessarily slower than incrementing a pointer by the size of the array element. In both cases you're just changing the value of a pointer. (You know computer memory doesn't involve physical "jumping", right? Accessing memory at position 0 then 100 is no slower than 0 then 1...).

    GP is clearly a more experienced developer than you, please try to be less of a jackass when trying to correct people.

  • by forsetti (158019) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:54PM (#29663527)

    I can't wait for the GNU\Linux Marketing Department to make a campaign out of this!!! Oh wait ..., well, Slashdot it is then!

  • by thejynxed (831517) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#29663579) Homepage

    Part of the problem is that they DO need to market. They just don't, for various reasons usually having to do with $$$.

    It's one of the main complaints about Linux adoption. If the only two groups doing any form of real marketing are Novell and Red Hat, don't expect the platform as a whole to make more than a extremely small dent against Microsoft corporate and home solutions.

  • Re:How fast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aztracker1 (702135) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:12PM (#29663727) Homepage

    No, it is another demonstration of a closed source company using low-wage, ill-trained labor to produce a platform unsuitable for large-scale low-latency transactions.

    I really don't think it has anything to do with the platform so much as the companies involved.

  • by suds (6610) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:15PM (#29663757) Homepage

    So, when Microsoft makes so much noise with press adverts & getthefacts campaigns, its 'marketing' and when FOSS supporters rejoice they are 'fanatics'!! Just STFU and get back to your windows 7 house party.

  • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:45PM (#29664059)
    Well, they also increased performance. If throwing money/systems at a problem can't get you performance maybe the other guys are really better ?
    Oh, it is interesting that an ex consultant would spell "Disclosure" as "Discloser". On an internet forum where your spelling/language becomes a major indicator of credibility, you might want to use a browser like Firefox which will correct errors for you.
  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:28PM (#29664445)

    Anyone can use open source in their profit-generating business, it's only newsworthy when a major player makes a significant contribution back to the community whose shoulders it stands upon.

    It is this type of thinking that prevents Linux from moving beyond being the behind the scenes "muscle" in an enterprise-level environment. Microsoft, on the other hand, wants as many people as possible to use their systems, and verious memo and powerpoint leaks over the years have shown that internally they focus on keeping their customers as satisfied as possible. Obviously, they fail sometimes (i.e. TFA), but overall this focus has allowed them to maintain their dominance, whereas Linux has somewhat plateaued lately.

    What you really should be doing is celebrating each and every user - be it an individual or a whole enterprise environment - because every new user of Linux increases the incentive for developers to develop for Linux in addition to, and maybe eventually instead of, Windows.

  • by jim_v2000 (818799) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:04PM (#29664751)
    That's great, but there are plenty of enterprise situations where .NET is being utilized. It all boils down to using what works. In this case, Microsoft's solution failed. Hopefully their Linux based solution works better. But lets say that it craps out and crashes too (yes, programs running on Linux systems do crash)...will you be out here saying that Linux isn't read for enterprise deployment either?
  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:12PM (#29664793)
    The article was clear that they were not dumping .Net just because it was .Net, but dumping the application and system that just happened to use .Net. They also dumped the out-source model and actually bought the company that makes the new product so that they would have more in-house control. The .Net thing is just a minor quibble in the big story.

    The languages are merely tools; the bigger picture is about the application and the customers. The problem with Microsoft's approach to being a "solutions provider" is that they're too focused on pushing their tools and technology, with the actual application being an afterthought. That is, they're Microsoft focused, not customer focused.

    At the end of the day, the London Stock Exchange could not care less what the developers think about the language they're using, or even what the operating system is. They're not trying to stick a finger in the eye of Microsoft or promote open source, they just want a product that does what they want at the best price they can get.
  • by ELProphet (909179) <davidsouther@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:26PM (#29665327) Homepage

    >It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that a GC-based, VM-based language that has layers of intermediate execution is going to be slower >than is required for a trading system. What I don;t get is that MS thought they could throw hardware at it until it worked.

    You're massively under-representing .Net. First, the common belief that it's nothing more than Microsoft-does-Java, never mind the C++ development tools that work to allow developers to write native, as-fast-as-you-want-as-close-to-the-machine-with-inline-assembly that interoperates cleanly with code written in VB, C#, or F#- what other platform allows you to literally mix inline assembly within functional programming? (Not saying it's a good idea, just saying it works that way). There's a reason that VisualStudio/.Net is the best tool Microsoft makes. What we actually have is a team of 15-year-olds playing with an elephant gun and an angry elephant- people get trampled, because the developers do not know how to solve their problem.

    >The moral is that you don't want to use the simple-to-code MS platform when you can get a best-of-breed system, based on Linux and good engineering >for a lot less. IT managers around the world should be looking at this and thinking what similar lessons their IT departments could learn.

    The moral is that it you're developing something as critical as handling all the monetary transactions of a stock exchange, you want to do your damndest to actually hire developers who know what they're doing!

  • Re:Awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:12PM (#29665577) Homepage

    The guys that run Enterprise Oracle databases might not want to run the
    desktop distribution that has bleeding edge video driver support and
    automates the installation of video codecs and browser plugins. Imagine
    that?

    A free market readily accomodates different tastes.

    Perhaps you should try it some time "comrade".

  • by mpgalvin (207975) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:31PM (#29665701)

    They're not trying to stick a finger in the eye of Microsoft or promote open source, they just want a product that does what they want at the best price they can get.

    That's exactly what makes it a finger to the eye. The fact that it's a nonpartisan, pure-tech decision. It's the kind of thing that salespeople for OSS-based solutions can take to the bank.

    Assuming they're OK with the customer potentially buying them outright. :D

  • Re:It's just a VM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice (1171917) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:04PM (#29665915)
    This is all nice and stuff in theory. Every so often, people sometimes like to try to argue that code running under a VM such a java or C# with .Net are "as fast" or faster than machine-compiled code from C or C++ because of JIT and runtime optimizations and whatnot. Unfortunately, the reality just doesn't follow the theory. In real-world benchmarks, managed code is not faster than pre-compiled machine code. Period. This is just more evidence of what we already know. If the goal is sub-ten millisecond latency (and it is for stock exchange systems), LSE apparently never met that goal while other C++ solutions have for years. We can talk to death about data structure implementations and whatnot, but at the end of the day, we'll need to look around and see what the real-world results are telling us.
  • Re:Awesome. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:18PM (#29665987)
    Yeah. Damn that efficient, liquid marketplace that unites buyers with sellers for the free exchange of assets. *shakes fist* Capitalism!!!!!!
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:47AM (#29666485) Journal
    Sucky software is sucky software... it says nothing about the underlying platform.

    Microsoft's consulting services developed the "sucky software".

    Microsoft developed the underlying platform.

    If the company that developed the platform can't even build a stable solution on it, what hope is there for anyone else?

  • by visualight (468005) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:46AM (#29666769) Homepage

    ...allow developers...

    Every time there's a discussion of .Net, .Net developers defend the framework with a list of reasons intended to demonstrate how much better/easier it is to write applications in Java (oops, I mean .Net).

    _Every_ time I use one of these applications I am _very_ unimpressed.

    Those too things together have me thinking that all the mediocre programmers in the world gravitate to these 'easy' languages, and, we get TradeElect.

    Seriously, as an end user I give a damn how easy it is for you to crank out your ideas/applications, so please stop with the aforementioned approach to defending .Net and provide me with some examples of useful, solid, fast, not-buggy applications that can be written with .Net. As it stands right now applications written in .Net/Java/Ruby-on-Rails/etc. have no chance of making it into my infrastructure -sometimes there's an argument, but even then the guy who wrote it starts in with how easy it was to write, at which point he's lost the argument.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:05AM (#29666855)

    1) Your programs don't even do the same thing since some of them have multiple increments of the loop variable.
    2) Your C++ program is not idiomatic STL. If it were you'd use an iterator (which is typically a pointer for vector) as the loop variable.

    I'm not of the opinion that insert-high-level-language-with-GC-here is necessarily slower than insert-C-or-C++-or-whatever-here, but bullshit benchmarks aren't going to help make that case.

  • by siloko (1133863) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:02AM (#29667125)

    what other platform allows you to literally mix inline assembly within functional programming?

    Delphi - since like about 1993

  • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:28AM (#29667633)
    the right tool for the job? .NET is fantastic for many different things. In fact, I have written high end video encoder systems in .NET that performed all real time and file based management for multiple 1.5gbps streams in .NET. However for the high demand code, I used C++ and even a few lines of assembly (I can't resist it, just have to write them, helps me sleep at night).

    Developing high performance systems using .NET is ENTIRELY! possible and even practical. Unfortunately, in a company like Microsoft, the developer with the skill set for such a job will almost always end up on development teams for Windows, .Net itself, Visual Studio, even Office. The developers left over to write database programs for customers will be of a much lower grade. Besides, there are very few good real-time systems developers that would choose to work on a database program rather than on something more interesting, like... I don't know... shaving toe nails for old ladies. Really, database programming is what people do when they can't do anything else, it's the data-entry job of programmers.

    Sometimes Java is still a modern VM environment. CLR generally IS NOT. It has some features you would consider a VM runtime system, but if anything, those features improve performance over straight out compiling the MSIL code. Ideally, it would allow trace metrics to be calculated and where branches can be predicted, long traces can be compiled without cache-misses and penalties... creating MUCH higher performance code.

    As for GC. Well, unless you can develop a system that eliminates memory allocation altogether and uses no threading while doing it. Good GC based environments (like CLR/Mono) are almost always faster than straight memory allocation. I highly recommend you research it... and if you're going to try and prove it with 5 lines of code, don't waste your time. That's not a real world test. Test it instead for example with an XML parser that generates a DOM tree and then deletes/dereferences it.

    As a religious non-Java programmer and a devout Java basher, I'll shoot down the "Not suitable for nuclear reactors" thing. Java is 100 times more suitable for a nuclear reactor in most cases than C or C++ since the "object model" you would use in a Java program would centralize most critical bugs to a few lines of code that can be fixed to repair the whole program instead of spending months on diddling all the little memory and pointer related bugs you're likely to encounter. Also, for applications that are heavy allocators, relocatable memory in a Java environment can cause a system written by an "average programmer" to run much longer without crashing because of one memory abuse situation or another. Almost no "average programmers" even know where to begin to deal with memory fragmentation issues, yet they DO cause tons of problems.

    In the case of this trading system, it's obvious Microsoft tried throwing hardware at the problem. That was all fine and good. Hell, add 500 more web servers and use 5 over those 32 physical Xeon processor machines from Unisys to drive the database. .NET will make NO difference at this level. The flaw at this point was poorly coded SQL. After all, by distributing the load of the web traffic across 500 blade servers, there was little chance that the .NET program they were running was the problem.

    Instead, it's FAR more likely that abuse of the database was the real problem. Most database front ends querying data from SQL servers are written by mediocre database UI developers that have no respect for what the SQL server might actually have to do in order to process their queries. On top of that, they like to do things like create tons of views and indexes that all need to be updated constantly. Queries get SLOWED down and it doesn't matter how fast the application is, the SQL server can't keep up with the crap code on the back end.

    So, while you are bla
  • Re:Awesome. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wrook (134116) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:17AM (#29668445) Homepage

    Great post. I personally think that Debian,Redhat, Ubuntu, SuSE, etc is the best way to discuss our systems. Linux is a small part. I understand and sympathize with the GNU/Linux issue, but let's face it, there's still a lot more to my computer. My computer would not be very useful without X, Firefox, Mysql, Open Office, Gimp, etc, etc, etc. Unless I've missed a memo, none of these are GNU projects. The list would get even bigger if I were running KDE.

    The only sensible way to refer to these large distributions of software is by their distribution name. One might want to say I have a "Linux" system to indicate the types of software I can run, but actually the Mac can run all of it as well. Windows can even run most of it. Free software is flexible. It's flexible *because it is free* and hasn't been locked down by a vendor. This is the point. Championing a free software distribution is a better lead into why free software is important than saying "GNU" IMHO.

    Even better is that I can then discuss the relative merits of choosing gNewSense over Ubuntu or vice versa (Are you willing to give up functionality for freedom?)

  • by Doctor Memory (6336) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:50AM (#29668645)

    the repeatability you get from a script is nice.

    Dude, a .reg file *is* a script. There's no difference between double-clicking on FIXSOUND.REG and double-clicking on sndfix.sh.

    My big complaint with the registry is that it's too convoluted. Config files are typically either in the user's home directory, the program's working directory or its installation directory. Registry entries could be buried under something like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Class/{4DE36972-E325-CE11-CBFC-86753094BABE} -- how the hell am I supposed to remember that? (Assuming I could even find that in the first place!)

  • Re:Awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rysc (136391) * <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:33AM (#29669013) Homepage Journal

    This analogy doesn't work very well. You cannot have Firefox without Gecko, but you can have the GNU userland without Linux. See, for example, HURD, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, almost any Solaris box, and Windows.

    So in the case of Firefox it *is* purely unnecessary and redundant to also reference the kernel. Now, you might argue it the other way: Gecko is the real hero here and does not require Firefox, so maybe we should be saying e.g. Gecko/Seamonkey and Gecko/Firefox and Gecko/Galeon.

    All that said I don't believe the GNU/Linux thing is very relevant any more. Yes, every Linux system has and relies on software from the GNU project. But, every Linux system has and relies on non-GNU non-kernel software and, importantly, the ratio of GNU to non-GNU software now favors non-GNU, so though there is a significant contribution from GNU it is no longer so overwhelming as to suggest such high billing.

  • Re:Awesome. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jmnugent (705421) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:39AM (#29669077)
    I see your point (No, I'm not parent-commenter) .....BUT it reminds me of the old adage: "Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should." Is it great that Linux is free and anyone can modify or create a new Distro to suit their exact needs?.. Yes.. thats awesome and I support it fully. Does that freedom mean that we need 400 different Linux distrubutions? (I don't think so). It's the same logic you could apply to Government. If you want to make Government something that people actually like and want to get involved in--- you focus on making LESS laws, not MORE laws. Linux is the same way. If the Linux crowd ever wants to be "king of the (desktop) hill" (which seems to be the nut they wanna crack).. then they need to make things more streamlined and less confusing. If you are a younger member of the Linux crowd, I urge you to pick a project already in development - and help make it better.. instead of adding some new project.
  • by Rysc (136391) * <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:22AM (#29669599) Homepage Journal

    What is the registry?

    It is a hierarchical key=value store with access controls.

    Is it bad to have such a thing? No. But the registry is still bad.

    If you wanted to create a common configuration store that worked this way you would be best advised to simply create a directory and populate it with files. This drastically reduces the chance that corruption can destroy your configuration store. It also assures that you need not create an entire suite of specialized tools just to create and alter configuration data.

    Some config files are just collections of key value pairs, in which case they could be placed in to a general hierarchical configuration store. But, a lot of config files are really scripts (obvious examples: .profile, .emacsrc, but in fact most configuration can be seen as scripts) and not well suited to such a simple representation. On Windows these things are still stored outside the registry and in their own formats, so there is no escaping the need for a million files each with its own format.

    One oft cited advantage to the registry is its common access API, without the need for each app to have a parser. This is an advantage to a common storage format and says nothing about the registry as such. See the Elektra project for an example of some people who have a nice way to not be the registry and still provide a common API.

    The registry is bad because it's technically bad. It's just, simply, a bad idea.

    A series of differently foramtted text files is not really the best way to configure a system, either, but it has certain advantages. One advantage is manipulation via common tools, not requiring a dedicated suite of tools just for modifying config data. While a myriad of different formats is a disadvantage it is also an advantage: Each program can describe it's configuration in the manner that is best-suited for that program.

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