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The Truth About Linux and Windows 594

petrus4 writes "Groklaw has an update on the Laura DiDio saga. Apparently, her complaints about "Linux extremists" notwithstanding, cooler heads than the usual suspects are asking questions about her research. A very interesting read, and one which will hopefully encourage corporate readers to regard the Yankee Group's findings with the requisite metric ton of salt in the future."
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The Truth About Linux and Windows

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  • hm. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by eobanb ( 823187 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:16PM (#12338912) Homepage
    This is a really confusing article. Mostly because of the quotes of quotes, and the use of lots of pronouns. I have trouble keeping track of it all. That said, I appreciate civilised discourse, and having said THAT, DiDio nor certain Linux fanatics seem to be all that snuggly towards discussing things rationally.
  • by Future Man 3000 ( 706329 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:18PM (#12338934) Homepage
    Anybody that tells you Linux is better than Windows or Windows is better than Linux is, at best, simply wrong.

    The truth of the matter is that you should choose the operating system that suits your needs. If you want an inexpensive machine for Computer Science studies or to learn UNIX networking or even as a SOHO server for the advanced user, Linux is your game. Similarly, for gaming, business applications, enterprise servers or streaming media from your computer to your TV you won't go wrong with Windows.

    But to get caught up in "OS 1 is better than OS 2" debates is pure silliness, especially when you can run both easily.

  • The truth is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:20PM (#12338954)
    1. Linux still isn't ready for prime time zero hassle common user usage. Install Knoppix from the live cd at 800x600 and oops, now you gotta go to change the config as root to explicitly tell it your card can do 1024x768 because the installer sets as maximum whatever you were using the live cd at. Fedora's installer tries to relax you regarding Grub, but most of the time forcing LBA32 is needed or it sits there doing nothing at boot. Etc. Small potatoes for techs being paid to support it and used to all sorts of crockery, but not for casual users who shouldn't have to read inaccessible man pages because you can't even boot one machine during install.

    2. Linux is being adopted and the rise in compromised roots is testament to this. I salute the geniuses who've sold Linux without regard to education of the average business user on security.

    3. Windows will not be killed. Not going to happen. We will have competition indefinitely. And this is a good good thing.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:22PM (#12338969) Journal
    you're so funny.

    No - everything is not relative. To say "everything is relative, even this statement" would suggest that for some people the statement isn't relative, which would mean that for some people truth isn't relative. Truth exists outside your perceptions, Dewey-wannabe. "Realitity is as you experience it to be?" No. Reality is that stuff that continues even when you choose to ignore it.

    Saying "for some things, MS Windows is better. For other things, Linux is better" doesn't mean it's relative, it merely means the statement is vague. There are explicit things that Linux is better for. There are explicit things MS Windows is better for.

    "Everything is relative?" So, a rock is only a rock when I percieve it to be one? No, if it's a rock it continues to be a rock until something changes that state. If it is not a rock, then it continues not being a rock until something changes that state. Merely wishing it one way or the other doesn't make it so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:24PM (#12339000)
    I did a straw poll among work colleagues and they all had windows XP installed. Why? Because it was the same price as Linux (i,e, they either got it off some thai market stall, or they paid for it with with the system and they had no choice -e.g. Dell)

    If dodgy Microsoft volume license copies of XP weren't doing the rounds so much, then many home users would much rather use/try a free OS (Linux) than pay a hundred pounds for each incarnation of Microsoft Windows.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eobanb ( 823187 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:25PM (#12339006) Homepage
    We will have competition indefinitely. And this is a good good thing Oh I definitely agree, competition is good. But I also don't agree that open source software necessarily needs competition (at all) to improve. If a user wants a new feature or a bug fixed, then it actually happens, even without a competing product including that feature. That's the genius of open source. Not to mention that anyone can fork a project at any time if they don't like how it's going (although this isn't always true for what I consider shared-source projects, like under the CDDL). With Windows, if you don't like it, you have no choice except to not use Windows. With Linux, you do have a choice, and THAT is the fundamental difference.
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:28PM (#12339040)
    You make it sound like its shocking that they don't know what it runs, but most people running computers don't know what software its running.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:33PM (#12339097)
    Similarly, for gaming, business applications, enterprise servers or streaming media from your computer to your TV you won't go wrong with Windows. Yes and no. For gaming or business desktops, Windows XP is currently a better choice due to the number of applications available. For enterprise servers, Linux offers better performance and much better price/performance. Not sure about streaming media, but since most media formats require licenses for proprietary formats, Microsoft probably has an advantage there, to. Linux rules in the embedded, server, and scientific computing markets... unfortunately it does not currently dominate in the desktop market, and will not until a new generation of users trained to use Linux instead of Windows enters the work force.
  • no more politics! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dionysian.mind ( 862531 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:35PM (#12339122)
    This whole battle is absurd. Why has it all become so convoluted? Cost of deployment / migration: it is this simple -- if you have a pre-existing IT staff that is trained exclusively in windows, windows will be cheaper. If you have an IT staff educated in linux, it will be MUCH cheaper. This goes with TCO, etc. When it comes to stability, security, management, operation, these things will all be relative -- once again, to the competence of your IT staff (how and why they use what the use, how everything is implemented, etc.). Don't listen to anybody who says windows security holes are directly variable to linux security holes if they are just looking at them by numbers. Yea, linux has security holes (every OS does), but windows has HUGE security holes that are open invitations to destruction that are patched... eventually. The OSS community is pretty damn good at patching even the obscure holes pretty darn quick - and being honest about it. M$ will always be willing to strong-arm you into using their proprietary crap, and they will attempt to thwart linux via absurd propaganda campaigns. But none of that matters. Let the politics alone - that's not the IT workers job. Who is your IT staff, how are they trained? If they know what they are doing the OS shouldn't matter -- linux, aix, *bsd, windows, OS X, solaris: who cares?! We could all sit and bicker about the pluses and minuses of every server OS until the earth crashes into the sun, but the better plan is to skip the politics and educate the IT industry about every option and alternative. The problem with OS wars will always be that people believe that if they choose a side, fight for it, and win that they have won. Wrong. The burden of the IT professional and / or system administrator is one hell of a burden: you have to know everything. If you are an extremist in your profession to either side you are wrong -- it's not about the sys. admin. it's about the user and what works for them. It's about ensuring that *they* don't have to fix their computer -- that is our job. If a secretary has to spend even 5 minutes a day worrying about a program consistently crashing, or if they can log in or not, it's the admins. fault. period. Those are 5 minutes that they should have been doing what their job is. What we, as IT professionals, use at home is our deal, our preference, and our choice -- what we do at work is a different story. As an industry we all need to stop bickering and just learn our stuff, be competent, and be able and willing to work with everything that is out there to ensure that things "just work."
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:36PM (#12339126) Homepage Journal
    most people running computers don't know what software its running

    Very true, and much of the time it makes no difference. But when you're conducting a study on software costs, it makes sense to make sure the people you're asking questions of do know, or else the results are meaningless.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:38PM (#12339148) Homepage Journal
    Your examples are terrible. Windows can't set the right resolution on nVidia cards without the drivers either. Does that mean Windows isn't ready for "prime time zero hassle common user usage?"
    What about the geniuses who've sold Windows "without regard to education of the average business user on security?" How many SMBs have bought Small Business Server 2003 and had IIS compromised?
    Also, you made the classic uninformed mistake of confusing Linux distribution-level mistakes with the quality of the Linux kernel. Now repeat after me:
    "Linux is not a distribution, it is a kernel. Any problems with the distribution, X errors, etc, should be addressed with the vendor."
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jeff Hornby ( 211519 ) <jthornby&sympatico,ca> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:39PM (#12339160) Homepage
    If a user wants a new feature or a bug fixed, then it actually happens, even without a competing product including that feature

    Yeah, I know that whenever my mom, who uses windows, needs her computer to do something new, she constantly complains that she can't just fire up a C++ editor and make the changes to the source code herself.

    And my six year old nephew was complaining that his games were kind of sluggish. Poor kid can't just look at the source and find the problems.

    Face it, the ability to change operating system code is a benefit for .0001% of people and of absolutely no use to the other 99.9999% of people. And as for forking your own project, try it sometime. Do you have the time and resources to maintain your own source tree? Starting it is easy, maintaining such a beast is a huge commitment.
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:41PM (#12339181) Homepage Journal
    Arguably, using a Linux-based appliance is not really "using Linux" - it is certainly literally using Linux, but you're not interfacing to it. As long as it works, it doesn't mean diddly squat to you whether it runs Linux, IOS, DOS, or if it's a LISP machine.
  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:41PM (#12339183)
    From TFA:
    I've got a bone to pick with the never-ending stream of studies by tech research outfits comparing Linux to Windows. For starters, it seems like about half of them are paid for by one camp or another.

    If we agree that this is the main premise, I have a problem with the write-up on Groklaw in the first place. I think it's unlikely that most corporations (to whom the original study was aimed at) will find much value in an article on a site that has never displayed much consideration for corporate interests.[1]

    [1] Unless they happen to be interests that parallel the Linux community

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:43PM (#12339203)
    I've personally tried about a dozen times, and none of those installs worked correctly, and they all required a substantial amount of work to get them working even close to a Windows system working out of the box (none of the attempts ever yielded a 100% functioning PC). Thus, I know that a server would require a high-paid consultant to set up.
  • by aiken_d ( 127097 ) < minus author> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:46PM (#12339232) Homepage
    The only problem is that while you're out there yelling and screaming to get the fuck out before someone dies, most of the real world is inside getting on with life, annoyed in equal parts with the poor construction of the house and with the maniacs outside who are screaming bloody murder all night.

    Linux / Windows is *not* a life or death choice for most of us who have jobs to do. So-called advocates who would present it as such do far more harm than good to Linux's reputation in the business world.

  • Re:Joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro @ g m a i l . c om> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:46PM (#12339238) Journal
    Well thanks ! Yes it was a simple joke . The reason is that the woman really does deserve no respect in this industry and yet she continues to get constant coverage. Im willing to bet she makes a fair bit from sponsership through links.

    With The animosity she causes by her ill-informed rants ..I'm amazed any industry types take her seriously any-more.

    Yes also it was not sexist , Its just her name is Didio and not Schillster as i would rather have made a joke calling her a schill or a tool but it wouldnt of made me laugh as much and would lose all humor .

    Actualy i supose i could call her Drildio as she is a tool , alas thanks for understading that sometimes its just a joke
  • Re:This feels odd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Narchie Troll ( 581273 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:46PM (#12339239)
    You know, it never ceases to amaze me that Slashdot has more "dissenters" than the "slashbots" they criticize.

    For example, there's a massive host of conservatives (economic and/or social) here who constantly suggest that they're going to be modded down for their views. Of course, they rarely are, since a sizable portion of the site's visitors agree with them.

    Beyond that, it often seems that there are more "believe it or not, I like Windows" types here than the stereotypical Linux zealot. Seriously, Slashdot doesn't exactly suck Stallman's dick. Have you noticed how obsessive people are about Apple here? I think the GNU zealots (of which I am proudly one) are greatly outnumbered by Linus-style 'pragmatists'.
  • Re:TCO Laugher (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:46PM (#12339240)
    Sorry, Yankee, but learning how to operate a one windowing user interface is pretty easy when you are familiar with another.
    Microsoft estimates the retraining and lost productivity costs of upgrading from one version of Windows to a newer one at about $2000 per seat. So I'd estimate the costs of switching users to Linux is at least that. However, if you're being forced to upgrade anyway, you might as well bite the bullet and train your users to use Linux... and yes, you'd be out at least $1000 using Windows to get the same functionality you get out-of-box with Linux (e.g. compilers) but most users don't need all that functionality anyway.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:47PM (#12339241) Homepage Journal
    1. Linux still isn't ready for prime time zero hassle common user usage.

    Niether is Microsoft Windows. Ask almost anyone who uses Windows. It's a hassle.

    The issues you mention are installation. Few people could do a full windows install, including all vendor supplied device drivers.

    The actual truth is BOTH systems are far beyond the capabilities of average, unsophisticated users, or anything other than casual day-to-day usage of common applications.

    3. Windows will not be killed. Not going to happen. We will have competition indefinitely.

    If you call 90% Microsoft market share with exclusionary back-room deals at all major computer manufacturers so that virtually no PCs ship with competitors products... then yet, looks like it's gonna be that way for some time. I just wouldn't call it "competition". "Monopoly" might be a much better word.

  • by shotfeel ( 235240 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:47PM (#12339245)
    What's sad to me is that this kind of spin can be seen in just about every poll/survey you'll see in the mainstream media. The numbers and wording are often spun in a way to imply a conclusion that has nothing to do with the real question at hand.

    There was one recently that in a survey of over 600 kids, the ones who played video games were responsible for two-thirds of the violent acts recorded for the group.

    How horrible! Ban video games, now!

    Of course nowhere can it be found what percentage of those sruveyed played video games. If over two-thirds played video games, its just possible we should be forcing kids to play more video games.
  • Servers? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:53PM (#12339297)

    Similarly, for gaming, business applications, enterprise servers or streaming media from your computer to your TV you won't go wrong with Windows.

    1. Gaming, sure.

    2. Business apps? Well, I guess if you really need to run OBSCURE_PROPRIETARY_APP, then yes, I guess you need Windows. Or you could use WINE. But that's cheating, isn't it?

    3. Servers? Excuse me?

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:54PM (#12339305)
    "The Truth about..."

    Translation: What follows is complete bullshit.

    This is generally true for all instances.

    Another common form is:

    "Fact: So and so was blah blah blah..."

    Translation: This is as far from factual as you can get, and still be in the same planetary systm. Fact: I hope this helps.

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:06PM (#12339442) Homepage Journal
    If you want an inexpensive machine for Computer Science studies or to learn UNIX networking or even as a SOHO server for the advanced user, Linux is your game. Similarly, for gaming, business applications, enterprise servers or streaming media from your computer to your TV you won't go wrong with Windows.

    Ah, the joys of the broad-stroked brush. Let's take this apart, shall we?

    • Gaming
      Which aspect of gaming: the server or the client? If you're talking about the client then, sadly, yes, Windows holds the edge here, since the graphics and sound drivers are more mature and better supported. However, for a server -- especially a public one -- you'd be a complete fool to put anything less secure than a Linux box on the net. Even better to put up one of the BSD variants.
    • Business Applications and Enterprise Servers
      The strokes don't get broader than this. But basically, all Windows is good for here is running Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint). Everything else is better off running on Linux: Intranet Web servers, email servers, file servers, backup servers, Oracle, and corporate firewall.
    • Streaming Media
      There is nothing magic about streaming media, especially when it's done from a bunch of audio files stored on disk. Windows' proprietary DirectX brings nothing to the table here. So that means selecting for a robust, secure server platform, which makes the choice fairly obvious...


  • Re:The truth is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working ( 720372 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:06PM (#12339454)
    Face it, the ability to change operating system code is a benefit for .0001% of people and of absolutely no use to the other 99.9999% of people

    That's just not true. I may never edit the source of a project or fork it. But I still benefit from the fact that others more knowledgeable than me can. Because of the forking and bugfixing that exists in the open source world I have:
    Firefox instead of Netscape or IE
    BMP instead of XMMS
    Xorg instead of Xfree
    Bug fixes that come faster than in the proprietary world

    And I'm sure there's more that I'm just unaware of since I'm not a coder. A recent small example is that the latest Gnome didn't come with a menu editor. People complained and eventually a user (a non Gnome developer) made one. Now we're happy. Wouldn't have been so easy if they didn't have the code. See this article [] about how someone had to reverse engineer OSX just to get a desktop switcher. Which will probably become broken with the latest OSX release.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wallykeyster ( 818978 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:15PM (#12339540)
    Oh I definitely agree, competition is good. But I also don't agree that open source software necessarily needs competition (at all) to improve.

    I don't completely disagree if you consider "improve" to mean growth of an existing product. However, so much open source software is simply recreations of existing commercial software that you have to wonder what would happen if FOSS actually gained significant market share.

    A recent post [] in the Freeciv thread made the interesting point that original FOSS is extra difficult because of the relatively unorganized and fluid nature of development teams. The loss of the primary developer can kill or radically alter any FOSS project, even with a commercial product to use a roadmap. Anything really new and inventive is exponentially more susceptible.

  • Re:The truth is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:18PM (#12339571)
    Well, you actually do have choice in Windows as there are literally thousands of third party apps ranging from tightly integrated to Windows to stand-alone executable you can keep on a USB drive. Similarly, you have that in Linux.

    If you mean that there's multiple flavors of it, then Linux really isn't an OS but a species of OS and of course, there's one exact example of whatever species Windows is, so no competition in that respect.

    It is also false to say you're stuck with MS as so many do claim (not necessarily you). I've worked for corporations who had only to sign voluminous contracts and fork over large sums to get the ability to custom build Windows 95 for themselves internally to the point that it was as different from what MS sold as Fedora is from Mepis.

    The thing that Open Source gives us which we need so badly is what we don't have with MS unless we give them large sums and that is how the frigging code works to begin with. I agree that people should have the rights to best use of the fruits of their labor and also that open sourcing one's work is one's right if one so chooses, so I won't get into partisanship on it.

    However, is doesn't help MS in the slightest to keep such a tight fist wrapped around the code most in need of being fixed to improve the product. For crying out loud, if they just loosened a little, they might find a third party making something with their IP that was insanely good stuff and worth MS buying and making part of the next iteration of Windows. Instead, we have to rely on top down promulgation of advancement solely from Redmond and put up with their insistance on selling beta as finished product.

    But unless and until Linux (I won't hold my breath on any variant of BSD other than OSX) becomes fool-proof in installation and basic usage and software addition (rpm? apt-get? make? wtf?) then Windows will remain where it is completely on top. (wtf? should be construed as "prior art" with regard to its usage in relation to app packaging. I openly release it to anyone's use as a name for a Linux app package system. Entirely appropriate as well I think.)
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:25PM (#12339640)
    Here's my own invalid anecdote (personal anecdotes are invalid as evidence of an overall trend):

    We needed an Oracle server for a project at work. Because of the non-critical, but fairly high demand, nature of the app it needed a dedicated server, rather than getting to run on the shared Oracle server on the departmental Solaris box. So a simple Dell desktop was purchased with the fastest P4 available, plenty of RAM and IDE RAID-1 disks. This was fast enough to meet the needs, and it was decided stable enough for this application. If the server died it'd take at most a couple days for Dell to replace it, and that was an acceptable amount of time for it to be out of service.

    Now because of anti-Windows zealotry of some people, it was decided that the server had to run Linux, SuSe was what they wanted. We didn't actually have anyone that was very experienced in Linux, mind you, just people that didn't like Windows, and Linux was the only viable x86 alternative to run Oracle on.

    I tried several times to get SuSe to work, but it wouldn't. I did a net install from a CD, but after it was up it wouldn't get on the Internet anymore. I couldn't figure out what was happening. Answer turned out to be the network card was listed as unsupported by SuSe. Odd, given that their installer supported it fine.

    So we switched to RedHat. Now I couldn't get the mirroring to work. Our Solaris guy came and fought with it for a couple days and got it working. I then went back to getting Oracle installed. This I could never get working, despite repeated attempts. The documentation didn't help, since it was assuming different things than what I had. Turns out this is because Oracle supports RedHat Enterprise Linux, not normal RedHat. Finally I was fed up and said "You want Linux, you install it." They fought with it for a few mroe days before calling Oracle who said "If it's not a supported OS we won't talk to you."

    That put everything on hold since RHEL is quie expensive. I asked if I could please just try to install it on XP. They said fine, but it wouldn't work. I installed and patched XP, then installed Active PERL since that was needed for interfacing. I then put in the Oracle CD, told it to install, and it did so flawlessly.

    So in the end what was about 2 weeks of fighting with Linux to no resolution was fixed in about 2 hours by installing Windows. The Windows license was to the effect of $100 (we got a discount). RHEL was looking like $1500 I think. Who knows what cost in staff time it would have taken to hack it to run on non-supported Linux, if it was even possible.

    So in this case, Windows was a MUCH cheaper option.

    Now this isn't to try and claim Windows is always cheaper, but rather to point out that little anecdotes, espically when related to s tiny server for a small project, aren't valid as evidence of a trend. Yes, there certianly are situations where Linux is the cheapest option, because it is available at no cost. However there are certianly cases where it's not, because the costs of making it work, or costs because of losses due to problems exceed the savings of not having to pay for it.

    It's not a black and white issue.
  • by northcat ( 827059 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:39PM (#12339771) Journal
    It's a matter of admiration. Programmers/Open Source supporters admire people like James Gosling or Linus Torvalds. MBAs admire people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (and probably have neutral opinions of Gosling/Torvalds) because they have "achieved" things that MBAs strive for. And therefore progammers admire/respect programming/design/Open Source etc. MBAs admire Microsoft, Apple etc. Thus, programmers/Open Source supporters give more regard to technical facts and Open Source personalities. MBAs give more regard to "research" funded or supported by companies like Microsoft or Apple (Apple supporters wait, don't stone me to death yet. I'm not necessarily saying that Apple does such things. I'm just saying that if it did, then MBAs would swallow it.)
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by R.D.Olivaw ( 826349 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:47PM (#12339863)
    A rock might be rock hard to me, but it might be spoonge-soft to a Giant Crushing SuperMachine(tm).

    true but you could invent a hardness scale cr(crushability) (patent pending) and the rock will be say 3cr no matter who is looking at it.
    The only difference is how easily you or the GCM can crush but it does not change the rock itself

  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:55PM (#12339940) Homepage
    Mark Twain's famous quote about statistics STILL applies.

    Linux here is suffering from the same issue that Mac/Windows comparisons suffer from- Everyone has used Windows, but not everyone has used Macs, so quoting statistics such as "75% of computer users think non-Windows computers also have virus, spyware and security issues" really doesn't say squat, unless you ONLY survey those who use both regularly... but since that intersection is a much smaller set than the "set of all computer users", you run into other issues. or?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:05PM (#12340053)
    So, in other words, for mission critical systems, don't use software that none of your personel know how to support.

    So, in other words, don't try to learn something on the job that is critical to your ability to do that job.

    So, in other words, hire people that know what they are doing.

    So, in other words, buy hardware that is supported by the software you intend to run.

    So, in other words, don't buy software from a company that does not intend to support your use of their software.

    So, in other words, plan what you are doing before you do it.
  • by blane.bramble ( 133160 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:11PM (#12340099) Homepage
    Do I work for a Fortune 500? No. If you are a small company then you should be looking at *anything* that can provide you an edge over the big guys. That makes new technologies and Linux even more important to you. Why do you think you need a "consultant" to help you? Why aren't you encouraging people to better themselves in any spare time (if your IT person/people don't have *any* spare time you are well and truly fucked the next time you have a crisis).
  • by xgamer04 ( 248962 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:25PM (#12340230)
    hey - they make ok hardware :p

    I think that this is the funniest thing about Microsoft. They tout their perpetually-[insert bad thing here] operating system and expensive software while they really should be pushing their pretty good mice and keyboards. Dunno about the Xbox though, I generally prefer my consoles not randomly catching on fire.
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:41PM (#12340439)
    Anybody that tells you Linux is better than Windows or Windows is better than Linux is, at best, simply wrong.

    Nonsense. "Better" is an opinion. Objectively, opinions can't be "wrong". Subjectively, it all depends on the context (what you want, what you can do, etc).

    So when someone says Linux is better, or Windows is better, the context makes it subjectively true or false. Windows is certainly a better OS to run Age of Empires and Linux is certainly a better OS to run Apache on, in most reasonable contexts.

    The truth of the matter is that you should choose the operating system that suits your needs.


    Similarly, for gaming, business applications, enterprise servers or streaming media from your computer to your TV you won't go wrong with Windows.

    That's not accurate. You definitely can go wrong with Windows in those cases.

    But to get caught up in "OS 1 is better than OS 2" debates is pure silliness, especially when you can run both easily.

    Not at all. Otherwise, you are saying DOS, Amiga OS, CP/M, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X are all subjectively equal?

    You are right only to the extent that, in some "universal" sense, there is no best or worst OS. But when taken in context (and we *all* have our contexts, and most of them are shared), there is most certainly a hierarchy of OS's.
  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:48PM (#12340528) Homepage
    We didn't actually have anyone that was very experienced in Linux
    Our Solaris guy

    This is where I stopped reading. Sounds like you were put to a task for which you weren't qualified, which is unfortunate.

    Why didn't the Solaris guy do it to begin with? Linux is not Windows. Linux is more like Unix. Haven't you noticed all the hubub with SCO?

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Putting Windows admins at work on Linux is an exercise in futility (or sick humor, depending).
  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:02PM (#12340709)
    Here's some insult to your injury...

    From the linked article:
    When SCO first made its claims that IBM had misappropriated some of its code and handed it over to the Linux community, SCO showed samples to several analysts to prove its copyrights were being infringed. DiDio, a former journalist and not a programmer, was one of them. She reported that SCO's claims seemed justified. She told me: "It appeared to be a direct cut and paste right down to the developers' notes." A couple of months ago, the judge in the case wrote that he had seen "an astonishing lack of evidence" backing up SCO's claims. On the phone, I asked DiDio's reaction to the judge's statement. She said: "I can't reconcile it. I want to see what's presented in court."

    So... what you have is a woman who is not a programmer, making conclusive statements after looking at .h files she doesn't even understand!

    There's a point, like the boiling point... let us call this point the Enderle point... at which you have simply lost all professional credibility. You are seen as nothing more than a suck up, a Nathaniel Branden of IT (Little Ayn Rand hatred slipped out there, sorry).

    Can we now write DiDio off as a shill? Like that woman who did fake newscasts for Bush, or Robert Novak?

    I personally, welcome shills like DiDio. Every day respectable journalists let a woman like her survive, they put another nail in their coffin and the net and social-based expertise groups become authoritative sources for real news pulling from many sources to draw complete conclusions. So, I say, good on her. Make a few bucks at the Microsoft trough. Sell credibility you never had in the first place. Kill the industry rags. More opportunity for other people to emerge as experts when the people you used to listen to are revealed as phonies.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:06PM (#12340748) Homepage Journal
    why wouldn't you think that Windows, which is produced by a completely market-oriented company, would be shaped by the same influences?

    Sure it is, but unless you have competition you don't evolve any further. That's why you see pages on Microsoft's site titled "What's new with Internet Explorer" with a last-change date some time in 2003.

    The market doesn't work without competition. Microsoft doesn't have any competition because they evolved a strategy of expanding by locking out competing products rather than expanding by finding and discovering new markets. They're the economic equivalent of a an organism that's so perfectly adapted to their evolutionary niche they hardly ever need to change.

    I mean, let's look at IBM. Microsoft kicked IBM;s keister in the desktop OS market. If IBM had been like Microsoft, that would have been the end of the story... but IBM is way bigger than Microsoft and does a little bit of everything, it's always picking up new products (Linux, say) and dropping or spinning off ones that that aren't cutting it any more.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, is totally devoted to "Windows Everywhere". That's pretty much their only criterion for deciding the value of a business or a product... how many copies of Windows will it sell?

    And that's why market forces mean something completely different for Microsoft. They can ignore the market for half a decade, like they did with Internet Explorer, and still have a 90% market share. Let's say Longhorn doesn't come out until 2011, and Windows XP is 10 years old and on Service Pack 5. What do you think the effect Microsoft's market share would be? Down 5%? Or do you think it might actually be down 10%? I wouldn't bet on it. They're almost halfway there and they're not even hurting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#12340786)
    This is a point I didn't appreciate until a couple years ago, but since then I've noticed it time and time again. If you get somebody skilled working with the product then they will do a good job regardless of the product. Have a look at a well run windows shop and you'll find many of the things we say about windows are simply not true in a well run shop. Similarly, give linux to an unskilled (in linux) admin and they'll botch it up royally; linux is no magic bullet.

    For the grandparent poster, I would have installed x86 solaris since they already have a solaris guy. It will give the solaris guy a bit of experience on x86 which might even make them able to support linux in the future.

    The only other point I'll make is that in unskilled hands I think windows does a better job of halfway working than linux, and in skilled hands I think linux works superbly where windows only works well.

    (Posted anonymously since I've already moderated)
  • Actually, it takes a lot less time to setup a Linux server than a Windows server -- at least to set it up right.

    A typical Windows server requires a huge amount of work making sure that everything is properly disabled, and that permissions are set up right.

    Linux usually consists of saying chkconfig XXXX off a number of times, for everything that doesn't need to be running.

    Then you get the security issues. With Windows, you need to update quite often, while with Linux you can get away with about once a month. Plus, on Linux, you get your updates in pieces, so you only have to update what you are actually vulnerable for.

    The maintenance cost of a Linux _server_ is much less than that of Windows. The cost of a Linux desktop is smaller if used as a thin client, and greater otherwise.
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:16PM (#12340872) Homepage
    I hate stories like this since it sounds like nobody knew what they were doing.

    1) RHEL is not very expensive when compared to Oracle

    2) RHEL was designed to Oracle's specs. As was SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server which is probably what they wanted you to be using not Suse home or Suse professional or whatever you picked.

    3) You can get Oracle to run on a non supported Linux, I've done it, but
    a) you really need to understand how Oracle works and how your Linux works well. You are going to be faking out libraries and things like that so if you can't go to your /usr/lib directory and know off the top of your head what 1/2 the files are you or
    b) just follow somebody else's instructions.

    4) Why would you be running a system with actual load on a desktop? Further there are no desktops that Dell sells that running at 100% would tax the resources of a well deployed Oracle on a suffecient large Solaris box installation. So that doesn't make sense.

    5) Oracle itself is a total pain to install. Who handled that (and by install I mean actual get to do what you want).

    6) Considering Oracle specifically lists XP as a supported operating system how is it a great feat that Oracle installed on XP. A fair comparison would be installing it on Windows 95 or something.

  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:34PM (#12341134)
    I dunno, but I've been seeing a *lot* more "How do I do $this in PHP/Mysql on Windows Server 2003..." posts and "I'm running $expensive_firewall on Windows..."

    More mailing lists (Checkpoint FW-1) and stuff (Squirrelmail too) are getting more posts about Windows. Even the simply trouble ticket system I've used (osticket) now has tons of Windows questions posted in the forums.

    Is it just the competency of the admins? Quite possible, but if one was going to take a Google around the web, they might be inclined to think that Windows was the OS to throw weight behind in the server market.

    Just a thought. Maybe a poor one, but it's definitely something to notice.
  • by jdhutchins ( 559010 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:40PM (#12341200)

    That's being very generous. If I were to assume the going rate for IT work ($50/hour+), a Linux install would cost us *thousands* more than a Windows install.

    That's not true. While people say "OSS is only free if your time is worthless", they forget to mention that you need just as much time with windows. Linux can be installed very quickly by someone who knows what they're doing. There are also powerful, automated setup programs available that any competent Unix admin should be able to use. Using that could save a bunch of time and a lot of money over installing Windows on a bunch of machines. Windows takes time too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @06:07PM (#12341505)
    A) He's not trying to use Linux. He's trying specifically not to use Linux. He stated that over and over.

    B) He clearly attempted this feat of skill (over his own objections, granted) with little prior planning.

    C) They cut corners with Linux that they wouldn't have with Windows. I can see it now: all his users sitting around trying to decide which Linux to buy. One says "RedHat... everybody knows RedHat works best for Oracle on Dell. And they help you install it." Another, "RedHat is $1000, we should go with SuSE, which is $200." I'd be suprised if he was even in that meeting. Hell, from what it sounds like, he took it one step further and decided "I'll just download the free version." This is akin to trying to install Oracle on Windows 95.

    D) He has the gall to complain publicly about his experience, as if somehow his free software didn't live up to his ridiculous "point-and-click-it-just-works" expectations.

    There is no "criticism" to be made. Linux requires an intelligent, experienced, flexible administrator, or at least some outside support. This is the reason I don't give my users root access. It's also the reason the largest Linux support provider has told home users to look elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, the vast vast majority of Windows admins are little more than home users who can manage to install programs and drivers correctly, and type an error code into google when they get stuck.

    Looking around at the number of intelligent, unemployed people capable of working on Linux, I often wonder why that is. Obviously "the market" doesn't have a better use for them, if they have the ability to write a completely functional OS in their spare time.

    As to this particular situation, I've seen it over and over: Linux threatens Windows admin; Windows admin makes half-assed attempt to run Linux; Windows admin bitches loudly that Linux "isn't ready".

    It's a farse, and I'm sick of hearing it. I'm just the only one honest enough to see what part of the equation truly "isn't ready".
  • by northcat ( 827059 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @06:09PM (#12341546) Journal
    OK, thanks for telling me that there is an exception to a general rule. You see, when people say "all", they really, honestly do mean all without any exception whatsoever. But you knew that, since you swallow less bullshit than me.

    I'm saying something negative about the majority of MBAs. You're an MBA too. But I'm not saying that you have a small penis. Get over it.
  • by mattmatt ( 855592 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @07:03PM (#12342232)
    Concepts like mounting drives, Finding the print driver for one of the many possible print servers, best ways to share files, Samba or NFS?, Dealing with RWX RWX RWX based permissions, and groups, writtig shell scripts, the CronTab, Finding drivers and worse installing them, knowing where the logs are and how to read them.

    If a sysadmin doesn't understand, or cannot quickly pick up these concepts, then they have no business being a sysadmin.
  • by v3xt0r ( 799856 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @07:11PM (#12342310)

    I like windows for audio production, and I like linux for web development and network administration.

    I wouldn't suggest limiting yourself to a Windows Server Environment, and just as well, I wouldn't suggest limiting yourself to a Linux Desktop Environment, but if use both, all of this jibberish seems like pointless bickering []!

  • MBAs and tech (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @07:30PM (#12342478)
    MBAs admire people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (and probably have neutral opinions of Gosling/Torvalds) because they have "achieved" things that MBAs strive for.

    If you work your way down the Forbes 400 making an x next to the name of each person with an MBA, you'll learn something important about business school. You don't even hit an MBA till number 22, Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. There are only four MBAs in the top 50. What you notice in the Forbes 400 are a lot of people with technical backgrounds. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos, Gordon Moore. The rulers of the technology business tend to come from technology, not business. So if you want to invest two years in something that will help you succeed in business, the evidence suggests you'd do better to learn how to hack than get an MBA.

    (Shamelessly borrowed from Paul Graham [])

  • "BTW, If you *need* apps that only exist on one platform, you should probably stick with that platform"

    Which is the fundamental mistake for any company that does that.

    Sooner or later (unless that app was made directly by IBM or Microsoft or a company on that scale), the company that made that app is going to go bust - or simply stop supporting that app - or replace it with a more expensive version.

    Any company that does mission critical work on a proprietary app is going to end up like Linus with BitKeeper.

    Better to spend the money now to avoid that fate than have to spend it when you can't afford it later.

    It is NOT foolish to do a custom build of a shrinkwrap app. And the more critical the app, the more important it is to do that. Because it restores control to the person who uses that app.

    The cost of development is irrelevant (depending on the cash flow needed to support that development). The cost of maintenance is greater, but still not significant if the app has mission-critical importance (obviously you don't rebuild a minor utility that cost you $25). These are bean-counter notions. And bean-counters will always sell you short to save a couple bucks. Nobody running a company should care what the bean-counters say - unless they tell you there's no more revenue and no more profit. Accountants are supposed to tell you how you're doing - not tell you what to do.

    It's not hard to find someone to work cheap to build or maintain a custom app - especially today when the IT market sucks. And if your IT department has some notion of quality (oh, wait, forget I said that), then the in-house app is likely to be as good or better than the commercial app - at the very least it will match your needs better. The cost of programmer and system design and maintenance time is small compared to the business benefit of the app.

    I realize nobody believes this because it flies against the grain of conventional IT wisdowm.

    Sorry - conventional IT wisdom, like all conventional wisdom, is simply wrong.

  • by Demerara ( 256642 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:58AM (#12346059) Homepage
    Why is is unacceptable to call a woman a bitch (resulting in the b%$^*) while no such typographical fig-leaf is required for mindless whore?

    Just wondering.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @05:16AM (#12346124)
    People only think that Windows installs are easy because MS and developers at huge clearinghouses like Dell and Gateway have been working together and refining the installation system for ten years.

    In six short years, I've turned a Debian install into something that I can do faster than a WinXP install and almost as quickly as a Win98SE install reaching the same level of functionality with both systems. Not bad considering Debian is v3.0 with several thousand volunteer contributors and Microsoft is better than 20 years old with a multitrillion dollar budget and tens of thousands of employeers.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp