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Microsoft Clarifies Linux Myths 973

mikeraz told us about Microsoft's new page on Linux Myths. Designed to convince the seasoned business professional that Linux doesn't measure up to the hype. Some good points. Some not-so-good points. Care to comment? Update: 10/05 06:43 by CT : Mandrake has comments on his page.
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Microsoft Clarifies Linux Myths

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  • I don't know about most people, but I don't need PC Week or Ziff-Davis to tell me Linux is more reliable than Windows NT. I refuse to run NT on my network, and my servers have uptimes exceeding 100 days, and in a few cases, 180 days. Our test NT servers never made it past 7 days.

    I do believe this the kind of "anecdotal" information they are referring to. They're not trying to convince you, they're trying to convince people you may or may not be trying to convince. The point is, go ahead and use Linux, it doesn't matter. Meanwhile Microsoft will be spreading these stories (facts?) to subvert you.

    Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling File System

    What about the fs that SGI is contributing?

    Hmmm... this is what we term "hype" or maybe even *shudder* vaporware. Seriously though, their point is valid considering that SGI's xfs has not been released yet.

    Every member of the Windows NT family since Windows NT 3.5 has been evaluated at either a C2 level under the U.S. Government's evaluation process or at a C2-equivalent level under the British Government's ITSEC process.


    So? Why is that such a big deal? I'm not even aware of any other OS that has achieved the C2 rating (apart from maybe OS/2, and that couldn't be connected to a network either).


  • I wonder if they used FrontPage to build this page-- did anyone else notice that the bullet lists are formatted wrong about halfway down the page? Someone forgot to close their unordered list tags . . .
  • Linux is capable of crippling an entire AirCraft Carrier? I'm sure a good *nux SYS Admin could do it on purpose. There's one good reason to promote WinNT. I'm sure those guys had a great time breaking into the Army's web site. We need NT because its so damn fun to crack! How else are we going to bring US world domination to its knees?
  • Linux application support is very limited, meaning that customers end up having to build their own horizontal and vertical applications. A recent report from Forrester Research highlighted the fact that today 93 percent of enterprise ISVs develop applications for Windows NT, while only 13 percent develop for Linux.
    if forrester research thinks unix is so bad, why are they looking for a web developer with experience with solaris? see for yourself. []

  • Capabilities are already part of the 2.2 kernel. The 2.2 kernel does no longer check for privilege by calling fsuser() checking for a fsuid of zero, but has code like the following (taken from fs/ext2/acl.c as an example):

    * Access is always granted for root. We now check last,
    * though, for BSD process accounting correctness
    if (((mode & mask & S_IRWXO) == mask) || capable(CAP_DAC_OVERRIDE))
    return 0;

    What is missing is a mechanism to make the capabilities workable from the outside, that is, to store the required capabilities in a binary program. Unlike the old fsuser() approach, where we needed just a single "SUID" bit, we not have to store and maintain a bitmask of capabilities with a program. There have been different approaches to this problem (for example, storing capabilities in an ELF section), but the kernel developers have not yet settled on this.
  • I doubt if people should get at all bothered about this. It shows Microsoft people to be either blatant liars or else utterly incompetent at understanding operating systems, or both. Anyone with the slightest clue about Unix or Linux and even the shortest experience of Windows (all Windows experiences are short anyway) is just going to get irritated to a smaller or greater degree at the misrepresentation, and that'll inevitably impact on Microsoft sales. And for those that have never heard about Linux in the first place, this free advertising might ensure that they do!

    Another shot in the arm for Linux, from an unexpected source. :-)
  • Reality: Free Operating System Does Not Mean Low Total Cost of Ownership
    The Linux community will talk about the free or low-cost nature of Linux. It's important to understand that licensing cost is only a small part of the overall decision-making process for customers.
    The cost of the operating system is only a small percentage of the overall total cost of ownership (TCO). In general Windows NT has proven to have a lower cost of ownership than UNIX. Previous studies have shown that Windows NT has 37 percent lower TCO than UNIX []. There is no reason to believe that Linux is significantly different than other versions of UNIX when it comes to TCO.

    It really is amusing that they cite a document which compares the costs Sun Servers to WinNT and then conclude that Linux servers cost more than WinNT. By their logic Linux must therefore be equivalent to Sun. Wow. What a compliment.
    Seriously though I don't think that any of us will disaggree that sun servers can be expensive. They are, and rightly so. But to equate Sun servers with Linux servers does an injustice to both. They are each designed for different markets even though they can do similar tasks.

    Having said this I think that it is wrong and unfair, to both Microsoft and the Linux community, to have anyone related to or in either camp to try to compare the two against each other. A truly independant group needs to be set up in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each system.

    On the topic of security, I may either be naive, which I freely admit as a possibility, or unaware but the US govenments C2 classification for an operating system means nothing to me, especially considering its stance on strong crypto (but thats another topic). The security of a system is only as good as its administrators, who must practice due diligence in reading multiple sources for security information.
    I have personally witnesed Microsoft hold off on announcing security problems (IIS's ::$DATA hack which reveals web source code) several days and even when they do, they decline to post enough information to be practical.

  • by kris ( 824 )
    Linux is about to have THREE journalling file systems.

    The team around Hans Reiser is currently beta testing their ReiserFS, a tree based filesystem which now also does logging. Beta test versions are available and perform nice on uniprocessor machines. I had some problems when I went SMP, though.

    The ext2 development team is currently working on code for "ext3", an ext2 extension which among other things does logging. I do not know the exact state of their project, but they seem to be closely behind Reiser judging from their comments on the ReiserFS mailing list.

    The SGI XFS team is porting their commercial quality XFS filesystem to Linux. The process requires major adaptions to XFS and Linux, and XFS seems to contain some code which is intellectual property SGI does not own and can therefore not GPL, but these problems are currently being fixed.

    There is a very healthy and friendly competition between these teams and I think we may be able to see some very interesing released to the common kernel source in the very near future.
  • Please go to Linux Memory Management subsystem; main page [] and search for the words "large file". You will find a patch that you may want to try out.
  • Yes, but win95/98 can't use the second processor. So you either buy WinNT which can be buggy for your system, and will never really play all your games properly. Or linux, which doesn't play many games right now, but is looking to be a leader within a year.
  • BTW I didn't mean to imply that WinNT is nessesarly buggier than 95/98 its accually less. But it is buggy when it comes to games. Well not so much buggy as just non supportive.
  • by emerson ( 419 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:04PM (#1635610)
    Now the Linux community has a nice, tidy 'to-do' list, thanks to Microsoft's time investment in finding all of the places where NT has on-paper advantages.

    Give us another 6-12 months, and we'll render all of these points moot. Very friendly, almost selfless, of them to help focus the community's attention on areas that need development.


  • This page is obviously a vehicle to deploy some FUD. It is becoming more and more obvious that if a big-name corperation with an internet presence says something, it can be accepted as the, "gospal truth," by the naive public. People who are smart enough (like most of the /. reader-base) will just point and laugh, but for the other people there is an old saying:

    "You can't fool all the people, all the time; but you can some of the people, some of the time: and make a damned good living."

    This is the exact sort of propaganda Microsoft needs to promote to keep there O/S "ahead" of the game. That is, until the public finds out exactly how full of it they are :)


  • by jelwell ( 2152 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:05PM (#1635612)
    I think my favorite quote is this: "Free Operating System Does Not Mean Low Total Cost of Ownership"
    Notice how they pointed out they were speaking about free as in beer; not free as in speech.

    I think it's a shame that they continue to spread FUD despite their current fight with the Department of Justice.
    Joseph Elwell.
  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@bi g f o> on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @04:52AM (#1635718) Homepage
    I am not a fan of using lawyers to resolve differences (in the US, we tend to think of them as first resort rather than last resort), but I think that this is the place for them.

    Microsoft is not only contradicting itself, but is contradicting itself in two realms where it is illegal to lie. Lying in court is called perjury. Lying about the capabilities of one's own product is called false advertisement. Lying about the capabilities of someone else's product is called slander.

    Red Hat has a large amount of money right now, having just gone IPO. People are still trying to figure out what RH is going to do with this. Obviously, a lot of it is going to promote Linux in its entirety (it seems that Linux companies find it more profitable to grow a bigger Linux pie than to fight over one's piece of that pie).

    I am not saying this out of any real or perceived "duty" on the part of RH, but from a Red Hat profit/loss perspective. Is it worth it to Red Hat to move some of their marketing budget over to legal to take some of Microsoft's more obviously false claims and ram said claims down their throat? That is, sue for slander, charging for legal expenses and a reasonable award of lost business (not a huge money amount). And the important part: do not settle.

    While this sounds like a lot of fun, this may also be good marketing. If you can win a slander lawsuit in court, you force Microsoft to retract the statement, and can use the counter-statement (a matter of public record) in marketing.

    There has been a big stink on either side about Microsoft and the law. The lawsuits tend to be about antitrust law or IP. To Microsoft's advantage, both pieces of legislation are themselves contraversial: some of us don't believe that the laws being applied should even be on the books, regardless of what Microsoft is doing with regards to these laws.

    Slander suits are a beautiful way to sidestep this and to fight legal battles on much firmer ground. After all, who opposes anti-slander legislation?

    Just imagine what would happen to the software industry, and especially the Linux industry, if we could just keep Microsoft from lying.

  • Yes, fighting FUD with FUD would be a bad idea.

    You either believe in the truth, or your just an OS bigot. OS bigots get the respect they deserve, which is to say none at all.

    That isn't to say passionate advocacy is a bad thing, but once you step over the line and start distorting the facts, you lose all credibility as well as your own objectivity. Of course Microsoft does this, but the simple fact is that, aside from the fact that companies are expected to lie to advance their own products, you're not Microsoft. Being the market leader gives them instant credibility with those who don't have access to the facts. The only viable strategy is to use facts, because as soon as you're caught bending them, you're credibility is gone forever. To neutralize the automatic perception you must be some kind of a nut not to like MS products, you have to be prepared to deal with Microsoft's products with scrupulous fairness, even granting them every advantage that they conceivably could have. As an excercise in imagination, try to think of five good things about NT. If you can't then you aren't qualified to comment on NT vs Linux. It doesn't mean you have to like it, or believe the Microsoft development model is viable, you just have to give the devil his due.

    I've seen more Mac advocates have their credibility ground to dust by the Microsoft juggernaut than I care to contemplate, because they were fueled by passion and obviously couldn't believe a single good thing about Microsoft or a bad thing about Apple.
  • Good point, but Q3's SMP usage is a good test of muliple processors. And Q3 screams in quake with muliple processors. Well I guess I didn't have a point, but hey we all go offtopic sometimes. And I am concerned about how games proform in linux, because I would love to see linux excel as more than just a server.
  • Bill: Is W2K ready to ship?

    Steve: Nope. Maybe by the end of the year.

    Bill: We need a plan to keep people from switching to Linux between now and then. How about an anti-Linux HOWTO on MSN and a couple of articles by ZDnet?

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • Good points all around.

    As far as security goes I think that it is worth to mention one of the most glaring omissions by MS.

    they state:

    "Linux only provides access controls for files and directories. In contrast, every object in Windows NT, from files to operating system data structures, has an access control list and its use can be regulated as appropriate."

    What they fail to point out is that the Unix system model is to abstract everything to a file. given this idea, file security is all that you need. Want to block access to a device, change the permissions. This goes beyond creative omission, this is a grievous misrepresentation of the facts. If Microsoft can't understand the basic concepts of its competitors, how can they be taken as legitimate software providers?

  • FreeBSD at least has a couple of aio_* system calls, that do asynchronous IO, conforming to POSIX.2.

    Apart from that, isn't it possible to open(2) a file with O_NONBLOCK *and* O_SYNC options? That way you can set the F_SETSIG flag with fcntl(2), and be notified with a SIGIO when the write has been completed to disk.
  • Of course, those promises have been delivered on: 2.2 is much better at SMP than 2.0. It's just that we can do still better...
  • I dont think i've posted anything quite this lengthy. woohoo. Anyway, you can get the gist of how I wrote it, /. readers are smart, they'll figure it out :-).

    see bottom of comment for disclaimers.

    Myth: Linux performs better than Windows NT

    Reality: Windows NT outperforms Linux using highly skewed benchmarking
    environments by companies that are partnered with Microsoft, or paid by

    Point - Linux supports only 2 gig of ram, where NT supports 4 gig.
    Rebuttal - Windows NT needs much more RAM to operate at a reasonable

    Point - The linux community continues to promise major SMP and performance
    Rebuttal - so does Microsoft. :P

    Myth: Linux is more reliable than Windows NT

    Reality: Microsoft needs real world proof points rather than anecdotal stories.

    Point - Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 has been proven in demanding customer
    environments to be a reliable operating system. Companies such as
    (blah blah blah).
    Rebuttal - Never heard of BellSouth? Berlington Coat Factory?

    Point - Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling Filesystem.
    Rebuttal - Where's the journaling filesystem for NT?
    And apparently Microsoft isn't keeping up with SGI... XFS under
    GPL? I think I heard a rumor about that...

    Myth: Linux is Free

    Reality: Microsoft completely misunderstands what free means.

    Point - Its important to understand that licensing cost is only a small
    part of the overall decision-making process for customers.
    Rebuttal - Licensing costs for Windows NT based networks are astronomical.
    You need to buy the server software, a client access license for each
    client, no matter what OS they are running. Oh, you want office
    software? Ok, you need to buy a copy for each client. Gets expensive
    real quick. Lets see, someone remind me how much StarOffice costs

    Point - Speaking of support services... Fee-based, blah blah, premium
    costs, blah blah.
    Rebuttal - What is their point here? Last I heard, Microsoft charged
    astronomical prices for their support contracts and support plans.
    Couldn't be any better than these so-called "premium prices" that
    the Linux support companies charge, that's for sure.

    Point - Linux is a UNIX-like operating system and is therefore complex
    to configure and manage.
    Rebuttal - Apparently Microsoft is trying to use Slackware as their
    comparison model. (Forgive me for picking on Slackware, it makes a
    point in this discussioN). Last I checked, Caldera, RedHat (and of
    course Mandrake), SuSE and hell, all of 'em were making great effort
    to make Linux easier to install and manage than ever before.

    Point - Linux is a higher risk option than Windows NT. For example, how
    many certified engineers are there for Linux? (1). How easy is it to
    find skilled development and support people for Linux? (2).
    First Rebuttal - Last week (I think it was) Computer Reseller News had a
    FRONT PAGE article describing the flood of "certified" NT
    "professionals" who didn't have any real world experience and thus
    were completely useless. Let's see, how long has Linux been around?
    9 years or so... how long has it been popular? Erm, a few years at
    best, mostly in the last couple. Ok, now how long has Microsoft been
    around? How much money do they have to funnel into this sort of
    thing? Exactly. Its a big difference. There will be more
    certifications for Linux-centric professionals. And you can damn well
    bet that those people will KNOW the system. Not just click click
    click their way through blissful ignorance.
    Second Rebuttal - This question should just go away. I am going to make
    a glaring observation here: Microsoft has no clue. I know, obvious
    to some, but not everyone... Post a question about Linux on just about
    any Linux related newsgroup. Visit the #linux or #linuxhelp channels
    on IRC. Join a local user group mailing list and ask questions.
    Do a web search. Chrikey, I have an easier time finding answers to
    Linux questions than I do trying to find answers to questions related
    to any Microsoft platform or application.

    Myth: Linux is more secure than Windows NT

    Reality: vs.

    Need I say more?

    Apparently I might... read on!

    Point - Linux security is all or nothing. Administrators cannot delegate
    administrative privileges.
    Rebuttal - Two words: groups. sudo.
    (sudo is an outstanding utility. I just wish distributions
    would include it by default. RedHat 6.0 doesn't, Caldera 2.3 doesn't,
    not sure which ones do, but I know they're out there :).

    Point - Every member of the Windows NT family since Windows NT 3.5 has
    been evaluated at either a C2 level...
    Rebuttal - What I heard is that this is only valid if the NT system in
    question has no floppy drive and no network/modem connection.

    Point - Linux system administrators must spend huge amounts of time
    understanding the latest Linux bugs and determining what to do about
    Rebuttal - Windows NT system administrators dont need to know anything
    about the system they are administrating. Thats what this Microsoft
    point says to me. And no central security repository? No, instead of
    relying on Microsoft, the Linux community can use... THE LINUX
    COMMUNITY! Wow. Imagine that. And the security bugs in Linux
    actually get fixed. Oh, and you dont have to download a 60 meg
    "service pack" to fix it either.

    Point - Configuring Linux security requires an administrator to be an
    expert in the intricies of the operating system and how components
    Rebuttal - Microsoft Windows NT system administrators shouldn't be experts,
    Microsoft makes it so easy that any fool can mess up, er configure the
    security for an Enterprise. I dont know about the rest of you, but if
    I'm hiring a system administrator, I would REQUIRE they be an expert
    with the System. ESPECIALLY in an enterprise. Mission critical?
    And you dont have experts administering the system? To quote Mr. T:
    "I pity da fool!"

    Myth: Linux can replace Windows on the desktop.

    Reality: Linux is replacing Windows as the server.

    Point - A user would end up with a system that has fewer applications,
    is more complex to use and manage, and is less intuitive.
    Rebuttal - Okay, I'm going to institute a new rule. If you're going to
    BLATANTLY FUD, then "Do your homework". There are LOTS of applications
    and programs and other such available for Linux. Plus if you dig just a little (and not much
    mind you), you'll find hundreds of applications. And guess what,
    THEY WORK. :-P

    Point - Linux does not support important ease-of-use technologies such as
    Plug and Play, USB, and Power Management.
    Rebuttal - Not to the extent that Windows supports them. However, since
    Microsoft had a hand in the development of these technologies so they
    would ONLY work on Windows, there could be a correlation...
    Linux supports MANY MANY MANY plug and play devices. Wow, lots. At
    least, the ones that are any good. Linux doesn't support WinModems.
    Well, thats because they're *WIN*Modems, not LinModems :-).
    USB? Well, up until recent history there weren't a whole lot of USB
    devices being MADE. Only in the last year or so, even though the
    promise of USB was made long ago (in the Computer Industry). Now as
    more USB hardware is available, Linux is starting to support USB
    better. I do not know anything about where the support is headed, what
    devices are even supported, etc, but I do know it's there.
    Power Management? Ok. Yeah. No Power Management. Thats why there's
    a whole section with 15 or so items in the Kernel configuration. Yeah.
    Go Microsoft.

    Point - The complexity of the Linux operating system and cumbersome nature
    of existing GUI's would make retraining end-users a huge undertaking...
    Rebuttal - This is about the most valid (albeit limited at that) statement
    they make in the whole article. It isn't the complexity of the
    operating system though. The operating system (in the UNIX world) does
    not have bearing here. The OS doesn't control what left mouse click
    and Control-Alt-F4 do. The fault lies in INCONSISTANT (!!) user
    interfaces. Windows isn't consistent all the time everywhere, however,
    it does provide a lot of consistency in places such as Menus and short
    cuts. A user in the Windows world can almost be garunteed that
    Control-C will copy and Control-V will paste. That the File menu is
    next to the Edit menu. That pressing F1 will get (semi weak in my
    opinion) a Help Dialog. Sure, KDE and GNOME are trying to fix this,
    but they use different conventions. And not everyone uses KDE or
    GNOME. They're bloated. Yup, I said that. It costs less system
    resources to ignore a desktop environment and just use a slick
    window manager (Be it blackbox, icewm, window maker, or twm). But what
    consistency that is present in the Desktop environments is lost and
    you're in a worse problem. Blah blah blah, I could go on this for
    quite some rambling, but I won't. This topic has been beaten to death
    on every forum newsgroup mailing list and IRC channel known to the
    Linux community.

    Summary -
    They sure like those sweeping generalizations... "not suitable for
    mainstream usage by business or home users" in particular. How many "home
    users" are running linux now? Millions? Must not be suitable to them. Or
    something. Not suitable for use by business? Better shut down all those ISPs
    running Linux based Web/Mail/DNS/News servers. Better tell IBM, Hewlett
    Packard, Compaq and all the rest to give up on the Linux idea.

    They say that Linux "clearly has a long way to go to be competitive with
    Windows NT 4.0". If Linux isn't competitive with Windows NT 4.0 now, then


    Sorry. I had to.

    This article is written by me, Joshua Timberman. I am in no way connected to
    Microsoft, IBM, or any other company mentioned in this article. Nor do I
    closely follow the Linux kernel development. I am a Linux user at home and
    work. Yes this is a disclaimer. Perhaps I should...


    Of course, I didn't do that at the beginning. But that's Okay. Nobody's
    perfect, not even me :-)

  • The comments about testing and certification caught my attention.

    While hardly an expert about the benchmarks and certifications listed
    (though I have dealt a bit wit tpmC before), I know
    the steps needed to aquire these certified statments almost invariably cost what,
    from an average citizen's perspective, is a large sum of money.

    Demeaning not-for-profit groups for failure to spend time on a million dollars worth of certification strikes me as a very a low blow.

    (btw, while the acl statement was inaccurate, many times I yearn for Linux to have more elegant access schemes)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It looks like NTFS does indeed support files and volumes that large -- except for the exceptions. According to M$ (see Q100108 [])...

    NTFS has greatly increased the size of files and volumes, so that they can now be up to 2^64 bytes (16 exabytes or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes).

    But note that they also say...

    NOTE: Underlying hardware limitations may impose additional partition size limitations in any file system. Particularly, a boot partition can be only 7.8 GB in size, and there is a 2-terabyte limitation in the partition table.

  • by slykens ( 85844 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:35PM (#1635916)
    Microsoft seems confused as to just what Linux really is. They make reference to the 'Linux Community' but then later refer to Linux as though it were a corporation:

    therefore Linux has yet to demonstrate their capabilities as a database server.

    They then later state:

    Myth: Linux is more reliable than Windows NT
    Reality: Linux Needs Real World Proof Points Rather than Anecdotal Stories

    I don't know about most people, but I don't need PC Week or Ziff-Davis to tell me Linux is more reliable than Windows NT. I refuse to run NT on my network, and my servers have uptimes exceeding 100 days, and in a few cases, 180 days. Our test NT servers never made it past 7 days.

    Then this, which is disinformation (as our ceo calls it):

    Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling File System

    What about the fs that SGI is contributing?

    And the best comment:

    Every member of the Windows NT family since Windows NT 3.5 has been evaluated at either a C2 level under the U.S. Government's evaluation process or at a C2-equivalent level under the British Government's ITSEC process.


    Microsoft is going to try to win the battle in the only forum they can compete with Linux in, the PR forum. The are not very many major Linux promoters, Red Hat probably being the closest to Microsoft that Linux has. Becuase Microsoft cannot out innovate or even out perform, they are resorting to FUD and PR tatics to convince people that Linux is a Bad Thing (tm). Kinda like the Ministry of Peace.

  • by NickHolland ( 91075 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:35PM (#1635924)
    "...unlike Windows NT where Compaq, Data General, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Unisys provide 99.9 percent system-level uptime guarantees for Windows NT-based servers."

    Assuming it takes 10 minutes to identify a crashed server, power-cycle it, and wait for it to reboot (this time varies GREATLY different systems), 99.9% availabity would be one crash per week (I did the math). I'm *SURE* they are not counting "planned" down times (You know, you have to reboot now that you made that change), and I am pretty sure they aren't counting hardware or power failures or other things that are quite outside of MS's control.

    I don't consider a crash per week acceptable. Sorry.

    If I don't hit 99.9% of the other cars on the road when I'm driving, am I a good driver?

    I have a client who had a Novell server go over 900 days without reboot (A two-day power failure finally took it down). I think I can say quite certainly _No_ NT server in history has done that. That is the way things are supposed to work. Linux seems a heck of a lot closer to my ideals than NT is.

    I can't speak for DG, IBM, or Unisys, but I have seen Compaq's "Guaranteed four hour service" program in action at a couple clients. Never seen a client broke for less than 24 hours with that program, either. I don't trust Compaq's "guarantees" when it comes to servicing their own products, how can they guarantee someone else's software??


  • _A_ Linux swap file may have a limit of 128MB, but you can have _more than one_ swap file, which is probably on a completely different paradigm than that of the Microsoft developers.

    Actually, that was a limitation in the 2.0 kernels. I have several 2.2.x (x=10/12) systems running with 256MB swap partitions.
  • by scumdamn ( 82357 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:38PM (#1635929)
    Microsoft says:
    The very definition of Linux as an Open Software effort means that commercial companies like Red Hat will make money by charging for services. Therefore, commercial support services for Linux will be fee-based and will likely be priced at a premium. These costs have to be factored into the total cost model.

    Guess who's website this is from:
    Incidents may be purchased on a pay-per incident basis, or in packs of 5. Phone submitted incidents are $245 each, or a 5-pack for $1225. Web submitted incidents are $195 each, or a 5-pack for $975.

    This blurb is from Microsoft's web site regarding Windows NT server. That's what I call a premium.
    Forget about this site. In fact, we need to put together a compilation of facts about Windows NT server. I'll start:
    NT only has the C2 security rating if it is not connected to the network and doesn't have a floppy drive.
  • and IIRC ext2 is asynchronous by default.

    They refer to things like POSIX AIO. Linux' implementation of AIO is new and rather bad (well, the standard is not great as well). AIO can be used to schedule I/O events which helps I/O intensive applications. The HTTP proxy squid is an example for an application which uses this.

    Someone please tell them about sudo!

    Certainly, but the owner-group-world model of ACLs is not that great, and it's the only one which is available on Linux AFAIK. All major UNIX vendors have extended this scheme with their own proprietary ACLs. This is an area where Linux will play catch up again.

    They do however have a valid point on Journaling FS and fine grained kernel locks which are both in development.

    Especially journaled fs will be a big win for shops with large storage requirements.

  • by bhurt ( 1081 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:43PM (#1635960) Homepage
    Hmm. This page looks an awful lot like a private anti-Linux pro-Microsoft page I ran across recently. I'll see if I can find the URL and post it here.

    My responses:

    1) RE: Benchmarks. There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and benchmarks.

    2) WTF is a "proof point"?

    3) A journalling file system does _not_ prevent data loss! It simply makes fscks faster (a worthy goal in itself, but much short of the walking-on-water powers normally associated with journalling file systems).

    4) I wouldn't brag about the uptime gaurentees provided by HP, at least- they gaurentee that uptime _only_ running a small number of "certified" apps and only one a small number of machines and configurations. And you pay for it. And they don't count scheduled downtime. And 99.9% is sucky- that's like 9 hours of (unscheduled) downtime a year. No wondering clustering is so important to NT.

    5) The only TCO study I've ever seen showing that NT is cheaper than Unix (which was included in the MSDN, BTW) among several other humorous assumptions, assumed that anyone using Unix on the desktop also needed to have a Windows box on their desk as well for office apps, email (Unix doesn't have email, don't you know...) etc. In other words, TCO(NT) = TCO(Unix) + TCO(NT). Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    6) I'll be the first person to agree that ACLs are better than Unix's protection scheme. The only problem with NT's protection scheme is that you can't use it. Little known products like Microsoft Office need all sorts of rights, like the right to write in C:\Windows. Yeah, if you know what you're doing, you can mostly lock down an NT box (leaving only a few gaping security holes absolutely required by the applications), but most people _don't_. Yeah, Unix's protection scheme could be signifigantly improved, but at least it's used.

    6) I like the weasling on the C-2 security ratings. Last I heard, NT only got C-2 by disabling the networking. And 4.0 wasn't certified for years- so long the guy who was originally suing them was threatening to take them to court. Oh, and C-2 doesn't mean that much- the only lower rating is D (no security at all, ala DOS). Some versions of Unix can even hit B levels of security (there's a version of HP-UX that does this, IIRC). The only reason Linux hasn't gotten C-2 is simply that no one has walked it through the paperwork (i.e. for the same reason it's not "Unix").

    7) Um, NT doesn't support PnP either. My experience has been that Linux has support for more hardware than NT. And is gaining on 98 (especially since 98 seems to be dropping support for older hardware). And hardware support is mainly done by the hardware vendors, not by Microsoft- Linux is starting to pick up support from the hardware vendors. For instance, I'm willing to bet that Linux will be native (and 64-bit, but that's cheating) on Merced before Windows will...

    8) Funny, I'm using Linux on the desktop even I type this (at work, even). For my work Windows would be _less_ effective. But I'm willing to agree that I'm a special case. "Easier to administrate" is a tricky concept- administrating one Windows box (or one Mac) is easier than administrating one Linux/Unix box, agreed. But administrating 500 Linux/Unix boxes is signifigantly easier than administrating 500 Windows boxes. Things which make life _more_ difficult in the single-box (like using text-files for configuration) suddenly change to be helps in the 500-box situation (for example, letting you write scripts to automatically reconfigure all those systems).

    Once you start ignoring administration costs, I'd pit Gnome/Enlightenment for user friendliness against anything Windows has to offer. Especially considering there is no user interface rule that Microsoft themselves don't violate (for example, the DDK viewers don't even have menu bars, just tool bars).

    And the question is not "how many applications are on a given OS", but "are the applications you need on the given OS?"
  • by Tau Zero ( 75868 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:44PM (#1635967) Journal
    That got me too.

    Of course, the entire page refuses to address NT's TCO, like:

    • Total system re-installs when something hoses the registry.
    • Endless waits on hold when you have a problem that requires a tech-support call.
    • The wasted time when the tech-support information turns out to be wrong.
    Other details like "Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling File System" get me too. Does NT now have a JFS? I seem to recall that at the time Micro$oft first pointed this particular finger at Linux, NT did not have one either.

    Ah, well. Being an embedded-systems guy rather than a sysadmin I am closer to being a (l)user than a kernel hacker, but it was just yesterday that I was hating the blasted Lose95 on the desktop because I didn't have awk available to extract some stats from my ICE trace-buffer dump files. Doing it in Excel is a pain in the butt. I hate Micro$oft. (I have to ask... do Cosmic and ZAP run under WINE? That would be a huge boost to my productivity.)

    Deja Moo: The feeling that

  • I'm reminded of the joke that while travelling through Ireland (no disrespect to the Irish!), a economist, biologist and mathematician spotted a black sheep in a flock and noted respectively
    • economists - all sheep are blackish
    • biologist - the sheep in that flock is black
    • mathematician - there exist one sheep in Ireland who's black on its side

    The point being is that "truth" is relative to depth of overview, knowledge of the details and ability to sort out the sheep from the goats :-). The "myths on Linux" is as relevant as standing in a thunderstorm and saying "the patch of sky above me is clear". The whole computer industry is moving so fast (the so-called Internet time) that claiming any correlation between isolated past datapoints is like claiming you can stay dry by avoiding certain puddles. Any information, particularly business/marketing guff can be biased through

    - not telling the entire story
    - sampling over a small domain
    - not calibrating experiments to measure the desired variable (compare with double-blind medical tests)
    - ad homien attacks, focusing on non-critical issues
    - glossing over details, a major sin as the diversity of software means you need to understand where certain packages have comparative advantages, Linux domain is the value for price-concious consumers
    - thinking that your solution is the only solution (why aren't we all driving model-T fords?)
    - ignoring the future pathway and credibility
    - comparing items at different stages of growth

    Thus while Linux certainly have weaknesses, it is all to easy to draw false conclusions. From a structural point of view, Linux has specific advantages
    - unliked canned applications, open-source can be tuned to give comparative advantages, if everyone is using the same package (something that app-servers forget) then there is no commercial points of differentiation
    - long-term credibility as noted by Linus and ESR
    - licensing costs are independent of per user or per machine basis
    - the development process leads to better peer review and stability
    - provides alternative vehicle for independent companies

    These structural efficiencies make it a viable long-term competitor, especially as it benefits service-based companies which is what the Internet enables. For example, supposing I come up with a brilliant compiler that runs everything 2 times faster, then by setting up as drop-in web-site where people can leave code and pick up compiled binaries you can compact two whole layer of costs in the marketing and distribution (you might be surprised at how little money actually goes into product development as a percentage of costs).

    Oh well, time will tell how efficient the OpenSource model is compared with ClosedSource.

  • by Stephen VanDahm ( 88206 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:08PM (#1635996) Homepage
    If Windows NT is as good as Microsoft says it is then it seems to me they'd want to use it on their Hotmail service. The last time I checked, was running Apache and FreeBSD.

    You can see for yourself at []

    Take care,

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:49PM (#1635998) Homepage Journal
    I believe that what linux truly needs is some sort of a PR "department".

    I believe they are referred to as "Advocates". Most definitely not professional (you get what you pay for), but still a presence. This is why it's so important the temper those that do, and will always, flame madly with well-thought out and pleasantly spoken arguments, delivered with lightning quickness. I personally have noticed the tone of articles (featured here and others) shifting from making flippant remarks and unsubstantiated FUD, to what can almost be considered toned-down respect. The fear of reprisal from the Linux community (and /.'ers specifically (what Effect?;^)) has caused behaviour similar to little kids walking quietly around a very aware, and very alert, bully.

    Anyway, Linux doesn't need a full-time PR machine. The companies that sell it most certainly do (they've got to keep the zealots AND shareholders happy), but the community as a whole speaks for itself (loudly, and with very big bashing sticks).
  • They tell you UNIX has higher TCO, and to prove it point at a study they funded, fair enough so far...

    But when you read the study, it shows that what's EXPENSIVE about Unix, is
    (1) Expensive (non Intel) hardware -- Linux doesn't use that, save $10,000
    (2) Expensive (non MS) OS -- Linux is free as in beer, save (in their study) $9,000
    (3) Expensive devel environment -- GNU tools, save $5000
    (4) Expensive DBA stuff -- Same price as NT from most vendors for Linux

    In fact, I suspect most UNIX users would argue that these figures are deliberately inflated anyway. But that's beside the point
    They claim Linux is just like UNIX, but use a study that makes it obvious why that's not true.

  • Remember kids, compare the future versions of your product with the previous version of your competitor's product, and you will gain marketshare.

    (128 MB swap partitions being a limitation of the 2.0.x kernels, for example).

    Plus, if Microsoft can claim (er, insinuate) that Plug and Play, USB, and APM actually work in NT 4.0 (maybe with special patches and hacks), shouldn't we be able to claim that XFS and ext3 support journaling right now? I mean, Stephen Tweedie and his merry men are testing journaling Right Now! Not to mention the memory limitation being erased... and which OS is 64 bit clean?

    QDMerge [] 0.4 just released!
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:09PM (#1636007) Homepage
    I'm encouraged. Can you imagine MS doing something like this even a year ago? Putting that page together will have cost them a lot of money. Large organisations produce responses like that by forming a committee, producing drafts, arguing about wording and getting lawyers to check things. If it cost less than $100,000 I'd want to hire the manager.

    They are clearly frightened by Linux. If you read it carefully, they attack Linux as a credible enterprise (>4 processor) OS, and they attack in the workstation environment. This is funny. Linux has never tried to be an enterprise OS. We'll get there, but we're not there yet. NT is nowhere near that level either. In the workstation environment, NT has a solid, strong presence. Many Linux devlopers (KDE & Gnome teams ) are working on this.

    The real place that Linux is winning is in the workgroup/department sever space. This includes many small / medium sized enterprises. The reason they are scared is that this is the only place that NT Server has any significant presence.

    Linux is starting to hurt MS. With a little help from the US DoJ, we'll hurt them badly.

    The paragraph on journalled filesystems was probably the funniest. If you don't know why, please email me. Then hit the 'off' switch on your NT box. Then reboot it. If you still don't understand why that's funny then you are too stupid to own a computer.
  • Why wasn't ext2 designed with 64 bits?

    ext2 works perfectly with 64bit, just ask anyone who has alphaLinux running. The problem is not in the ext2fs filesystem, but in the File I/O API. That API uses signed integers as argument (and returncode), so on a 32-bit system you've got only 2^31 bits, which is 2Gig.

    On a 64-bit system the current ext2fs limit is 2Terabyte (if I'm not mistaken :-)

    With the upcoming xfs from SGI to Linux, the filesize problem won't be solved on 32-bits systems, just because the problem isn't in the filesystem, but in the file I/O API itself...

    I wouldn't want to be working with applications that require 2G+ files on intel anyhow. Especially not databases.

    I've got a message for all the beautiful people of the world...

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:30PM (#1636016)
    It seems to me that Linux advocates should take this as a great compliment - MS Marketdroids sweating over a free OS that wasn't even a blip on the radar a year or two ago. With the pace of development that is going on, what will it be like 2 years from now? Mature GIUs, several office suites, better SMP, 64 bit CPU support (something lacking in Windows AFAIK).

    Now what is needed is a series of articles that debunk the various issues on this page, like the 128M swap partition limit, the 2 GB file limit (isn't this gone under 64 bit CPUs?), a list of industry benchmarks where Linux was shown to outperform Windows, a realistic assesment of support costs including showing the differences between RedHat and MS per instance support, the issue of remote administration, the FUD about having to relink the kernal to add features, and so on.

    Coupled with this should be a list of Linux advantages over Win - the high quality free software certainly does drive TCO down in many applications (this is what attracted me to Linux in the first place).

    All of this has to be nailed down tight.

    And then post it on for everyone to see.

  • by RachaelAnne ( 76777 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:51PM (#1636029) Homepage
    MS Windows NT Myths

    Myth: Windows NT outperforms all other operating systems

    Reality: Windows NT only outperforms all other operating systems if MS is allowed to misconfigure the competition and avail themselves of technical support that no MS customer would have. In fact NT hasn't really been shown to outperform anything any way. What does outperform mean by the way? :)

    Myth: Windows NT is a very reliable operating system.

    Reality: Depends on how you shake "very" but yes it is realiable in staying up ... if you don't run too many applications at one time, don't install anything that isn't MS-certified and do NOT tweak anything except in MS recommended ways (with a little gui box to go with it). But as that is usually good enough for some people, this is a good definition of very.

    Myth: MS Windows NT delivers a great OS at a great price.

    Reality: $4000 for 1 server and 10 workstation licenses? Come on, you gotta be kidding! (I know that number isn't quite right but it *is* in the thousands). Put in the hardware and user software packages and that's a bundle. I don't know about you, but if the OS alone costs me into the thousands, it better be as bug-free and secure as possible ... or at least bug fixes had better be timely and actually work. Oh yeah, add in support
    and this could really be a lot of money. "Now which button should I press to get to the do-hickey thing that'll change this access permission?" the customer says. "Press the one that says 'XXX'" says the customer service rep. "It didn't work." "Oh, I mean 'YYY'." "That didn't work either." Two hours later: "I'm glad you fixed my problem," says the customer and the rep says "I'm glad we did too. Your bill is in the mail." "How much was it, by the way?" The rep tells him and the customer drops dead. :)

    Oh and the "certified engineers" business is a load of hoooo-ey. Who cares if there exist well-trained lemming/sloths who paid thru the nose
    to learn to service my NT box when I could easily learn MYSELF how to service my UNIX/BSD/LINUX/etc. box?

    Myth: Windows NT has passed US gov't certification for security.

    Reality: Uh, not to burst anyone's bubble but I think only Win NT 3.5 got C2 certification and *that* had to be with the box not connected to any other computer (no internet boys!) The others may have gotten the British Gov't's okay, but it's news to me.

    Myth: Windows NT security fixes are easy while the competitions are really hard to understand.

    Reality: MS publishes incorrect security fixes and sometimes takes weeks after and exploit is published to fix the bug and that's good? Oh, and a simple rpm -Uvh is hard?

    Myth: Windows NT is a really intuitive system and so is a good desktop system.

    Reality: Okay, personal story boys: When my family first got a Windows 95 machine, I was in high school. I had experience with apples and dos (and a funny little Tandy that I programmed basic on when I was very little). We even bought a thick $30 Que book on using Windows 95. It still took me a long time to figure out how to do simple things like rearrange my menus on the start bar -- and I *never* got to rearrange my desktop pop-up menu. Not to mention I didn't understand the utility of the start bar for a long time (like clicking on minimized programs to bring them up or to switch between programs.) Windows NT user interface is much the same, so the comparison is
    valid. My point is not that the Windows UI is bad, it is that it is only "intuitive" because I've used it so much. It has been no more intuitive for me than the default Red Hat 6.0 window manager and default bars/menus/etc. I have a feeling that the idea that Windows is intuitive is simply because so many people have used it for so long that they don't realize the trouble they had when they first started with Windows (3.0, 95, etc).

    Myth: Windows has so many good applications that it makes it the only choice.

    Reality: Yes there are a lot of applications for Windows NT. Many of them are good or at least acceptable. But they generally cost a hell of a lot of money. MS Office costs at least $100 (if you are a student). Corel/WordPerfect may be cheaper, but it probably isn't much cheaper for business licenses. Development environments can cost a lot more (if you actually want to be able to distribute the end product, which the student licenses from MS forbid --- I don't know about Borland or the others). I'm usually happy with a text editor and a command line compiler. That's all I need or want, so I usually end up treating a MS Visual X as a text editor that happens to have the compile command on a menu. I know it's silly, but when you don't need the whole shebang, IDE's for Windows are just too much and the ported GNU tools just don't work too well on Windows (besides, DOS command line sucks). So why should someone who really only needs a text editor and e-mail and a web browsers and a command line compiler and a few games use Win NT? As that is about what most non-computer people I know need
    (minus the compiler :) ).


    (This is my first ever post, so be gentle :) )
  • I recall 1994, when a NT administrator could demand 25-50% more money than a NetWare administrator. As NT's usage spread, and Microsoft was successful in promoting it's education programs, the price of NT administrators dropped through the floor.

    UNIX (and AS/400, VMS, etc) admins are expensive because getting admin access to a Unix system is difficult. so fewer people learn. A vicious catch-22.

    Linux, on the other hand doesn't have the access problem. I'm sure that in a couple years there wil be enough Linux admins that labor costs will be comparable to other PC NOSes.
  • In addition, Linux does not support many of the modern operating system features that Windows NT 4.0 has pioneered such as asynchronous I/O...

    Gee, maybe somebody oughta tell that Dave Cutler guy about this; he might be a little peeved at Microsoft for asserting that they pioneered asynchronous I/O, given that I seem to remember VMS, hell, RSX-11 supporting it.

    and IIRC ext2 is asynchronous by default.

    So are, as far as I know, NTFS and VFAT in NT, in that they'll do read-ahead and write-behind.

    The "asynchronous I/O" to which they're referring is, I suspect, explicitly asynchronous I/O, e.g. Win32 ReadFile() or WriteFile() with a completion routine...

    ...or, in systems supporting POSIX asynchronous I/O, aio_read() or aio_write().

  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:39PM (#1636052)
    Reality: Linux Needs Real World Proof Points Rather than Anecdotal Stories
    Customer Testimonials
    See how these leading companies and organizations have deployed Windows NT Server 4.0:
    Barnes & Noble
    Dell Computer Corp
    The Boeing Company
    First Union
    Chicago Stock Exchange

    How ironi.
    First, it's worth noting that Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture.
    Humans fundamentally rely on billion-year-old architecture in their genes, so they should be scrapped and reinvented.

    Linux was not designed from the ground-up to support symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP), graphical user interfaces (GUI), asynchronous I/O, fine-grained security model, and many other important characteristics of a modern operating system.
    Linux started out sleek, lean, and unbloated, and then evolved into a viable OS. In contrast, NT started out with bloated features you don't need in a server (running a GUI 24/7), and can barely support its own weight (finding bugs in NT is like finding a blade of grass in a cubic acre of hay).
    Reality: Free Operating System Does Not Mean Low Total Cost of Ownership

    It does if "when we speak of free software, we speak of freedom, not price". Unless the latest version of NT comes with working source code, I can't tweak the OS, or any underlying components to my liking.
    Myth: The Linux SWAP file is limited to 128 MB RAM
    Reality: Go read the mkswap(8) man page: the OLD (v0) swap spaces could only be 128MB (on an i386). The new ones (v1) support up to 2GB. Get your facts right, Microsoft. This has been around since kernel 2.1.117.
    There are no commercially proven clustering technologies to provide High Availability for Linux.
    Can you say beowulf?
    This is made complex due to the fact that there isn't a central location for security issues to be reported and fixed.
    Try dselect update install on any Debian system, or the RedHat errata, etc.
    No Linux products are listed on the U.S. Government's evaluated product list.
    Because we don't care about the U.S. Gov't stupid encryption "security" policies, approval would only make Linux look more insecure.
    Configuring Linux security requires an administrator to be an expert in the intricacies of the operating system and how components interact.
    Or an admin with a port-scanner.And you tell me an NT box is secure without an admin who knows about the system? Nice try.
    Reality: Linux Makes No Sense at the Desktop
    We never said it would... but my sister seems to like her Windows-free desktop (and she is totally OS-indifferent).
    Windows NT 4.0 currently supports over 39,000 systems and devices on the Hardware Compatibility List
    Assuming they were bought in the last 3 years, otherwise, it's obsolete.
    Linux does not support important ease-of-use technologies such as Plug and Play, USB, and Power Management
    Sad, my Linux box seems not to exist.
    The Linux operating system is not suitable for mainstream usage by business or home users.
    We never said it was good for mainstream by home use, we projected by current developmental progess that it WILL be soon.
    And business? Go ask RedHat if businesses don't like their software.

    "I already have all the latest software."

  • "Configuring Linux security requires an administrator to be an expert in the intricacies of the operating system"

    Hmmmm. I see. What precisely are the qualifications of a WinNT administrator?

    "Click the 'Next' button, now click the 'Next' button, now click the 'Next' bu..."
  • by El Kevbo ( 81125 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:14PM (#1636062)
    One of the (valid) claims MS makes is: "Linux Needs Real World Proof Points Rather than anecdotal Stories"

    They then post the first bullet to this statement as nothing more than *their* anecdotal evidence regarding NT: "Customers such as Barnes and Noble, The Boeing Company, Chicago Stock Exchange, Dell Computer, First Union Capital Markets, Nasdaq and many others run mission critical applications on Windows NT 4.0."

    Look! We've got better anecdotal evidence!

    C'mon guys, we're *still* waiting for a few real benchmarks...
  • by Josh Turpen ( 28240 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:43PM (#1636110) Homepage
    Regardless of what benchmarks say, what the TCO of NT vs Linux is, GUIs, installation, or whatever FUD that gets spread around, consider this:

    Under oath, Microsoft claims that Linux is a threat.

    Now the PR department claims that Linux isn't competetive with NT (non-threat).

    One way or another, Microsoft is lying.

    Do you want to support such an unethical company?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's ironic that MS is touting Logging Filesystems. They are backing off NTFS in favor of FAT32 and even with NTFS there is a nice lengthy chkdsk when it crashes. And it's been my experience that it crashes more frequently with NTFS. It seems to have some bugs in it, I get lost write backs and cache coherency problems about once a month on my machine at work, at least NT notifies you of the situation when it happens.

    Linux is weak in the aio, it's getting better though.

    The list as a whole reminds me of some of the FUD that went on between IBM and MS during the OS/2 war. A lot of the differences were at too technical a level for most IS folks to understand and there is lot's of ho-huming. There are a lot of ISPs and other businesses that have run linux very reliably for a long time, the unfortunate thing is that they are usually companies that are sized just wrong enough to be covered by typical enterprise surveys and it's really just a point that they can get away with because there hasn't been a lot of focus on disproving it.

    the performance issue is also kind of ironic, I don't know that I've ever seen NT beat linux in a really common environment. I'll give in that NT beats it on some high end and some exotic configurations but on your average department server or typical lan server linux will go toe-to-toe with NT.

    they're running scared.

  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:20PM (#1636132) Homepage
    Well, it is true. Linux has its roots in Unix, which was created in the 1970s. Linux was written to be compatible with Unix, because Linus Torvalds thought Unix was cool and wanted a Unix for his own use. He also had the Minix source code to look through as a reference.

    The cool thing about Unix is that it was designed as an infinitely flexible basic foundation on which to do anything. It was developed originally to play Spacewar. From there, it was moved to text processing applications. Now we have Netscape, StarOffice, Gnome and KDE - all four of which are indisputably late 20th century programs.

    The big advantage of that 30-year development is that we know it works, and works well. It's been honed to the point that there are minimal amounts of bugs. That's a tremendous advantage over NT, an operating system that was created under strict deadline pressures unimaginable in the Unix and open source worlds.

    The foundation works. There's little point to changing it, especially since it outperforms NT as it is in many if not most situations.


  • It most likely was not optimized, while the NT box most likely was. A study on Something like this needs to be in the educational sector - not the commercial sector - in order to be taken seriously.
  • The only TCO study I've ever seen showing that NT is cheaper than Unix

    The page in question has a link to some TCO study, but Nutscrape on NT appears to lock up trying to fetch it; all I saw was that the title seemed to imply that the UNIX box in question was a Sun SPARC box - I sincerely hope a large part of the alleged TCO difference wasn't in the hardware, because, err, umm, last time I checked, Linux (and Solaris/x86, and various other UNIX-flavored OSes, for that matter...) ran on the same hardware that NT ran on.

    Um, NT doesn't support PnP either.

    Define "support". NT 4.0 does have a (perhaps not officially supported) ISA PnP module that, at least, let it recognize and use the PnP ISA sound card on my machine at home. Of course, at least one non-Microsoft OS also was able to do that (for what it's worth, it didn't happen to be Linux, unless I could've made it happen by setting up some isapnptools configuration file - given that I didn't have to set up that file, perhaps because NT somehow set the device up already, I didn't look into that particularly vigorously).

    As far as I know, they support plug-and-play on less irritating buses than ISA (e.g., PCI), in the sense that, when the machine booted after I plugged in a PCI Ethernet card, it saw that the card was there (and may have, when I logged in, asked me to add a driver).

    Of course, the other three (non-Microsoft) OSes on the box also recognized that the card was there (and already had drivers, which they enabled, as I remember - I might've had to tell Debian to load the module for it).

  • by tecnodude ( 31328 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:08PM (#1636137)
    My favorite quote:

    "The very definition of Linux as an Open Software effort means that commercial companies like Red Hat will make money by charging for services. Therefore, commercial support services for Linux will be fee-based and will likely be priced at a premium. These costs have to be factored into the total cost model."

    And microsoft's policy of charging for support is any different? Well ok it is, you pay for the product and then the support :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What a complete joke. They must have upped their two-drink minimum in marketing to 6 or 7. I had to laugh at this.. snipped from their page. "Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture." Actually if you count electricity, it's more like 200 years. Enough. This is a linux-bash-fest. How about our own set of myths? M$-Myth #1: It works. M$-Myth #2: We care about you. M$ Myth #3: NTx.x is bug-free. and finally, the biggest myth of all: M$-Myth #4: We're not in it for the money. At the very least, this should gie the DPJ something to point to when Microsoft complains that Linux is "a threat" and a "real competitor" to their desktop.
  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:00PM (#1636139) Homepage
    Nor is it select/poll.

    What they're talking about is that you queue an I/O, and you get a notification when it completes. I.e, instead of calling write and expecting a result, you call something like write that sets a semaphore, and semaphore is released when the bits are actually on disk and the filesystem metadata reflects that. In classic Unix, you really can't do this - write just stuffs the bits in the buffer, and only blocks if there's no buffer space, so a return from write doesn't mean the data is on disk. You can call fsync, but then you have to wait. You can wait in a thread, but this gets ugly if you're doing a lot of transactions at once - you start filling up your process table. The same is true on read - you can't really doselect on a disk file, for example - it'll always say ready, even though it isn't, and even if you hacked select to say "yes, there's data in the readahead buffer," there's no way to ask how much, or to say "do you have the 4096 bytes starting at location 131072 yet?"

    This is a really nice feature, and is something for which I believe there is a Posix spec. Unfortunately, neither Linux nor NetBSD currently implement it. Database vendors in particular consider this to be A Big Deal. The ISC DHCP server has this problem, because it can't grant an address to a DHCP client until it's sure the record of the grant is on disk, which has to be done with fsync. This is probably our biggest bottleneck. :'(

  • Actually I brought this up on linux-kernel recently and inspired a long thread about the "right way" to implement them. As it turns out, there already is a patch that gives you working ACLs [] in ext2. Haven't yet tried it myself, though
  • But I don't want to work with databases. I avoided a CS major because I didn't want to work with databases. Storing more than 2 gigs per file is a perfectly reasonable expectation of a 32 bit computer. Video editors do it all the time on Win NT and they don't really care whether if it's the programming interface, the wind direction, or whether the democrats or republicans were in power that caused Linux to only support 2 gigs.
  • by Nik Picker ( 40521 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:08PM (#1636155) Homepage
    Welll Ive read all this before, hell I have seen it all before. ok lets review some details

    1. Anecdotal stories:
    Well Reliance Mutual look to be moving to Linux. And then there is the My own Company (Who promote NT) whose website runs FREEBSD, then How about the fact that Rodenstock Germany (Big Optical Company) work with Linux as a development platform. The US army think NT is poor performer. No major, and for this I mean AOL, UUNET, DEMON ISP will use NT as its backbone in service provision.

    2. Linux Community:
    The report uses it to sound denegrating but lkets see. For each app, utility and service there is a clear line of responsibility, opportunity and information. Heck we even know who co-ordinates on the Kernel updates, patches and we can redress the distributors and autors or modules for any extra help if we see fit.

    3. Promises of SMP ....
    Well excuse me for not running a superserver but most mid level and small businesses, lets face it they are the ones paying for MS licenses, will not need or require that level of service. Those looking for hight end server perfromance are most likley running 64Bit systems (can anyone say Alpha? Unix?)

    4. Late release of FUD
    most likely.

    As a lecturer in Visual Basic and a seasoned tech support professional in NT and windows I will say this. Out of 20 Students on my part time course in VB over half are llooking to install Linux. Of the 14 People who consult me about installing and upgrading their machines, or getting into the "industry" all will want to install Linux by christmas.

    This is the Barn, the horse is gone! do you wish to close the doors?
  • by Amoeba Protozoa ( 15911 ) <> on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:08PM (#1636159) Homepage

    There is a little something I learned about marketing in school:

    If the market leader acknowledges a competetor in an add or public forum, he may cease to be the market leader in the market's eyes.


  • Drive letter exhaustion is getting to be a real worry, if your NT network isn't set up with those limits in mind. And if there's NetWare around, it gets even tighter.

    One experiment we did on our network was to set up a Samba machine, and under each user's home directory, we'd smbmount each of the NT Server shares that he or she had access to. Their home dir on the Samba box would then be shared and mapped to a single drive letter on their client PC. So they'd see all their network resources under a single drive letter, and file paths were consistent company-wide. They loved it, at least in the demo we set up.

    Of course, there would be a lot of issues to consider before setting up a real network like that, but it sure demonstrated the flexibility in a way that average users could relate to.
  • by Logan ( 7529 ) <> on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:21PM (#1636168)
    This article starts off on good ground, citing publicly available statistics regarding a few specific areas of performance. However, the remaining myths are jokes.

    Their only real point concerning reliability is the lack of a journaling filesystem. Just because someone out there (such as Microsoft) is willing to guarantee uptime for NT does not automatically make NT stable and Linux unstable. Perhaps Linux doesn't need such a silly guarantee (though someone could make some easy money that way). Sure, they can list some big names that use NT, but there's big names using just about every OS on the face of the planet. That really isn't enough information to prove or disprove that one OS is more stable than the other. In fact, it's really difficult to compare stability through anything other than anecdotal evidence (polling system administrators?).

    The article does a good job discounting the free beer myth, but it does not prove in any way that the total cost of ownership for NT is less than that for Linux. It simply says that it has supposedly been proven that NT is cheaper than UNIX, and then tries to apply that to Linux. We then once again see the tired argument that there are no "certified engineers" for Linux. If Linux is so much like UNIX, why not borrow from the pool of UNIX "certified engineers"?

    Linux's security model is in no way weak. At worst, it's a tad bit crude. Security is not all or nothing. That's what groups are for. That's why I can listen to music without su'ing to root. Again Microsoft's tired and flawed arguments are provided. Apparently since NT can achieve a government security rating (which they didn't even bother to define), NT is more secure than Linux, since no one's ever tried to certify Linux. I don't really believe that NT also doesn't require "an administrator to be an expert in the intricacies of the operating system and how components interact." I think here the crude simplicity of the UNIX security model actually wins out, if that's their argument.

    As for Microsoft's argument against Linux on the desktop, they contradict themselves once again. If NT is supposedly so much more complex, powerful, and well designed than Linux, why would the "complexity of the Linux operating system" inhibit Linux's acceptance on the desktop (assuming NT would be accepted :P).

    I think whoever wrote this article worked very hard on the first section. Then they must have gotten sick of the task and simply dozed through the remainder. The article starts out with some nice facts and figures, and even a convincing argument or two, but then suddenly degrades into the same tired old dogma. A lot of it is entirely self-contradictory and quite disingenuous (but what do you expect?). As always, Microsoft only strives to convince the idiot. :P

  • by Jack William Bell ( 84469 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:09PM (#1636171) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps not, but this only serves to polarize people further. The Microsoft faithful will wave this around as proof of their beliefs and the Linux zealots will point to it as more proof that Microsoft is a nothing more than a hive of marketing droids who can lie better than they can write code...

    And those, like me, on the sidelines will be pushed more to one side or the other. Even if we might otherwise lean towards the NT camp, I think many will be so embarrassed and saddened by this kind of brookmanship that we may now move the other way. FUD or not, this was a mistake on Microsoft's part. I will not be surprised if the web page dissapears sometime real soon.


  • Myth: Geeks like Linux better.

    Microsoft engineers have been using Linux for months on their own home computers and when questioned by Microsoft Marketing Goons, they all claim they like NT better.
  • by scottm ( 288 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:09PM (#1636183)
    I'm sure this post is preceded by the usual trolls and flamers, so let's just ignore them.

    I just finished reading the article and considered writing a point-by-point analysis. As Rob pointed out there are some good points and some bad points made. It shouldn't take much time to evaluate each claim and write a reasonable response. So should we?

    The fact is we are starting to see more and more of these (hey, it's almost Halloween again, isn't it? (: ). Another fact is that some of these claims clearly are FUD. "Security on linux is an all-or-nothing proposition" (paraphrased from the document). Huh? Claims like this are flatly wrong, either intentionally or accidentally (should we expect everyone to know about sudo and groups?).

    I believe that what linux truly needs is some sort of a PR "department". No not a fuddish (cool word) marketing department or bloodthirsty advocates for a particular distribution. Just a comprehensive document developed by a variety of people that addresses some of these common concerns and myths. Does such a document exist? Where?


  • This is a good point. I have worked in some industries other than IT that have equipment performance guarantees. These are usually worthless for a number of reasons - if you don't acheive the guarantee rate there is usually some out or extenuating circumstance that the vendor can find to let him off the hook. The remedy in the guarantee is irrelevent compared to the cost of the actaul outage. The performance level in the guarantees you can get is nowhere near what need to be competitive. So as far as I am concerned what is really important is actual real world performance in my application, and you can only determine this by conducting your own tests - i.e. being your own validation engineer. Probably the IT industry is too young to appreciate this in depth, but with incidents like the eBay problems and the costs thereof it is going to become more obvious.
  • Re "sudo":

    Linux, and UNIX systems in general, do have
    a very real security problem owing from their
    architectural dependance on the "root"
    superuser. While "sudo" does superficially
    mitigate the risks of giving all administrators
    "full root access", it does so in a manner
    that is fairly questionable (it effectively
    creates limited-access SUID programs out of
    programs that were not designed to be SUID).

    But administrative access aside, the whole idea
    of the "root" user is bad, and has been
    acknowledged as bad. The problem is that the
    system both expresses privilege in a more-or-less
    "binary" fashion (all or none) and also
    requires that the "all" privilege be exposed to
    normal users from time to time (SUID programs
    and root-owned daemon processes.

    A better design for a secure operating system is
    to utilize a different "privilege" or "capability"
    for each privileged operation. For instance,
    where Linux relies on "root" to signify the
    privilege needed to open a raw socket, a better
    system would use a "raw socket" privilege.

    The end result of this approach is that instead
    of SUID "root" "ping" programs (for example), you
    have "raw-socket privileged" programs. The
    obvious benefit is that if you find a security
    flaw in the "ping" program, the attacker only
    gets the ability to open a raw socket, not the
    entire system.

    While this is a real flaw in the Linux/UNIX
    security model, I am unconvinced that the Win32
    security model is much better. Win32 also has
    an omnipriveleged superuser ("Administrator").
    What's worse, Win32 systems have a terrible
    multi-user design, which also compromises

    And I am absolutely unconvinced that
    Win32 is even comparable to Linux in terms of
    real security, since Win32 is a large, closed-
    source software project with a demonstrated
    history of stupid bugs (poor input validation,
    etc). In the open-source Unix community, a new
    class of "stupid bug" is followed by a period
    in which code is swept through in an attempt to
    eradicate those bugs. There is no evidence to
    suggest that the same process occurs in Win32.

    However, it would be unfortunate if dogmatic
    allegience to Linux prevented people from
    acknowledging its more serious flaws.
  • Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling File System. This means that in the event of a system failure, such as a power outage, data loss or corruption is possible. In any event, the system must check the integrity of the file system during system restart, a process that will likely consume an extended amount of time, especially on large volumes and may require manual intervention to reconstruct the file system.

    8gig is about the performance limit of ext2. After that it starts to take significant time to simply mount the disk read/write. (Lots of structure to copy into memory). 25+gig arrays take an indecent amount of time. And don't even talk about e2fsck.

    When linux crashes (not if, this is a high load box) recovery time is astronomical.

    They missed one point, though. No good way to backup large volumes. Dumpe2fs craps at about 8gig... lots of 64bit problems. Tarballing a 30 gig array as a "backup" solution just dosn't cut it... no good way to do incrementals.

    Hopefully we'll see some decent large-filesystem support by 3.0, since theres a few different projects working on it already.


  • so you can be identified for easy disposal.

    -quaint, member emeritus of the committee for natural selection. P.S. on a more serious note, thanx for the worklist Bill. :)

  • Absolutely. Also, I agree with the comment later on about the fact that when a market leader acknowledges its competition in PR, it is destined to cease to be the market leader. M$ is running scared, so what are we all so afraid of? We need to realize as a community that this is nothing to fear. We need to fight the FUD with calculated truth that we can back up, not wild defensiveness. I think NIN said it best:

    i want to break it up
    i want to smash it up
    i want to fuck it up
    i want to watch it come down
    maybe afraid of it
    let's discredit it
    let's pick away at it
    i want to watch it come down
    now doesn't that make you feel better?
    the pigs have won tonight
    now they can all sleep soundly
    and everything is alright

    Seems like a good description of MS right now...

    If you need to point-and-click to administer a machine,
  • Your arguing the wrong point. He stated that there is also reportibly going to be a product called millinium (though noone has really seen it that I know of.. *shrugs*) that is going to be 95/98 based in order to satisfy the lower end and gamers. I still find it odd that there is no beta of millinium, nor any real info about it.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:11PM (#1636213)
    I believe I speak for everybody here when I say that in the next 10 minutes the ultimate Mindcraft Redux will take place as tens of thousands of geeks simultaniously smash those NT servers and start requesting dynamic content by way of the /. effect.

    Ah, the sweet irony.


  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @02:52PM (#1636214) Homepage
    Since when do you put your swap file in RAM?

    I can see that you've never looked at the NT source. You see, NT is actually a _lot_ better than Linux. More stable, more features, better all around. But it has a unique design feature. Main memory is on the disk, and it swaps to RAM. I'm not really sure _why_ this is done, but most of the times when NT crashes it's because of bad sectors on the disk and other shoddy hw manufacturing.

    Why, if MS would put main memory in RAM, it'd smoke Linux's ass. It's unlikely to happen though, because MS firmly believes that it's a feature, not a bug.


  • Even though they used a font that in pretty much unreadable with the default redhat/netscape configuration, I still managed to find the line that says: "The Linux SWAP file is limited to 128 MB RAM" Perhaps true, I wouldn't know, but htey don't mention that that is irrelevant, because linux usually uses a swap partition instead. Personally, I've got over 300 megs of swap space.
  • I'm not sure why we pay so much attention to MS propaganda pages. Does anyone actually read that stuff?

    From a cursory reading, it seems to be the MS equivalent of those airline brochures which claim that their peanuts are fresher and that their flights are smoother. Face it - nobody really reads this stuff.

    It only gets attention when /. or some journalist shines the spotlight.

  • Under the NT security classification, that should have been C2, not C4. Typo.

    But that's only NT 3.5, and only when it's not hooked up to a network.

  • ... we don't need it.

    At least not at the official "PR Department" level. PR acts (in the normal business world)as a buffer zone between the media,customers,real world (i.e. public) and the official "word" of the company. It needs to be localized to provide one point of contact, one mouth speaking, one (very important here) point of view. That of the Company. Linux is not, never has been, and never will be a Company. It is a Community. Communities don't have central points of control for information. If you want to know what the Community thinks, you ask it, and you hear many voices, many differing points of view, the overall "feel" of the Community. This is often highlighted by outstanding members of the community, but if they say somethin' we don't like, they get flamed too. Often much too harshly, but heh, this is a wild community, very few rules apply here. BTW: Two sentences back, this "post" turned into a "rant", but, then again, you read it.

    And your idea for a nice easy higly distrubuted Myths of Linux: The FAQs (with examples of FUD and rebuttals. I think including 20-30,000 or so examples of "anecdotal" evidence might be enough to sway some people, ahh screw it. Official call to action! If you want to submit a concise (under1page) example of your anecdotal evidence, send it to me at and I'll make it look pretty on the web.)

  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:12PM (#1636249) Homepage
    I'd be ecstatic if Linux could just do 4 gigs natively. 2 gigs only store 5 minutes of YUV 4:2:0 video. For 29.97fps you can only fit 2 minutes in a file and it takes just as long to delete. Why wasn't ext2 designed with 64 bits? You need to perform file deletions as batch jobs they take so long.
  • by weaselp ( 32626 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:12PM (#1636252) Homepage
    I will only comment on two items that are simply wrong (at least _I_ think they are. Please correct me if I should have mistaken something):

    The Linux SWAP file is limited to 128 MB RAM. In addition, Linux does not support many of the modern operating system features that Windows NT 4.0 has pioneered such as asynchronous I/O...

    The 128 MB limit is long gone away, and IIRC ext2 is asynchronous by default.

    Linux security is all-or-nothing. Administrators cannot delegate administrative privileges: a user who needs any administrative capability must be made a full administrator, which compromises best security practices. In contrast, Windows NT allows an administrator to delegate privileges at an exceptionally fine-grained level.

    Someone please tell them about sudo!

    They do however have a valid point on Journaling FS and fine grained kernel locks which are both in development. I won't even start talking about performance/stability and user friendlyness :)

  • Being a tech in the industry, I have a few NT boxes around town, I also have 1 linux based server in town, of the 10 or 12 nt servers we have running, I get on average, 6 calls a week, most of the time the server needs to be rebooted...the one linux box has never had a call, never needed to be rebooted (been in place about 6 months) just sits there and does what it's supposed to do...granted it was not as "simple" as NT to set up, but that's what makes Linux so much fun.
  • The interesting thing here, is that Microsoft has taken significant strides with Windows Update (for Windows 98, I don't think it works with NT). For those that haven't used it, you go to a web page that matches your system config against the patch list (this is not supposed to send any info to MS, but I'm not sure I trust that), you then download and install the patches that you need. Security patches are separated out, and there is a decent notification feature. Now, big Unix vendors like SGI and Sun have had systems like this for some time, albeit a little more command line oriented. Personally I like the SGI system the best (not the rest of the OS, just the patch and package manager).

    RedHat and other Linux distros should implement something of this nature (maybe some of them have). Sure, it's not strictly necessary, but then again very few things are. Ideally it would work from the command line and integrate with the existing FTP servers and package managers. New distributions should be set up to check for updates the first time you connect to the internet after an install, and perhaps weekly thereafter. I'm sure any sysadmin worth her salt has thrown together some scripts to do this already, or is happy with the manual process, but the user base is gettting less experienced and security should be as easy as possible.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have read as many responses as i can take about this article. Most of you call it a "linux bash fest" or something along those lines. And then what do you do? You turn and have your own "ms bash fest" but the thing is, you have been doing it just as long, if not longer, than ms has. so what exactly is wrong with them giving you a little taste of your own medicine? God forbid anyone ever say anything negative towards linux, or anything positive towards ms.
    Open Source. Closed Minds. We are Slashdot.
  • by Malor ( 3658 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @03:54PM (#1636289) Journal
    The lack of a journaling filesystem for Linux is a real problem. Honestly, this lack is the only thing keeping me from deploying this thing as a server where I work. We're all pretty jacked about Linux, on the whole, but we only use it for DNS services at the moment.

    Why? Simply because I have lost data from several Linux machines due to power failures.

    Linux is highly reliable, but ext2 is fragile as hell. The last time I complained about this, someone said, "Well, gee, I've never lost a byte of data, I just used [some disk utility] and restored the 16th copy of the superblock and all was well. You must be a moron."

    Apparently that was a valid criticism from his standpoint, but I have only a vague understanding of the layout of an ext2 partition, and I don't think I should be forced to learn it as an emergency data-recovery measure. I'm pretty geeky, but I'm not THAT geeky, and I don't think I'm ever likely to be, either. I'm interested in using the system to do fun stuff, not mucking about with the actual physical layout of the filesystem. (!)

    NT, while it bluescreens and behaves mysteriously a lot more often than I would like, doesn't lose data when it crashes, except possibly the very last bit that was being saved. In my opinion, this strength makes up for many of its other failings. It may not be the most reliable OS in the world. It has horrible security. Administration takes way too much time. It's a tool that Microsoft uses to try to own everything in my life. But by god, it doesn't lose data from simple stuff like power failures.

    Every OS has good points, and I think Microsoft really nailed it with two of NT's features: NTFS and their ACL system. I really like both. If I could have ACLs and a real journaling filesystem under Linux, without having to spend more than a day or two setting it up, I'd be very happy to deploy it all over my office.

    I don't LIKE NT much... but I trust its filesystem.

  • by barooo ( 72078 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:15PM (#1636308)
    The haloween documents (granted, just a study, not company policy) implied that FUD tactics wouldn't work against free software.

    Halloween I, quote #4 [].

    I guess that's not the official line?

  • by Coretti ( 17558 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:16PM (#1636312) Homepage
    This is the exact sort of propaganda Microsoft needs to promote to keep there O/S "ahead" of the game. That is, until the public finds out exactly how full of it they are :)

    I'm curious - why aren't any of the big-name Linux companies (Red Hat, I'm looking in your direction) spreading their own version of FUD back at Microsoft?

    Think of it like this: Some small company is looking to network their machines. They've heard of NT, they've heard of Red Hat, but they don't really know the difference other than who's made which. Now, anyone can just go to M$'s site and find that document and say "Gee, Linux has got some problems...hmm, I wonder what they'll say is wrong with NT." Now, I just went to Red Hat's site, and I didn't find a damn thing about why Linux is better than NT. So why, faced with 5 "facts" as to what's wrong with Linux, vs. apparently nothing wrong with NT, would some new purchaser go with Linux?

    I don't like M$'s lies any more than the rest of you, but I think we need to keep in mind that if you don't counter the FUD with something (and something very public and noticeable), then the public isn't going to "find out exactly how full of it they are."

  • by Wolfier ( 94144 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @03:01PM (#1636327)
    After repeatedly seeing on Slashdot news about FUD from MS, and a lot of enthusiastic reply from our community, I felt that something has gone slightly wrong with us - I feel that we are not countering FUDs effectively. The followings are my thoughts.

    1. Audience
    How many times have you read an article or a reply on Slashdot and thought, "damn, wouldn't it be nice if it were on CNet / Yahoo / Wired"? While Slashdot has gained some attention of the general public, get real - by posting a reply on Slashdot, we are only talking to ourselves. It does NOT help counter the effects of the FUD and MS knows very well that they have better FUD targets than us.

    Spread the words to where it counts. e.g. Friends on your icq lists. Co-workers. Your boss. Anyone savvy enough to know about computers but not enough to distinguish facts and FUDs. Suggested action: get some words on,, and maybe wired and yahoo. These are the sites where the curious or the helpless FUD targets are.

    2. Reader-friendliness
    As an extension of the above point, our counters are too unfriendly to our audience (or helpless-FUD-target-IT-managers). Look at the jargons. "FUD" itself is a good one. And the long, way-too-technical counters.

    Can't we summarize our points into some short, precise, easy-to-read sentences just like MS carefully does? Short does not necessarily mean vague, and with an open effort, we CAN out-FUD the FUDs. (Yes! It may be surprising, but the effect of FUD *can* be generated even with true statements!)

    3. Professionalism
    How many of us have read the advocacy-HOWTO?
    I've see far too much zealotry, foul languages, etc. on our anti-FUD replies. While the intention is adorable, an incorrect implementation may result in counter-effect.

    MS's FUD technology is lightyears ahead of ours. Study the article. Count the number of formal sentences that they use. Count the number of euphamisms. Realize the inexistence of any bluntant, rude rebuttal to Linux (yes, euphamisms again). We have a lot to learn.

    4. Effort
    How powerful are many small, personal voices from /. readers to capture the minds of the helpless-FUD-targets? From an outsider's point of view we look like nothing but a whining mob.

    Is it possible for us to start an open advocacy/anti-FUD group to gather ideas, make counter-benchmark benchmarks, and make our voices known? How about making some public poll on "the number of crashes you have in NT in a week" vs. that of Linux, and make it a news on Wired?

    Facts that are trivial to us may not be so to the helpless-FUD-targets. We must find some good ways to get our messages onto the other side.

    Just my $2%
  • This piece is surprisingly FUD-free, honestly. It chooses a few of Linux's remaining weak spots and attacks them with an incredible fervor. Compare this to earlier pieces from Microsoft's website which were, in most cases, completely fact-free. At least one can say that at least they've done some research this time around.

    The only *problem* with the article is that it focuses on a few pretty minor issues and fails to recognize the strengths. For example: yes, x86/Linux only (!) supports 2 gigs of RAM out of the box, and requires a patch to support the 4 gigs that NT does. On the other hand, any 64-bit platform supports enough RAM to choke a horse. This was by design; Linus knew that 64-bit would be here long before most folks would want more than 2 gigs of RAM in their machines.

    Secondly, and I think more embarassingly, this article is mud-slinging. Regardless of its accuracy, putting articles on your website that denounce your competitors is just as bad a reflection on a business as it is on a politician. If I go to a company's website, I want to hear why *their* product is good, not why they think someone else's sucks. (As I recall, they ran a similar piece on Solaris a while back...wasn't that the one where they claimed that the OS had a "fatal flaw" that would cause it to lock up if you started randomly yanking CPUs out of a running system?)

  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:17PM (#1636351) Homepage
    If my memory serves, Red Hat's support is way cheaper then Microsoft's for NT. Wasn't Microsoft charging something like $ 195 per incident?

    I'd say that has to be factored into the calculations all right.


  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @05:43PM (#1636356) Homepage Journal
    1. First they ignore you.
    2. Then they laugh at you.
    3. Then they fight you.
    4. Then you win.

    We seem to be at step #3 now. Microsoft must be pretty scared at this point.
  • This discusses WHY ACLs aren't that great, and presents a possible solution.
  • NT 4 has DirectX 3 only. Which isn't much. No direct sound support, which makes it suck as a gaming platform. I doubt NT4 will ever a newer version of DirectX.

    Win 2000 has a beta of DirectX 7 in it. I tried to run Half-Life [] using Direct3D under win2k and got 1 frame a sec. And I could not get get the Unreal Tournament demo to to run fullscreen using Direct3D.

    Using OpenGL in win2k, i could get all of these games to run perfectly: Quake, Quake2, Q3test, Half-Life. Epic needs to work on the OpenGL support in UT. This is all on a TNT [].

  • Whoah. Back up there Microsoft. Linux users can have their patches in mere minutes after an exploit becomes public.. infact often the two are released together! Can you claim that your 'hot fixes' can be deployed in less than.. oh, a week?

    Even then, due to the inherent instability in the operating system you market you often have to recall the fix because it breaks compatibility with some crucial service!

    What's worse, virtually any user of an NT system (even WITH all the hotfixes) can 'root' the box in less time than it takes for me to compile "hello, world"! Atleast under linux I have a very well laid-out method of protecting users' programs from interfering with each other.

    And I can download a state of the art firewall for free and have it up and running in minutes on any current linux distribution. That literally costs thousands to impliment on NT.

    Linux is insecure? Better go recheck your data...


  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @03:07PM (#1636391)
    Can you imaging someone, who has Never used a computer before, try using Linux??

    People forget what it was like to use a computer in the old days. KSR 33's. Cleaning the oil off the high speed tape reader left by previous nitwit user. Keying in bootstrap loaders from switch register. Clearing jammed punch cards from reader and retyping same. IBM JCL.

    I think anyone not stuck with a subnormal IQ can learn how to use any modern computer.

  • As in the "not performing to market expectations" kind of Red. Anybody know how Linux is performing to "market expectations?" (If anybody mentions RH, I'm gonna slap 'em.)

    I'm an admin running about 20 or so NT4 machines and an NT server. The last two machines I bought are Linux web/file servers. We will not be upgrading to Office2000 or Windows2000 until at least 2002 if at all. It's not worth the downtime, now that's everythings M$table. The need to upgrade doesn't exist for most small/medium companies. Microsoft can't have customers not buying software for a couple years. And then after those two years they buy free software, that hurts the 50% annual growth very quickly. How funny is it when an 800-pound Gorilla panics?
  • the other site I put that on (my normal site) doesn't have too much bandwidth (the machine is just fine however) so I mirrored my rant on

    Geoff Harrison (
    Senior Software Engineer - VA Linux Labs (
  • Well, I happen to develop for Windows, and have used Windows for quite some time (3.x till Win2000 RC2, which I am running at work). I am no Microsoft fan. I don't like the very proprietary nature of the solutions they provide. I do hope that people reading their "myths" take them with a grain of salt. They raise a few points, but nothing that we don't already know.

    Sure Unix is more complex, but doesn't that mean it is (potentially) more powerful and configurable? *nix admins know their sh*t, period. Not to say that many MCse's aren't smart, but they simply don't have to know very much to keep their OS running. All they need to know is how to reboot (OK, that was a cheap shot, but I've done my share of it, so I'm entitled).

    And let's talk about web servers... I worked for a web development group, and IIS would just die for unknown reasons and require a restart. Not good for "mission-critical" apps, I wouldn't think...

    Microsoft jabs at Linux for "promising" things such as SMP, etc. Hasn't Microsoft been promising Win2000 for quite awhile now? The cool thing about Linux is how rapidly the development moves. You would think Microsoft, with billions of dollars and tons of bright engineers, could beat a bunch of hackers strung together by the Internet, many in their "spare time". You've got to admire that.

    Yes, Linux has some progress to make as a desktop system, but it is stable, unlike Win9x, which crashes on me constantly. And, it is infinitely customizable, for those who are willing to take some time to learn. Is it right for John Q. Public right now? Maybe not, but perhaps someday. Is it more complicated to run than Windows? Yes, but again, remember the trade-offs.

    Well, I could go on, but it's nothing that 99% of you don't already know. Just thought I would toss in my $0.02 as a corporate Windows developer/user. BTW, I just ordered my new desktop... w/ Linux pre-installed).

    Let's be honest about Linux's weaknesses, and fix them. But in the same vein, let's not put up with any FUD... As some other /. readers have noted, we must intelligently REFUTE the FUD, not rave about it madly. That doesn't help our reputation any.

    --"A man's Palm is his best friend."

  • all it takes is one person to find it and tell their friends about the article for it gain credibility. I have a custome that believes ANYTHING he hears as long as it isn't from us. i swear. We installed the patches to update his server (NW 3.12) for y2k bugs. One week later he told me that he wanted to switch to NT 4.0 (before sp4 was out) because NetWare wasn't y2k compliant even after the patches, but NT was. If we ignore theese and/or don't respond then the great PR blitzkreig called Microsoft marches on.

    (we did talk sense to him in the end. 2 of his mission critical apps were NetWare specific)
  • 6) I like the weasling on the C-2 security ratings. Last I heard, NT only got C-2 by disabling the networking. And 4.0 wasn't certified for years- so long the guy who was originally suing them was threatening to take them to court. Oh, and C-2 doesn't mean that much- the only lower rating is D (no security at all, ala DOS). Some versions of Unix can even hit B levels of security (there's a version of HP-UX that does this, IIRC). The only reason Linux hasn't gotten C-2 is simply that no one has walked it through the paperwork (i.e. for the same reason it's not "Unix").

    To the best of my understanding, normal Linux systems would fail C2 certification as chown allows root to give ownership of files, not just take ownership of the file. C2 requires that no one can give away ownership of a file, you can only take ownership of it from someone. (this is to prevent someone taking ownership of a file, reading it, then giving ownership of it back)
  • There used to be three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. Now, there's a fourth type: Half-Truths.

    To someone with little or no experience using and administering Windows NT or Linux, these may be believable. However, anyone who is intimate with
    multiple operating systems will no doubt have numerous questions afterreading this.

    While I will admit, there are times where the Microsoft article makes valid points, most of it seems to be half truths, misinformation, myths, rumors, speculation, and opinion.

    I don't have the time or interest to pick appart every single problem with this article, however, I'll give an example from the beginning of it. The Microsoft article starts with,

    "First, it's worth noting that Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture."

    In a strictly technical sense, this is in fact a true statement. However, it is only half true, if even that. It ignores the fact that through those 30 years of use, Unix has evolved and learned from the mistakes that it has made. The Unix that was originally created at Bell Labs is a far site from the modern Unix operating systems (including the Unix-like Operating Systems, such as Linux).

    Linux has managed to learn from all that experience, while at the same time adapting to modern day usage. The fact that many of the ideas and theories that Linux/Unix is based are 30 years old is not a bad thing. It's a good thing.

    This argument is in fact not even an NT vs. Unix argument. What it is, is an argument of Operating System theory and oppinion. The problem is, most of it is oppinion. It can't be proven. And much of what can be proven can be proven both ways. As Linus once said, "Microkernels might be a good idea, in theory. However, we aren't building a theoretical kernel. We're building a practical one that works." (These aren't exact words, but I think this captures the jist of it.)

    However, you won't find that information in the article. If you want a lot of half truths, misleading statistics, and arguments of theory and philosophy, this is your article. If you want cold hard facts, then what are you wasting your time with articles for? You need to be talking to the people who work with these systems, or work with them yourself, and find out the truth first hand.

    Lastly, remember that there are a thousand thousand uses for a computer out there. No single computer, or single OS, can handle all of them.
  • by Bob-K ( 29692 ) on Tuesday October 05, 1999 @01:23PM (#1636434)

    Really, folks, they DO make some good points. Stories of better security and reliability are pretty much anectdotal. It's one of those things that's taken as truth among the faithful, but if there's a good way to measure these things, I've yet to see it.

    To be sure, for MS to claim better reliability on NT would be equally disingenuous and unproven. But more to the point: repeating the claims that "Linux is more secure" or "Linux is more reliable" without proof will eventually cease to be effective. MS has already managed to portray NT as being as fast or faster than Linux; claims that Linux is faster don't impress people anymore.

    Rather than beating the "more reliable; more secure" drum, advocates should emphasize Linux's proven and unambiguous advantages. For example, you can install Linux without a GUI if you want to. There's no way to FUD that. Another example: the Unix file system tree is far more flexible than drive letter mappings. (No matter how much money Microsoft has, they can't add letters to the alphabet.) Text-based log files score another big win for Linux in my book, and troubleshooting is generally easier in Linux.

    Concentrate on quantifiable differences; speed, reliability, and security are the kinds of things that a good PR machine can easily turn to their advantage.

  • Assuming 99.9% Annual Uptime and Ten Minute Reboot period...
    Min_Per_Year = 60 * 24 * 365 = 525600;
    Minutes_Down = Min_Per_Year - (Min_Per_Year * .999) = 525.6
    Reboot_Periods = Minutes_Down / 10 = 52.56
    Reboot_Periods_Per_Week = Reboot_Periods / 52 = 1.01...

    Just the hard numbers, to provide a more intuitive calculation enviorment:

    60*24*368 = 525600
    525600-(525600*.999) = 525.6
    525.6/10 = 52.56
    52.56/52 = 1.01...

    Of course, Microsoft would point out that on leap years when hell is freezing over and Jesus is returning to claim the open-source market....

  • That little gem might well be the straw that broke the camel's back for Microsoft.

    Imagine that you are a top technical employee at Microsoft, well clued up on Windows and on the free operating systems (probably running Linux or a BSD at home), and you read that heap of steaming incompetence being disseminated by your company. How would you feel about it? Professionally soiled by association with the Microsoft name, that's how.

    And feeling that way about your employer is the first step towards seeking another. Microsoft may be in the process of losing a proportion of its best technical people, just because of their PR department's lack of analytic skills and a greater interest in good-sounding copy than in technical fact.
  • > NT isn't nearly as bad as linux fans say

    Is it as bad as the NT users say?

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.