January 29, 2001
7:52 PM   Subscribe

Ok, time to drop the recent religious wars, and return to the traditional religious wars. "Linux is just a fad", saith Microsoft. Genties and ladelmen, start your engines.
posted by baylink (18 comments total)
 
"Linux is simply a fad that has been generated by the media and is destined to fall by the wayside in time. Windows 2000 will gradually overtake the Linux share in the server market. "

I have a feeling this little quote will resurface when the fad doesn't die.
posted by Zool at 8:16 PM on January 29, 2001


I usually stick up for Linux, but let's look at this from the opposing angle.

There is a small movement of system admins who are starting to hate Windows and Linux, and are moving over to systems such as FreeBSD for Web hosting and such. FreeBSD is becoming more popular by the day, and since MacOS X is based on it, this trend can only continue.

We've also been told that Linux would support most hardware and be easy enough to install for someone who is able to install Windows 98. We've been 'getting there' for some years now, and variants such as Storm Linux and Corel Linux are easier to install, but not as easy as Windows 98 yet.

Corporate support seems to turn on and off in bursts. At one point, Corel were singing the praises of Linux on a daily basis, but now things seem to be far quieter over there.

OEM support is still minimal. Generally, machines just don't come with Linux installed, and I don't think consumers want them to. They want to use the OS that they use at work. Apple got in early with their OS, so they have just enough corporate and personal users to keep the demand for MacOS going.. Linux, however, has been and remains the domain of techies.

Of course, these things may change, but we're a long long way from achieving a critical mass in consumer circles. Linux is, after all, a great server, and can be a great workstation if you're willing to customize it and tweak it. However, Windows (or, possibly, MacOS) remains the best consumer OS at this time.

Let's hope we see more changes and less pipedreams in the next few years.
posted by wackybrit at 8:18 PM on January 29, 2001


Alright, an OS holy war! How productive!

Linux is never going to take over the desktop, or the small-time server market (if it hasn't already, I'm sure it'll command the Very Big Server market though). The old guard that love linux won't dumb it down to newbie level. Read In the beginning... was the command line if you don't agree.

And anyway, my uptime here isn't too shabby, especially for such a "joke of a server OS."
posted by mathowie at 8:25 PM on January 29, 2001


If anything Linux will be gobbling up the small time server market because it's open source and free to the public.
posted by thirdball at 8:34 PM on January 29, 2001


Dumb question from someone who's never paid that much attention to Linux: What's the difference between it and FreeBSD? I thought Linux was just open-source Unix. Like FreeBSD.

It would be sweet to see OS X gain a real foothold in the market, in any case.
posted by aaron at 9:02 PM on January 29, 2001



wackybrit - the interview with the gent from MS was more regarding server installations, specifically the application server market, so you're right about a couple things regarding the desktop etc.. However, the application server market is one that linux makes the most sense in. If you are a mid sized ASP(app. service provider) you need lots of little webservers to do specific jobs. Do you want to pay for a rack full of win2k server licenses or download a copy of debian(insert your fav distro here) and install it on all 42 machines for free?

this article is a really classic example of good ol Microsoft FUD. first question starts off talking about the dominance of the PC market, and by extension, the dominance that MS has in that market. skip to the third paragraph,

"Linux is too expensive. This is because each company has to invest an unreasonable amount of time and money in Linux verification. As a result, the TCO (the total cost of system installation and operation) is too high, effectively making Linux a very expensive operating system. "

Couple things; the guy really isn't saying a f$ucking thing here if you read the paragraph closely and don't let your eyes glaze over like we're all used to when people start talking like this :)

He starts with 'linux is too expensive' and backs up that assertation , '..each company has to invest... in linux verification' then follows up by re-enforcing the 'expensive' statement. what exactly is 'linux verification' and how does the 'verification' of linux(whatever it may be) correlate to a higher TCO? further, what is an 'unreasonable' amount of time and money? One would assume that any excess of time and money would lead to TCO whether you're installing OS's or selling lemonade on the corner of elm street in buttfuck nebraska.

everyone is smart enough to see the BS behind the 'its a fad hyped up by the media' line.. if you want hype, you have no further to look than MS's own shiny new $200 million ad campaign that kicked off last week..

at any rate, these kind of things are always fun to rip apart just for the fact that they're so transparently self-serving.

as for the uptime, +1 matt - i've got a number of fairly popular sites(250 - 350K page views/month) that are all dynamic, db driven, and have been up for just about 7 months now. it was another 9 months of blissfull uptime before that - and at the end of the day, it all comes down to reliablity and the TCO that this guy is attempting to stammer about..
posted by djc at 9:03 PM on January 29, 2001


C'mon guys. This is just a tiny article from a Japanese paper. Nothing to get worked up about...

Now, speaking of Japanese, I must say that it's satisfying to be able to setup my roommate's Windows box, even though it's in a language I can't even begin to comprehend. Hell, I could tell him what each dialog box said before he even read it! Oh wait, maybe this *isn't* something to brag about...
posted by whatnotever at 9:36 PM on January 29, 2001


War smor.

i'm working on NT, the system next to mine is win98, the one next to that is win2000, the server closet to my left contains redhat linux, sco unix, solaris & winNT. The editing suites use Macs hooked together with PC servers.

It works great. Can't we just all get along?
posted by th3ph17 at 9:46 PM on January 29, 2001


I've got my bets on OSX. Not for overcoming Linux in the server market or Windows in the business market, but it's amazing how such a wonderful GUI will be combined with a largly open sourced kernel.

To top it all off, I could get DVD-R in the system. Life is good for Mac users.

(buwaha. more fuel)
posted by jragon at 9:51 PM on January 29, 2001


Zool: "Fall by the wayside" is not the same thing as "die". I think an aggregate market share of <5% can be considered "fallen by the wayside", for example, even if it turns out the aggregate market is so large that <5% provides a viable income. Not that that's what'll happen... But it's happened before.

djc: No, on a TCO basis Linux is much more expensive than Windows. That's because of what may be called O'Brien's First Law: The box and/or the O/S is always the cheapest part of your IT investment.

The expensive part is always personnel. There are millions of Windows people. There's tens of thousands of Linux people, on a good day. That means Linux people charge more. Two guys at $100K/yr each is more expensive than two guys at $65K/yr each. The nominal difference in price between Win2K licenses and Linux' "free" prices becomes just that -- nominal, and it only lessens in subsequent years. (We'll leave aside the issue of how many small-to-medium businesses run on pirated server software.)

This, by the way, is the real reason PCs of all stripes buried mainframes and minicomputers (VAXes and AS/400s). Sheer H/R economics -- it was vastly cheaper to get PC guys.
posted by aurelian at 10:39 PM on January 29, 2001


Dumb question from someone who's never paid that much attention to Linux: What's the difference between it and FreeBSD? I thought Linux was just open-source Unix. Like FreeBSD.

I am no flavor expert -- I've used Linux a fair amount and FreeBSD for only a short bit (which involved a very unpleasant experience with an experimental feature that shall remain nameless).

1. History/architecture. FreeBSD is a direct decendent of the BSD Unix family, while Linux iirc evolved out Minix, a small and experimental UNIX-ish operating system written by Andrew Tanenbaum for educational/teaching purposes. This results in certain differences in the way the kernel is constructed and so forth. Additionally, the 4.4 BSD kernel upon which FreeBSD is based is
quite well documented. Linux is not (in part because it is evolving rapidly in comparison, and partly because documentation is not as much of a priority, despite efforts like the linux documentation project). FreeBSD and its kin are afaik largely the result of work in academia -- they were "research" OSs long before Linus made his mad power grab. This mind-blowing diagram traces the history of the UNIX family (look for Linux in the lower right quadrant).

2. Licensing. To invoke Richard Stallman, FreeBSD is "free" as in beer, but not necessarily as in speech -- the license that covers the BSD code is not as restrictive as the GNU GPL that Linux uses. In particular, code released under the full GPL can't be redistributed as part of closed source software. BSD-licensed code can. Because of this, some would say that FreeBSD is "open source," but not "Open Source." I tend to leave these high-energy semantic discussions for others, but here's the BSD license and the GPL for comparison.

There's lots of other stuff that's perhaps not quite so important. There are differences in the way the filesystems are laid out, the way they tend to be used, differences in the types of people who use them. It has been predicted before that the Linux bubble will pop at some point, and people will migrate to something else (FreeBSD is often suggested, as is OpenBSD, which has a lot of extra security functionality built-in). Perhaps.
posted by tingley at 11:06 PM on January 29, 2001


I've just finished working for a mid-size organisation who were trying to go to Win2K on the desktop and it became an absolute 'mare. Never mind the fact that Win2K pro is a few service packs away from reliable, there is a big shortfall in the number of application vendors who will certify their stuff works with Win2K (I mean the small vendors now, not the big guys).

When IT managers start thinking about an alternative to Windows on the Desktop, MS is in trouble.

Seemingly, all MacOSX has to do to grab a large share of the business market is be stable, work with MS Office and be fairly easy to roll out. Can apple do this? I think they can. They invented easy. (or at least had the sense to buy it from xerox)

Is MS likely to let this happen? Well, BillG is a smart man who has a lot of resources. You can bet he's been bending GWB's ear a lot lately. (Will MS bring out Office for MacosX? They will have to if the company is broken into two)

And Re: the article

"Linux is too expensive. This is because each company has to invest an unreasonable amount of time and money in Linux verification. As a result, the TCO (the total cost of system installation and operation) is too high, effectively making Linux a very expensive operating system. "

Hahahahahahahahahaha

posted by fullerine at 4:23 AM on January 30, 2001


"Even with the advent of the Internet"

Ugh. We all know the Internet's been around for far too long to be treated like a recent occurence, in all odds he means the recent advent of the web. But then that's a decade old so it's difficult to understand what he means here.

The talk of TCO as opposed to technical reasoning, the bit about Linux being created by the media, I don't think the target audience of this article is system administrators but managers.

If you know what you're doing Unixes (Linux/BSD) or maybe OpenVMS make the best servers. I have yet to see a windows box stand up for a year - whereas a vanilla slackware of mine has been up for two and a half, another a year 1/2. Windows doesn't compare in many regards but is easier to maintain and cheaper if you don't have Unix staff. There's a great legacy of software, too.

ps. BSD vs. Linux licensing: code that was once had the source code available can be made closed under BSD licensing. Because of this BSD is considered more friendly to companies because they can use code, add to it, and not release the additions (Apple for example). BSD is technically superior in many regards, but I don't trust the licensing.

There isn't much software that can't be easily ported between BSD or Linux - in comparason to the leap of Windows to Unix.
posted by holloway at 5:40 AM on January 30, 2001


If you are a midsized ASP(app. service provider) you need lots of little webservers to do specific jobs.

Nah. Just a bunch of Linux images running on one used 390 mainframe. The MTBF is *much* higher, believe me. :-)

(And I saw a used 390 go for -- I am *not* making this up -- $1,500 on Ebay a few months ago.)
posted by baylink at 6:55 AM on January 30, 2001


Will MS bring out Office for MacosX?

They announced Office for OS X at MacWorld SF a couple weeks ago. No mystery, no surprise. Apple provides MS with an illusion of competition.
posted by sudama at 8:25 AM on January 30, 2001


Windows doesn't compare in many regards but is easier to maintain and cheaper if you don't have Unix staff. There's a great legacy of software, too.

Bingo.
posted by aurelian at 9:20 AM on January 30, 2001


Without meaning to get into an uptime war, my BSD firewall at home has an uptime of over 135 days, and shows absolutely no sign of stopping. I'll buy you a beer when MeFi's uptime gets that high. :)
posted by jammer at 11:52 AM on January 30, 2001


Matt sez: "And anyway, my uptime here isn't too shabby, especially for such a "joke of a server OS."

I've got you beat, Matt. 103 days and counting! (It's at the bottom of the page.) Granted, my site doesn't get the traffic that yours does. It's far better than the NT box it was on before, though, which was rebooted daily.
posted by CrayDrygu at 2:37 PM on January 30, 2001


« Older You thought the Holocaust was sickening? Read...   |   Physics problem Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments