> Rex Ballard wrote:
> > DFS wrote:
> >> Linonut wrote:
> >>> That's because we use a fair amount of Microsoft crapware.
> >> It's not crapware, of course. Most MS programs are great, great
> >> software. Why do you think so many large companies buy it?
> > I would love to know who you really are.
> I'm not half as exciting as I sound on cola.
> > It's fine that you feel that
> > all Microsoft programs are great,
> I never said that.
Give me a real score. What do you think Microsoft does "Best"?
What do your think other competitors do better?
What do you think Open Source does better?
> > and if that's the way you feel, you
> > should keep on using them. There are some Microsoft programs which I
> > also very much like, especially MS-Project.
> My favorites are Access and Excel, and SQL Server.
My biggest issue with Access and SQL Server, is that they leave people
who barely understand the concept of spreadsheets thinking they are
database gurus. I've seen at least two scenerios where a middle
manager cooked up an 'ad-hoc' Access database, which was originally
used as a personal record keeping system - move up the management
chain, and end up being driven up to the enterprize level, with little
or no change to the original implementation - and then people couldn't
figure out why it was so darn slow. Eventually, it had to be
completely rewritten, from scratch, by qualified professionals, who
also moved it to DB2 in one case, and Oracle in another case.
> > But I have a very
> > different point of view from yours.
> > I have worked for a number of these very large companies, sometimes as
> > an employee, sometimes as a consultant.
> > In most cases, one of the things they find incredibly frustrating is
> > the necessity to spend huge amounts of money, which usually involves
> > layoffs of as much as 20% of the staff, to cover the expense - to
> > merely purchase upgrades of Microsoft's software - simply because
> > Microsoft wants more money.
> Hmmm... what kind of company would layoff 20% of their staff just to buy
> software upgrades? Let me think....I got it...a company you dreamt up while
You really need to do some research. During the release of Windows 95
and Windows NT 4.0, there were substantial staff reductions. It was
politely called "Downsizing", "Cost Reductions", and even
"RightSizing". Many companies stopped hiring and reverted to
consultants and temps almost exclusively. In each case, the companies
had to make arrangements to replace thousands of PCs, including
back-ups, data recoveries, user training, and other expenses amounting
to over $10,000 per machine. Often, the people laid off were less
skilled and more easily replaced, meaning that 1 person had to be
"reduced" for every 3 machines migrated.
> > Windows XP almost fulfills the promis of being a 'Better Unix than
> > Unix' - being better than the versions of Unix that were available in
> > 1992, when NT was first announced.
> Windows XP is a fine operating system - fine enough to continue to be the OS
> of choice for just about every new PC vendor.
And court records of the Antitrust cases, and other cases, have shown
that Microsoft was very effective at making sure that PC Vendors did
not have any freedom to make any sort of real choice. IBM had paid
Microsoft nearly $3 billion for OS/2, some of which it got back when it
became a matter of court record that Bill Gates had personally ordered
the embezzlement of millions of dollars, possibly $billions, moving
labor and intellectual property to Windows 3.1 and Windows NT.
IBM had spent several $billions more fixing the version of OS2 Version
2.0 they received from Microsoft in the settlement. Warp 4.0 was
released early in 1995, and turned out to be very nice, practical, and
powerful. It also had the capability to run most Windows 3.0
But Microsoft absolutely insisted that IBM stop selling OS/2 entirely.
The court records and testimony in the Antitrust case outline attempts
at blackmail and extortion. Bill Gates even admitted these acts,
claiming that it was justified as corporate self-defense.
> And it sure was better than Linux at the same stage in their life-cycle/age.
In 1993, Microsoft's best offering was Windows 3.1, which had a
notorious habit of "hanging" or crashing as often as once every 2
hours. Microsoft Office applications included "auto-save" functions to
reduce the amount of lost information. Other applications, which did
not have this auto-save feature could result in loss of time up to
several hours. TCP/IP was not included (though by that time, Trumpet
Winsock and Mosaic were available).
By February of 1993, SLS Linux had every feature available in SunOS
4.0, but ran on inexpensive PC hardware. Sun had even contributed the
Open Look Intrinsics Toolkit and the Open Look Window Manager.
Furthermore, Linux workstations, once properly configured, could run
for days, even weeks, without rebooting and without crashiing or
By July of 1993, Linux was also being offered by Slackware.
In 1994, even before Windows NT was released, Novell had purchased the
rights to Unix. They were ready to release a Workstation version,
which would have been available to OEMs. While the CEO was in China,
Microsoft negotiated a "now-or-never" deal which had to be approved
before the CEO returned. In this deal, Novell had to immediately
terminate the entire Workstation project. According to one account,
Microsoft was promising not to release a Windows NT Server in
The bottom line is that within a few days, the entire Workstation team
had been terminated, and their machines had been shut down. When Ray
Noorda returned, he pretty much gave away the rights to Unix. He gave
branding rights to X/Open, gave critical pieces of code to BSD under
the terms of the BSD license.
The irony is that when Windows NT 3.1 was released, it was so terrible
that even those who spent $thousands per PC to attempt to convert or
upgrade to NT ended up having to drop back to Windows 3.1 because NT
could not run most of the applications currently available. Microsoft
ended up offering it as a Server, for File and Print services, directly
attacking the Novell Netware market.
Ray Noorda sold his interest in Novell, and formed the Canopy Group.
The Canapy Group was responsible for several companies, including
Caldera, and TrollTech.
Caldera became a very successful company, selling so many Linux systems
to franchises such as McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and so on,
that they had to merge with the SCO Service organization. Ironically,
the Ransom Love, who was responsible for this phenominal growth was
fired in a proxy fight, and replaced by Daryl McBride, who agreed to
work for $30,000 a year and 1 million shares of Caldera stock. Caldera
was renamed SCO, they quit the Linux business, and bet their entire
future on a lawsuit against IBM, even against the advice of their own
TrollTech is best known for their KDE Desktop environment and KDE
toolkit. Trolltech still makes one of the better C++ toolkits that run
on both Windows and Linux. Applications can be written using the QT
library, which will run well on both Windows and Linux (with the KDE
libraries and toolkit installed).
By 1995, Microsoft had announced "Chicago", but by this time,
Yddragasil (I never spell this right) Linux had self-configuration
tools which made it possible for people to easily install Linux on most
of the most commonly used languages. These self-configuration tools
were also adopted by Red Hat, Caldera, and a few other companies.
Microsoft appearantly became very aware of this, and Bill Gates
personally ordered the delay of Windows 95, insisting that Windows not
only have this self-configuration capability, but also that it be
implemented in a manor which prevented the Linux plug-and-play
technology from also being able to use it.
Windows 95 eventually came out, at the end of 1995 (in August,
actually), and Microsoft was pushing as hard as they possibly could to
get immediate acceptance by OEMs and by Fortune 1000 corporations.
Windows 95 was so much better than Windows 3.1 that people wanted it.
Microsoft did everything they could, legal and otherwise, to make sure
that the OEMs were not able to offer other competitors, including
Windows 3.1, UnixWare, OS/2, Solaris x86, BSD/386, FreeBSD, and most of
Keep in mind that by 1996, there were more Linux systems installed in
"Dual Boot" Windows 3.1/Linux systems than any of the other
competitiors. This was primarily because Linux was so easy to obtain,
configure, install, and use. Most versions of Linux at the time were
capable of configuring themselves to the VLB systems being "dumped" for
Windows 95 machines. In fact, the hardware requirements of Windows 95
were just enough more that most corporations decided it was cheaper and
easier to simply replace the old VLB based Windows 3.1 machines with
their 2-8 megabytes of RAM and 20-80 megabyte hard drives with the PCI
based Windows 95 machines with their Pentium processors, 16 megabyte
memory, and 200-400 megabyte hard drives.
The irony is that this increased the number of uncounted Linux systems.
By the time Windows 95B was released in July of 1996, there were tens
of millions of Linux installations. Red Hat, Caldera, and Slackware
were selling over 1 million copies per quarter (combined) and were
getting sales volumes sufficient to finance the flooring of Linux on
retailer shelves such as CompUSA, ComputerCity, and Fryes. Linux was
even beginning to appear on the shelves of Staples.
Also significant, Adaptec, who had been promised that IDE drives would
be dropped in favor of SCSI drives, decided that since Microsoft had
breached their contract, gave Red Hat all of the known vendor and
device codes used by PCI vendors. This made it possible for Linux to
configure itself to most PCI computers.
By the time Windows NT 4.0 was released, Microsoft was acutely aware of
Linux, because Red Hat 4.0 had tied with NT 4.0 as Computerworld's
"Product of the Year". And a few months later, Linux got the award for
"Best supported Product". By late 1997, there were numerous Linux
vendors, and numerous commercial applications becoming available for
Linux. In many cases, these applications had a better market in Linux
than in Windows, where Microsoft's monopoly control had virtually
locked them out.
> > Companies still hate the costs and expenses of corrupted software and
> > lost productivity due to viruses, spyware, worms, malware, and other
> > 'disruptive' software, even if it's just accidental trip to 'DLL
> > Hell'.
> Sure they hate those costs; wait until they get an organization full of
> Linux desktops. Then you'll see disruption.
The current track record indicates otherwise. Linux servers have
established a very solid reputation. Some companies are new choosing
Linux over Solaris, AIX, and HP_UX for many of the middleware and
application server functions. The production Databases are typically
still running on AIX, Solaris, or HP_UX, but even the Unix vendors have
started offering concurrent Linux capabilities and the ability to run
application compiled from Linux compatible source code - on their
> Munich Germany has been
> waffling for years on whether to go ahead.
Munich has only been waffling in the sense that they haven't opted to
choose Linux to the exclusion of Microsoft. Microsoft was able to
convince Munich that they should continue to license Windows, but not
to the exclusion of Linux. As a result, each user can chose Linux,
Windows, or both.
> You work for IBM, right? Know even one person internally who runs only a
> Linux desktop?
There are lots of practitioners who have second destops that run Linux
(including myself), and IBM has a good price on VMWare Workstation.
Many of the training courses use VMWare images based on Linux and
VMWare player. At the Software University event in Las Vegas last
year, somewhere near 5,000 participants had Linux running on their
workstations and communicating to Linux on Z-Series - in less than 2
There is a "Linux Client for E-Business" which runs on thinkpads.
There are also some IBM applications which can be downloaded to Linux
systems - including those running under VMWare.
There are still a few applications which still make it necessary for
IGS staff who travel regularly to maintain a working Windows engine.
This engine could be a VMWare Workstation, or the main OS.
There are many of our clients who are also using VMware images as well.
In many cases, when Linux is put "in the foreground" - can run almost
as fast as "native mode". Most of these "dual mode" laptops and
desktops are equipped with at least 1 gigabyte of RAM, and often 2
gigabytes of RAM.
Competitors like HP are doing even better. They have 64 bit AMD chips
which are capable of supporting over 2 gigabytes of RAM, and can run
64 bit Linux and 32 bit Windows concurrently. The irony is that the
Windows system runs FASTER under Linux than it does in native mode.
> > It's gotten to the point where it's cheaper to simply replace a
> > corrupted machine than to try and recover it or re-image the hard
> > drive.
> If you're a $300 an hour consultant like yourself, maybe. For the rest of
> the world, that's a silly claim.
Actually, that wasn't my suggestion, that is a widely circulating
reccomendation that was first suggested by a "pro Windows" columnist.
I think he was a contributor to ComputerWorld or PC Week. Many
companies have adopted some version of this. When a computer cannot be
"talked" back into functioning - especially if it can't be booted, the
user is sent a new computer, and told to send the old computer in the
same box. Very often, the replacement computer is reimaged in a shop
that can do several at a time.
Back-up of Windows is still a big problem. Many road-warriors now
travel with external hard drives, used for doing "back-ups" of personal
data, and storing downloaded software as well as upgrade archives.
> > And even then, it's now becoming common practice to need an
> > external hard drive to back-up critical data and store downloaded
> > applications.
> Sounds like good practice for Windows and Linux users.
Yes. In fact, one of the advantages of using Windows Images, is that
it's easier to recover a VM image than it is to recover after having a
drive reimaged. A VMImage can have all of the software preconfigured
and installed so that ONLY the personal data has to be restored.
> > Many companies don't even discuss Windows as Server anymore, they want
> > Linux or Unix, not Windows.
> The facts contradict you, as they almost always do.
Many companies still look at Windows 2003. And there are many places
where this is a good fit. On the other hand, the choice is usually
Unix (AIX, HP_UX, or Solaris), Linux (usually Red Hat or SUSE), and
Windows seems to be a good choice for smaller organizations, usually
under 50 employees, where there is no Linux-knowledgable staff. In
general, Windows servers tend to be very specialized, and configured in
"Hot Spare" mode to minimize down time in the event of server failures
and maintenance. It often takes 4-8 servers to do the work of one
Linux system. It often takes as many as 64 windows servers to do the
work of one UNIX server.
Linux is often preferred in organizations where remote administration
and security is necessary, such as franchises, and medium sized
companies with multilpe offices or locations.
UNIX seems to be preferred for mission critical databases where data
must be stored in multilple locations and accessed by multiple
Keep in mind that the market for Windows machines is still substantial.
There are many organizations in which a tech-savvy manager or "Office
Administrator" does about 90% of the user support -and what they can't
do, they call for help over the phone.
> > Even where Windows is used, it's given a
> > very restricted role, out at the 'edge' of the IT Universe.
> Microsoft sells billions of dollars worth of these "restricted" servers, so
> I have a feeling you're wrong. Again.
> > After all, Windows 2003 Data Center edition can run as high
> > as $25,000 per CPU, with a minumum of 8 CPUs per component.
> According to MS' website
> "Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition, is only available preinstalled
> on qualified OEM hardware or through the Update Subscription Service (USS),
> so customers need to contact a qualified OEM for pricing of specific
> configurations. Pricing information for the Datacenter High Availability
> Program is also available through qualified OEMs."
> So, Rex, which qualified OEM did you talk to to ascertain that price? Or
> are you just making it up?
Keep in mind that even I have to help clients purchase, plan, and
organize Windows servers. It's not my favorite thing in the world to
do, but I do have to look at the budget.
It really depends on what software is running with the server.
And by the way, you already know of an OEM I might be talking to. I've
gotten similar prices from Dell and HP as well. I've also had similar
quotes from companies who do business with Microsoft directly.
The prices can range from $10,000 per CPU to $20,000 per CPU, depending
on the use, discount rates, other products served. And so on.
> > The same functions can
> > be done with LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP and Perl) for almost no
> > "per server" cost, and with Open Office Base providing a user friendly
> > interface, the cunsulting costs are going down very quickly as well
> > (rates are up, hours are down).
> OpenOffice Base is a joke. It has much less functionality than Access did
> 10 years ago.
Bill Gates once told Steve Jobs that it didn't matter that Mac was
better than Windows, it was "Good enough". And he was right.
Open Office isn't quite as wonderful as MS-Office, but it's "Good
enough" for most people.
> > The days when Microsoft could publish their "Fast [with the] Facts"
> > benchmarks and have them be accepted as absolute truth are pretty much
> > gone.
> You have some proof they lied in their benchmarks?
Actually, just the opposite. The benchmarks are quite factual, but
Microsoft places the emphasis on the facts they want emphasized. Of
course this isn't so unusual. IBM would tell you they are the market
winners based on MIPS, HP would tell you they are the winners based on
number of Linux servers shipped, and Sun would tell you they are the
winners based on number of processors deployed.
Microsoft often makes some totally absurd assumptions in their
benchmarks. One of my favorite examples was a benchmark in which they
claimed that Windows NT 4.0 had lower TCO than Solaris. They began by
assuming that there was no SMB server for Solaris, so you would have to
run NetWare server in addition to Solaris. Then, they gave an example
environment of Web, E-mail, File Server, Print Server, for a team of 10
people. But they priced a $25,000 Solaris server designed to support
100 concurrent users in these applications. They also priced a $15,000
NetWare server designed for nearly 200 users. Of course, for a team of
10 people, for 1 year, NT was the cheaper solution. The facts were
100% accurate. But based on assumptions which were absurd when the
details of the analysis were examined.
Microsoft has many "Fast Facts" articles which don't even have
up-to-date links to the original reference materials. In those cases
where the original reference material is available, there are often
these little "Yes that's a silly comparison, but it is an accurate
> > Most major corporations and even most medium size businesess of
> > over 100 employees, have already tried Linux in servers and have found
> > that they very much like it.
> How do you know this?
Read the materials on Linux. Look at the sales figures. Look at the
client counts of the major vendors. Look at the other details. Many
larger campanies and organizations have found that Linux gives them a
lot of "Bang for the Buck" in specific situations.
> > Microsoft still does very well in organizations where the entire
> > enterprize and all locations has fewer than 100 people at all
> > locations.
> More Rex-speak. Making totally unsupportable claims as if they're fact.
Actually, I'm citing examples from Microsoft's Fast Facts. Several
examples they have provided in which companies have publicly declared
the superiority of Windows over Linux, have turned out to be smaller
organizations where they have no staff with experience in Linux or any
version of UNIX. In addition, most Linux vendors don't really target
those smaller markets very aggressively. When you have a small
company, you often find that they want to compare a server designed for
a small company - such as Windows 2003 Small Business Edition.
> > This is probably because the users do their own support
> > and often use underlicensed servers. Essentially, they are Microsoft
> > users, but they are also engaging in software piracy of Microsoft
> > software.
> I'm sure this does happen. It's not MS' fault.
> > One of the best things to happen to Linux was when Microsoft announced
> > that they were no longer going to support NT 4.0, and then tried to
> > get all of their customers to upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 at
> > $1500/server to Windows 2003 at as much as $100,000/server.
> If that's the best thing to happen to Linux, it has little going for it.
> > Many simply heard this first number and went streight to Linux.
> Most did not.
> > Many other companies were able to use their ability to deploy Linux
> > quickly and easily as a way to negotiate down the cost of those
> > Windows licenses. In some cases, the discounts were as high as 90%,
> > but it wasn't easily given.
> Sometimes all you have to do is ask. I emailed them just once, and the
> people at MSDN agreed to a 67% discount for my MSDN Pro renewal; they had
> asked $899 but said they would accept $299 (in the end I decided not to
> > The problem that has become all too common in the XP world is the
> > laptop or desktop machine that has to be reimaged.
> That's not common at all - it's common for you and cola to claim it, but
> when you actually go into a corporation you find reimaging is a rare
> > The problem is
> > that it can take 5-10 working days to fully restore a complex
> > configuration AFTER the machine has been re-imaged.
> 5-10 days? Is that how long it takes the Prozac to work itself out of your
> > By having
> > critical applications in VM images, you can be back to fully
> > operational even if they replace your old laptop with a newer
> > (better) model.
> Usually you just upload your work files to a shared drive, they replace your
> system, and you download the files.
> > Microsoft has seen how important this is, and has scrambled to meet
> > this demand.
> > Today they are offering free downloads of Virtual Server
> > 2.0. One of the things I did like was that Virtual Server 1.0 images
> > could be imported by VMWare Workstation for Linux and then I could use
> > Linux as the primary operating system. Since the hardware had been
> > licensed for Windows XP, I was simply using my license - in a more
> > powerful and flexible way. I was eliminating a source of frequent
> > frustration.
> So you formatted your Linux partition with NTFS and installed WinServer
> > Back to your original point. Yes, Microsoft does make some good
> > software. Even more important, they make it easy for "non-geeks" to
> > use it.
> A mode of operation Linux is working hard on as well. Some distros are
> there; I did a couple of Ubuntu installs, and it was probably the easiest OS
> install I've done in years.
> > The problem for Microsoft is that more and more PC users are now far
> > more tech savvy, and don't need the same level of hand-holding that
> > made Windows ubiquitous.
> Most cola nuts claim the average user is not tech savvy. In fact, their
> self-esteem is tied to this claim, because without it they can't understand
> or accept why the world doesn't like and adopt Linux.
> > Even worse, many of these more tech-savvy
> > users in their twenties, thirties, and forties don't have problems
> > getting Linux to run either. And many are now looking at Macs and
> > others are looking at ways to have "The best of both worlds"
> > (Linux/Unix and Windows/Vista).
> I like some things about Linux: KDE, the endless flexibility, the tweak
> factor (waste of time but entertaining), the LiveCDs, etc. But as they say
> "it's the apps, stupid" and the best are found on Windows.
> > My hope is that Microsoft will begin to see Linux as an "Enhancement"
> > not as a "Replacement" of Windows. Perhaps they will even work to
> > make Vista more "Linux Friendly" and maybe even adopt some of this
> > newly purchased Unix kernel code. Since they just "bought back" the
> > rights to Unix from SCO (on a nonexclusive basis, of course),
> > Microsoft can now freely market their own version of Unix and call it
> > something like Vista.
> I think they'll do just fine with their Windows version of Vista.
> > DFS, you seem to have a special insight into the workings of
> > Microsoft, do you think this is a possibility?
> Not at this time. There's not enough competitive pressure from desktop
> Note: what little insight I have is gleaned from reading public reports
> about MS, and by using their products. That's it. I know it feeds your
> paranoia to imagine I'm an employee, but I'm not and never have been.