Tried to switch my company to Linux
I used to work as a consultant for a Fortune 500 company (more than 10,000 employees). As an expert in the field of IT consulting, I think I can shed a little light on the current climate of the open source community, and Linux in particular. The main reason that open source software, and Linux in particular, is failing is due to the underlying immaturity of the technology and the perception of the viral GNU license.
I know that the above statements are strong, but I have hard facts to back it up with. At the Fortune 500 company that I worked for, we wanted to leverage the power of Linux and associated open source technologies to benefit our server pool. The perception that Linux is “free” was too much to ignore. I recommended to the company that we use the newest version of Linux, version 9.0. My expectations were high that it would outperform our current solution at the time, Windows2000, which was doing an absolutely superb job (and still is!) serving as web, DNS, and FTP servers.
I felt that I was up to the job to convert the entire server pool to the Linux technology. I had several years experience programming VB, C#, ASP, and .NET Framework at the kernel level. I didn’t use C, because contrary to popular belief, ASP and VB can go just as low level as C can, and the latest .NET VB compiler produces code that is more portable and faster than C. I took it upon myself to configure and compile all of the necessary shareware versions of software that we needed, including sendmail, apache, and BIND. I even used the latest version of gcc (3.1) to increase the execution time of the binaries. After a long chain of events, the results of the system were less than impressive..
The first bombshell to hit my project was that my client found out from another consultant that the GNU community has close ties to former communist leaders. Furthermore, he found out that the ‘x’ in Linux was a tribute to the former Communist philosopher, Karl Marx, whose name also ends in ‘x’. The next bombshell to hit my project was the absolutely horrible performance. I knew from the beginning that Linux wasn’t ready for the desktop, but I had always been told by my colleagues that it was better suited for a “server”. As soon as I replaced all of the Windows2000 servers with Linux servers, the Linux servers immediately went into swap. Furthermore, almost all of the machines were quad-processor x86 servers. We had no idea that Linux had such awful SMP support. After less than 1 day in service, I was constantly having to restart servers, because for some reason, many of the servers were experiencing kernel panics caused by mod_perl crashing apache! The hardship did not end there! Apparently, the version of BIND installed on the server pool was remotely exploitable. Soon after we found that out, a new worm was remotely infecting all of our servers! We were not expecting this, because our IIS servers running on Windows2000 had never experienced a worm attack. Microsoft has always provided us with patches in the unlikely event that an exploit was found. It took us hundreds of man-hours just to disinfect our Linux servers! After just 48 hours of operating Linux servers in our server pool, we had exhausted our budget for the entire year! It was costing us approximately 75% more to run Linux than Windows2000.
Needless to say, I will not be recommending Linux to any of my Fortune 500 clients. In the beginning, we thought that since Linux was such “old” technology, it would be more mature than anything on the market. We also found out the hard way that rag-tag volunteer efforts responsible for Apache and BIND simply are not able to compete with the professional operations of Microsoft. I guess the old saying is true; “You get what you pay for!” Needless to say, I will be using Microsoft’s “shared license” solution for my enterprise clients, rather than the communist GNU license.
As it stands now, I do believe Linux has some practical uses. I think it will be useful in a University setting for first year computer science students to compile their “Hello World!” programs on (provided that gcc won’t kernel panic the machine). Simply put, Linux just doesn’t handle the rigors of a real-world work environment
Last edited by dj28; 08-09-2003 at 10:22 AM.