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Old 01-15-2006, 10:56 AM   #1
victorh
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Microsoft trying to win the Linux wars


I was surprised when reading this article

http://www.mcpmag.com/features/artic...itorialsID=539

that appeared in a website directly related with Microsoft. Not only for the title and the picture with some missiles (pointing to what?), but for the content.

It seems that the retailers of Microsoft all over the world have had a hard time trying to sell their products when compared with Linux. This article shows all the dirty tricks that they can use to "defeat" Linux. Look at this jewels:

Quote:
The Henson Group, disputes the belief that Linux is free. Henson, whose New York-based company is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, points out that licensing is just one element in a solution's total cost of ownership (TCO). When you factor in "the costs associated with hiring Linux people, expenses related to support and troubleshooting, and the fees for training to keep your IT people current, [Linux] becomes an expensive proposition," he says.
Amazing, I don't know but I can sense a lot of "fear" when employees and partners of Microsoft hears Linux. But, hey there is more, these are the best arguments that thet can present to costumers about Linux, or as they call it the Linux Killers:

Quote:
Raising the caution flag: Linux is still a maturing platform, and with youth comes uncertainty. "
Quote:
Playing the R&D card: Some businesses view Linux as a way to reduce their dependence on Microsoft, but Hollinger reminds his clients that there are advantages to working with a company that has such deep pockets.
Quote:
Going head to head: When all else fails, Henson draws on a proven deal clincher: performance shoot-outs. Building stripped-down application prototypes on Windows and Linux and then running them side by side has made the difference for his firm in at least half a dozen cases.
It seems that their new year resolution was to put ALL the means and weapons available to destroy Linux. Unfortunately they are fighting the wrong war, their dirty tricks don't work anymore, funny, they don't have a target to point its missiles, they are desperate...
 
Old 01-22-2006, 07:46 PM   #2
tomj88
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It's funny how you can always seem to find a counter-argument to Microsoft's arguments. For instance, in that article, the author comments on how Linux is not a good option because of how customisable it is. However, this is also a very strong point for Linux. Do you see Windows XP Firewall? How about Windows XP on consumer routers?
 
Old 01-22-2006, 09:22 PM   #3
XavierP
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Linux is not mature? Since when?
 
Old 01-22-2006, 10:14 PM   #4
tomj88
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Originally Posted by XavierP
Linux is not mature? Since when?
Because it is not as old as Windows. Therefore, Windows cannot be mature, as Unix is older than it. And ... we could go on.

I think it is just a way of the Microsoft crowd putting fear, uncertainty and doubt into potential Linux users.
 
Old 01-22-2006, 10:35 PM   #5
XavierP
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Well le's see, Linux started in 1991 and Windows around 1980, so fair enough. But even early versions of Linux distros had far more functionality than Windows at around the same time. So yah boo to you!
 
Old 01-22-2006, 10:39 PM   #6
tomj88
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I probably started using Linux when Linux was the same age as Windows was when I started using Windows, and Linux certainly had alot more functionality than Windows did then.
 
Old 01-22-2006, 10:43 PM   #7
XavierP
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And let's not forget "you can't get the programs for it". Well, duh, since most of the programs were written either by Microsoft or purely for Windows, it's hardly surprising. Thankfully, things are improving.
 
Old 01-23-2006, 12:26 PM   #8
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I cordially suggest that, instead of dismissing the points raised by this "pro-Microsoft" article, we should acknowledge them. They are, in fact, quite true, even though they may be exaggerated somewhat for sales purposes.

The fact is that computer software, far from being "free," is one of the most expensive creations of man. And it is also true that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for software far exceeds the purchase price. To a company with a savvy accountant, the data-processing function must be considered in many ways:
  • Cost accounting, where every cost (and that, for the most part, means you and me!) associated with the data processing function must be attached to that function. The "cost" of data processing equipment is nominal.
  • Risk assessment, given that the failure of a data-processing activity can have enormous impact upon a business (even the failure of that business), and it can produce unusable source-code that is simply pure scrap. Suppliers do go out of business, sometimes with no warning, and/or put their products "out to pasture" with no support and a passel of unfulfilled and un-fulfillable promises upon which you may have relied. I'm not saying by this that Microsoft is any panacea (they're not), but a Board of Directors must squint their eyes narrowly and ask, "What if?" (That is called "fiduciary duty to shareholders." Ignore it, and an officer can wind up in prison.)
  • Cost of goods sold, where the data processing activities that facilitate and/or enable the doing of business must be apportioned to sales activities.
  • Competitive advantage, where the data-processing activities enable the company to prosecute its business more effectively, and thus more advantageously, than its competitors can do; or to make itself preferable to customers in some way and thus win more business and/or goodwill.
If Linux were, ipso facto, a no-brainer replacement for Windows, then I'm sure that companies would have adopted it just as quickly as they dumped their old Wang word-processors in favor of the IBM PC (limited though it was). If every "new version" of Windows were, ipso facto, better-than the one that came before it, then I'm sure that Microsoft would sell a lot more upgrades than they do. "Mister Market" is pretty darned savvy about such things.

There's no doubt that Microsoft finds itself at a competitive disadvantage with respect to Linux on some fronts, but we should always hold in check our personal zeal for Linux and our personal distaste (if we have any) for Microsoft. To win a business argument, we have to know whereof we speak. Change itself, of any type and for any reason, is risky and uncertain especially in the data-processing business. Companies have been burned many times. We should temper our zeal with self-imposed, pragmatic conservatism. That will convey maturity in our arguments and make them much more convincing.
 
Old 01-24-2006, 09:17 PM   #9
npaladin2000
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Microsoft fanatics (and Microsoft itself) have the same problem Linux fanatics have: realizing that competition between the two is our friend, and will result in a better product being delivered to the consumers (in this case businesses and systems admins).

Each OS platform has its advantages and disadvantages. Microsoft makes an excellent, easy to use prepackaged solution for those who mostly want to "install and go." They also have real good support. The downside of that ease is a lack of flexibility when it comes to installation and administration. Also, it usually requires a bit more CPU horsepower.

Linux is a bit more pared down, allowing for greater performance per clock in some areas. It provides very flexible, build-your-own style solutions and supports more platforms than Microsoft does. However, that also brings additional difficulty in implementation, and it tends to be more involved and less "plug and play" as Windows solutions.

TCO isn't a simple issue. First, you have choices between freebie Linuxes and supported Enterprise Linuxes such as Red Hat or Novell. Second, you have to factor in money saved through the additional flexibility to design a customized solution, and balance that against the greater expense of paying a Linux admin over an MCSE (They're more rare, therefore can command a higher salary). Time to implementation is also a factor. Basically, there's no way to say that either solution is "cheaper" globally, as the cheaper up-front cost of one on one situation might cost one company money down the road, but might not have an impact on the other company.

In some situations, especially smaller companies, an out-of-the-box quick, easy solution is more desirable. That's NOT NECESSARILY MICROSOFT, as Novell has a very viable Small Business Suite, just like Microsoft does. But a company of such size might not be able to afford a Linux engineer full-time, making Microsoft a better solution.

As for security, it depends much more on the admin than the OS. Microsoft Windows platforms CAN BE stable and secure if configured so. The problem with the platform is mostly the fact that it gives up security for ease of use, and doesn't default to its most secure settings. It also doesn't have the most secure architecture, as most Microsoft server software has deep hooks into the OS. This does NOT mean that you can't run a Windows infrastructure with Active Directory and install Apache on one of them, for instance. Even IIS can be run securely (Though I have the same problem with it as I do most Linux FTP daemons: they hook into the same authentication as the OS and are not easily seperated). Anyway, even if the Windows system IS run with these deep hooks, if the system is well-protected then sometimes this provides a performance advantage, depending on the application. Linux starts off secure, true. That means you have to de-secure it if you need to (necessary at times), but it's harder to forget to secure it when it starts off pretty secure. Also the architecture doesn't allow processes to have the same deep hooks into each other than the Microsoft platform allows, which can increase stability at the cost of not allowing performance gains that those hooks can provide.


Basically, what this comes down to is the fact that it's not simple. it will never be simple anymore. We have 2 extremely viable and capable server platforms. Saying one is always better than the other is like saying Ford is always better than GM, or vice versa. It's just not going to be true, ever. Anyone trying to convince you that things are that simple is either a fanatic, and therefore not a good source of information, or is trying to sell you on one, meaning they probably get money from the one. Which also makes them not a good source of information.
 
Old 01-25-2006, 12:18 PM   #10
sundialsvcs
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I observe that, throughout your last most-excellent post, the "costs" associated with any platform are mostly: (1) personnel costs, and (2) contingency costs. This is, I think, a very fair picture which points out why there is no "clean, obvious" winner between the two systems.

Taken in the grand scheme of things, a computer system literally is a modern company's "business." Everything that the company does is either accomplished by means of the computer, or is completely tracked and managed using it, such that if the computer does not run, soon neither does the company.

It takes people to run a computer center. The costs of the hardware are comparatively slight; the cost of software purchases, even for Microsoft Windows, is basically "insignificant" in the grand scheme. These people are highly skilled, highly in demand, and they know it. Fortunately, I have met almost no one in the DP business who is not immensely proud of their work and rightfully so.

This leaves contingency-costs: the proverbial, and serious, "What if?" And indeed, what if? What if your life were to be over at lunchtime today, as an ill-driven Panera Bread truck ran over you, casting the remnants of a tasty cappucino all over Broad Street? Or on a lighter note, what if the "company" that your company was dealing with, evaporated in bankruptcy? What if your company's digital derriere is exposed to the world and they don't know it, because their "pro" doesn't know it either and doesn't know that he doesn't know? Since data processing is so important, so are these issues. How can the Board prove to a shareholder lawsuit, prove to the SEC, that it acted properly and due diligence in the performance of its "sacred duty," when 400,000 people saw on their 'secure' banking site that "L3W53R5 4UL3Z?" (Remember: public disgrace, personal bankruptcy, prison.)

Unlike the Microsoft press team, I personally don't think that "Microsoft" is necessarily a better answer, because they rely upon a reseller-network that they do very little (my ) to control. It's very "loosey goosey." Not nearly enough pin-striped crisp blue suits and spit-shined shoes for my taste, I suppose... They sell the right to sell "certifications" to those who like to hang initials after their names, but "MCSE" is nothing like even a college diploma, much less a state-licensed engineer or a board-certified surgeon. It's a moniker, a trademark. (But hey, it beats the latest one.. P{i}MP! ) In my mind, Microsoft is much a consumer-oriented company with a rather loose grip on corporate (the fancy word today is "Enterprise") requirements. I see them as a good place to buy the foundation software, but a dicey proposition for "the whole package."

"Bad mouthing the competition" is really not in good form, you know. It's not the polite thing to do. Better to spend the time showing how much better, how much more complete, your solution is. And if you have nothing good to say about your competitor, you don't know your competition well enough.

Certainly, the Linux platform has proven its mettle in the enterprise. Whether or not it wins the "desktop" wars is, in my mind, fairly immaterial because, in a dollar-wise comparison, the "desktop" is merely a skirmish. The company data-center sale is, and perhaps always will be, where the big money is, and where Linux has the strongest opportunity to prove its worth.

Microsoft did drive a stake through the heart of Windows' security in their foolish attempt to convince The Honorable Court that the IE browser was a part of Windows that could never be removed. They did that, and it was an incredibly stupid thing to do which no business ever asked them to do. However, Linux's security is also weak unless that system has been properly and carefully "hardened," because it is "root or nothing." What's holding Linux in favor is simply the fact that it can be effectively hardened, and, because the source-code is readily available, it can be audited. I think that's one reason we have SELinux, courtesy of no less than the United States National Security Agency (US-NSA).

My last comment on this soapbox is this: if we want to convincingly sell Linux, to the extent that it does not already sell itself, we have to show that we know whereof we speak. That what we're saying is not merely the twitterings of a star-struck fan. That we fully understand that having the source-code and the rights to modify it do not make our software solutions "magical" nor "free." That Microsoft, far from being a clueless idiot which got-lucky, is in fact a savvy and worthy competitor which has by hard work, earned what they have done. And, so has Linux.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 09:36 AM   #11
victorh
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While reading your posts I had some thoughts that pop up in my mind.

I remember 1990, 16 years ago!, when I was an advocate of the "new" OS, Windows 3.1, I truly believe that Microsoft was at that time a company with an innovative and revolutionary idea, indeed it was. At that time I had no concerns of security, and I fully trust these new products. They were heading the technology world and I think the highest point they achieved was Windows 95, but after that it was all going the wrong way, This highly praised company took the wrong decisions, they started to focused not on giving the entire world a trustable OS but on creating a treacherous OS plenty of "gray" areas in order to create a monopoly. They decided that this objectives were more important than producing a fine product.

I remember an interview of Bill Gates, when he said that Windows, a "professional" product can't be compared with Linux, an OS made by a bunch of geeks working in the nights, And it's even more ironic to see that they put Linux as an "alternative" when they were facing the monopoly trial. This is a twisted side of the real facts, but they were right. How can you explain the development of Linux?, not only the kernel but the whole OS?. I think the main cause was the dissatisfaction that many people around the world had with the politics and the way that Microsoft was heading.They betrayed not only their costumers but the whole world. This lack of respect for standards, the way they deal with competition, these actions creates obviously a reaction, and that was Linux, as a truly free OS, where people around the world coalesce to share ideas and grow together, where everybody participate into its development. All the cards are visible on the table, nothing is obscure or hided and therefore the development on top of this OS is direct and simple.

An interesting example to examine is the WMF threat, this problem was there since the beginning of Windows and indeed was present in Vista! (they already issued a patch for Vista), it's impossible to believe that an army of developers very well paid and working in a tight way, can't handle this kind of things. It's pretty clear that they are focused on other things, on making the OS omnipresent on the entire world, on making pieces of software that should be clear and straightforward on twisted and cumbersome new ideas on how to control the life of every PC user. Using every possibility of creating dependency a "must" in their code. On hiding specifications and shaping standards to their own convenience, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, with many serious problems whitout resolution. No wonder the bureaucracy that must be there, where great developers are converted in robots that have lost their ingenuity and just follow orders. Well, that explains why this mighty company with an incredible R&D budget has been defeated by a bunch of geeks.

As you noticed, they wrote "When all else fails..." This is an implicit recognition that they are loosing these so-called "Linux wars", a significant part of its costumers just don't buy the typical FUD of Microsoft. It means that all these campaign is not giving them the results they wanted, and even worse for them costumers are raising questions that they just can't answer. What is the reaction of Microsoft?, the FUD campaign and this pressure put in everybody that dears to challenge this situation. Instead of opening their specifications and follow standards, and maybe sharing its IP (source code), nop that's not going to happen, you can't teach and old dog new tricks... they decided to entrench themselves and fight with all the means available to them. But Microsoft is a company with shareholders that are avid of profits, since some years ago they are not seeing them (no dividends per share) and when they start to post losses this behemoth will start to collapse.

They have become quite desperate, they don't have where to point the missiles. It's interesting, maybe we'll witness the last version of Windows (Vista) released in the next months and then Microsoft will just go down, and when they were lost you will find the source code of Windows in a server, nobody will pay attention and only be studied in Universities for showing "what not to do"...
 
Old 01-29-2006, 01:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
. . .When you factor in "the costs associated with hiring Linux people, expenses related to support and troubleshooting, and the fees for training to keep your IT people current, [Linux] becomes an expensive proposition," he says. . .
When you factor in "the costs associated with hiring Windows people, expenses related to scheduled downtime (read: maintenance, which on Linux can be done live), support incident fees and troubleshooting, system AND user AND connection licensing, and the fees for training to keep your IT people current, Windows becomes an obscenely expensive proposition," I say.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 02:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
I cordially suggest that, instead of dismissing the points raised by this "pro-Microsoft" article, we should acknowledge them. They are, in fact, quite true, even though they may be exaggerated somewhat for sales purposes.
I agree with you on this.

One of the main factors lacking in linux presently is useability. I have linux on all the family computers now, but they are still a bit reticent to learn because linux "requires so much typing." They are used to gui's. They like linux, but they are a bit scared of it.

My sisters computer right now (who is 12) only has linux right now, and she is doing fine browsing the web. Linux has come far, but when it comes to setting up devices, installing software, etc. it's still not quite there. It's there for some of us, but not for everyone. I believe it will get better, but only if we recognize that it needs to get better.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 08:16 PM   #14
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KimVette
When you factor in "the costs associated with hiring Windows people, expenses related to scheduled downtime (read: maintenance, which on Linux can be done live), support incident fees and troubleshooting, system AND user AND connection licensing, and the fees for training to keep your IT people current, Windows becomes an obscenely expensive proposition," I say.
So does Linux, my good friend. So does Linux!

What's distorting your perspective, I suggest, is the fact that you are, yourself, "a Linux people." This means that you don't have to hire one. But if I want to use Linux, I might well have to hire you!

With the exception of "system and user and connection licensing," all of the other costs still apply. Your arguments hinge upon the assertion that those licensing fees are the major cost-component. Surprise! They are not.

Computers are "an obscenely expensive proposition," and we all must work to reduce those costs. But that means working smarter, not demanding that clients multiply their costs and risks by "switching" in quest of ephemeral promises of savings. Linux, and Windows, and OS/X, will co-exist. They have to. And the methodologies for supporting them in business and for writing better software for them have to blend together. Again, they have to.

Linux, and open-source cooperative development of products, demonstrates the usefulness of an entirely revolutionary development and pricing model, but it's a part... only a part. I say that it isn't a part that will ever "wipe out" its competitors. I do believe, however, that it is a worthy competitor that its rivals will be largely forced to emulate. One of them, OS/X, is obviously well-aware of this and is prepared to do so. Microsoft will soon be obliged to follow, and I think they know this. Fear it they might, but it will make them stronger.
 
Old 01-30-2006, 07:11 PM   #15
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Re linux and Microsoft.

I would say that 99% of the individuals reading or responding to the comments in this thread are the convinced or converted. The place to do the boasting is at work, or on windows web sites.

At both of these places, you must do it in a non-attacking way. Don't say, Hey, why pay money for xyz, when xyz equivalent is available as a linux application. By saying "pay money", you put managers into a situation of having to defend their spending.

Instead, say something that is teasing for them to try linux. Here is my example.

Hey, my 4 year old kids log onto their account with my linux machine and have learned to access Sesame Street and "The Wiggles". They also enjoy some super high quality games that I downloaded for them. Thank Gd I dont have to worry about virus attacks.

Here is another...

Gee, I used GIMP to make that drawing,

or my slide presentation was made with Open Office. I am glad that this super high quality software exists. I could not believe how easy it was to do it.

-------------
Those are my suggestions to the converted.

On at technical side. One microsoft technician, from what I know, can look after 20 clients. With Linux, the ratio is 1 linux savvy person can look after 35 pcs.

Leslie S
Montreal.
 
  


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