Nov
16
Filed Under (Geekspeak, Linux, Work) by Justin on 2005-11-16

OK, BetaNews is running this story: Windows Thrashes SUSE Linux in Study, and I feel strongly obligated to take a few moments to respond. (Brandon – feel free to back me up here. 🙂 Part of their argument does indeed hold some water, but not enough to justify the headline. First of all, I think we need to start with this quote:

The report by Security Innovation was funded by Microsoft and examined the long-term usage of both Windows and Linux environments.

I don’t really want to make sweeping accusations, but I just wonder if Novell funded the study, which way the results would’ve came out then. Gotta know your sources, and more importantly, who pays the salaries of those sources. Then if you head over to the Security Innovations website, you’ll find this press release announcing that Microsoft named SI’s executives “Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals” or MVPs. Too funny. Anyhow, the story on BetaNews continues with some excerpts like these:

Specifically, Linux administrators took 68 percent longer to implement new business requirements than their Windows counterparts, and the “Novell SLES solution experienced 14 critical breakages while the Windows Server solution experienced none,” Microsoft said.

This is where I think they might be on to something. In my experience, yes, it may take a little longer to implement a Linux solution, but in the end, for myself and my employer, it’s been worth it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

According to Microsoft, Novell’s solution also required 4.79 times the number of patches, and only one of three Linux administrators met all of the requirements.

This may also be statistically correct – but I don’t see the real relevance. I’d like to see the study dig into how many known vulnerabilities still exist in both platforms and also how quickly the companies come to the rescue when a new one is discovered. Personally, I’d rather run SuSE’s YaST Online Update (YOU) once a week and install any patches necessary for security rather than wait for Microsoft’s monthly “Patch Tuesday” that we all know and love. (insert eyeroll) We’re all familiar with what happens after installing a patch on Windows – Server or otherwise. DING! A REBOOT! Let me close by stating a case: About a year ago, we setup a server at work, running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9). More or less it was meant to be a “sandbox” but since then, it’s turned out to be an invaluable resource for my company, doing things that we wouldn’t even dream of doing on a Windows platform. Oh wait, hang on, the server has something he wants to say to you all:

jmoore@linuxhost:~> uptime 2:38pm up 163 days 6:57, 1 user, load average: 0.01, 0.01, 0.00

See, Linux speaks for itself. No studies needed afterall.

Note: For what it’s worth, I’m not a Microsoft “hater” at all. We have several servers at my place of employment that run Windows 2000 Server. Each server has a purpose – some of those purposes ARE better suited for Windows – some for Linux. That silly study fails to mention that part.

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Comments

Brandon Jaynes on 17 November, 2005 at 10:07 am #

Well, I think you hit it on the head in the first quote. This is the first study that I remember where Windows “trashes” any Linux distro.

Regardless, the statements you quote don’t make much sense to me. What does “14 critical breakages” mean? And I don’t know why Linux admins took longer to implement things. Yes, from a workstation point of view it might take longer, but what server product can’t be rolled out on Linux sooner?

I don’t really know how the study was done. Were forms mailed out to Linux sysadmins, who subsequently just filled in bubbles? Were execs running this study allowed to ‘tag along’ with sysadmins during their daily routine?

I’m not Microsoft hater, either, and I think their product is leaps and bounds above what it was a few years ago. Their systems are still highly susceptible to spyware, adware, virii, trojans, and other malware. Linux machines are, for all practical purposes, exempt from these threats. Vista takes a page from the *nix way of doing things in its deny all-allow some permissions scheme, and that’s a good thing.

In the end, nothing is said about the cost of Linux, either. The fact that I can do anything with a Linux machine that a Windows machine can do (even if it takes running YOU once a week) for free, versus nearly ONE-THOUSAND dollars for the server software, plus TWO HUNDRED dollars per license says a lot.


Brandon Jaynes on 17 November, 2005 at 10:10 am #

I’d also like to make my case-in-point as far as how susceptible Windows is to malware. Meagan and I have identical computers, nearly component for component. Mine is just a few months older than hers, yet her maps on Battlefield 2 load fully 5 seconds faster than mine.

The only reason for this is because of the amount of malware on my computer that I can’t get rid of. I’m not talking spyware, etc.; I’m talking about the crap that gets installed because you need a .rar program, et al.

My Linux box, on the other hand, loads OO as slow as it ever did. 🙂


the musings of Brandon Jaynes » SuSE vs. Windows on 17 November, 2005 at 10:12 am #

[…] Justin over at wantmoore.com has some commentary on a BetaNews story on how Windows trashes Novell’s server solution. I added to his commentary in the comments section. I’d like to see the study dig into how many known vulnerabilities still exist in both platforms and also how quickly the companies come to the rescue when a new one is discovered. Personally, I’d rather run SuSE’s YaST Online Update (YOU) once a week and install any patches necessary for security rather than wait for Microsoft’s monthly “Patch Tuesday” that we all know and love. (insert eyeroll) We’re all familiar with what happens after installing a patch on Windows – Server or otherwise. DING! A REBOOT! Let me close by stating a case: About a year ago, we setup a server at work, running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9). More or less it was meant to be a “sandbox” but since then, it’s turned out to be an invaluable resource for my company, doing things that we wouldn’t even dream of doing on a Windows platform. Oh wait, hang on, the server has something he wants to say to you all: […]


the life of justin moore » SuSE vs Windows Followup on 19 November, 2005 at 1:21 am #

[…] Hot on the heels of this post from the other day, BetaNews is running a story now with Novell’s response to MS’s “study” and it’s got some good info. BetaNews | Novell Attacks Microsoft Linux Study In its study, Microsoft said that Novell’s SUSE Linux required 4.79 times the number of patches. Barney contends that many of the patches in question were for third party applications that simply come bundled with Linux and should not be counted. “The number of patches to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs can’t reliably be compared between [Linux and Windows],” he said. […]


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