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974 comments

fp! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723336)

shoutout to my homeys!

FP! (0, Offtopic)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723339)

When my child was run over by a popping-ball "lawnmower", and killed... I became suddenly aware of the danger of toys. I have locally formed a group to raise awarness of the liability of the toy industry for allowing such lax standards to pass. In addition to our monthly toy burning, we all agree to read on book together on the evils of the toy industry. This book is so popular, it's been selected over a dozen times for book of the month. Very compelling!

Is This Necessarily Bad? (5, Interesting)

carb (611951) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723341)

At least it shows Microsoft is keeping some goal in mind in developing Windows - personally I was beginning to wonder ...

Re:Is This Necessarily Bad? (5, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723527)

Sorry to bust your bubble. Most big corporations have intelligent technicians. However, the message gets lost somewhere between tech and management.

I am sure managements response to this letter was to start an 'investigation team.' Or send the techs to a '7 habits' seminar or 5S, QS9000, pokeyoke...

Years later nothing has changed I assure you. They are still using Windows Servers no?

The goal in mind being UNIX? (5, Insightful)

Pac (9516) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723549)

Why bother then? If Apple, with far less resources of any kind whatsoever, managed to plug a decent user interface on the top of a free UNIX-like layer, Microsoft could certainly do the same, only better and faster.

Re:Is This Necessarily Bad? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723575)

+4, Interesting...

definitely deserved it with a comment like that! Good work, friend! That was thought-provoking.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723344)

I think this is good. Seriously. MS is aware its products have problems. This is a nice place to start to work on them.

Hopefully we can see some movement on them. The whole "services being interdependent" thing is very true. Annoying.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

program21 (469995) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723362)

Agreed. Now, if they would just be a little more upfront about this sort of thing, I'd feel a little better.
It seems like most of what we have in this regard is leaked stuff, so internally MS knows, but their public face would never admit to it (IMHO).

Re:Huh? (1)

sckienle (588934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723567)

Maybe they wanted to show this side of their face, but the PR department wouldn't let them. Hence it's location on the "a fairly insecure server."

Exactly. (5, Insightful)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723417)

Are slashdotters extremely naive or something? Every company takes a look at the competition and compares it to their own product, distributing memos on whats better about the competition so that they can improve on their own products.

This isn't news. It's business.

Re:Huh? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723460)


MS is aware its products have problems. This is a nice place to start to work on them.

A nice place to start?! How many years old is Windows?

Re:Huh? (5, Interesting)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723501)

Exactly -- my first impression was "They really are smart, aren't they?"

[#include unixfan_disclaimer], but honestly: look at the advantages of Unix over Windows in so many situations. I'd always kind of wondered if MS was ignoring those problems/advantages for marketing purposes, or if they Just Didn't Get It. Looks like the former, which is reassuring.

eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723349)

I thought this was something we knew for a long time now, despite what other media might claim.

First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723351)

FP!

editors trolling again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723354)

c'mon now..are the editors desperate to start a flamewar and drive up the pageviews? this is getting pretty desperate.

If I could mod this whole article, -1 Troll would apply here.

give credit where credit is due (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723359)

thank you freebsd.

and before you go knocking MS saying that they take BSD-like-licensed OSS projects and re-release them and claim creativity, that's the beauty of the license. you linux whackjobs [linuxisforbitches.com] need to chill the hell out. props to daxbert.

Great Quote (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723363)

Each division "should eat its own dogfood."

Coming soon to a vendor near you - Dogfood(TM) .NET edition

slashdotted (3, Funny)

An Onimous Cow Herd (8409) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723372)

B******s - i just discovered this artive via another site and tried to read - instantly slashdotted!
WTF is it runing on - a quad Xeon IIS 2.0/w2k machine with 1 GB memory?

Re:slashdotted (2)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723451)

Same here. I came off the Register, read their summary, tried to read the original. "Hmm, damn it's slow...." Lightbulb came on "I bet this is on Slashdot now..." sure enough.

Re:slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723572)


Any one cache a copy of the doc somewhere??

Re:slashdotted (4, Funny)

phil reed (626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723473)

SecurityOffice.net is in Turkey. We've probably slashdotted the entire country's bandwidth.

Re:slashdotted (1)

nenolod (546272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723546)

I have me a copy of windows 2000 server, and the IIS version is 5.0.

A P2 350 webserver running windows 2000, with just one processor, can actually handle a lot of traffic without going down, I know this because I was running a webserver under windows 2000 (now runs freebsd 4.6 and is no longer a server), but it handled high-traffic situations decently. This is more likely a result of bandwidth throttling.

Does republishing these... (5, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723375)

...constitute some sort of business tort, like disclosing trade secrets? I'm not trying to give MS lawyers any ideas (like they need them) but I've certainly seen Apple goes nuts over this sort of thing.

BTW, that it was on a "fairly insecure server" is as much a defense as "his house had cheap locks." :P

Re:Does republishing these... (5, Funny)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723453)

I realized after I hit submit that I was thinking by the old rules -- I should have asked whether pilfering documents from their server wasn't punishable by a federal death penalty by now. (I wish that was entirely a joke.)

Also, isn't the paper just the opinion of the writer, and dismissable by MS like the tobacco industry dismissed the memo by one of its ad exec mapping out marketing cigarettes to children. They would never do such a thing, no.

That MS has one honest soul in its ranks shouldn't be all that much of a shocker, right? Oops, I guess that was a troll.

Re:Does republishing these... (2, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723492)

MS might sick their lawyers, but probably not. Making a big deal out of this will bring more publicity to the incident. They want as little publicity about this as possible.

-B

Re:Does republishing these... (0, Offtopic)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723545)

Ralph, I apologize for even asking, but these past 12 years how many dumb Simpsons jokes have you endured?

One of our tenants was named Chad and surprisingly got few "hanging" or "pregnant" jokes during election 2000.

Thanks Ralph. And I always thought they underestimated you. :)

That is the first piece of evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723508)

... that this whole story is a pile of crap.

MS lawyers aren't exactly shy. Think about it.

All these leaked documents are to have fun at someone's expense.

I think it was ESR that wrote an article about MS, and how quite a lot of its money come from buying and selling its stock. These leaks and others like them could be (but I doubt it) some sort of game to play with the stock price. With a large enough lot of shares, even a small fluctuation that you can psuedo predict can generate quite a lot of cash.

Re:Does republishing these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723574)

Anybody who actually believes that this is an authentic "internal Microsoft Memo" is a complete moron.

What does this have to do with BSD? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723378)

It shows that Windows is dying, not BSD!

Microsoft.... (5, Funny)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723381)

may have insecure server products(and desktop products for that matter) but whatever Security Office was running is nothing more than a smoking pile of silicon and hard drive.

BUT! (1, Flamebait)

Anarchofascist (4820) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723383)

But! Microsoft is faster. So a more accurate summary of the article is "if you want to set up a fast, insecure, bloated and expensive server, choose Windows 2000."

Hotmail? (1, Offtopic)

old_skul (566766) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723385)

Hotmail ran FreeBSD for years, didn't it? We probably don't need a whitepaper to tell us what we already knew. Wouldn't it be neat if MS put out a fully reliable, configurable, cheap O/S?

Re:Hotmail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723455)

It would, but that would never happen. If they did anything close to that it would be full of talk-back big-brother hidden/non-publiclydocumented "features".

Re:Hotmail? (5, Funny)

petis (139263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723462)

> Wouldn't it be neat if MS put out a fully
> reliable, configurable, cheap O/S?

Yeah, they could call it MS/Linux.

Ob: RMS troll! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723561)

Surely you mean MS/ GNU /Linux?!!!

Re:Hotmail? (2, Funny)

fallacy (302261) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723568)

Don't you mean MS/GNU/Linux? Or GNU/Microsoft/Linux or....
You get the idea.

If it were to come about, it would the most (or should that be "only"?) schizophrenic OS out there - constantly battling with itself to be free (as in speech) and closed at the same time. Perhaps they could reincarnate Bob as some little clippy that tries to both help and screw with with. Oh no wait, I believe the standard Clippy [microsoft.com] already does that...

Pardon my scepticism (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723387)

But Security Office wants us to believe that they hax0red some random MS Server and just happened to find a detailed analysis on Unix vs Windows? And this analysis happened to say "we should eat our own dog food"? Not one analysis I have ever read had such a ridiculous analogy in it.

And let's look at this:
The whitepaper, by MS Windows 2000 Server Product Group member David Brooks, has been posted on the Web by Security Office, which says it discovered the item and numerous other confidential MS documents on a poorly protected server.

So Security Office is admitting to criminal activity? Sorry, I call hoax.

Re:Pardon my scepticism (5, Informative)

NickV (30252) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723431)

Actually, I have a few friends who interned at MS this summer and apparently the phrase "eat your own dog food" is very very very popular on the campus.

If anything, including that phrase in the document only makes it seem MORE credible.

Re:Pardon my scepticism (5, Informative)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723512)

No it was almost certainly this [geek.com] over the next few days and weeks I have a feeling we will see many more of these kinds of things.

Also see this [google.com].
So no it is not criminal it was a screw up at MS.

Re:Pardon my scepticism (5, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723536)

Security Office is admitting to criminal activity?

Not necesarily. They never said they "hacked" it. Read this article [wired.com] at Wired yesterday. Apparently there was a public FTP server at MS that MS employees were using to store sensitive files, because they weren't aware that it was public.

The funny thing is that MS was notified, took the server down, cleaned it, put it back up, and the same employees started doing it again.

If the data is in a public server, then it's not "hacking".

News at 11 (5, Funny)

Yoda2 (522522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723388)

Author of "secret" whitepaper hung with sheet over head from balcony by Bill Gates.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723392)

Why ProDOS for Apple II is better than Unix...

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723548)

Why ProDOS for Apple II is better than Unix...

ProDOS? Infidel! DOS 3.3, surely!

Looks like a justification post-facto (1, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723393)

Looks like this was written by someone from hotmail explaining why they chose UNIX over Windows initially. A lot of it describes trade-offs that would not matter at all to Microsoft (e.g. licensing costs of Win2k) and the impact to a "startup" is mentioned at least once.

I don't think this is a Microsoft internal memo so much as a hotmail-to-Microsoft internal memo.

Re:Looks like a justification post-facto (5, Informative)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723493)

Tit. FTFA: "The whitepaper, by MS Windows 2000 Server Product Group member David Brooks"

Re:Looks like a justification post-facto (3, Insightful)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723526)

Hmm, this explanation doesn't fit well with what I read at the Reg:

The whitepaper, by MS Windows 2000 Server Product Group member David Brooks,

Whereas in Win2K: "Some parameters that control the system's [...]

Cleary, the original hotmail guys wouldn't have thought about W2k, which was non-existant at that time.

The team was unable to reduce the size of the image below 900MB

Dito, I doubt any MS operating system's image at that time couldn't be reduced to less than 900MB.

They also mention Advanced Server, that "at" is deprecated, Interix 2.2 and so on.

No, I doubt your are right.

Re:Looks like a justification post-facto (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723544)

Back when MS first bought Hotmail I happned to know a FreeBSD dev through a LUG. According to him, and he certainly should have known, when MS first bought Hotmail they started looking at moving the servers to Windows and to a man Hotmail admins and coders threatned to quit. This most likely came out of that.

Reliability of this? (2, Interesting)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723394)

It's not exactly located on a *.microsoft.com server so for all we know someone at securityoffice.net needed a bunch of pageviews and made all this up himself. I can't really check the link because it's all clogged at the moment.

UNIX better than Windows? (3, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723397)

You mean... You mean... That instead of paying for Win2000, I could have installed FreeBSD instead?

Oh, the humanity!

(Yes, this was sarcastic!)

Re:UNIX better than Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723443)

no, that was stupid.

And what does this prove? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723400)

"in this case"
These are the key words. The idea that any platform can be best at everything is contrary to logic. However that in no way stops the zealots on both sides loudly proclaiming that their platform of choice is the one that's "it".

It really IS a whitepaper! (0)

kevcol (3467) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723401)

It's been slashdotted and my browser just shows white space!

shock results? (2, Funny)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723403)

Saying this are shock results is like saying finding out Micheal Jackson had plastic surgery.

Re:shock results? (1)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723435)

Saying these are shock results is like saying finding out Micheal Jackson had plastic surgery was shocking. - my typing skills stink

Re:shock results? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723518)

Michael Jackson had plastic surgery? I had no idea.

Slashdotted (-1, Flamebait)

CowardNeal (627678) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723405)

SecurityOffice site slashdotted, and it was probably running a Unix flavor. So much for reliability.

Re:Slashdotted (2)

phil reed (626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723446)

SecurityOffice site slashdotted, and it was probably running a Unix flavor. So much for reliability.

Well, it is running Linux, but it's in Turkey. So much your blame game - what we're slashdotting is not a server so much as an entire country.

Re:Slashdotted Capped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723500)

Did ya think of that? Small web sites have bandwidth caps!!!!

Slow down cowboy! (5, Funny)

Theodore Logan (139352) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723410)

There has been one hour and 46 minutes since the last MS critical article was posted. You need to wait at least two hours.

Re:Slow down cowboy! (5, Funny)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723538)

it was taco who put up this story not neal, apparently he didn't get that memo... we should ALL send him a copy of the "two hour" memo along with his TSP reports!

Wow, you guys have no shame (2, Flamebait)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723421)

Here's a "white paper" that we heard from this guy who knows this kid
who's going with a girl who saw Ferris pass-out at 31 Flavors last night. By the way, there is no official credible source.

I read "The Register" like I read "The Weekly World News." It's a tabloid in every sense.

Taco, I can't believe you had the balls to post this nonsense (which, if they're any truth to it, was written by a UNIX admin. WTF?)

What would you choose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723423)

a fairly insecure server or a slashdotted one?

Nothing spectacular (5, Insightful)

comic-not (316313) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723426)

Read the paper - pretty reasonable stuff. The only thing that may raise eyebrows is the origin of the paper. Goes to show that Microsoft has some competent people working for them (did anybody doubt that, it's after all the company policy that is rotten) but also a horde of absolutely brilliant PR weasels which can turn black to white when you're not watching.

interesting (1)

JamesCronus (592398) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723440)

i feel a great big haha coming on, but its nice to see that there is someone in microsoft who has the wits NOT to run their own dog food, at least someone thre has a brain, mind, its no constiation when i see my hotmail account full to the brim with spam, even with every security setting that microsoft would allow running ho hum

Bingo! (5, Interesting)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723447)

From the Register article:

Another strike against Windows is the GUI: "GUI operations are essentially impossible to script. With large numbers of servers, it is impractical to use the GUI to carry out installation tasks or regular maintenance tasks."

I love Unix. But a huge reason for this unnatural affection is the command line, and the enhancements Unix has made to it (pipes, file descriptors, everything-is-a-file, shell scripting). Even if Microsoft turned around tomorrow and made everything GPL, fixed their security holes and sent chocolates and hookers to Linus and RMS, I'd still prefer Unix for the power of the command line.

In Windows, the command line almost seems like an optional afterthought. In Unix, it's the other way around. (Disclaimer: I'm partly joking, and much more familiar w/U. than M [as I'm sure everyone can tell].) And I think for admin purposes, that makes Unix the more powerful choice.

Re:Bingo! (2)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723531)

In Windows, the command line almost seems like an optional afterthought. In Unix, it's the other way around.

Au contraire. The whole thing is built around that 16 bit 8-3 filename DOS shell. It's the GUI part that's an "afterthought".

Seriously, (3, Insightful)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723452)

this seems to be a quite well written paper (as far as I can see from the Register's summary, the server is /.'ed).

Everything I read there points out things I don't like on windows, much better than I am capable of. While there exist many papers pointing out these things, they are often to "evangelistic" to be seriously considered for convincing management types.

I'm eager to get the whole document, it might have its worth even without mentioning the originaters (watch the copyright, though).

Stupid headline (5, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723465)

I hate Microsoft much as the next guy, but the headline is *way* overwrought. If you actually read the linked article, it's just an honest pro/con comparison. They mention certain advantages of UNIX (text configuration, small size) and certain advantages of Windows (better internationalization, more developer support, better throughput). Entirely realistic and a perfectly fine rationale document. There are some bits I disagree with (eg. Visual Studio being better than the UNIX development tools) but overall, this is just a document written by an engineer weighing the various issues involved in switching from UNIX to Windows.

more developer support? (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723556)

I might be missing this one, as I don't see it in the article, but...
Since when has the windows community had more developer support? MSDN is a bloody nightmare... in 'nix I've had very little problems tracking down assistance, howtos, and code samples.

Wait a minute... (3, Informative)

RomikQ (575227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723474)

Well, the original article is slashdotted, but here are my two cents:

I tend to view any such "inside" source very suspiciously - the halloween paper about how to bring linux down was fairly believable, but this... Well, the register says:

...but concludes that the company ought to set the right example by ensuring that each division "should eat its own dogfood."

... Huh? what kind of an official document would claim that their product is crap? This suggests that the paper is of an unofficial status. Well, then, why the hell does it matter. If I worked for microsoft and said things like 'yeah, windows sucks, unix rules' would that make a bit of difference to the company's policy(internal and external)? And the fact that securityfocus "dicovered on a poorly protected server" adds more doubt. Were they hacking into MS servers searching for compromising documents?

Now, I didnt read the paper itself, so I apologize if this post is missing the point.

Re:Wait a minute... (2)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723558)

I read on heise.de some days ago that there was indeed a microsoft corporate server with some directories open for public which clearly shouldn't, exposing internal documents. I guess it's from there.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723560)

I've heard microsoft use the term "eating its own dogfood." before.

I've just recently heard them refer to it when migrating to Win2k AS 64bit edition to run their exchange 2000 servers. They go from development to limited testing, to eating "its own dogfood."

I think I read about this in eweek or computer world.

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Informative)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723566)

...but concludes that the company ought to set the right example by ensuring that each division "should eat its own dogfood." ... Huh? what kind of an official document would claim that their product is crap? This suggests that the paper is of an unofficial status.
That isn't what "eating your own dogfood" means. It is a marketing term, from back in the old days. I means that if you work for Alpo, your dogs eat Alpo. If you work for Coca Cola, you can't be seen drinking a Pepsi (this is an actual company policy, BTW.) It isn't a derrogatory term, any more than your webpage taking a lot of hits means that someone is trying to beat you up.

Yay!!! (0)

mondoterrifico (317567) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723475)

Woot! Another article on slashdot proclaiming the obvious. Preaching to the choir is retarded. Out of the hundreds of submissions you guys get, why peddle this crap over and over again? I just find this boring.

And this is news? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723482)

I am a serious unix neophyte and already had the impression that bsd was cheaper, more secure, and more easily maintainable than windows solutions. Hence my question.

However, I also understand that we who appreciate and would like to see greater implementation of open-source and gnu need a propaganda engine to rival the marketing machine that is microsoft.

The fact is that Unix boosters tend to come off as fanatics due to the lack of flash and dollars used to promote our views. Can't we get a team of daemon and penguin-costumed advocates to run through Times Square spray bombing the words BSD and LINUX everywhere? Why should we believe another "white paper" will turn the tide?

Karma Whoring (-1, Redundant)

gera0ul (599088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723483)

here's the article from the register. It's quite long though... -- Posted: 21/11/2002 at 11:39 GMT An older MS internal whitepaper from August 2000 on switching Hotmail, which MS acquired in 1997, from front-end servers running FreeBSD and back-end database servers running Solaris to a whole farm running Win2K, reads like a veritable sales brochure for UNIX, but concludes that the company ought to set the right example by ensuring that each division "should eat its own dogfood." The whitepaper, by MS Windows 2000 Server Product Group member David Brooks, has been posted on the Web by Security Office, which says it discovered the item and numerous other confidential MS documents on a poorly protected server. There are a number of other fascinating documents posted, in which the careful reader will find a veritable treasure map for hacking the citadel, but the one I enjoyed best was the comparison between Win2K and UNIX. Among the observations is a very basic one about security: "A fact about UNIX is that it is easy for an administrator to ensure that there are no irrelevant services running. As well as giving the potential for maximizing performance, it is useful to be sure that there are no random TCP/IP or UDP ports open that could be used as a basis for an attack," the paper notes. Next there's kernel stability: "Both the UNIX kernel, and the design techniques it encourages, are renowned for stability. A system of several thousand servers must run reliably and without intervention to restart failed systems," the author notes, and adds that, "Apache is also designed for stability and correctness, rather than breadth of features or high performance demands." Then of course there's the cost of ownership, which MS insists, against overwhelming contradictory evidence, gives Windows an advantage: "FreeBSD is free. Although there are collateral costs (it's not particularly easy to set up) the freedom from license costs is a major consideration, especially for a startup." And it's easy to minimize a UNIX system: "It is particularly easy to cut down the load on the system so that only the minimum number of services is running. This reduced complexity [and] aids stability and transparency." Whereas: "A Windows server out of the box is an elaborate system. Although it performs specific tasks well (such as being a web server) there are many services that have a complex set of dependencies, and it is never clear which ones are necessary and which can be removed to improve the system's efficiency." Another good thing about UNIX is that everything is out in the open, for admins, anyway: "It's easy to look at a UNIX system and know what is running and why. Although its configuration files may have arcane (and sometimes too-simple) syntax, they are easy to find and change." Whereas in Win2K: "Some parameters that control the system's operation are hidden and difficult to fully assess. The metabase is an obvious example. The problem here is that is makes the administrator nervous; in a single-function system he wants to be able to understand all of the configuration-related choices that the system is making on his behalf." Another strike against Windows is the GUI: "GUI operations are essentially impossible to script. With large numbers of servers, it is impractical to use the GUI to carry out installation tasks or regular maintenance tasks." Then we have the ease of UNIX administration: "Most configuration setups, log files, and so on, are plain text files with reasonably short line lengths. Although this may be marginally detrimental to performance (usually in circumstances where it doesn't matter) it is a powerful approach because a small, familiar set of tools, adapted to working with short text lines, can be used by the administrators for most of their daily tasks. In particular, favorite tools can be used to analyze all the system's log files and error reports," the author explains, and notes further that: "Over the years, UNIX versions have evolved a good set of single-function commands and shell scripting languages that work well for ad-hoc and automated administration. The shell scripting languages fall just short of being a programming language (they have less power than VBScript or JScript). This may seem to be a disadvantage, but we must remember that operators are not programmers; having to learn a block-structured programming language is a resistance point." Furthermore, "PERL ... is more of a programming than scripting language. It is popular for repeated, automated tasks that can be developed and optimized by senior administrative staff who do have the higher level of programming expertise required." We find also that the Windows image size can be a real inconvenience on a big farm: "The team was unable to reduce the size of the image below 900MB; Windows contains many complex relationships between pieces, and the team was not able to determine with safety how much could be left out of the image. Although disk space on each server was not an issue, the time taken to image thousands of servers across the internal network was significant. By comparison, the equivalent FreeBSD image size is a few tens of MB." And finally, we're reminded that Windows often needs a re-boot when a UNIX admin can simply edit a configuration file, stop the process in question, and immediately run it again with the new configuration. This is also a great advantage when things go wrong: "A service may be hung, and rather than take the time to find and fix the problem, it is often more convenient to reboot [a Windows machine]. By contrast, UNIX administrators are conditioned to quickly identify the failing service and simply restart it; they are helped in this by the greater transparency of UNIX and the small number of interdependencies." Another item worth mentioning, though not directly related to a UNIX comparison, is the cost of load-balancing technology and its supporting software. Using Windows load balancing service requires Advanced Server, whereas using Cisco's Local Director needs only Server. The costs, we discover, are dramatically different: "Although Hotmail uses Microsoft software without license fees, we must consider this project as a model for real customers. Use of WLBS requires Advanced Server, but Server provides all the other features used by Hotmail. Using list prices, the cost comparison for a farm of 3500 servers is: Using WLBS (hence Advanced Server): $15M+ / Using LD and Server: $6M+" Also very entertaining is the dramatic difference between the internal whitepaper and its public version on MS TechNet in terms of facts. For example, TechNet assures us that, "administrators generally find benefit from porting 'cron' jobs to Windows Task Scheduler events. Both Microsoft Interix 2.2 and SFU allow administrators to port 'cron' files to Windows 2000 without any changes in most cases, allowing administrators to gradually transition scheduled events and scripts without impacting operations i.e. at migration scheduled events can still run as 'cron' jobs. After the migration, the 'cron' jobs can be migrated to Windows Task scheduler events. The Windows task scheduler has better integration with event logs." But the whitepaper had found that, "using FreeBSD, such tasks are scheduled by the cron service. Jobs are scheduled by being listed in a file, one line per job. Changing the file is easy to accomplish using the command line (or rdist), and replacing the entire file is a good way to ensure that each server has exactly the schedule of jobs that the administrator intended. Jobs can be scheduled to execute once, or at intervals down to one minute. "Although the Windows Task Scheduler service is fundamentally able to look after such jobs, the interfaces provided in Windows does not measure up to the task. The usual interface is the GUI, which is appropriate for setting up jobs on a machine at a time, is labor-intensive and error-prone. "The command at is deprecated, is not able to schedule repeated jobs at a frequency of less than one day. "The command jt was offered by the Task Scheduler team, but it is unsupported and awkward to use (it was intended for testing). "None of the three interfaces offers an easy way to replace the current task schedule entirely. The team met the need by running the cron service provided in Services for UNIX. As described earlier, relying on Services for UNIX (or any other package subject to extra license costs) provides a bad model for other customer deployments." So once again we see that TechNet is more a source of rhetoric than information, just in case their painfully-cheerful security bulletins had left anyone in doubt. It is terrifying to contemplate the efficiency bonus MS would have enjoyed if it had only been willing to base its entire corporate operations on UNIX instead of eating its own dog food. The software monopolist might today be in the bizarre position of being the world's only consumer of unices

And in another memo... (3, Funny)

Zemran (3101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723484)

Bill Gates has accepted that bears really do shit in the woods.

Difference of approach (5, Insightful)

Hasie (316698) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723499)

Windows is not intended for servers and UNIX is. That's essentially all that is said. Windows is built for the lowest common denominator (hence all the GUIs) and UNIX is built for people that know what they are doing to get the job done quickly and efficiently.


If Microsoft were to modify their configuration files to be more UNIX like, and offer a decent UNIX-like shell, most of the UNIX advantages would fall away. But this kind of modification would be difficult because of the way Windows is structured. UNIX, on the other hand, doesn't have this problem. It is much easier to build a decent GUI on top of a fundamentally sound architecture than it is to build a fundamentally sound architecture under a good GUI.


This represents a tremendous opportunity for UNIX. The UNIX world must develop GUIs to rival Windows' and make sure that the performance is equal to that of Windows. Then one can have the best of both worlds. And then nobody can argue that Windows is better.

Obligitory Simpsons Quote (3, Funny)

Tassach (137772) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723503)

<simpsons voice="nelson">
Ha, Ha
</simpsons>

Looks like once again, M$ gets busted for lying through it's teeth. Of course, that's what all good marketing is. Not that any of this comes as a suprise for anyone who's administered both Windows and *nix boxen.

Why doesn't Microsoft... (5, Interesting)

dubious9 (580994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723504)

Spend money to fix problems with its software? If they know its poorly coded, why don't they launch an entire other branch dedicated to fixing bugs/product maintenance? It's not like they don't have the money. Throw a billion dollars at .net and windows and see if you can make it better. Hell throw five. They'll still have enough money to run the company for a year without any other income.

As much as we'd all like to think, they people over at Microsoft are not idiots. They have enough money to hire the best and the brightest. They do have some quality products (i.e. those whose securities problems are not much of a problem like games, and i personally like their Intellimouse Optical.).

Can anybody tell me why so many smart people won't see the light of day and dedicate big resources to overcome their biggest drawback?

It seems to me... (1)

Deth_Master (598324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723516)

that this is just microsoft forcing it's people to use Winblows regardless of what's cost effective or easier. The general idea seems to be that even though the FreeBSD server would have been a better choice, due to ease of administration, capabilities, control, and installation, MS said you will use win2k.
Now, we just need to get the average person to read and believe this instead of following the MS butterfly into the flame.
If I could only read the actual whitepaper instead of .... well nothing.

Well Duh! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723520)

Let's give MS some credit though, they at least know their weaknesses. Windows 2000 is better that previous OSes and is an excellent desktop OS, and MS being a qick learner will surely find ways to try to meet or exceed Unix in upcoming versions of windows. I alway knew moving Hotmail from BSD to Windows servers was a mistake for exacly the reasons they mentioned and I find their unintentional honesty in this memo refreshing.

This shouldnt be surprising (5, Insightful)

quantax (12175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723523)

I do not know what people are acting all surprised. What MS says and what MS knows are two very seperate things. Why do you think they say Linux is a competitor to be watched? Yea, they say 'MS software is better for xyz reasons, yatta yatta' but you better be damn sure that privately they are analyzing their competition inside and out. The first way to get raped by your competition is to ignore it. The second is to assume that you are automatically better than the competition, product quality wise. If a company is dishonest in its internal evaluations of its products against their competition, they will merely alienate their customers even more due to poor design decisions. Remember, MS has a shitload of investors, so going out publicly saying 'our product is subpar to unix' would result in their stocks playing a rollercoaster game. Never mistake self-honesty with PR.

When the whitepaper was turned over.... (1)

dethl (626353) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723525)

A badly drawn stick figure (with glasses) with the text "Billy" over it has a caption saying: "Ha ha! You fell for it!"

I would accuse Microsoft of a lot of things... (3, Insightful)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723533)

...but being unrealistic isn't one of them. They know what their products are like and they know the golden rule, "You don't have to have the best product to win the product wars."

Beta vs. VHS...Zip drives vs. Jazz drives...etc, etc.

I have to wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723539)

about how legit this document is. I never have installed Windows and have it take over 900MB. Maybe server does, but then again you don't usually farm out server images now do you? Microsoft couldn't determine with saftey what to remover? Doesn't that seem a bit odd, they aren't total idiots. Finally, it states that Windows GUI's are impossible to script. I would say more cumbersome, but not impossible, what do you think Rational Robot does? There are a few other packages that also do Windows GUI scripting.

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723551)

at least microsfot can boneup to when they suck unlike linus

Where are the 'Best tool for the job' zealots?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723553)

Best tool for the job is !W2K.

full article abstract (4, Informative)

job0 (134689) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723557)

lamenes filter won't let me post the whole document so I will have to break it up

Abstract

This white paper discusses the approach used to convert the Hotmail web
server farm from UNIX to Windows 2000, and the reasons the features and
techniques were chosen. It will focus primarily on the planners,
developers, and system administrators. The purpose of the paper is to
provide insight for similar deployments using Windows 2000. We will
discuss the techniques from the viewpoint of human engineering as well
as software engineering.

Early results from the conversion, which was limited to the front-end
web servers, are:

Windows 2000 provides much better throughput than UNIX.

Windows 2000 provides slightly better performance than UNIX.

There is potential, not yet realized, for stability of
individual systems to be equal to that of UNIX. The load-balancing
technology ensures that the user experience of the service is that
stability is as good as it was before the conversion.

As this paper will show, while the core features of Windows
2000 are able to run the service, its administrative model is not well
suited to the conversion.

The observations related here are derived from experience gained at a
single site. More work would be needed to establish whether they are
representative.

MS employee vs MS corporation (5, Insightful)

Hays (409837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4723564)

You have to remember that MS employees are real human beings. They aren't idiots for the most part. This guy was being very candid about the shortfalls of a windows server, perhaps with hopes of seeing it improved it in the future. It's the higher ups in the corporate ladder and the marketers that candy-coat all things windows and belittle all things *nix.

Ironically, many of those (perfectly valid) reasons that *nix can make a better server are the same reasons I don't like it on my desktop. Text configuration is a blessing for server farms but a nightmare for newbies with a fresh install.

technet article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4723573)

From Microsoft's public version [microsoft.com] of the description of the migration:

"FreeBSD, a UNIX-like system similar to the Linux operating system, was used to run the front-end Web servers that handled login"

FreeBSD isn't a "UNIX-like", its a real UNIX!!!
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