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Unreliable Linux Dumped from Crest Electronics

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the i-thought-they-made-my-teeth-clean dept.

Linux Business 960

nri writes "The Age writes, Linux misses Windows of opportunity. Crest Electronics chose a Linux operating system, then seven months on, the company chose to abandon it for Windows. Mr Horton says. ".. the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random. It would run for weeks or so and then just bang, it would stop....I fully support Linux but if I had to make the decision again I'd pick Windows. A big reason is the fact Windows was up and running in two hours at all the right patch levels. The installation of SAP took two days on Windows, the installation on Linux Red Hat took two weeks. The total cost of ownership is actually lower in this case than with Linux because of the hidden costs of the support.""

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672821)

first

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672822)

Yay!

Lets see in seven months (3, Insightful)

LittLe3Lue (819978) | about 9 years ago | (#13672827)

...we will see what you have to say about hidden costs and core dumps.

Re:Lets see in seven months (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672891)

It may be true in some cases that Windows runs more stable than linux. I have seen some flakeyness on more bleeding edge distros, X11 crashing, apps crashing. One of my boxes, I have troubled hardware support for my Promise SATA controller and large data transfers would cause system lockups all the time. Supposedly this is fixed in kernel 2.6.12. But I'm running Windows XP on that machine so I don't really know. But really, XP stablity isn't all it's cracked up to be. I have to reboot often (~once a week). Things just slow down and get really sluggish after ~ 2 weeks, or less.

But hardware/driver issues aside, I don't believe Windows can be more stable than linux. If you don't have to run Windows for some specific compatibility/software requirement. Linux can be a far superior experience.

Flamewars! Begin! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672828)

HA! HA! HA!

Windows vs Linux (4, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | about 9 years ago | (#13672833)

Anyone that says that Linux will beat out Windows in every situation is a fool.

Choose the product that best suits your needs. If Linux doesn't cut it, get Windows. If Windows doesn't cut it, get Linux.

Re:Windows vs Linux (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 9 years ago | (#13672844)

>If Linux doesn't cut it, get Windows. If Windows doesn't cut it, get Linux.

Or, y'know, a Mac.

OS X and all that. Hell, Intel stuffs even, in a couple months.

Re:Windows vs Linux (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | about 9 years ago | (#13672984)

Because Mac OS is a major platform for SAP. Oh wait, SAP doesnt even run on Mac OS.

Re:Windows vs Linux (2, Funny)

CompuSwerve (792986) | about 9 years ago | (#13672907)

But I'm the CEO of Banyan, you insensitive clod! What about Vines?!?!

Re:Windows vs Linux (5, Insightful)

rleesBSD (909405) | about 9 years ago | (#13672948)

If neither one cuts it, get FreeBSD. (Hey, don't forget about us!)

sucks for him.. he got pwned (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672835)

sounds like he got tricked... their windowz zealot took the old crappiest server with a bad mobo and installed linux just to show him how much better his brand new 10k$ windows box was.

There's no debate. (4, Insightful)

amarodeeps (541829) | about 9 years ago | (#13672836)

It costs money to hire qualified admins, Windows or Linux.

Re:There's no debate. (4, Insightful)

detritus` (32392) | about 9 years ago | (#13672851)

Yes, but windows admins come a lot cheaper... at least up here where everyone and their dog has an MCSE

Re:There's no debate. (5, Funny)

Grax (529699) | about 9 years ago | (#13672909)

Qualified admins are never cheap.

I've never hired a dog that was an MCSE.

I did hire an elephant once. He remembered everything and worked for peanuts. We never had a second problem with a computer if he troubleshot the first one. Amazing what a good stomp will do to a system.

Qualified is the operative term. (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | about 9 years ago | (#13672913)

And by that, I mean people who have experience and know what they're doing. In some ways I might argue that it's actually more difficult to properly admin a Windows box well.

Well right.... (1)

Darkinspiration (901976) | about 9 years ago | (#13672841)

if you don't know what your doing a linux box can be as unstable as jello on a trempoline. I agree however that a windows box is quick to setup compared to a linux box. But the différence is that once you setup a stable linux box. You dont have to touch it ever. Except to patch, and admin. But if you documented your config correctly the minute you have to build another one. it's a snap.

Re:Well right.... (1)

jerw134 (409531) | about 9 years ago | (#13672887)

But the différence is that once you setup a stable linux box. You dont have to touch it ever. Except to patch, and admin.

Alright, I'll bite. Aside from "patching and admining" a Windows server, why else would you need to "touch" it?

Re:Well right.... (2, Funny)

firl (907479) | about 9 years ago | (#13672943)

"touch" the power button to turn it back on after it crashes.

"A" Linux Operating System? (1)

elmegil (12001) | about 9 years ago | (#13672842)

What, Joe's Special Distro? All the SuSE and RedHat machines I've ever run were rock solid. They weren't running SAP, mind you, but still.....

First Rule of LUG... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672927)

I am Joe's enraged, inflamed Linux installation.

Re:"A" Linux Operating System? (5, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | about 9 years ago | (#13672929)

I've known many, many, many people who swear by Linux's reliability and uptime. When I look at their load usage, it's alway like "0.01, 0.01, 0.02" or some such low usage box. Chances are, if they are running SAP, that box is loaded. Or overloaded. And then, things can sometimes get more dicey. A device driver that works okay under low-load is fine, but then when the commands are stacking up it barfs. Or some hardware that's been only marginally fast enough is exposed as underperforming (especailly hard drives and FSB). Performance degrades quicker than expected very often, and resources can easily become exhausted. I love Linux, but often people who swear by it have never seen the pain of a truly heavily loaded Linux box. It's much better now that a lot of sweat has gone into the scheduler.

Re:"A" Linux Operating System? (1)

hereschenes (813329) | about 9 years ago | (#13672934)

Read the article before you start making arbitrary comments.

The company distributes audio and video accessories to retailers across Australia. Last November it began migrating to an SAP enterprise resource planning system running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0.

Re:"A" Linux Operating System? (1)

lav-chan (815252) | about 9 years ago | (#13672953)

Read the article

Or even the summary.

RTFA (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | about 9 years ago | (#13672937)

The article states clearly that it was Red Hat. Over and over and over and over...

Re:"A" Linux Operating System? (1)

jimkski (304659) | about 9 years ago | (#13672942)

I think TFA said he was using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0.

Obviously, they had useless admins (0)

Shaman (1148) | about 9 years ago | (#13672843)

First of all... blue screens?

OK, getting that out of the way, obviously this crew of nitwits couldn't tie their own shoes with encouragement and instructions. If I were the computing engineers involved, I wouldn't be writing any articles or letting anyone know that I failed totally to understand modern computing. Doesn't look good on the resume.

Re:Obviously, they had useless admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672888)

First of all... blue screens?

Let's review the quote... "the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random." Note the qualifier putting it in Windows terms. How many people are familiar with blue screens? Now how many people are familiar with a core dump?

Make sure you fully comprehend the statement before you criticize it. You're not doing yourself any favors by pretending that the speaker is at fault when it only takes a second reading to demonstrate that they are not.

Different results (1)

Grax (529699) | about 9 years ago | (#13672849)

They got to do what they got to do but my results have been much different.

My server machines regularly run for a year or two without rebooting. About that time I invariably decide it needs more memory or some other hardware upgrade that requires a reboot.

your admins are not qualified (3, Insightful)

little alfalfa (21334) | about 9 years ago | (#13672850)

Obviously, your admins were not qualified to administer a Linux server like this. If it took them two weeks to get software installed and running like that, I'd fire them right away. Even if it is SAP, a complex piece of software. Just because you got it up and running in 2 days on Windows doesn't mean it was done right, or done securely.

Re:your admins are not qualified (1)

redsoxunixgeek (893384) | about 9 years ago | (#13672930)

I would find it hard to belive that anyone could make a windows box with SAP secure in 2 days unless it was in a lead walled room, with no windows and no connection to any network. Dont get me wrong, i think windows does have its features that linux is missing at this point. But why not give us more information? Were you using Gentoo, or Red Hat and all the other random information that us geeks thrive on. Or their admins got frustrated it and just said fudge it and pleaded to use windows.

*shrug* i dont know i use both linux and windows and mac os x at my house, granted i am not running SAP, but still i have alot of good things and bad things i could report about my network. i guess it is all in how you look at the issue.

Re:your admins are not qualified (1)

Jinjuku (762364) | about 9 years ago | (#13672944)

Doesn't mean that it was done wrong or in an un-secure manner either. I have plenty of customers on SBS 2003. Takes me 6 hours in shop, another day prehaps onsite (depending on the number of client machines I need to un-crate and connect) and after that I may get to bill them MAYBE 4 hours a year after for misc. stuff.

Not a bad investment considering all the extras they get with SBS 2003 (Groupware, Faxing etc...). I have clients that the only thing I have had to reboot after is hardware upgrades with 2000/2003 also. Up-time doesn't belong to the sole realm of *nix.

Re:your admins are not qualified (4, Informative)

bblazer (757395) | about 9 years ago | (#13672949)

A good friend works as an SAP and Retek consultant for Accenture. His installs and integrations have lasted almost 2 years (Nordstrom took 3).

Re:your admins are not qualified (2, Interesting)

lav-chan (815252) | about 9 years ago | (#13672994)

Well the people who installed it were recommended by Red Hat. And then Red Hat's support team evidently couldn't help them. Maybe it's just that Red Hat isn't qualified to administer a Linux server like this.

Re:your admins are not qualified (1)

sn0wflake (592745) | about 9 years ago | (#13672999)

If it took them two weeks to get software installed and running like that, I'd fire them right away.
And do what? Hire Linux experts? Since Linux is the underdog it should make things easier to administrate and use than Windows. I agree that if the company got Windows up and running in two days it probably wasn't done right, but at least it works.

windows code dumps (5, Funny)

digitalderbs (718388) | about 9 years ago | (#13672852)

"the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random"

whereas you can expect windows to core dump periodically and predictably.

Re:windows code dumps (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 9 years ago | (#13672993)

whereas you can expect windows to core dump periodically and predictably

You know, I've had that happen enough to care about - years ago, with older copies of NT, running on flaky/overheated/bad-sectored hardware. But I run things like SQL, or file services, or IIS under 2000/2003... and have machines that cook along without me doing anything month after month after month. No BSDs, etc. Yes, patch = boot, and that's a few moments of taking a machine out of a cluster for a minute... but not because the machine hangs while doing anything routine. For that matter, not even when I'm doing something non-routine.

This whole "Windows just crashes all the time" stuff, especially on the server side, is pretty much FUD. Bad RAM and drives can piss off Linux, too. Flaky commercial third-party apps can gum up any OS. But I sure don't have anything like the problems that so many people love to rant about - and even though I only have a running sample of a few dozen specific machines that I actually consistently lay hands on every week, you'd think that the mythical "predictably, always crashing" Windows server would rear its ugly head at some point. But it doesn't. The FUD's an anachronism.

How much did they learn... (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | about 9 years ago | (#13672854)

Installing SAP on Linux in the first place? My guess is that the second time around (on any system) is much easier than the first. How long have they run SAP on windows yet, and have they had the time to see if it would blue-screen? How much of a dependence did they place on potentially lower-level or unsupported drivers on higher end hardware where the vendor focused on Windows instead of Linux? What vendor's hardware did they use in the first place?

All these questions point out to: Not enough information to make an informed opinion on what acutally happened. Disclaimer: I haven't read the article yet, just the summary.

Re:How much did they learn... (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | about 9 years ago | (#13672925)

Ok, to answer some of my comments, Redhat Enterprise 3.0 (certified by SAP), and Linux certified IBM servers... BUT quoted from Redhat: "We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.

They also comment that the Redhat update system is "unacceptible" because SAP may not support a particular patch, then comment that Microsoft's similar system (which does the same thing) is a key reason to change. HUH? If SAP hasn't stated they will support a MS update vs. a RH update, who is at fault when running a "certified" operating system with a standard means of performing updates as part of the OS.

Personally, this feels like a "SAP supports Windows as a server OS better than they support Linux" statement vs. a Windows vs. Linux argument. In situations where you are buying servers just to support a single app, the golden rule is "call the support line, ask for a level 2 engineer, and ask them if THEY had to support an install, what OS would they use". That will give you the answer that in the long run will save you money.

Re:How much did they learn... (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about 9 years ago | (#13672964)

Yeah, I think this is more a hardware and PEBKAC issue than an OS issue. Operating Systems don't randomly crash unless the hardware or the OS is configured incorrectly (or you're running Windows pre-2000). I read the article. They didn't install it themselves and they were manually patching to meet SAP's support requirements. This is kind of a recipe for disaster. First, you might not remember to get all the requirements for your patch. Some programs have 8 or 9 dependencies. Second, if you didn't install it yourself, you have no idea where anything is. Granted it's a RHEL install by "Certified Engineers", whatever that means, but when you install the OS yourself you get to know the OS that much more.

I won't disagree with those who say that Linux won't solve every problem, but I don't think Linux is fully to blame here.

"Just Work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672855)

FWIW, us geeks know how to tweak things and get everything hunky-dory. For most users though, Linux needs to
just work". Yeah, it depends on what you want to do with your computer-- every distro I know of "just works" right out of the box, as long as the box is all you're running. No flames here, just an honest criticism. Windows does indeed just work. I see where the guy is coming from.

(For the few minutes til it gets compromised).

2weeks to install Redhat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672856)

how? and who funds Crest? That statement they made was almost word for word from the Microsoft playbook, seems suspiscious.

Wndows BSOD (5, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 9 years ago | (#13672858)

the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random.

Odd that the Windows terminology for the blue screen of death now seems to be the standard term for a computer crashing. Or maybe that's not so odd.

(please don't mod this as funny, I am very serious here.)

Different results (0, Redundant)

Grax (529699) | about 9 years ago | (#13672859)

They got to do what they got to do but my results have been much different.

My server machines regularly run for a year or two without rebooting. About that time I invariably decide it needs more memory or some other hardware upgrade that requires a reboot.

Re:Different results (1)

Grax (529699) | about 9 years ago | (#13672877)

Yes. This post is a redundant copy of my previous post. Darn unreliable Slashdot code on Linux returned a 500 error the first time so I didn't think it posted.

I wish he would have given us more info. (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13672860)

I wish he would have given us more information regarding the problems he ran into. I'm talking about system specs, the name and version of the Linux distro used, and more information regarding the software they apparently had so much trouble installing.

When problems do happen, the open source community is notorious for getting them fixed very quickly. If he were to provide us, the community, with more details about the problems he encountered, I just know they could be solved for him and potentially for many other users in a similar boat.

No communication with the community? (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | about 9 years ago | (#13672947)

Perhaps the whole root of the problem is that, fearing to let their (future) IP out of the bag, they prevented their techs from going to the community with questions.

Re:I wish he would have given us more info. (2, Informative)

amalcon (472105) | about 9 years ago | (#13672950)

RTFA for some of it...

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 was the distro. More info would've been nice, but they DID give this one (which a lot of people seem to be asking about).

Re:I wish he would have given us more info. (1)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | about 9 years ago | (#13672971)

But wouldn't that be what he meant by 'support cost'? Cost can be calculated be in time waiting for an answer, even if its free.

Re:I wish he would have given us more info. (2, Informative)

subsolar2 (147428) | about 9 years ago | (#13672981)

I wish he would have given us more information regarding the problems he ran into. I'm talking about system specs, the name and version of the Linux distro used, and more information regarding the software they apparently had so much trouble installing.


Well ITFA it said they were running RHEL 3 and for the server it was an IBM server ... no exact details on the hardware.

The server was also setup by a contractor that Redhat had recommended per specs that SAP had provided.

Hmm... (1)

futurekill (745161) | about 9 years ago | (#13672861)

Sounds like they did something wrong...

Core Dump (2, Funny)

Coldglow (846952) | about 9 years ago | (#13672862)

limit coredumpsize 0 Thats how you keep the toilet from clogging

What sort of moron was doing the RH install? (1, Troll)

Archeopteryx (4648) | about 9 years ago | (#13672863)

Maybe windows IS the best choice if your IQ would make a good temperature for beer.

Re:What sort of moron was doing the RH install? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 9 years ago | (#13672903)

I love this with the ad hominem attacks on the guys who switched (you're about the 10th so far). It's evidently been decided a priori that linux can absolutely do no wrong. That's not true.

Re:What sort of moron was doing the RH install? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672995)

Parent is "Insightful"? Come on moderators...

What is SAP? (3, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | about 9 years ago | (#13672865)

What is SAP? A Google search yields a company that sells business products, but there doesn't seem to be anything related to a point-of-sale system or workstation software. Is it an electronics design software?

Re:What is SAP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672928)

SAP is a document database. We use it as work and it sucks. It might just be the front end or this implementation of it.

SAP is... (1)

arfonrg (81735) | about 9 years ago | (#13672935)

SAP is a Big-Azz database/inventory_control/accounts_payable/accoun ts_receivable/purchaseing/accounting/blah_blah_bla h monstrosity that makes my life HELL!!!! I hate it I hate it I hate it!

It is akin to Powerpoint, makes more work but looks glitzy! (at least our implementation is)

Re:What is SAP? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672962)

SAP is one of the biggest software companies in the world. It produces _the_ biggest software plateform. If an extra-terrestrial specie were to investigate Earth for signs of intelligence, we'd have to bury SAP deep down in the planet's core to have a fair chance of registering on their radar. If they decided to build a traffic system to regulate a galactic bypass, they'd have to use SAP. Let's hope we destroy SAP before they find a need for it, I don't want to develop on SAP all my freakin' life.

Re:What is SAP? (5, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 9 years ago | (#13672978)

It's a German company that sells quite rather a lot of software. Whole large businesses run on it, and a cheap installation starts in seven figures and goes up from there. It's a serious suite of software. Check "SAP Specialist" in your favourite job search engine and check the rates they're getting for clue 2. They're big, as in first-page-of-Hitchhiker's-Guide big.

Bigger Problems (1, Informative)

rbgaynor (537968) | about 9 years ago | (#13672866)

Well, if this Crest Electronics [crestelectronics.com] is their website they have more problems than just Linux. From their homepage:

Currently some people are having problems accessing portions of our website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Re:Bigger Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672946)

Which is funny because:

(from the article)

"We run Linux on our web server and for an accounting package with great success and we do use the auto-patching in those environments..."

Re:Bigger Problems (1)

Script Cat (832717) | about 9 years ago | (#13672997)

Currently some people are having problems accessing portions of our website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

And you put them on Slashdot. No sence of pity. :(

No news article (0, Offtopic)

LemonFire (514342) | about 9 years ago | (#13672872)

After reading the article (yes I actually read it) I decided that this article doesn't really say much about anything so I decided to not post anything.

Oh wait.... DOH!!!

Oh yes. (0, Troll)

crottsma (859162) | about 9 years ago | (#13672873)

Linux is to Windows as Woman is to Man. It lacks a penis, and is inferior in most respects. Mod me. Please.

Sense? (1)

plug_it_in (896930) | about 9 years ago | (#13672875)

It took them seven months to realize that Linux wasn't working? That's sort of wierd don't you think? Anyways I guess it was just bad luck, eh? I mean Linux doesn't really do that for me and I am not an SAP Certified whatever-majigger...

The main problem I've run into (1)

Work Account (900793) | about 9 years ago | (#13672876)

Is that sometimes bugs in say a 2.0.5 version of software that's standardized during a Linux distro's "point oh" release just start seriously affecting your company's performance. Then you try to upgrade but find a dependency on another new package as well. Some of us cannot install whatever we want on the machines. I have to spend a week or two research and prepping and thinking of every possible reason and counter-complaint about why we need the updates that I get exhausted pretty easily.

Linux is by far the best UNIX-like system out there and I love it for that. But depending on other developers who work for free and fix all critical bugs in a timely matter is, for me, like putting a $30 million dollar project into the hands of what could be a 20 year old kid, albeit a damn good coder of a kid, but someone else nonetheless.

With Microsoft at least there's a bit of accountability or someone my company can blame when our project fails.

Re:The main problem I've run into (0)

timmarhy (659436) | about 9 years ago | (#13672912)

freebsd is superior and every respect. http://www.freebsd.org/ [freebsd.org]

20 year old kids ??? (1)

LemonFire (514342) | about 9 years ago | (#13672966)

Quite a few respectable companies will put your precious project in the hand of the cheapest possible labor they can find, very often workers that are incompetent, lack training and have no real interest in the product they are making.

I don't give much for the argument that corporations would do a better job developing good quality software, instead in my experience cutting corners to save money seems to be way more important to the bean counters that control most corporations.

-- This SIG was handmade in a sweatshop

Smells fishy. (4, Insightful)

SynapseLapse (644398) | about 9 years ago | (#13672881)

This whole article is useless without really saying what the crash was. You could have the most rock solid stable server in the world, and it won't mean much if the applications you're hosting are buggy and badly implemented. It would be nice to know to EXACTLY what crashes he was getting and why. Not just "Uhh, there were core dumps and blue screens, but with a linux blue instead of microsoft blue." I think this would be a great opportunity for an Ask Slashdot poll. Maybe he'd even post some of the core dumps.

blue screens? (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | about 9 years ago | (#13672884)

what a load of crap.in all my years admining linux systems i have never seen ANYTHING even remotely close to a windows blue screen style crash. a user land process cannot blow away the system like that under linux. the only way this would happen is 1. bad hardware 2. idiots playing with kernel settings they shouldn't be.
either way none of this reflects on linux's stablity at all, just on the skill of the admin running it.
want another hint this is a case of a total retard running the system? "2 weeks to install sap on redhat"
even the most stable system will go bad with an idiot in charge.

Re:blue screens? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672952)

You haven't used X11 I take it. It makes Windows 95 look like a quality, well-built OS.

Seriously, if X doesn't get fixed sometime soon, I'm dumping Linux. I like everything about Linux but X, but that's a big but. It's slow, it's unreliable, it's ugly, it's impossible to configure and maintain, it's prone to crashing and leaving your machine effectively unusable (because of all the stupid hacks in the display management system of Linux and X11), etc. etc. etc. And the fonts look terrible and I have spent countless hours recompiling freetype, X, fontconfig, with different options, different flags in the config files and, if anything changes at all, it is usually between varying degrees of ugly.

It's really unfortunate. Most problems with Linux on the desktop are problems with X.

PS: the confirmation text is "inaction", which is exactly the problem with X development. Nobody, except a guy here or there like Jon Smirl, is really stepping up and saying we need to *fix* X. It's just band-aid solution after band-aid solution. Have they learned nothing from Microsoft?

Re:blue screens? (3, Interesting)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 9 years ago | (#13672983)

what a load of crap.in all my years admining linux systems i have never seen ANYTHING even remotely close to a windows blue screen style crash. a user land process cannot blow away the system like that under linux

A) You are admitting you truly know nothing about the NT architecture.
B) And it is normally called Kernel Panic, or a Random Reboot in your world.
C) If you never saw any OS fail in ALL YOUR YEARS ADMINING, are you sure they are really years?

Sometimes this doesn't suprise me (1, Insightful)

bblazer (757395) | about 9 years ago | (#13672892)

I can understand the long install time. This is proof on one of the major flaws with linux. Poor documentation, poor standards across distros, and obscure undocumented dependencies. Don't get me wrong; I have been using linux since 1999 and have come to appreciate a lot of it. But still to date I want to bang my head on my keyboard when I install some new software and I am told that I need such-and-such lib or a different version of something. Then a good part of a day is shot trying to track all of this stuff down and get it installed. What I have just said should be tempered by the fact that I do not believe that windows is a good choice. 99 times out of 100 you have an unstable machine that costs you huge $ in downtime. This is where linux (and Mac) is good. Once you get it set up it is rock solid. I guess that you have a choice, long set up with linux then less maintenance or short set up with Windows, and a lot of further maintenance.

Re:Sometimes this doesn't suprise me (2, Interesting)

Anthony Liguori (820979) | about 9 years ago | (#13672955)

Poor documentation, poor standards across distros, and obscure undocumented dependencies.

Yeah, this is a general problem with common modern programming languages. Dealing with dependencies is just hard since we've had a reuse model that is largely based on saving disk space by having one copy of a function.

Today, I'm convinced we need a system where every version of every library is stored and programs are able to use whatever version they have been tested against.

Re:Sometimes this doesn't suprise me (0, Flamebait)

codefungus (463647) | about 9 years ago | (#13672990)

Dood..you are a fucking idiot. You have never used linux....maybe you tried to install once but you didn't know what a partition was. Don't front like you have been using Linux since 1999. You must be 15....try it, use it, learn what you are talking about.

Hiring admins (1)

imunfair (877689) | about 9 years ago | (#13672895)

Well, from this point on I'll be skeptical of the skills of any IT person that has "Crest Electronics" on their resume from now on.

Linux not always rock-solid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672901)

Like many of you, I will generally support Linux over Windows in every (server) situation.

However, one client of mine (Oracle E-Business Suite on RedHat 3.0) had major issues. Turned out that their problems were related to kernel version and the particular version of EMC FC/AL drivers that were loaded. This required significant troubleshooting, several kernel patches (a few "experimental") before finally getting worked out. The problem caused the servers to completely lock up under load.

Admittedly, we had a SAN architecture that is probably somewhat advanced for a Linux installation. I also acknowledge that this sort of issue could arise on any platform. However, the response we got from RedHat was less than I've experienced from other *nix vendors. (That said, what kind of response would I have gotten from Micro$oft?)

I guess my point is, given the problems we encountered, I'd consider a different platform too. (Although I'd tend towards Solaris/AIX or even, maybe, HP/UX)

I love linux (go fedora core 4!) but.... (1)

FatalChaos (911012) | about 9 years ago | (#13672902)

he has a point. Sure linux is free, which is nice, and it is a very good selection for many companies, but there are some problems. Linux support in terms of calling can be shaky, and support is something companies need. Another problem is that it is often easier to find needed software for windows that employees are familiar with than it is for linux (Not neccessarily better software). Also, linux is far more advanced than windows. Although this does allow for a number of cool things like several graphical interfaces, it also makes it harder to figure out problems and harder to find competant people to manage your linux boxes. Lastly, although we all known how ridiculously riddled with holes and bugs unpatched Windows are, patched versions aren't always that bad. Sure, you get the security holes, but you don't get too many blue screens of death anymore. As long as you run a firewall, dont' use IE, and run a few other things like Processguard your windows is fine. However, one argument i did not like was the hidden cost. Yes, it costs more right now because you have the same IT department that was workign with windows making a dramatic move to Red Hat linux. And for a time, you do risk security concerns b/c your admins are incompetant for awhile. However, now you don't really need to pay for windows licenses, don't need to pay for firewalls (look at the end user agreements for most free windows firewalls - home and personal use only), don't need to pay for an AV, and you don't need to update Redhat as often as windows nor is it as costly. And in the long run you are less likely to get huge security breeches with almost any linux distro over windows.

2 weeks? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | about 9 years ago | (#13672908)

what in the world could he have been doing for it to take two weeks?

And before anyone starts talking about storage arrays, databases, etc etc...those things are no different in windows. Try again.

Boycott this madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672914)

I'm switching to Colgate.

The key point to note in TFA is..... (4, Insightful)

The Famous Druid (89404) | about 9 years ago | (#13672915)

That the decision to go Linux was made by his predecessor.

Looks like 'new manager' syndrome to me...

Maybe they need to reevaluate their skillset. (1)

21chrisp (757902) | about 9 years ago | (#13672922)

Maybe the reason it took two weeks is because they had windows admins set up linux servers. Maybe that's _also_ why it didn't work well. Maybe they need to do some training or hire someone with the right skillsets?

Is this whole article a troll (1)

WouldIPutMYRealNameO (874377) | about 9 years ago | (#13672923)

Come on - this has to be a troll! Perfect title, good weighting in the blurb, nice "put it in Windows terms" and then the very reasonable "oh. but I fully support Linux"

I'll bet dollars to dimes that they didn't have a good Unix Sysadmin on board, just some guy who was trying Linux out. And I bet we see more of these "failures" when people try Linux expecting it to be a silver bullet & cry when they get burned because they don't have the qualified staff.

Did they change the hardware as well ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672924)

You can always run Linux on crappy hardware and blame the OS. I bet this way you can put two systems side by side and have the Linux one crash 10 times more often than the Windows one. Or is this only the latest twist to the "Get the fakes" campaign so nicely concoted by Mr. Taylor of M$ ?

core dump != blue screen (5, Insightful)

Anthony Liguori (820979) | about 9 years ago | (#13672931)

When a program dumps core, it means that the program did something that it wasn't supposed to do (like try to read memory that isn't valid) and the operating system has (correctly), stop the program's execution, and to make life easier on developers, copied the program state into a handy file so that the problem can be debugged. No other programs on your system will be harmed by this one malfunctioning program.

When Windows blue screens, it means *the operating system* has done something it wasn't supposed to do (like try to read memory that isn't valid) and the operating system bails. Often, it will return execution to the next instruction and hope things will be okay. It almost certainly isn't. You're basically screwed.

The equivalent in Linux is an Oops. They don't happen that often on production systems. A crappy properitary program doing things it's not supposed to is *not* a Linux problem nor an Open Source problem. It's SAP's problem.

This is a testimonal about the crappiness of SAP and nothing more. They obviously didn't do enough testing on Linux.

It should never... (1)

BishonenAngstMagnet (797469) | about 9 years ago | (#13672932)

It took them two hours to install and patch Windows?

Real Story - SAP implementation fails miserably (5, Informative)

AndrewSchaefer (89406) | about 9 years ago | (#13672936)

"The Best Run Businesses Run SAP" is a true statement... SAP says it over and over again. What they're really stating is that only the best run businesses can survive a SAP implementation, the rest run out of money or patience, or worse, end up being driven out of business by the enormous cost and disruption it causes. SAP has a HORRIBLE track record on linux. They claim support for linux and other non-MS platforms, but that's only for their core products. Everything outside of CRM and R3 is riddled with technotes and disclaimers about needing MSSQL and WINDOWS. They don't really write cross-platform systems, they just make claims and back them up with fine-print disclaimers.

I just left a company that was $10M and 2 years behind on their "$2M" SAP implementation. It's a joke. Once SAP gets their foot in the door, they flood your company with incompetent consultants and rebuild your business around SAP-approved procedures and architecture. At the end of this clusterfuck you end up WAY over budget and desperately looking for a scape goat. Clearly Crest Electronics chose Linux.

SAP products require patch after patch, and take MONTHS to really install. We had a team of engineers working around the clock (literally) for 5 months to get our base systems set up to SAP specs. Even then we would receive "mystery" patches, frequently resulting in system crashes as they weren't designed to work with other patches. Bottom line - SAP is the problem. They churn out highly unstable software and have armies of consultants who will sweep problems like this under the carpet or find something else to blame.

I Have My Doubts About the Guy (5, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 9 years ago | (#13672938)

the machine would basically, putting it in Windows terms, core dump or blue screen at random.

Blue screen is a Windows thing but core dump is not [wikipedia.org] .

Crest Electronics is trialling Microsoft's Windows Server Update Service, which allows automatic patching for the operating system and other Microsoft software on servers and desktop machines across a corporate network. Its benefits are one of the key reasons why Mr Horton stands by his decision to switch from Linux to Windows.

"We run Linux on our web server and for an accounting package with great success and we do use the auto-patching in those environments,"

I work in a Windows shop but we don't do automatic patching. We don't patch until we've done extensive testing on our own to make sure it works in our environment first. SUS/WUSS/whatever is great in the sense that it allows you to control how patches to your Windows workstations are distributed. You can change the workstations' auto-update behavior so they only update from your SUS servers, etc. But the automatic update thing, from what I've heard, is rarely used in a production environment. In fact, Microsoft gives you a considerable amount of control over its behavior, probably because in recognition of the dangers of auto updating in a production environment.

Mr Horton disagrees: "It might be fine for things like security patches, which don't impact SAP certification rules but with some patches you still actually have to check the release levels and then check against the SAP site. Otherwise SAP might ask you to roll back to the previous version before they will support it."

Give me a break! The same thing happens in the Windows environment. It took Bloomberg and our other vendors a while before they supported Windows XP SP2. When SP2 first came out, a lot of vendors blamed SP2 for problems that may or may not have been SP2's fault. It took Windows vendors a while to adpot SP2 as well.

In any case, the whole patching issue he takes with Linux seems absurd. Just a few days ago, I think our server guys patched their cluster with a Microsoft service pack. Now the cluster refuses to fail over properly. Patching in a production environment is ALWAYS a big headache if you want to do it right. Unfortunately for our server guys, we don't have a spare cluster sitting around for them to test patches on like they normally do with other servers.

Days VS Months (1)

dteichman2 (841599) | about 9 years ago | (#13672939)

They said that the Linux box was running for weeks without a crash, but took two weeks to install SAP. The Windows box would be configured in about two hours, but how long would it run without fail. I've never had a Windows box that would run for more than a month without fail.

Does the purchase price of Windows, plus the greater downtime (cumulative) make it inferior? All that has to be done is to write a script to reboot the machine every month or so and plan for this. Windows now reboots more often than the Linux box, resulting in more downtime.

I see. Tell me more! (4, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | about 9 years ago | (#13672956)

Yes, because we totally believe that you came up with that arguement on your own. "Total cost of ownership" is a natural concept which simply develops in natural language, like swear words based around bodily functions.

*nix incompetence (2, Insightful)

bombadillo (706765) | about 9 years ago | (#13672958)

From TFA , a quote from RedHat support regarding Crest...

"We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the customer never responded, so it was impossible for us to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.

These Crest guy's didn't even have the ability to use support properly.

and

"We run Linux on our web server"

The entire company has 1 webserver? Unless he was missquoted this guy doesn't have a clue what his IT department should be doing.

Nuff said.

I wonder... (1)

ThaFooz (900535) | about 9 years ago | (#13672963)

... how they think Windows is the solution when they were unable to diagnose the problem?

Our company just installed the same image on two identical certified Linux-compatable servers for the same job. One will core dump, seemingly randomly, but often enough to render it unsuitable for production, while its counterpart other runs flawlessly 24/7. Would I be way off the mark in thinking that our problem is a subtle hardware defect in one machine, not a deffective OS, particularly after trying several different kernels/distros/versions/etc etc?

While the article is light on the scale of the operation (I've never heard of Crest Electronics), it frequently uses the pronouns it or the machine (as opposed to the plural) in reference to the server(s). It would seem silly to me to consider a platform shift and the associated costs when you're having trouble with a single unit.

GOOD! If they are dumb enough to run SAP,... (0, Troll)

arfonrg (81735) | about 9 years ago | (#13672969)

GOOD! If they are dumb enough to run SAP, they are the perfect candidates for Windoz.

What we wont hear (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | about 9 years ago | (#13672972)

is how Windows BSOD's all over the place because it turns out their hardware was crap.

So... (1)

(negative video) (792072) | about 9 years ago | (#13672973)

Where are their mailing list posts saying "we're having this weird problem, what might be wrong?" You know, if folks are willing to help some teenager in Africa, odds are they'll be willing to help you.

How many passes did memtest86 successfully make? How many times did you successfully do a total system stress test? (Like rebuilding a kernel or XFree86.) I've got $5 says it was defective hardware and what they now have is SAP/Windows silently corrupting their data.

What did it do when you installed it under VMWare? You did try to run things under an always-the-same virtualizer to control the variables, didn't you? Hello? Is this thing on?

HAHA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672974)

The guy saw the BSOD X Screensaver and set it to go off every week.
I can picture it now.

Blue Screen?
Kernel Panic?
Mac Crash?
Amiga Crash?
Comodore64 Crash?
WTF!!! Linux is the most unstable OS out there...

I see the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672975)

The install disk was upside down. Since I'm in the northern hemisphere I had to turn my monitor upside down to read the story from the Australian news site. The Linux distro came from the northern hemisphere which is right side up. So turn it over and try again.

what's the deal (1)

Robocoastie (777066) | about 9 years ago | (#13672976)

What's the big deal? Use the right tool for the job. Rob

Unix experience? (3, Interesting)

geoskd (321194) | about 9 years ago | (#13672986)

The person giving the references in this article did not seem to be the long time UNIX user he claims to be.
first: He put his experience with Linux into a windows context, suggesting that he is in fact an experienced windows administrator.
second: he did not understand automatic updates. A feature which is and has been available on many linux distro's for quite some time, and a feature which is quite prevalent in UNIX especially from IBM
third: Red Hat Linux (even enterprise class) does not have a very restrictive hardware requirement, and the odds are pretty good that they would have needed to do the same hardware upgrades to run whatever windows system they eventually moved to.
fourth: Anyone who is an experienced administrator knows that the core operating systems are tremendously stable, be it windows or Linux, or UNIX, and that the instabilities in any system will be introduced by drivers needed for operation of application specific hardware (for example a custom cash register based peripheral or some such). This tells me that they had just such a piece of equipment in their systems, and that the vendor of this hardware did not supply working drivers. Further, I would conjecture that said supplier probably had a long standing windows driver, and had ported the drivers to the linux platform specifically at the request of this client. The result is what you would expect: a first generation driver which fails intermittently.

-=Geoskd
www.geoskd.com [geoskd.com]
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