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Windows vs. Linux Study Author Replies

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the Out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-Slashdot-fire dept.

Microsoft 501

Last week you submitted questions for Dr. Herb Thompson, author of the latest Microsoft-sponsored Windows vs. Linux study. Here are his answers. Please feel free to ask follow-up questions. Dr. Thompson says he'll respond to as many as he can. He's registered a new Slashdot username, FFE4, specifically to participate in this discussion. All others claiming to be him are imposters. So read, post, ask, and enjoy.1- A better way of putting it:
by einhverfr

It seems that your study attempted to simulate the growth of an internet startup firm on Windows or Linux. One thing I did not see in the study was a good description of assumptions you made. What assumptions were made in both the design of the requirements and the analysis of the data? What limitations can we place on the conclusions as a result of these assumptions?

Dr. Thompson

This is a really important question. I think there are two sections of the study: the assessment methodology and then the experiment we undertook to illustrate how to apply that methodology. I'll answer the assumption question for both parts:

Methodology - For the methodology, we wanted to provide a tool that organizations could use and apply their own assumptions. Maintaining a system is all about context; some environments favor Linux, others Windows. The question is, how do you know what's likely to be the most reliable (which includes manageable, secure and supportable) solution for your environment? We proposed a methodology a recipe - that looks at a solution in its entirety instead of just individual components. Policies like configuration control vary from organization to organization and to get something that's truly meaningful in your environment, the methodology needs to be carried out in your context. Enterprise customers can and should do this when they are about to trust their critical business processes to a platform. That said, the basic assumptions of the methodology are that patches are applied at 1 month intervals and that business needs evolve over time. How those business needs evolve depends on the scenario you're looking at (in our experiment we looked at ecommerce for example). The methodology doesn't cover steady state reliability, meaning the uptime of a system that is completely static. While this is important, our conversations with CIOs, CTOs, CSOs and IT folks lead us to believe that this was a smaller contributor to pain in a dynamic environment. In an appliance for example, though, steady state reliability is king, and I think an important limitation of this methodology is that we don't capture that well, and I think it's amazingly difficult quality to measure in a time-lapse way.

The purpose of the experiment was to illustrate how to apply the methodology and to begin to get some insights into some of the key model differences between two platforms. For the experiment we picked the ecommerce scenario, for no other reason than there has been a clear shift in how ecommerce sites have serviced their customers in recent years moving from static sites to personalized content. Some specific assumptions were:

* The transition from a basic purchasing site to a personalized portal based on order/browsing history takes place over a one year period.

* The period we looked at was July 1st, 2004 to June 30th, 2005 (the most recent full year at the time of the study).

* A configuration control policy exists that mandates OS version but not much else meaning administrators had fairly free rein to meet business requirements.

* All patches marked as critical or important supplied by the vendor are applied.

* We assume the system to be functioning if the original ecommerce application is running and meets some basic acceptance tests (same for both platforms see Appendix 1 of the report) and the new installed components are also running.

* To add new capabilities, we use leading 3rd party components as opposed to building custom code in-house.

* The business migrates operating system versions at the end of the one year period to the latest versions of the platform.

* The administrators that participated in the experiment reflect the average Linux (specifically SuSE) and Windows administrators in skill, capability and knowledge. While this was strived for, it's important to recognize the small sample size in drawing any conclusions from the data.

As far as limitations, the experiment looks at one specific case with a total of six administrators. I'd love to have done it with a hundred admins on each side on a wide range of business requirement scenarios and my hope is that others will do that and publish their results. Our experiment, however, shows that for this particular, clearly documented scenario, experienced Linux Admins had conflicts between meeting business needs and a recommended best practice like not introducing out-of-distribution components. If one is aware of potential conflicts and challenges upfront, I think you can put controls in place to make reasonable tradeoffs. In the linux case, a precise and specific configuration control policy may have prohibited the problematic upgrade of one of the components that the 3rd party solutions required. This would have likely reduced the number of failures but would have put some hefty constraints on 3rd party solutions. To understand the implications for your environment you really need to run through the methodology with the assumptions and restrictions of your organization and I hope that this study either prompts or provokes people to do that.

************************

2 - Meta-credibility?
by Tackhead

Where I come from (non-management, grunt-level techie), appearing in any of these analysts' journals *costs* an author more credibility than it gains him or her. For example, if $RAG says that $CORP has the best customer support, I immediately assume that $CORP has such horrid customer support that they had to pay someone to make up some research that proves otherwise.

To be sarcastic, I'd ask "who the heck actually takes these studies seriously?", but obviously *somebody* does. Who are these people, and why do these people take these industry analyst firms/journals/reports seriously? Are they right or wrong to do so? This isn't an attack (or endorsement :) of your research -- I'm talking about the credibility gap in industry research, and my observation that it's an industry-wide problem.

The meta-credibility question is this: Given the amount of shoddy pay-for-play research out there, does being published in an analyst journal tend to cost (a researcher, his consulting company, his financial backers) more credibility than it can gains him/her/them? If not, why not -- and more importantly, if so, is there any way to reverse the trend?

Dr. Thompson

This is a really interesting question because it cuts to the heart of what a real research study should provide to the reader. It should provide a baseline and I think research should always be questioned, scrutinized and debated because one can always find reasons for bias. Particularly, if a subject of the study (vendor for example) is behind its funding, whether directly (as in this study) or indirectly (meaning that they are big clients) I think it's critical that the study not provide just a baked cake for readers but the recipe as well. The recipe has to be inherently fair and simple, meaning that it has to map directly to a the quality or pain one is trying to measure without taking into account how the subjects try and provide that service or mitigate that pain. I think slanted opinion pieces, with no backup for those opinions, seriously hurts credibility, at least in my book. If you're presenting facts though and encouraging others to question them then I think that actually helps credibility, even if the search for those facts was paid for.

I agree though that one is tempted to dismiss research a priori though because of funding or some vendor tie. I think a good way to reverse the trend is to open the process up to public scrutiny; that's probably the main reason I came on Slashdot. To use this specific study as an example, some folks disagreed with several points in the experiment from counting patches, to reasons for upgrading key components, to the ecommerce scenario we used. For me, the study's key value is the methodology. Could different applications/scenarios have been chosen: absolutely!

The value I think that this study gives to the practitioner is arming them with a tool to help measure in their own environment. By applying the methodology, the results should take into account things like administrators skillsets, support policies, configuration control policies and the tradeoffs between customizability, maintainability, visibility, security and usability. It's only by looking at this stuff in context can one make a sound judgment; and a true research paper, especially one where funding is in question, needs to fully disclose the method and the funding source. In our case, the methodology has been vetted by industry analysts, IT organizations and several academics. That doesn't mean much, though, if you don't find the methodology meaningful for the questions you want answered. One reason I've come on Slashdot is to get the thoughts, opinions and assessments of the methodology itself from administrators in the trenches. I'm really pleased with the great questions and comments amidst the inevitable flames and I'm looking forward to this being posted so that others can weigh-in with their feedback and I can jump into the threads to get some discussion going.

If the research helps give real insight, and the methodology makes sense, I think there's real value no matter who paid the bill. At the end of the day, you need to decide whether or not you can extract any value from the information presented to you. In the case of this study, my hope is that it will leave you thinking hmmm.... maybe we should actually run through a process like this and check out how this works for ourselves. My more ambitious hope is that you'll implement it and tell me what challenges you faces on Windows, Linux, OSX, BSD, whatever platform you choose to compare. It may not even venture into the perennial Windows versus Linux battle; maybe you're a linux shop trying to decide between multiple distributions for example. Either way, if it's got people thinking about the topic and asking questions, well, that's all any researcher can really hope for.

************************

3 - Weak setup
by 0xABADC0DA

If I understand the study correctly, the windows side had to do nothing but set up a server to do a few different tasks over time and run windows update. The linux side had to have multiple incompatible versions of their database server running simultaneously on a single system and had to run unsupported versions of software to do it.

Why wasn't the windows side required to run multiple versions of IIS or SQL server simultaneously? In real life if you need to run multiple database versions you use virtualization or multiple systems, especially if one requires untested software. You don't run some hokie unstable branch on the same system as everything else. Why was a linux solution picked that required this level of work? My other related question is, did any of the unix administrators question why there were being asked to do such a thing? For example, did they come back and say they need a license for vmware? If they did not they do not seem like very competent administrators in my opinion.

Dr. Thompson

The Windows Admins and Linux admins were given the exact same set of business requirements which doesn't necessarily translate into the same tasks as they went about fulfilling them. The 3rd party components installed were chosen solely based on their market leadership position and any upgrades of OS were unknown at the time of selection. That said, on the Windows side, it turned out that no upgrades of IIS were needed (except for patches) and SQL Server was upgraded to SP4 as part of patch application. On the Linux side, at a high-level there were two main classes of upgrades: MySQL and GLIBC and they were both prompted by the installed components. After the experiment, the administrators were asked on both sides if this kind of evolution of systems met with their real-world experience. They said yes, with the caveat of if they were asked to install a component that required an upgrade of GLIBC that they would likely upgrade the operating system as long as their configuration control policy allowed it.

You make a great point about installing components on some sort of staging system (which is almost always done) as opposed to live running systems. That still means that the problems that the administrators had equal real IT pain. If something weird had to be done to get the system running but it does run and it's then put into production it's like a fuse that gets set on a bomb. A careful configuration control policy would almost certainly help and thats why I think it's so important to conduct this kind of experiment in your own environment with your own policies.

As far as selection of the Linux administrators go, they all had at least 5 years of enterprise administration experience, and two years of experience on SuSE specifically. With three people there's certainly likely to be a lot of variability and to get some conclusive results, I'd love to get a huge group of administrators across the spectrum in terms of experience. I'd also love to do it across multiple scenarios, beyond the ecommerce study. For this experiment, basically the bottom line is that we Illustrate one clearly documented scenario with six highly qualified admins that we selected based on experience. We cant ensure equal competency levels, but there was nothing in our screening that would lead us to believe there were gaps in knowledge on either side. When it comes down to it though, the really meaningful results are the ones you get when you perform the evaluation in your environment. Hopefully this study provides a starting point for asking the right questions when you do that.

************************

4- Who determined the metrics
by Infonaut

Did Microsoft come to you with a specific set of metrics, or did you work with them to develop the metrics, or did you determine them completely on your own?

Kudos to you for braving the inevitable flames to answer people's questions here on Slashdot.

Dr. Thompson

Great question! The metrics and the methodology were developed completely on our own and independent of Microsoft. They were created with the help and feedback of enterprise CIOs as well as industry analysts. I think that this relates to a couple of other questions on Slashdot with the gist of if Microsoft is funding the study aren't you incentivized for them to come out ahead. Besides the standard we would never do that and that would put our credibility at risk which is our primary commodity which are both very true, let me explain a little more about how our research engagements work.

Company X (in this case Microsoft) comes to us and says can you help us measure quality Y (in this case Reliability) to get some insight into how product Z stacks up. We say, sure, BUT we have complete creation and control of the methodology, it will be reviewed and vetted by the community (end users and independent analysts) and must strictly follow scientific principles. The response will either be: great, we want to know whats really going on or um, heres some things to focus on and I think you should set it up this way. In the first case we proceed, in the second case we inform that company that we don't do that kind of research. We are also not in the opinion business, so we present a methodology to follow and illustrate how that methodology is applied with the hope that people will take the methodology and apply it in their own environment.

All of our studies are written as if they will be released publicly BUT it is up to the sponsor if the study is publicly released. The vendor knows that they're taking a risk. They pay for the research either way but only have control over whether it is published, not over content. So if their intent is to use it as an outward facing piece, they may end up with something they don't like. Either way, I think it's of high value to them. If there are aspects of the results that favor the sponsor's product, in my experience, it goes to the marketing department and gets released publicly; if it favors the competitors product it goes off to the engineering folks as a tool to understand their product, their competitor's product, and the problem more clearly. Either way, we maintain complete editorial control over the study and there is no financial incentive for us if it becomes a public study or is used as an internal market analysis piece. The methodology has to be as objective as possible to be of any real value in either case.

************************

5 - ATMs vs. Voting Machines
by digitaldc

How is it that Diebold can make ATM machines that will account for every last penny in a banking system, but they can't make secure electronic voting machines?

Also, does the flame-resistant suit come with its own matching tinfoil hat? (don't answer that one)

Dr. Thompson

This is a question that has passed through my mind more than once. The voting world is very interesting. I don't have experience with the inner workings of Diebolds ATM machines but I can say that the versions of their tabulation software that Ive seen have some major security challenges (see this Washington post documentary for some of the gory details). I'd say I'm concerned about the e-voting systems Ive seen but that would be a serious understatement.

I question whether the economic incentive is there for them to make their voting systems more secure. Take an ATM for example. Imagine the ATM has a flaw and if you do something to it, you can make it give you more money than is actually deducted from your account. Anything involving money gets audited and sometimes audited multiple times and chances are good that the bank is going to figure out that they're loosing money. On the flip side, if there was a flaw in the ATM in the banks favor, someone balancing their checkbook is going to notice a discrepancy. The point is that there's always traceability and there's always someone keeping score. If you think about voting tabulators though we've got this mysterious box that vote data gets fed into and then, in many states, only a fraction of these votes are audited. That means we don't really know what the bank balance is other than what the machine tells us it is. If the system is highly vulnerable and its vulnerability is known by the manufacturer *but* it's going to be expensive to fix it and shore up defenses, there seems to be no huge incentive to fix the problems. I think the only way to get some decent software that counts votes that people can have confidence in is to allow security experts to actually test the systems, highlight potential vulnerabilities, and put some proper checks and balances in place. That would give the general public some visibility into a critical infrastructure system that we usually aren't in the habit of questioning and will hold voting manufacturers directly accountable to voters.

As for the tin foil hat to go with the flame resistant suit; it hasn't been shipped to me yet - apparently the manufacturing company is still filling backorders from SCO :).

************************

6 - Why are the requirements different?
by altoz

Looking at your research report's appendices, it seems that the requirements for Windows Administrators were somewhat different than the Linux Administrators. For instance, you ask for 4-5 years sys admin experience minimum for Windows, whereas it's 3-4 years sys admin experience minimum for Linux.

Why wasn't it equal for both? And doesn't this sort of slight Windows favoring undermine your credibility?

Dr. Thompson

Short answer: Typo. Long answer: We originally were looking for 4 years of general administration experience for both Linux and Windows which is what is reflected in the desired responses to the General Background questionnaire for Linux. We then raised it to 5 years for both Linux and Windows which is reflected in the General Background of the Windows questionnaire. The difference in the two was just a failure to update the response criteria on that shared section of one of the questionnaires. On page 5 though we've got the actual administrator experience laid out:

Each SuSE Linux administrator had at least 5 years experience administering Linux in an enterprise setting. We also required 2 years minimum experience administering SuSE Linux distributions and at least 1 year administering SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 and half a year administering SLES 9 (released in late 2004). Windows administrators all had at least 5 years experience administering Windows servers in an enterprise environment. These administrators also had at least 2 years experience administering Windows Server 2000 and at least 1 year administration experience with Windows Server 2003.

************************

7 - Scalability of Results?
by hahiss

You tested six people on two different systems; how is that supposed to yield any substantial insight into the underlying OSes themselves?

[At best, your study seems to show that the GNU/Linux distribution you selected was not particularly good at this task. But why does that show that the ``monolithic" style of Windows is better per se than the ``modular" style of GNU/Linux distributions?]

Dr. Thompson

First, let's look at what we did. We followed a methodology for evaluating reliability with three Windows admins and three Linux admins. This is small sample set and it looked at one scenario: ecommerce. Is this enough to make sweeping claims about the reliability of Linux/Windows? No way. I do however think the results raise some interesting questions about the modularity vs. integration tradeoffs that come with operating systems. I don't think that either the Windows or Linux models are better in a general sense but they *are* different; the question is which is likely to cause less pain and provide more value for your particular business need in your specific environment. Hopefully these are the questions that people will ask after reading this study, and with any luck it will prompt others to carry out their own analysis within their own IT environment, building on what we started here. I think the methodology in this paper has provided a good starting point to help people answer those questions in context.

************************

8 - Convenience vs. security
by Sheetrock

Lately, I've felt that Microsoft is emphasizing greater trust in their control over your system as a means of increasing your security. This is suggested by the difficulty of obtaining individual or bulk security patches from their website as opposed to simply loading Internet Explorer and using their Windows Update service, the encouragement in Service Pack 2 of allowing Automatic Update to run in the background, and the introduction of Genuine Advantage requiring the user to authenticate his system before obtaining critical updates such as DirectX.

In addition, Digital Rights Management or other copy protection schemes are becoming increasingly demanding and insidious, whether by uniquely identifying and reporting on user activity, intentionally restricting functionality, and even introducing new security issues (the most recent flap involves copy protection software on Sony CDs that not only hides content from the user but permits viruses to take advantage of this feature.)

I would like to know how you feel about the shift of control over the personal computer from the person to the software manufacturers -- is it right, and do we gain more than we're losing in privacy and security?

Dr. Thompson

This is an interesting problem because manufacturers have to deal with a wide range of users. If there was real visibility and education for users on the security implications of doing A, B or C then we'd be ok. It's scary though when that line gets crossed. Sony's DRM rootkit is a good example. But if you think about it, we are essentially passively accepting things like this all the time. Every time we install a new piece of software,especially something that reads untrusted data like a browser plugin,we tacitly accept that this software is likely to contain security flaws and can be an entryway into your system; NOW are you sure you want to install it? The visceral immediate reaction is no but then you balance tradeoffs of the features you get versus potential risks. Increasingly, were not even given that choice, and components that are intended to help us (or help the vendor) are installed with out our knowledge. This also brings up the question of visibility; how do we know what security state were really in with a system? Again, there are tradeoffs, some of this installed software may actually increase usability or maintainability but it's abstracting away what's happening on the metal. So far, it seems as though the market has tended towards the usability, maintainability, integration that favors bundling on both the Linux and Windows sides. It's kind of a disturbing trend though.

As another example, think about how much trustaverage programmers put into their compiler these days. Whenever I teach classes on computer security and then go off into x86 op codes or even assembly, it seems to be a totally foreign concept and skillset. We've created a culture of building applications rapidly in super high-level languages which does get the job done, but at the same time seems to have sacrificed knowledge of (or even the desire to know) what's happening on the metal. This places a heavy burden on platform developers, compiler writers and even IDE manufacturers because we are shifting the cloud of security responsibility over to them in big way. Under the right conditions it can be good because the average programmer knows little about security, but we need to make sure that the components we depend on and trust are written with security in mind, analyzed by folks that have a clue, and are tested and verified with security in mind. This means asking vendors the tough questions about their development processes and making sure they've got pretty good answers. Here's what I think is a good start. If that fails, theres always BSD. :).

************************

9 - Apache versus IIS
by 00_NOP


Simple one: of course I accept that Windows and Linux are a priori equally vulnerable - C programmers make mistakes. The question is which model is most likely to deliver a fix fastest. Given that the one area where Linux is probably in the lead over Microsoft's software is in the realm of the webserver - why are my server logs filled with artifacts of hacked IIS boxes but apache seems to remain pretty safe?

Dr. Thompson

You bring up a couple of interesting points. The first is patch delivery. It's true that on Linux if there's a high profile vulnerability you're likely to be able to find a patch out on the net from somebody in a few hours. Sometimes the fix is simple, a one-liner, and other times it may be more complex. Either way, there could be unintended side effects of the patch which is why there's usually a significant lag between these first responder patches and a blessed patch released from the distribution vendor. Most enterprises I know wait for the distribution patch as a matter of policy, and even then, they go through a fairly rigorous testing and compatibility verification process before the patch gets deployed widely. In the Windows world, one doesn't get the alpha or beta patches, just the blessed finished product. So the question is which solution is likely to provide a patch that fixes the problem and doesn't create any more problems the fastest. That's a tough one to answer. I think theres something to be learned by looking historically and that in general theres a big discrepancy between perception and reality. Here's a (pdf) link to a study we did earlier this year based on 2004 data that I think provides a good starting point for answering that question.

As far as why you've got so many attempts on your Windows/IIS box, I think there are two distinct issues: vulnerability and threat profile. In the past, I would argue that the path of least resistance was through Windows because desktop systems were often left unprotected by the home computer user. Bang-for-the-packet favored creating tools that exploited these problems and some of the attacks actually worked on poorly configured servers as well. Then there's the targeted vs. broad attacks. Theres no question that the high-profile worms and viruses in the last several years have favored Windows as a target. The issue gets even more complicated when you look at targeted attacks. These targeted attacks are much harder to measure, even anecdotally, because either an organization gets compromised and doesn't disclose it (unless they're compelled to by law) or the attack goes undetected because it doesn't leave any of the standard footprints, in which case no pain is felt immediately. That may help to explain it but the truth is that there's a lot of conflicting data out there. I remember reading this on Slashdot last year which claims Apache was more attacked than IIS but I've also read reports to the contrary. The reality is that any target of value is going to get attacked frequently. If there is an indiscriminant mass attack like a worm or virus, that's pretty bad and can be really painful. What's scarier though is the attack that just targets you.

************************

10 - Do you agree with Windows Local Workflow
by MosesJones

Microsoft and Linux distros have had a policy for some time of including more and more functionality in the base operating system, the latest example is the inclusion of "Local Workflow" in Windows Vista.

As a security expert do you think that bundling more and more increases or decreases the risks, and should both Windows and Linux distros be doing more to create reduced platforms that just act as good operating systems?

Dr. Thompson

Three years ago I bought my mother a combination TV, VCR and DVD player. It was great; she didn't have to worry about cables or the notorious multi-remote control problem. She didn't even really need the VCR because she hardly ever watches Video tapes, but I thought, why not. It worked great for two years, mom watched her DVDs, and on a blue moon a video tape from a family vacation would find its way into the VCR. All was well at the Thompson household. This past year, tragedy struck. The VCR devoured a videotape, completely entangling it in the machine. This not only knocked out the VCR but the television too (it thought it was constantly at the end of a tape and needing to rewind it). So here's the issue: mom probably only needed a TV and a separate DVD player. I probably could have gotten better quality components individually too, and with some ebay-savvy shopping, the group may have been cheaper. For my mom though, the integration and ease of operation of the three were key assets. The flipside of that is that the whole is only as strong as the weakest of its constituent parts, and by the manufacturer throwing some questionable VCR components into the mix, it caused the whole thing to fail. The meta-question: did I make the right choice, going for the kitchen-sink approach versus individual components? I think for mom I made the right call. For me, my willingness to program a universal remote and my love of tweaking the system would have lead me down a different route.

In operating systems, it depends what you're looking for and what the risk vs. reward equation is for you, and I would argue that the answer varies from user to user. The ideal would be something that gave you integration, ease of use, visibility, manageability and the ability to truly customize and minimize functionality and maintenance requirements. No operating system I've ever seen strikes that balance optimally and for every user. As far as bundling functionality with the distribution, I think it's a question of market demand. There's no question though that from a simple mathematical perspective, the less code processing untrusted data the better. That means if I need a system to perform one specific function, and that function was constant over time, then from a security perspective I only want the stuff on that box that does what I need to serve that goal. For example, I don't ever want X Windows on my linux file server. I just want the minimal code base there because as long as the code itself is reliable, I'll only have to mess with the box to apply patches (and much fewer patches if I strip the system down). That's true of my home fileserver. If I have an army of systems to manage though, my decision is going to come down to which platform is reliable and extends me the most tools to manage it efficiently and effectively. That's a question that can only be answered in context. I can tell you what I run at home though. File server: Red Hat EL 4 (no X windows). Laptop: Windows XP SP2. Desktop: Windows Server 2003 with virtual machines of everything under the sun from Win 9x to SuSE, Red Hat and Debian.

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~FFE4 (3, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129652)

UID: FFE4 (932849). What a n00b. He must be new here.

Kidding!

Re:~FFE4 (3, Interesting)

GogglesPisano (199483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129798)

I'm not sure if this is what he's referring to, but back in the day $FFE4 was the address for the "get whatever key is being pressed" routine in the 8-bit Commodore kernal (e.g., the C64).

As in:

WAITKEY: JSR $FFE4 ; Check for a keypress
BEQ WAITKEY ; If no key pressed, a zero is in the accumulator, so loop back

Re:~FFE4 (-1, Troll)

TetsuoShima (34625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129805)

I know. 6 digit UIDs are for suckers.

Re:~FFE4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129824)

He's not a noob: His Nickname is his Userid written in base 39.280903113838373926155006346373. How the hell did he do that?

Re:~FFE4 (5, Informative)

FFE4 (932849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130003)

FFE4 = JMP ESP on x86 (one of my favorite instructions for certain contexts - buffer overflows in particular :)). It's one I created just for this interview and thus got a UID heading towards infinity!

Re:~FFE4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130088)

More like an ego heading towards infinity.

Re:~FFE4 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130110)

Jackass.

Re:~FFE4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130139)

Assface.

Re:~FFE4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130195)

Faggot.

Re:~FFE4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130222)

Nigger.

Re:~FFE4 (2, Interesting)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130134)

I must say, you are a true geek through and through. Thanks for an unbiased study and being brave enough to respond to slashdot. Geeks around the world thank you. (As you can see from my username, I am slightly biased towards the competition :) but still found your study to be excellent)
Regards,
Steve

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129689)

fp

Microsoft kicks Lunix ass! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129699)

Yet again. Suck it up you pussies.

Don't forget (4, Interesting)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129705)

People on slashdot can get pretty upset about the studies Microsft shows the world, and these mostly say Microsoft is the king on the hill. But don't ever forget they don't show ALL of their studies. It could well be that 60% of them does not favor Microsoft good enough or not at all.

Of course I realise they try to use situations that are more likely to favor for them as for [insert competitor].

No if just once a bunch of other studies leaked we could get a real view over what MS is doing with their researches all the time...

Don't forget-Lies, damn lies, and Linux. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129745)

"No if just once a bunch of other studies leaked we could get a real view over what MS is doing with their researches all the time..."

And why doesn't Linux sponser some (factual) studies? Complaining about a competitors studies not proving your product is better is simply stupid.

And the ones they do show are usually flawed. (0, Troll)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129838)

In the original test, no non-Microsoft patches were applied on the Windows boxes.

Yet the Linux sysadmins were downloading mysql code from the mysql site and attempting to backport patches from SLES 9 to SLES 8.

From TFA today:
After the experiment, the administrators were asked on both sides if this kind of evolution of systems met with their real-world experience. They said yes, with the caveat of if they were asked to install a component that required an upgrade of GLIBC that they would likely upgrade the operating system as long as their configuration control policy allowed it.


In every one of these "studies" there is always something that the "study" requires that no intelligent person would do.

I don't care WHO the "researcher" is. Once they participate in one of those "studies", I have no respect for them anymore.

Re:And the ones they do show are usually flawed. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129880)

In all of my years as an administrator I have "upgraded" operating systems exactly twice on systems that are not FreeBSD. The reason? Upgrades break stuff. Random binaries don't work or some configuration file is in the wrong place or two copies exist. Something is wrong. It is usually faster to make a final backup, and install the new version and then start the system fresh from the latest backups, providing any tweaks required. Legacy components left around for years come back to bite you in the ass, 'tis a proven fact.

Re:And the ones they do show are usually flawed. (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130153)

Recording your data and config files, reloading the system with a new version of the OS, and then reloading your data is upgrading. You have just failed your reading comprehension test. Thanks for playing, though.

Complete retards... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130219)

They upgraded glibc? On SuSE? These "admins" aren't qualified to administer their home computers, let alone anything important.

King of The Desktop perhaps (5, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129933)

King of the Desktop perhaps but not King of servers. Sure they show more REVENUE but as for deployment, Linux still dominates and has been squeezing Microsoft more and more out of server space. While Linux eats into UNIX market share, they also are eating into Windows market share as well.

Don't believe it? Look at what the most widely used Web server is. Look at what the most widely used DB is. look at the most popular scripting languages. And now keep in mind that they all come installed by default on almost all Linux distros.

They can keep putting money into trying to convince people that Microsoft Clusterfuck Edition can replace Linux clusters. That's cool. Just another money pit for them and a great way to divert resources into a nowhere scheme. And sure they have loads of funds but they still have to answer to shareholders and they are not pleased that the stock has stagnated for so long and they won't be pleased when didvidends stop getting payed and products not being sold or delivered on time do to them focusing on a product that will go nowhere.

The entire open source world and all companies supporting open source (IBM, Google, Sun, Amazon, etc.) are all starting a bait and switch where Microsoft throws mony into duplicating anything that it thinks may be a threat. This is turn causes them to waste funds and resources on red herrings when the actual threat is something else entirely.

These past 5 years have seen Linux and open source go from obscurity to mainstream in the business market. The next five years will see it go from obscurity to mainstream in the consumer market.

Re:Don't forget (1)

Loether (769074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129988)

Good point. Several studies with a small enough sample size virtually guarantees some positive and some negative results. While MS may not be able to directly influence the sample size they can indirectly by giving only enough money for a small sample. Then just hand the bad ones to the dev/QA team and the good ones to the public.

Sense of Humor (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129707)

At least the guy has a sense of humor.

See his comment on the Flameproof suit/Tinfoil hat question.

Very detailed (-1, Offtopic)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129709)

Anyone got the cliff notes version of the responses?

Re:Very detailed (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129892)

Only on Slashdot. Not only did you not RTFA, you admit it, then have the gall to ask someone else to read the whole monster and summarize it for you. And you'll probably get a up-mod or two somehow.

Just Kidding. I was actually going to ask the same thing, and you beat me there, so now I vent. :)

I love /. :)

MySQL (5, Interesting)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129733)

Okay, so they needed a certain version of MySQL which required a newer version of Glibc. Still, though, any Unix admin should know that upgrading glibc is risky at best (I've broken many systems due to upgrading glibc).

Here's my question: Why didn't they just rebuild the source RPM and install the resulting binaries? This way the binary would be built with the same glibc as everything else on the system. I've done that on many system with no adverse effects. They didn't have to rebuild in on the server, just any machine running the same distro would do fine.

Why didn't they upgrade the OS? (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129869)

The OS upgrade was already part of the "evaluation".

Why not allow the sysadmins to upgrade from SLES 8 to SLES 9 instead of REQUIRING them to backport the glibc patches from 9 to 8?

Re:MySQL (1)

exa (27197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129968)

See, the only way to guarantee the intended result in these studies is to have a linux admin that is literally dumb as fuck.

What use is a linux admin who does not know how to build a damn rpm?

Re:MySQL (1, Insightful)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129972)

Most likely because the new MySQL version used a glibc function not existing in the previous version, hence rebuilding with the old glibc would error out.

I know that the database I work with on a daily basis have a minimum requirement for glibc versions and when we release a new version, that requirement normally have bumped the release of the mninimum required glibc version, hence a glibc upgrade may be necessary.

Re:MySQL (2, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130122)

They did not just rebuild source RPMS because that would have violated business constraints, which were the basis for comparison.

He did comment that thre admins provided feedback saying that they would have considered a distribution upgrade over the glibc upgrade if they were allowed to. That would seem to me to be a more likely path for a business to have taken. Still, for the constraints posed, this was a fairly valid test (and remember that the constraints were posed on both sides).

Re:MySQL (5, Informative)

FFE4 (932849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130171)

It was actually one of the 3rd party components that required the GLIBC upgrade and not MySQL. If it had been MySQL and they had the SRPMs I'd agree with you (although that may lead to some wierd patching problems down the road). Many 3rd party commercial vendors only provide the binary RPMs and that was the case here too. Again, let me say that we chose components based on market share without knowing that these issues would crop up. That's why I think it's critical to apply this methodology in your own environment because you get the added benefit of any configuration control policies you may have in place, and going through the exercise may, in addition to helping you select a platform, help you select the 3rd party components that minimize pain too. Most of this kind of stuff just ain't documented in the install/release notes.

Well (5, Insightful)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129739)

When this study was originally posted, many of you slashbots rushed to dismiss it solely on the basis of funding.

When I brought it to your attention that doing so is fallacious, I was modded down into oblivion.

Inevitably the same people will post again, with the same fallacious arguments, claiming that this guy is a shill for MS.

I'll be interested to hear the excuses that are made this time, and I can guarantee that several people will attack this man personally for no reason other than the results of his study.

So how about, instead of relying on old prejudices, we instad attempt to actually examine the research and gauge it on it's own merits.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129797)


So how about, instead of relying on old prejudices, we instad attempt to actually examine the research and gauge it on it's own merits.

because this is slashdot. the word "reason" does not exist around these parts. the only proper response for this type of article is "M$ iz teh suX0r!", regardless of it's content.

Re:Well (-1, Flamebait)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129815)

This is Slashdot.

The world would stop or sumthin if the blowhards actually did what you asked.

Or worse yet, drink themselves into a coma when they come to the sudden realization that Windows isn't as bad as they seem to think it is.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

nharmon (97591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129829)

Just because he says he's not a shill does not mean he is not.

I wonder if we would get the same results if we repeated the experiment, and not have it funded by Microsoft.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129859)

If said experiment was repeated, funded by say RedHat and they found the same results, do you think they would have the acument to publish them?

Re:Well (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129878)

"Just because he says he's not a shill does not mean he is not."

If you think he's lying, then be a man and say it, don't hide behind the "MS funded it" fallacy.

Here's a free clue. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130016)

If you think he's lying, then be a man and say it, don't hide behind the "MS funded it" fallacy.


He doesn't have to be lying. The fact that Microsoft funded the "study" means that you MUST look at the assumptions and process.

In the "study" in question, the Linux sysadmins were, for some reason, backporting patches from SLES 9 to SLES 8 due to the requirements of this "study".

So, no lies required, but because of the criteria chosen, Linux is far more difficult to maintain than ever in my experience.

and here's your sign (0)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130063)

He doesn't have to be lying. The fact that Microsoft funded the "study" means that you MUST look at the assumptions and process.

RTFI: Microsoft funded the study but the good Dr. selected the criteria. (see: question #4)

-everphilski-

I got what I paid for then (4, Insightful)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130085)

"The fact that Microsoft funded the "study" means that you MUST look at the assumptions and process."

No it doesn't. Examining the study in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as every other study will reveal its flaws. Nothing else is necessary.

The fact that you think the funder matters means you MUST look up "circumstantial ad hominem", because you used one and don't even know it.

I have no skin in this, but I've always wondered why people like you try so hard to stay ignorant. You're wrong about this, and you're using a common fallacy to suport your opinion.

Instead of insisting you are right, just learn something. It's easier than defending an erroneous position.

Re:Here's a free clue. (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130236)

It's pretty ironic that you constantly have to upgrade windows to make things work (a lot of programs don't work properly if you don't upgrade to SP2 for example) but they wouldn't allow the Linux admins to make an OS upgrade. They also deliberately chose an older version of SUSE, probably because they already knew that this issue would crop up. This study is crap, period.

Then tell us where he failed (5, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129901)

He told you his process. He told you how Microsoft approached his company. He gave you his methodology. Show us where he f*ed up.

I'm waiting... come on... all talk now? yeah...

-everphilski-

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129851)

Nah, now that this guy has spoken in person I'm predicting a largely positive response from the slashbots. His responses have a soothingly open and reasonable vibe.

Re:Well (-1, Flamebait)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129868)

I don't really need to tell you -- this is Slashdot. If a two-sentence anecdote posted on some guy's blog declares Linux to be a better choice than Windows in a corporate environment, the results will be accepted without question, and probably used as evidence in future Windows versus Linux Slashdot discussions. And try all they might, no study finding Windows to be a better choice than Linux will ever be accepted by the Slashdot crowd, because "it's just not possible that Windows could ever be a better choice, in any circumstance."

I find it particularly funny that creationists are bashed mercilessly on Slashdot for their blind faith, while Slashbots act in very much the same manner when it comes to Windows versus Linux.

Re:Well (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130198)

Preach on brother!!!

I only use Windows 'cuz I cant reliably run Eve Online [eve-online.com] on Linux.

Other than that, I think that for me, they are close enough.

IFWM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129907)

Please note, that the OP is actually ifwm. He got modded down for being more troll than having an intelligent thing to say. If you check through his handiwork, you will find that he really does NOT have anything to say. Now the real question is, how did he get modded up, without checking his statements, unless the mod point came from IFWM himself. Editors/Meta-modders, you hearing this? IFWM/Flyingwhitey should be baned from here.

Re:IFWM (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129964)

I've never made it a secret I have two logins. Apart from being another fallacious argument, what was your point?

More importantly, does it make my statement any less valid?

Re:Well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129954)

Shut the fuck up you whiny little bitch.

This "I'm a victim of teh Slashdot anti-Microsoft mob" was pathetic bullshit years ago.

The world sucks just a little bit more because of pieces of garbage like you. Please do the world a favor and just walk in front of a bus.

By the way, this is your constituency (-1, Flamebait)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129992)

"Shut the fuck up you whiny little bitch.

This "I'm a victim of teh Slashdot anti-Microsoft mob" was pathetic bullshit years ago.

The world sucks just a little bit more because of pieces of garbage like you. Please do the world a favor and just walk in front of a bus."

This is what happens when you ask the slashbots to hold themselves to higher intellectual standards.

Why don't you go fuck yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130156)

And get off that high horse you're sitting on and stop telling "us slashbots" what YOU think we should say.

On any public forum there's going to be noise and if you can't deal with that, and learn to sift through it then perhaps this isn't the place for you, hmm? -we don't want you here-

Re:Why don't you go fuck yourself (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130214)

"And get off that high horse you're sitting on and stop telling "us slashbots" what YOU think we should say.

On any public forum there's going to be noise and if you can't deal with that, and learn to sift through it then perhaps this isn't the place for you, hmm? -we don't want you here-"

More exciting commentary from the "shut up because you disagree with us" crowd.

Why do people struggle so much against enlightenment? Why do you try so hard to remain ignorant?

Are You From Around Here? (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130181)

So how about, instead of relying on old prejudices, we instad attempt to actually examine the research and gauge it on it's own merits.

Oh hush. Why go against everything Slashdot stands for?

Admit it! You're working for Microsoft!

Now that I've accused you, I await a +5 Insightful mod, and the inevitable pats on the back.

I don't think this guy avoided any questions... (4, Informative)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129743)

Looks like a bunch of honest and detailed answers with no dodging...

Riiiiiight (-1, Flamebait)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129755)

> ...author of the latest Microsoft-sponsored Windows vs. Linux study...

And I find this guy to be more credible than, say ESR, why, exactly?

Re:Riiiiiight (2, Interesting)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129786)

Mostly, becuase unlike ESR, he doesn't seem to have an agenda... Unlike ESR the Dr. doesn't work for Microsoft or any OSS org...

Re:Riiiiiight (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129794)

And I find this guy to be more credible than, say ESR, why, exactly?

Because he's not a stark raving lunatic? [theadvocates.org]

Re:Riiiiiight (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129837)

PLEASE tell me he isn't a gun rights type. He cannot even hold a pistol safely...

Re:Riiiiiight (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129921)

Oh yeah, he's been a serious gun advocate for as long as he's been a public figure. Some of his writings are just way, way out there.

He's an ardent libertarian, I'll give him that. But like most libertarians, he doesn't understand that it takes all of us to make a society. If it were up to him, we'd all still be living in home-made shacks in the woods, because there wouldn't be enough of a society functioning to have paved roads upon which to deliver us construction materials. Or if there were, they'd be toll roads up to your driveway.

Re:Riiiiiight (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130039)

don't get me wrong, I'm a gun person myself, but one of the first things I learned to follow to the letter was to keep my DAMN FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO FIRE the weapon.

Riiiiiight-Brainlinks to /dev/null. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129825)

"And I find this guy to be more credible than, say ESR, why, exactly?"

Because you used that jumbo brain of yours, and years of schooling in deductive, and inductive thinking, plus hours of research to make a factual conclusion on weither the author is indeed credible. Or maybe you took the easy way out and simply read "MS Shill" then proceeded to shut down all higher brain functions.

You made an interesting observation (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129756)

You said above "I agree though that one is tempted to dismiss research a priori though because of funding or some vendor tie. I think a good way to reverse the trend is to open the process up to public scrutiny; thats probably the main reason I came on Slashdot."

You obviously see the value of public scrutiny in what you do. So do we, we're obviously paying attention to your studies, and are pleased to see the "inner workings." It certainly helps lend credibility to your points. But it also begs the question: why doesn't Microsoft extend that same logic to operating systems or applications?

Re: Best. Question. Ever. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130067)

best question ever.

Re:You made an interesting observation (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130201)

hy doesn't Microsoft extend that same logic to operating systems or applications?
Similarly, why doesn't Jane do as Bob does? That's an easy one, even I can answer that.

Because they're completely different entities, with different motivations, interests, and constraints.

Besides, you're comparing apples to oranges: being open about the way you conducted a study and being open about your OS or apps are two completely different things!

Meta-credibility? (4, Insightful)

spazmonkey (920425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129767)

Not to sound like a troll, but meta-credibility does also work the opposite way;

        anti-$ rag says that grassroots anti-$ os/app/whatever is "the best" and you will have an immediate knee-jerk reaction from the community defending it to the death and proudly installing it on thier boxes just to say they did, even if it takes several dozen man-hours to get it to do anything even marginally useful.

        Dogma is probably even more dangerous and counterproductive than putting blind trust in some $corps marketing stooges, as hard as that is to comprehend.

        Sorry, just watched six guys on laptops code and tweak for two hours failing to get the newest, hippest OS du jour to even recognize basic hardware.

what I really wanted to see answered: (5, Interesting)

ananke (8417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129785)

From a purely technical point of view, I was mostly interested in seeing the following question [and thread] addressed:

http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=168 949&cid=14084692 [slashdot.org]

Mod parent up Up UP! (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130052)

It's all about the criteria. Why was the criteria such that the Linux sysadmins were backporting patches?

Credibility is a fickle mistress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14129799)

I really thought the answer Dr Thompsons answer to Tackheads question was sincerely put, and I liked the way Tackhead built that question up with such polite delivery. What makes me sad, having done a bit of 'research consulting' is that the honorable intents of the man to conduct a scientific study will still have to go up through the mighty MS spin machine for some heavy editing. What I'm saying is while I think Doc Thompson is genuinely trying his best as an honest empirical researcher he might not be entirely satisfied with the way the company interprets and publishes his results. I think that was what Tackhead was really alluding to, that good men can be tarnished by no fault of their own by keeping the wrong company, and he didn't really answer that. So either he knows exactly how his work is going to be framed, or MS are paying him so much money he doesn't care what people end up thinking of him after MS have doctored his results to suit them (because we all know they always do)

sellout in style (-1, Flamebait)

exa (27197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129839)

what about having competent linux admins for a change in these studies?

Re:sellout in style (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130108)


His Linux admins had at least 5 years of enterprise Linux administration with at least 2 years administering SUSE.

Instead of saying "the admins were idiots" why don't you trying saying "the study was right"? You seem to be blindly rejecting anything that doesn't fit your world view.

Integrated VCR DVD story is insightful (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129854)

I like it, I find it very difficult to deal with the multi remote problem at someones house.

Surround sound, Satellite, DVD, VHS, cable, PS2 all plugged in. For many peoples house I just give up trying to watch TV or even change channels/volume.

Re:Integrated VCR DVD story is insightful (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129999)

I've taken to recommending the Harmony remotes (now from Logitech) for anyone who has a home theater setup that they have a hard time controlling. Even non-techies can set them up fairly easily. Their only drawback is the remotes literally cost more than the TV/DVD/VCR combo box he mentioned above. (The Harmony 880 is $250 at Best Buy.)

Re:Integrated VCR DVD story is insightful (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130188)

A used visor handheld with an omniremote module will be less than $250, and you can use it for other stuff, too. OmniREMOTE lets you create your own buttons and layouts. (ObDisclaimer: Omniremote is the product of a friend of mine; I have used it lots.)

Re:Integrated VCR DVD story is insightful (1)

steveness (872331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130187)

Why are you trying to watch TV in my house? Get yer stinkin' hands off my remotes! :)

platform choices (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129888)

Suse is great distribution, but I'd rather place it on desktop instead servers.
I'd like to dare the author to replicate this experiment using Debian stable as linux side server OS.

Personnal variaty makes study useless (0, Troll)

cyberlotnet (182742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129896)

You could go out and pick 6 new admins and get totally diffrent results, this study is a joke!. Maybe the windows group had dealt with similiar projects before and the linux people had not?

You are not judging any measurable value, instead your study did nothing but judge the performance of the people you picked to do the study.

"Diffrent strokes for diffrent folks"

You are trying to qualify 2 seperate tasks which can both be completed X number of ways into a single conclusion. You can not do that when Y ( people invovled ) is variable. You can not possibly do that with such a small group of people.

For this study to even be close to valid it would have to be approached from a similar direction drug companys use to test there products.. A BROAD range of people ( not just 6 ) would of have to been brought together and your tests would of had to be run multiple times with seperate groups before any formation of a conclusion could come about!

Even then it does not mean your conclusion is fact! ( Every year how many drugs are found unsafe even after going through this type of testing ).

You are half right... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130012)

He said (if you would have read the whole thing) that he wanted a larger sample size, but he didn't have the budget for it. The other point is that it **isnt** "Diffrent strokes for diffrent folks". The constraint was upgrading MySQL and that required an upgrade of glibc. Theres only so many ways to upgrade glibc...

And the distinct difference between drug testing and computers are humans. Computers do the same thing every time. Its their nature. Each human has a unique response to drugs. For example, I'm on a migraine mediacation that has no known interaction with alchohol. Except for me - if I have even a sip of wine, I will have an instant migraine and be incapacitated for the rest of the day. The uniqueness of the human body really can't be compared the the repeititve nature of a computer.

-everphilski-

5 - ATMs vs. Voting Machines (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129926)

5. I'd just like to mention that Diebold ATMs are not amazingly secure machines.
DECEMBER 03, 2003 [computerworld.com]
Last week's revelation by Diebold Inc. that its automated teller machines operated by two financial services customers were struck by the W32/Nachi worm raises the specter of even wider disruptions from virus and worm outbreaks and highlights a growing security concern that cash machines running Windows XP and interacting with other Windows systems are vulnerable to attack. ...
The security problems on ATM networks come as many banks worldwide are migrating off of an older generation of machines using IBM's OS/2 operating system to new systems running Windows.
And that was just the first news story google turned up for atm+diebold+flaws

There is a lot of crap that goes on in the banking industry which is not reported. Mostly because there are no laws requiring it to be reported.

A very telling remark (4, Insightful)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129935)



Maintaining a system is all about context; some environments favor Linux, others Windows.

I've built many many systems for many people; servers, desktops, multimedia backends, you name it. I personally use linux/unix, but the OS installed upon each of the machines I build is by no means limited by my personal preference. Dr. Thompson makes a wonderful point here. In computing as in life, different situations merit different approaches.



I really wish all of the microsoft-, bsd-, and linux-zealots would realize this. To each, his own.

Satisfied with the responses (4, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129936)

From the responses it sounds like he did an honest attempt at this study. I think the conclusion however should be that stupid admins cost a lot, so taking away things they could mess up is the key to lowering costs. If it turned out that the windows admins had to actually do anything, I bet the results would have been just as bad or worse for Windows.

Re:Satisfied with the responses (4, Insightful)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130022)

Maybe that was one of the conclusions of the study -- the Windows admins didn't have to do as much. This is a real-world concern.

And that's a valid response (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130094)

If it turned out that the windows admins had to actually do anything

And that's a completely valid response. If your choice of software allows your admins to do less work, perform less upgrades/migrations/etc. over a given timeframe... that's a good thing.

-everphilski-

Your conclusions fly in the face of my experience! (-1, Troll)

SubDude (49782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129953)

It is my personal experience that Linux is a superior OS for online network services - it is also the experience of my customers.

Who am I to believe? Your conclusions or my lying eyes?

Dr. Herb Thompson talks a good story but it isn't supported by my first hand experiences - Why is that?

Sorry Herb but your study is nothing more than a carefully crafted FUD attack on a superior product.

Microsoft has been pulling this crap for 10 years and they obviously aren't finished yet, despite the fact they bought themselves an erudite talking head!

No sale Herb.

Dude

Re:Your conclusions fly in the face of my experien (2, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130163)


Dr. Herb Thompson talks a good story but it isn't supported by my first hand experiences - Why is that?

Maybe your first hand experience wasn't in a reasonably controlled environment. Maybe your bias will only allow you to see things one way.

Sorry Herb but your study is nothing more than a carefully crafted FUD attack on a superior product.

"Linux is better because I think so" is hardly a refutation. Why don't you point out the flaws in the study?

All Native Americans walk in single file (0)

Petersko (564140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130232)

At least the one I saw did.

microsoft patches (4, Insightful)

jonastullus (530101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129960)

In the Windows world, one doesn't get the alpha or beta patches, just the blessed finished product

yeah, right!
i won't even mention IE's security holes for the last 8 or so years (active x, ...) or outlook's bad record of keeping spam from executing malicious code (mostly through the IE engine).

but boldly stating how much due diligence is exacted upon the microsoft patches before final release is ridiculous in face of them frequently backfiring and leaving old or new vulnerabilities in their wake:

http://www.hideaway.net/home/public_html/article.p hp?story=20020924094345962 [hideaway.net]
http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/09/08/HNhacker sjump_1.html [infoworld.com]
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1753511,00.as p [eweek.com]
http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2120864/doubts-r aised-microsoft-patches [vnunet.com]

jethr0

Linux is Free! (-1, Flamebait)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129990)

...if you don't value your time.

First Rule of Linux adoption.

Sorry, not trying to create off topic flame bait. I'm just thinking of the motto we would jovially shout to the world every time our linux render farm would quirk out and would have to resusitate it, but Hey! at least the distro was free!

Let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Shaman (1148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129996)

...these were highly experienced Linux admins.

- which chose an ancient linux distribution
- which tried to use bleeding-edge software on an old OS software platform
- which didn't know that glibc updates can break things
- which apparently didn't upgrade the system first if that's what they had in mind
- which took more than an afternoon to set up a linux system
- which were stymied by basic systems administration
- which appeared to be unaware of the tools available such as webmin

Wow. That's why I hire kids fresh out of highschool. They're so much more advanced than "experienced professionals" available to this guy.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14130176)

This is the cat ,
THAT caught the bird,
THAT ate the spider,
THAT swallowed the fly..

WHICH generally initiates a question.

love n peas n mash
Uberoffizier der Grammatik.

IS this really necessary? (3, Interesting)

Korexz (915405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14129997)

How long will this argument go on? Apples and Oranges I say. More marketing propaganda to buffer the bottom line. Technology will only move forward when we stop arguing over what is better and start working towards a common goal.

Re:IS this really necessary? (1)

Iriel (810009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130250)

Not only that, but the vast majority of these 'studies' are usually coming a company that supports or is supported by one of the elements to be tested. I don't read reports that Linux is better than Windows for the same reason:

- Windows marketing has something to sell
- Linux zealots have something to prove

I know this is not always the case (so please don't 'correct' me with a torch), but MS is always trying to say "See! We really are secure!" and we all laugh. But on the other side of the coin, I've heard Linux proponents claim that the Linux desktop is really easy to use. I swallowed my pride a while back, so I laugh at that as well.

I have one home computer with Linux, and another with Windows, and each has thier jobs that they perform well at. I'll use what works before picking a technological dogma.

8 - Convenience vs. security (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130048)

Every time we install a new piece of software, ... ,we tacitly accept that this software is likely to contain security flaws and can be an entryway into your system; NOW are you sure you want to install it?
Except I'd expect higher quality programming out of a company designing security software.

Like your average anti-virus vendor for example. I find it a little rediculous that virus writers eventually just started targeting buffer overflows, etc. in anti-virus software.

I think what we're seeing is the overall move from reactive (patching) to proactive security... and unfortunately, MS and Co. are taking the opportunity to inject DRM into what could be exclusively security related technological advances.

Not so clear for me (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130066)

"All of our studies are written as if they will be released publicly BUT it is up to the sponsor if the study is publicly released."

My understanding is the sponsor will publish only favorable study. Do they have to choose before or after? Let's order a few studies and publish only the "good" ones.

ATM's vs Voting Machines (2, Interesting)

greenegg77 (718749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130076)

How is it that Diebold can make ATM machines that will account for every last penny in a banking system, but they can't make secure electronic voting machines?

The reason is that Diebold is not required by any law or regulation to do so. The banking industry and financial networks demand and regulate the security and journalling of transactions. If you don't follow the rules, they don't let you run transactions.
The "voting industry," on the other hand, has yet to regulate or stringently demand minumum standards from e-voting machines. Until the constituency informs their lawmakers that they want the security of a) knowing that their vote went through the way they wanted it to, and b) knowing that no one can rig the election so that Snoopy wins, Diebold has no economic incentive to add these features.

BTW - for what it's worth, Diebold can't build an ATM machine worth a crap. They were one of the original ATM manufacturers, and thus have great brand-name recognition in the industry. What they build is over-engineered, over-priced, and over-proprietary. Think of the old IBM PCs that cost much more that their clone counterparts, used nothing that was off-the-shelf, and did no more than a cheaper computer. That's Diebold.

Tackhead's question was not answered (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130081)

Tackhead specifically asked, "Who are these people"? I didn't see an answer to that question in the reply.

Just a small point (1)

lebski (931360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130096)

But regarding windows patches; You say that windwos patches don't come in alpha or beta but wasn't there a windows patch not so long ago that broke VPN - not so great for corporate users.

Why stay on SLES 8? (2, Insightful)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130120)

From the study:
Beginning at Milestone 1 however, some upgraded components were out of support from SLES 8 and updates for those components had to be obtained from the package distribution sites. As of Milestone 1, MySQL patches were obtained from the MySQL distribution site and as of milestone 2, glibc and directly related packages were maintained through manually applying SLES 9 patches.


If we look at the history of SuSE then we see Novell's big involvement was in the 9.0 world. Right from the get-go we can see that forcing the administrators to remain on SLES 8 is creating problems that would be considered a show stopper in a regular environment. Especially if you're talking about buying components with their required environments. The fact that you even have the option of applying SLES 9.0 patches to an 8.0 environment is something that you can't do in the Windows world.

What were the "third-party components" installed on the systems? The following dodge "The specific 3rd party vendors are not disclosed
because the focus of the study is the methodology and not a specific component." is complete bull if you're crowing about the repeatability of your experiment. How can the experiment be repeated if we don't know the items? (It would be interesting to know if those components didn't support SLES 8 at the time of their installation.)

Also, why this requirement for the components: "Support on both Windows and Linux" when your environments are obviously not equivalent (IIS/ASP versus LAMP instead of J2EE)?

I see the problem now... (4, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130135)

[At best, your study seems to show that the GNU/Linux distribution you selected was not particularly good at this task. But why does that show that the ``monolithic" style of Windows is better per se than the ``modular" style of GNU/Linux distributions?]

That pretty much sums up the entire study. This isn't really a test of Windows versus Linux, but a test of "modular" operating systems versus "monolithic" operating systems. And, unfortunately, the study didn't even do a good job of testing that.

Linux happens to include several distributions, some more "monolithic" than "modular". Unsuprisingly, the "monolithic" versions are usually those used by "enterprises", such as RedHat and SuSE. The "modular" operating systems, such as Debian, are almost universally ignored by businesses, though you will find IT personnel swear by them. There are Linux distributions that adhere to the Unix philosophy, and there are those that try to emulate Windows and Apple in the name of "ease of use". Hell, even some of SCO's products are more "modular" than commercial Linux distributions.

By requiring "enterprise" sysadmins and a Linux distro that is geared towards "enterprises", the study preselected a Linux competitor with which Windows can easily compete: admins (probably used to using Windows) using Linux distros that attempt to emulate Microsoft's "monolithic" operating system. By virtue of the fact that Microsoft has been building "monolithic" operating systems for at least a decade longer than any of these Linux companies even existed, that the vast majority of Linux components are designed to be used instead in a "modular" fashion, and that most "enterprises" wouldn't know proper system administration from their own asses, anyone can see that this test is designed to fail.

I've spent the last one and a half years doing this exact same study. Guess what I found? You can't treat "monolithic" operating systems, RedHat, Fedora, SuSE, Windows, as though they were "modular". Though doing so is easier with Linux, it's not recommended, and distro makers such as RedHat explicitly warn against doing so. Any IT guy learns this lesson about six months into his career. You either find a truly "modular" OS, such as Debian, or a good Unix, or you very carefully buy products made only by Microsoft or by companies joined at the hip with Microsoft. That is, if you choose modularity, you choose Unix. If you choose out-of-the-box integration, you choose Apple or try to navigate the Microsoft "ecosystem", and you pay monopoly rents for doing so. The people who choose RedHat and SuSE, and expect it to be Windows at this stage, are kidding themselves.

The real headline should be: "Linux admins tasked with using Linux in the same retarded-ass way as Windows, fail." Which should be no suprise.

But the important thing to take out of this is that it is neither technical necessity nor user requirements that make operating systems less "modular", and thus less flexible, less powerful, and ultimately less valuable. It is the commercial requirements of the operating system manufacturers themselves. It is the fact that the OS is commercial that makes it difficult to upgrade, impossible to integrate, and expensive to maintain. The evolution of commercial Linux distributions towards the "monolithic" model of Microsoft, and the concomitant decline in their quality, has proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt. At most, this study only serves to highlight what any competent Linux admin already knew.

Most Valuable Professional? (2, Interesting)

spejsklark (913641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130168)

FFE4: What kind of credibility do you think you have, being a Microsoft MVP? [securityinnovation.com]

Jumping to conclusions? (2, Insightful)

arevos (659374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14130199)

The problems the study reported with Linux appear to all due to an incompatable unnamed 3rd party software package. Surely then, all this study can conclude is that the 3rd party software used was incompatable with SLES? And if not, why not?
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