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Microsoft Challenges Linux's Legacy Claims

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the now-take-a-look-at-performance-tuning dept.

Microsoft 618

Michael writes "Microsoft Corp.'s Linux and open-source lab on the Redmond campus has been running some interesting tests of late, one of which was looking at how well the latest Windows client software runs on legacy hardware in comparison to its Linux competitors. The tests, which found that Windows performed as well as Linux on legacy hardware when installed and run out-of-the-box, were done in part to give Microsoft the data it needed to effectively 'put to rest the myth that Linux can run on anything.'"

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Come back (5, Insightful)

Psionicist (561330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419766)

Come back when Windows can run on non-x86-hardware and toasters.

Re:Come back (1, Informative)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419867)

I've got the DEC alpha disk hiding somewhere in my computer room, and the alpha (not turned on in years) downstairs.

Re:Come back (5, Informative)

oc-beta (941915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419888)

Right, I am wondering about the subjective nature of this article. I have found that linux runs great with the scarcest resources. Tell me where you can run a full PBX and IVR using a P-II 300 mhz? My Gentoo + Asterisk did just fine. Just my $.02, I am afraid that this is going to turn into another *nix vs. windows argument. I think that every OS has a place on the network. Just the thought that Windows 2003 was installed on a PII-300 makes my shudder. However, Linux is quite happy. (As well as your favorite BSD's)

Don't be silly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419902)

Windows will never run on non-x86 hardware.

Re:Come back (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419924)

Last time I checked, my copy of windows x64 runs like a dream on my "x64 hardware".

Re:Come back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419935)

you must mean x86-64, or AMD64 (short for AMD's 64-bit implementation of x86)

Re:Come back (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419945)

That's not "x64". It's x86_64 or AMD64, the 64 bit extension of the x86 architecture. Nice try, though.

Re:Come back (5, Informative)

crimson30 (172250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419939)

From wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

"Windows NT 3.1 ran on Intel IA-32 x86, DEC Alpha, and MIPS R4000 processors. Windows NT 3.51 added support for PowerPC processors. Intergraph Corporation ported Windows NT to its Clipper architecture and later SPARC, but neither version was sold to the public. Windows NT 4.0 was the last major release to support Alpha, MIPS, or PowerPC, though development of Windows 2000 for Alpha continued until 1999, when Compaq stopped support for Windows NT on that architecture."

NT 4.0 ran well on my alphastation :|

Re:Come back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419942)

They said out of the box? Hm... I think they used some wierd distro and made a full install.. I would like to see even Winblows 3 work on my fridge. Ok.. to make it easier.. my 66mhz 386 Come on MS beat linux on a 66mhx with a benchmark... why not optermise your software... rather than cheating the silly people who belive this crap.

So guys (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419769)

how about those knicks?

Re:So guys (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419959)

The tests, which found that Windows performed as well as Linux

So it's not better, just more expensive.

Phone Exchanges (1, Insightful)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419770)

So Windows can run on telephone exchanges, PBXs, Sun workstations, IBM mainframes, Cisco routers... w00t!

Re:Phone Exchanges (1)

legend (26856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419847)

Altigen, Avaya, Nortel, and Mitel all make PBXes that run on Windows (and some on Linux as well)

Re:Phone Exchanges (3, Interesting)

Linegod (9952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419860)

And the last time I checked, each one of those (except Mitel - they've flip-flopped a couple of times) started with Windows, and is shifting to Linux...

Lets all get defensive and moan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419776)

It's really no secret that newer distros have become pretty "full featured". I really don't know why anyone should get defensive about this, but I guess there is no stopping it. Go ahead, mention your favorite slim distro, I hope the self satisfaction makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Re:Lets all get defensive and moan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419801)

Defensive? These kinds of studies are such obvious bullshit that there's nothing to defend. You go on being smug, though, if it makes your Saturday night a little less painful.

Re:Lets all get defensive and moan (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419837)

No need to get defensive.

Re:Lets all get defensive and moan (2, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419833)

It's really no secret that newer distros have become pretty "full featured". I really don't know why anyone should get defensive about this, but I guess there is no stopping it.

Which is why, looking at the list, they picked the distros that they did. I'd be curious to know if they turned off all the extras that come turned on in most distros. It's not a fair comparison, for example, to install a stock Mandrake that comes with OpenOffice turned on when Windows doesn't ship with Office installed.

Window vs Linux (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419777)


i have a copy of win95 on a p1 with 8mb ram and it actually is usable, explorer works well and so does IE, good to have a usable gui with such a weak PC

linux on the other hand will make the PC look like a 1980's throwback with no gui and green text on a black screen, imhe windows runs on more legacy hardware than linux does and looks good, try getting kde or knome usable and looking good on a 8mb p1 75mhz pc

Re:Window vs Linux (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419793)

Run WindowMaker instead of KDE or Gnome. It'll work just fine, and likely better than Windows.

Re:Window vs Linux (4, Interesting)

JahToasted (517101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419825)

Exactly. Saying windows 95 works on a 486 and KDE doesn't is stupid. I can just as easily go on about how windowmaker, blackbox, rox, etc. run fine on a 486 while WinXP won't even install.

Re:Window vs Linux (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419818)

Instead of comparing a present-day Linux distro on that hardware to Win95, compare a 1995 distro and see how it looks. I'll bet you not only have a GUI, it'll be faster than the GatesWare.

Hear Hear!! Mod parent up. (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419931)

Instead of comparing a present-day Linux distro on that hardware to Win95, compare a 1995 distro and see how it looks. I'll bet you not only have a GUI, it'll be faster than the GatesWare.

Couldn't have said it better. Compare apples to apples [pardon the pun.]

Worst Advocacy Ever! (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419951)

Linux was less bloated in 1995! Netscape 2.0 Forever! Go Linux 95!

Re:Window vs Linux (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419853)

i have a copy of win95 on a p1 with 8mb ram and it actually is usable, explorer works well and so does IE, good to have a usable gui with such a weak PC

So when was the last time Microsoft released a security patch for your OS? In my (admittedly small) world, the lack of patch support prohibits the use of any OS.

Not reading the article? (2, Interesting)

Dominatus (796241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419778)

Already people are commenting about how Linux can run on different processors than Windows. Not what they were testing.

From TFA:

""Quite simply, I wanted to examine this factually, using real customer scenarios to test this hypothesis: can Linux run on older hardware than Windows? In many developing countries and public institutions, such as a local library, they typically don't have deep technical staff, so they need to use software without lots of modification and customization."

Re:Not reading the article? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419870)

""Quite simply, I wanted to examine this factually, using real customer scenarios to test this hypothesis: can Linux run on older hardware than Windows? In many developing countries and public institutions, such as a local library, they typically don't have deep technical staff, so they need to use software without lots of modification and customization."

And yet, the summary used the 'run on anything' phrase, which is commonly known to mean running a version of Linunx on whatever bizarre thing you can imagine, like a toaster, or in a matchbook.

The other thing worth noting is that most people run whatever the machine originally came with; when Linux gets it, it's frequently years out of date and used as some sort of server, not a desktop. Who's going to run the latest whizbang KDE desktop on a castoff PC to demonstrate the superiority of Linux, anyway? Also, what's the use case here? is this choosing between a windows upgrade or a Linux install? Saying that WinXP installs on a 486 is, as others have pointed out, pointless.

Re:Not reading the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419914)

You forgot this paragraph (page one):

"The tests, which found that Windows performed as well as Linux on legacy hardware when installed and run out-of-the-box, were done in part to give Microsoft the data it needed to effectively "put to rest the myth that Linux can run on anything."

Re:Not reading the article? (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419919)

Yes, I found it very interesting that they spent about the first half of the article rationalizing why they didn't actually test a distro of Linux that will actually run on anything, like the single floppy I boot my 486 laptop from, which subsequently runs the system from rather meager memory.The entire "test" is founded on misrepresenting the claim that "Linux will run on anything."

I also always get a kick out of the "poor people are idiots who can't learn to run the system" argument as well. That'll really get them on your side and buying your products.

Dear Bill,

Let me give you a hint. Poor people have more time than money and expect to have to do things the self-sufficient hard way. Many of them even take pride in being able to do so.

And the local library is full of things called "books" and people who know how to read them. Like, computer books. That's where I went to read Kernighan & Ritchie. They've got a full set of Knuth too. Not to mention that computer training is a standard part of library science these days.

Nice try.

Yours,

KFG

Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419781)

So yes, Windows95 will INSTALL on a 486SX-25 with 16 MB of RAM, but can you do anything? I think WinXP probably WONT even install on that. Is a P2-350 with 64MB of RAM a decent Win2003 box? Not on your life. Welcome to swapville.

This is the dumbest, most shill-like "benchmark" I've read about in a while. Come back when they do webserver benchmarks on the legacy HW. How many of the tests will read "No results for Windows because the OS won't install on this platform" ?

Read the whole article. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419830)

IF you RTFA, they mention that while Linux may install on older hw, running it on a desktop will yield unacceptable levels of performance, and you can forget about running things like Open Office. They're not trying to say Windows is better on legacy hw, they're saying that, out of the box, Linux is just as bad as Windows.

Re:Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419838)

I remember seeing Win95 on a box with 8 MB of RAM. The owner had to borrow another 8 to install '95, but it did actually run. Of course, it would take several minutes to load Netscape Navigator 4... but it did run. 16 MB is better for performance. With 24 MB or more, running lightweight applications, it was decent. Funny, on the same machine, Linux runs about equally.

Re:Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419877)

Believe it or not, kid, millions of systems shipped with Windows 95 and 4MB of RAM.

Re:Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419897)

I remember someone brining in a 486 with 4MB of RAM that was running Win95 and wanted to have internet access set up on it. I installed IE4 without thinking about it and upon the necessary reboot, it blue screened. Apparently, Win95 will run on 4MB, but not when IE4 is installed..

Re:Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (1)

texaport (600120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419941)

Is a P2-350 with 64MB of RAM a decent Win2003 box?

Microsoft damned themselves on the subject 5 years ago when they specified the requirements in 2001 for XP.

The AMD 350-500MHz machines were "allowed" but certainly no better than a banned 200MHZ Pentium Pro.
XP effectively wiped out the 66MHz mass market Celeron 366MHz to 700MHz from upgrades two years later.
And I have yet to see a laptop with SDRAM that ever ran user apps better under XP than it did with Windows98.

Re:Idiotic test, they INSTALLED it (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419960)

Infact, a friend installed W95 on a 386.
Now, it was slow as hell, but it worked on it. Not useable tho.

On 468, i've seen plenty of times W95 been somewhat useable.

and, they were not testing webserver stuff, but desktop. Get real.

Oh yeah, WXP by default has a limit that it wouldn't install on sub-500mhz and 128mb ram, if i remember correctly.
But it can be put into a machine like that, installs, and with some modifications, you infact CAN USE it.
Just use Litestep, Astonshell or similar, disable many of the newer innecessary services etc. and there you go.

Oh yeah, w2k infact was faster on my old K6-2 550Mhz, 128mb ram (or was it 256mb...) than W98. Now, think about that.

Wow, great news.... (1)

BostonGunNut (851395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419782)

Yeah, Linux can run on a toaster or an old 486DX. Big fucking deal. I don't think too many companies are planning on running business apps on either of those platforms.

Re:Wow, great news.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419855)

Just 3 years ago, I was in a start-up that used loads of 486s (and low-end pentiums) for systems. They were all linux. Had to be either Linux or BSD.

Re:Wow, great news.... (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419883)

I was in a start-up that used loads of 486s (and low-end pentiums) for systems.

I run postfix/spamassassin, cvs, apache, and MySQL on a dual-266 with 256MB of memory. I actually upgraded the memory and put in new fans a while back because it was worth making a smaller investment upgrading an old piece of hardware than purchasing something new. I routinely scavange my friend's "throw away" Windows boxes and put them in my server farm.

Re:Wow, great news.... (1)

mislam (755292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419869)

It is a big deal. The whole point of the article wast to find out how the said os performs on legacy hardware.

Re:Wow, great news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419889)

A toaster is legacy hardware?

Yeah, it is (1)

Unconventional (804875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419910)

There are school systems in less affluent areas that are still using Pentium-I machines @ 200 MHz or less. Putting these in network using Linux makes them usable as workstations for students. Can't do that with any MS product beyond Windows 98, for which NO security patches of any kind are being produced, since it's a "retired" product. (And, for a public bulletin board, your language is really inappropriate.)

Re:Wow, great news.... (4, Interesting)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419927)

Yeah, Linux can run on a toaster or an old 486DX. Big fucking deal. I don't think too many companies are planning on running business apps on either of those platforms.

Do you realize how much the environment is choking on throw-away tech every year? I covered this very topic http://techn0manc3r.blogspot.com/2005/12/linux-and -environment.html [blogspot.com] with links. Yes, it's a huge deal. Count me in with the other who recycles old Windows boxes I find and gets year's further use out of them. More money to donate to FOSS, less waste to the environment.

By the way, when I worked for no less an enterprise than Citigroup incorporated, you couldn't walk two feet in the processing center without tripping over a 486. This was only two years ago.

Re:Wow, great news.... (2, Funny)

kalbzayn (927509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419933)

I just bought a toaster today and it cannot run Linux or Windows. I was about to take them back until I realized that I don't often check my email at the toaster, I normally do that at the blender before I check my RSS feeds from my dishwasher.

First Post ... Not (1)

WoodieR (860635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419783)

another objective microsoft sponsored study ... with unexpected results ? ;)

Yes, but ... (4, Insightful)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419788)

While I can run the "client software" on legacy hardware (whatever they define that as), I still can't run, with any decent performance, a fresh install of Windows XP Pro SP2 on my 386, whereas I can pop in my FreeSCO CD and use the machine as a router (or Slackware and use it as a terminal/IRC/MUD/Bugzilla/CVS/Whatever server).

It's not what I can display on a monitor with my old hardware, it's what I can get that damn machine to do.

Re:Yes, but ... (1)

Benwick (203287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419879)

Exactly. What kind of idiot would take that old computer which (s)he has kept lying around, pay $ for a Windows license, then find some more pay-for-software to make it do some mundane task? When it could actually be done with Linux and it won't take an hour every time (s)he starts it up? Microsoft's point is lost on me here. I wouldn't install XWindows on a 386 10 years after the last 386 chip was made, and I certainly wouldn't install an OS that *forces* you to use a GUI.

Not to mention the inevitable BSOD.

Re:Yes, but ... (1)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419915)

Not to nitpick, but even Slackware is compiled for i486 rather than i386 these days. You would have to stick with an earlier Slackware version or another distro like Debian. Personally, though, I think that with a 386 you would get such horrible performance out of Slackware or any other full-featured distro that it wouldn't really be worth it. I've run Slackware and Debian on 486's extensively for years, and even for those distributions, you still really need 16MB of RAM. And no, a typical 486 won't run Windows 95 properly. It will be slow as hell, to the point of being nearly useless.

The Study didn't prove that at all (4, Insightful)

Thanatopsis (29786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419789)

The study merely proved that Microsoft's current operatings systems can run on the smae hardware. It didn't prove a single thing about the ability of linux to "run on anything." It was entirely limited in scope - they just installed straight out of the box linux distros and Microsoft's OS on old hardware. The myth they were actually trying to disprove is that Windows doesn't run on old hardware.

Re:The Study didn't prove that at all (5, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419880)

The myth they were actually trying to disprove is that Windows doesn't run on old hardware.

It isn't a myth: Windows doesn't run on a 486, it walks.

Re:The Study didn't prove that at all (3, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419900)

I think, to be honest, that all that was really shown is that popular modern Linux desktop distributions are targetted at modern hardware, and as a result don't run as well on older hardware. They ran Red Hat and Mandrake and Novell etc. 'out of the box' with no customisation to make it fit with the hardware - unsurprisingly the default install of such distros a targetted at modern systems and have hefty system requirements.

Pick up a distribution that actually claims to target older hardware, or just generally fit in smaller places, like say Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org] , Feather Linux [berlios.de] or Zenwalk [zenwalk.org] and I suspect you'll find much better performance and much lower system requirements all 'out of the box'. The counter-claim seems to be that Windows CE, with the right customisations, will run on older hardware too. Does anyone know if their is a release of CE set up for desktop use on older hardwre?

Jedidiah.

Out of the box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419790)

Well... obviously if you have an old 486 lying around and pick up the latest FC it'll have a lot of junk installed by default that'll kill performance. The issue is that you can prune down most distros and still get a very usable OS on old hardware. A recent version of windows just can't do it.

Sans RJ45? (5, Insightful)

kihjin (866070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419792)

The tests, which found that Windows performed as well as Linux on legacy hardware when installed and run out-of-the-box, were done in part to give Microsoft the data it needed to effectively "put to rest the myth that Linux can run on anything.

In other words: None of these devices were actually connected to the Internet.

Some Linux distributions... (1)

MalusCaelestis (172079) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419796)

...don't run well on older hardware. I have an old Pentium II 400MHz that ran Windows XP fine enough to be usable. It wasn't always "snappy" but it wasn't slow enough to be distracting. I tried to install Ubuntu on the same machine and it was more sluggish than Windows XP. Simple operations took just long enough that they were noticeably slower than they were meant to be.

While my experience may not prove Microsoft irrefutably right, it's enough for me to agree with their point: that Linux is not always going to run well on older hardware.

Re:Some Linux distributions... (3, Insightful)

blackbear (587044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419921)

Did you install all of the extras? Did you disable the things you didn't want? Windows comes with a minimal set of tools, and no word processor, spread sheet, data base, etc. Most Linux distros cram every extra in existence onto your drive. While I detest this practice, and and only install what I need, Windows doesn't even give you the option.

In short, Linux is a kernel and drivers. Everything else is GNU, Apache, Mozilla, etc. The distros bundle that all together in different ways. Most people forget that fact most of the time, and it makes it easy for the unscrupulous and the incompetent to compare apples to oranges.

Quality of articles on Slashdot sucks lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419804)

How many stories have there been in the vein of "someone says DVDs are dead even though they are selling like the world is ending tomorrow" or "Someone says you can mine Amazon data even though its useless information" or "Microsoft says Windows XP can run on 64MB even though that is fucking ridiculous."

Jeez...

apples to apples... (4, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419810)

I believe Microsoft's article is reasonable, to a certain extent. They haven't been comparing apples with oranges, but instead are showing that computers running similar application suites behave similarly, whether running on Linux or NT.

The problem with the article isn't that they aren't comparing apples with apples, but that they're ignoring the fact that the oranges exist. If you aren't running desktop apps Linux will run well on small amounts of RAM - even less than the 64MB they quote as the minimum limit - and that similar apps aren't as readily available under the Windows OS.

They're also neglecting to mention that you'd need to spend hundreds to obtain a licensed copy of XP for your legacy hardware, as opposed to downloading a Linux CD image.

Re:apples to apples... (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419886)

> I believe Microsoft's article is reasonable, to a certain extent. They haven't been comparing apples with oranges, but
> instead are showing that computers running similar application suites behave similarly, whether running on Linux or NT.

Exactly correct. With the bloated applications stacks typical on both platforms any OS advantage is lost on the desktop. Firefox is a pig. Openoffice.org is beyond that to fscking huge, and that is before the JVM loads.

Plus they compared current 'enterprise' offerings. I want to know how they coaxed anaconda into booting on a machine with only 64MB. RedHat recommends 256 and it will run in 192 but 128MB isn't safe unless you install in text mode.

> If you aren't running desktop apps Linux will run well on small amounts of RAM - even less than the 64MB they quote
> as the minimum limit

Dunno about that these days. Anything other than a very small router appliance and 64MB will be pushing it unless you install a less bloated distribution than RedHat/Suse/etc. Which of course is an advantage our side has and Microsoft doesn't, but that is beyond the scope of the sort of comparison that are making. And it is a semi valid one. The AVERAGE small site probably won't have the skills to deal with Slackware or Damn Small Linux.

> They're also neglecting to mention that you'd need to spend hundreds to obtain a licensed copy of XP for your
> legacy hardware, as opposed to downloading a Linux CD image.

The licensing issue was sorta brought up and shined on with a "to be addressed later" sort of comment. Which I expect they WILL address at some point, especially in the developing world. They have to realize by now that if they can't come up with some answer to it a whole generation will switch from warezed Windows to legal Linux. Be afraid.

Command line...... (1)

endy_X11 (931139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419812)

Well, sure some linux distros won't run well on old machines, particularly if you try to run gnome, kde, etc. But they can run fine with a good ol' command line. Does windows even have a command line interface that even comes close to the funtionality linux has?

Re:Command line...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419858)

You know, I bet Windows will fly without its Explorer shell. I can do most of my work with cmd (and script the rest that I can't).

Obviously MS didn't test these lightweight distros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419814)

goosee.com/puppy [goosee.com]
DamnSmallLinux.org [damnsmalllinux.org]

Sure, you can run Windows 95 (or even 3.1) on old hardware, but you can also run Linux.

Recidivist Fudsters (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419816)

Microsoft thus decided to test this premise by installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Pro 9.2, Mandrake 10, Linspire 4.5, Xandros Desktop 3.0, Fedora Core 3, Slackware 10.1, Knoppix 3.7; Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 out-of-the-box on older hardware to see what happened.

The real story here is how revealing this "Comparison" is about attitudes at Microsoft. They weren't interested in doing a valid test which might have been of some use in improving their product. All they were interested in doing was showing a competitor in a bad light, even if it meant blatantly rigging the test. This is an ostrich "head in the sand" trick.

It's because they refuse to accept fair comparison and competition, and to improve as a result of that competition that they continue to expose users to constant security risks.

what did you expect? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419874)

But...what did you expect? I'm sure MS actually does do fair tests in which Linux comes out on top, but of course they do them at midnight during the dark of the Moon in a secret underground lab, and they ritually slaughter the engineers afterward so they don't talk.

Seriously, any sensible corporation tests their competitors' products, and keeps the results strictly to themselves. Why give the competition any help? On the other hand, when some random test or other has results that look good for you, however accidental or meaningless that is, then of course the marketing department is sent a memo to slip this into some advertising or other.

Re:Recidivist Fudsters (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419911)

They're just playing the same game as the Linux community, who claims that Linux extends the life of old hardware, all while touting applications like OpenOffice and Firefox.

At least with Windows, there is a quite usable stack of desktop applications from 5-8 years ago, where that's not true with *nix.

Yeah, right (2, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419820)

What about NetBSD? I'd like to see them install Windows CE on a mechanical pencil! Hah!

This was so stupid (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419824)

He claims that you have to be a linux developer to install linux which is crap. In fact, it's a lot easier to get linux running than say windows 2000 or 98 (since we're talking legacy here). I will agree that modern operating systems will run slowly on outdated hardware. But to say that a computer runs windows (version??) fast and "linux" slowly is saying nothing. Most modern distros I've tried do run slowly on older hardware (amd k6-2 500 with ample ram) However, windows xp would crawl on such a machine, so it's unfair to say that windows runs faster because I can load windows 98 on it and have it perform okay.

This entire article was BS and had nothing truthful or insightful to say.

128 Megs of RAM ?? Puh-leeez. (5, Insightful)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419828)

From TFA: "The fact of the matter is that if you look at popular desktop Linux distributions from Red Hat or Novell's SUSE, they match or exceed the system requirements of Windows XP. For example, Novell Linux Desktop 9 requires a minimum of 128MB physical RAM, which is identical to the requirements of Windows XP. If you compare OpenOffice 2.0 to the system requirements of Microsoft Office and again they are identical," he said.

I winced at the bolded section. 128 megs? Windows XP? Are they bloody serious? We don't want a computer that just boots up - we want productivity. And for productivity, XP needs more than 128 megs, unless by "productivity" you mean "wordpad" ..

Re:128 Megs of RAM ?? Puh-leeez. (1)

mike.newton (67123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419873)

No, if you want Wordpad, you'll need 256 MB. Now notepad on the other hand...

memory management , too (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419908)

I think the other question is: how long will the system work? My experience with Windows is that, even if everything works fine when you boot up, the system starts to drag and behave weirdly if you keep it running long enough, open and close applications, have multiple users log in and out, et cetera. I'm guessing the memory management isn't so hot.

On the other hand, I've routinely run my Linux machines for 3-6 months without reboot, 'cause the memory management is sound.

Re:memory management , too (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419965)

I think you meant your experience with pre-2000 Windows.

Windows 2k/XP/2K3 have been surprisingly crafty when it comes to maintaining system performance over a long period of time. Leaked memory is reclaimed, and the system does a "pseudo-defrag" whenever you're not using the computer (moving the apps and files you use the most to the center of the drive for faster access). User profiles are more cleanly kept than in the past, and honestly I only have to restart my PC every few months when I do my updates.

Re:128 Megs of RAM ?? Puh-leeez. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419922)

"unless by 'productivity' you mean 'wordpad'"

Maybe they mean notepad.

Missing the point (4, Insightful)

carlislematthew (726846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419829)

What the test fails to understand is that when you're installing Linux on 1997 hardware (which oddly, is not far off the original hardware I installed Linux on), you generally don't install Redhat Enterprise 4000 with all the whiz-bang options! In the case of Linux, you actually have a fucking choice. In those days, you could build a Linux SERVER on basic hardware simply because you had absolutely no need for a GUI and could manage the server quite well from the command line. Could you do the same with a Windows OS at the time? No!!!

It took a long time for Windows to be able to run well on low cost hardware. Nowadays, everyone has 256 or 512MB even on budget systems, and so the requirements aren't much different because EVERYONE will run X.

Basically, the test was stupid and missed the point of being able to run Linux on older hardware - by lowering the requirements through a choice of what you want to install (namely the GUI).

Re:Missing the point (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419920)

It would seem the problem is that MS STILL doesn't understand that a server is NOT a desktop machine with more RAM, more HD and a crappier monitor. I would like to see Windows survive as a DNS or mail server for a small office/workgroup on a P166 w/ 64MB RAM. Linux has no problems there, just don't run X and it'll be fine.

Being installable just doesn't cut it. To be a valid test, they need to look at usefulness for various purposes. Of course, many would argue that Windows shouldn't be used for any purpose :-)

Re:Missing the point (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419950)

Could you do the same with a Windows OS at the time? No!!!

Well... up to winME you could... somewhat alike...

You could force windows to not start the gui by not running win.com (easy thing to configure). But then again you would only have some DOS which is not a very decent os nowadays. ;)

But this isn't the worst thing. The worst thing is that you won't have much modern apps to run on. (Of course you could still run quake, doom, mechwarrior, and old textmode office apps... ;)

ok this is lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419831)

no digg

Just as I suspected (3, Informative)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419842)

When I read the blurb, I figured out what I would find in TFA. They're comparing XP to, say, SUSE 9.0 or RH 4.0 EL. Both optimized for current systems. Here's the difference; there are many distributions of linux targeted at older, slower machines, going all the way back to 286's. I would like to see performance comparisons between Windows and a linux distro targeted at smaller machines. See distrowatch; they list a couple that are *meant* for this application, so you don't have to be a kernel hacker or techincal expert to modify your linux distro for your hardware.

*yawn*. Same old MS crap.

Re:Just as I suspected (1)

Guerrillero (798334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419937)

it says in the article they tested slackware 10.1...rtfa before commenting

Re:Just as I suspected (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419966)

rtfa before commenting

You must be new here.

Bait and Switch / BS (4, Interesting)

Irvu (248207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419843)


In the tests run in its lab, Microsoft found that most modern commercial Linux distributions could be installed successfully on systems with a Pentium processor, with 64MB of RAM and a minimum of 2GB of hard disk space.

"Memory prevented the successful installation on a typical 1997 system, as 32MB of memory is not enough to install most Linux distributions or to run desktop applications with acceptable performance. A memory upgrade could prolong the life of such hardware, but the cost and effort of locating old memory and installing it onto all corporate clients significantly reduces the potential savings," Hilf said.

Minimum requirements for office productivity performance on a Linux system were any Pentium II (PII) system with at least 64MB of RAM, he said, adding that playback of sound and video would typically require a PII 400 or better.


The salient points are in the statment above. The claim that "most" linuix distros had limitations preventing them from accessing a 32mb system with "aceptable performance" is entirely unsurprising. I note that neither RedHat (to pick one) nor Windows XP would like such a system very much, especially for modern "desktop application performance" (read OpenOffice and MS Office). In that case it is really the apps that are the limiting factors.

They never state what distros were tested (I assume Novell and RedHat when in doubt) nor how installation was done. Rather they pull a nice switching strategy. They test some unnamed distros and then state that windows CE is better than them on legacy hardware.

That is much like saying Windows CE is better than Windows XP on legacy hardware or that MuLinux is better than RedHat on older hardware. In both cases the former was designed for such a task while the latter was not. In both cases the former have limitations that prevent them from running "Modern Desktop Apps", that is in fact the point.

This is a simple "bait and switch" comparison, and if this is all the CTO uses when comparing all distros of linux to windows for some use; fire them.

Free as in... (1)

airider (728197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419844)

I'm all for everyone having their say with regard to their opinions. But I have a hard time with this when reading about claims that can't hold water or anything else for that matter. The fact is you can run current kernals on older hardware with slimmed down services and apps running on top of the Linux kernal. Don't see any product from Microsoft that can do or claim this today for x86 PC hardware. This is the claim from the Linux community and it is been substantiated over and over again by the broader computing community for quite some time now. We guarantee Microsoft Free as in speech, but when are they going to guarantee what they say is actually true and factual?

Why post this crap? (2, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419845)

There's nothing substantative in the article. I didn't see benchmarks, I didn't see screenshots of the system in action. I saw he said/she said between some MS people and some guy from Novell.

It's below a non-story.

Can you say... (1)

blackbear (587044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419846)

Astroturf!

Well not by the strict definition, but you get the point; Microsoft has this lab, you see. And in it they test systems from all over the gal^h^h^hworld. And in one of these test Microsoft products outpreformed their competitor's.

Wow! That's news. We better get it on Slashdot right away. Oh, and be sure to include an URL encoded identifer so that the submitter can get his boobie prize.

Just my opinion, but you better modify that URL before you click it. Especially if you aren't running in paranoid mode.

Hey, can I be next? (4, Funny)

Linegod (9952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419849)

I really want to get a lot of publicity for being able to misunderstand something, then hire some folks, buy some hardware, install some software, spend months generating data all based on my initially incorrect assumption of what I think I heard someone once say about something that I know if I really tried to unblock it, I would know right away that I was full of shit and just pandering to the marketing department, since they have all the money, and my weak ass strawman argument wouldn't hold up to even a casual look, but who cares - it makes a great bullet point.

No seriously. I want it. And a end to run on sentences....

and the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419850)

Last I checked, Microsoft doesn't allow you to install Windows on multiple machines unless you have a site or multinode license. Not to worry, because the software is widely available at substantial discounts:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 22PTI4/qid=1136695728/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-3452 583-1992700?v=glance&s=software [amazon.com]

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 0AZJVC/qid=1136695778/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-3452 583-1992700?v=glance&s=software [amazon.com]

Now add this to the $500 replacement cost of a new machine (which would likely be better in every respect than the one you're installing on).

Microsoft is confused, maybe deliberately (2, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419852)

I think when most people say Linux runs on anything, they don't mean Fedora Core, or any particular distro. Microsoft's tests are flawed because they assume we mean that Fedora Core 4, or Ubuntu with a nice full GUI desktop setup will run on anything. When I think about Linux running on anything I think about Linux running on my Linksys WRT54GS router, or Linux running on cell phones. We're talking the full linux kernel, with a stripped down environment. I doubt Windows XP (even without the GUI) would run on a cell phone. The XP-embedded kernel might, but not the normal kernel. Linux's strengths lie in it's modularity; the kernel can be stripped down and run in minimal environments, all using the exact same code base, with the same kernel APIs used everywhere.

So it seems that Microsoft is deliberately confusing the issues here. A modern Gnome or KDE desktop on Linux no better or worse than Windows XP on 10 year old hardware with a full GUI desktop. But can Windows XP run on a 20-year-old 386 at all? Linux can. And while a Gnome desktop might now, X11 with a GUI of some kind certainly can. That's what we mean when we say linux can run on older hardware. Furthermore, much about Linux that enables compatibility stretching back 30 years doesn't really have anything to do with Linux itself either. For example, I can connect a Gnome desktop remotely to a 30-year old Unix mainframe and run X11 programs completely seamlessly. I could even fire up a 20-year old unix workstation running X11 and connect to a brand-new gnome desktop running on FC4 somewhere and expect it to work at least.

Further, Linux seems to be able to adapt much quicker to new platforms than Microsoft. The 32-bit to 64-bit jump was made years ago with Linux, with no major kernel API changes. Compare this to Windows which has Win16, Win32, and now Win64, with major changes in between, requiring some interesting hacks to preserve backwards compatibility. Linux, thanks to its Unix heritage, has always thought about things like making x-bit clean (where x is 32, 64, or whatever) and dealing with things like endianness. Linux isn't perfect; if there are issues with moving between 32 and 64 bits, or moving between little and big endian, they are bugs that need to be fixed. Microsoft has never expended much effort to think about such issues, as near as I can tell, since they thrive on the Wintel monopoly. Getting Windows endian-clean, for example, just isn't a priority.

Re:Microsoft is confused, maybe deliberately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419890)

Further, Linux seems to be able to adapt much quicker to new platforms than Microsoft.

And along comes the asortment of (hellish) driver/software problems that no one can solve- Unless you are Linus.

Imagine that with a consumer driven OS like Windows... /.ters would instantly complain the inability of MS to release a decent product etc.

dead badger... (1)

torrents (827493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419859)

so microsoft is saying that now windows can also run on a dead badger [strangehorizons.com] ???

Re:dead badger...No No No (1)

GnarlyNome (660878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419871)

Miucrosoft IS a dead badger

Tuning NT5+ (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419864)

The only people who never mod their desktop seem to be the home users, most of whom still haven't figured out where QuickLaunch went in XP. Why that and the Address Bar are off by default I have no idea.

I've not used Linux significantly, but there are a number of "Window Managers" with low resource needs such as IceWM [icewm.org] which can even be skinned to look like your favorite commerial OS.

Personally I prefer the "Windows Classic" theme in XP, as it takes up less resources. Microsoft also released the Media Center Theme for XP users, [microsoft.com] but it takes up about the same resources as the "Luna Theme."

If you want to get better performance out of a 2K/XP/+ system:

Disable unneeded services: Remote Registry Service and Messenger (there are more possible)

Disable System File Protection

Disable Visual Effects and Active Desktop

Disable "last access" timestamp on files.

So what about gameport legacy hardware??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14419865)

Microsoft has dropped support for the gameport in XP64 and in Vista. So, what do I do with my "legacy" rudder pedals and flight yoke that use the gameport?

HARDWARE STATS (From The Article) (2, Insightful)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419872)

There is a huge content-free lead-in to the article. Here is the meat.
But first, my comment:

Judge for yourself whether or not the minimal configuration is really the minimal one. I personally am inclined to think 2GB is way too big of a disk. If you just want a webserver, DNS box, firewall, etc. you don't need a bigger disk than 32MB, if you are using a BSD. I would guess it is the same or better with Linux. But Windows includes so much unnecessary stuff in the basic install, you need 2GB. This actually does matter -- if you need 32MB, that is a cheap flash disk. If you need 2GB, that's a lot.

"In the tests run in its lab, Microsoft found that most modern commercial Linux distributions could be installed successfully on systems with a Pentium processor, with 64MB of RAM and a minimum of 2GB of hard disk space.

"Memory prevented the successful installation on a typical 1997 system, as 32MB of memory is not enough to install most Linux distributions or to run desktop applications with acceptable performance. A memory upgrade could prolong the life of such hardware, but the cost and effort of locating old memory and installing it onto all corporate clients significantly reduces the potential savings," Hilf said.

Minimum requirements for office productivity performance on a Linux system were any Pentium II (PII) system with at least 64MB of RAM, he said, adding that playback of sound and video would typically require a PII 400 or better.

"This corresponds to an average PC issued between 1998 and 1999," Hilf said.

If Linux was installed on an older system, such as an average PC of 1997, then the desktop performance falls below what is typically acceptable for a common user, he said."

Still one big difference (1)

hollebeek (135740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419875)


Microsoft software may still run on legacy hardware, but
Microsoft only supports consumer operating systems (including
security updates) for only five years after the OS release
date. Because of that, even XP Home will be unusable in less
than a year (support ends 12/31/06).

So, unless you want your legacy hardware to be a spam zombie,
there may be valid reasons for prefering Linux.

Claims not benchmarks (2, Insightful)

Tamsco (672082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419898)

First and foremost I love studies that compare the system requirements on the label. This seems like an obvious ploy to convince developing countries to use Windows on hand-me-down hardware. This article is not going to convice anyone that even if XP can run on a Pentium 1 it is worth paying more in software licensing fees than they paid for the hardware.

The only way Windows will convince people that Windows is good for legacy hardware will be if they either restart support for Windows 95 and Windows 98 or write a service pack that will remove or downgrade many system components. This of course presents a major problem for them since they also have to please the OEM's desire for software that forces you to upgrade.

This much aside I beleive all this article shows is that Microsoft recognizes they might lose market share in developing countries and that is a huge compliment and inspiration to open source companies.

so.... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419901)

(no, not going to bother wasting my time on the article that directly contradicts my own experiences over the past 10 years, often *running daily on shitty hardware*)

They picked a distribution for older PCs right?

Running kernel 2.0, and a fairly minimal X11, instead of KDE/Gnome? Right?

Or perhaps they even picked a recent distribution and pared it down to get it to run well?

Didn't think so.

Out of box Windows vs out of box Linux both chew a fair bit of RAM these days. Difference is, with Linux you have options.

smash.

MS Marketing challedge, Linux Sucks (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419905)

There was this pervasive belief that Linux could run on older PCs and that Windows could not, he said, adding that Microsoft thus decided to test this premise by installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Pro 9.2, Mandrake 10, Linspire 4.5, Xandros Desktop 3.0, Fedora Core 3, Slackware 10.1, Knoppix 3.7; Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 out-of-the-box on older hardware to see what happened.


Suse 9.2 runs on my Dell P150 96Meg Ram just fine. Microsoft Windows doesn't even pick up on the NeoMagic video chipset.


"But the average customer is not a technical expert or a Linux developer, so they do not have the skill, or more importantly, the business need, to modify the operating system this way. You could argue that this is why Red Hat and Novell SUSE exist--to provide pre-configured and tested stacks of open-source software so their customers don't need to modify their systems at that level. That's the value proposition of these companies," he said.


The average consumer would save shitloads of money if they understand that Microsoft isn't in charge of their computer.

Whatever. I converted one Microsoft user to Ubuntu this week and they are Happy.

Enjoy.

One problem with Linux vs. Windows comparisons.... (2, Insightful)

linguae (763922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419913)

One problem with Linux vs. Windows comparisons is that Linux is just a kernel, whereas Windows is a kernel + desktop environment + userland + web browser + more. Linux can run on legacy hardware; even the latest Linux kernel will run decently even on an old 386 with 8MB RAM, along with the latest versions of the GNU userland, X, a text editor like vim or emacs, and maybe even lynx. (Just don't think about doing anything more complex, such as use a graphical web browser, Java, GTK or QT application, fancy desktops, etc.) On the flipside, can Windows XP even install on an 386? You'll have to revert to DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 if you want a decently-performing Windows config with those specs. And who'd use that in 2006? (You'd have to pay me to use DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11, and give me copies of WordPerfect 5.1 and Lotus 1-2-3 2.4, as well ;).) Windows 95 can technically run on that machine, but you'll be in swap city....

If you are a hardcore Unix user, you can be very comfortable with a 386 or 486 with 8-16MB RAM, as long as you love the command line (and are not even considering any intensive GUI applications). Heck, 386 and 486 users got it much better than Thompson and Ritchie did ;). However, once you start adding GUI toolkits, multimedia applications, quality web browsers like Firefox and Konqueror, full-blown desktops, office suites, VMs for all of these languages supported by the developers (like Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, ...), libraries for oodles of functions, transparent graphics, and all of those other features, Linux, just like any other OS, needs much more processor speed and much more memory. You'll need at least a 233MHz processor with a minimum of 256MB RAM in order to avoid much of Swap City, and you'll need 500MHz and at least 384MB RAM to completely avoid all of it (unless your work is truly computer-intensive). Windows XP works the same way.

All that I'm saying with these comparisons is that many people quickly forget that all Linux is is a kernel. Linux, along with the GNU tools, can be ran from specifications as little as a 386SX with 4MB RAM to 96-node Beowulf clusters each featuring the fastest chips on the market, along with tens of gigabytes of RAM. Just don't come crying when your OpenOffice takes a year to compile on your 386, and a day to open ;).

Yeah? SO WHAT? Pointless "benchmark"... (5, Insightful)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419918)

People don't choose Linux over Windows because they want to run it on an old 486. Hell, you can buy a 600Mhz Pentium III that'll run any Linux distro on Earth for about 150 bucks on Ebay. Who cares about old hardware?

People buy Linux because:

1. It's much cheaper than Windows, with a much more liberal license which lets you do whatever you want without a huge, complex, draconian EULA;

2. It comes with a full set of development tools out of the box, and for most people offers all the software they will EVER need, so you don't have to blow hundreds of bucks on additional software packages;

3. Most of the additional tools people want can be had for free or very little money (like Java's SDK, which can be downloaded for nothing, or Oracle Express, which is also free).

4. It has better default driver support than Windows, without having to go out to a vendor site and hope they still offer downloads; In fact, most hardware is detected right off the bat nowadays.

5. YES, Linux is more secure than Windows, and offers better and more diverse tools for locking down your system. Also it tends to be more stable, and has much more gentle memory and disk requirements.

6. This one's esoteric, but what the hell: I can use Reiser FS on Linux; Windows didn't offer a journaling ANYTHING up until their latest greatest (does that even offer journals???). Under Windows, if you lose power suddenly, the next time you power up you could have a garbled registry (reinstall time!). Under Linux with Reiser, when you reboot, the system politely tells you it's going to check the journal, and it fixes itself. This alone is a good reason to prefer Linux.

Overall, Linux is better than Windows in almost every conceivable way. The only other operating systems that come close are Mac OS/X and the *BSDs.

But I guess, if I was Bill Gates, I'd want to divert everyone's attention away from the "Linux is better" problem, too. Hey, kids! Look over here! Windows installed on a 486! Don't pay any attention to that nasty Novell guy over there, with his nasty Kontact information manager, and all his talk of "security" and "stability" -- you don't want those, they're not good for you! Come have some Outlook and IE!

Feh.

   

I'm sorry... WHAT?! (4, Informative)

thesnarky1 (846799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419930)

"Memory prevented the successful installation on a typical 1997 system, as 32MB of memory is not enough to install most Linux distributions or to run desktop applications with acceptable performance. A memory upgrade could prolong the life of such hardware, but the cost and effort of locating old memory and installing it onto all corporate clients significantly reduces the potential savings," Hilf said.

I don't know what they were installing, but not the distros I use. See... lesser known fact about *nix is that it comes in many flavors. If, say, you had an older, piece of junk, you can get just as new a version of Damn Small Linux as you could Fedora Core 4. One is 50 MB, on a cd, the other 6 GB on 4. The thing they're assuming here is that you have to have a GUI to be productive. I call shenanagins.

I've done this same test with a box I 'liberated' from another source. (Was given to me, as it was too old to donate, believe it or not). 'Tis a first gen Pentium, with a whopping 32 MB RAM. I've got Fedora Core 4 on there just fine! It works as a web server, a file server, as well as a programming workstation, and email. I even browse the web on it fine! Oh, one small thing, it won't run X, de to size. (Ok, it will, ya just don't wanna... trust me). Guess what OS was on there previously? a very, VERY sluggish version of 2000. I don't know how they kept it running, but they did.

I ask you, which is better on legacy hardware? The ability to choose what you need, so as to maximize what you have? Or the ability to run everything in the world, and see what breaks?

To the people out there about to mod me flamebait: Yes, I read TFA, and no, I don't buy it. To judge to world of Linux on a few distros is foolish. Just as they test a bunch of versions of Windows, they need to do a range of Linux. Jump to the end of the article:

While Novell's Ungashick agreed that, as a comparison of "out of the box" functionality and resource requirements of modern operating systems, what Microsoft claimed may well be true, he noted that on the desktop, Linux is far more modular and customizable than Windows, allowing it to run on a broader spectrum of hardware.

Good, they acknolwdge what I just said. But again, how do you define out of the box? Is it whatever boots from the CD? Or a 'full install'? I really think this is one of the worst benchmarks I've seen (even the other "independant" studies Microsoft did over the summer) due to the vagueness of the problem (my 'legacy' is your 'dream machine') to the differences inherant in different operating systems.

As an aside, my 'check' word here is "unguided". How fitting I think.

Uh... (2, Funny)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419952)

I think we're overlooking the real news here: They got Windows to run!

linux works when windows won't (1)

rheotaxis (528103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14419958)

One time, my hard drive crashed, and I had no cash. So, I used the Busybox [busybox.net] in Slackware to boot and build a virtual drive out of some RAM. I was able to use the dial up modem, and the Lynx text browser to get on-line again. This was a machine that only had 64MB, and I used about 16MB to make the virtual drive for the root mount. Sure, I had to read some technical details and do a few tests for a few hours, but I was able to adapt the resources to the situation at hand. My cost: a few hours of my time. Linux was the economic choice that just worked!


I bet M$ ignores use cases like this, they assume you have to spend money, or you're out of luck. Well, I value my time too highly to let M$ tell me how to spend my money.

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