Rockin' in a Windows World

by Dru Lavigne

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Normally I don't take the time to write about FUD, especially FUD regarding Linux v.s. Microsoft. Perhaps I'm starting to feel a twinge of responsibility as a writer and an educator. Or perhaps deep down it just bugs me that another female writer penned this article for a Canadian IT magazine to which I subscribe.

Regardless, I don't want to just concentrate on picking apart the article in order to disprove its technical inaccuracies, of which there are many. Instead, I want to step back and try to take a wider view.

This is easier said then done for someone who has been viewing the world from a technical perspective for the past decade. Yup, I admit that as soon as I finished reading the article, I fired up google and went looking for that hosting provider's site. And yes, I did receive some satisfaction when I read in said company's FAQ that their support representatives are both Microsoft and Redhat certified and that clients are permitted full "root" access to their hosted systems. I even went so far as to read the HTTP headers to see what OS and web server was in use.

And that's when I had to laugh at my knee-jerk reaction. Exactly what had I just "proved"? That I was more technically adept than the interviewer and the interviewee? While I'm at it, should I also stretch that proof into a tidy piece of logic that concludes open source is therefore better than Microsoft? Q.E.D.

This is where I'm left with more questions than answers. What can and should be done regarding the media's perceptions and misperceptions of open source? Should this even be tackled from a technical perspective or has the last 20 years of IT history proven that technical superiority is no match for slick advertising campaigns and aggressive marketing budgets?

I know I certainly don't have the answers to those questions. But I do know that these are some of the questions that open source users and advocates have to consider and address.


2004-08-09 23:26:31
what FUD?
Here's a company that has had bad experiences with small Linux based hosting providers in the past and decides to try something different.

To prevent the problems they were regularly faced with (version incompatibility, which everyone must admit is a major problem with Linux, poor support, etc. etc.) they move to another operating system with a unified architecture.

That OS is Windows which is hardly a surprise as it's #2 in the market for web hosting providers (#1 if you take each Linux version separate which given said compatibility problems between distributions and even versions within distributions should probably be done) so is a natural choice.

The next phase in their evolution may well be hosting their own servers at which point they may decide to return to Linux or go for one of the true Unix versions out there like AIX or Solaris.

Nowhere in the article (which is sprinkled liberally with advertising for Microsoft antagonist IBM btw (*)) do I read any of the typical warcries of the religious zealots (not very surprising maybe as those are mostly found in the Linux camp).

(*) I counted 5 ads for IBM and one link to an IBM press release on that one page.

2004-08-10 22:27:56
Microsoft fudsters posting talkbacks?
Sad to say, we seem to have our share of microsoft fudsters here. Apart from the silly comment about linux "version incompatibility" (not sure what that means, I am running all the same programs on suse 9.1 as I did on redhat and fedora - even quake 3 arena, which I bought in 1999, and used to run on redhat 5.2, back in the day)

But the real howler was where the fudster actually called IBM, which does millions of dollars a year in ms windows sales, a "microsoft antagonist" - LOL, if only Linux were beset with such "antagonists"!

So, it seems that any firm which allows for the existence of choice, and operating systems other than ms windows, is automatically branded a "microsoft antagonist" by these sorts of fanatics. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, indeed.

2004-08-11 14:04:45
what FUD?
It looks like you have been taken in with some of the FUD with this comment -

Linux is Linux is Linux (Linux is just the kernel, not the distribution). If you are referring to distributions, the only incompatibility at the OS level would be either BSD-script-based, or SYSV-Init style script based. With your logic, there would still only count Linux at 2 levels.

If you want to talk about incompatibilities: at least upgrading to a newer release of a Linux distribution does NOT force incompatibilities. As far as I know, once a library file (similar to Windows DLL files) has been released, older programs can still run them. Plus, installing software does NOT overwrite the binaries, unlike so many 3rd party Windows software. If there is a library (dll) incompatibility with the newer software, getting the newer library will fix it; the software does NOT overwrite the libraries, which DOES cause instability/unusability issues like in Windows.

BTW - I'm still able to install programs that were originally packaged for my Slackware v7.0 distribution under my Slackware v10.0 distribution with no problems whatsoever. Where's the incompatibility there?

2004-08-11 14:06:35
what FUD?
Nowhere in the article (which is sprinkled liberally with advertising for Microsoft antagonist IBM btw (*)) do I read any of the typical warcries of the religious zealots (not very surprising maybe as those are mostly found in the Linux camp).

Obviously, you have not talked to some Windows people that I have (Zeaolot does not even come close to how they talk about non-Windows software).