Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Back page page.
LinuxFool.com is another topic-oriented bulletin board discussion area for Linux users. Like other sites of this nature, the conversations are a little slow in taking off. It will be interesting to see if Linux users are simply not interested in bulletin board sites, or if one eventually really gets going.
Spanish-speaking readers may want to have a look at BarraPunto.com. The look is familiar, even if the language is different...
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
October 14, 1999
Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 13:13:34 +0100 From: Charlie Stross <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Oh, the embarrassment! Leafing through a shelf full of ancient computer magazines the other week, I cam across an early Microsoft infomercial. I can't resist the urge to spread it around: "Learning from minicomputers: until a few years ago, minicomputers offered little of relevence to microcomputer users. With the recent rise to prominence of UNIX, one of the minicomputer world's most popular operating systems, microcomputer manufacturers are beginning to look hard at minis. Microsoft's own version of UNIX, called Xenix, is the only UNIX now available, tailored specifically for micros. Microsoft has added many basic features omitted by UNIX's manufacturers, and has announced the product with menus and mouse interfaces for example, for the micro user. Xenix also arranges its files differently from conventional micro operating systems, and it looks as though the Xenix filesystem is catching on with micro manufacturers. Apple's new ProDOS for the Apple IIe and Apple III uses a similar system, as does a forthcoming OS from Dragon. Apple and Tandy as well as UK microcomputer companies, Tycom and Plessy, have gone for Xenix on their newest machines. With the Tandy model 16 and Apple's Lisa both running Xenix, it looks like being as successful on micros as it is on minicomputers." This advert ran in the now-defunct British magazine Practical Computing on page 149 of their January 1984 issue (Volume 7 issue 1). Can anyone else contribute some flagrantly enthusiastic UNIX advocacy on the part of Microsoft? You might want to run this as a competition, with a prize for the most recently published piece of blatant Microsoft UNIX promotion -- say, a copy of Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 for Alpha ("a better UNIX than UNIX"). -- Charlie Stross Linux columnist, Computer Shopper (UK)
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 17:54:15 -0400 From: walt smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Gerstners speach Thanks for placing the link to Gerstners speach. I don't know whether to sell my IBM stock or hope for a replacement for Gerstner. Clearly the man is living in a different world. A significant part of IBM is it's proprietary properties and manufacturing! The only part that made sense was the prediction of the explosion of internet appliances. But even his estimates seem wildly exagerated. There's not much more in the talk that is believable. I was going to quote parts and rebut... I can't - there's too much! (Is there an open source OS/2 ?) Much of the talk was dedicated to convincing the audience that hi-end servers - traditionally IBM's market (called mainframes) - connected to 'appliances' is the wave of the future. It certainly was the wave of the past when mainframes were connected to terminals. Yes, internet appliances will make an impact, but not in the way he believes. I won't elaborate unless I get a check for consulting; that information is very valuable to IBM's marketing!! And the PC is dead ? In normal english terms: Sheeeesh !! !! To conclude, this speech was really directed at the corporate officers. And is a duplicate of the Microsoft strategy. It may work; after all, look at MS's success! Us technocrats see that.... maybe some of corporate America has learned a few things by now? (naawwww.....) regards, Walt Smith, Baltimore --
From: Mike Richardson <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Microsoft says Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 08:40:04 +0100 Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Below is an extract from the MicroSoft website referred to in the 07-Oct edition of LWN, http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/nts/news/msnw/LinuxMyths.asp I have seen the f99.9% figure somewhere else, but could not remember where, but here it is again. Here is the quote (with acknowledgement to Microsoft) > There are no OEMs that provide uptime guarantees for Linux, unlike Windows NT > where Compaq, Data General, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Unisys provide 99.9 > percent system-level uptime guarantees for Windows NT-based servers. OK, now what does a 99.9% uptime guarantee mean? Well, it means that at bottom, a guarantee that the machine will not be down for more than one one-thousandth of the time. If we assume that we have a stable system, ie., one where the system is not taken down for software upgrades, etc., then we are looking at the time from a system crash (strictly, I think, from the time that the crash is actually noticed) to the time that the system is running again. So, below is a little table that shows the best guaranteed up-times for various values of the above restart time, rounded up. Restart time Uptime 10 mins 7 days 30 mins 21 days 120 mins 84 days etc ..... The conclusion I draw is that either (a) NT crashes very often and is quick to restart or (b) NT crashes less often but takes a long time to restart.. As someone who runs a machine that provides web services and a specialised on-line auction system, I would consider the above to be completely unacceptable. Our system, the last time I looked, has been up for about 250 days, and requires essentially no maintenance. Yours Mike Richardson
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 07:45:13 -0700 (PDT) From: kenneth topp <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Microsoft Hype (Re: Linux Myths) Editor, I hope that people responding to this document chose a different strategy: It's not responding to their claims (directly), and it's not pointing out NT's flaws (nothing to learn), but it is talking about linux's future. I am anticipating many new updates (XFree86 4.0, gimp 1.2, gtk1.4, kde 2.0, apache 2.0, perl 5.6, gcc 3.0, netscape5) which will make linux more functional and easy for more and more people. Linux doesn't meet NT feature for feature, and microsoft has been able to define what's important. On technical issues, linux users know that there isn't anything to fear. The worlds finest developers are on every remaining issue out there. Let's talk about licensing, open file formats, open protocols, unified platform. Lets discuss the development and user peer groups that grows larger ever day, and what they are accomplishing. I've been using my desktop linux box (Pentium 233) as a file/web/database/dns/smtp/dialup server for 10 active clients (mostly microsoft OS's), without complaint. All this with a USB mouse (first with UUSBD, thanks Inaky, then with backporting 2.3 code). Or, if we must attack them, I will testify that I just had to reboot NT to change where my web cache ("Temporary Internet Files") directory is located (I cannot wait till I can replace my NT PDC with samba). Kenneth Topp
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 14:07:17 -0700 From: philo<no>v@<spam.>com.calweb<.no> To: email@example.com Subject: Microsoft's FUD Storm I have a comment to make about Microsoft's latest web page detailing how 'NT works for corporations' whereas 'Linux does not.' I've read the document in its entirety, and as someone that's familiar with the finer details of how Windows NT works, I find it an amusing read at best. I wonder how many Microsoft professionals are actually fooled by this web page. It seems more aimed toward the uninformed management than anything. It brings up a big social question: Is it really the case that corporations are making technological decisions without the input of their technically proficient employees? It seems that this is what Microsoft is banking on, and given their huge marketing budget, I'd guess they've done their research. Is that the sad state of affairs in the technology industry? If so, is the increase in popularity of Linux a sort of social revolt by the technically competent against their technically incompetent superiors? Are we truly witnessing a revolution in the Linux movement? -- Philo Vivero
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: http://www.lwn.net/1999/features/MSResponse.phtml Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 12:55:33 +0200 From: Jan Nieuwenhuizen <email@example.com> Hi, Thanks for putting up this overall very good response. You use a fine mild tongue, acknowlegdge some facts, and try to judge by content. However, I'd like to make a side comment. Microsoft seems to be a master at using certain imho distasteful/sneaky techniques, and does so in this particular article. You identified this occurence: ...as opposed to the wonderful free support services for Windows NT... because it's a tad too obvious. Microsoft will claim problems with Linux (or any other package) and do it in such a way, that the reader will accept implicitely that Windows has good solutions -- while in fact Windows has similar problems. Also, I don't buy it that the blatant lies they use, are out of ignorance. I assume that they know very well what they're doing, (ie, apply tactic #2) and deliberately mix valid/half valid truths/problems with FUD, making the whole package of assertions appear to be right to an outsider. Remember that this page has not been put up for us, it's for the manager/newbe that can be fudded away. Pure FUD is much easier to fight, but more importantly, much more easy to identify by the newbe. As a third tactic, they use tentative statements in both directions: 'Linux is based on 30y old technology' -> must be bad (old == bad) 'Windows (NT) has an object based security model' -> must be secure Of course, both -> are rubbish, it's the actual performance in the field that counts. Lastly, what I really dislike (and you seem to miss, cmiiw), is sneaky stuff like: Linux lacks a commercial quality Journaling File System. *Commercial quality*. Can anybody explain to me what that's supposed to mean? To me that's a hollow phrase. Of course, windows 95 is 'commercial quality', and so is Solaris: they sell. But we don't care whether Linux sells or not. We just want something Good. So, if anything, we could want a 'GNU Quality', or 'Free Software Quality' JFS. 'Windows NT lacks a GNU Quality JFS'. The problem is, once you've switched, you know how big the differences are, quality wise. But if you're still on the other side, it's very hard to believe that something can be 'as good as Microsoft'. Microsoft knows this, and tries its best to maintain that line of thought: 'first, let Linux prove they reach our quality level, because they haven't yet'. We need to find a way to fight that (often hidden) message effectively. There is one thing that most rebuttals seem to miss: The `Linux Community' does not want to sell something. You can get hold of GNU/Linux for free, you try it for free. If a manager wants to find out if this Linux-fad is really just a hype, or a robust solution, he can find out for himself: get an old unused computer and install Linux. If he doesn't have the required knowledge to do this, he can find lots and lots of reports on the pro and cons of both GNU and NT. Since GNU/Linux users don't have financial interests in making Linux appear better than it is, the reports will be objective. In summary, my answer to Microsoft FUD would be: ``Don't believe what a company tells you about its competitors. Find out for yourself: give Linux a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.'' Greetings, Jan. -- Jan Nieuwenhuizen <firstname.lastname@example.org> | GNU LilyPond - The music typesetter http://www.xs4all.nl/~jantien/ | http://www.lilypond.org/
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 12:59:16 +0200 (MET DST) From: Pavel Kankovsky <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A few more comments regarding "The Five Linux Myths" Hi! I dare to comment things that were not addressed in your article. I hope you won't mind some of my remarks are somewhat caustic. :) > First, it's worth noting that Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. And NT is a VMS-like OS. I am exaggerating a bit but there are too many similarities between NT and VMS. Try reading Inside NT. Nevertheless, it is silly to assume old things are bad just because they are old. > The Linux SWAP file is limited to 128 MB RAM. It never occurred to me to use my precious RAM as a swapspace. > They have been promising these since the development of the 2.0 Kernel > in 1996... What about...ehm...Cairo? > Linux only provides access controls for files and directories. There must be some bug in kill(). It does not allow me to terminate root's processes. > Linux has not supported key security accreditation standards. Every > member of the Windows NT family since Windows NT 3.5 has been evaluated > at either a C2 level under the U.S. Government's evaluation process or > at a C2-equivalent level under the British Government's ITSEC process. Everyone should read the detailed certification reports to understand the whole truth about NT C2 or E3/F-C2 rating, esp. to learn what components were excluded from the certification and what assumptions were made about the hardware platform, the environment, and the configuration. See: http://www.microsoft.com/NTServer/security/exec/feature/c2_security.asp > In contrast, no Linux products are listed on the U.S. Government's > evaluated product list. Even if Linux systems were able to satisfy the criteria, no Linux vendor is rich enough to be able to afford the evaluation. > Misconfigure any part of the operating system and the system could be > vulnerable to attack. This holds for virtually any piece of software. --Pavel Kankovsky aka Peak [ Boycott Microsoft--http://www.vcnet.com/bms ] "Resistance is futile. Open your source code and prepare for assimilation."