Monday, March 29, 2004

Linux Rant

Here recently, there's been a great interest in Linux within the tech community. It doesn't do a whole lot all that well, but when it comes to single function boxes, it's a great fit. It can be 'thinned' down, and gone are the worries that are generally associated with Microsoft boxes where a service you don't use, and would rather not even have installed, poses a security risk on your system. Cutting to the quick, it became a little too popular for one UNIX vendor to bear, so they decided to sue everyone who uses Linux. The vendor, Santa Cruz Operations, now known as SCO, asserts that IBM gave away code to Linux to which SCO owns the rights.

I always thought SCO didn't have much of a leg to stand on since it appeared that the rights only applied to System V code, which is better than twenty years old (though to be sure, some UNIX stuff hasn't changed all that much), and, at least as I was led to believe at the time, SCO itself had given away the code itself at one point under a similar arrangement. The additional fact that it appears that Microsoft is funding the lawsuits didn't do much to convince me of the validity of their charges either.

As it turns out though, it might not matter, as there are plenty of vultures waiting in the wings to descend upon whatever remains of the Linux carcass. But why haven't they yet? Because Linux is the proverbial homecoming queen that's been switched for a sow. The fan boys of the sow keep putting more and more lipstick on, but anyone not completely delusional can see it's still a pig! (And no, the fact that some Linux fan boys date the pig doesn't change my mind). The hype generated by the fan boys does a lot to discredit their cause, but on the plus side, it keeps those who may have it in for them from taking them seriously. How about some sample delusions, mostly from the ever idiotic Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of E-week.

V-N: IDC found a 63.1 percent year-over-year growth for Linux servers, generating $960 million for the industry in the last three months of the year.

Me: Well, that includes hardware and software, so the number is already bad, but Microsoft by comparison made $1.87 billion in the same time period on their server items.

V-N: Take, for example, Server 2003's vulnerability to viruses and the like. You can barely look at our daily security updates without seeing yet another worm story or the need for yet another Microsoft patch.

Me: Linux fan boys constantly gloss over the incessant patches for their own product, some of which have been quite nasty. They've only been saved by the fact that no one uses their friggin product. (As an aside, I saw worms on Linux and Mac systems before I'd ever seen them on MS systems).

V-N: You want mission critical? First, let's dismiss any notion that good old "reboot-every-month" Server 2003 is mission-critical-capable in the first place. It's better than reboot-once-a-week Windows 2000 or every-other-day NT, but mission critical? Please!

Me: What a friggin' pile? What did these guys do to their systems that they'd have to reboot them that often? NT 4 is one of the most stable OSes ever written, and I've yet to have to reboot my Win2K servers because of some unknown glitch. But the reason for the 'reboot-reputation' of the Microsoft systems is actually a cause for Linux fan boys to be concerned about, since it's typically third party drivers that cause these issues. The only reason Linux doesn't have those issues is because no one writes software for their stinkin' platform!

V-N: Why do people keep thinking that Windows is enterprise-ready? I can only believe it's because they haven't really compared Windows with Solaris, AIX, z/OS, OS/400, HP/UX or, oh yes, Linux.

Me: I noticed his careful critique missed comparing Linux to those OSes as well. AIX or Solaris could make Linux their prison bitch any day of the week. The only reason IBM and Sun are shying away from their own UNIX flavors, is that they've determined that having a so-so OS developed for free makes more financial sense than paying out the wazoo for a world class OS. I have to wonder what those commie Linux coders have to think about the big heartless corporations cashing in on all their free effort...suckers!

There are also big dreamers who foresee Linux taking on Microsoft in the desktop arena, but what they fail to see is that Microsoft could crush them anytime they please. Microsoft just has to bundle some old version of Word with and old version of Windows and hawk it for $50 and no one will even contemplate buying that freeware crap. As it is though, Red Hat Enterprise Linux server costs more than Microsoft's server offering, but they somehow find a way to sell it to morons like Steven J Toomany-Names.

(My bold prediction? Lawsuits will kill off the free/small time Linux vendors and the big shops will pull in Linux as their own code and license it properly, though probably not before SCO goes out of business. The standardization of the proprietary flavors of UNIX will have occurred, and no one will care....)

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Rot in Hell Bob Taft

Man, I had a nice stack of mail today (3/4/04)! I had a Dell computer mag, with REAL women in it, and a letter from Ken Blackwell, the finest mayor the city of Cincinnati probably ever had.

Ken Blackwell's group had collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the fall ballot that would allow the voters in Ohio to vote yes or no on a sales tax hike. This was a hike that governor Bob Taft rammed through the state house, despite his promise a scant couple weeks before, during an election, that he would do no such thing.

Things were looking good, but Ken had distressing news. Uncle Bob had filed 59 lawsuits (a lawsuit in 59 different Ohio counties) in order to challenge the signatures on the ballots. Sounds like an expensive endeavor, but where-o-where did he get the money for this? Well according to Mr. Blackwell (Ken, not the fashion aficionado):

Recently I was given a copy of the December 2003 Ohio Education Association Executive Committee Meeting notes that state Governor Taft "has asked all the [public employee] unions to assist him in stopping" our efforts to repeal the sales tax increase.

The meeting notes go on further to explain how they will seek from every member of their union at least $10 "to stop this action before it gets anywhere."

Amazing! Well...not really, just quite disappointing. Of course this gets back to John Derbyshire's point on taking voting rights away from those who work for public sector unions ('cept maybe law enforcement), a point I happen to agree with:

Take away their vote. If you let public employees vote, what do you think they are going to vote for? For more public spending, more government jobs, higher government wages. Can you vote yourself a pay raise? No, and neither can I. Bill Bureaucrat and Pam Paperpusher can, though, and they do. Bill and Pam have no problem at all with ever-swelling public budgets, with ever-expanding public services, with the creeping socialism that is slowly throttling our liberties out of existence.

Please don't write and whine to me: "I'm a public servant. I've worked my buns off for 30 years at a demanding and essential job, for an unimpressive salary. Why are you being mean to me?" I'm not being mean to you. I like you. Thank you for your work, for your service to my country. I sincerely thank you. I just don't see why you should have a vote.

Working for the state, or the nation, is a great privilege and an honor. It brings with it great security, since states and nations very, very rarely go out of business. Let privilege, honor and security be rewards enough; let's not gild the lily with fripperies like voting rights.

Of course Bob Taft has decided to go the low road and join with the nasty unions in this effort. But I'm confused as to what's in it for him. It's not like he could ever run for public office in Ohio again (he's currently in his term-limited final term); I doubt if he could get elected as mayor of his hometown (where ever that is) if he tried now. Even better yet, if he manages to keep the Ohio economy down with his moronic practices, he could wind up losing the state for Bush - he'd be lucky to get the Republican party to let him hand out buttons at the next convention if that happens.

Anyway, a politician with a future, Ken Blackwell, is fighting the good fight. Here's his site if you want to slip him a few bucks and/or collect a couple signatures. And it case you have A LOT of cash left over, Dell makes a mean gaming laptop.