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 eWEEK.com 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....)

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