Viva le Same! Linux

Subject: Viva le Same! Linux
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2002 12:04:29 -0700 (PDT)

Couple of concepts to the Linux thread:

Linux suffers behind Windows for one, main reason - APIs. Windows is a good 10 or
more years ahead of Linux in its application programming interfaces. That means A
LOT of stuff can run on Windows. It also means most commercial software vendors
focus their development efforts on Windows and then only after the fact consider
porting to Linux. That coupled with Window's enormous install-base will make it
very hard for open-source products to replace it.

Second, without financial incentive, there will always be a limit to open-source
products. That limit will be the good graces of engineers who are willing to
donate their time. 99% of open source users never contribute a single thing to
the product. I don't know about you guys, but I generally limit how much "free
work" I do. Sure, I don't mind a little here and there, but overall, I still to
paying jobs.

RedHat Linux is NOT open-source, free-ware, or any of the other "freewheeling,
patchouli scented group hug" products that people think. RedHat Linux is merely a
commercial OS **based**on the Linux kernel. RedHat has a lot of proprietary
development in RedHat Linux and they are not going to just hand it over.

As for Microsoft's future plans - unless you are a Microsoft employee with access
to the actual company plans, then spare us the doom and gloom. Just because
Microsoft says something, doesn't mean it always comes true. There have been
NUMEROUS so-called initiatives at Microsoft aimed at "forcing" users into more
restrictive agreements that never happened.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about MS products. And I've come to
realize that most of it comes in the form of speculations that then become
interwoven with fact - then published in these various "studies." This is
ultimately just spawned out of the "MS is big, let's pick on" them mentality of
many open-source advocates.

For example, one of the gravest pieces of misinformation is the notion that
open-source products are inherently more secure than Windows products. This is
not true. People often cite that there are more bugs logged against Windows then
RedHat - hence less secure. Nonsense, there are MORE installations of Windows
then RedHat, hence the pure law of probability is at work that more bugs would be
found. In that sense, its more likely a bug will get found and fixed in Windows
because there are more Windows systems out there to detect those bugs. That in an
of itself offers a level of security to the product.

Second, people say - bugs get fixed quicker in Linux. Nonsense. There is no
financial incentive to patch Linux machines quickly. Moreover there is no central
mechanism to obtain the latest patches. Hence, many Linux systems are NEVER
patched after their initial installation. In contrast, Windows has a simple
point-and-click update system that is almost moron-proof, making it much easier
to keep the systems updated. And Microsoft has a strong financial incentive to
keep Windowz patched and secure.

Furthermore, most casual users of Linux products lack the knowledge (and the
software) to secure their systems. Many users of Linux leave the FTP services
installed with no password protection. This is really no different than casual
Windows users who do dumb things like install IIS and then never patch the

Moreover, what platform do you think most (good) hackers use? Windows? No, they
use Linux or BSD. Most (good) hackers have no idea how the inner-workings of
Windows servers work. But they know Linux up down and sideways. Which means they
are many times more likely to be able to find new holes in Linux than Windows.

Don't get me wrong, open-source products are all good technologies and they do
offer a compelling alternative. But when you cut through the hype and promise and
nonsense, you realize that its all about the same.

Andrew Plato

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