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IT-Director: A Fighting Chance [Linux vs. Windows]

Jan 21, 2000, 17:35 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Murphy)

"...while the Unix side has long offered features that Microsoft is still aspiring to, it seems congenitally incapable of understanding how to compete. ... The last few years have seen the rise of another low-cost Unix and one that appears to have the backing of a lot of industry vendors, resellers and commercial outlets. Linux has been steadily growing both in terms of sales, press coverage and market awareness."

"Over the last few years we have seen a protocol war as IPX/SPX, several NetBIOS derivatives and TCP/IP have fought for dominance. That TCP/IP has won is of little surprise given the availability of the core protocols and utilities on a large number of different operating systems. More importantly, the development of newer protocols and utilities moving away from just data and into the telephony and multimedia services was the killer blow. Just as important has been the role of TCP/IP on Unix platforms during the gestation and growth of the Internet. Not surprisingly, many of the key security issues, products and solutions are more likely to be available on Unix platforms rather than any other. This has also lead to a huge knowledge base for Unix and meant that the operating system has been through many years of attacks from hackers."

"If you take a look at the development of NT4 Service Packs, you will see just how many changes and fixes Microsoft has had to issue to make its TCP/IP stack and utilities such as DNS, DHCP and WINS appear to be industrial strength. Problems with the multi-homed routing and the lack of support for many of the more advanced TCP/IP protocols for telephony have also been a problem for Microsoft. There is no doubt that Microsoft recognises this and it has been very quick to point to what is happening with Windows 2000 and the massive extension to its TCP/IP stack."

"Linux is not a solution for everything but it is likely to provide Microsoft with stiff competition in the serious business arena. More importantly, if the US government does win its case with Microsoft, then the likely outcome will be a divorce between the Microsoft operating systems and general software divisions. This would expose Windows NT to the full force of competition from Linux and that would be extremely positive for the entire market."

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