Yes, we really do want to use Free Software.
Nov 12, 1998, 11:38 (49 Talkback[s])
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Well it finally happened.
We are building a large distributed system (about 200 processors
over a 20 mile region) using Linux and Interbase only. Recently, a
consultant hired by our client popped up with the questions I have
heard soooo much about:
- Do you really want to base your system on "freeware?"
- There is no technical support, how will you get questions
- Who are you going to blame?
Fortunately, my (Government) customer has had such a bad time
with NT over the past couple of years, the questions were not even
forwarded to us for review. The customer was happy to provide the
following answers directly to the consultant:
- You bet, the quality of code is too high to ignore. By the way
it isn't freeware, it's open source.
- We have given up calling Microsoft for support. Their support
people seem to be incapable of answering technical questions that
are deeper than simple "how do I boot my computer" questions. As
far as we are concerned Microsoft does not support its product. The
support we have received for Linux has been the best we have ever
experienced from any vendor. (Except us, I hope, Steve)
- Since Linux is very reliable, our trial systems were 100%
operational from day one, the issue of blame doesn't surface.
However, our experience with NT (SP4) gave us some insight into the
"who to blame" mentality.
The customer has really begun to despise Microsoft with their
lack of support and buggy operating systems. The customer's primary
server is operational and has a zero item bug list, except in the
operating system (NT). Since our overall strategy is to build the
entire "second phase" system from Linux, we have the task of
porting the existing server code to Linux, a task that ordinarily
would take a low priority since a working server already
The customer has overridden our own prioritization and requested
that the Linux port be completed ASAP. Two reasons:
- At least twice a week the NT machine crashes or starts to
behave strangely and a reboot is required.
- Remote system administration cannot be performed on the NT box
so we have to talk the customer through troubleshooting instead of
simply logging into their boxes directly from our site.
Since this customer now has about 30 Linux machines working in
remote, hostile environments and those machines NEVER go down, one
can understand their desire to get the NT -> Linux upgrade
One final point - if the Linux operating system cost $1,000 a
seat, it would still be the OS of choice. The decision was simply
not driven by dollars, reliability is the primary selection
criteria. Sorry, Microsoft.
Just thought you guys may be interested.