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

“…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
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.”