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Why UNIX is better than Windows... By Microsoft 974

BenBenBen writes "According to a whitepaper found on "a fairly insecure server", UNIX not only is more reliable and easier to maintain than Windows (2000 in this case), it's cheaper too. These shock results are reported on both The Register and (the source) Security Office."
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Why UNIX is better than Windows... By Microsoft

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  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:20PM (#4723393) Homepage Journal
    Looks like this was written by someone from hotmail explaining why they chose UNIX over Windows initially. A lot of it describes trade-offs that would not matter at all to Microsoft (e.g. licensing costs of Win2k) and the impact to a "startup" is mentioned at least once.

    I don't think this is a Microsoft internal memo so much as a hotmail-to-Microsoft internal memo.
  • by NickV ( 30252 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:24PM (#4723431)
    Actually, I have a few friends who interned at MS this summer and apparently the phrase "eat your own dog food" is very very very popular on the campus.

    If anything, including that phrase in the document only makes it seem MORE credible.
  • Stupid headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:27PM (#4723465)
    I hate Microsoft much as the next guy, but the headline is *way* overwrought. If you actually read the linked article, it's just an honest pro/con comparison. They mention certain advantages of UNIX (text configuration, small size) and certain advantages of Windows (better internationalization, more developer support, better throughput). Entirely realistic and a perfectly fine rationale document. There are some bits I disagree with (eg. Visual Studio being better than the UNIX development tools) but overall, this is just a document written by an engineer weighing the various issues involved in switching from UNIX to Windows.
  • Wait a minute... (Score:3, Informative)

    by RomikQ ( 575227 ) <> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:28PM (#4723474) Homepage
    Well, the original article is slashdotted, but here are my two cents:

    I tend to view any such "inside" source very suspiciously - the halloween paper about how to bring linux down was fairly believable, but this... Well, the register says:

    ...but concludes that the company ought to set the right example by ensuring that each division "should eat its own dogfood."

    ... Huh? what kind of an official document would claim that their product is crap? This suggests that the paper is of an unofficial status. Well, then, why the hell does it matter. If I worked for microsoft and said things like 'yeah, windows sucks, unix rules' would that make a bit of difference to the company's policy(internal and external)? And the fact that securityfocus "dicovered on a poorly protected server" adds more doubt. Were they hacking into MS servers searching for compromising documents?

    Now, I didnt read the paper itself, so I apologize if this post is missing the point.

  • by _ganja_ ( 179968 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:30PM (#4723493) Homepage
    Tit. FTFA: "The whitepaper, by MS Windows 2000 Server Product Group member David Brooks"

  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:33PM (#4723512) Homepage Journal
    No it was almost certainly this [] over the next few days and weeks I have a feeling we will see many more of these kinds of things.

    Also see this [].
    So no it is not criminal it was a screw up at MS.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:35PM (#4723536)
    Security Office is admitting to criminal activity?

    Not necesarily. They never said they "hacked" it. Read this article [] at Wired yesterday. Apparently there was a public FTP server at MS that MS employees were using to store sensitive files, because they weren't aware that it was public.

    The funny thing is that MS was notified, took the server down, cleaned it, put it back up, and the same employees started doing it again.

    If the data is in a public server, then it's not "hacking".
  • by job0 ( 134689 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:37PM (#4723557)
    lamenes filter won't let me post the whole document so I will have to break it up


    This white paper discusses the approach used to convert the Hotmail web
    server farm from UNIX to Windows 2000, and the reasons the features and
    techniques were chosen. It will focus primarily on the planners,
    developers, and system administrators. The purpose of the paper is to
    provide insight for similar deployments using Windows 2000. We will
    discuss the techniques from the viewpoint of human engineering as well
    as software engineering.

    Early results from the conversion, which was limited to the front-end
    web servers, are:

    Windows 2000 provides much better throughput than UNIX.

    Windows 2000 provides slightly better performance than UNIX.

    There is potential, not yet realized, for stability of
    individual systems to be equal to that of UNIX. The load-balancing
    technology ensures that the user experience of the service is that
    stability is as good as it was before the conversion.

    As this paper will show, while the core features of Windows
    2000 are able to run the service, its administrative model is not well
    suited to the conversion.

    The observations related here are derived from experience gained at a
    single site. More work would be needed to establish whether they are
  • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:2, Informative)

    by EverlastingPhelps ( 568113 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:38PM (#4723566) Homepage
    ...but concludes that the company ought to set the right example by ensuring that each division "should eat its own dogfood." ... Huh? what kind of an official document would claim that their product is crap? This suggests that the paper is of an unofficial status.
    That isn't what "eating your own dogfood" means. It is a marketing term, from back in the old days. I means that if you work for Alpo, your dogs eat Alpo. If you work for Coca Cola, you can't be seen drinking a Pepsi (this is an actual company policy, BTW.) It isn't a derrogatory term, any more than your webpage taking a lot of hits means that someone is trying to beat you up.
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by bckspc ( 172870 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:39PM (#4723570) Homepage
  • technet article (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:39PM (#4723573)
    From Microsoft's public version [] of the description of the migration:

    "FreeBSD, a UNIX-like system similar to the Linux operating system, was used to run the front-end Web servers that handled login"

    FreeBSD isn't a "UNIX-like", its a real UNIX!!!
  • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:40PM (#4723582) Homepage
    You people are reading WAY TOO MUCH into this expression. "We should eat our own dogfood" merely expresses the sentiment that the company should use it's own product. It is in no way an admission of poor quality.

    Real software vendors do actually include such statements in official policy statements.

    Sometimes I wonder if some of you people have made it out of middle school yet.
  • by Neon_Mango ( 143057 ) <> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:41PM (#4723595) Homepage
    Here's a mirror []
  • by sparkz ( 146432 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:45PM (#4723622) Homepage
    It's a common phrase - I've worked at ICL and Sun, and they both use it. It's just another cliche like "singing from the same hymnsheet" and all the other stupid phrases that nobody would use after 5pm.
  • mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:46PM (#4723631)
    memo []
  • by job0 ( 134689 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:53PM (#4723702)
    Advantages of UNIX

    Commonly, although not strictly correctly, the generic term UNIX
    describes a family of operating systems that are deployed on a variety
    of systems. Although their internal design may be different, the
    variants appear to their end-users as the same system, with minor (and
    annoying) differences in usage. There are two variants in use at
    Hotmail: FreeBSD, which can be used without license cost and is
    available in source form, and Solaris, which is bundled with Sun
    hardware. Linux, which is just another UNIX variant, was not used at

    The following sections will examine facts about UNIX (specifically
    FreeBSD) as they relate to the conversion problem. We also consider
    Apache as an intrinsic part of the UNIX-based solution, in the same way
    that IIS is an intrinsic part of Windows 2000 Server.

    1) Familiarity. Entrepreneurs in the startup world are generally
    familiar with one version of UNIX (usually through college education),
    and training in one easily converts to another. When setting up a new
    enterprise, it?s easy to work with what you know than to take time
    investigating the alternatives.

    2) Reputation for stability. Both the UNIX kernel, and the design
    techniques it encourages, are renowned for stability. A system of
    several thousand servers must run reliably and without intervention to
    restart failed systems. For Windows 2000, we must first prove the
    stability in the same environment, and we must then convince the rest of
    the world.

    Apache is also designed for stability and correctness, rather than
    breadth of features or high performance demands.

    3) FreeBSD is free. Although there are collateral costs (it?s not
    particularly easy to set up) the freedom from license costs is a major
    consideration, especially for a startup. The free availability of source
    also means that it can be fairly simple (or it can be very difficult) to
    make local changes [3] .

    4) Easy to minimize. The typical UNIX server is taking care of one
    task, not acting as a desktop and development platform for a user. It is
    particularly easy to cut down the load on the system so that only the
    minimum number of services is running. This reduced complexity aids
    stability and transparency.

    5) Transparent. It?s easy to look at a UNIX system and know what is
    running and why. Although its configuration files may have arcane (and
    sometimes too-simple) syntax, they are easy to find and change.

    6) Preference for text files. Most configuration setups, log files,
    and so on, are plain text files with reasonably short line lengths.
    Although this may be marginally detrimental to performance (usually in
    circumstances where it doesn?t matter) it is a powerful approach because
    a small, familiar set of tools, adapted to working with short text
    lines, can be used by the administrators for most of their daily tasks.
    In particular, favorite tools can be used to analyze all the system?s
    log files and error reports.

    7) Powerful but simple scripting languages and tools. Again,
    familiarity and consistency among UNIX implementations is the key. Over
    the years, UNIX versions have evolved a good set of single-function
    commands and shell scripting languages that work well for ad-hoc and
    automated administration. The shell scripting languages fall just short
    of being a programming language (they have less power than VBScript or
    JScript). This may seem to be a disadvantage, but we must remember that
    operators are not programmers; having to learn a block-structured
    programming language is a resistance point. Scripts that combine
    executables into pipelines are simple to build incrementally and
    experimentally, and even the experienced Hotmail administrators seem to
    be taking that approach for special purpose scripts (using CMD) rather
    than authoring with one of the object-oriented scripts.

    On the other hand, PERL (another language that has grown organically
    with a lot of community feedback) is more of a programming than
    scripting language. It is popular for repeated, automated tasks that can
    be developed and optimized by senior administrative staff who do have
    the higher level of programming expertise required.
  • by mj01nir ( 153067 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:56PM (#4723733)
    I was curious about the author, so I started Googling a bit. Many of his newsgroup posts are in relation to Microsoft's UNIX products (like Outlook Express for HP-UX and IE for Solaris) and his .sig is ususally "Test Lead, Microsoft Corp." Here [] he mentions being an ex-employee of OSF and The Open Group.

    Enquiring minds and all that.
  • Mirror (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:58PM (#4723741)
    You know, I have the same problem. I thought the moment I read the article "rabid lawyers will be at work. this server won't last the day" and started to mirror it. Unfortunately, I couldn't get all of the site before some bozo put a link to it on /.

    --16:41:28-- html
    (try: 22) => `msdetails.html'
    Connecting to
    connect: Connection timed out

    --16:44:37-- html
    (try: 23) => `msdetails.html'
    Connecting to connected!
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
    Read error (Connection reset by peer) in headers.

    Sigh. Anyway, here's the hotmail page, which I got earlier. It's over 100k so I zipped it, you evil slashdotters:

  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @12:59PM (#4723747) Homepage
    Allow me to preface this by saying that I feel this way *regardless* of which platform you are developing for:

    Anybody who doesn't RTFM _before_ asking is asking for trouble. Doesn't matter what platform they're developing for. If you have time to code, you have the time to read the documentation, or a book, or ... otherwise you're just wasting people's time. Of course, if you actually *did* develop for *nix, you'd know that there are tons of good mailing lists out there with kind curteous professionals who dont mind answering your questions if they havn't already been answered in the manual.

    BUT, in the windows world, there are way more casual programmers who will help other casual programmers be lazy, in order to learn the bare minimum of what must be done to solve a problem. So people are generally more patient in the Windows world because there are less people who would apply the 'what should a professional do' metric against developers seeking help.

    That doesn't make *nix developers elitist. Honest to god mechanics dont wanna stand around all day and explain how your engine works. If you're interested enough, you have time to learn the basics yourself .. once you're up to speed and can formulate intelligent questions that havn't been answered a million times before, that mechanic will be much more receptive towards helping you learn new things. Its a pretty natural dynamic, and one thats been around in pretty much any profession or industry.
  • Re:Bingo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot@cPERIOD ... minus punct> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:10PM (#4723850) Homepage Journal
    Au contraire. The whole thing is built around that 16 bit 8-3 filename DOS shell. It's the GUI part that's an "afterthought".

    Was. WAS built around that 16-bit 8.3 quick and dirty operating system.

    It was rebuilt in 1995 to a 32-bit 256 filename DOS replacement, and shortly thereafter in a not-really-DOS-at-all OS called NT.

    And in NT, I think the command line was an afterthought. There's a lot that can be done with it, but not nearly enough.

    If the paper's legit, expect a command-line resurgance for Windows server. Or at least, hope for one.

    (And on a totally different note--I think I'd rather have a "GUI first CLI later" structure than a "CLI first GUI later" strucutre like Linux.)
  • Re:Bingo! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tshak ( 173364 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:12PM (#4723865) Homepage
    As a full time Windows developer, I would hate working in Windows if EVERYTHING wasn't easily scriptable. I'll agree that the original nonsense with the registry and VBScript/COM based WSH was a mess, but almost everything has gone XML and by WIndows.NET server everything will be XML configurable. For example, IIS6 is configured like Apache's httpd.conf (but true XML) and there's just a GUI on top for those who want to waste their time or setup a personal web site really quick. Actually, I know people who work internally at MS and they use Perl all the time for automation scripts. I'm not saying that Windows's scripting better, Unix scripting is still a bit more 'natural' IMHO. The problem with Windows is more that the sysadmins generally don't know how to code.

  • Re:GIVE ME A BREAK!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by forsetti ( 158019 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:27PM (#4724029)
    Three clicks in Computer Management won't shut down all services, only user-administerable services.

    There are a number of services (RPC, NetBIOS, etc) that are VERY difficult to shutdown, and are only useful if you run in a domain or workgroup.

    If I have to run IIS on a standalone Windows 2000 box, I DO NOT want these extraneous services running. I want a box that only has ports 80,443, /maybe/ some file access port for ftp or sftp to upload files. That's it -- none of those silly TCP/UDP135-139 (generalization) ports!
  • Re:Bingo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by gorilla ( 36491 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:27PM (#4724035)
    2.0 had pipes and redirection too. At the time when MS was going from 1.0 to 2.0, their stratagy was for Unix to eventually replace DOS. That's why they created Xenix.
  • by andy landy ( 306369 ) <> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:43PM (#4724160) Homepage
    On the note of Windows compatibility, what about compatibility between versions? NT is certainly not totally compatible with DOS/9x. I've got games that will run under 95/98 but not 2000/XP.

    At the end of the day, you have to sacrifice compatibility to remove cruft. It's just a balancing act.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:48PM (#4724208)
    Microsoft already did something similar years ago. They loaded their GUI on top of VMS.

    They hired Dave Cutler(one of the principles who created VMS) to design NT for them. The original design and stratagy was fantastic. Then MS management decided to bend/add/change directions. The cruft they've added over the years have changed it considerably, but at it's roots, NT was VMS(-like).

    Arguably, VMS is as good of a base for a system as UNIX, so they've already been down that road once.
  • by El ( 94934 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#4724257)
    Sorry to disagree with you, but if you can get work done with Office, which tends to hang without saving your work when inserting graphics, then you should really be able to get a lot more done with FrontPage, which is much cleaner and easier to understand, more reliable, and has productivity features such as macros that Office doesn't. Unfortunately, their marketing sucks. Oh, and by the way, Word was obviously a clone of WordPerfect, just as Excel was obviously a clone of Lotus123 which was a clone of VisiCalc. Original programs, indeed!
  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by kubla2000 ( 218039 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#4724296) Homepage

    Are slashdotters extremely naive or something? Every company takes a look at the competition and compares it to their own product, distributing memos on whats better about the competition so that they can improve on their own products. This isn't news. It's business.

    I was about to mod you down but decided to respond instead.

    Have you read the article? I suspect not. As you are clearly unaware, Microsoft bought Hotmail. At the time they bought it, Hotmail was running on FreeBSD. Much to Microsoft's shame, they couldn't port Hotmail to Windows and keep the service running. Finally, after months and months and months of effort, they did it. But it isn't done well and as this report demonstrates, their own engineers aren't happy with how it's been done.

    This has nothing to do with "looking at the competition". This has everything to do with Microsoft's engineers writing up the reasons for the inadequacy of w2k for a large-scale deployment of this kind. Key phrases from the article:

    - "Although Hotmail uses Microsoft software without license fees, we must consider this project as a model for real customers. Use of WLBS requires Advanced Server, but Server provides all the other features used by Hotmail. Using list prices, the cost comparison for a farm of 3500 servers is: Using WLBS (hence Advanced Server): $15M+ / Using LD and Server: $6M+"
    - "A service may be hung, and rather than take the time to find and fix the problem, it is often more convenient to reboot [a Windows machine]. By contrast, UNIX administrators are conditioned to quickly identify the failing service and simply restart it; they are helped in this by the greater transparency of UNIX and the small number of interdependencies."

    ...and so on. You accuse the /. masses of rabidity but it is, as a point of fact, you who are knee-jerking in defence of the justified laughter and celebration of those of us who have to fight against Microsoft FUD on a daily basis. How nice to have a document to point to now and say, "look, if you don't believe me, believe microsoft. Deploying on a *nix platform is cheaper and better!"

  • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#4724301)

    Oh, I've *always* considered any comparison between a marketed product as "dog food" as being negative.

    My presumtion is that the phrase originated as the pejorative, "They don't even eat their own dog food!", which asserts that the fact that a company doesn't even use it's own product is a big vote of no confidence. It's crap, and they know it. Marketroids, always ones to capitalize on a hot new idiom, tried spinning the inverted "We eat our own dogfood" into something positive. But the admission was there that it was still dog food. This says to me: "We know it's crap, but we still use it, so obviously it can't be *that* crappy! Besides, it's our crap, and we need you to think we believe in it."

    How about some context: Look on the label from a can of dog food, one of the more common ingredients is "tripe". While apparently it is one of the basic food groups for dogs [], it carries another important connotation [] for humans.

    You go ahead a eat your own dogfood. When I produce dog food, I feed it to the dogs.

  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#4724309)
    Visual C++ is a pile of stinking shit. A C++ compiler cannot call itself a C++ compiler if it only has half-ass support for a nearly 5 year old standard! VC++ 7 is getting better, and the 7.1 beta is supposed to be quite good, but GCC was there a good while before, and GCC's C++ support is *extremely* robust. Visual Studio has a good code editor (though, the auto-indent tries to force you to layout your code in weird ways, like no indent after public: declaration) and a very good class browser, but other than that, it's not great at all. GDB is perfectly comparable to Visual C++'s debugger, and the remote debugging feature has much less overhead on the target (good for developing embedded code) and an open protocol. Visual C++'s make system uses binary files (ugh) and can be quite delicate and easy to fool (at least in VC++ 6.x). Visual C++ is just peachy for writing Windows/MFC/RAD code, but for anything else, the numerous UNIX tools are far better.

    PS> Don't even get me started on Visual Source Safe...
  • by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @02:04PM (#4724366) Homepage
    Why bother then? If Apple, with far less resources of any kind whatsoever, managed to plug a decent user interface on the top of a free UNIX-like layer, Microsoft could certainly do the same, only better and faster.

    The thing is that Microsoft knows this already. Bill Gates was an big promoter of UNIX in his early days. He knew that the future of the server OS was in UNIX. In the late 70's, Microsoft licensed UNIX from Bell Labs and wrote their own "flavor" called Xenix (here's a little FAQ []). It was ported to multiple architectures. The problem? Nobody bought it, and it was cancelled. (Though it was later picked up by SCO).

    Microsoft can certainly do it right now. The problem is that I don't think that Mr. Gates cares much for failure -- and failing twice is likely not an option. Their early UNIX adoption came back and bit them in the ass, hard. So Microsoft went ahead and tried a different approach to taking a bite out of the server market. They designed an OS to do what UNIX did -- just a little differently...and with a friendlier face.

    Enter WindowsNT.

    Is it as good as UNIX? Arguably not. But just like in the old days with IBM:
    Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft.

    Because of this axiom (really, the thought process and ideology behind it) NT is now pretty widespread.

  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @02:42PM (#4724730)
    Actually, Word is a clone of Lotus AmiPro.
  • by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:05PM (#4724932)
    For all your old-school gaming needs under an NT-based OS, try VDMSound []. I've been using it for a bit, and it's wonderful :)
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:24PM (#4725104) Homepage Journal
    MS didn't lisence it from Apple, although Apple Bought it from PARC(with stock).

    There was a court case between MS and Apple over this because MS didn't buy it.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:32PM (#4725174)

    When they made DOS, they looked at Unix for an example.

    They didn't make DOS, they bought it for something like $50k.

    When they started to do networking, [...] MicroSoft cam up with NetBeui.

    I think that one is IBM's fault.

    And where is SSH or even telnet on Windows? True, there's a telnet _client_, but MicroSoft is still behing on the rest of the world here (which isn't so bad for desktop systems, but it certainly is for servers).

    You can get an ssh client several places, and I'm fairly certain that win2k ships with a telnet server, though I don't know how useful that is, since windows software is so gui oriented. A better remoting solution is to use VNC or to get XP pro and use their single-client term server.

  • by 5KVGhost ( 208137 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:38PM (#4725233)
    Office is originally a clone...
    Word is a ripoff from WordPerfect

    Only if you consider WordPerfect to be a "ripoff" of Wordstar. Or EasyWriter. Or Electric Pencil. Or one of the other dedicated word processing systems that were around for a good decade before WordPerfect was published.

    Excel a copy of 1-2-3

    Excel was more of an evolution of MS Multiplan, created for the original Mac back in 1985. It had a graphical interface from the start. It followed the same general conventions as 1-2-3, but it would have been silly not to.

    (and those copies of Visi-Calc and Visi-Text from early 80-s or was it late 70-s)

    VisiCalc was introduced in 1979 . The other Visi-On suite applications did not achieve the same level of success.

    Fighting over who did what first is pretty pointless. Software inspires others software. Look at all the open source projects that exist only to ape their existing commercial counterparts.
  • by MrChuck ( 14227 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:39PM (#4725247)
    Lessee, Apple moved from a CISC 68000 series chips to the RISC based PPC (after inquiring about the Alpha and Digital telling them they weren't interested).

    That cutover? Pretty close to seemless. Again:
    They changed CPU families and it was hard to notice

    For you linux boyz, this isn't AMD into Intel, it was one instruction set for an entirely different one.

    On the OS side, Copeland never happened. Windows surpassed Mac OS (7? 8?) in several regards with Win 95 (preemptive multi-tasking, etc). Apple was failing until NeXT effectively bought them (NeXT took money and got replaced Apple's CEO and lead engineers with NeXTs) and the new Mac Operating System was NeXTStep with a pretty GUI on top of it.

    Of the companies that can make a transitions, Apple has shown they can do it. Sun moved from 68k to SPARC and you have to re-buy and rebuild EVERYTHING. With Digital, we moved from MIPS boxes to Alpha and got an OS that was entirely unrelated to Ultrix (not necessarily bad on that).

    Add to this that you get the Mac OS advantages of a designed OS with managers and abstract hooks for both the GUI and the devices.

    This is what makes it easy to write a program that takes an action when, hmm, a floppy is installed, or a folder on a server gets a new file, or when a window is closed or another app opened.

    Rapid design tools, an OS with built in hooks (as from the beginning) keep devices abstracted from the apps, to keep event handling and menus and alerts abtract (schoolmate used ResEdit to translate Word's alerts into Hindi for his parents - in spare time with no need for source).

    And a consistent interface.

    GNOME and KDE brought SOME GUI design standards to Unix (after the X Consortium and OSF not just dropped the ball, but refused to touch it - 5 apps had 5 different ways to quit, or save or open a file; so very DOS). But Unix still suffers from 50 different config file FORMATS. At least xinetd.conf looks like named.conf looks like DHCPd.conf (thanks ISC). While running Unix is VERY empowering and lets you grow as you master more and more of the tools there-in, admin'ing it still requires far too much rote memorization.

    Granted, I don't have XP here (or any windows, just 6 different Unixes and MacOS 9 on a mac clone). Aside from the license requiring me to spread my cheeks, I'm told that XP sucks less than 95/98/2000 (whatever happened to ME?). Best: MS adds have touted XP: XP is far less unreliable than Windows 98

    Microsoft MS is not going to embrace Unix as the future. But it's not a bad idea to look at the other OSs and evaluate yourself against them periodically. Would that Unix did that a bit more often, but we seem blind to the fact that Windows, for being a closed and really badly licensed OS, has some good ideas in there.

    What did Plan 9 or Inferno offer? Windows/VMS? What ever happened to MicroKernels and being able to break up kernels and control of them into controllable subsystems (with different authentication available)?

    Truth be told, Unix has several weakness and problems. It's not helped by the 15 year running "Unix Wars". If you wanted to break up root, you have several options to choose from, none of which run on more than 1-2 versions of Unix.

    Linux presents some unique interfaces not found in Posix or other Unixes; many "open source" programs written on Linux first are a bear to get running on Non-Linux OSs. I can usually get a BSD or Solaris app running on Linux quickly. That's likely a reflection of the programmer's experience and not inherent to Linux itself, but it presents a problem and yet another rift.

    Sometimes Linux is not the Right Unix to run.

  • by neonzebra ( 33639 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:43PM (#4725285)
    Actually the quote is from PBS's Triumph of the Nerds:
    "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is -- I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way -- in the sense that they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product. And you say why is that important -- well you know proportionally spaced fonts come from type setting and beautiful books, that's where one gets the idea. If it weren't for the Mac they would never have that in their products and so I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success -- I have no problem with their success, they've earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products." -- Steve Jobs
  • Re:Shock Results? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Oswald ( 235719 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:59PM (#4725437)
    This is an example of the cluelessness that has taken over Slashdot "discussion." Not only is obvious sarcasm misunderstood here, but the basic facts of the story are missed (i.e. the paper was NOT published by MS).

    Then, to compound the idiocy, the comment is modded up as "insightful."

  • Re:Bingo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by tshak ( 173364 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @03:59PM (#4725439) Homepage
    Active State's Perl for Win32 is the only thing that has made it possible at all. It's gotten easier as time has gone by, not so much because Microsoft has given us better tools (although they have) but because the various modules that allow Perl to interact with the Windows APIs have gotten better.

    Who do you think invested in Active State to get Perl on Windows (and .NET)? Microsoft.
  • by dohcvtec ( 461026 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:09PM (#4725536)
    Config files in *nix are often inconsistent and obscure
    The article specifically talks about FreeBSD, so maybe you should take a look at FreeBSD's configuration files. What could be easier than /etc/defaults/rc.conf (unless you can't read)? To wit: sshd_enable=YES. OMG that was soooo inconsistent and obscure?!?! Or how about: hostname="" WTF? Where do I press OK? What is this, text? Wow, who uses text anymore... Seriously, you have a point about, but most config files aren't so bad, and even then the defaults are usually what you need, and they're already there, so all that's needed is to turn daemons on or off.
  • PPT was a rip of HG (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrChuck ( 14227 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:26PM (#4725687)
    It's been sort of said, but recall that MS had Excel and Word.

    The dominant presentation tool was Harvard Graphics. It was used by EVERY business that needed a tool like that. Microsoft used it all the time.

    Then they created PowerPoint. As typical of their strategy, version one and two we're worth wiping your butt with. A friend at MS was ORDERED to stop using HG and start using PowerPoint. He lost animation, audio, etc.
    "PPT is a multimedia presentation tool without the burden of being multi or very useful" in his words.

    How to get market share for this ? Hmmmm (/me strokes beard).
    I know! Bundle it with Word and Excel, call it "Office" and make that the only way for businesses to buy it!

    It was a two-fer. If you lived on WordPerfect and Excel, or Word and 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro, well, when you upgraded, you have both MS products. It's now a bad business idea to also go get WordPerfect or 1-2-3 (to be fair, Lotus never really upgraded 1-2-3 in a timely way and Quattro smoked it for $119).

    Need a presentation tool? PowerPoint is Free! (no, your honor, it was fair competitive practices - we just gave customers the 3 tools and charged them for Word and Excel but we didn't make PowerPoint "free").

    As it aged, it did become more useful. And bloated. And proprietary.

  • Moderators on crack! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:29PM (#4725719) Journal
    Uh, sorry, but this is just plain wrong. Microsoft took the code they had from OS/2 and made it into Windows NT.

    Uh, sorry, but this is just plain wrong. NT is the product of VMS engineers [] bringing their talents and experience into a different product.

    Ever wonder why the first release of Windows NT was called '3.1'?

    No, actually. It was to avoid maturity confusion between NT and Windows 3.1. Releasing Windows NT as 1.0 would have made marketing less effective. Given it had the same UI as Windows 3.1 was another reason.

    While your last paragraph is true, it hardly constitutes receiving a score of 5. Moderators need less crack.
  • by snilloc ( 470200 ) <> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:42PM (#4725816) Homepage
    I just finished working (temp job) for a company that used Harvard Graphics to make the charts, and then Copy-and-Paste everything into PowerPoint as graphics and put the finishing touches on them.

    It was very labor intensive. And, if there was a substantial edit, you had to go back into the HG file, fix your chart, and re-import the whole damn slide. But the end result was spectacular.

    We used HG-98 and Ppt-2002. After we finally transitioned off Win9x to totally XP, most of the HG98 problems (mostly crashes) we were having disappeared. (There was one pesky problem I encountered ... but not something I came accross frequently)

    HG makes graphics look so much better than the MS-Office produced stuff that it makes me sick anymore to see Excel graphs.

  • by Oestergaard ( 3005 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:47PM (#4725860) Homepage
    Nice piece of documentation, but I really almost fell off my chair when I read the part about:
    The development platform, specifically Visual Studio, is a major advantage. Even before the conversion to Windows was contemplated, Hotmail developers used Visual Studio on NT4 to develop and debug their code.

    And later on: In the first days of deployment, some server threads went into a CPU-consuming loop. Using Visual Studio, Hotmail developers were able to find the application-level problem in a few minutes. That would have been impossible using UNIX tools.

    Now *that* just takes the price. I was involved with the performance analysis prior to rolling out a heavy-traffic on-line gaming site. We benchmarked backend databases, and we did investigations on how to get the right web server performance.

    Our solution: Code Apache modules in C++. Run them as modules there. And run them on GNU/Linux.

    Development platform: Same as deployment platform: Some GNU/Linux boxen with GCC and Apache.

    We saw the same problems as MS did with ASAPI; crashes (only taking down single Apache processes, not the whole server of course), infinite loops, memory leaks, etc. etc. And simply because of the superior development environment that we had, by *not* developing on windows, we could easily:
    • produce system-call traces (strace -p on a running apache process)
    • attach debuggers (gdb on a running process)
    • automatically let a segfault signal handler dump a stack trace and *e-mail* us the stack-trace as the segfault happened. On a production system.

    I code for many platforms and I do it for a living. I have not, ever, seen as crippled a development environment as Windows (2000 and NT4, same shit different wrapping). Considering everything from tools to APIs, even NetWare is nicer (using gdb to cross-compile, but contrary to Win32, the NetWare API actually works as documented).

    "would have been impossible using UNIX tools" my ass...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @04:48PM (#4725865)
    Yeah, there's nothing I enjoy more than tweaking my

    why are you editing you don't build it using m4 like the rest of the world? more importantly, why are you using sendmail? postfix and qmail are both joys to configure and use.

    Config files in *nix are often inconsistent and obscure.

    you must be a linux user. try openbsd sometime. there's nothing obscure about the config files: each one has a man page.

    How about an open, common XML format for configuration files?

    perhaps because XML wasn't designed to be edited by hand?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @05:07PM (#4726015)
    When they made DOS, they looked at Unix for an example. They didn't clone it; DOS is single-user, single-tasking, with no security or proper separation of tasks (why, if it's single-tasking?), in strong opposition to Unix (even in it's earliest incarnations, I think, but these were made before I was born ;-) ).

    Why don't you explain how to write an OS with security and separation of tasks for a machine without an MMU -- a machine like, say, the IBM PC.

    MS bought MS-DOS, which was a clone of CP/M, so it could sell MS Basic to IBM. It later added a few UNIX-like features (e.g. hierarchical directories), but MS-DOS was never intended to be a timesharing, minicomputer-style OS, and IBM would never have licensed it if it had been (and not just because the IBM PC lacked the hardware to do timesharing; IBM worried a lot about PCs competing with its expensive proprietary systems, which was why it refused to use the 386 for so long, so there's no chance it would have agreed to use software that was 'too powerful').

    OS/2 eventually got a lot of minicomputer-OS features, but IBM resisted at first, e.g. by insisting that it be written for the 286 (which had only brain-damaged memory management) instead of the 386 (which MS wanted to use from the start).

    The first MS OS that was intended to be competitive with minicomputer systems like UNIX and VMS was Windows NT, and it was written for MIPS-based workstations, with the x86 port requiring a 386 (avoiding all that half-baked 8086 and 286 crap that went into DOS and OS/2).
  • by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <slashdot@frida[ ] ['yth' in gap]> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @05:20PM (#4726186)
    You may be interested in Microsofts paper on the subject

    [ asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/case/ hotmail/Default.asp ]

    which is written to glorify the change and explain how amazingly wonderful W2K is.

    It's a wonderful work of fiction...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @05:37PM (#4726407)
    >>When they made DOS, they looked at Unix for an >>example. They didn't clone it
    4 Insightful?

    The rest of your rant seems well written,but it is obvious that you haven't done even a cursory examination of the history of DOS.

    To clue you in, Tim Paterson CLONED CP/M (while working at Seattle Computing), which was then PURCHASED by Microsoft and sold to IBM as DOS. This is well known - in fact DOS 1.0 and CP/M were compatible because of this...

    You are off base on Word too - Charles Simonyi was brought to MS to lead the Word (later Office) team largely because he had authored the first full-screen word processor (BRAVO). No doubt the BRAVO core was used in developing Word initially - they did not "copy" Word Perfect.

    Damn kids...
  • Sigh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @05:59PM (#4726616)
    You could study win2k a bit more before making such statements.

    Go to your network card's TCP/IP properties, click the "Advanced" button, select the "Options" tab and edit the "TCP/IP filtering" option. You can then block every port except 80, 443, 21 or whatever you want. There is plenty of reading material covering this.

  • Re:Call me crazy... (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathanm ( 12287 ) <nathanm@enginee[ ]om ['r.c' in gap]> on Thursday November 21, 2002 @07:07PM (#4727207)
    Ummm.... it's called Windows NT. I believe they licensed an AT&T kernel. That's how Win2K is theoretically POSIX-compliant
    Ummm... NO! Windows NT's chief architect was Dave Cutler, who was previously the chief architect of VMS at Digital.

    As far as NT's POSIX compliance, it originally had a POSIX sub-system, which you could theoretically port (POSIX compliant) Unix code to easily. It also had DOS, OS/2, and (its native interface) Win32 sub-systems.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2002 @07:51PM (#4727547)
    For what it's worth, here are names of the people on the research team who were responsible for the creation of this memo.

    NAME: Burdge, Jonathan E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto], [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: lb, jlb, Elby

    NAME: Casillas, Luis E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: em, Estanislao Martinez, Sylvain Tremblay

    NAME: Corrigan, Barry E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: bc, ktb (Kiss the Blade), Lover's Arrival, Euroderf, Erbert Paget-Paget, Anya

    NAME: Dickson, Craig E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: mv, Mendax Veritas

    NAME: Flickinger, Dan E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: flikx

    NAME: Haberberger, George E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: GeorgeHa, Hairy_Potter

    NAME: Huston, Bill E-MAIL: [mailto], ALIASES: bozoman

    NAME: Johnson, Peter E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: Shoeboy, Peter Johnson

    NAME: Lockwood, Scott E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: Vladinator, Lonesome Cowboy Burt, Quick Star, Pinkerton Floyd, etc.

    NAME: Linwood, Rob E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: AuntFloyd, Con Troll

    NAME: Mann, Warren E-MAIL: [mailto] ALIASES: osm, OpenSourceMan

    NAME: McPherson, Craig E-MAIL: [mailto] ALIASES: craig, naked&petrified guy

    NAME: Nelson, Brian E-MAIL: [mailto] ALIASES: Elenchos

    NAME: Osborne, Michaell E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: dmg, Dumb Marketing Guy, Lord Hugh Toppingham

    NAME: Sassaman, Esther E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: Perdida, Reva Altamira, etc.

    NAME: Skinner, James E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: SpiralX, Manifold, Jon Erikson

    NAME: Stanton, Matt E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: Serf

    NAME: Zikowski, Zachary E-MAIL: [mailto], [mailto] ALIASES: Zikzak, kp

    NAME: ???, Ernie E-MAIL: [mailto] ALIASES: Trollmastah

  • by Jeffk67 ( 78579 ) on Thursday November 21, 2002 @09:18PM (#4728194)
    Actually, at the time DOS was a pretty good OS for a a system running at 4 or 8 Mhz with anywhere from 256- 640k of RAM and it probably owes more to CPM than unix. Personal computers at the time were not networked to any significant extent and a multiuser, multitasking, secure, OS with IP support wasn't feasable on the hardware an average person could buy. The damnable thing about DOS though was that by the time MS came up with Win95 and NT 15 years had passed. In the meantime many better and cheaper OS's and hardware platforms were killed off by the sheer numbers of PC compatables cranked out running DOS and that abomination of a shell that ran on top of it. NetBUI is as much an API as it is a protocol and the previous poster is correct that it is based on NetBios which was an IBM creation. Don't be too quick to knock it though. If you ever need to transfer lot of files across a slow connection on a LAN try using NETBUI instead of TCP/IP as your protocol. IP adds a lot of overhead and and is MUCH slower.
  • Re:Sigh Last time (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2002 @01:59AM (#4729935)
    That's what safe mode is for. All services are disabled in safe mode - no matter how badly I've treated the services list during experimentation, safe mode has always let me back in to correct things.

    There's also the recovery console if you know what you're doing.

  • Re:That's different. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @03:16AM (#4730246)
    I didn't need to read the linked article, as I've read around ... 6 or 7 other articles about the exact same thing. They all say the same thing like this one in Danish:,id= 12 577

    "The ftp server is usually used by Microsoft's costumers to fetch drivers and updates and to upload files to the company's PSS Security Response Team."

    And comon is nice enough do link to the server in question:

    Granted, The Register's article does use language like "poorly protected server" and "discovered", but I see no problem in using those words, if whoever placed the files there didn't think about using some kind of authentication and directory access for those documents. Then you would still "discover" the files on a "poorly protected server" since it was used for something it was not supposed to be used for.

    So in short - something is amiss, but using "juxtapositioning" in your language, doesn't mean your covering up an illigal act.
  • by davegust ( 624570 ) <> on Friday November 22, 2002 @03:50AM (#4730347)
    And simply because of the superior development environment that we had, by *not* developing on windows, we could easily:

    produce system-call traces (strace -p on a running apache process)

    Try Strace for NT. []

    attach debuggers (gdb on a running process)

    Visual C++ does this nicely. Just try the menu item "Attach to Process...". Was that so hard?

    automatically let a segfault signal handler dump a stack trace and *e-mail* us the stack-trace as the segfault happened. On a production system.

    drwtsn32 by default dumps the stack trace automatically, with symbols if you put the COFF symbols in your binaries. You can also write your own signal handler if you'd like, to do whatever you want - my favorite is stack traces on SIGABRT.

    You should try actually using a product before you trash it.

System checkpoint complete.