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YA Microsoft Linux Screed 324

"Microsoft Windows has better security than Linux out of the box" is my favorite line -- but there are many other good ones, find them and trade them with your friends -- in the polemic "Linux in Retail and Hospitality." This is actually from February apparently, but c't and LinuxToday have called attention to it. If you don't feel like reading their .doc file (I'm still looking for a robust .doc reader that doesn't suck), the IGLU LUG comes to your rescue with their HTML version. This is about using Linux in point-of-sale systems, in case you were wondering what POS stands for.
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Microsoft's Latest Linux Screed

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  • You know, I just getting ready to read the funny comments, but then IE crashed. I'm starting to think Bill Gates is like Santa...he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, and apparently he knows if you've been good or bad :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2001 @09:32AM (#225793)
    *Nothing* is secure out of the box. This deserves repeating. *Nothing* is secure out of the box. Really.

    Have you ever heard of openbsd? Ever use it? It is definitely secure out of the box. Really.

  • Less Secure

    "Open source" means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    Maybe it's just me, but doesn't this say that MS is less secure because developers can't find security weeaknesses in their software? Now I know this is true, as will most linux advocats, but is this really what MS meant to say?
  • Reading on (and replying to myself) it's interesting to see how this goes totally against their "shared source" initiative. On one hand give out your source code lets anyone look at it and the evil hackers will find bugs and take down your servers. On the other hand, we are giving away more and more of our source code in the "shared source" initiative.

  • You are a Microsoft troll. Either MCSE that is trying to convince himself that he is not inferior to real sysadmions, or an astroturfer. What is your experience as "solaris admin" -- logging into a box as root, saying "rm -rf /" and loudly complaining about results?
  • Too bad Microsoft doesn't appear to understand it. They must be more threatened than I thought.

    Of course Microsoft understands, but that view isn't good for their business (so they think), so they're trying to pretend it's not true, and convincing everyone else of same.


  • Hate to break it to ya pal, but these companies are about as enlightened as a three watt lightbulb when it comes to what they're running (Dell probably moreso than the others since they're closer to the computer end of things). Generally companies get sold a service, and they work from that. They don't care what it is as long as it works for them. (Unless someone who "cares" (aka has an interest) is on the board making the decisions). If it does not work, then the company gets riled. You'd be amazed how high Microsoft will jump when something goes wrong with a solution they put into place (remember the outlook debacles of the past?) The only thing you don't get with Linux is someone to throttle when things go wrong...
  • Never mind the content; the *writing* was wretched, stilted, and unworthy of a passing grade in high school freshman english.

    [This is where the criticism of the short, choppy writing style goes. Sorry, I tried, but I just can't write that poorly.]

    Unfortunately, I've seen even worse recently. It was an article about a football palyer who recovered from massive burns and now shows up in burn units to be there when badly burned kids wake up. The writing in this article was bad; the footbal article was actually painful to read (the writer seemed to fancy herself swinging for an award, and fancied herself melodramatic.)

    Anyway, the POS referred to the writing, in which case I'd agreeed.

    hawk, who only received one term paper this term with worse writing than the article

  • There is a flaw. Regardless of how many false passwords you give, you never get locked out.

    That's deliberate. Otherwise, you you lock a system administrator out by repeatedly submitting the wrong password for their user name.

  • It must be a mistake on Microsoft's part (with all the other mistakes). I think it refers to GNUstep. Both GNUstep and GNOME are part of the GNU Project, of course.
  • Your security lies not in your OS, it's in your admin.
    This is one of the most insightful observations on the nature of security that I have read in some time. When people start to realize that security is more about people than products, we will all have gained.


  • by Forge ( 2456 ) <> on Sunday May 13, 2001 @12:01PM (#225818) Homepage Journal
    <Quoted directly from document>
    "Open source" means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    It's possible they meant to say hackers/crackers but this Freudian Slip was wonderful for me :)
  • Linux itself wouldn't be affected by Y2k, but Linux SOFTWARE can be. It really depends on the programmer. An incompetant programmer can screw things up royally, no matter what the operating system.

    I saw plenty of websites running CGI's hosted on linux boxes that were broken during y2k due to attempting to display only 2 digits for the year. That would be linux software.
  • Wow - there's some doublespeak for you...

    Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.
    • Taken one way, this could mean "It's easy to find weaknesses in Linux! Any developer can do it! All you have to do is look at the source code, and you can get in! Windows closes their source off - so there's no way a developer could know how to get in!" (Standard MS FUD)
    • Taken another way (and the way most people familiar with the Linux development model would take it) it could mean "Developers are able to find (and fix) security vulnerabilities easily in Linux, since they have direct access to the source code. Anyone with the time and skill can find and fix bugs. Not so with Windows - until MS or a security firm tells you about it, you have no way of knowing."

    As always, MS proves they can lie out their ass without actually saying anything untrue - by implying a vague statement to lean in one direction, they create FUD, while their statement is true in the opposite direction.
  • Yep - "Limited Device Driver Support".

    Steps around the real issue. MS has "persuaded" hardware companies to develop their drivers ONLY for Windows. Whether due to market share (Windows has 90% of the desktop market, *nix about 5-7% - supporting *nix doesn't help the bottom line, while not supporting Windows hurts the bottom line signifigantly), or due to strongarm tactics (exclusivity contracts), or due to architectural design (winmodems), Microsoft has made it tough for manufacturers to support another OS, whether they want to or not.

    The other big issue is "Intellectual Property" and the clash between it, and the *nix tradition of "rolling your own" drivers.

    There are plenty of people who are fully willing to spend the time to write good drivers for new hardware under *nix. They have the skills to do so, and most probably would purchase the hardware themselves, in order to test their drivers.

    Manufacturers, on the other hand, are either bound by exclusivity contract to only allow driver development for Windows, or have so totally shut up their hardware's specs behind closed doors (NDAs, etc...) that it's impossible for them to give out the specs to a developer, in order to have this thrid party driver for a third party OS written.

    So it's nearly impossible for potential device driver writers to get their hands on the specs for hardware tha they have purchased and wish to use under a different OS. THeir only option is to try to reverse-engineer through legal means the methods by which to operate their hardware.

    This takes time.

    A lot of time.

    And a lot of patience.

    This is why *nix's device driver base is so far behind. Without the specs for the hardware, and with companies that are unable or unwilling to provide specs for their hardware, and who possibly threaten driver developers with lawsuits or worse -- it takes a VERY long time to get decent drivers "out the door", so to speak.

    SO we look at the situation. On the Windows side, we have developers being paid by the manufacturer of the hardware, with full disclosure and access to the specs of the hardware they're developing a driver for.

    On the *nix side, we have some talented, dedicated volunteers that tear their hair out trying to figure out how to access hardware that the manufacturer won't tell them anything about.

    You tell me which side is going to get drivers out faster!

    Now, some of this could be helped if the *nix community didn't insist that everything be made open. Look at all the flak that nvidia has taken for their binary-only releases. Admittedly, they require the use of a kernel module - which allows their video driver to have low-level access to the hardware - but it also allows that video driver to potentially crash the system (same type of thing that happens under Windows) -- but the point is that they have at least TRIED to provide the *nix community with a working set of drivers. While I agree that it would be better if they were to open their hardware specs, at least on their older boards, so that the community could write decent drivers that don't require a kernel module, I applaud them for at least doing more than most.

    Both sides have to give for this to get better. Both sides want total control. Both sides quibble about baby steps in the "right direction". This ain't the way to get things done.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @10:53AM (#225823) Homepage Journal
    Retail environments, at least most of the ones I've dealt with, don't generally buy an off-the-shelf PC and then select their POS software. They buy a full system - and they usually buy it from a company that specializes in retail systems integration. A lot of them don't know what the underlying system is and don't care, so long as it works well and saves them money.

    The vast majority of these machines are not going to be Internet-connected in any way at all, and are not readily accessible to script kiddies in the first place. Chains will use either low-speed frame relay lines or dial-up to report numbers back to HQ, not an Internet connection. They also don't need "support for all sorts of devices", just the ones that are sold with the system in the first place. I don't need half a dozen different credit card slip printers - just one good, working, reasonably priced one. And I'd buy them in bulk for each terminal. A lot of how Windows became such a blivet to begin with was by having to support everything under the sun.

    I mean, that's an argument that was used against Apple for years by the Windows minions - Windows had (at least, before Office became pretty much the only alternative) dozens of available word processors and spreadsheets, and the Mac (read today as "Linux") only had (has) a handful. OK, this may be true, but how many do you need at once? I'd rather have one good word processor on my platform of choice, for instance, than a dozen crappy ones. POS systems are even more of the same - when a register is booted it generally runs nothing but that app. The distro of Linux isn't even relevant - it'll be customized to the maximum possible and stripped of anything that can increase support work.

    While not exactly FUD, this whitepaper mainly fights a war that retailers don't care about. And a lot of the "main street" type businesses that might buy off-the-shelf POSware aren't going to be caring about Microsoft's message because they don't even research it far enough.

    Heck, there's even thriving Mac POS vendors - there's enough room for everybody. Too bad Microsoft doesn't appear to understand it. They must be more threatened than I thought.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • To be fair, 3rd party developers can find lots of things wrong with Windows without even having the source code. So it's obviously better or something ;-)
  • This month >80% of the hacked sites are running NT/2K, but only 20% of the web servers in the world run IIS This implies that Windows based servers are 25 times more likely to be hacked than Unix systems.
  • Yep, domain admins and up only.

    Fud isn't funny in EITHER direction.
  • I hear that Microsoft Word is good for that sort of thing.

    But he's specifically looking for a robust .doc reader, and one that doesn't suck.

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • This is slightly off-topic, but when I visit that page with Netscape Navigator 4.76 on my FreeBSD system, the page appears blank in my browser window. I've noticed this happening on a couple of other Microsoft pages, but not all. I guess if they don't want me to view their pages, that's cool. I mean, I wouldn't have gone to this page if it hadn't been linked from /.

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @11:03AM (#225842) Journal
    The fact is that ANY business application of any software requires an expert (in-house or consultant) before people should roll it out.

    You may think that and be correct. But the fact remains that many small NT shops limp along OK without expert assistatnce, and maybe a little tech support from the guy who sold them the comptuer. You can slap Great Plains on an NT box and have an accounting system.

    These small businesses will never pay a Unix admin the money he's worth, nor would they pay a good NT guy the money either. And retention would be a problem in an environment where the guy is rehabing old 486s and refilling the copy machine toner. So, they do the rational thing and limp along with part time or slightly retarded computer help.

    Open source software + contracted service would be a great solution for small businesses with no inhouse experience, and cheaper than paying MS licences. However the customer base is never going to pick up the phone and sign a service contract with RedHat or IBM (nor should they). The only real answer is that it's going to take a phalanx of Linux saavy people in the small system integrators that are out there.

    And that I don't see. It's easier for the corner comptuer guy to build a computer and slap MS Small Business server or Exchange on it and send the money back to Microsoft. If he could find a skilled Linux admin to hire, the guy is going to figure that he's got better things to do than screwing in IDE drives in his spare time and go and make $90K doing Unix admin for a big corporation.

    (As a sidenote, Novell essentially built their business on these Corner Computer Store integrators, but it took a massive channel push and lots of product education. So, it's possible, but it's a long haul for someone.)
  • Actually I do hae win98 on a box at home and I am a major admin for my corperation.

    In order to run many good games, you need to boot into win98 for Halflife,Unreal Tournament, and Others. That is the only use for Windows.


    I now understand why microsoft is pushing the Xbox, their os is only useful for Games!

  • WRONG,

    Almost all of that hardware is supported, the barcode devices are serial or keyboard, the cash drawers are serial (in fact just on/off) and the other printers are also just ersial/parallel. the CC readers are useable.

    I have used almost everything (except for a check reader) sucessfully in linux without drivers.

    linux dont need drivers for standard devices.
  • by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @09:20AM (#225845)
    As someone who has been responsible for securing WinNT boxes on the internet, I would question your claim that they are in any way secure out of the box.

    As anyone would know who deals with these beasts, the filepermissions are pre-configured so that many critical system files are open to the world. When it comes to the security vs. convenience tradeoff, MS sides with convenience every time and it's up to you to fix it.

    The up-front cost of securing an NT box is very similar to that of securing a *desktop* linux distro. You have to audit the running services and remove the ones that are uneccessary (printer servers anyone?) you can have fix all the broken filepermissions. You should configure ip filtering. You need keep up with the security patch of the week, or of the day if you're running IIS :P.. You need to come up with some mechanism to audit the log files in a regular and tamperproof fashion. Why do microsoft's logs suck so much anyway? It's impossible to analyze them without a third party tool or a syslogd adapter. The log viewer as shipped doesn't scale beyond workgroup use. You also need to install a file integrity checker.

    The reason WinNT/2000's security stinks so much is because it's so opaque.. The only way to really tell if it's working is to download a sniffer, l0pthcrack, a scanner, etc etc.. Not that you don
    t have to do that with unix either, but at least most of the tools are you need come with the system already (gratis), and in the case of linux you can compile the kernel yourself with what you know are secure settings, whatever additional patches you want, and have fun with /proc.

    I don't know very many systems that are secure out of the box, other than openbsd, but in the case of NT it's harder to configure and there's more limitations as to what you can tweak. It's silly to argue that NT is secure out of the box. If there's anything that came out of the recent chinese hacktivism, it's that microsoft's code is too bloated and their release schedules are too aggressive for them to audit it properly by themselves.

  • Uh, yeah, sorta. About as amusing as breakins get. :-)

    People in general need to stick to what they know best. Bosses generally don't have the required paranoia level required to be an admin. Were I Scott, I don't think I would have even asked that question of my boss... If his boss had the background to make that sort of decision, he'd be an admin.

    The previous rant is still wearing off... No one should be offended by this post.
  • Actually, I meant "any NT admins" when I said "admins". I live up here in the land of Microsoft (Seattle area), and all of the NT admins that I know are NT geeks. They're mostly elitists who only run Win2k at home.

    I don't personally run any Windows OS on my home computer, but after using Windows 2000 for about a month, my girlfriend decided that Win98 crashed WAY less, and I reinstalled it for her.

    And, BTW, your guess is quite off the mark. I probably touched a nerve, but I'm not calling you an idiot. Relax, guy. :-)
  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @10:38AM (#225852)
    There have been few times when I wished I had moderator points more. Moderators: A post should only be judged insightful if you KNOW that it is. YHBT YHL HAND.

    But so have I.

    This is not a rant against the parent post, it's a troll. This is a rant against stupid moderators.

    setup scripts, and do some last minute checking on up2date daemons
    OK, besides the fact that up2date is a Red Hat Linux specific feature, connecting any system to the internet without looking at the services that run at startup time and applying errata/service packs is extrememly irresponsible and arrogant. Windows NT is worse than good UNIX systems in this respect, because just about everything is *on* by default, and many of those services are exploitable, or need good hard configuring not to be.

    admins all use windows95 on their system at home
    I don't know ANY admins that use Win95 on their home systems (or 98, or ME). At least none who have one clue what they're doing. The resemblance between Win95 and WinNT is totally superficial. There is nothing even related to administration of an NT server that you can practice on a Win95 box. Win95 doesn't have features as basic as file permissions or services. The only thing you can practice on Win95 is point and click.

    I still do not know how to lock the ports below 1024 like redhat linux does
    Every UNIX I know of does this by default. It's a feature of the kernel, and not something that you have to DO.

    NT is quite secure but not really stable
    And in the breath before, suggesting to visit Bugtraq to check the bugs in each. Look at the number of hacks per OS (I beleive that keeps track of that sort of thing), and you will see that NT has a disproportionally large number of breakins. Although they are not the most commonly used servers, they are the most frequently hacked. Repeat after me: security is not a feature, it's a process. Your security lies not in your OS, it's in your admin.
  • You can bet that Los Alamos and the NSA don't trust the out-of-box security of NT any more than they would for Linux. In both cases I'm sure they have a security administrator lock down the boxes, which kind of destroys the motivation to use NT because it requires less administration.

    Really, anyone who relies on out-of-box security is asking for it; if you don't have someone on-site who's knowledgeable about security and the OS you're using, you'll eventually have problems.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • It was the C-2 certification, IIRC. The NT 4 Resource Kit comes with an auditing applet to apply the "easy" fixes to meet the cert., ie. turn off HPFS and POSIX, disable the floppy and remove the NIC.

  • First thing I thought of was the Will Smith quote from Men in Black, "And we drive around in a Ford POS."

  • I've never had VC++ warn me about any possible security problems.

    Actually, it tries. The error is something like 127ur498812vxd734023l-4792j540021k;rf-43580-4ghd73 i. It shows up in Event Viewer with the message: "The error is in the data." A long, drawn-out search on the KB will bring back results 1-10 each of which say the same thing, couched in different language, "The number is reserved for a future error."

  • Piece Of Shit.

    "Shit" is an offensive, not considered fit for polite conversation, kids get their mouths washed out with soap for saying it, slang term for feces.It can be used as a swear:
    "Shit! That hurt!"
    It can be used in a derogatory manner (This is the POS thing):
    "You shithead! You're a piece of shit."
    It can be descriptive:
    "That pot was the SHIT!"
    On and on and on.

  • I would say "pee-oh-ess," or the whole phrase. Saying "poz" would be like pronouncing URL as "earl".

  • No need to say it. Linux advocates are occasionally raving loones.
    Think of fans of a sports team, advocates for a cause or a fan of some cool software... Seems like Linux advocates right?

    Now look at Microsoft marketing..
    Profesionals who should be behaving in a profesional mannor. You can forget the rude fanatic but not a rude profesional.

    It's quite clear why Linux adocates have a fedish level fixation on Microsoft. Microsoft has majority marketshare and market control. Linux dosen't.

    Whats Microsofts excuse?
    Microsoft overshadows the Linux userbase many times over. Why spend so much money attacking something so minnor?

    There is but one reason I can see for Linux advocates to attack Microsoft with such intensity..
    Fear.. Microsoft controls the market. Linux users are consistently living in the shadow of Microsoft. Every website and Internet service says "Requirement: Windows"

    Now why is Microsoft attacking Linux so often?
    There is one reason I can see....


    Fear that Microsofts products are not anywhere near ready to compeate with Linux.

    Linux isn't an ideal product.. far from it.. It's got problems.
    Picture it this way...

    Linux is like a timex watch... the watch band keeps breaking but the watch seems to last forever.
    Windows is more like a cheap watch... It works.. usually...

    There are better watches at higher prices (Solarus) but the whole point is that Linux exists and remains an easy upgrade path for technosavy users.
    Now if we can get the less savy users to buy Macs life would be easyer.
  • "Open source" means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    Yeah... ok... everyone who understands how to read/write "open source" computer code is an evil little bastard out to "get" something.

    The statement _is_ true, however but the obvious spin is not. Yes, it is easier to find bugs in software where you can see the code - it is also just as easy to fix in a timely manner those same problems. In a beast like Windows, you can very easily find bugs but you can't do anything about it until the vendor decides to release a patch - and they only do that when the problem is serious enough for them to care - which is only when their big industry clients have problems (so much for your "small business" retail thing...).

    To Slashdot editors: please help stop Microsoft by ignoring them. If everyone just ignores Microsoft and gets on with the things we need to do, the beast will surely die.

    Computer Science: solving today's problems tomorrow.
  • Linux is making strides but the average user does not know what a partition is and why you just can't simply resize it.

    The average user shouldn't be installing servers! This is why companies who hire to people to install and maintain servers look for people with certifications, especially for Microsoft servers.

    Contrary to popular belief, Joe Consumer cannot just walk down to CompUSA buy the nt software, stick it in a box and setup in a weekend any easier than he could do with a Linux distro. Using either operating system, Joe Consumer *might* be able to fumble his way through it, but it certainly wouldn't be the most secure or reliable thing on the planet.

  • Yeah, I'm aware of OpenBSD. And -- I'll say it again -- any security expert will tell you right off the bat that you *must* tweak *any* system for your security needs.

    For example, suppose you're running a Samba file server. In most cases, you want to to turn password encryption ON because it is inherently more secure than sending plaintext passwords.

    However, some versions of Windows 95 do not support encrypted passwords. Whether or not Samba can negotiate this on a client-by-client basis (it can't) is actually irrelevant: if you have such clients on your network, you will need to make sure that such clients are isolated from any parts of the network where packet sniffing could be in use. This might involve hiding the Windows 95 clients behind a router, for instance.

    You have to know this. If you just install the default installation of Samba, or even a Windows NT server, without this piece of knowledge, you might be assuming that your setup is secure "out of the box." But obviously, it is not.

  • You average linux distro out of the box will have just about every known service running (ftp http telnet, etc etc).

    Uhh...what's your "average" Linux distro? Mandrake 8.0 will warn you that it installs every service by default, but will allow you to opt out of this. 'Sides, if you don't want the service running, then just don't install the service to begin with.

    *Nothing* is secure out of the box. This deserves repeating. *Nothing* is secure out of the box. Really. Good security requires tweaking the system -- any system -- for your particular situation. Being Open Source, Linux is definitely the most tweakable of the two choices. And if you want a truly secure system from a networking standpoint, heck, just unplug it from any unsecure networks. (this would include the Internet).

    And Microsoft operating systems are very secure. Provided you follow instructions and leave the power switch on the machine in the "off" position. :)
  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @11:04AM (#225877)
    (I'm still looking for a robust .doc reader that doesn't suck)

    I hear that Microsoft Word is good for that sort of thing.
  • What I think is much more interesting than the inevitable spin in the white paper is the fact that Microsoft has identified Linux as a threat in the field of point of sale applications. For good reason I think, given the fact that although Linux is not particularily suited yet for your grandma's desktop, it is ideal for vertical applications like cash registers. Take a cheap 486 box, put an embedded browser on it, connect it to a touch screen LCD screen (it is amazing how often I see those in shops nowadays), put your POS application on a webserver and off you go.
  • If the builders claimed the fault in the machines was Y2K related then it sounds like you got stung by a bunch of cowboys.

    No, it was indeed Y2K related. As I recall, they designed the Accts Receivable code to purge old data, and they didn't get the math quite right. In 2000, the 1999 A/R was deemed too old to keep around, and it got purged.
  • MS has a huge percentage of the hospitality industry. A lot of people don't realize that most hotels are franchised, owned by individuals (or companies). Hampton Inns, for example, aren't all owned by the same people. However, they have to choose whatever front office system is mandated by the franchise office, because they have to use the same back end reporting.

    Whenever a desk clerk checks you in at a Hampton Inn, for example, they're using exactly the same system no matter which Hampton Inn it is. A lot of the franchises write their own front office systems, and MS dominates those systems:

    Holiday Inn - mostly *nix
    Choice Hotels (Comfort/Quality/Econo) - Windows NT
    Hampton Inn - Win95/NT wkstations, *nix back end
    Fairfield Inn - Win95/NT
    Days Inn - Linux (woohoo!)

    There's a catch with the Days Inn system, though. They really broke tradition when they picked Linux, but unfortunately, they picked a bad rollout time (just-prior-to-12/31/1999) and didn't do enough beta testing. The Y2k problem completely wiped out all hotel receivables. All your direct bill records were toast. The implementation was so bad, in fact, that the system's name of "PowerUp" turned into a nickname of "PowerDown".

    The hoteliers rebelled, turning the franchise meeting into a yelling match. Nobody wanted the system, and everybody said Linux sucked. It wasn't that Linux actually sucked, of course, it was just that the program was so inherently bad.

    The Windows systems, on the other hand, have been rolled out with mostly good reviews. They were deployed on killer hardware (almost everybody mandates Dell workstations) instead of cheap clones, and they got lavish training manuals and videos. It's been a case of throwing money at the problem vs. trying to cut corners, and the Linux camp came out looking rather rough.

    Anyway, the next time you go to a hotel, peek your head over the front desk and take a look at what they're using to check you in. You might be surprised. (Then again, you could stay at Days Inn just to support Linux!)
  • IIRC, that happens mostly when the page has some fault like a failure to terminate a table. 6.0 does render pages in that case anyway.

    There is a 6.01 beta available for HP-UX, but it still crashes fairly often.
  • The doc on the Microsoft website is dated 3-11-2000. Not exactly what I'd call news...

    I'ts news to anyone who only just heard about it and not to anyone who already knew about it.
  • At least win2k will ask if you want IIS or anything, with linux its either server or workstation.

    actually with redhat it's server, workstation, or custom. it's really hard to see because it is that big icon right below workstation. this allows you the option to select individual packages. if you say server yes everything is running. it assumes that you wanted a server and know what the hell you are doing. wheather or not this is good is debatable, but there are options for everyone. if you are going to blame redhat for the ignorance of it's users then the faults applied to microsoft would be quite excessive for the same reasons.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • under reason 3.
    From the 188 total distributions 28 are derived from the popular Red Hat Linux. So Red Hat is derived from the Linux kernel and then those 28 are derived from Red Hat. Nine of the 188 are derived from Debian. Where does this stop This is starting to sound like we're headed back in time to the 1980's and 1990's era where retailers were locked into a single vendor's innovation.

    am i the only one who finds this interesting? isn't this what microsoft wants? that is if they are the vendor in question.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • No, in both cases it's the webmaster's fault. There are a lot of crappy ones out there, and you DON'T know who you are. I am assuming that by "wrong" you mean "displays in a way that looks horrible".

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.
  • Windows is more secure out-of-the-box than Linux, since way too many distros run stuff like portmap by default. Once you shut these off, though, their statement is no longer true.
  • "The nature of open source is that you can get a copy of the source code and look at it, make changes to it, etc. Whatever distribution you choose, you can get a copy of that exact source code. Because of this open nature, developers can much more easily identify security weaknesses and prey upon them with viruses and by hacking into systems."

    I don't know about you but I don't know of too many "developers" who "identify security weaknesses and prey upon them". Also lets compare the number of virus's in Linux to the number in Windows. Now how many of those Linux virii wouldn't have spread if idiot admins didn't run unknown binaries as root? I'm thinking a ratio of linux virii to windows virii is about 1:100,000.

    "Recent examples of the security problems with Linux were discussed in the media. According to a January 17, 2001 CNET article entitled "Internet Worm Squirms into Linux Servers", the Ramen worm has been squirming into Linux servers worldwide. The article discusses how lax security is to blame for the problem and how the worm exploits many of the well-known flaws of the Linux operating system based on a default installation of Red Hat's 6.2 and 7.0 distributions of the software."

    Nice definition of "recent". How about Microsoft security in the news..any IIS security problems recently? We had a bug in our software, big fricken deal. Again, ratio of linux security problems to microsoft is about 1:100,000.

    I really wish Microsoft would suck it up and stop trying to make their products look better by putting down Linux.
  • Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    I like that they used the word "developers" rather than (h|cr)ackers. Unless I'm mistaken, they are saying that Linux is more secure because the Linux developers can find (and fix) security problems, whereas the Microsoft developers are not very good at that.
  • At least win2k will ask if you want IIS or anything, with linux its either server or workstation.

    $your_post =~ s/linux/redhat (mandrake and other RH clones)/i

    It is irresponsible to add fuel to the redhat==linux confusion.

  • When it comes to marketing any publicity is good publicity. What happens is, many of those who've never heard of Linux, become more familiar with it via, their own worst enem(a)y, Microsoft. Especially funny is their comment.

    The purpose of this paper is to dispel the popular notion that the Linux operating system is free and to arm retailers with the key areas they need to take a serious look at when considering Linux in their enterprise.

    Translated to we'll show you why are products are better in biased fashion, at a more reasonable price than $0,000.00 (free). So as stated others will probably take a second look at why Microsoft is even bothering to comment on something they're sure they're better at.

    Nothing like having a billion dollar budget in marketing to sell your product for you. Some of these Linux based sites should focus on placing benchmarking data on their sites very close to their [about | links | information] hyperlinks to make that data readily available to those curious with the OS itself, so should they go looking to see another perspective of the OS holy war, they can have it at a point-and-click (l)user-friendly way they're used to with MS.

    my two cents...

    Q & A with John Young of []

  • Microsoft's point, which was lost on you, is that there is a huge investment in any OS, free or otherwise. Software licensing is a minimal part. Maybe you pay $4,000 for your OS, or $0. The real
    expense is the $50,000 administrator. How many servers that admin can reasonably manage is where
    the cost-savings lie.

    My point which was not posted still makes more sense. Taking a realistic look at the vulnerabilities surrounding Microsoft, Linux is still cheaper in the long run.

    Take a 300 node based network filled with MS servers. Then solve the amount of time it would take an administrator to patch every one of those servers each time Microsoft release a patch. After you've got that number store it in your excel spreadsheet because the adding isn't over yet.

    With that 300 node farm, calculate the amount of times servers just go buggy for no reason, and an administrator has to run to the colo to reboot them, figure out what happened, etc. Add that to your spread sheet too. But its not finished yet...

    MS releases something else you need lets say someone TCP based which you need to run in order to make things better for you. Let me give that a generous price of 19.99 x 300 node farm x _AMOUNT_OF_TIME_ADMINS_SPEND_INSTALLING x reboot downtime of applying that program. Add it to your spread sheet.

    Get the picture? This doesn't even include securing those boxes via firewalls (ever see a Free functional firewall for MS Linux has IPF/IPChains and others) so who do you think MS if fooling? The fools thats who...

  • An overpaid Unix admin? Take your so called overpaid Unix admin and compare them to a Windows admin. Oh yes those point and click, drag and drop warriors using MS, versus the Unix admin who usually has a good knowledge of programming that has to specially tweak systems, via scripts as opposed to purchasing more products to throw on top of a precompiled executable you can't do anything with.

    Yes that overpaid Unix administrator who often has to understand many other aspects of computing such as networking, configuring servers, building servers, benchmarking the products that will work, in comparison to the point-and-click/drag-and-drop Microsoft warrior which still comes out cheaper than hiring a networking guru, along with an MCSE (Must Consult Someone Experienced), atop of all the programs you still have to pay for, ATOP OF EVEN THAT the TCO of other budled software your going to buy to get your network running "slightly" the way you could get it with Nix based systems.

    Wow you'd be a poor bookeeper there if you didn't scope out the whole scenario and all everything in its entirety up. Don't you know that MS kills [] when all is said and done? MS sure has a high Total Cost of Ownership which I wouldn't be willing to pay.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not bashing Windows, I know most business would have a hard time migrating over to something more feasible at this point, being they've been marketed to death and frozen into the MS way, this I won't argue, however you have to remember this generation will be tomorrow's CTO's which is MS' biggest hidden fear

  • ""Open source" means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows."

    See, printing stuff like that in an innocuous document is so rude. I was reading along, drinking my soda, and when I read that it was all I could do to keep from choking and spilling diet coke all over my keyboard. It left a nasty mark on the carpet instead.

    You gotta love it. It's easy to find security holes in Linux, just read the source. It's hard to find holes in Microsoft software, because you need a nickel to buy a fucking clue [].

  • Yep, it's iptables instead of the typical ipchains method of firewalling.

    Actually if you knew what the hell you were talking about, you'd realize that rh7.1 uses ipchains by default, not iptables. You may ask yourself, well it uses 2.4 kernel how could it use ipchains? Well if you had any clue and had built a kernel or two, you'd know you could use ipchains in compatability mode on top of the Netfilter subsystem. But then again, I wouldn't want to stop the flow of your vicious rant.
  • Now the BSDL ALLOWS this, but there is a BIG different between the Linux crowd and proprietary vendors. The idea of the BSDL is to improve aoftware by releasing. It is understood that other groups will use it. ... The hypocracy in the Linux camp is astounding.

    Frankly my dear, your hypocracy astounds me. You release code under the BSD (Or support the release) And yet you are enraged when people follow the terms of that license agreement. If you dont want GPL programs to use BSDl code their programs, dont release it under the BSDL. I mean, duh! You also say you prefer BSD because it is "purer". That may be well and good, but I think you should purge your logical cortex of impure fallacies. Like the fallacy that GPL users should somehow not use BSDL code - but hey, it's ok for microsoft to.

    Why not just come out and say it. It's so obvious. You are jealous and elitist. You want BSD to be as successful as Linux because you beleive in the virtues of BSD. Well let me tell you something kiddo. It doesn't work that way. It's a religion. Everyone thinks their religion is best, and turns violent against disbeleivers, especially when they are in the majority. (Notice all the anti-christian sentiment now a days? Anti-jew or anti-buddhist sentiment is somehow racist, though, I'm sure.). So lets just chill the fuck out, and take a few minutes to relax, and say, You know, Linux and BSD are fighting for pretty much the same thing. Free Unix for all. Linux might be more popular.. but come on, elitists dont want popularity, they want exclusivity. So just be happy you're not as popular as linux. ok?
  • Yep, it's iptables instead of the typical ipchains method of firewalling. Unfortunately, the rest of the distro isn't caught up, so it took a while to find how to adjust this setting and not the old ipchains stuff.

    They offer "high" and "medium" security levels. I found that with the "high" level, I couldn't get DNS queries to work. This may be suitable for servers that log dotted-ip, expecting some other process to dns-lookup, but it's a little over-tight for a desktop. They do say that generally, but the DNS implication wasn't obvious.

  • Starting around 6.2, RedHat in the workstation install mode doesn't even INSTALL inetd. I agree that you SHOULD get a list of services you want to install if you go the server route though.
  • (If a Karma Whore posts to get Karma, I suppose a post in attempt to arrange for Karma Whoring is a Karma Pimp. But anyway...)

    They have a long list of reasons why linux isn't free. Well in the same respect (and in many cases for the exact same reasons!) we could make our own list of why Windows actually costs you more than ten times the retail price you pay in a store. (BSODs/reliability alone can inflate the price that you effectively pay.)

    I'm no expert on this though. So can anyone else produce a proper counter list to MS's list?


  • made a browser that couldn't read a page every other browser could.

    That is such utter BS, not to mention flamebait. Run the page through the official W3 validator [] and you'll see LinuxToday is loaded with errors. It's their own damn fault if it doesn't load properly.

    BTW, if you dislike M$ so much, why are you using Hotmail?

  • Microsoft Windows has better security than Linux out of the box

    They do have a point. If you ever installed Redhat you know what I am talking about.

    Please moderate as flame since you don't agree with me.

  • by Peachfuzz ( 98162 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @08:44AM (#225949) Homepage
    Microsoft is really showing their whiney side in this one. This isn't flamebait. I've just heard so much crap from microsoft that Windows NT is "Better" than linux/FreeBSD/whatever that it's really annoying me.

    They just have to keep insisting that Windows NT is better, don't they? They should consider giving up, because in other "reports" that Windows NT is "better" they've just gotten ignored and/or flamed by some other guy. Heck, even Sun got medieval on their hiney [] with a letter some PR guy sent reporters asking a couple of questions that were "supposed" to be hard to answer.

    What's wrong with these people? I'm pretty annoyed with these letters, and I'm sure you are, too.
  • Look, let's be Real, MS has released two UNRELATED Operating Systems. DOS/Win9x, and Windows NT. NT is an ENTIRELY new OS. The only things that are the same are Win32 calls, because a Win32 layer was built into Win95. They are NOT the same OS.

    MS started building NT around the same time that Linus released his first Linux kernel. At MOST they had a two year head start.

    More importantly, Unix designs are public knowledge and taught in schools. MS does not have a Unix design. Advantage: Linux, because of the common knowledge component.

    BSD predates NT by a long shot. BSD code COULD be incorporated into Linux (as long as the original copyright was respected). Linux uses BSD code, and Linus could have just forked one of the 386BSD project like everyone else.

    GNU was started in 1984. Much of the Linux distribution is GNU. Until a few years ago (like 3), 80% of a Linux distribution appeared to be GNU. Advantage: Linux

    Linux was not some little underdog. Linux HAS MANY advantages in time and prewritten code.

    MCSEs are NOT A CLASS OF PEOPLE. NT Administrator is a job description. MCSE is a certification that shows that you understand the basics of NT. I've had one for four years. Guess what, I'm STILL A HUMAN BEING CAPABLE OF THINKING. Insulting people for having an MCSE is childish and immature. Despite having an MCSE, I run a few OpenBSD installations, do software design, etc., etc. One can do many things, and only on Slashdot does it seem that one can either use Linux or Microsoft Products.

    Now, I've put live Linux machines up and started to play with them. At times, running Redhat 6.2 with updates, I've found that the box gets rooted if we leave the machine alone for a week while we have other projects.

    There is something wrong with some of the code that Redhat installs. The other distributions may be better, but that was a real turn-off.

    OpenBSD, however, appears ROCK-SOLID, stable, secure, and FAR easier to configure than a Redhat box. Getting back to a BSD style system from a SysV style takes SOME time, but once you get the hang of it it is a MUCH saner system.

  • The NT project was started in '92, Linux in '93... Hardly the 10 year edge that Slashdoters make.

    I would NEVER put a web page up with IIS, period. I think that IIS is a dangerous piece of crap with MANY security holes.

    When I turn off various services on my NT boxes and only bind protocols to the correct adapter, I've found them to be pretty solid. As a result, they don't do ALL that much, but I've found them reasonably secure.

    Linux needs to compete on its merits.

    The BSDs compete on the merits of their code.

    Microsoft competes on the merits of their software AND their marketing efforts. Their marketing efforts DO provide value, notice the ISV support that they have.

    Linux seems content to compete on hype and press releases.

    This notion of manifest destiny within the Linux camp is a little irritating. I don't know who declared the Linux users the chosen people, but it is silly.

    The BSDs are as far along as Linux, despite a licensing advantage for Linux. Linux takes BSD code, uses it in a GPL application, prohibiting BSD from using it. Now the BSDL ALLOWS this, but there is a BIG different between the Linux crowd and proprietary vendors. The idea of the BSDL is to improve aoftware by releasing. It is understood that other groups will use it. The annoyance with the GPL, is that the users CLAIM to be providing it for free, but they don't give back to the BSD group that they took from.

    In this Linux manifest destiny scenario, it is acceptable to DEMAND that others release things through compulsory licensing, while not doing the right thing and contributing back to BSD projects.

    The hypocracy in the Linux camp is astounding.

    I believe in Open Source, but I don't put Linux on my servers.

    I prefer BSD, I find it purer and better.

  • The hype of NT 4 or 5 years ago was that someone like joe consumer who needed a fileserver but is not a technical guy could just walk down to comp-usa, buy the NT sofware stick it in the box and in a weekend set it up.
    Ironically, the error of that hype is becoming evident these days -- the proliferation of compromised NT (and Linux) machines set up by people who were either incompetent or unqualified for their job. It should be clear at this point that any server directly connected to the internet or serving more than 10-15 people needs to have a qualified administrator handle maintainance of the server. Many of us complain about "script kiddies" that give people who legitimately can be called hackers a bad name, but make little issue with "admin kiddies" who give legitimate network administrators a bad name. Virtually any machine can be made secure, whether it be NT, Linux, OpenBSD, or Netware, the only is in who does the security.
  • Microsoft Windows has better security than Linux out of the box

    Though Windows security is an oxymoron, Linux users should not be strutting around proudly. Every Linux distro I know of is a CD full of security holes "out of the box".

  • A few paragraphs later: "It is sad to say, but there are people out there who get a big kick out of the challenge of finding flaws in systems."

    Ok, I'm going out on a limb here, but that statement should apply to ANY engineer. And remember when MS was bragging that they were employing a dozen people to do exactly that for W2K?

    The next sentence: "And when they can get their hands on the source code itself that makes it even easier for them."

    Call this a potshot, but having the source doesn't seem to help any Windows developers in finding flaws. You know the old debugging routine: run the program again and see if it still happens! Then one looks through the code for errors, and its still damn hard.

    But finding flaws based on code alone...oh, noooo, that's easy! Especially code that other people might have actually looked at (*gasp*)! </sarcasm>

  • by bad-badtz-maru ( 119524 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @08:36PM (#225963) Homepage

    There is no "Days Inn" system. Cendant [] properties choose between "Project Powerup" systems from three PMS vendors: HSS, Multi-Systems, or REZSolutions. These are three completely different PMS apps with Cendant interface modules. Two of these run on UNIX-type OSs, the latter runs on NT. Unfortunately, the hospitality industry is about two decades behind in software development, the *nix offerings all have abysmal user interfaces. With the average moronic front desk staffer in mind the GM is drooling over a Win GUI interface in hopes that his staff, who types one word per hour, might someday take less than a decade to check in a guest. The choice between the three systems (at least for Cendant brands) is indeed made at the property level and not higher.

    As for your statement that most franchises write their own front-office, this is just wrong. There is only one chain that writes their own, I think it is Hilton. Most franchises don't care what package (if any) the individual properties use, that was the big whoop-de-do with Cendant's Project Powerup: unified software. Although I don't know exactly how unified equates to three different packages in their case.

    The ire over Project Powerup had nothing to do with technical issues. Nobody wanted to install the system because it interfaced directly with Cendant. Hotels pay franchise fees based upon room revenues, with a direct connection to Cendant it would no longer be possible to fiddle with the figures in order to pay less franchise fees. There was also the fact that Cendant would be using your guest database for marketing. Big Brother at its finest! Oh yeah, and Cendant only footed the bill for a minimal installation. For my previous employer, they offered to replace our 15 terminals and custom software with 2 terminals. This, of course, would have made our Howard Johnsons front desk disparate from our other two hotels on the same property that were not Cendant brands, as well as leaving it unable to communicate with our accounting, inventory control, and 75 point of sale terminals at the 14 bars and restaurants located on the property (all running custom in-house software). The switch would've costed our company at least $100K annually in additional staff required to manually do accounting processes that were automated under the existing system. To this day, no Project Powerup system was ever brought to that property.

    The hospitality industry's sister, the service industry, is dominated by unix. Micros [] is the major player there, and their unix offering is rock solid and can support 250+ terminals (cash registers) on one server. Their NT offering can't do above 25. Unix doesn't show its ass there like it does in the hospitality industry because the cash registers are all custom hardware with their own IO that only communicate with the server to send transaction information (over serial cables!). So the wait staff don't have to type ./, they just press the picture.

    maru []
  • "Open source" means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    It's frightening to think about how many windows security holes we would know about if the source was available. Although what's more frightening is all the windows security holes that only a few people know about, and MS doesn't want published.
    Want some indy electronic (and other) music?
  • I'm still looking for a robust .doc reader that doesn't suck

    strings stuff.doc|less

  • referring to the multitude of Linux distributions:

    Where does this stop? This is starting to sound like we're headed back in time to the 1980's and 1990's era where retailers were locked into a single vendor's innovation.

    Unless that single vendor is us.

  • I suspect most Engineers, programers and System Administraters, when left to thier own devices will not choose Win2K

    Errm... I know a lot of people who, like me, did CS on a Unix-is-it- university and after that, swapped to win32 because developing software is just as easy and just as fun on win32 as it is on AIX, SunOS/Solaris etc. If you REALLY look at win2k and play with it, and as a developer, build software for it, like an n-tier app using COM+, you'll understand it's fun, and not the crap that was once called win9x. Developers who still want to develop using vi and make, without transactional support and binary object models right inside the OS, AFTER they've seen win2k and visual studio are not that 'independant' in their opinion.


  • The document goes on to say that because Linus & Co. absolve themselves of responsibility, they aren't accountable:

    "Microsoft, in contrast to Linux, has a formal development process and is accountable to the industry."

    So, if they're accountable, does that mean I can return my Windows 98 CD if the OS irreparably crashes on me?

  • by bkirkby ( 133683 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @09:14AM (#225978) Homepage

    "ALso go to some of the l33t rul3z crack3r irc chat rooms and ask some of them what they about linux vs NT in security and most will say unix can be secure but most on the web are not and NT is quite secure but not really stable"

    Isn't that like saying my Ford Taurus is dangerous because my neighbor drove his into a tree?

    Any of the out-of-box security arguments are simple just FUD esp. when they are talking about business applications. The fact is that ANY business application of any software requires an expert (in-house or consultant) before people should roll it out. It should be safe to assume that those experts would know how to implement the system in a secure fasion on whatever platform you are talking about (if they are truly experts).

    Where GNU/Linux shines in this arena is that the security problems are identified and fixed earlier than proprietary OSes. This breeds a culture in OpenSource where everyone takes some responsibility for security.

    This point was driven home to me when I took some code I had written years back and compiled on a newer RedHat system. The GNU compiler warned me that I was using wgets() and it might present a security problem because of buffer overruns. I've never had VC++ warn me about any possible security problems.

  • by JiveDonut ( 135491 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @07:25AM (#225979) Homepage
    I thought that certainly Microsoft would always be the number one POS system.

    But then you say that POS means "Point of Sale". I always thought it meant something else.

  • From the infamous Open Letter to Hobbyists:
    As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?
    I don't think that Microsoft has ever quite shaken itself from the philosophy that freely copying software is tantamount to theft of property, and that nobody in their right mind would give any functionally significant software away for zero cost. I can imagine the suits snorting and saying, "A whole OS, for free? There's gotta be a catch."
  • In 1997, Tesco - the largest UK supermarket - rolled out its new "Progress" POS terminals - I know, because I installed and serviced them (for Siemens Nixdorf).

    Their requirements were that it be simple and run a single application.

    So what OS did they choose? Linux? Windows? OS/2?



    Yes, you heard right. They used DOS5, as I recall. Proprietary PCs, with the LCD touch-screens, and the appropriate drivers, but the thing ran DOS. There's no need for anything more.

    Nobody would claim that DOS is a great OS (or even any kind of OS!), but it's damn' simple. It's also cheap. They used P133 CPUs, which were pretty good at the time, and the hardware was overall quite costly. The software was written specifically, so that's a major cost, too. But the OS was the cheapest part of the system.

    Why bother about the OS? As the posts have (unwittingly) observed, the hardware and software are the issues; it's these two which SNI (and therefore Tesco's) spent the money on; DOS is far more stable than Windows, and simpler than Linux.

    I never thought this was an area Linux was interested in; it's an area where you'd tend to go one of four ways:

    a) Simple (who cares?) = DOS
    b) Usable (crashes, insecure) = Windows
    c) Hard to configure, hard to use = Linux
    d) No config, hard to use = Embedded

    I've got no problem here with SNI/Tesco's approach. Makes perfect sense.

    #include <stddiscl.h>

  • A lot of this white paper is based on half-truths, lies, and problems with Linux that are a direct result of Microsoft's monopoly.

    When I read any article, I need to have a reasonable degree of trust in the author. Either the author has to establish that trust in the article or I have to have been familiar with other works of the author that I have found to be accurate. (By "author", I mean either an actual author, or the company they work for.)

    All it takes is one or two significant half-truths, "spins", or known falsities in an article to make me stop reading it. In such a case I normally will not read material from that source again and will cast serious doubt over any information I've received from that source before.

    The article is obviously targeted at Microsoft-believers. The problem with the article is that even a very ignorant person should have a hard time swallowing at least a few of those points. And at that point they too will probably have difficulty believing the rest.

    The obvious solution for Microsoft might be to call attention to specific problem areas of Linux that actually do exist. Problem is, last time they tried that, the Linux folks fixed the problems.

  • It loaded in mozilla and the other browsers I tried, so obviously M$ did something wrong and made a browser that couldn't read a page every other browser could.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • Must be that damn 6 preview my bother installed.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • by alexgould ( 157186 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @08:12AM (#225993)
    translates Word .DOCs. Has saved me from microsoft using coworkers many times. Check it out at [].
  • Burlington Coat Factory

    In fact, they converted not only their infrastructure, but a number of their corporate offices and their POS systems. I believe they started this in late 1998, but someone should correct this...

  • When the paper was PUBLISHED - Feb 15, 2001 - January 17, 2001 was pretty darn recent. Consider that it wasn't even written on the 15th, but in the weeks preceding that, it was even more fresh in peoples' minds.
  • i had to reread some of this cause I wasn't sure what you were saying the first time.

    You're suggesting that focusing on providing hardware drivers for linux to support various retail industry-specifics hardware pieces is "off the mark"? You wrote "of the mark" but I figured you meant "off the mark". If so, please explain. Support for those devices which people already use (and are getting quite friendly yet sophisticated) is crucial, I think.

    "It is hard to consider a 'closed' operating system such as the one M$ sells, with its fixed menu of supported devices and drivers, a viable alternative to an 'open' OS that allows retailers to exploit the latest in security and surveillance devices that are needed in an environment where the employees are out to 'steal you blind' if you do not have them."

    I don't know why it's so hard to consider that MS stuff makes sense for people. An end retailer isn't concerned about open-v-closed. Actually, say 'closed source' and it sounds great - something the employees can't get in to, cause it's not 'open'. Large corporate retailers might be different, but the average mom and pop shop looking for a cash regsiter/inventory/accounting package - they won't concern themselves with 'open' or 'closed' so much as 'easy' and 'difficult'. If it's Windows, it will SEEM easier to set up. This won't change until there are a number of large scale POS systems with real-world examples of Linux being used in the POS arena. At that stage it's not Linux anymore, just a piece of software doing it's job. It it works, and is easy, they'll use it. If people rant on about open v closed instead of simply making a turnkey system that someone can plug in and run with, Linux will never make inroads into this or any other market in any siginifant way.

  • The paper contains some valid points - and some points that are only partially valid.

    Lack of drivers - this is and will continue to be a problem for Linux - and any non-Windows systems. They're specifically talking about the retail industry. Custom cash registers, scanners/bar code readers, etc. Until 'niche' device manufacturers release their hardware specs, the Linux camp will always be behind schedule. If reverse-engineering legislation was created to 'protect' device manufacturers, people might not even legally be allowed to write drivers for Linux, even if it would be a net increase in sales to the manufacturer.

    Dev tools - this one is always coming along, I know, but there aren't many big name flashy dev tools for Linux. Yes, I know, they generally aren't needed, but this is a perception case which may never be won. Mid-level managers can at least *look* at MSVS, and get an idea of what's going on when they look over the shoulder of their developers. Looking at someone in vi just isn't as interesting. Again - this is perception we're talking about. Doesn't matter if I can do something in 5 minutes that takes an MSVS user 2 hours - perception will be that it's 'easier' to program for Windows, at least in most peoples' minds (generally the people who AREN'T doing the coding!)

    Compatibility - I've lost track of how many cool looking apps I download from freshmeat or sourceforge that simply won't compile. I've had stock RH5.2, 6.1, Slackware, Suse, Mandrake and Caldera installs. They've ALL had problems running stuff. DEVELOPERS - either TEST your stuff on stock installs, or GIVE EXPLICIT instructions about how it was compiled. You will reduce frustration time (and possible tossing of Linux altogether) if people are at least clued in about if it's their fault or your code's fault if it doesn't compile/work right.

    LESS SECURE - Windows itself may be secure, but a network app like IIS surely isn't that secure 'by default'. Installations in 1999 STILL being set to parse .IDC and .HTX files BY DEFAULT? I don't think so. For all the 'wizard' based approach of MS stuff, I'd have thought they'd have been able to give you a few installtion options besides 'typical' and 'custom'. Follow that up with the ".printer" ISAPI filter installed by default with IIS5/Win2K and the recent exploit. BY DEFAULT, a typical installation is not secure, imo. I've no doubt they CAN be secure - I've seen some, but it often takes extra hardware and learning time. READ- it's not 'free', and translates into a higher TCO than MS would have you believe. Possibly higher than Linux. :)

    Increased development costs - red herring, imo. "Since there are not large numbers of developers familiar with Linux development already, you will have to spend some extra money getting them the training they need. "

    I don't think there are too many companies yet clamoring to jump into linux based on management directives. Management may approve, but the push for Linux seems to come from the ground troops - developers. This may change over time, but right now, there won't be many developers choosing/asking/begging to work on a system they don't understand. Conclusion: any company embracing linux is most likely doing so at the behest of their developers, and as such, 'increased labor/training costs' is a non-issue. They're already (at least mostly) trained, either from other projects or self-taught.

    BTW - Was this a translated document? What the heck does "Microsoft is also driving better security with its customers than Linux is doing" mean?

  • by sabine ( 206851 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @09:19AM (#226013)
    "I'm still looking for a robust .doc reader that doesn't suck"

    Try StarOffice

  • ...OR how about Less Secure: Open source means that anyone can get a copy of the source code. Developers can find security weaknesses very easily with Linux. The same is not true with Microsoft Windows.

    This is funny. MS states that, on one hand Linux is less secure, then on the other, that developers can easily find security weaknesses!

    HAHA. This exact argument is why Linux is _MORE_ secure than windows, not less secure.

  • So when its netscape that doesnt load a page right, its the webmasters fault.

    And when its IE that loads one up wrong, its microsoft's fault?

  • Actually, windows 2000 shares your entire hard disk by default. Haven't you ever done a run \\boxname\c$?
  • There is a flaw. Regardless of how many false passwords you give, you never get locked out.
  • I don't know what distro you are referring to, but the ones I have used refuse to allow blank root passwords or even dictionary based root passwords.

  • Let's answer Microsoft's criticism. -- I'd like to see an article that discusses the Linux side of the issues mentioned by Microsoft.

    Lack of Technical Support -- For example, I have found Microsoft technical support useless. I know someone who headed the system administration at the headquarters of a $300,000,000 a year company, and he also found MS technical support useless. Microsoft's technical support representatives didn't know why SQL Server was failing, and they could not discover the reason.

    In my extensive experience with Microsoft, since the days before PCs existed and we had the CP/M OS, Microsoft has only answered one question correctly. That was a question about a C compiler problem.

    Obviously, part of the reason I don't get help from Microsoft is that I don't call to ask easy questions. I'm sure that Microsoft provides help to many of its customers who are novices.

    I have called Microsoft technical support about operating system problems many times, and they have NEVER been able to solve the problems, although once a technical support representative and I worked out a solution together, after 4 difficult hours.

    Once about four years ago I talked to a friendly Microsoft technical support representative. He was very knowledgeable. I had a written list of questions about Windows. He was able to give me no answers. He just laughed at some of them and said he wouldn't know how to begin finding the solution. He did, however, provide me with some very useful information concerning problems I wasn't currently having. I remember this representative so clearly because I called expecting the usual Microsoft roughness, and he was friendly.

    I liked the article published by the Boston Mac User's Group (BMUG) about who is better at answering Microsoft product technical support calls: Microsoft Technical Support, or The Psychic Friends Network? You can read it at Microsoft Technical Support vs. The Psychic Friends Network []

    Look at the problems mentioned in the BMUG article. They seem to me to have a typical quality to them. It seems that many of the most difficult problems with Microsoft products are ones that come from programmers who just don't care about doing a good job.

    Neither Microsoft Technical Support nor The Psychic Friends Network were able to answer any of the questions, but the BMUG article says: "... the Psychic Friends Network has a distinct edge over Microsoft in the areas of courtesy, response time, and cost of support ..." I liked this article because it is the only one I've read which exactly mirrors my experience with Microsoft.

    I think I would find the BMUG article more humorous if it weren't about such a painful subject.

    Microsoft's Flawed Business Model -- The Microsoft business model is extremely flawed because it is heavily influenced by conflict of interest. It is in Microsoft's financial interest NEVER to deliver a good operating system. If Microsoft delivers a good operating system, that will be the last operating system most of its customers will buy.

    Microsoft is a huge company, much bigger than most of the retail customers they might serve. If you have a problem, chances are they are too large to care.

    Microsoft's Abusiveness -- Microsoft has a history of being abusive. The U.S. Justice Department court case pending against Microsoft found that Microsoft was extremely abusive. This document is on the web in the Court's Findings of Fact []. What surprised me about the 207 pages of descriptions of abuses was that it didn't mention the abuses that I thought were most important. The U.S. Justice Department mostly focused on Microsoft's mistreatment of large companies. But Microsoft's mistreatment of small users is more destructive, in my opinion. (You can see more information about the antitrust cases against Microsoft at United States v. Microsoft, Antitrust Case Filings [].)

    No one, apparently, has gathered all Microsoft's abuses in one place. If that were done, we would have an important way to show why Open Source/GNU is better.

    Abusiveness is one of the biggest reasons to avoid Microsoft. Avoid habitual abusers if you don't want to be abused. Even if Microsoft technical support representatives could answer my questions, I don't want to be forced to experience their arrogant manner. I don't want to have to accept abuse to get something I want.

    Contrast Microsoft's abusiveness with the friendliness of the Open Source/GNU community. One Sunday about 8 AM, I sent an e-mail message to an important person in the community, requesting information for an article I was writing. I was surprised to get a complete answer less than 3 hours later. It is possible that you have a problem that people in the Open Source/GNU community cannot answer, but they will usually be extremely friendly while they are discussing it.

    Closed source software is like sausage. -- Closed source software is like sausage. You don't know what's in it. If you did know what was in it, maybe you wouldn't want it. Has the U.S. government forced Microsoft to put back doors into its software, so that the U.S. can more easily spy? You don't know and you may never know.

    Disclaimer Nonsense -- The Microsoft document pretends that Red Hat's 10-Q disclaimer is important. But look at Microsoft's disclaimer at the end of the article. It is much more sweeping: MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT. Basically, this disclaimer says that Microsoft does not have to be honest.

    Microsoft Windows Encourages Playing. -- A huge problem with Microsoft's operating systems in a retail environment is that there are large numbers of minimum wage workers who like to play with the OS. Sometimes I have arrived to do system maintenance and found that the cursor has become a spider. Sometimes I have found systems that have been re-configured to allow exploits. Microsoft Windows 2000 may have a lot of security features, but it has no defense against someone who knows the passwords. If you know retail environments, you know that there will be times that the passwords are compromised. It is much better to have an OS that does not look familiar and does not invite playing.

    Here is a typical scenario. Joe and John are night shift workers at a fast food restaurant. Joe is senior at 23. He makes $8.50 per hour. John is 19 and makes $7.65 per hour. They often find themselves bored when business is slow.

    One night they discover that the store manager has left his desk open. In his desk they find a list of passwords.

    Joe and John have both had computers since the early years of high school. They decide to try to load a game one of them has at home. But Windows 2000 doesn't work well with some games. The game doesn't run, but they leave the system in an unstable state.

    Retail hardware is very standard and conservative. -- In a retail environment, you want a fixed solution. You buy the hardware and software, and the two work together as a unit until you buy new hardware and software. Once you make it work, chances are there will be no need for big changes. Microsoft's statements about upgrading often are not based on reality. My experience has been that there are few operating system upgrades.

    In a retail environment, you try to buy very standard hardware. Usually this hardware interacts in a manner that is well behind the frontiers of technology. For example, receipt printers use very standard interfaces. Yes, Microsoft has more drivers, but in a retail environment you won't need to support the latest game.

    This is just a short list. -- This is just a very short list of answers to Microsoft's article. I would like to see comprehensive answers. If we can get a team together to write one, I will help.

    If I were Red Hat's marketing manager, I would have no trouble selling against Microsoft. Unfortunately, Red Hat does not have a strong marketing department.

    Microsoft receives little effective criticism. -- People who write comments on Slashdot often complain about Microsoft. But, since the complaints are usually brief and not well documented, the aggregate result is that Microsoft receives little criticism that would be effective with non-technical people.
  • heh
    I think that your intuition was correct. I fired up another ie window to read that *.doc file. After scrolling through, and looking at some of the companies that they review, I decided I had enough crap (just because 3 random companies chose solution 1 over solution 2 doesn't make solution 2 worse or even mean that it is a bad option for different applications) and closed the browser window. I love how they stuck in the line about "windows 2000 never crashes for us, but we had to reboot linux servers every week or two (but we won't tell you what unstable aplications we were running or how well our employees understand the os).

    anyways, I close the browser window and, lo and behold, I get some weird ie error message and it crashes out. Gotta love a browser/msword combo that crashes reading their docs directly from their servers.

    anyways, what was your original idea about POS?

  • I work with NT all day, and I am charged with securing some pretty important installs. From my modest time doing what I do (~1 yr doing security) I can say this: NT can be secured, and it can be secured pretty well. However, the problem is that to secure it and maintain security is *way* too time consuming.

    I can lock down an NT4/5 system pretty well, I can apply all of my MS hotfixes and good 'ol SP6a, and I can even dig into the ASP code and check for application level bugs. When I am done I can hook it into a net running a nice IDS, and be sure the routers/FWs are doing their part. And, I can be pretty confident that I will have rolled out a system that will be less than an easy target for the l33t kiddies.

    However...I can say that maintaining a state of security is a complete cluster@!#$ in MS land. It is this way because to harden an NT/IIS 4 box it takes litereally about 80 patches on top of SP6a. Plus, you have to ensure that after every hotfix you haven't caused your application to crap out.

    On top of that, there is always the underlying "whatif" on if a patch from MS is 100% effective. For example, you can lock out the Unicode bug, and the ol /msadc/..%e0%80%af../ string will die, but then some guy on pen-test will insist he got a patched box with the vuln. Kinda scary, no?

    Then, MS doesn't help things by not creating an SP7. As a result, instead of doing 1 patch I have to do 80 reboots. It is pretty clear they are doing this to drum up sales of NT 5. I mean after all, if they properly supported NT 4, MS would clearly go out of business. (not)

    I am still a young grasshopper in terms of Linux know-how, but I have seen enough to know that a out of the box RH install can be rooted just like NT. I think the problem with NT security is that everybody and their mother knows NT, the hacks and scripts are idiot proof, and the exploits are easily discovered (both as exploits and how to use them). For example, any jackass can find a Unicode bugged IIS box, upload hk.exe and nc.exe, DL the SAM, etc. However, if the admin was any good, they would have done lots of things to prevent such exploits from happening.

    If hacking NT required busting out the C compiler, building kernels, or anything else that requires actual understanding of computers, I bet you'd see a lot less 'l33t' NT crackers.

    So, I think that when people talk about how NT security sucks, they should also think about how the admins who secure those boxes are responsible, and how the tools available to hack NT are for ages 6 and up. NT can be secured, albeit a complete PITA to do/maintain.

  • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @08:29AM (#226043) Journal

    Also, will it run under the different Graphical User Interfaces (GUI's) available for Linux? GNU, KDE, and GNOME are the most popular, but there are others available too.

    Gee, I always though GNU Wasn't UNIX, not a GUI... Does anyone have an idea for what GNU stands for now that it's a GUI?
    GNU's Not Ugly?
    GUIs not UNIX?
    Any other ideas?

    And why is it that Microsoft keeps stating that Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. but not that Linux is a Registered trademark of Linus Torvalds?


  • by Molf ( 265303 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @08:32AM (#226053) Homepage
    Given how many people seem to have interpreted `pos', I think I like this line:
    "Retailers typically stay with their POS systems for years because of the costs that can be involved in upgrading thousands of terminal devices to a new environment." Suddenly the reason for using Windows becomes obvious...
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday May 13, 2001 @09:30AM (#226089)
    "NT is 90% secure right out of the box. The other %10 is easy becuase the admins all use windows95 on their system at home and can figure it out. You have a complete integrated envirnoment.....".

    OK, but by that same argument, MS-DOS is more secure than either one of them hands-down right out of the box. If you don't want to have to work to maintain your network and its software, maybe you shouldn't have a network to begin with...

    Also, 95 is not 2000. There are no MMCs (or any real administrative tools, for that matter) in 95 for you to practice with at home. You need to sit down with a book to figure out how those work.

    "Because of the out of the box securness, Los Alamos national labatories trust NT with all their secret data,"

    They also trust communist Chinese spies. Are you saying that NT/2000 can be trusted as much as Wen Ho Lee? In that, I'd agree with you.

    "also the NSA uses NT quite heavily and may even use it solely for storing highly classified secrets."

    Doubtful. The only reason NT 3.51 got its Red Book security classification it got (C-3? I forget) was that the machines used to test it were heavily modified from their original install and not connected to any network. If you want network certification, you need to work with the Orange Book, and no MS OS has ever been submitted for testing by the NSA, let alone certified.

    Besides, the NSA's work with SELinux gives credibility to the argument that there's a more secure groundwork to work with in Linux than in Windows.

    "However, the truth is that a properly configured unix box can be very secure. You just need to find someone who can do it and there is a shortage of qualified unix admins who are good enough."

    If you intend to put a NIC into your NT/2000 machine, you'll need an MCSE to do all that configuration as well. The only difference here is that MCSEs are a little more common. However, if the company is smart, they'll hire IT people that can learn new skills and not slaves to one piece of software.

    "Anyway the article does not talk about stability. NT is pretty secure. However its not that stable. Go to or cern's website and compare the unix bugs to NT one's."

    If parts of the OS aren't stable, how can it be said to be secure? If there's a bug in a security feature (especially if it's a well-documented one MS is slow on the uptake to fix), then it isn't secure.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire