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Gartner Group Suggests Dumping IIS For Now 502

sachmet is one of the many readers who contributed news that "Gartner Group is now recommending that IIS be replaced in corporate environments. This is based on the fact that TCO for IIS is rising due to the almost-weekly patches sent out by MS, and even then, it's nearly impossible to get patched quickly enough. Best part: 'Gartner remains concerned that viruses and worms will continue to attack IIS until Microsoft has released a completely rewritten, thoroughly and publicly tested, new release of IIS,' which they say has an 80% chance of happening by the end of next year." Gartner hasn't always said favorable things about Linux systems in the workplace, but the businesses that rely on this type of analysis to justify purchasing decisions may find this one interesting. Update: 09/24 22:04 GMT by T :As several people have pointed out, the 80% figure appears to be Gartner's odds that IIS won't be rewritten that soon, rather than the other way around (.673334 probability).
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Gartner Group Suggests Dumping IIS For Now

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  • wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:22PM (#2342822) Homepage Journal
    Gartner Group is usually not this anti-Microsoft, but given the events of the past week (who DIDN'T get hit by Nimda?), I can see why they're advocating switching, at least for the time being.

    At work, we've been on-and-off contemplating switching a lot of our servers from IIS to something else. Our Linux and OpenBSD and Solaris boxes are all fine, but our unpatched IIS servers (the ones I don't admin, go fig) all got trashed. If you're gonna lose a day or two of work every month and you're paying the "cleanup people" $50 an hour or more, you can damn well bet you'll either start looking for new employees or new software.

    - A.P.
    • Security (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quantum bit ( 225091 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:15PM (#2343002) Journal

      (who DIDN'T get hit by Nimda?)

      I didn't. IIS can be secured -- many things that MS releases patches for are not exploitable if you follow sane security practices. Stuff like deleting all the ISAPI crap that comes in the default setup, and putting your web root in a nonstandard location (preferably on a different partition), deleting all sample files, enforcing proper filesystem permissions, and running any applications in an isolated process.

      Of course, one of the advantages of Apache is that it ships in a relatively secure configuration by default, it's better for dummys who install stuff and plug it into the network without bothering to check the configuration. It's a whole lot better by default than IIS, that's for sure. Most of the MS patches are for various add-ons like index service that most people don't use anyway and should be shut off.

      DISCLAIMER: I use Apache for the primary web server for the business I work at. We run IIS as the secondary server for load-balancing and have yet to be compromised by anything, even though patches don't always get applied immediately (usually pretty soon after release though). I think Apache is great, but want to point out that anything can be secured if you put some effort into it.

      • Re:Security (Score:4, Interesting)

        by plover ( 150551 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @08:49PM (#2344697) Homepage Journal
        That's all well and good, but you solved .001% of the problem.

        Like everyone else, I found myself gettting hammered by Code Red infested servers when this whole thing came down last month. So I went and did a few directories on several of those machines using the newly installed back doors just to see what was going on. Know what I found? They were ALL default installations of Win2K, and most were installed sometime early in August (based on the dates of some of the directories I found. Many of those machines still served up the IIS default page when I checked.) It was evident that someone simply dropped in the CD, clicked on some install button, and called it done. And *I* suffered for it.

        You cured ONE machine, and for that I thank you. As you say that a smart admin will prevent these problems, but that's not true enough. These machines are owned by cable-modem morons that don't understand that they've just become an admin. They dropped in a CD and checked a box that said "Make this computer a web server." Then they probably invited their friends over to see their awesome Quake playing machine.

        That's why IIS is not a winning recommendation, but the people who need to know this wouldn't know the Gartner group from a garter snake.

        • A solution! (Score:3, Informative)

          by plover ( 150551 )
          I just realized how these attacks could all have been prevented: fair market forces. If Microsoft had to sell IIS competetively, they'd have about a 2% market share. Code Red, Nimda, all the other worms would have much less of a foothold in an environment that IIS had to fairly compete in.

          First, if it were a "pay per play" I'd be far more interested in seeing it work properly than I would be if I were just clicking a box that said "Install web server?"

          Second, attacks would make it much less likely that anyone would pay for their product until it was far more secure.

          The same would be true for the other virus-prone applications bundled with the Windows operating systems: I wouldn't consider Outlook Express if I had to pay for an e-mail client, especially with all the viruses that it retransmits. Internet explorer? There's not a chance I would purchase an ActiveX container for surfing the web, but since that big blue "e" is already sitting on the screen and doesn't take me a half hour to download, sure, I'll use it.

          And now the D.O.J. has dropped their only chance to prevent the tragedy from repeating itself on XP.

    • "Where do you want your security hole today?"
    • Re:wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sheldon ( 2322 )
      We got hit by Nimda, but only on our development machines. The production machines had been kept up to date with security patches.

      In the specific case of Nimda, the patch was available in April of 2000. That gave everybody plenty of time to do something about it, however many didn't. i.e. most of our development machines.

      What's more expensive? Spending an hour once a month patching your production web servers, or shutting down the company for half a day?

  • by Guillaume Ross ( 517391 ) <guillaume@binaryfactory.ca> on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:22PM (#2342824) Homepage
    Isn't it one of the greatest P2P app out there for automatic file sharing?
  • credibility (Score:2, Troll)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I used to work for the Gartner Group. I wouldn't use their analysis to anything but ass wiping, as they are about as inaccurate as /. polls.

    It is true though: companies relies on these reports to make decisions, so it's still relevant.

    • Interesting... I've participated in several of their surveys and focus groups, and I always find that their surveys are some of the best written out there. Unlike USA Today polls, there were no questions designed to steer you in a certain direction and all of the questions were well designed. No survey or analysis is going to be perfect, but theirs always seem to be better than most.
  • by Rev.LoveJoy ( 136856 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:23PM (#2342832) Homepage Journal
    Are any of the linux companies activly promoting reviews such as this by offering to replace the *functionality* of IIS in corporate environs?

    Just curious,
    - RLJ

    • Um, what's that got to do with Linux? They are not saying "ditch Windows", they are saying "ditch IIS". IIS != Windows. There are other web servers out there that run perfectly well under Windows.

      • It is relevant to linux advocacy: If there were a few Linux firms out there who could say: "You know what Gartner said, and we can transfer your web services tonight, no downtime, to a Linux+Apache system", it could actually make an impression on those making the decisions.
      • by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:36PM (#2342940) Homepage
        There are other web servers out there that run perfectly well under Windows.

        Very true. I know some folks running Apache/Tomcat-Jakarta on a W2K box and are pretty happy about it. I think in the short term (or mid term at least since some porting will be needed even if you only switch the web server) if the advice is followed they may stick with Apache, et al on Windows. But, since you save little to no $$ by purchasing NT/W2K/XP Server and not using IIS I would suspect those that did move off IIS would eventually lose NT/W2K/XP as the OS as well. I would imagine that the porting effort to move code the likes of PHP/JSP/servelets from Apache/MS to Apache/*BSD or Apache/Linux would be minimal.

        Of course, I suspect that very few will switch. We got our asses handed to us last week, and the brass are sticking with MS anyway. Go figure.
  • Gartner Leads Way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gus goose ( 306978 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:23PM (#2342837) Journal
    At least they appear to not be using IIS themselves, although their web-server has no indication of what server is behind it. This in itself indicates that it is not IIS.

    Gartner wields a lot of influence, and this will raise heads. Congratulations.


    • Gartner Leads Way


      Well, I suppose that Gartner wields a lot of influence among the consumers of IT evaluations that have more money than time in which to acquire the expertise.

      But - and especially in this forum - this is not exactly a rocket science revelation.

      The hassles of IIS administration have been widely known among IT worker bees for sometime. I guess it just takes a while for the information to trickle up.

      Now if those Gartner reports were only released about 1 year earlier than they are, then they might be a little more timely and useful!

  • by davidfsmith ( 81296 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:25PM (#2342850) Homepage
    To be honest i'm surprised it took this long for a report like this to appear, I maintain a small network in a small company, we have mainly win machines except for one server and my laptop... the overhead on keeping the win machines patched (5 on the network) is crazy, I spend too much of my valuable time hunting down patches for machines.... luckily at the moment IIS is shutdown as all of the dev work is being completed on linux. however I have to keep the patches up to date otherwise I'll be spending a week or 2 updating the server in a month or so time.

    Will MS really write a new IIS from scratch I doubt it, and if they did would it really improve on where things are now.... it would take n months to write, beta and then lauch IIS+ 1.0 then people would want to know it was ok, some would try it, but most people would want to see IIS+ 2.0 before moving their web applications to it..... timescale ? how long is a piece of string.... and would it be any better, would MS allow external code reviews (or opensource) to ensure that IIS+ was better / secure. I doubt it....

    "Iceberg dead ahead..... oh sorry, only joking !"
    • by throx ( 42621 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:51PM (#2342990) Homepage
      the overhead on keeping the win machines patched (5 on the network) is crazy, I spend too much of my valuable time hunting down patches for machines

      Install Windows Critical Update Notification.

      If it honestly takes you too long to visit the Windows Update web site once every week for the 5 machines, or get the users to visit the site and install the critical updates then there's a problem somewhere.

      My Win2k machines WERE running IIS and had all critical updates installed. No Code Red. No Nimda. WTF is everyone else's problem? Even my web host which is running IIS didn't get hit.

      As for rewriting IIS, it is a rather stupid idea. First of all the Code Red problem wasn't IIS at all, but the Index Server ISAPI DLL. Rewriting IIS will have zero effect on any of these extensions, much as rewriting Apache would have little effect on a bug in mod_php.

      Honestly I don't get Gartner's points here - if you have a significant site with a large investment in .asp pages and custom server ActiveX objects then migrating from IIS is a fairly large expense. Even if you don't, the hassle of securely setting up a whole new web server is just asking for more holes to turn up. I'd be recommending companies don't ship at all, but pay attention to Microsoft's security bullitens (you ARE signed up, aren't you?)
      • There is actually a better way to do this. Use the Windows 2000 IIS 5.0 Hotfix Checking Tool. It works pretty well and you can customize it to your needs. It can write to the event log, send an email, etc.

        http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?R el easeID=24168
      • by WNight ( 23683 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:41PM (#2343102) Homepage
        The problem is that you can't trust MS's patches.

        One of the early NT service packs was called the SP-of-Death. Even recently... Remeber SP6? Nope. It was pulled rather quickly and replaced with 6a (which is often referred to as 6) because it caused a ton of problem for Notes users.

        Direct-X 7.0 was buggy and toasted a few systems, but couldn't be uninstalled.

        MS has a long history of playing games with patches. Often they don't release patches, forcing an "upgrade" to a later version, other times they release a "patch" that (intentionally?) breaks other companies software.

        Decent admins don't install MS patches until they've seen them in action and could evaluate them. The proper action with CRed and Nimda isn't to rush to patch the server, but to change the firewall to prevent malicious requests. To do otherwise is to risk having to reinstall the OS (without the patch) to get your servers working again.
        • The problem is that you can't trust MS's patches.

          Personally I trust script kiddies even less. If I see a published bug that allows root access from remote sites I close the damn thing straight away.

          I remember SP6 very well. Downloaded the SP6a patch and had my eval boxes working before I deployed. There is NO excuse for waiting three months with an open root compromise though.

          The proper action with CRed and Nimda isn't to rush to patch the server, but to change the firewall to prevent malicious requests.

          No. By the time you've done this it is too late - the worm has already hit you. If you'd applied the patch (even taken a week, hell a month even, to evaluate it) then you wouldn't have to firewall things after the fact.

          To do otherwise is to risk having to reinstall the OS (without the patch) to get your servers working again.

          You don't reinstall after a root compromise? What sort of admin are you?

          The risk of patching a single file or two with a hotfix (which saves backups anyhow for rollback) is significantly less than having your server root compromised.
      • Index Server is part of IIS. The problem is that IIS encompasses a large number of seervices that are enabled by default, and 90% of the people using it will never use them.

        Also, if you're running NT4, there is no windows update for IIS.
        • Index Server is not part of IIS. You install and uninstall it independantly and it runs as a separate service with isapi hooks into IIS.

          If you are a competent admin, I'd expect you to be on the mailing lists for security flaws in all systems you administer - if not then you aren't doing your job properly. There's no excuse for not having a patch for "Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise" [microsoft.com] installed on a web server.
          • Please, you are continually blaming the owners of these machines for not being "competent". The machines are owned by a wide range of people, most of whom are your brother-in-law's cousin's co-worker who thinks that if Windows ME costs $100 then Win 2K must be three times better because it costs $299.

            So I suffer the effects of his Code Red attacks because he's too busy playing Quake to read Microsoft's fix-of-the-week? Next time you see a random person who happens to own Win2K, ask him or her if he even knows what the phrase "Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise" means?

            And your solution to us is to blame him, rather than solve the problem? I think the company that delivers the insecure system out-of-the-box is at fault. Don't blame the guy who just bought a Win2K CD at Best Buy and stuck it in his PC. He simply trusted Microsoft to provide him with an OS for his computer, and I think he's within reason to expect the software he paid for NOT to be full of holes.

            As a matter of fact, one is attacking me as I write. Let me go see, yes, http://tsi-196.tsi-comm.com/ [tsi-comm.com] has the default IIS page up. This is a NOBODY, just some guy with a cable modem, money, and not enough brains to know what he's done. His box is so tied up I can't even NET SEND him a friendly "You've got worms!" messsage. And he's just one of many thousands. Even if every professional IIS admin were completely competent, Microsoft is shipping the same leaky IIS to every dot-com, Dick and Harry.

            Quit attacking the victims.

    • Your post has shown a lot more insight than that Gartner report which is unsurprising given the typical quality of Gartner's work. The main problem with IIS isn't that there are exploits for it, after all there are exploits for every major piece of server software from BIND to Apache to Sendmail. The problem is that there is no decent pathway to funnel patches to users of IIS.

      I foolishly used to go to the Windows Update site [microsft.com] to download all the security patches thinking that I was being smart only to find out after being infected by Nimda that Windows Update Doesn't Have IIS patches. Now considering that this is Microsoft's most central and visible update site plus the fact that IIS worms have caused so much damage over the past year, one wonders why IIS patches aren't on the windows update site or at the very least there isn't a site similar to Windows Update just for IIS?

      Gartner is wrong for telling people to switch webservers because admins haven't applied a patch that is almost a year old (that's right, the CodeRed/Nimda patch is that old) because it is tackling the symptoms and not the root cause. Gartner should be bitching Microsoft out for not having a sophisticated update system in place similar to apt-get & cron but with a GUI for the clueless admin instead of asking people to blindly switch web servers as if the Ramen worm and Sadmind didn't affect non-MSFT platforms.

      The more people who use non-MSFT platforms, the more worms we'll see on non-MSFt platforms. Instead of looking for the web server silver bullet, we shoyld be encouraging admins to take responsibility and do thier freaking jobs.
      • Gartner is one of these "the sky is falling; change everything" analysts. They spent the last 3 years telling everyone to switch from Apache to IIS; now their only possible retraction is to switch everyone back. Moderation and smarter business practices aren't a part of their target market -- the ever fickle C*Os. I quote Greenspun:
        a CTO is someone who can't or doesn't want to write code. After all, if Joe CTO writes a program he incurs the risk of a user sitting down in front of it and saying "this program doesn't work the way it needs to." So a CTO goes from meeting to meeting thinking profound thoughts about different brands of RDBMS server, operating systems, Web servers, etc.
        So telling these people that the massive upheaval of switching platforms is the only thing that they understand.

        On a different point, I have to disagree with this:

        The main problem with IIS isn't that there are exploits for it, after all there are exploits for every major piece of server software from BIND to Apache to Sendmail. The problem is that there is no decent pathway to funnel patches to users of IIS.
        No, I think the problem is that there are exploits for IIS, or at least, that there are so many. When was the last time Apache had a remote exploit? Okay, what year did Apache last have a remote exploit? BIND has had a huge number of exploits in its time, but its been quite stable for a while now; still, I use djbdns rather than BIND, qmail rather than sendmail. That's another major difference -- in the Unix world there are several tools that perform similar functions like DNS, FTP, and HTTP; any competent administrator will switch the default daemons over to the packages released by scary paranoid crypto motherfuckers. On Windows, you have the MS daemons and nothing else! That has always been the problem in MS paradise -- it's their way or no way.

        Obviously, administration skill matters. Certainly, with a raft of technicians you can keep anything afloat. But that doesn't change the absolute fact that there are differences in software quality afoot, readiness to admit vulnerabilities, and ability for the community to contribute fixes and peer review. MS is absolutely failing in those respects, so much in fact that even their biggest syncophants are deserting them.

    • I must have posted this at least a dozen times to /. alone over the past few months. It's been posted to ntbugtraq and every other support mailing list.

      Here it is, one more time. Live it, learn it, love it.

      http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?R el easeID=24168

      Besides as of right now there has been any major patches for about a month and you just need to do Win2k SP2 plus the August hotfix rollup. Over WinNT4 SP6a plus a similar rollup hotfix.
  • by FatHogByTheAss ( 257292 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:27PM (#2342856)
    I've quit jobs due to PHB reliance on the morons over at Gartner.

    "Unix will be a dead OS in three years." Quoth one, on his reasoning behind implemening MS solutions for the enterprise. (~ 1995)

    An expensive Gartner "analyst" told him so.

    Shoulda gave me that budget...

  • Great but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drodver ( 410899 )
    This is great but many companys can't switch easily because they have web apps based on ASP/ActiveX. Unless it's something small they are stuck since rewriting it isn't probably an option.
    • Re:Great but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )
      This is great but many companys can't switch easily because they have web apps based on ASP/ActiveX.

      Gee. So companies that based critical systems on proprietary technology now find that they have limited options and are basically screwed? Who'd have thought?

      Make a deal with the devil, you're gonna get burned.

    • I don't remember the name of the product, but at least one ASP emulator for Linux is available. I don't think it was open source, but it was definitely there.

    • Gimme a break! (Score:5, Informative)

      by JediTrainer ( 314273 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:50PM (#2343177)
      Rewriting is always an option. It's not a pretty one, but it CAN be done if you're dedicated enough.

      Case in point - last year I saw the dead-end coming for my company's Enterprise solution, which was written in ASP/COM. The argument (er... *ahem*, discussion) I had with the higher-ups concluded that we HAD to continue moving forward. We couldn't wait 6 months for a rewrite (ambitious at best).

      Fine, I said. Then let me do everything concurrently. Here's how it works:

      Install Tomcat [apache.org] onto your Windows NT Server running IIS, along with JRE 1.3 and the HotSpot Server.

      Link Tomcat in with IIS using the mod_isapi.dll you can get from the Tomcat site. Also install Tomcat as a service using jk_nt_service.exe.

      Keep your Java session abstracted. The main session remains as-is within your ASP application. Write a bit of java.net code to hook in through a custom ASP page (note: security - ordinary clients can't access this page) to retrieve and update any session variables. This can be done by reading the ASPSESSION cookie, and spoofing it in your requests to IIS.

      Any NEW components, write in Java. Remember - session variables get retrieved and saved from the ASP side still.

      As you're working on new components, when you can arrange it, convert old components to Java one by one. Session still remains on ASP.

      Wash, rinse, repeat until all components have been written in Java. Once this is done, convert your login into Java, and change your abstracted Session to be a Java session instead of hooking into IIS for the ASP one.

      Voila. You are now 100% Java. Now get rid of IIS and switch to something else. This is the approach that my team took to rid ourselves of the VB horror that someone left me when I joined. It took about 8 months of solid effort, but it worked. We are now rid of all reliance on MS technologies from our site. We also managed to do it quickly because of good code layout, and the use of the most wonderful Velocity templates also available from the Jakarta site. This helped a lot.

      The point is, you CAN do a rewrite. What you usually are NOT allowed to do is a code freeze. So... work around it! The beauty of this solution is that you are running two separate applications (technically) for a time. Keep a consistent look, and the users can't tell the difference between the ASP and the Java side. Change one function at a time, slowly, and eventually you'll reach the Utopia you're looking for.
      • Re:Gimme a break! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by drodver ( 410899 )
        I never claimed it is impossible to rewrite everything. There are at least three common situations in which your view on redoing the application fails

        1. The most common would be an application writen and then barely maintained or maintained by someone who knows just enough to keep it working. This would be the case with a lot of web applications in none IT centered companys. Most companys aren't willing to rebuild an application that none of the programmers know much about and isn't broken, even if it may be annoying to maintain the server. Remember server people and progammers are often in different departments, so it becomes "their" problem.
        2. IT companys that sell their ActiveX/ASP product basically can't do what you did. My company, for example, could not do a rewrite without a code freeze because you can't expect the customer to install a hybrid system, it goes beyond what the customers expect to have to do to install our product. A rewrite isn't feasible because in that time the industry would have passed us by as we rewrite 3 years of code.
        3. For a large application you would need multiple people with the proper skill set to convert a large application in the way you propose. Finding and paying these people for would be expensive. What you did cost the company money because the time you spent rewriting little chunks at a time was time you could have been doing new production. Your company still paid the cost of a rewrite you just spoon fed it to management a little at a time. That doesn't work as well for a large development team.

        I don't see a problem with your solution but just because it's possible doesn't mean it's in the best interest of a lot of companys. Unless the TCO of IIS is costing them more than the solution they are going to keep what they have. My argument is one of economics and managment behavior, not programming ability.
    • Chilliware sells software that lets you run ASP on Linux.
  • OH MY GOD! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:27PM (#2342862)
    My PHB just saw this, screamed "MY PARADIGMS ARE MELTING!" and collapsed into a pile of goo. Many thanks to the Gartner Group!
    • I am a NT 4 and Win2k MCSE (can't believe I am admitting on /. I should post this Anonymous Coward.) I take every chance to remind the high-ups that blindly choosing one platform for all network functions is a BAD IDEA. Lets face it - if there is one thing *nix platforms and Open Source apps can do, is provide a QUALITY piece of infrastrucutre software.

      Conversely, large applications (ERP's, N-tier web interfaces blah blah) work better on NT (generally) because the API is friendlier to your clients (which are naturally running MS.) If you don't believe me, try installing Sybase Enterprise Application Server on Unix and get clients to save files and print locally.

      Being a Business major, I understand what MS brings to the table in TCO - mainly that they will always have the lights on, but so will Sun, HP-UX, and possibly Red Hat. The truth of the matter is that the OS level is going to be smaller of concern than the applications that run on them. I think that any PHB that decides on a platform across the board is managing from the advertisements in CIO magazine. I say you define your network logicaly and wisely pick your physical model utilizing the best solutions for each problem (infrasturucre = Linux, Database = Sun / HP-UX etc., App servers, desktops, misc servers = NT/2K.)

      They can find personnel who know both well, and command a higher salary - or have redundant admins because you hire unix admins who have such a disdain for MS they won't touch it and the MS admins who have no clue about Unix. It may cost more, but tough luck - cost of doing business.


  • Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

    by base2op ( 226729 ) <spambait@bunkergate.org> on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:27PM (#2342866) Homepage
    There is an 80% chance of it not happening by the end of 2002:

    Gartner believes that this rewriting will not occur before year-end 2002 (0.8 probability).

  • by iturbide ( 39881 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:29PM (#2342884) Homepage
    The problem is not just that IIS is a vulnerable piece of crap. The problem is the point and click admins who can only run setup and never ever will check for patches.

    So you ditch IIS and install Apache. Do you honestly think that the guy who couldn't be bothered to update it will be bothered to check for Apache vulnerabilities and fixes?

    Yes, because you will have to ditch that guy! And your new unix-savvy admin will be more expensive.

    Oh well, only a matter of time before they think of that. The product is only as good as it's admin, and certainly not better.
    • The difference is that apache *requires* the installer to do some manual work to get it working properly. Perhaps the point and click admin would learn something during this process of learning.
      • The difference is that apache *requires* the installer to do some manual work to get it working properly. Perhaps the point and click admin would learn something during this process of learning.

        There is no reason for those point and click admins to remain ignorant, except all that MS BS about "new mindsets" and "completely different" aproaches to programing. I can only imagine how knowledgable and valuable some of my frinds would be if they had not wasted a good portion of the last ten years chasing ever changing MS interfaces, specs and patches. Rise! and free yourselves.

        Remember, it's not your ability to manipulate a product that makes you worth something. It's your ability to poduce results from given resources.

      • "The difference is that apache *requires* the installer to do some manual work"

        $ su -
        # apt-get install clue
    • Its the Microsoft "all-in-one" solution as much as it is the server. Once you get into asp, activeX, etc you're entering a more patch intensive environment. Patch the IIS, patch the client, patch the OS, and so on.

      Granted, a bad admin is a bad admin, but if you had to hedge your bets you'd also go with Apache. That's what the Gartner Group does, it tells you where to place your bets.

      The most important factor is the estimate of future exploits. For IIS its pretty high, for Apache not so much.

      In MS's defense their new securty tools are pretty nifty and there has to be some kind of boiling point where even the lowliest user knows the importance of patches after the 10th time their machine has been wiped due to a virus. That day may never come, or it may be next week, but no one is holding their breath.
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:32PM (#2342899) Homepage Journal
    From the article...

    using Internet-exposed IIS Web servers securely has a high cost of ownership. Enterprises using Microsoft's IIS Web server software have to update every IIS server with every Microsoft security patch that comes out -- almost weekly.

    I imagine you would need to patch Apache fairly regularly as well. Its not like its immune to worms or security holes. In fact, apache.org [apache.org] was compromised this year due to a security hole.

    I am in the process of converting from a Windows based web server to Debian/Apache, and the process is not without its problems. On the first try, Debian did not pick up both processors on my machine. Also, using mySQL, I can consistently crash my machine by trying to index a 5 million row table.

    So, I have some problems. As you might when converting from Windows to Linux. Where do I go? I can't just call my Debian rep and ask him to help me fix my problems. I have to hunt for the answers and spend a lot of time figuring out just what the heck is wrong with my system.

    So keep this in mind if you are switching because of TCO costs. Yes, you will need to patch once a week sticking with Windows. However, I don't think this report fully explains everything that may be involved when figuring out the TCO for a Linux system.

    That said, I expect to be able to solve my problems and end up with a very nice server.

    • Apache.org (Score:2, Informative)

      by Srin Tuar ( 147269 )
      Apache.org was comprimised due to a misconfiguration- not an exploit. Totally different. You could *not* write a nimda to take advantage of that.
    • by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike@NoSpaM.baptiste.us> on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:26PM (#2343011) Homepage Journal
      In fact, apache.org [apache.org] was compromised this year due to a security hole

      Well yes Apache.org did get compromised but NOT due to an Apache server problem. It was a complicated hack [obsess.com] and took advantage of a configuration problem (mainly Apache had their incoming FTP tree viewable in their web space among others) Or perhaps you're referring to another event.

      Yes, Apache is not all nice point and click, but there ARE tools out there (Webmin's [webmin.com] Apache module is NICE) to make administration easier. Yes Apache has had vulnerabilities in teh past, but considering its widespread use and installed base, I'm extremely impressed with how secure its been - upgrades to Apache are rare which reduces TCO.

      Yes, all systems and software have problems. But overall, I'll stick with OSS where appropriate and regarding your issues with MySQL and Apache, a few simple posts to mailing lists or news groups related to the software will often get your problem fixed faster than most 3rd party setups.

    • Maybe you should stop consistently indexing 5 million row tables with MySQL.

      Then buy a real DB.
  • I think this is a good indication of why you shouldn't just go with a single platform for all of your services. It may look good on paper, but the fact of the matter is that the Microsoft environment right now is so vunerable with regard to exploits, that it doesn't make sense any more.

    This kind of attack can be seen in the ecosystem as well. If everything is homogeneous, then a single form of attack can do a great deal of devastation.

    I guess the powers that be think that learning a new OS is bad, but it just proves "The Right tool, for the right job". Right now, IIS, is not it!
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:33PM (#2342913) Homepage
    More and more of these IIS "syadmins" (using the term loosely) will install Unix/Linux boxes, and forget about them, just like they installed the IIS boxes and forgot about them.

    Then someone somewhere will find some little bug in some pre-installed convenience, some PHP shopping cart, some admin tool, some default password, something that comes on each machine. Then we'll have the same problem with some crazy Linux worm. And this time I bet the clueless M$-0wn3d media won't call it an "Internet worm", they'll be sure to call it a "Linux worm"!

    Of course I could be wrong. Maybe Microsoft really can't code a proper webserver. But I think having sysadmins awake and at the wheel will help too.

    Hmm, how about a web server that emails the admin saying "This web server will shut down in 15 days unless you run the up2date tool" or something similar? To force people to check for upgrades.
  • Does anyone have a step-by-step manual for how to implement an IIS replacement? I have been riding the MS bandwagon for about 12 years now, and I'm finally starting to open my eyes to the alternatives now that they've proven themselves (this is my first /. post, by the way). My company uses IIS, but we don't use many of the features. We use the VPN, Web server (basic ASP queries against Access databases), and that's about it. I've installed Linux a couple of times, but only for testing purposes and to satisfy my growing curiousity. To really get something out of the operating system, I need to be able to install and implement those features easily. The nice thing about IIS is that it's easy to install and administer for basic tasks for people used to the MS interface (most people that use computers). If I can be shown how easy it is to change to a Linux solution, I'd probably make the switch in a heartbeat. If nothing else, it'd cut back drastically on the number of patches/virii. Any and all links are welcome!
  • No offense... but they didn't say anything favoring Linux this time either. They said to dump IIS, they didn't suggest moving to Linux. There ARE other webservers for Windows.
    • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @05:02PM (#2343261)
      Tim O'Reilly wrote a Salon article [salon.com] back in November 1999 about the obstacles M$ places in the path of people who want to run alternative web servers on NT:

      In fact, the rise of Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) as the dominant Web server on NT shows much the same pattern as the rise of IE as the dominant browser: Microsoft got pole position by exercising its unique leverage as an operating system vendor.
      Originally IIS, Web server software that runs only on the NT operating system, was bundled "free" with a version of NT called NT Server. Web server vendors such as Netscape and O'Reilly responded by pointing out in our advertising and PR that if customers ran our third-party Web server software on NT Workstation (a less expensive version of NT, which came without the IIS Web server software), they would end up with a more powerful server than Microsoft's IIS running on NT Server -- and it would cost less too.
      Much as it had done by bundling the browser with Windows 98, Microsoft was bundling an application -- the IIS Web server -- as part of an operating system, (NT Server). But in this case, the company offered another version of the same operating system without the bundle, (NT Workstation). It seemed natural to competitors to offer our products on top of the version of the operating system that came without IIS.
      It did not, however, please Microsoft that we did so. In June 1996 Microsoft responded by changing [ora.com] the license to NT Workstation to prohibit its use as a server platform. (At first, the company went further, and actually crippled the version of TCP/IP provided in NT Workstation, but the outcry from users forced it to backtrack.)
      Microsoft argued, quite rightly, that it had the right to create two different versions of NT, with different price points, and different functionality. But the company went a step further, and used its operating system license (and more specifically the license to the parts of the operating system that implemented TCP/IP, an industry standard protocol) to prohibit the use of third-party applications that duplicated the functionality of Microsoft's more expensive platform.
      Microsoft's public rationale for the policy -- that it was protecting its customers because NT Workstation was not suitable for use as a server operating system -- was proven false by my colleague, former O'Reilly editor Andrew Schulman (working with Mark Russinovich). Shulman and Russinovich demonstrated [ora.com] that it was possible to convert NT Workstation to NT Server by changing only a few registry entries. NT Workstation contained all of the same program code as NT Server; the code was simply disabled, and some additional applications bundled.

      This is admittedly an old story; I don't know if M$ is still legally implementing this particular "innovative" license restriction nowadays. Does anybody know?
  • The problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <Rick.The.Red@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:37PM (#2342956) Journal
    The problem is that the crackers and script kiddies attack the lowest common denominator. In this case it's IIS and other Microsoft wares. But what if Gardner suceeds and the Fortune 500 dump IIS and switch to Apache? When that happens the safe thing to do will be to use the less-common and thus less-attacked IIS, because the crackers will make Apache too expensive to use. In other words, once again the best course of action is to do exactly the opposite of what Gardner recommends.

    • Re:The problem (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KC7GR ( 473279 )
      You're missing some critical points: First, Apache is open-source. Yes, the crackers have access to it, but so does every single end user and Apache developer. How long do you think any Apache security hole would go unfixed?

      Next point: Psychology. The Redmond Empire is greatly despised, often with good reason, by Lord only knows how many programmers and would-be crackers. Also, M$ is a Very Large Corporation, while the Apache foundation is microscopic in comparison. Large corporations have become something of a symbol of uncontrolled greed and (in many cases) environmental destruction.

      Crackers, in many case, crave some sort of recognition for their work. Given that, plus all the above, you tell ME which package you think will be a more likely target no matter how many sites adopt Apache.

      In any case, Apache would, I think, still turn up with far fewer holes per version than anything the Redmond Empire has cranked out to date, web server wise.
  • by jsveiga ( 465473 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:38PM (#2342962)
    Take a look at the data at:
    http://www.securityspace.com/s_survey/data/20010 8/ index.html

    Since July IIS market share has been falling.

    Check the .mil, and .br graphs!

    The share is flowing to Apache and Netscape servers.

  • "Gartner recommends that enterprises hit by both Code Red and Nimda immediately investigate alternatives to IIS..."

    I think Gartner should be recommending an investment in competent IT staff if any enterprise was hit by both Code Red and Nimda, since the IIS exploits used in Nimda were the same as those in Code Red.
    • Not quite.

      Nimda uses more ways to spread than the ones used by Code Red. Code Red used a buffer overflow, Nimda uses directory traversal to get the IIS.

      Nimda does look for possible backdoors left by Code Red or other worm.

      From CERT:

      The "Code Red" worm is malicious self-propagating code that exploits Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS)-enabled systems susceptible to the vulnerability described in CA-2001-13 Buffer Overflow In IIS Indexing Service DLL.


      The CERT/CC has received reports of new malicious code known as the "W32/Nimda worm" or the "Concept Virus (CV) v.5." This new worm appears to spread by multiple mechanisms:
      from client to client via email
      from client to client via open network shares
      from web server to client via browsing of compromised web sites
      from client to web server via active scanning for and exploitation of various Microsoft IIS 4.0 / 5.0 directory traversal vulnerabilities (VU#111677 and CA-2001-12)
      from client to web server via scanning for the back doors left behind by the "Code Red II" (IN-2001-09), and "sadmind/IIS" (CA-2001-11) worms
      • I dunno - can you honestly tell me that a competent IT person who patched IIS after Code Red wouldn't have either gotten the 'all-in-one' MS fix that fixed all of the post SP6A-issues or at least checked for other possible IIS problems?

        Granted, there are plenty of ways a system and/or network could get infected despite the best efforts of a great IT staff, but it shouldn't have been through IIS, which was the easiest thing to fix. I don't see Gartner recommending people switch from Outlook to Pine or IE to Mozilla despite their roles in this.

  • by Zergwyn ( 514693 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:39PM (#2342979)
    "...but the businesses that rely on this type of analysis to justify purchasing decisions may find this one interesting."

    One of the biggest problems with getting Linux, OpenBSD, or any new OS widely adopted is that it costs a great deal to switch to a new system once a business has standardized on a different solution. So many corporations decided to use WinNT, and having made the investment need a great deal to sway them to something better. It has to be something very big, and these virii may do it. This could be good news for OS's competing with M$, because the investment thing works both ways. Once Linux is installed, companies are less likely to go back to Windows NT...

  • Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kevinb ( 138146 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @03:40PM (#2342986) Homepage
    'Gartner remains concerned that viruses and worms will continue to attack IIS until Microsoft has released a completely rewritten, thoroughly and publicly tested, new release of IIS,'

    Am I the only one who thinks this is the absolute wrong thing to do? As vulnerable as IIS has proved as of late, completely rewriting any piece of software runs the risk of not only reintroducing old exploits but possibly generating new ones. IIS is a very complex piece of software with years of thorough public testing (in the form of live deployments) already in place. By completely rewriting it, you throw out that experience and start from zero.

    • Am I the only one who thinks this is the absolute wrong thing to do? As vulnerable as IIS has proved as of late, completely rewriting any piece of software runs the risk of not only reintroducing old exploits but possibly generating new ones.


      Normally I would agree with you. However, if you write a program without much concern for security, it's hard to go back through and find security breaches. However, if you start from the beginning with a strong, well-defined set of security policies, it's fairly easy to do the right thing. Obviously, after a rewrite, it won't be as featureful and will probably have some rough edges, but I think it really is needed to have security designed in from the outset.
    • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stilwebm ( 129567 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:51PM (#2343182)

      By completely rewriting it, you throw out that experience and start from zero.

      I'd have to disagree with you on that one. They won't throw away the old experiences, in fact they will prove quite valuable. Most programmers encounter parts of a project that they would change if there were not the possibility of breaking things or hurting backwords compatability. When they start from the ground up, they can look at what worked well and what did not work well. Features that were added to later releases had to be designed to use the existing code base, which is often suboptimal. When they have a good idea of the types of features they will use (and even trends for adding features) they can make those features more optimal. It also makes it easier to understand the code in the short term. It is hard to understand code written years ago by yourself, and it is especially hard to understand code written by someone who left the company years ago. I'm sure bugs will be introduced, but it is much easier to prevent security problems if you start from the scratch (hint: check for buffer/stack overflows everywhere). When you rewrite, you draw heavily on previous experience, and get the chance to write things with more knowledge than you had when you wrote them a long time ago the first time around.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:29PM (#2343020)
    Sorry I was late with the usual monthly cheque. I assure you that this will never happen again.


  • by quakeaddict ( 94195 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:30PM (#2343023)
    What would /. use for stories?

    Think about it guys...1/2 of the discussion today involves MS.

    If you guys hate MS so much why do you spend so much energy talking about it?

  • so after weeks of everyone telling you to shutdown IIS b/c it is vunerable to such-and-such you are only going to listen to the Group? Blah.

    They have been told over and over to keep their software updated and patched yet they don't. What is going to start them doing it now?

    I highly doubt that this is going to change anything. MS wrote a piece of shit software (go figure) and now the customers are paying the price (if they paid anything in the first place ;))

    I am sick and tired of seeing my logs flooded w/that crap. Fuck stupid admins. Anyone w/a brain can fix the problem. Give me the god damn job. I will make sure it ain't broken.
  • If you are serving static pages you could easily switch.

    if you are serving up pages that are dynamic that depend on database connections and what not this might prove to be a bit more troublesome, particularly if you are addicted to ADO and VbScript, but doable

    I think, however, you have no choice not to switch if you depend on COM components hosted in MTS and depend on MTS to handle transactions for you unless you wish to write your own transaction monitor for the next couple of months.

    • There are other transaction server frameworks- many of them scale to larger loads than MTS could ever dream of being able to handle...

      Products offered by:

      IBM (CICS)
      Sybase (EAServer, Jaguar CTS)
      Unisys (WebTS)
      Compaq (NonStop Java Transaction server)
      SAP (ITS)

      There's quite a few of them that work rather well- some of them, of course, require new hardware. In the long run, though, which is more crushing- the web site being down for a day or more or spending more than you initially planned fixing the problem?

  • by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:42PM (#2343113)
    In recent dealings with the latest worms, I found a tool from Microsoft called Hfnetchk [microsoft.com] that will, with a valid connection to the internet, tell you exactly what patches you do or do not have installed. They cross list them by article (eg Q123455) and also by another form (eg MS01-077).

    We're running Windows 2000 Adv Server (yeah yeah, I know, but we don't have the Cold Fusion package for Linux) with IIS 5, and were having an average of 30-45 minutes uptime before getting blasted by the worm(s).

    After using the hfnetchk and downloading quite a few patches (burn them to a CD, having to reload the system isn't out of the question, even if it is working now), we have had about 5 days uptime, and *knocks on wood* no infections, although the log says there have been attempts.

    Even though I'm spoiled to the ease at which I can find Linux updates, I found that the tool was very useful, especially since Microsoft's site is so unorganized when it comes to downloading patches and updates (I want a list, not having to search for something, especially when it never works right) that this tool was a big time saver for me.
  • Does anybody have any stats on the time spent administrating Linux boxes vs. NT boxes, and how much time is spent learning the systems in order to administrate them at a competent level?
  • by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:46PM (#2343138) Homepage
    Imagine if business did dump all of it's IIS servers and replaced them with Apache - how many 'point and click' admins would suddenly be unemployed?

    I mean christ, I hear people complaining about how complicated Apache is in comparison to IIS and I think to myself "if you can't figure this shit out, you have no business being a network admin because YOU'RE TOO STUPID TO DO THE JOB!".

    Seriously, any network admin that bitches about Apache (which is bloody easy to use, in comparison to most previous tools) is too fucking braindead to be let anywhere near a server. Switching to Apache would at least show an organization where some of its dead weight is in the IS department.


  • Right now the MS consultants are making a lot off money off on these worms. But if enough corporate sites go to Apache on Linux you'll likely see a lot more worms/viruses/trojans writen for Linux and Apache. Sure these systems are more secure, but there are plenty of skilled crackers that will find a way to screw up these systems if there get to be enough systems out there. An let's face it. If the people who currently run unpatched IIS servers switch to Apache, there will be a lot of unpatched Apache servers. Right now Microsoft is the Apache advocate's best friend, because they attract the largest number of lazy admins. If this changes, you'll likly see a lot more attacks going after Apache.
  • Firstly, this is one of the few times the Garner Group has openly critisised a Microsoft product. Given that they -are- a major group, this has to be taken seriously, whether you trust them to tie their own shoelaces or not.

    Secondly, the timing couldn't be worse for Microsoft. With XP only just hitting the shelves, this has the potential to seriously cripple the uptake of the new OS. (Note: I'm saying "potential" as you're bound to get plenty of execs who argue that nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft. Even when it puts the entire company's public profile at risk.)

    Thirdly, this also comes at a critical point in time, with respect to the European Union anti-trust investigation, the British fair trading investigation, and the US' very own anti-trust Lawsuit Revisited. Should the market-share of IIS continue to grow at the current rate, competitors may be able to argue the case that companies aren't heeding the report because they can't. That could seriously jeapordise Microsoft's arguments that they are not a monopoly, and that "future threats" could affect their market-share.

    (Let's face it - if this isn't a "future threat", I don't know what is.)

    Fourthly, this comes at a time when the economy is seriously wounded, and yet Microsoft's pricing continues to rise. As other posters have noted, this might persuade some accounts departments to start pushing the alternatives.

    Lastly, homeless shelters are still pretty full, from the collapse of the dot-coms. This makes computer expertise very cheap. ("Will Code For Food" no longer sounds such a joke.) Thus, there is really little need to hold onto "old hands", who command high fees. You could probably pick up a webmaster and a couple of ASP/PHP/Perl gurus by going to the local K-Marts and asking the people collecting the carts. They'd cost a fraction of what most companies are paying for their IIS expert, and they'd probably worship the ground the management walk on.

    HOWEVER, this is purely speculative. Although what I've written is a plausable scenario, companies could equally well ignore the report, the anti-trust lawyers might deem it too tenuous to be usable in court (if they notice it at all), and Microsoft might remain King Of The Hill by sheer default.

  • Capitalising on disaster, the Redmond way.

    Look, look. See, see [theregister.co.uk]

  • Gartner hasn't always said favorable things about Linux systems in the workplace, but the businesses that rely on this type of analysis to justify purchasing decisions may find this one interesting.

    So what you're saying is they may find this one interesting since it puts down Microsoft, but they should disregard the others because they put down Linux? Just checking..

  • by ellem ( 147712 ) <.ellem52. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:58PM (#2343231) Homepage Journal
    --Say you're a good MS admin and you ghave dutifully patched up your IIS machine and never got hit with Code Red or Nimda on your servers BUT your Win9x users who don't run Outlook (Express either) go to an infected webpage: How will not using IIS help?

    --Yes the patch was there for months; but SARC (et al) was cuaght off guard, .DAT files were'nt ready until the next day and the "Fix" is so-so at best.

    --I"m not blaming anti - virus companies but I am confused how IIS is the sole badguy.

    --You can get hit with this thing from many directions (assuming WinXX.)

    --Gartner even says you "Can't Patch Fast Enough"
  • by mikej ( 84735 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @04:59PM (#2343237) Homepage
    The submitter says that IIS needs to be rewritten, something that "[Gartner says] has an 80% chance of happening by the end of next year." This is incorrect.

    The actual quote is: "Gartner believes that this rewriting will not occur before year-end 2002 (0.8 probability)." That means there's an 80% probability that the preceeding statement is true, and that statement is that MS will _not_ have completed a rewrite in that timeframe.

    So instead of MS being 80% likely to fix the problem, they're 80% UNlikely to do so in the timeframe specified.

    • I believe you are correct with that analysis. Should it have read:
      "there is a 20% chance of MS rewriting IIS by the end of next year"
      • Yeah, my bad, sorry. I read that as an 80% probability that somethhing will be done before the end of next year. Sometimes it's not so clear if you're not devoting 100% attention to it...
  • by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @05:01PM (#2343254)

    Do what I do. I'm too f-ing lazy to keep up with the weekly patches. So I spent a couple hours a year ago and properly configured my IIS servers, following the published checklists. Now I review bug after bug and say "ok, that one can't impact me so I'll patch it later."

    There is no reason a properly configured but completely unpatched IIS 4 or IIS 5 server could not have survived both the Nimda and Code Red worms.

    Nimda made use of the Unicode directory traversal bug, which only lets you move around on the drive where the web documents are stored. Move the wwwroot to another drive, set file permissions as tight as possible, remove the sample applications, and you would have been safe. Every one of those is on any decent IIS admin's checklist.

    Code Red made use of a bug in the Index Server. Removing unused mappings is near the top of every decent IIS admin's list. In fact, one IIS server I have didn't have the patch applied when Code Red hit. I didn't bother to apply it until almost a month later.

  • by ballpoint ( 192660 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @05:09PM (#2343308)

    System 1: IIS on Windows NT:

    • monthly: download patch (click), execute it (click, click, click) and reboot (click, click, click)
    • quarterly: reboot crashed system
    • infected: never (yet)

    System 2: standard Mandrake-Linux distro with manual install of current versions of Apache, PHP, mySQL, OpenSSL and mod_ssl.

    • daily: Mandrake distro stuff:
      • Read email sent by Mandrake Security Announce .
      • Determine if the Security Announce concerns your installation. It does.
      • MandrakeUpdate the rpms as needed. Skip rpms that are wrongly marked as dependent on something you don't want to update. (Why is xyz dependent on emacs of all things ?)
      • Download the skipped rpms manually, and rpm -U.
    • fortnightly: other stuff:
      • Check apache.org, mysql.com, php.net, modssl.org and openssl.org for updates as your attention gets caught by security bulletins.
      • download source code, tar gxf; ./configure --with-abc=def .......; make; su; make install; exit. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat due to interdependencies and changed config options. su; apachectl stop; sleep 5; apachectl startssl; enter passphrase; exit; gedit broken .conf files and repeat, repeat, repeat.
    • yearly: reboot the system (uptime: 305 days and counting)
    • infected: never (yet)

    Now which system do you want to administer today ?

    • Now which system do you want to administer today ?

      My Debian server.

    • Not a fair comparison. Of course it is easier to administrate* a NT system with no apps or services installed, than it is to administrate a Linux box that is actually does something useful.

      (* one administers an enema; one administrates a computer system, though sometimes, I know, it is hard to tell the difference)
    • > System 1: IIS on Windows NT: * monthly: download patch (click)

      > System 2: standard Mandrake-Linux distro * daily: Mandrake distro stuff:

      How is it that one needs daily checks for new patches, and the other only needs to be checked monthly? How, BTW, do you check that the new NT patch doesn't upgrade parts you don't want to upgrade? And why do you use Mandrake (basically a desktop distribution) instead of a more server orientated distribution?

      This doesn't seem like a very apple to apple comparison.

  • by szcx ( 81006 )
    Yeah, that's right kids... when it's pro-Microsoft, Gartner are paid shills. When it's critical of Microsoft, Gartner are an unbiased research agency deserving of our undivided attention.
  • by Tony Shepps ( 333 ) on Monday September 24, 2001 @05:39PM (#2343473) Homepage
    If there's anyone reading this who's in charge of "decision-making" at the "enterprise level" --

    The question you should be asking yourself is not "Should I be replacing my IIS systems with Linux+Apache?" but, rather, "If I am relying on Gartner for recommendations on conditions in the future, why didn't they see this coming a year ago?"

    Well more than a year ago, the security benefits of open source were explored not only by /. but by almost every pundit on the web. Where was Gartner? Wouldn't it have saved you a ton of money if they had pointed out the probability of problems with security and patching in 1999 instead of late 2001? Isn't it amazing that they were near last to the table with this finding?

    Why does Gartner put probabilities on their expectations without showing their work? Does anyone go back in history and look at these probabilities?

    Doesn't Gartner have an interest in pressing the solutions that people expect them to press? And here's a HUGE question... if you're using the exact same solutions as every one of your competitors, are you prepared to give up the idea that IT could give your company a competitive advantage? Do your bosses agree with this?
  • Duh!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by --daz-- ( 139799 )
    Fact: All OSes and web servers have remotely exploitable vulnerabilities

    Fact: The scum that write these worms will target the most popular platform to get maximum impact.

    Fact: IIS holds a lion's share of the web server market for corporate installations and business

    Fact: There are a bunch of incompetent sysadmins out there who can't take the five minutes to follow MS' IIS Security Checklist (which would've foiled Code Red) or apply SP2 (which would've foiled Code Red II and Nimda)

    So, if we all dump IIS and go with, for example, Solaris+IPlanet, or Linux+Apache, the same lousy SA's will still not apply their patches and the Scum will not be writing worms for Linux+Apache or Solaris or whatever.

    The _REAL_ solution is to get people to be smart about installing Internet servers and make it dirt simple on all platforms to apply patches (MS has made great strides in this with the Network Hotfix Checker and the soon-to-be-released HF auto downloader).

    Blaming MS for lazy sysadmins isn't going to help anyone.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde