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Microsoft's New Linux-Based Wireless Network 286

MECC points to an article about Microsoft's new wireless network. From the article "The next time Bill Gates sends an e-mail through Microsoft's shiny new Wireless LAN it will be passed through a behind-the-scenes Linux-based network appliance." Microsoft has partnered with Aruba Networks for a large corporate wireless LAN deployment, involving 277 buildings and 5000 access points, 'all Linux based.'"
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Microsoft's New Linux-Based Wireless Network

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  • wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:56PM (#15591527) Homepage
    If their operating system is soooo great for servers, routers, etc, why don't they use it in their own business?
    • Re:wait (Score:3, Funny)

      They can't even figure out how to centrally manage thier current cisco wireless setup ... I don't think they have it in them to actually get it working right.
      • Re:wait (Score:3, Interesting)

        by monkeydo ( 173558 )
        That's because Cisco wireless is a nightmare if you have more than a handfull of APs and you want to centrally manage them. Aruba wireless, on the other hand, is a beautiful thing to behold.

        -- The voice of experience
    • Re:wait (Score:5, Funny)

      by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:00PM (#15591567)
      Simply a temporary measure until access points advance in power enough for Windows WAP.

      The current hurdle is getting the HD space to store the UPnP Aero interface.
    • Re:wait (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phillup ( 317168 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:02PM (#15591587)
      Because they are a publicly traded company and need to improve shareholder value by keeping costs low?

      Just guessing...

      (and no, the extra cost for an MS solution isn't in licensing their own tech... it is all about maintenance and support)
      • Re:wait (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "Because they are a publicly traded company and need to improve shareholder value by keeping costs low?"

        According to MS get the facts, their products are cheaper. So that reasoning doesn't hold water.
    • Re:wait (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, a company using the most cost-effective technology makes a slashdot headline? And the zealots are impressed? Ironic, yes. Headline news? Only to the linux zealots. C'mon, MS doesn't compete in the embedded network appliance market. (Like they could.) This is just another chance for MS bashing.

      Would there be a headline saying "CEO of United Airlines chooses El Al for flights to Israel?" No, there wouldn't. So what's the big deal?

      MS has its place, just like linux does. Can't we all just get alon
      • Re:wait (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:20PM (#15591756)
        Would there be a headline saying "CEO of United Airlines chooses El Al for flights to Israel?" No, there wouldn't. So what's the big deal?

        Its a big deal because the CEO of United Airlines did not run a marketing FUD campaign to discredit El Al, nor did he hire scum like Bill Hilf to spew the same FUD in the media, nor did he use another airline to sue El Al on bogus patent dispute grounds. You get the picture.

      • This is just another chance for MS bashing.

        Indeed it is.

        Would there be a headline saying "CEO of United Airlines chooses El Al for flights to Israel?" No, there wouldn't.

        Are you sure? (Yes / No / PutYourFootInYourMouth)

        Can't we all just get along?

        Um... no, not really. We're too childish for that.
        Besides, I don't think we should all just get along. That doesn't encourage competition.

      • Hmmm, never heard of WINCE?
      • A better one would be Ford choosing a Toyota vehicle to standardize on for their management staff. Or Dasani execs all drinking Crystal Geyser. Or Sprint using Verizon in-house. Or Dell's support staff all using MacIntoshes. And so on...
        • Re:Bad analogy. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ZaMoose ( 24734 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:37PM (#15592350)
          I worked for IBM Global Services when Ifirst got out of college - we ran Lucent's UNIX operations for 'em. I haven't checked lately, but back then, Lucent made its own switches, routers, etc. We used to interface with their network techs all the time who eventually revealed to us that 99% of their gear was Cisco equipment. It was more reliable, easier to manage and Cisco cut them a bigger break at volume than their own internal supply chain.

          We used to laugh about that, but I guess their stock troubles of the last 6 years are no surprise, given that sort of internal mess.
      • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:41PM (#15592376)
        A lot of you are missing the point. For most instances it's about saving money. But sometimes there are public appearance issues that are more important than immediate cost. By using a direct competitor's product, you are admitting your competiting product is not only inferior, but so vastly inferior that free licenses and free in-house support are still not enough to use it. This hurts sales of that product long term. Even if using your own stuff costs more now, you hope that saving face and eating your own dog food will result in sales that make up for it. Microsoft has no equivalent to Cisco's IOS. However, they have an embedded version of windows that is poised directly at linux. And the real news of this is that Microsoft has been so vapidly against linux. I mean they have fought dirty and mean and lied through their teeth. Now this product they have utter distain for is aparently vastly superior to one of their products? Kinda a big kick in the nuts if you ask me. They probably should have just stayed with Cisco and saved themselves the embarassment. It makes them look foolish.
      • Re:wait (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Duhavid ( 677874 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @05:19PM (#15592652)
        The big deal is the hoopla from Microsoft about how
        their product is superior to everything everywhere,
        and it is ready to do everything, yeah.

        If Microsoft historically was saying "Our OS
        is good, and getting better all the time,
        and here are some succes stories", they would
        not be so open to criticism on this point.
        ( I am sure there would be some anyway, but... )

        Yes, Microsoft has it's place and strengths,
        just like everything else out there.
    • Re:wait (Score:5, Interesting)

      by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:12PM (#15591684)
      When I worked at a fast food joint, we still had pizza/subs/etc ordered in. Just because you produce a certain product doesn't mean you'll never go to the competition.
      • Re:wait (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Foofoobar ( 318279 )
        Its news though when your burger joint starts saying that the pizza joint across the street uses human flesh and is run by nazis and then all the employees eat their on their breaks.

        Sort of discredits that burger joint and makes them seem like a bunch of liars/hypocrites.
      • Re:wait (Score:3, Funny)

        by praksys ( 246544 )
        Sure, if you literally make dog food, then the whole "eat your own dog food" idea doesn't look so attractive.
    • Re:wait (Score:3, Informative)

      by DaHat ( 247651 )
      Shame this is a dupe from many months ago and a non-issue.

      When it comes to electronic devices such as dvd players, routers, WAP's/etc most people do not care what is under the hood, if it does it's job and does it well then that is all that maters as is the case here.
  • by aliasptr ( 684593 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:57PM (#15591533) Homepage
    I could see them doing this on purpose to say, "See Linux DOESN'T belong on the desktop. It's only good for doing SOME TYPES of behind the scenes stuff." This way I imagine they cover their asses in the markets they most care about. That's all I thought before even reading the article.
    • I could also see them doing this based on what made the most sense, from an engineering perspective. Sure, it might have been some bad (PR) press in the circles (like /.) where they are disliked anyway. But linux is free, so eating their own dogfood here doesn't save them any money, and asides from the momentary pain of limited bad PR, probably will save them more money than rolling their own.

      Not everything has to be a conspiracy, especially if there are some sane people running that company.
    • Good thing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by j79zlr ( 930600 )
      Good thing they paid SCO that licensing fee!
    • IIRC the first attacks on linux by MS were about the virality of the GPL or in general the scarce usefulness of the open source software for business. The attack on desktop readiness came later. So to people with a little memory I guess this seems like the latest loss of face.

      First they ignore you, then they cover you with FUD, then they use you. Then they pay lawmakers to cut you out of the market, then they win. Greedy @#!* :)
  • Irony? (Score:3, Funny)

    by mrbcs ( 737902 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:57PM (#15591541)
    My head asplode from the irony...
    • Re:Irony? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MarkRose ( 820682 )

      My head asplode from the irony...

      What irony? It would be irony if they were using Linux where Windows competes, such on the desktop or for servers. As far as I know, there is no Windows embedded (Windows seems attached to having a GUI). And while Microsoft does make a lot of software, it has specialised in a few areas (that's a facet of efficiency/capitalism). Since they don't make a similar product, it's just a matter of using the best tool for the job here, and it happens to be Linux.

      On a side note,

      • On a side note, real irony is when you make a ferrousiously bad pun.

        I always thought it was when you made a ferriciously bad pun...
      • Re:Irony? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Guanix ( 16477 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:20PM (#15591759) Homepage
        Windows Embedded [microsoft.com]. Used for all kinds of devices, including cars, network attached storage, cash registers, phones and thin clients. And according to this page [microsoft.com] at MSDN, Windows Embedded OS's can act as an access point, though nobody seems to have built a product around this yet.
        • I stand enlightened. Thanks!
        • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by glindsey ( 73730 )
          That may be because building an embedded product with Windows Embedded is just slightly above doing triple integrals in your head in terms of startup complexity. Microsoft's official procedure for creating a bootable CompactFlash card with an NTFS file system for Windows Embedded is to run a DOS utility. It must be run in DOS real mode, not a DOS box, which means you need a CF reader with an IDE interface, not a USB one. This was somewhat tough for us, since CF/IDE interfaces are sold by almost nobody th
      • Of course they have Windows Embedded [microsoft.com].
    • I'm amazed that I'm the first to say: LOL OMG WTF!

      I have no other words which could convey what I think about this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:58PM (#15591548)
    It looks like Microsoft understands something the majority of slashdot's users have trouble with.
    • Now if they perpetuated this meme to their captive customers they would quickly go out of business.

      Excepting for artificial compatablity barriers (namely vendorlock), the Microsoft option is the WORST option available across the board (with the possible exception of BASIC and C compilers). If Microsoft were to apply this principle universally, they and all of their customers would have to suddenly trade in their PC's for Macintoshes.
    • by argoff ( 142580 )
      It looks like Microsoft understands something the majority of slashdot's users have trouble with.

      Trouble with what? That Microsoft is comming out with a Linux disto? :)

    • by pardasaniman ( 585320 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:05PM (#15592133) Journal
      Is that why they had to put so much time energy and money to convert Hotmail away from BSD?

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/08/01/ms_hotmail _servers_begin_switch/ [theregister.co.uk]

    • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:51PM (#15592455)
      Time and time again Microsoft doesn't use the right tool for the job. Why? Because it's about saving face. You have to make it appear Microsoft products are always the right tool for the job. It may not be true, but that's what you want the public to think. What's the public to think if you never use any of your own products? They are going to think they are garbage. The idea is that the sales gained by saving face will outnumber the costs in using the wrong tool. The use of a directly competing embedded OS is giving a public image that linux is so vastly superior for this purpose that Windows embedded isn't worth anyone's time. "Windows embedded is so bad Microsoft won't even use that crap". Get the idea?
  • It just has to be free; as in 'commercial freedom', or 'independence'.

    You can get Linux a screensaver for Windows here [linuxtracker.org]

    SuSE 10.1, nothing but the newest.

    • You can get Linux a screensaver for Windows here

      What the hell does THAT mean? In english, it means that you can get a "screensaver for Windows" to give to Linux. I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean to say. Do you mean "linux as a screensaver for Windows"? And if so, what good is that?

  • Visionary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:59PM (#15591558) Homepage Journal
    What are you talking about? Gates has left Microsoft to go head up Novell. Where he's spearheading their new Vista wireless network system to challenge the Microsoft monopoly.
  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:01PM (#15591574) Homepage
    Maybe they'll just make sure the network gets pwn3d so they can point their fingers at it, jump up and down, and yell "See! See! See!" like a bunch of 12-year-olds who just drank a case of Red Bull.
  • by MrRuslan ( 767128 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:01PM (#15591580)
    Well what choice do they have when it comes to imbedded wireless APS. They can't put windows on one and not make it a full blown box sitting there wasting space and resources. This time it will be harder to eat their own dog food because if they end up making there own custom APS based on windows as a sort hey look what our stuff can do maneuver that would be labeled as stupid.
    • Why couldn't a modified Windows CE be used on APs?
    • Well what choice do they have when it comes to imbedded wireless APS.

      As someone else has pointed out there's a "Windows Embedded" product which is supposedly capable of acting as a wireless access point: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/default. mspx [microsoft.com]

      You don't need "a full blown box sitting there wasting space and resources." It's for small devices.
      • Windows embeded is really a wattered down version of XP mosly cash registers and self checkout machines like the ones in home depot.
        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:00PM (#15592095) Homepage Journal
          NT/embedded doesn't even require that you use the GUI. It's also used successfully within the Xbox (Based on win2k) and the Xbox's OS was ported to the Xbox 360, which as you likely know is a triple-PowerPC system. Obviously NT is still portable, even after it's been hacked to run on the Xbox :) NT/embedded is used all over the damned place. And, if they wanted, they could also go with WinCE, although I'm not sure why they would - but it's a complete, working multitasking OS.
          • NT/embedded doesn't even require that you use the GUI.

            How long will Microsoft support NT/embedded? What if you developed something on that, and YOUR product becomes vulnerable, and you can't ask for support? The problem with integrating a 'closed' operating system in hardware is this: Hardware has a much longer lifespan than most corporates (including Microsoft) would like to support.

            It doesn't make long-term business sense for an appliance-devleoper to use Microsoft products... or indeed any closed sourc
  • by nomad63 ( 686331 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:02PM (#15591585)
    As far as microsoft is concerned, they are buying an appliance to provide a dedicated service. As any profit minded company, they should not care what it runs behind the scenes as long as TCO is low on the long run. And linux is known to be a robust OS in the embedded OS arena. So most probably it will run without any problems, meaning less out of pocket costs for m$. What do they care ? Also, they do not have any expertise in networking hardware arena, so it is not against their motto of not to use a product from the competition. I am not sure what's newsworthy about this story ? Slow Friday may be ?
  • Outdated (Score:4, Informative)

    by tekisama ( 161866 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:04PM (#15591601) Homepage
    This is old news. When my organization was looking at managed wireless vendors a year ago we did an eval of Aruba and they were already bragging about getting the Microsoft account.

    That said we didn't go with Aruba, mostly because their pricing was pretty Microsoft-esque. In other words, worse than a prison shower.
  • by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:07PM (#15591629)
    So is it ... "The power of Linux brought to you by Microsoft." or

      "The power of Microsoft brought to you by Linux." ???
  • Sheesh (Score:3, Insightful)

    Is the average Linux advocate really this pathetic and sad? Microsoft buys a bunch of freaking wireless appliances that happen to use Linux, and this warrants a big freaking article? I bet the Cisco routers they're replacing don't use Windows, either. Is Microsoft supposed to have a "WINDOWS ONLY LOL ROXR" policy on any electronic device down the copy machines?

    I bet they might have a coffee machine that uses embedded Linux as well. Maybe LinuxWorld needs to send in a few spies to rat it out.

    • http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_a rchive/2006/04/03/8373041/index.htm

      Ballmer doesn't let his kids use Google or iPods [cnn.com]. I don't find it so farfetched that Microsoft might have at least a slight bias towards wanting their employees to use their own products, both as a matter of company pride and as a matter of "dog food"--the more people in the company who use a product, the more bugs get squashed before the product gets released.

    • Re:Sheesh (Score:5, Informative)

      by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:27PM (#15591808)
      Is Microsoft supposed to have a "WINDOWS ONLY LOL ROXR" policy on any electronic device down the copy machines?
      Actually, as someone who is currently working with MS as a potential customer, this *is* a big deal. MS does have a very strong bias and written policies about using Windows everywhere they can. I could point to several compromises thay've had to make to do this as well, but I like my job. If a project/product cannot be done with windows, it can be justified anyway, but it's an uphill battle. In most cases, the fact that an appliance runs Linux makes it an even harder battle - things like switches/routers etc that run RTOSs like VxWorks get by with no problems, but throw in a management or monitoring solution based on linux and your job is much much harder.
    • Re:Sheesh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cleon ( 471197 ) <cleon42 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:37PM (#15591892) Homepage
      It's really very simple. Microsoft has been talking smack about Linux for years, about how Windows is better, lower TCO, etc. Now they've been caught using Linux-based appliances.

      If nothing else, it's funny. It's like an environmentalist ranting and raving about SUVs driving the environment until someone points out, "dude, you're driving a Hummer."

      Essentially, Microsoft's rhetoric HAS been "windows only lol r0xr." Now they have to eat a little crow.
    • Microsoft doesn't write software that runs on Cisco routers (AFAIK) but they do write software that can be used to run wireless appliances. They use their own software for web servers, file servers, desktops, version control, etc. yet not for their wireless appliances. It doesn't make much sense.
    • "Microsoft buys a bunch of freaking wireless appliances that happen to use Linux, and this warrants a big freaking article?"

      Let's recap:

      Microsoft: Windows is the be-all and end-all of operating systems. It will obsolete everything else. It is a better Unix than Unix. Blah, blah, blah.

      (Linux enters the market and does Unixy stuff way better than Windows)

      Microsoft: Linux is no threat to us. Penguins are committing suicide at our Gates (pun intended). Linux has no chance on the desktop, it's usage is dimi
    • Re:Sheesh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:27PM (#15592282) Journal
      Wow, you sound really emotionally invested in this issue. Take a few deep breaths. Repeat after me, "The size of my dick has nothing to do with the success or failure of Microsoft." There, feel better?

      Anytime a big company uses Linux in a large installation, that is news. Embedded Linux is something most geeks here don't get to play with that much, so this is news. The fact that a company that is fighting tooth and nail against open source uses open source, that is also news.

      Your ridiculous strawman, slippery slope, and ad hominem arguments only highlight the growing panic amongst luser admins who have staked their careers on a steaming pile of crap.
  • Instead of setting up a lab and stress testing the thing with fake user traffic and analyzing it from the outside they may have opted to dive in and experience what works and what doesn't from a "truer" useage perspective.

    To see what happens in a large scale corporation when you deploy a product you have to actually deploy it in a large scale. They already know what their tools do and what the pains and plusses are. They really don't have any first hand experience with the competition other than tests and s
  • Good Evening Mr. Gates, I'll be your server today!

    http://www.penguincomputing.com/images/stories/Tux /gates1280x1024.jpg [penguincomputing.com]
  • "Microsoft buys Cisco storage switches which run Linux!!!!!"

    So what? Microsoft doesn't care a damn what's running inside.

    I mean, give'em a break. FUD could be both ways.
  • Next year is the year of Microsoft on the appliance.
  • obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blindd0t ( 855876 )
    It should be safe to assume that approximately 80% of Microsoft's employees who use the Linux-based wireless network will be using Google for their searches.
  • Firefox (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dedazo ( 737510 )
    Ben Goodger (the lead Firefox developer) is known to use Windows exclusively for development. Can we have story on that as well?

    What a sad joke.

    • That doesn't make sense. Firefox runs on many platforms, Windows included. It doesn't really matter what it's developed on.

      Now, if he used *IE*, or mozilla.org was "Optimized for Internet Explorer", *that* would be news.
  • Slow News Day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StyxRiver ( 782565 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:43PM (#15591936) Homepage
    From a story dated 04/11/2005. Right tools for the job, what's the problem? MS made a good choice....over a year ago. When in doubt, search the archives for a story to get the MS bashers drooling.
  • What for? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Efialtis ( 777851 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:43PM (#15591948) Homepage
    When I was at MS, they were installing a huge wireless network in all the buildings...when I left, it was something like 90% done...
    SO my question is, if they already have a wireless network, and I know they do...why are they installing another one? Or is it really that they are UPGRADING the existing one...???

    Either way, this would make the 2nd Linux installation that I know of over at MS...they have (or had) a set of servers over in building 43 that contained, "sensitive, critical data" that they couldn't (wouldn't??) trust to Windows Server...
  • by Keyslapper ( 852034 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:53PM (#15592033)
    So, who exactly is getting assimilated?

    I can just see Linus' avatar now ...

    We Are PENGUIN,
    All Your WAN Are Belong To Us.
  • by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Friday June 23, 2006 @04:35PM (#15592328)
    April 11, 2005? You've got to be kidding me!

  • changing minds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) <(saintium) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday June 23, 2006 @05:11PM (#15592596)
    I've noticed clients are now getting some enjoyment out of exchange after I installed linux+postfix mail firewalls in front of them. It kind of feels bad. I think they are going to forget the reason why stuff is now working. I know their boss'n are ignorant of the reason. But anyway, maybe Microsoft wants to see this "improvement" for themselves.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"