Suse vs Windows Server

OK, BetaNews is running this story: Windows Thrashes SUSE Linux in Study, and I feel strongly obligated to take a few moments to respond. (Brandon – feel free to back me up here. :) Part of their argument does indeed hold some water, but not enough to justify the headline. First of all, I think we need to start with this quote:

The report by Security Innovation was funded by Microsoft and examined the long-term usage of both Windows and Linux environments.

I don’t really want to make sweeping accusations, but I just wonder if Novell funded the study, which way the results would’ve came out then. Gotta know your sources, and more importantly, who pays the salaries of those sources. Then if you head over to the Security Innovations website, you’ll find this press release announcing that Microsoft named SI’s executives “Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals” or MVPs. Too funny. Anyhow, the story on BetaNews continues with some excerpts like these:

Specifically, Linux administrators took 68 percent longer to implement new business requirements than their Windows counterparts, and the “Novell SLES solution experienced 14 critical breakages while the Windows Server solution experienced none,” Microsoft said.

This is where I think they might be on to something. In my experience, yes, it may take a little longer to implement a Linux solution, but in the end, for myself and my employer, it’s been worth it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

According to Microsoft, Novell’s solution also required 4.79 times the number of patches, and only one of three Linux administrators met all of the requirements.

This may also be statistically correct – but I don’t see the real relevance. I’d like to see the study dig into how many known vulnerabilities still exist in both platforms and also how quickly the companies come to the rescue when a new one is discovered. Personally, I’d rather run SuSE’s YaST Online Update (YOU) once a week and install any patches necessary for security rather than wait for Microsoft’s monthly “Patch Tuesday” that we all know and love. (insert eyeroll) We’re all familiar with what happens after installing a patch on Windows – Server or otherwise. DING! A REBOOT! Let me close by stating a case: About a year ago, we setup a server at work, running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9). More or less it was meant to be a “sandbox” but since then, it’s turned out to be an invaluable resource for my company, doing things that we wouldn’t even dream of doing on a Windows platform. Oh wait, hang on, the server has something he wants to say to you all:

jmoore@linuxhost:~> uptime 2:38pm up 163 days 6:57, 1 user, load average: 0.01, 0.01, 0.00

See, Linux speaks for itself. No studies needed afterall.

Note: For what it’s worth, I’m not a Microsoft “hater” at all. We have several servers at my place of employment that run Windows 2000 Server. Each server has a purpose – some of those purposes ARE better suited for Windows – some for Linux. That silly study fails to mention that part.