[CentOS] Headline - Linux misses Windows of opportunity -- incompetent local resource

Bryan J. Smith thebs413 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 29 23:41:32 UTC 2005

[ I've temporarily subscribed my Yahoo address to post this
single comment, and then I'm going to unsubscribe it so I
can't post again. ]

I think everyone here has started to miss the point, and the
commentary I've seen would not stand up well to professional
criticism.  These studies, articles and other commentary,
reflections, etc... may have an agenda, agreed.  But you must
_be_technical_ and focus on the commentary in the article. 
That's how you explain things.

You don't explain things by having meta-discussions on some
Microsoft payoff, what Red Hat failed to do, does and doesn't
control in Linux, etc...  The end-user discussed in this
article clearly had its _own_issues_, largely based on how
the gentleman who came into support the solution.

Yes, Red Hat is responsible for their Service Level
Agreements (SLAs).  And yes, Red Hat _does_ control a _lot_
of major, official packages in Linux itself (even if most
people don't realize that).  Red Hat's support and services
expect you to give them proper information, work with them on
issues, detail specifics so they can work with ISVs whose
products are certified against specific configurations,
etc...  Apparently, from what I've read, the end-user didn't
even bother to recognize their involvement and just had a
"work dammit" attitude.

Fact:  The local support personnel came in _after_ the Linux
solution was chosen

Fact:  The local support was experienced in AIX, _not_ Linux

Fact:  Red Hat requested diagnostics be run by the end-user,
and they were _not_ run by the end user (again, more "just
work dammit attitude")

  Professional Experience:  This seems to be a clear example
of the end-user lacking any wish to give Red Hat a
"benchmark" which they could work with, so they could
reproduce the setup and, correspondingly, the issue 

Fact:  The comparison of automated updates of Red Hat Network
versus Microsoft System Update Service (SUS) are laughable.

  Professional Experience:  In maintaining both large Red Hat
and Microsoft networks, SUS is _not_ a viable update/CM
solution.  I typically feed SUS from Altiris and other patch
management solutions which do a far better job of tracking
Windows-ISV patch issues, and even Windows-MSApp
compatibility issues.

  E.g., When SQL Slammer hit in early 2003, Microsoft
divisions that were feeding SUS from Altiris did _not_ go
down because Altiris identified the 2 patches to SQL Server
that _uninstalled_ the SQL Server patch (from 4 months
earlier) that would have prevented them from being suseptible
to SQL Slammer.

Fact:  The generalities and lack of specifics are really the
undoing of the technical merits of this article.

Let's use specific quotes from the article itself --
especially the middle sections -- to get to the "heart of the

  'Red Hat Australia did its best to support Cress
   Electronics with the issue until it decided to
   move to Windows, says Red Hat Australia general
   manager Max McLaren.
   We asked the customer to do a diagnostic test and the
   customer never responded, so it was impossible for us
   to address the issue," Mr McLaren says.'

You have to send Red Hat information to debug and find the
root cause.  They will.  They always do.  Apparently the
customer "just wanted it to work."

My personal guess:  This AIX guy didn't know how to run
any diagnostics in Linux, and was generally unfamilar with
the Linux platform.

2)  The bogus TCO/update non-sense, totally BS

  '... Mr Horton also found the total cost of ownership
   included soft costs such as the hard work required to
   keep Linux up and running. Software updates had to be
   manually installed to ensure SAP certification.
   "With the manual process of patching, we were spending
   about two days a month ensuring that and testing. A lot
   of people call it a soft cost, because you've got IT
   people anyway but they shouldn't be spending all day
   maintaining the system," Mr Horton says.

Alright, now we get to more BS.  If it's a matter of
comparing updates, how is that different than in Windows?

In fact, Red Hat does a damn fine job of backporting to
guarantee 100% compatibility.  They excel at this better than
not only any Linux distribution, but any UNIX I've seen.

Heck, Windows has more inter-dependent patches than _any_
UNIX.  Need I bring up SQL Slammer again?  Microsoft's
post-SQL Slammer changes have helped, but they are _not_ as
"piecemeal" as UNIX/Linux.

  'Red Hat Australia's Mr McLaren says there is no risk
   of losing vendor certification if an organisation enables 
   auto-patching on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. "Every patch
   goes through our engineering and quality testing, which
   involves certification by the vendor. It absolutely
   doesn't invalidate the support from the software vendor,"
   he says.'

People wonder why RHEL "costs so much."  It's the
certifications -- that time, effort and energy to re-certify
every major Update against Oracle, SAP, DB2, etc...  That
costs redundant time and money, and one of the reasons Red
Hat wanted to move to supporting 2-3 products released every
18 months, instead of 6-7 products released every 6 months.

Red Hat can and does offer a better level of certication of
ISV software with SLAs than Microsoft.  Microsoft _only_
offers SLAs for Enterprise customer ISVs.  They rely on
Tier-1 OEMs (HP, IBM, Dell, etc...) for anyone smaller than
Enterprise (or Education/major Government).

  'Mr Horton disagrees: "It might be fine for things like
   security patches, which don't impact SAP certification
   rules but with some patches you still actually have to
   check the release levels and then check against the SAP
   site.  Otherwise SAP might ask you to roll back to the
   previous version before they will support it."'

Again, how is this _any_different_ than Windows?!?!?!
I honestly can't believe they compared RHN/Update to
God knows Microsoft itself deploys Altiris internally for
damn good reasons (which is why I do as well for Windows)!

  'Crest Electronics is trialling Microsoft's Windows Server
   Update Service, which allows automatic patching for the
   operating system and other Microsoft software on servers
   and desktop machines across a corporate network.'

Again, how is this _any_different_ than Red Hat's update
management system "across a network"?!?!?!  I still can't
believe they are comparing it to SUS.

  'Its benefits are one of the key reasons why Mr Horton
    stands by his decision to switch from Linux to Windows.'

It's benefits are based on the fact that Mr. Horton is
_wholly _ignorant_ of not only Linux's capabilities, but
those that come with RHEL -- including updates "across a
corporate network."

File this one on "Linux loses due to incompetent local
support resources."  No need to have meta-discussions on
anything else -- the comparison of RHN/Update to SUS is

I won't post on this matter again.  There is no need, and
it's not because I don't want to be blamed for this
off-topic/meta-discussion thread (which I hope people are
smart enough to note these happen _regardless_ of whether or
not I am subscribed ;-).

Bryan J. Smith                | Sent from Yahoo Mail
mailto:b.j.smith at ieee.org     |  (please excuse any
http://thebs413.blogspot.com/ |   missing headers)

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