Archive | April 25, 2004

Misinformation as news

Internet Week reports “Yankee Group Disputes Linux’ Claim To Lower Cost: Research report indicates most large firms won’t replace either Windows or Unix machines with Linux” while ITWeb reports “Yankee Linux findings rigged too.”

Studies funded by a vendor, studying the narrowly-framed questions that favor the vendor, are advertising, not impartial studies, and need to be clearly disclaimed that way. The study sets up a foolish scenario of “either-or” a proposterous solution, asking the CEO/CIO/CTO-types whether they favor revolution over evolution:

“In a fully-realized enterprise environment that’s built around Windows, you know where the trouble spots are,” she said. “Why would you then switch to Linux, and take a couple of steps backwards? Enterprises have this huge embedded [Windows] infrastructure. How do you rip out and tear down what you have?”

No one would sign on for such a plan. Instead, if the questions had been posed to focus on the trouble spots – exploited web servers, expensive licensing, poor desktop controls – and asked if the CxOs would consider other alternatives, evolutionarily and not revolutionarily, we might have a much better view of what is really happening in corporations. CxOs not considering such alternatives are not meeting their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

I have no doubt that Windows Server 2003, the first significant OS released since the so-called “Bill security memo” of early last year, finally closes a whole series of holes in the Microsoft security model. But the OS is new. There’s no track record of success, no experienced network technicians to support it. And Linux is no panacea – bugs exist, some software is incomplete, installation is vastly improved, but some areas still need work. Security, too, is not a done deal. “Security is a process, not a product.” Something will always be breaking and need repair.

A survey of Microsoft shops asking whether switching or upgrading, in their opinion, would be more expensive, is pretty silly. These people have managed to justify Microsoft purchases up until now. Should they admit they were wrong? I think so, but then, I’m not risking my job over it.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.