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Linux Technology vs NT

A comparison of Linux vs NT technology

Subject: Re: What can Winblows95 do that linux Can't?
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 14:01:30 -0600
Message-ID: <>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,,,

[Edited by Tracy]


NT is "multitasking" (just don't try to run more than 5 or six active tasks.
UNIX has had REAL multitasking since 1968.  Microsoft "Discovered" preemtive
multitasking in 1993.


NT has a Graphical interface. UNIX had a graphical interface (GKS) back in
1976.  It used Tektronics 40xx "terminals" but it was GUI. Microsoft
"Discovered" GUI in 1988.

NT has windows. The SUN 1 had multiple overlapping windows with live updates
(spinning globes, bouncing balls, scrolling error logs, and the ability to
see the results of 5-10 simultaneous compiles) back in 1984 (right after the
MAC came out).  Sun had been reading the PARC papers too.  Smalltalk-80 was
available in 1980. Microsoft "Discovered" Windows in 1989 (OS/2), and got a
working implementation of overlapping windows in 1997 (NT 4.0 patch release


NT has Internet capabilities - Client-only for NT Workstation, limited
server for NT-Server (try starting 20 different server processes, including
3rd party servers on a 486/50 with 16 meg of RAM).

The Internet was literally CREATED on UNIX.  A major player was Bill Joy,
then at Berkely, now at Sun.  By the time the Dahlgren project (1982) was
run to prove interoperability, UNIX had already established a nationwide
network of UNIX systems that could propagate e-mail, news, and programs,
using UUCP (UNIX to UNIX Copy Program).

Microsoft Discovered the "Internet" in 1994, when Netscape stock was priced
based on projections that Netscape would be worth $4 billion in 1999.


NT offers "componant software".  You can link ActiveX controls using VB or
VBScript, to create forms and execute trivial programs.

UNIX software is almost 95% componants.  You have small simple programs that
can be invoked by "shells" or by other programs.  Those have been around
since 1968.  You have "Widgets" (Similar to MFC) that have been around since
1987.  Your have standard libraries (clib, stdiolib, mathlib, curses...)
that have been available and growing since 1970.

Microsoft discovered componants, from a user's point of view, in 1997.


NT is "Open" - it supports a few publised protocols and file formats. UNIX
was OPEN - complete with source code and full documentation, back in 1971,
when AT&T gave it to the Academic community. Ever since, only System 3R1
ever tried to keep formats and protocols proprietary and secret. The General
Public License was developed in 1982 and referenc models for telnet, ftp,
and many BSD utilities, were copyrighted and licensed under the terms of

Microsoft is only as "Open" as it absolutely must be, and often makes
proprietary enhancements to open standards the render standard products
unusable.  Examples include SMB (vs. NFS), MS-CHAP (vs PPP),... Even it's
POSIX does not support pipes, streams, or stream based Interprocess


Microsoft still hasn't discovered "fork" (optimized memory management)

About the only real innovation is the OCX, which originally existed
under OS/9 level 2 (circa 1982).  They didn't even get that right.
They had the same problems that happened with OS/9 level 1.

What IS NEW is a completely separate vocabulary, terminology, and
culture that becomes immediately abusive and cynical when you use
terms from the other camp.

The big joke is that this vocabulary is a smoke screen to keep
NT developers and supporters from leveraging the contributions of
the UNIX community until Microsoft determines a profitable way to
do so.


The $4 billion/year advertizing budget, which editors always
remember when someone submits a glowing review of a Linux
release, is a whole new phenomenea.  If Compaq and Dell decide
they only want to pay $300/copy for the "Microsoft Bundle", and
their competitors start preloading Linux, some of these periodicals
would disappear completely.

There will be 20 million users, with an additional 2 million/month before
the industry press even acknowledges the existance of UNIX.  Probably
right after the christmas season, when Microsoft isn't so generous
with Full page ads, and CO-OP.

Caldera Base looks pretty hot this year, but then so does Red Hat 5.0.
We should be seeing the Slakware (4.0?) offering any time now.

For almost 20 years Microsoft dominated the PC market because a PC
running the Microsoft offering was cheap, much cheaper than UNIX

NT and Linux turn this around a little.  Today, NT seems to be the perfect
excuse to go out and spent $4000-$5000 on a brand new box.  Linux is the
perfect excuse to hang on to your old one.

If you take a $5 tie and have Givenchy put his label on it, you can sell
it at Lord and Tailor for $75.  It'll go great with your $3000 suit.

If you take a $20 operating system and have Gates put the Microsoft label
on it, you can sell it at an upscale computer store for $3500 (as NT
server installed in a Compaq server).  It'll go great with your $60,000

Linux is NT for the K-Mart crowd.  It goes great with my $300 computer.

Bill has certainly enriched his partners.  The folks at MITS, Commodore,
Tandy, Lotus, Borland, IBM, Novell, Corel, and DBase would just love to
tell you how much Gates has contributed to making them the sterling
successes they are today, but Gates won't let them.  Microsoft uses greed
and guilt to get some incredibly effective nondisclure agreements during
the "honeymoon".

Microsoft deserves a lot of respect.  They have been incredibly effective
at forming alliances, contracts, and getting the publicity needed to
promote anything it wants to promote at any price, and using undisclosed
alliances to exclude it's competition.	They are masterful at adopting
standards and making little "enhancements" that work to the exclusion of
it's compitition.  It's masterful at collecting it's "percieved value"
from corporate customers who are willing to cut jobs to pay the bill. 
It's masterful at eliminating all coverage of compititors that offer
products for 1/10th the price.	It's masterful at writing license
agreements that exempt it from all liability, including the deliberate
destruction of confidential and mission critical data.	It's masterful at
using the legal system so effectively that it can commit felonies on a
daily basis without ever being prosecuted.  It's masterful at dragging
out lawsuits with motions and delays until the stock drops so far that
the board demands a settlement, which Microsoft offers under draconean

Fundamentally, Microsoft deals in the purchase and sale of ideas, of
Intellectual Property Rights.  Microsoft realized back in 1977 that the
public would not pay what Microsoft wanted to be paid ($500 for a copy of
a 2kbyte BASIC interpreter on punched paper tape).  Especally when their
competitors were charging much less ($25/copy of a 4k BASIC that did
MATRIX functions an floating point, and came on cassette tape with paper
tape loader routine).

Microsoft learned that if it wanted to get the price it really wanted, it
had to create the perception (to the public) that the software was worth
more than anyone elses code.  They would then create contracts with
the manufacturer, based on future projected sales, in exchange for
exclusion of a specific competitor, and getting paid as much as possible
as early as possible, in exchange for legally unspecific enhancements.

Microsoft learned to delay the promised enhancements as much as possible,
all the while developing products for another competitor that was not
specified in earlier negatiations.  By the time the first company
realized that the Microsoft enhancements weren't quite what they'd hoped
for, Microsoft had most of the money and was issuing a product
announcement that turned a nobody competitor into a company big enough to
drive the disgruntled customer to the verge of bankruptcy.  The poor
customer would settle for a partial refund and would be kept under strict
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