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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 21 Oct 2011

ZDNet's Linux vs. Windows server smackdown

ZDNet writer David Gerwitz is so fed up with the way his co-located Linux server responded to an upgrade (by not running) that he's made a huge deal out of giving up Linux for Windows. On a server.

Fellow ZDNet writer and Linux partisan Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols (aka SJVN) wonders what all the shouting is about.

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm with SJVN on this one. Sure I've bricked a few Linux and BSD installations in my time, but when it comes to production systems, it's extremely easy to stay on the straight and narrow with Linux and BSD. Upgrades can be tricky, but that's true for Windows, too. I'm taking upgrades from one release to another.

But a standard security or bug-fix update with patches to a current release? I can't remember the last time anything of the sort went wrong on the stable release of any Linux distribution or BSD release I've used. Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu -- I've never had a problem with a software update.

And while my record on major-version upgrades isn't as spotless, if you wait until after a new stable release to upgrade a Debian box and follow the instructions, I can pretty much guarantee it's going to work out fine. CentOS doesn't exactly support version upgrades (5.x to 6.x, for instance). They recommend a full reinstall. And I do believe Ubuntu is improving in terms of major-version upgrades (11.04 to 11.10, or 10.04 to 11.10, the latter of which is now possible).

Forget upgrading for a moment. How do Windows servers actually perform? With that I'm less than impressed.

I have to contend daily with a Windows IIS server that just doesn't do what a Linux server does (which in this case includes running scripting languages and applications that aren't VB Script or ASP.NET, and often not that either, and consistently serving media files to my users).

And then there's the OTHER Microsoft server I use daily (supplied by a vendor) that regularly chokes on SQL queries and seems to die for hours at a time.

If only both workloads were moved to Linux or BSD ... and yes, in both cases there are sysadmins other than myself to take care of the installations.

I can understand hating on Linux on the desktop, though I don't agree and am writing this post on a Debian Squeeze system that I upgrade all the time.

But coming out for Windows and against Linux on the server? That dog most definitely won't hunt.