Recent Updates to this Article

Tue Nov 10 01:54:35 CST 1998

Added link to the French Translation of the article.

Changed dead URL of the Russian Translation to an older version of a local copy which I had archived earlier.

Corrected a mispelling of Robert X. Cringely's last name.

Consolidated many different items relating to the former "FreeBSD/Linux-Friendly Vendors" item in the Highlights in this Article index into a single new link:

Added a link to Slashdot - News for Nerds. Stuff that matters. along with many other important resources to the new FreeBSD and Linux Resources document.

Updated the link to the "Halloween Documents" in the Related Links section since this has recently been changed by Eric S. Raymond:

The Halloween Documents
"Microsoft Confidential" Documents with annotations and comments
by Eric S. Raymond, 30 October 1998.

Added a copyright notice at the very end of the article and updated the Disclaimers and Other Legal Information document to reflect the transfer of copyrights and intellectual property from myself, the author, to my corporation, Consulting, Inc. The new legal disclaimer also has validity for the UNIX versus NT Organization in general, and all new articles, resources, services, etc. offered by the organization.

Tue Nov 3 00:17:12 CST 1998

Added following link to the "Functionality" section (last item in this section, just before the "Reliability" section:

See also D. H. Brown's Operating System Scorecard page for other graphical comparisons of the operating systems compared above.

Added following to the "Related Links" section:

Microsoft: Linux a threat to NT
by Dan Goodin, Stephen Shankland, and Paul Festa, CNET News.Com, 2 November 1998.

The Halloween Document
A "Microsoft Confidential" Document with annotations and comments
by Eric S. Raymond, 30 October 1998.

Gates "on the warpath"
by Bloomberg News, CNET News.Com, 28 October 1998.

Unix back in the fight with NT
by Miguel Helft, Mercury Center, 26 October 1998.

Sat Oct 31 12:45:49 CST 1998

Added Enlightenment to the list of Window Managers in "Common misconceptions", subpart "UNIX is outdated, cryptic..."

Added Radovan Bukoci, Bengt Kleberg, Gregory J. Pryzby, and Robert G. Werner to the "Acknowledgments" section.

Wed Oct 14 01:32:16 CDT 1998

Added following links to the "Related Links" section:

Quality Unix for FREE
by Brett Glass, Sm@rt Reseller, ZDNet, 7 September 1998.

ABC switches to Sun SAP environment:
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has successfully migrated its SAP development platform from NT to Solaris, running on Sun boxes

Sun Microsystems Australia, On#Sun, vol. 5 issue 2, September 1998.

Beware the penguin, Bill
by Charles Arthur, The Independent, 5 October 1998.

Intranets On A Shoestring
by Chris Lindquist, Computerworld, 5 October 1998.

Gates pushes hometown to Linux
Linux-based document system costs 10% of Windows NT solution

by Christine Burns, Computerworld News, 4 October 1998.

Service Pack 4 vs. NT 5 (a.k.a. NT2000)
by Russ Cooper, ZDNet, 29 September 1998.

NT's Cloudy Future
by Mark Hall, Performance COmputing, September 1998.

Added Klaus A. Brunner, Colin Kabaara, and Adrian Mikeliunas to the "Acknowledgments" section.

Thu Sep 24 02:07:51 CDT 1998

Added following links to the "Related Links" section:

New Security Flap Over Windows NT
by Mary Jo Foley, Sm@rt Reseller, ZDNN, 23 September 1998.

Linux Surfaces As Alternative to Windows NT
by Masahiro Nakamura, Staff Editor, Nikkei Computer, AsiaBizTech, 21 September 1998.

Added Conrad Sanderson and Ken Webster to the "Acknowledgments" section.

Tue Sep 15 14:55:17 CDT 1998

Added following links to the "Related Links" section:

A Fight to the Finnish
Why Linux Quite Appropriately Scares the Bejesus Out of Microsoft

by Robert X. Cringely, PBS online, 10 September 1998.

Dell ships PCs, servers with Linux
by Connie Guglielmo of ZDNN, MSNBC, 8 September 1998.

Fri Sep 4 00:43:34 CDT 1998

Added following to the "Product costs and licensing issues" section:

In Software Magazine's recent cover story on Linux, Ann Harrison points out how even large companies are finding a cost effective alternative to Microsoft in the deployment of Linux servers:
"Randy Kessell, manager of technical analysis for a Southwestern Bell operation center, notes that because Linux allows his company to do more remote network administration and software loads than was possible with either Microsoft or NetWare products, it has driven down their network management costs."

-- Ann Harrison, In LINUX We . . ., Software Magazine, Cover Story, September 1998.

The September 1998 Software Magazine cover story reveals just how far Linux has managed to infiltrate coporate America and how it is not about to go away:

"Tim Payne, director of database marketing at Oracle, says many of his company's corporate customers have made large investments in Linux. When Oracle announced in July that it would be offering 24x7 support for Oracle8 on Linux, he says 300 customers called the next day asking about availability. 'It's reliable, it's proven, it runs on commodity Intel boxes, and it's a really low-cost alternative to NT,' says Payne. 'The fact that you are going to be able to get enterprise quality support from Oracle to deploy on the Linux platform will help customers adopt Linux.'

-- Ann Harrison, In LINUX We . . ., Software Magazine, Cover Story, September 1998.

Added following to the "Performance" section:

Ann Harrison's article provides an excellent testimonial from Southwestern Bell regarding how Linux outperforms NT:
"Randy Kessell, manager of technical analysis for a Southwestern Bell operation center, . . . adds that his company is thinking about replacing their NT network server with Linux. 'Our preliminary tests show that the Linux solution is outrunning the NT solution,' says Kessell. 'It's much faster.'

-- Ann Harrison, In LINUX We . . ., Software Magazine, Cover Story, September 1998.

Added the following to the "Related Links" section:

In LINUX We . . .
by Ann Harrison, Software Magazine, Cover Story, September 1998.

Added Howard McKinney to the "Acknowledgments" section for calling my attention to the extraordinary article above.

Wed Sep 2 00:28:48 CDT 1998

Added following to the "Linux - NT At at Glance" table to reflect Microsoft's recent attempt to catch up with UNIX in the area of remote administration:

Remote Management Tools for NT: Web Administrator 2.0 (a recent addition) offers a large, but still not complete, set of tools.

Removed the SGI Web server world record info from the "Performance" section and replaced it with the current title-holder:

"The new processor will also make IBM's S70 one of the fastest Web servers on the market when used in certain configurations, according to a certain benchmark test selected by IBM. In a 12-way configuration, the S70 delivered SPECweb96 performance of 9,081 HTTP operations per second, making it the first system to break the 9,000 barrier, according to IBM.

-- James Niccolai, New chip to debut in IBM's RS/6000 Model S70, InfoWorld Electric, 12 August 1998.

Added Gene Mosher to the "Acknowledgments" section for providing the above link, and Martin Espinoza as well as Steve Sinnott for a number of previously contributed links.

Thu Aug 27 23:52:55 CDT 1998

Added following to the end of the "Performance" section:

For enterprise-level processing power, clustering wth Linux can produce awesome results at a modest price. In a recent report by Michael Stutz, NASA's Beowulf project sets an example for the the potential of such Open Source UNIX operating systems like Linux in the area of supercomputing:

"Enter Beowulf, a system that uses a parallel-processing architecture and off-the-shelf machines running the freely available Linux operating system. One machine is the server node, and distributes a processing job to all of the other machines, which are client nodes.

"The total hardware cost for CCD's 24-node Beowulf cluster was US$57,000 -- as compared to most commercial supercomputers today, which cost between $10 million and $30 million. The cluster gives 2.4 gigabytes per second throughput, which means that a 200 GB hard drive can be scanned in only 20 seconds. While it took five to seven weeks to analyze the evidence of several intruders in the recent Israeli hacker case, Talleur said it would have only taken a few hours with Beowulf.

"The Beowulf project was developed at NASA by Thomas Sterling and Donald Becker in the summer of 1994; today, anyone can buy a Beowulf CD-ROM -- Red Hat Software's Extreme Linux package -- for $29.

-- Michael Stutz, NASA Greets Beowulf, Wired News, 17 August 1998.

Added the following links to the "Related Links" section:

Linux, an Alternative to Microsoft Windows, Shows Value of Free Software
by Leslie Helm, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 August 1998.

NASA Greets Beowulf
by Michael Stutz, Wired News, 17 August 1998.

Fred Weijs was kind enough to notify me that the following article's URL had changed:

Interoperability: Possibility or Elusive Dream? -- An Executive White Paper
by The AberdeenGroup, March 1998.

Tue Aug 25 23:53:40 CDT 1998

Kobayashi Osamu informed me that some readers using older browsers had problems with the HTML I used to give the article margins. Corrected this problem.

Added following link to the "Related Links" section:

Is NT Ready for the Data Center?
by Joseph P. McGarvey, Windows Pro Magazine, 26 August 1998.

Sat Aug 22 20:29:11 CDT 1998

Found a Spanish (condensed) translation of my article and added this link at the top of the article.

Put the prices of various NT 4.0 products in a table in the "Product costs and licensing issues" section to make it easier to get an overview of their price structure.

Updated the list of French and Italian translators in the "Acknowledgments" section.

Deleted unnecessary white space to reduce the total size of the HTML file. Also added margins to the article to facilitate easier reading.

Fri Aug 21 00:45:35 CDT 1998

Changed URL of article from to

Added internal link for the Microsoft Admits NT Trails Solaris article to the "Highlights in this Article" index (2nd from top).

Added Neil McKellar's feedback Process Scheduling to the Feedback section.

Thu Aug 20 00:24:50 CDT 1998

Added following to the "Product costs and licensing issues" section:

Journalists R. Scott Raynovich and Polly Sprenger at LAN Times indirectly point out the flexibility of the Open Source concept in their recent article on Linux and how commercial organizations can benefit from it:

" . . . Linux can be downloaded for free over the Internet or obtained inexpensively with support and documentation from a number of commercial vendors. This makes it an attractive product for companies trying to reduce the cost of licensing and managing OSes.

-- R. Scott Raynovich and Polly Sprenger, Linux legitimacy rallies NT skeptics, LAN Times, 17 August 1998.

Added following to the "Reliability" section:

When pitted against Sun Microsystems's Solaris, there's really no comparison at all. At the recent Microsoft Global Summit, Computer Reseller News journalists Barbara Darrow and Stuart Glascock interviewed some of the attendees:
"We have a Solaris box that hasn't been rebooted in two years," said James Domengeaux, president of Comspace.Com, a Houston-based Web reseller. In comparison, NT servers are rebooted often, he said. "That's a problem especially in e-commerce if you're talking transactions per second, because how many orders do you miss?" he said.

-- Barbara Darrow and Stuart Glascock, Microsoft Admits NT Trails Solaris, Computer Reseller News, 28 July 1998.

Added following links to the "related Links" section:

Microsoft Admits NT Trails Solaris
by Barbara Darrow and Stuart Glascock, Computer Reseller News, 28 July 1998.

NT vs. UNIX: An uphill battle
by Kevin Burden, Computerworld, August 1998.

Open OS Provides Flexible, Stable Computing Platform -- Linux Environment Offers Endless Possibilities
by Paula Rooney, Computer Retail Week (TechWeb), 17 August 1998, Issue: 215, Section: Business Solutions

Open OS Provides Flexible, Stable Computing Platform -- Linux Environment Offers Endless Possibilities
by Paula Rooney, Computer Retail Week (TechWeb), 17 August 1998, Issue: 215, Section: Business Solutions

Linux legitimacy rallies NT skeptics
by R. Scott Raynovich and Polly Sprenger, LAN Times, 17 August 1998.

Added Raj Mathur and Markus Senoner to the "Acknowledgments" section for contributing the links to the above articles.

Tue Aug 18 00:32:28 CDT 1998

Received the following award:


in the NewHoo Computers/Operating_Systems/Unix category

Added the following link to the "Related Links" section and added P. Gopalakrishnan to the "Acknowledgments" section for being so thoughtful to contribute the link to this well-written article:

Putting Unix in All the Right Places: The reports of Unix's death are greatly exaggerated.
by John Montgomery, Byte, January 1998.

Wed Aug 12 01:03:12 CDT 1998

Added the following two links to the "Related Links" section:

Report: Wait on NT 5.0
by Ben Heskett, CNET News.Com, 6 August 1998.

Users Should Skip NT 5.0, Analysts Say
by David Wilby, TechWeb, 29 June 1998.

Also added the following feedback:

Scalability? - Feedback from C Matthew Curtin

Sat Aug 8 00:03:54 CDT 1998

The following "FAT versus NTFS" part of the article has been removed because these statements were related more to NT Workstation than to NT Server. Despite the disbelief of some readers, one MIS operations manager told me that it was their policy (a telecom company providing fiber services) to not use NTFS on any of their users' NT Workstations. As a matter of fact, this manager was extremely adamant about this topic:

Some MIS departments are reluctant to implement this file system (at least on users' machines), because they feel that recovering from disk problems is hindered by the use of NTFS. It is a common belief that NTFS formatted drives cannot be read by DOS, an important OS in the recovery from such problems. Rune Knapstad informed me of a DOS utility called NTFSDOS which can mount NTFS partitions. It is interesting to note that this is a third-party product and not a Microsoft one.

Thu Aug 6 01:54:25 CDT 1998

Added following links to the "Related Links" section:

Open Source's First Six Months
by Eric Raymond, Linux Gazette, August 1998.

Linux versus NT: Are you getting the most from your OS?
by Cameron Laird, SunWorld Online, August 1998.

Moved the section Microsoft Exchange versus Sendmail: Views of Other MIS Professionals into a separate file.
Reason: The products aren't similar enough to effectively compare. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Also, the article is already much too long to maintain the interest of many managers.

Deleted the following reader feedback from the performance section since it has come under scrutiny recently. Casual observations contributed by readers may be interesting, but it is essential to maintain the integrity of the article. For the sake of factual comparisons, I will attempt to include only benchmarks from reputable sources conducted in a scientific manner concerning future additions to this section of the article:

I've been running the RC5 cracking client for about 2 months now... It's installed on every server that has a significant amount of idle time. This includes two identical machines: Both are Dual-Pentium II at 300MHz, 128MB RAM. One is running NT, and has an idle exchange server (we're planning to offer a service on it, but at the moment, its totally idle), and the other is running Linux (we're putting that one through its paces. Its a Samba server, and we're recompiling all kinds of things on it). The Linux box is trying keys at 1.8 times the speed of the NT box.

Tue Jul 28 00:40:17 CDT 1998

Added following quotation and link to the section on "Product costs and licensing issues":

"Windows NT systems carry lower sticker prices than their Unix counterparts, but ongoing maintenance and support requirements can make them much more costly to run."

-- Martin J. Garvey, The Hidden Cost Of NT, InformationWeek, 20 July 1998.

Fri Jul 24 01:29:24 CDT 1998

Added following link to the "Related Links" section:

Foes fire at Microsoft
"RealNetworks exec tells Senate panel software giant 'breaks' his product"
by staff writer John Frederick Moore, CNN Financial Network, 23 July 1998.

Indented the links in the "Related Links" section for aesthetic purposes.

Thu Jul 23 00:35:15 CDT 1998

Added following links to the "Related Links" section:

Linux manifesto (A boot interview with Linus Torvalds)

Oracle to port database to Linux after all
by Paul Krill, InfoWorld Electric, 17 July 1998.

Informix gets set to embrace Linux
by Paul Krill, InfoWorld Electric, 17 July 1998.

Wed Jul 22 00:35:13 CDT 1998

Updated link to the Japanese translation of the article.

Reformatted title section of article.

Moved access counter and link to this page to top of article (same line as "Mirror," i.e. between links to translations and title).

Added following paragraph to "Product Costs and Licensing Issues" section:

The very latest headlines indicate that Linux is well on its way into the major leagues: Informix, Oracle ready to port to Linux (PCWeek Online, 20 July 1998), Oracle to port database to Linux (PCWeek Online, 20 July 1998), and Netscape: Linux a top priority (CNET News.Com, 7 April 1998).

Inserted following advertising banner twice in article: at the end of the "Reliability" section and at the beginning of the "Conclusion."

Added following links to the top of the list in the "Related Links" section:

NT: One step forward, two steps back
by Mary Jo Foley, ZDNN, 20 July 1998.

NT Needs Patch To Comply With Y2K
by Ellis Booker, TechWeb (InternetWeek, issue 712), 27 April 1998.

Added Mike Stephens to the "Acknowledgments" section for providing the two links above.

Tue Jul 21 00:03:45 CDT 1998

Added an access counter.

Added link to Korean translation of this article and Donghun Han to the Acknowledgments section.

Cut the following text from the Security section since I had second thoughts about it when I originally added it. When one reader wrote saying that it detracted from the rest of the article, I felt that it was time to remove it.

One interesting observation:

On May 11, 1998 the Discovery Channel aired a program on the National Security Agency as part of its "Discovery Signature Series." Their short description of this one-hour segment which was broadcast at 9 PM Central Time was "America's most covert agency uncovers others' secrets with high-tech wizardry." The most notable thing about the broadcast was the high visibility of workstations with the Sun Microsystems logo, not only in the cryptography classroom, but also in one of their mission control rooms. In one area where the NSA manufactures some of its own microchips, monitors displaying a large "X" were visible, the logo of the X-Window system used with all UNIX operating systems. Near the end of the broadcast, a laptop was seen running a DOS application. Only one workstation with the Intel logo was shown during the entire broadcast. It was not being used for cryptographic tasks. It was doing some facial recognition, but the Window borders of the application seemed to indicate possibly a non-MS-Windows operating system.

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