Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Free Speech not Free Beer (was Re: Win What?)

Author:Jim Flanagan
Posted:6/29/1999; 9:47:48 AM
Topic:Win What?
Msg #:7921 (In response to 7910)
Prev/Next:7920 / 7922

Now hold on there. Why isn't it cheaper? Even if you think that the cost of hiring UNIX experts is greater than the cost of NT licenses + NT experts (which IMO is debatable), it's certainly cheaper to put Linux on 500 boxes than, say, Solaris or another UNIX.

If you disagree, please explain.

Now you and your staff have hundreds of Linux machines. Very quickly it becomes apparent that you're getting an order of magnitude less NFS performance than you expect from the farm, and it takes a couple of weeks to figure out why and patch the whole cluster. Meanwhile another person is trying to figure out why the 10/100 NICs don't negotiate a 100 Mb connection after a reboot.

After lengthy negotiaions with the vendor, they finally agree to let you help them port their object database to Linux ("with no guarantee of fitness or suitability for any purpose") provided you send your most seasoned person to their site 3000 miles away for a month.

Now that it's all running, a kernel patch comes out which should get the cluster a little closer to linear scalability over multiple processors. Patch the cluster.

None of the batch systems which meet the project's requirements seem to have been ported to Linux. You select one and begin the port, which gets mired in difficulties that are not surmountable within the scope of the project, so you purchase a licence for an expensive commercial batch system which is very much overkill, but will get the job done.

I'm not saying that Solaris wouldn't have similar problems (given the same platform), though the more fundamental issues (Excellent MP support, premiere NFS implementation, etc.) have long ago been ironed out. For the project from which these examples are culled, NT was ruled out early (some folks were holding out for NT5, though... :)

The view of linux from my ergonomic chair, is much different from the view standing upon the tiles of a raised floor. Some of of the shortcomings don't appear until the forklift arrives.

Many of these problems don't exist today. More will be reduced to learning experiences in the future. I personally think that it is possible for Linux to overtake Solaris (on Intel) in the realm of performance and stability if the people working on it are in the right head space; Working to make linux excellent in it's own right, and not a better Windows.

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