Novell Defends SUSE Against MS-Sponsored Study

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-11-17 Print this article Print

Novell says the study's comparison of Microsoft's Windows Server System and Novell's SLES undervalues Linux and downplays Windows' reliability and security problems.

Novell Inc. on Thursday lashed out at the Microsoft Corp.-sponsored study released this week that compared the real-world reliability of two platforms—Microsofts Windows Server System and Novells SUSE Linux Enterprise Server—under evolving business requirements over an extended period of time. The report was conducted by Herbert Thompson of Security Innovation Inc. (a Microsoft certified partner) and entitled "Reliability: Analyzing Solution Business Needs Change." The full report can be viewed here in PDF format.
In a company Weblog posting, Novell Senior Manager of Public Relations Kevan Barney said the report "aims to confuse the market about the value of Linux and downplay the various reliability, security and TCO issues Windows users are facing."
"Independent studies regularly credit Linux in general, and SUSE Linux in particular, [with being] secure, reliable, supported platforms that customers can leverage today to gain greater flexibility, performance and value in the IT infrastructure," Barney said in the blog posting. Interestingly, Thompson also made clear that neither the study nor its findings are final or conclusive, but are rather a starting point for further work. "The sample, although too small to provide conclusive statistical comparisons, illustrates the methodology and begins to shed light on some key model differences between the platforms," Thompson said. "A welcomed next step would be a more expansive study based on this foundational methodology with a larger sample size, additional business requirement scenarios and that looks at a wide array of platforms," he said. To read Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols take on the Windows vs. Linux study, click here. With regard to several points made in the study, Barney said Linux customers who used Novell-certified solutions did not have the interoperability problems suggested by Thompson. "Novell is continually adding to its list of more than 700 ISVs with more than 1,800 products certified and ready. It is just a matter of time until the issue of Linux interoperability with third-party proprietary applications disappears," he said. But Windows will continue to face major security problems, with customers suffering the financial consequences, as long as Windows is not re-architected and made more modular, Barney said. The number of patches created to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs also could not reliably be compared between operating systems that are as different as Microsoft Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, he said. "In contrast to Windows, Linux distributions come with a vast number of packages for services, middleware and software, not just with the operating system and its management framework," Barney said. Next Page: Flexibility could be a benefit or drawback for Linux.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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