While the sample size of administrators was too small to provide conclusive statistical comparisons, the results highlight some fundamental differences in the Linux and Windows models, the study said. The results of this initial study showed some interesting patterns, Thompson said in the report. One of the most heavily touted benefits of Linux is its high modularity and the granularity of control that administrators have over a system. "In the experiment, we found that such flexibility also leads to ambiguity for administrators in terms of paths to follow when resolving conflicts," Thompson said.Multiple pathways can be both an asset and a weakness, allowing on the one hand highly skilled administrators to solve problems using greatly varied approaches, but on the other leading to the "personalization" of systems that could make issues like administrator substitution problematic, the report said. "The Linux solutions also quickly went out of support from both the distribution vendor and third-party solution vendors as individual components [such as MySQL] were upgraded to meet third-party solution needs," Thompson said. To read about MySQL 5.0, click here. In contrast, Microsoft has pursued a philosophy it calls
"integrated innovation," where much of the core system functionality is incorporated with the operating system itself.
During the experiment, all Windows administrators followed a fairly homogeneous route to both install patches and apply component upgrades for the simulated changing business requirements, Thompson said in the report.
"For the administrator trials, our choice of requirements was based on a common evolutionary scenario, one vetted and confirmed by analysts and corporations in the e-commerce space. Our choice of third-party components was based on market leadership in the enterprise markets," the report said.
While the experiment followed only one scenario with a small set of administrators, the results did highlight some key model differences in Windows and Linux, Thompson said. "Our hope is that the methodology presented here will serve as a base that others can expand on and adapt to their own business needs," he said.
"The foundation has now been laid, and it needs to be taken to the next level and tried as a database scenario, as a business applications scenario," Microsofts Gavin said.
Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
"On the Linux side, each administrator pursued vastly different paths to resolve dependency conflicts that arose when new components were installed. The result was solutions that grew in complexity and heterogeneity rapidly over time," he said.