Theres some sincere flattery of Linux going on at Microsoft these days. As we wrote in these pages in August, a prototype version of Tux, Red Hats kernel-level Web server and cache, blew away all other contenders in SPECweb99 Web benchmark tests, including Microsofts IIS (Internet Information Server) Web server, which ran at about 40 percent of Tuxs speed—a huge difference.
Microsoft took those results to heart. I was in Redmond last month for briefings and learned about the new architecture planned for IIS 6.0, the Web server that will ship in Whistler, the follow-on operating system to Windows 2000.
Lo and behold, IIS 6.0 has been totally redesigned as a kernel-level Web server and cache. When I asked IIS 6.0 Program Manager Bill Staples if these changes were in response to the SPECweb results, he said Microsoft was aware of the Linux numbers and was hoping to do better in the future. Given the effort that must be required to implement this major rearchitecture of IIS 6.0, thats got to be the understatement of the quarter.
Red Hat started shipping Tux earlier this quarter with a prerelease version of the Linux 2.4 kernel, which Tux requires. Red Hat is supporting this early build of the kernel for use with Tux.