Novell Defends SUSE Against MS-Sponsored Study

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.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo 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.