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November 21, 2005

Novell doubts Microsoft latest Linux “facts”

Microsoft Corp's "Get the Facts" campaign comparing Windows with Linux continues to prove controversial, with Novell Inc describing the latest set of facts offered up by Microsoft as "misdirection."

By CBR Staff Writer

The latest report offered up by Microsoft as evidence that Windows is a better bet than Linux is a white paper from Security Innovation Inc that compares maintenance, patch application, and system failures related to a migration from Windows Server 2000 to 2003, and Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 to SLES 9.

The report found that there were more system failures experienced by Linux systems administrators, and that more patches needed to be applied to the Linux systems, while more time was required to complete the Linux migration.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell has hit back, however, claiming that the report aims to confuse, and pointed out that the number of patches required for Windows and SLES are not comparable as SLES comes with a vast number of packages above and beyond the operating system and its management framework.

Pointing out that Security Innovation is a Microsoft certified partner, Novell also maintained that the company had overestimated the interoperability problems faced by SLES customers and overlooked concerns related to Microsoft’s integrated innovation approach.

The study compared the experiences of three expert administrators on each side, a number that Security Innovation itself admitted was too small to provide conclusive statistical comparisons.

It’s not the first time that Microsoft’s Get the Facts campaign has sparked controversy. Launched in January 2004, it has contained reports from organizations such as VeriTest, Forrester, BearingPoint, Yankee Group, Giga, IDC, and Meta Group.

Novell has previously criticized Microsoft for selectively quoting from the reports and has encouraged potential Linux users to read the reports for themselves and come to their own conclusions, rather than relying on Microsoft analysis.

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