How can something that costs under $2,000 to buy cost that much per year? The above figures triggered immediate disbelief, but disbelief turned to distress as companies did their own numbers.
Most of the high cost of Windows networks is buried: lost productivity, disruption from continuous upgrades, network downtime, high training costs, employee "fiddle" time, extra servers compensating for poor performance, excessive help desk calls, etc. etc. All difficult to track, but all just as real.
A small business will see costs at the low end, be even better hidden in overhead and time lost. Companies that used to see their "computer guy" twice a year see him twice a week now that they are running Windows.
Now you know why so many computer businesses aggressively promote Windows.
To repeat the advice of the marketing guru in a prominent computer dealer's
magazine, Don't sell the best solution, sell Windows. You
will make a LOT more money than on any other solution. There will be
endless "add-ons" and "upgrades" to charge for, and to charge for installing.
Even magazine columnists completely devoted to Microsoft and Windows have taken up the cry. The only cure, don't run Windows, they reject out of hand. This is simply not an acceptable solution for magazines that derive 90% of their advertising revenue from Windows products, or to columnists who need do little work because Microsoft writes their columns for them.
Don't run Windows is also an unacceptable solution to the companies now looking for the missing productivity. The budget is already completely blown, and any more money found has to be spent trying to make Windows work, or upgrading it to the latest version. There is no escape.
Microsoft will never fix these problems. Sure, specific bugs are fixed
with the next version, but many new ones are introduced. As long
as you are dissatisfied with the current version, you will buy the next
version A quality product would destroy Microsoft's revenue
stream which depends heavily on upgrades.
On the server side, informal test have shown a 250-MHz Pentium-II with 64-Megs of memory and a FastWide SCSI hard disk system running Windows NT to be only 5% faster at database services than a 486DX 66-MHz with 16-Megs and an old IDE hard disk running Linux.
Companies that have converted to Windows NT Server have found they need two to three times as many servers to get the same level of performance as what they had before - and newer, faster servers at that. And now the servers crash all the time.
For reasons of both performance and reliability Microsoft strongly
recommends a separate server for each significant task! Is it any
wonder NT sells more copies than Unix?
The problem is simple: Windows NT goes down too often, and when it does,
it takes a skill level that may not be available to bring it back up.
Frequently a reinstall of NT and its associated Service Packs is required.
If you have to call off-site for help, you may experience extensive downtime.
"DLL Hell" is one of the major reasons Windows95/98 systems become progressively more unstable with time. Many companies have resorted to simply wiping Windows off every computer every few months (every 95 days for companies with a smart ass in charge) and reinstalling fresh to regain stability.
Why has Microsoft not fixed "DLL Hell", making Windows work like any other operating system? Shared libraries should never be touched except by an upgrade to the operating system itself. The answer is clear. Manipulating DLLs allows Microsoft to sabotage the software of their competitors any time they wish. It may take the competitor months to figure out what happened and fix it, meanwhile a lot of business is lost that will never return. The beauty of this technique is that malice can never be proven. Yet another reason why there will soon be no significant software except Microsoft's running under Windows.
Some time before the release of Windows98, Microsoft distributed new versions
of a number of DLLs to all the software houses using Microsoft programming
tools (most of them). These new DLLs were incorporated and distributed with
new software and upgrades for many months. When the Windows98 upgrade is
installed, it removes these DLLs and replaces them with older versions.
Now some programs on your machine don't work any more, but strangely, all
the Microsoft programs still work because they never used the newer DLLs.
Microsoft's explanation? "We wanted every Win98 upgrade to start with a
known baseline configuration."
It's not just the cost of the hardware and software that hurts, its the cost of downtime as you upgrade everything, and the cost of training to adjust to the new way the programs work, and the reloads when the upgrades go wrong and the . . . . well, you get the picture.
A Microsoft exec on OS/2, "We want to get two or three upgrades out
of Windows before giving our customers that kind of power".
There are many ways into Win95/98, but Cult of the Dead Cow's Back Orifice is currently the most prominent example - but not nearly the worst - try Netbus on for size, and Netbus does NT too.
Well over 90% of all computer viruses attack only Microsoft environments. Further, Microsoft continues to make their operating systems less secure by incorporating new things like more powerful macros, ActiveX and "integrating" their Web browser into the operating system.
When you receive Microsoft Word documents (on disk or as email attachments), examine them with a plain text editor. You may see stuff the sender didn't particularly want you to see. By default, large amounts of material not part of the document is included. While this material does not show up in Word, it is easily seen using other tools. Negotiators can use this "feature" to gain unfair advantage against companies distributing documents in Word format. This "feature" can be turned off, but you must do so deliberately and check it every time you update or reinstall.
So determined is Microsoft to control all access to the Internet, they are integrating the Internet with the desktop (Win98 Active Desktop). This is not a security risk, this is security suicide.
Microsoft strongly implies Windows NT Server is US Government certified for security level C2. This is not true. At one time, three specific computer systems running Windows NT Server version 3.0 with Service Pack 3 were certified for C2 provided they did not have a network card. Might we ask what good is a server without a network card? In any case, NT version v3.0 was never widely sold and is no longer used anywhere.
Microsoft employed security consultant Ed Curry to promote their case to the U.S. Government. When Mr. Curry questioned Microsoft's security claims, Microsoft destroyed his company, making it impossible for him to get consulting jobs anywhere (by threatening prospective employers).
Microsoft has hired a new security company
to work on C2 certification for Windows NT v4.0, and claims loudly that
certification is "in process". This claim has become the basis of the
widespread conversion to Windows NT in the U.S. government, but insiders
say practically no actual work toward certification is being done. It is
highly unlikely Windows NT 4.x or 5.x can ever be C2 certified because of
changes made to improve performance.
Windows98, with the "integrated" IE4 (Internet Explorer 4) is free to "call home to Microsoft" whenever it detects an Internet connection - without your permission and without your knowing anything is happening. This is "so it can automatically download upgrades to your software". Given a history of bugginess in Microsoft's "service packs", this could easily destabilize a working computer.
Another really bad thing about this automated update
system is it can easily be subverted by persons even less ethical than
Microsoft. Is it really getting updates from Microsoft, or is it transferring
your Quicken or QuickBooks files to someone else?
Invasion of Privacy - Microsoft wants to know!Microsoft has a long history of wanting more information about computer users than seems right. As often as possible they gather this information without your knowledge. With persistent Internet connections, especially cable modems, they can gather a lot more a lot more secretively.
Users of Microsoft's WebTV may not realize it but Microsoft polls their machines at night to see where they go on the Internet. The same will be true of Microsoft "set top boxes", scheduled to ship early next year.
And, what about those "automatic updates" (see ownership, above). What might they be uploading while downloading changes? You can be sure what is uploaded will be carefully concealed (as the Registration Wizard data was), and that Microsoft will deny everything (as with Registration Wizard). Will this become another way for Microsoft to enforce licensing? Or are they just gathering "marketing data".
Office 2000 will stop working after the 50th load if you do not register. Registering will require answering some rather detailed questions (more "marketing data"). If you don't provide the desired information, you will not be allowed to use the software you already paid for.
Microsoft web sites make very heavy use of "cookies", as do most sites
written using Microsoft Active Server Pages. These cookies gather and
store personal information about you and where you go (more "marketing data").
If you set your browser to "no cookies", you will be sternly warned by
Microsoft and prohibited from major areas of their Web site.
Corrupted Protocols - "Embrace, Extend, Exterminate"Microsoft makes a big noise about embarrassing standard protocols, like TCP/IP. The problem: the Microsoft versions are always bastardized to make it difficult for Windows computers to interact with non-Windows computers using the same protocols. Microsoft depends on their heavy advertising and high level PR to convince users the problem is with the "non standard" (non-Microsoft) products.
This policy is becoming a problem even for Microsoft. Most of the standard
protocols were first implemented on Unix systems, and remain universal on these
systems. Microsoft has had to back off from the concept of Windows NT as a
"Unix killer" - it just can't cut it - so now they are trying to reposition as
"gets along well with Unix". Too bad it doesn't. The rise of Linux as a
direct competitor to NT is expanding this problem.
Companies have tried banning Windows upgrades to avoid high expense and severe compatibility problems, but find employees just bring the upgrade from home and try to install it - even if they know the policy. You find out about it when something goes wrong and they call for help. Now what do you do? Fire an important employee, or upgrade everyone? That means upgrading ALL your software, because only the latest versions work properly together. This is how Bill Gates builds a pipeline to your bank account.
Don't bother carefully configuring the desktops to be efficient for the company's work. Since Win95/98 offers no security, each employee will soon have his/hers "the way I like it". And they expect you to fix any problems they create getting there.
By contrast; Unix, Linux and OS/2 desktops are likely to stay just the way
you set them up for years, because employees are afraid of "screwing
Many Incompatible Versions - "Legacy Code" ProblemsNot so long ago, Windows was fresh and new. Microsoft laughed at systems with generations of "legacy code", with troublesome backward compatibility issues. Now it is Windows that is the "legacy code" with compatibility problems. Here are some of the versions currently in use:
Clustering - Better, but needs testingWolfpack, Microsoft's NT clustering technology, delivered only a two-server failover configuration. NT's instability make this configuration essential for any installation requiring decent reliability, but that means you need twice as many servers to stay up a reasonable amount of the time.
Windows 2000 brings better failover and load balancing to clustering, which is good news for shops already committed to Microsoft, but it still has to be tested in the real world. Compared to the fully developed load balancing and failover clustering major Unix vendors offer for 24/7 critical systems, Windows 2000 is definitely not in the ball game yet. As always, "The next version will fix all that".
Performance clustering is something Windows 2000 doesn't do at all. Linux
now holds a lock on turning a bunch of cheap computers into a single, low cost
supercomputer (the U.S. Postal Service has over 900 of these Linux clusters in
use sorting the mail).
An amazing amount of the available Windows software claims to fix Windows problems. These packages are not available for any other operating system, creating the illusion that Windows is "better supported". In reality, no other operating system needs any of these packages. Beyond this, the bulk of Windows software is games and "edutainment".
The main exception to Microsoft domination is accounting software, but when
Microsoft buys an accounting software publisher (my guess is Great Planes),
that market will also will dry up. Microsoft's goal is to eliminate choice
entirely, and consumers seem to like it that way. Many software companies see
the handwriting on the wall and some are trying to flee the Windows market.
Most won't make it. (Index)
There is a faster way. If you install any of Microsoft's
"client server" products (SQL Server, Back Office, Exchange Server) you are
married to Microsoft and Windows NT Server permanently. These won't run on
anything else (even Linux/SAMBA), and there is no migration path out. You
can't escape without ripping out your business' entire infrastructure.
Stay or leave, this is going to be expensive.
Anyone who imagines that won't happen here is fantasizing. In fact, it already has. Now that Microsoft Office has over 80% of corporate desktops, Microsoft eliminated concurrent licenses, roughly doubling the cost of Microsoft products to most corporations. Previously, a company needed only as many licenses as would be used simultaneously. Now, they must have a license for every user who might ever use the products. The corps squealed like stuck pigs when this happened, but, like stuck pigs, there was nothing they could do about it. Once committed to Microsoft, you can't afford to deploy anything else.
NEWS FLASH: OCT 1998 - The French Ministry of
Education has signed agreements for assistance in installing Linux in any
primary and secondary schools that feel pressured by the cost of Windows.
Additionally, Dell Computer has agreed to provide computers without Windows for
Linux installation, and IBM has signed agreements to support Linux in the French
If you haven't already read our article on the consequences of adopting Windows 2000, you will find it right here.
The big research firms (Gartner, Forrester, Giga, etc.) warn that no-one
should try to go production with Windows 2000 until they have thoroughly
tested, and not before mid 2001. Microsoft, on the other hand is in a growth
bind and will try every trick they can think up to speed adoption.
Microsoft sure looks on the top of the world today, invincible and omnipotent, but, no. Windows is an anachronism - so steeped in programming practices of the past it can't be moved forward. Microsoft tries to stave off the future by buying up and liquidating new companies as they create new products threatening Windows. This is a losing gambit in any case, but they can't buy the Java coalition of Sun, IBM and Oracle - and they can't stop Linux. One is far larger than they, the other has no owner they can buy.
Realizing Java represents the wave of the future, Microsoft tried to corrupt it - to lure developers into programming in a "Windows only" version. At the recent Windows programming confab in New Orleans, Microsoft president Steve Balmer asked how many of the assembled 3,000 were programming in Java. Many hands! He asked how many were programming using Microsoft's J++ (corrupted Java). One hand - out of 3,000. Game over, thanks for playing.
The future is entirely networked, and Windows doesn't do networks well.
The future is modular, and Windows is monolithic. The future is object
oriented, and Windows is procedural. The future is centrally administered, and
Windows is administered at the individual desktop.The future is multi-platform,
and Windows runs only on Intel. The handwriting is on the wall - Windows will
fall, and Microsoft with it, because Windows is really their only product. They
that have gathered under the "All Microsoft" tent will be scrambling like
roaches when the light's turned on.
It is very possible the importance of running MS Office, SQL
Server, Microsoft Back Office, Microsoft Exchange Server,
or some other Windows program, or the convenient availability of thousands of
software titles, or the ease of finding people familiar with Windows and
Windows software, or having at work the same thing you have at home will make
the "All Microsoft" path the right path for you. That is OK with us, but we
feel full disclosure is necessary to an intelligent business decision. We
would be doing no-one a favor (except Microsoft) by keeping the disadvantages
of that path secret. Keep your eyes open and take your best shot.
Why AS/400s? AS/400s are stable as rocks, mature, extremely secure, downtime is measured in minutes per year (99.97% uptime in most cases), faster than any Intel platform could ever be, support a zillion simultaneous users, are smoothly scalable from "mom & pop" to multinational enterprise, support truly enterprise level software, are totally virus free (not even one!) and have the full strength of IBM's service organization behind them. In short, they are everything NT is not. (Index)
©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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