UNIX vs. NT

The development of NT versions for the heavy server market is on the downgrade. In February 1997 after IBM and Motorola turned away from their PowerPC initiative, Microsoft stopped the development of NT for the PowerPC platform. The development of NT for the MIPS processors has been given up already before. Furthermore, the performance of Pentium Pro based SMP systems using four or more processors running NT appears to be quite disappointing. This means that at best the Alpha will be the only high-end platform that NT will be available for. However, at this moment there is not enough software available for the Alpha. Furthermore, the development is being slowed down by the FX32 technology.

Research institute Gartner reacted to the cancellation of the NT for PowerPC development by advising to only use NT on the Intel platform. This implies that NT will not be suitable for heavy-duty server installations. According to Netcraft surveys most of the Internet and intranet servers are UNIX systems. Indeed, especially most larger and professional sites are UNIX based. The trend towards more interactivity on Web sites will only increase the UNIX market share.

IDC (International Data Corporation) reported a strong growth of the UNIX market in 1996. The exponential expansion of Internet and intranet technology mean that UNIX will penetrate each organization in the near future. For example, figures of Forrester Research show an explosive growth in the use of e-mail. In 1992 only 2 percent of the American people used e-mail. In January this figure had increased to 15 percent, and it will be over 50 percent within five years!

Apart from its power and availability, the two main reasons to prefer UNIX over NT are its stability and flexibility. Especially in the highly TCP/IP networked environment we will all be dealing with in the forthcoming years, UNIX will be the most suitable solution for the Network Operating System. There are quite some reasons to prefer UNIX over NT here:

Security

Since UNIX was designed as a multi-user multi-process platform for interconnected computers, guaranteeing security has been an issue ever since the beginning. The Internet and UNIX community has forced the UNIX vendors to become more and more open about security leaks in their systems. This means that UNIX vendors nowadays have to publish fixes for their software whenever a security problem is found. Microsoft still manages to be secretive about security problems; they don't tell you when a problem is found, and fixes are hard to come by. Microsoft dismisses many problems as "user errors". If you turn on a feature that was off by default, it was you who generated that security hole: you shouldn't have done that. On UNIX we think that this feature was there for the purpose of being used anyway, and it becomes a priority to fix the problem.

Stability

In environments where complete businesses are built around heavy server systems, stability and long uptimes providing high availability are essential. Some vendors even recommend rebooting NT "every week" to get rid of the random junk that running the system has left over.

Multi-user / multi-process

Scalability

UNIX systems are available from simple PC's to giant SMP systems (Symmetric Multi-Processor), allowing you to obtain UNIX machines for each occasion and price.

Simultaneously support PC's and conventional terminal solutions

Servers simultaneously support PC's and conventional terminal solutions: Upcoming thin clients, for example Network Computers, Net-PC's, and Java Stations, will require heavy system and application servers.

Complete suite of networking facilities standard

In the coming years of Internet and intranet, where "The Network is the Computer", TCP/IP networking will be the standard.

Open

UNIX has been built on open standards, allowing anyone to easily access operating system features and develop applications.

Age

Being over 25 years old, the UNIX design has been crystallized out further than any other operating system currently being used on a large scale.


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