Bit-rot is FUD, pure and simple. Windows install, by itself, will not become more unstable over time.
Then please explain to me how it comes to be that a system with Windows 98SE, Office 97 Professional and IE5 becomes slow and unstable over the course of 6-12 months? I would consider that a Windows install, all by itself.
There is no other software installed, no upgrades performed. These are office machines which just chug through Access and Word and Excel all the time.
Bit-rot is real, and it is caused by the OS simply not being hardy enough to properly care for its own damned registry over time.
Now I'm guessing that a majority of windows problems (around 90%) are virus-related.
Again, I must strongly disagree. We have not had a single virus in any of our machines for over 6 years. In fact, I would say that generally speaking, less than 10% of all computer problems are virus related. I did a lot of virus research back in the early '90s and even with DOS, this was the same. Data corruption? Slow computer? Weird activity? Virulent behaviour can be suspected. However for the kind of problems I believe we're talking about viruses are not to blame. If you have virus issues get them cleaned up beforehand.
Of course, its relatively easy to make a backup of windows (either by hand, a backup utility, or other utilities like norton ghost), and a lot of small-business windows machine will have some sort of backup system.
Again, I must call you on this. Windows is a major pain in the ass to back up. Want your documents backed up? C:\WINDOWS\My Documents... Oh wait, all your favourites? They're also in the WINDOWS directory but in Favourites, not My Documents. Some documents are even saved in the \PROGRAM FILES directory. There is no One True Place for everything. Even Microsoft breaks this with Outlook Express, Office and IE!
Program- (or suite-) specific shared libraries are stored in the main system directory instead of in a private/shared location, making the SYSTEM directory a complete mess. Program settings are stewn all over creation too, often in the PROGRAM FILES directory, a C:\INI directory, C:\WINDOWS, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM and rarely in the registry where they're supposed to be.
But let's talk about backing up the registry! Which keys should stay and which should go when you reinstall? The choice is not always clear and it is exacerbated by clueless software vendors who don't follow protocol. Even the venerable Outlook Express, a Microsoft product, won't let you keep your email and newsgroups unless your GUID is exactly the same and (worse yet) the order in which you enter the newsgroups is identical to the original order they're in! I have an interesting KB article on the very subject. Backing up and restoring with any hope of keeping your data integrity is a major PITA with Windows. All Ghost is go for is to return to a known good setup. While this is a great thing for corporate environments, I do not consider that a backup/restore program any more than I consider VMWare's nonpersistent drives a backup/restore program.
Anyways, I believe I started ranting/lecturing awhile ago. I'm sorry. Its just that if we don't want anti-linux fud, we can't spread the anti-windows fud.
You're entirely correct here. I'm not saying that Unix system administration is easy but it sure is a lot easier than Windows administration.
I can tell exactly what libraries and what versions of libraries applications require and can set up special links to make something work if necessary. Most software is smart enough to put user-specific configuration in the user's home directory and 99% of the configuration files out there are text and thus easy to manipulate. Again, most software also allows for a site-specific configuration file and then selective user overrides. Very handy and very easy to maintain.
Backing up a Linux system is super easy and so is selectively restoring bits and pieces of the installation. Booting from CD or floppy grants me access to the system and the ability to muck with the configuration if anything really goes wrong. The Windows registry has the regedit program but have you ever really tried fixing something with it when you weren't sure of the cause? You can't browse through the configuration with it and even if you knew exactly what you had to do, you have to craft a .reg file for importing.
Unix system logging is totally configurable and remote-writable which helps shed light on the initial problem. and can be turned up and down on a whim to zero-in on problems. Windows Event Viewer is shite in comparision.
Hell even administration of WinNT/2k machines is painful in comparision. Sure you can lock the users out from making dangerous changes and prevent them from getting into things they shouldn't be into, but try restoring a buggered up user session or untangling an installation conflict. And what of installing programs? I'm not sure if all software is as difficult as this but Microsoft Visio 2000 had serious serious issues being installed in a NT/2k environment so I could have a regular user use it. Come to think of it, so did RoboHelp Office 2000. Two very expensive, very powerful programs which (I would have thought) should know how to operate under NT/2k.
So you're right, we need to stop spreading Microsoft FUD if we want to be taken seriously. However I do believe in calling the kettle black when it is so and Windows administration is in no way easier than Unix administration, even if you are an expert in Windows administration. It all comes down to the same thing: know thy system. Seasoned Windows guys and seasoned Unix guys know where the strengths and weaknesses lie and for Windows, one of those weaknesses is management.
Personally I haven't had any trouble managing Unix systems, even those that I did not set up and manage beforehand. Sure there are crappy installations and braindead admins, but it's my opinion that with Linux and Unix in general, it is much easier to sort out and get working.
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