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Linux Waddles from Obscurity to the Big Time
USA Today ^ | August 5, 2002 | Byron Acohido

Posted on 08/05/2002 1:40:16 PM PDT by ShadowAce

Edited on 04/13/2004 1:39:46 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

SEATTLE -- When investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein began making the switch to the Linux computer operating system in 1999, it did so to save money.

The Germany-based bank sought a less-costly way to calculate risks associated with its portfolio of investments. So it replaced 32 computer servers, based on the time-tested Unix operating systems, at an average cost of $50,000 each, with 40 Linux servers, at $3,000 a pop.


(Excerpt) Read more at usatoday.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: linux; microsoft; unix
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1 posted on 08/05/2002 1:40:16 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3
Penguin Ping
2 posted on 08/05/2002 1:40:43 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: Dominic Harr
This may be of interest
3 posted on 08/05/2002 1:41:10 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: ShadowAce
"The Unix servers took 17 hours to calculate how much cash the bank needed in reserve to offset its investment risk. The Linux servers made the same calculation in 11 minutes."

Ummm ... pause for stretching the ol' credulity muscles. A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend. <EOM>

4 posted on 08/05/2002 1:44:45 PM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
Most of that probably happened to the increase in the number of servers as well as the change of OS.
5 posted on 08/05/2002 1:46:23 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: ShadowAce
Linux should go after the Game Market...then they'll be in firm competition with Micro$oft.
6 posted on 08/05/2002 1:47:07 PM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: Maelstrom
They're working on it. I know Quake and several other FPS are out there for it. Railroad Tycoon is available. There are several unique (to Linux) games as well.
7 posted on 08/05/2002 1:49:58 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: ShadowAce
"Software developers who make their applications Linux-ready risk losing their proprietary products to the public domain, Microsoft warns."

Hahahahahaha hohohohohohoho, oh, I'm dying... I think I ruptured something... ya sure... read the Visual Studio license and tell me what the real source of trouble for developers could be? You gotta have titanium nuts to make a claim like that.

8 posted on 08/05/2002 1:52:44 PM PDT by eno_
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To: ShadowAce
Well being as the new system is quoted as being 92 times faster, that would be a lot of new servers -- and might suggest they re-did their algorithm to be so scalable. In such case the speed-up wouldn't be accorded to the linux directly, but to the cheap cost of adding a new linux server.
9 posted on 08/05/2002 1:54:56 PM PDT by bvw
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To: ShadowAce
bump!!
10 posted on 08/05/2002 1:55:19 PM PDT by milestogo
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To: bvw
I use Linux and love it, but those numbers are junk. I think they bought new computers which would explain the speed up. A Linux server would not cost $3000 bucks unless the $3000 was for hardware. It is hard to tell from the way the article was written.
11 posted on 08/05/2002 1:55:45 PM PDT by Crispy
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To: Maelstrom
Don't you have to get your Linux Credentials first?

LINUX CREDENTIALS

THE REASON PROGRAMMERS LOVE LINUX

12 posted on 08/05/2002 1:56:46 PM PDT by stlrocket
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To: ShadowAce
Well yeah, if these were five year old servers: CPUs 4x faster, 20-100X the memory (no paging, THAT will do wonders), 4X faster disks, etc. 50-100X faster But it also means that cheap fast hardware means all but the most demanding and exotic IT tasks can be done very very cheaply now. Even RDMSs are open software now. Who cares if Oracle is twice as fast. That Oracle license can buy more $3000 servers than you could shake a stick at. If you IT manager wants to spend millions to get something done, start asking tough questions.
13 posted on 08/05/2002 1:58:25 PM PDT by eno_
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To: bvw
Ummm ... pause for stretching the ol' credulity muscles. A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend.

bump.

Perhaps those ols Sun minis aren't really as fast as claimed. DB performance is heavily influenced by how many indexes can be held in memory. You can get 3 gigs of DDR on a cheap motherboard in the PC world.

14 posted on 08/05/2002 1:59:31 PM PDT by js1138
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To: ShadowAce
17 hours to 11 minutes? Fer crissakes, fire the original programmers!
15 posted on 08/05/2002 1:59:31 PM PDT by TheEditor
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To: bvw
Ummm ... pause for stretching the ol' credulity muscles. A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend.

They probably went from having (32) Sun SPARCStation 10's (SPARC CPU @ 20Mhz) running Solaris to (40) Intel boxes (2.4 Ghz Xeons) running Linux.

They probably couldn't justify the cost to replace all 32 Unix boxes with their modern equivilents.

16 posted on 08/05/2002 2:01:06 PM PDT by Lorenb420
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To: ShadowAce
From the Sun and Microsoft view, Linux has not proved robust enough to handle computing chores much beyond the edges of corporate networks.

"Pot, meet kettle"

Seriously, I've never heard of robustness being a problem for Linux.

17 posted on 08/05/2002 2:01:48 PM PDT by The Duke
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To: ShadowAce; bvw
"The Unix servers took 17 hours to calculate how much cash the bank needed in reserve to offset its investment risk. The Linux servers made the same calculation in 11 minutes."

I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but no way was this due to the shift to Linux.

At least, there's no way I can imagine it could be. I've got tools that run on both Solaris and Linux, and there's not really that big a difference.

It's got to be the hardware.

The $50k servers were probably two years old or more, and were replaced with brand-new boxen.

I do think Linux is good, don't get me wrong. But this is a *highly* misleading intro.

18 posted on 08/05/2002 2:02:59 PM PDT by Dominic Harr
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To: Dominic Harr
I agree. The OS doesn't have much to do with calculations, anyway. It's mostly hardware. I'll take 40 new boxes over 32 ancient ones any day of the week.
19 posted on 08/05/2002 2:05:55 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: ShadowAce
Bravo for Linux and the Penguin!
20 posted on 08/05/2002 2:06:36 PM PDT by dcwusmc
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To: ShadowAce
I love linux as much as the next guy, but this article did not address its key weakness - its screwed-up desktop. With the KDE/Gnome disaster,the idiosyncratic interfaces cooked up by all the app contributors, and lack of a standard user interface for installing/maintaining hardware, Linux has a huge hurdle to jump to get wide dissemination on the desktop. We all love to hate MSFT, but over the past dozen years they have slowly but surely honed their interface. Linux lacks a benevolent dictator for UI issues who can lay down the law on this stuff and make Linux usable by non-geeks. I have mixed feelings about governments mandating linux (save taxpayers money - good, politically motivated discrimination against microsoft - bad), but I hope that these sorts of developments will push linux further along toward the desktop. I believe that is the only way to really bring competition to MSFT.
21 posted on 08/05/2002 2:32:56 PM PDT by mrjeff
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To: ShadowAce
. ''Plus, it was a fraction of a fraction of the cost of a Microsoft license.''

A fraction of a fraction. I like that. Microsoft acts like the only game in town and tells large corporations what to do and how much to spend. MS has had it's chance to play nice, now it is time for Linux.

Linux has a long, long way to go but there appears to be hope.

22 posted on 08/05/2002 2:42:56 PM PDT by Tom Bombadil
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To: ShadowAce
Gates bought Seattle DOS for $50,000 then sold it to everyone else in many "incarnations" for Billions.

He had a great chance and blew it with arrogance, predatroy pricing, and attempts to hijack the PC and make it a "dumb terminal" in the MS Network.

It's a short sale.
23 posted on 08/05/2002 2:43:04 PM PDT by RISU
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To: mrjeff
I have mixed feelings about governments mandating linux (save taxpayers money - good, politically motivated discrimination against microsoft - bad)
. . . but if the choice is between waging an antitrust battle against Microsoft, on the one hand, and simply requiring that government-purchased hardware have the capability/drivers to run Linux . . . it just doesn't seem to be that difficult a call. When the testimony was that Microsoft played hardball to keep Linux off the mainstream computer brands, I think the government would have easily been justified in making the requirement. I'd say that the average Clinton EO had a lot more downside than that.

By now it appears that peripheral makers can't afford to brush off Linux driver needs. Clinton could have done it when it mattered. But he postured instead--surprise!


24 posted on 08/05/2002 2:46:29 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: mrjeff
You are right. There is only one company who has a UNIX desktop for the 'average user' I just hope they port the OS to X86, like they are roumured.
25 posted on 08/05/2002 2:48:20 PM PDT by jbstrick
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To: bvw
Ummm ... pause for stretching the ol' credulity muscles. A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend.

If the Unix boxes were old enough to be ready for replacement, the new hardware is probably 1 or 2 orders of magnitude faster. They should have compared running Unix vs. Linus on the same hardware, to make a comparison that means anything. I'm sure that's where most of the performance increase came from.

26 posted on 08/05/2002 2:54:09 PM PDT by Still Thinking
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To: mrjeff
this article did not address its key weakness - its screwed-up desktop

Bingo. The main reason why the average person prefers Microsoft.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons for the average geek to like Microsoft...

27 posted on 08/05/2002 2:58:21 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: ShadowAce
FUD quote from the article: From the Sun and Microsoft view, Linux has not proved robust enough to handle computing chores much beyond the edges of corporate networks.

I wonder if they have heard of Beowulf - it allows you to cluster as many Linux servers as you want, to share the load and coputational power. You can pick how much power you need/want, and build the Linux nodes and network 'em together. I read an article about this 3 years ago, about a university that used 1 or 2 hundred old 'throwaway' pc's as the nodes, and ended up with one hell of a supercomputer. If one of them goes bad, they roll out a 'crash cart' with a spare PC and some parts on it, and get the node back in the cluster. Pretty cool use of old junker pc's when you think about it.

28 posted on 08/05/2002 2:59:53 PM PDT by GaltMeister
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To: GaltMeister
COMPUTATIONAL

Note to self - learn how to type. Oh well, at least I didn't mis-spell it copulational power. Sheesh.

29 posted on 08/05/2002 3:08:06 PM PDT by GaltMeister
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To: GaltMeister
Every semiconductor circuit is just rabid with hole-electron copulation.
30 posted on 08/05/2002 3:26:47 PM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
Ummm ... pause for stretching the ol' credulity muscles. A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend.

Really tight resources, and the OS clogging up those few open resources could do it. We've got a system that just a slight reduction in inputs makes the whole thing run a lot faster. Kinda like contention problems.

31 posted on 08/05/2002 3:29:41 PM PDT by lepton
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To: mrjeff
The article was about servers though, and there shouldn't be a GUI running on a server anyway. Some of us prefer not having a dictated interface for certain tasks.
32 posted on 08/05/2002 3:30:43 PM PDT by sigSEGV
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To: bvw
A decrease from 17 hours to 11 minutes implies somthing quite a bit more than a switch from some labeled Unix to Linux happend.

Actually it doesn't surprise me at all. While it is true that Linux (and FreeBSD) tend to be substantially faster for compute intensive functions on the same hardware compared to Windows or commercial Unix variants, the specific instance in question was probably compared to some over-priced and somewhat crusty Sun boxes, which have never delivered stunning performance even when new. I actually have seen this kind of performance improvement when upgrading systems from a commercial Unix to a free x86 variant. If you actually analyze it carefully, there is nothing particularly fantastic or stunning about it because the x86 hardware is frequently scads faster.

33 posted on 08/05/2002 3:40:05 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: Dominic Harr
I do think Linux is good, don't get me wrong. But this is a *highly* misleading intro.

For once, we agree. Leave it to journalists to confuse even simple scenarios...
34 posted on 08/05/2002 3:40:38 PM PDT by Bush2000
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To: RISU
He had a great chance and blew it with arrogance, predatroy pricing, and attempts to hijack the PC and make it a "dumb terminal" in the MS Network.

Yeah, Gate's "blew it". Poor guy. I'll bet he's just crying in his beer over that $50B in the bank...
35 posted on 08/05/2002 3:41:26 PM PDT by Bush2000
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To: The Duke
Seriously, I've never heard of robustness being a problem for Linux.

Its not a problem. There are critical communications related backbone devices (with the legally mandated extreme uptime requirements that go along with such devices) that run Linux kernels. Its as stable as anything else out there, and better than many.

36 posted on 08/05/2002 3:44:08 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: tortoise
Is scads an Imperial or ISO unit of measure?
37 posted on 08/05/2002 3:48:13 PM PDT by bvw
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To: mrjeff
I love linux as much as the next guy, but this article did not address its key weakness - its screwed-up desktop.

You've got that right. It does suck on the desktop and that doesn't look like it will change any time soon. On the other hand, it kicks much a$$ on the server and so it is VERY common there.

(Says I, who by random coincidence is writing this from a Linux desktop at work.)

38 posted on 08/05/2002 3:48:35 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: bvw
Is scads an Imperial or ISO unit of measure?

It is an ISO/Imperial transitional measure. Much like my favorite unit, the "buttload". Eventually, we will no longer need to specify whether or not something is a "metric buttload" as we fully adopt the ISO system.

39 posted on 08/05/2002 3:52:49 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: tortoise
I really do like that term: "scads". I think there should be a unit that measures improvements in system speeds, and if not one already, a scad is as good a one as any.
40 posted on 08/05/2002 3:54:51 PM PDT by bvw
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To: ShadowAce
penguin ping!
41 posted on 08/05/2002 3:57:54 PM PDT by Red Jones
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To: tortoise
Actually it doesn't surprise me at all. While it is true that Linux (and FreeBSD) tend to be substantially faster for compute intensive functions on the same hardware compared to Windows or commercial Unix variants...

Depends on the function, really. For super-large DB stuff, I'm inclined to be very skeptical of Linux performance - it still just doesn't scale very well. No true asynchronous I/O, most block I/O is done under a single spinlock, et cetera, et cetera. Most of that stuff is supposedly fixed in the 2.5 kernel, but that's still in beta...

42 posted on 08/05/2002 4:05:13 PM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
Unix/Linux/cheap hardware -- more shops should at least make some representative system test vis-a-vis big label unix and linux. Maybe the number$ gained would break the old upper-managment lock against software not supported by a company of over 200 million in sales in each of the trailing five years, or whatever comparable silly lockouts some major enterprises have against well-established PD packages such as linux, perl, et al.
43 posted on 08/05/2002 4:14:11 PM PDT by bvw
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To: mrjeff
Bump.
44 posted on 08/05/2002 4:29:54 PM PDT by First_Salute
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To: bvw
I agree, insofar as my own philosophy is "the right tool for the right job" - Linux definitely has a place in the world. But that's not the same as saying it's right everywhere - Linux as a replacement for the Windows desktops of the world is an awfully elusive goal, and on the other end, it's not ready for prime-time in the world of really big iron.

Notice I'm not talking supercomputing, but rather traditional mainframes. The advantage that mainframes have always had is not in raw computing power, but rather in their tremendous I/O throughput - to use another technical measurement, their ability to move a s***load of bits from 'A' to 'B', and do it really, really fast. ;)

Which Linux just can't really do well yet. Maybe soon, but not today.

45 posted on 08/05/2002 4:52:34 PM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
As far as can tell right now what locks MS on the desktop is two things -- Word and Power Point. Those two are needed in so many unavoidable places -- school, work, g-ment -- and the work-alikes are not good enough.

The Word work-alikes always seem to be one or two MS versions behind and the variances are usually a big nuisance -- especially to the "basic level users" one usually has to sell to or deal with. I'm surprised that there is no good -- as far as I know -- Power Point substitute.

46 posted on 08/05/2002 5:59:51 PM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
You forgot games.
47 posted on 08/05/2002 6:23:19 PM PDT by Bush2000
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48 posted on 08/05/2002 6:30:28 PM PDT by Stuck in Arkansas
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To: Bush2000
The games are nice, but as to what locks MS on the desktop it is, IMO, Word and PowerPoint. You simply need to have them on an MS platform to do business. It makes MS-Windows and Office a compelled sale.

After those two I'd count Lotus Notes as another reason many are strongly motivated to MS Windows. Is there a linux version of Lotus Notes compatible wih the MS-windows version?

49 posted on 08/05/2002 6:35:15 PM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
Is there a linux version of Lotus Notes compatible wih the MS-windows version?

Well, it's more Outlook-ish, but Ximian Evolution is very full-featured and nice. Contacts, calendar, etc.

BTW--OpenOffice and StarOffice pretty much have caught up to MS Office. I use OpenOffice at work, which is exclusively MS Office. No one knows the difference, and I've been able to open, read, and edit Word and Excel files (even with macros).

50 posted on 08/05/2002 6:43:53 PM PDT by ShadowAce
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