Outrage at Microsoft`s independent, yet sponsored NT 4.0/Linux research

Linux supporters have reacted violently to the Microsoft SA release (Independent research shows NT 4.0 outperforms Linux) published on ITWeb yesterday, saying "the study was paid for by Microsoft" and that "a very highly-tuned NT server was pitted against a very poorly tuned Linux server".

In response, Ian Hatton, Windows platform manager at Microsoft SA, says these comments are valid. "Microsoft did sponsor the benchmark testing and the NT server was better tuned than the Linux one."

Hatton also admits that the Linux system would have performed better if it had been better optimised. "Having said that, I must say that I still trust the Windows NT server would have outperformed the Linux one."

He notes that attempts were made to get assistance from Red Hat in optimising the Linux system and that postings were made on various news groups, but he says Mindcraft, the company which undertook the research, did not get any response.

According to Hatton, this lack of support shows a weakness in the open-source market. "With open-source systems you have to post on news groups or surf the Web to get support. Even then, you do not get any guarantees on the kind of support you are getting."

And as the Linux community angrily questions the dubious value of a "sponsored independent research", Microsoft and its PR company, Text 100, which issued the release, have received "obscene" and "malicious" e-mails, says Hatton.

"The type of e-mail responses we have been getting does not do the credibility of the open-source industry any good either. While some responses have been valid, others ranged from obscene to malicious. Even our PR company has been warned that if the story is not removed, it will be attacked with a virus infection."

Text 100`s Melissa Powell explains that the research was in fact "independent" and "sponsored", and that Microsoft had no influence over the results.

She adds that the PR company will ensure that future press releases on the issue clearly state that the research was sponsored by Microsoft, a fact which did not appear in the original release published on ITWeb yesterday.

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