[svlug] Re: Open Source Criticism Questions

David Chait davidc at bonair.stanford.edu
Thu Aug 21 09:33:36 PDT 2003

Allow me to give you an example of why my department uses Open Source over
Microsoft and other major vendors. About a year ago, Microsoft sold us on
the idea of using DFS/FRS to replicate buisness critical data across
multiple file servers and load balance the connections to it.  It all seemed
wonderful on paper and worked like a charm in our test environment with a
smaller subset of data. Though soon after implimentation, our nightmare
began. Our new fault tollerant solution caused pure havoc on our system, so
we screamed for help to Microsoft (yes we paid for their premier support),
even after several calls it still wasn't working as advertized so we
contacted our campus rep. The rep was kind enough to send one of his own
engineers over to survey the situation, and his answer frankly infuriated
me. "Yes, the product is supposed to do that, but no it wasn't designed to
do it" Evidentally the file replication white papers were written by
marketing and it only took us 2 cases with their support line, 1 on-site
visit, and 18k USD worth of hardware to figure out what should have been
spelled out up front. At the very least with open source software these
limitations are easy to spot and document within the code or by simply
asking on any number of groups rather than when one is dealing with a closed
system with which Microsoft has absolutely no accountability.  The whole
support/TCO arguement does not hold water as far as I am concerned, it would
if Microsoft acted responsibly, but to be left holding the proverbial bag
after spending nearly 20 grand basically killed any lingering sense of
interrest I have in doing buisness with them ever again.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeffrey Siegal" <jbs at quiotix.com>
To: "Daniel Howard" <dan_howard at yahoo.com>
Cc: <svlug at lists.svlug.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: [svlug] Re: Open Source Criticism Questions

> Daniel Howard wrote:
> > The motivation behind this question was to determine
> > if open source advocates welcome the same mistreatment
> > and fault-finding that commercial software vendors
> > endure in reviews.  Lots of reviews have mistakes and
> > some fault-find to the point of abuse.  It is not
> > uncommon for reviewers to use the word, "suck", when
> > reviewing Microsoft products.  So far, open source
> > software has gotten a free ride.  Nobody ever uses the
> > word, "suck", to describe open source software, no
> > matter how bad it is.
> Is that really a free ride?  On a value-for-price basis, it is
> impossible for open source software to be a bad deal. Not so for most
> Microsoft products, which can't even be returned for a refund if you use
> it for a while and decide you don't like it.
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