[ISN] Linux report stirs hornets nest

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Apr 15 06:02:37 EDT 2005

Forwarded from: security curmudgeon <jericho at attrition.org>
Cc: Jeff Berner <JBerner at infinitycomp.com>

: Wow, you certainly have a lot to say but it does seem from the 
: perspective of someone that doesn't care one way or the other about MS 
: Vs. Linux that you do indeed feel like a rock was thrown through the 
: stained glass window of the Linux temple.

Can you quote one place in my reply where I say that Linux is better
than Microsoft, or vice versa?

: I have completed reading your synopsis and would like to point out that 
: while the Yankee Group does indeed show up in a search of Microsoft most 
: of the articles you linked to were nothing more than quotes from them. 

Right, and how do these articles work? The person writing them goes to
people they know will support their story/ideas. They are glorified
press releases from Microsoft, not articles from the AP. So the author
pulls up a list of Microsoft friendly people, solicits them for
quotes, includes them. That would show a relationship and everyone
should question the YG when they turn around and do "independant"
research that is pro-Microsoft.

: give feedback. Do you ever read an article from a paid analyst that ever 
: contradicts the purpose of the sponsor?  With exception to the tobacco 
: industry (lately), not very often.  Reports that come back not favoring 
: the view of the sponsor usually reach the circular file pretty quickly.

Two things here. First, Microsoft tries to distance themselves on
these reports. So there may not be a direct "paid for" approach, but
it's essentially the same thing. Second, that illusion of independance
is why these articles get more attention, and Microsoft knows that.

: Was their methodology flawed, perhaps, but until the report was released 
: and their methods of collecting data fully divulged the speculation from 
: Groklaw is just that, speculation.

Actually, read the PDF on YG's site. It says they are sending out
questionaires as their research. Quoting from the PDF:

 Survey Methodology  
 - SMBs and large North American enterprises (businesses 
   with 250 + employees)  
 - Respondents are IT decision makers (VPs, Directors, 
   IT Managers)  
 - Approximately 500 completed responses  
 - 50 questions  
 - Web-based survey

No matter how you cut it, that is 500 opinion pieces being labeled as
something other than opinion. If that survey is sent to a targeted
group, it further biases the opinions.

: Nothing in your rebuttal supports that MS and Yankee Group are 'good 
: friends'.  You sound as biased as your purport the article to be.  I 
: suppose that if this report was released from Gartner you would have 
: reacted the same way.  Again a few quotes doesn't make them vested 
: business partners.

YG is quoted in Microsoft fluff pieces, has carried out research that
seemingly ends up pro-MS every time, they partner with a 10 year old
outfit that specializes in Windows and makes their money by
installing, maintaining and converting people to windows, and the YG
sends out this survey primarily to Windows admins and CEO types that
aren't always hip to what technology is deployed in their own office.
Add it all up and there is plenty of doubt about YG independance and
this being anything other than a MS fluff piece.

: Anything that in anyway hints of a flaw, perceived or real, in the Linux 
: world seems to always result in a BS email response from a feverishly 
: angry computer person that wants to continue to preach that Linux is 
: god.  MS releases lots of propaganda too but at least it they refrain 
: from directly bashing

That is a joke, right? Ballmer saying that Linux is written by chinese
hackers sounds like bashing to me.

: You brought up some good points about how the actual report is missing
: but the link you sent was for software assurance, nothing to do with MS
: vs. Linux.  Your reporting in this case is as bad as theirs.  If you


You didn't find this interesting? The Yankee Group .. pro-Microsoft
article .. available on microsoft.com but not yankeegroup.com that I
could see .. quotes the survey in question .. and you don't think
there is grounds for someone to call them biased?

  The Yankee Group recently profiled several organizationsamong
  them a media and entertainment conglomerate, an Ivy League
  university and a law firmto discover how each has lowered its
  total cost of ownership (TCO) and derived immediate return
  on investment (ROI) from its purchase of Software Assurance.


  The joint October 2004 Yankee Group/Sunbelt Software survey indicated 
  that 43% will increase their spending in the next 12 to 18 months to 
  fund network upgrades. But nearly two-thirds of the increases will be 
  minimal to modestranging from 3% to 20%. Therefore, corporations will 
  continue to keep close tabs on spending and scour their licensing 
  agreements for discounts and values.


Come on, you have to admit this looks shady =) Microsoft quoting the
TCO survey that seemingly isn't available yet?

: want to rebuke an analyst, become one and do you own independent 
: research and get it published.  I have listened to you for years via 
: various mail lists and usually enjoy what you have to say and find it 
: informative but your response to that article was hideous.

Why was it hideous exactly? No matter how you cut it, there is bias in
this 'research'. The methodology the YG has published will not yield
the same results each time (send that survey to 500 shops with a heavy
unix presence, and make sure half of the surveys end up in a unix
admins hands), and the results will come out that Linux is better blah
blah. If anyone does that, I'll be the first to call them out and say
it's unfair to Microsoft and question the bias or methodology.

My reply may not have been that of an analyst, but it certainly wasn't

: Grow up and get over the Linux is superior to MS or MS is superior to 
: Linux argument.  

Again, can you quote where I said one is superior to the other? The
only thing in my reply calls out how these 'research' gigs are often
not accurate, heavily biased, and soemtimes funded (even if indirect)
by one of the two sides. My problem isn't with Windows, Linux, TCO or
anything of the sort, and I don't have anything more than an opinion
which is just as unsuitable as this YG report.

: We all live in a world where the media is bent or broken and al 
: information we receive is suspect.  Somehow I have a feeling if this 
: were hotrod magazine you would be complaining about someone else telling 
: you your engine is too small.  Your response is as full of FUD as 
: Yankee's.

Your reply was going so good until this last part. Something tells me
this was nothing more than bait. If you really believe this, then you
are exactly the kind of person MS/YG want reading that 'research'.


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