Is Yahoo! moving from FreeBSD?

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at
Sat Feb 26 13:12:41 GMT 2005

Ted Mittelstaedt writes:

> For one thing you can just stop with the site licensing fees.

Licensing fees aren't necessarily the largest or even a significant
expense for a business.

> For another you can lay off half your IT staff that you hired to spend
> their days running around and cleaning viruses and trojans off the
> systems that get past the AV filters.

No, you have to keep them and hire more to keep the open-source stuff
running, since it is less likely to work on unusual configurations and
there is no support for it.

With open source you save the licensing fees, but you must pay out at
least as much (in most cases) for qualified IT staff to support the open
source, because there is no formal support for it and it is far less
likely to work out of the box on all the configurations you might wish
to use.

I'm looking at proof of this right now.  Windows NT installed on this HP
Vectra without a hitch, and ran flawlessly on the machine for eight
years.  FreeBSD installed okay, but it won't boot (unless I boot from
the installation diskettes and then switch to the hard drives), and it
generates SCSI errors continually, occasionally terminating in a panic.
And when I tried Mandrake Linux, it wouldn't install at all--it died
after the first screen.

Multiple this by 30,000 seats, and you begin to see the problem.

> And this is to say nothing of now you don't have your IT staff running
> around putting machines back to rights because the employee has
> brought a disk of something in from the outside, and tried installing
> it and it blew her system.

You'll have that problem no matter what you install on the machine,
particularly if you have an OS installed that cannot be locked down
against local users.

> Why do you think that Gates announced a few weeks ago that Windows
> AntiSpyware will be free after the beta period?

I don't know.

> Do you think that the large corporate customers all are sitting around
> wondering why everyone else is so upset over the amount of lost time
> consumed by viruses?

Large corporate customers that don't want problems lock down their

However, I'll grant that if a large enterprise truly wants a
problem-free desktop, it might be better off installing Linux or UNIX.
But to make this work it would have to customize the OS a lot so that
the end user can do absolutely nothing beyond what the system allows him
to do.  For example, you could build and configure it to support a few
key corporate applications, and nothing else.  By carefully configuring
and building the OS, you can make it impossible for users to add
anything new without completely reinstalling a different OS.

This essentially turns PCs into workstations or terminals, but in many
organizations, that's exactly what one needs.

This is not an out-of-the-box installation, though.  You'd have to
develop your own tweaked version of the software and install it
specifically on certain hardware configurations for which it had been
customized.  This could cause problems with hardware acquisition since
it requires a great deal of central control.

This can be done with Windows, but it requires a lot of work up front,
and the option of customizing the OS to completely exclude certain
functionalities isn't there.

> Provide support for this statement.

That's the key word: support.  For open source, there isn't any.  Many
companies cannot afford to use unsupported products, even if they are


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