# Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Aiming to reconquer Wall Street's heart after a 2 year long nosedive (and promote its new Solaris 10 operating system) , Sun Microsystems President and Operating Chief Jonathan Schwartz FINALLY took direct aim at rival Red Hat Inc.

Speaking today here at a conf in New York, Schwartz said Sun Microsystems is offering a 50% discount on a Solaris right-to-use license for customers who are frustrated with Red Hat's Linux operating system.

Sun has to embrace Linux, not try to fight it. Game over.

posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 5:48:51 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Monday, June 28, 2004

"We are a big supporter of the open source movement and have been forever," said Larry Singer, SVP of global market strategies at Sun, in an interview. "We think Linux is a huge movement that is pretty good for the industry and that for some implementations Linux makes sense. We also think there are a lot of people that consider Red Hat for the wrong reasons."


 He went on to say that Linux is not free and stuff like that. Why is SUN so anti-Linux? Because it takes away from its sales. SUN really has to figure out what it is going to do about Linux, it is a much bigger problem for them than Microsoft. Bill can always sell MS Linux and also sell MS Office for Linux when the open source people do a find and replace with Microsoft’s “monopoly“. (Can’t wait to see the EU sue Red Hat). Bill can also port .NET to Linux and VS .NET and developers will write lots of MS centric stuff for MS Linux.


SUN can’t really sell that much. Technically they are a hardware and chips company. They can try selling Java, since they have such a tight control over it. Also Linux takes away from big expensive SUN servers much more than it takes away from Windows 2003 server.


So SUN is not really on our side. Microsoft is more combative with Linux in its rhetoric and it is a “war” according to Steve Ballmer, but the first major casualty of this war will be SUN Microsystems. MS has more to gain from Linux, SUN has everything to lose.



posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 12:22:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Thursday, June 3, 2004

You need to read this blog by my pal Richard Campbell. There are some strange things afoot in the Java and Open Source Community.


Here is a quote from the blog to whet your appetite: “How badly derailed is the EJB 3 development path given the implied manipulation of the working groups?”

posted on Thursday, June 3, 2004 10:23:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Friday, May 14, 2004

Another successful CTTM (or now called SDC) in the Netherlands. What a great show and 7 RDs where speaking. Richard and I did a dry run of From Interoperability to Migration: SQL Server and Linux Databases Working Together and it went very well. Hopefully we can get Oracle to work and play well on the VPC image before our TechED session in 13 days. This session is quite cool, hope to see you all there.

DATC02  From Interoperability to Migration: SQL Server and Linux Databases Working Together
Monday, May 24 1:30 PM- 2:45 PM, Cabana 08
Speaker(s): Richard Campbell, Stephen Forte
Track(s): Data Management
"They" say it can be done, now see it in action! This session demonstrates how SQL Server can acts as the gateway to interoperability with Linux databases such as DB2 and Oracle! You'll see a fully functioning Linux-based web application using Red Hat Linux, Apache, PHP and Oracle sharing data with an identically implemented ASP.NET application using SQL Server. This session shows not only how to interoperate, but to use these interoperate capabilities to facilitate a seamless migration from the Linux based system to SQL Server and Windows . This is how migration was meant to be!


posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 2:30:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [18] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 11, 2004

So RedHat is offering a version of Windows that is geared to the desktop. But the “free” operating system of Linux will cost you $70 a year to RedHat for support, etc. Sorry this is doomed to fail.


Today I did a session on “From Interoperability to Migration: SQL Server and Linux Databases” where we showed an Oracle 10g instance running on RedHat trying to interoperate with SQL Server running on Windows 2003. We had several issues trying to get the Oracle to work as well as many other things. (Like the iSQL web client showing different results than the command line iSQL).


Let me say this to the Linux community. You love Linux because you are geeks. And in my geekier moments I think that there are some really awesome cool things in Linux. But I can’t walk my dad through most of the things in Linux. Nor is playing music or a DVD a trivial task. So my message is: Make Linux much easier to install and use by the average user. Then you stand a chance. Instead of bashing Microsoft, look at when they do well and try to improve on that and look at what Microsoft does poorly and try to make it better in your offering. If any Linux geek comments today that “Microsoft does nothing good” you’ve missed the point and can go continue playing with Linux in your own little world and I will continue to work with Microsoft in the real world.

posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 10:43:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Richard Campbell and I are doing an interoperability session at TechED. We are using RedHat, Oracle, Windows 2003 and SQL Server and showing how they work and play well together. The Oracle 10g database runs on Linux, but Oracle provides support only for Red Hat Linux and SuSE. If you want to run Oracle 10g on any other Linux variant (you know the “free“ ones), you're on your own. It is kind of funny after you pay RedHat and Oracle the total cost it is higher than the Windows/SQL Server version. But Linux is free....I guess only if you don't want to run any business apps or have any support.

posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 4:24:37 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Monday, April 5, 2004

The Treaty of Versailles was probably less obvious. Sun’s agreement with Microsoft on Friday further doomed Sun Microsystems. Sure Scott and Steve can be on stage together all they like and exchange hockey jerseys declaring “peace“, but it really was Sun giving up a worthless front in the war for its survival.


Microsoft has never really been a super threat to Sun. Maybe recently with Windows Server 2003, but in the last 20 years of Scott calling Bill Darth Vader or making fun of the fact that Bill Dropped out of Harvard, Microsoft was the boy in Redmond that everyone in the Valley loved to hate.


So while Sun was announcing layoffs and blackmailing Microsoft for 1.8 billion in the same day, they pulled off a great coup. Sensing that settling with Sun would help Microsoft end its legal problems (Sun also said the settlement satisfies the objectives the company was pursuing in the European Union actions pending against Microsoft.), Sun used Bill and Co for a desperate influx of cash. Too bad it is too little to late.


Even after cutting almost 10% of its workforce and doing a management shakeup, Sun is still on life support. Linux is really Public Enemy Number 1 for Sun. Sun has no Linux strategy and Linux is a technology that could render Sun obsolete. Linux is based off Unix and makes it obsolete since it is more modern and cheaper (Linux is not free). Sun sells Unix. Linux runs on low end machines. Sun’s Unix does not. Sun makes lots of money selling very expensive hardware. That business is getting worse and worse by the day.


Not to mention IBM’s recent love-fest with Linux and more recent attacks on Sun. This makes IBM public enemy #2 for Sun.


Maybe Scott should sue Linux and IBM too…After over 7 years of using the American and European legal systems and costing the taxpayers billions, Sun got a few month operating cash out of Microsoft. I hope you use it wisely.



posted on Monday, April 5, 2004 2:45:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Friday, April 2, 2004

Netscape co-founder, Marc Andreessen speaking at the 3rd annual "Open Source in Government" at George Washington University in Washington DC last week, and came up with his personal top twelve reasons for why open source will boom over the next 5-10 years. Too bad they are all wrong, here is my point by point rebuttal. Here they are:


1.       "The Internet is powered by open source."


Steve’s Rebuttal: Not true Mark. Microsoft’s IIS server powers the majority of the internet. On the client side Internet Explorer is the dominate client.


2.       "The Internet is the carrier for open source."


Steve’s Rebuttal: True, but also it is a carrier for all other types of software, just browse the internet and there are tons of sites selling the stuff.


3.       "The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed."


Steve’s Rebuttal: I prefer my software development teams all in the same room, not scattered around the world in different time zones. I know it is all cool and “new age” to say you want to have a team all spread out around the world, but it is just not at all efficient. All management gurus are on my side, sorry. This was cool in the dot com phase, time for the industry to grow up.


4.       "It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software."


Steve’s Rebuttal: NOT true. See yesterday’s blog.


5.       "Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments."


Steve’s Rebuttal: You are a sad and cynical man to say this.


6.       "Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers."


Steve’s Rebuttal: And NOT profit. This ensures that only cool features get built, NOT the mission critical features. Where is incremental backup and replication in postgress. What about transactions and stored procedures missing for so long in MySQL. See my blog here. Sorry Marc, capitalism works, just ask our friends in the USSR.


7.       "Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants."


Steve’s Rebuttal: This is so vaigue, I am beginning to think that you are taking yourself way too seriously. My thoughts are that Microsoft, Apple, SUN, SAP, etc are a giants.


8.       "Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel."


Steve’s Rebuttal: As does Microsoft. TCO for Microsoft is much lower than Linux. I have proven this so many times I am sick of doing so. See my New York City Council testimony.


9.       "Embedded devices are making greater use of open source."


Steve’s Rebuttal: This is flat out false.


10.   "There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies."


Steve’s Rebuttal: What are they then, hobbyists? They are not doing QA then? No code reviews? Is the software mission critical? Are they using Linux? And who cares if they are making software then?


11.   "Companies are increasingly supporting Linux."


Steve’s Rebuttal: That is grand. They are also supporting Sun and Microsoft and many other technologies.


12.   "It's free."


Steve’s Rebuttal: Not true. Linux is NOT FREE. See my New York City Council testimony.

posted on Friday, April 2, 2004 1:09:44 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [8] Trackback
# Thursday, April 1, 2004

For a long time it has been asserted as "fact" about Linux being more secure because it's OPEN and therefore more eyes look at the code and are able to secure it easier. Naive Marc “right place at the right time” Andreessen lists it as the 4th reason in his “why open source is better” list.


 This “fact” is dead wrong. I have always believed that Linux will be far LESS secure than propriety software since all it takes is one bad hacker to ruin they day. In a new report, Is Linux More Secure Than Windows? from Forrester Research Inc., says that Microsoft fixes security problems faster! One of the benefits of open source is that there are so many free developers working non stop to fix bugs fast. But somehow Microsoft seems to fix things faster. Guess Adam Smith was right after all.


The industry and the author of the article from Forrester believe that based the available data on the past security vulnerabilities, security vulnerabilities follow a timeline from discovery to fix. During this timeline hackers exploit the vulnerability. (Hackers have a “time to market” so to speak that is getting quicker and quicker, see below.)


Since the goal is to fix the vulnerabilities faster to reduce attacks then Microsoft is actually more secure. Microsoft took an average of 25 days to fix a vulnerability and RedHat took an average of 57 days.


Now forget the MS v Linux issue (more on that soon), but we have to take some responsibility ourselves, no matter what the OS. We have to install patches. Prior to the Nimda worm being released the patch for the exploit had existed for 331 days. SQL Slammer, 6 months. Welchia/ Nachi just over 5 months. Recently with the Blaster worm the patch for the exploit was released only 25 days before the worm was released. In each case a patch was available. We are seeing hackers watching for security alerts and then using those alerts to create exploits and take advantage of the fact that deploying security patches is a complex process in the corporate space or simply not done in the end-user space.

posted on Thursday, April 1, 2004 11:41:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Thursday, March 25, 2004

That was Sun Microsoft’s CEO Scott McNealy’s response to an IBM open letter to Sun to open up Java and make the Java language open source.


Many people have urged Sun to open up Java. After Eric Raymond’s open letter last month, Scott replied: “We’re trying to understand what problem does it solve that is not already solved.”


You make me laugh Scott. Too bad everyone else thinks you, your Linux strategy and desperate attempt to hold on to Java are a joke.


C# is open. J

posted on Thursday, March 25, 2004 3:57:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [28] Trackback
# Friday, December 5, 2003

SCO is Desperate


SCO, who is suing IBM over Linux (and is threatening more lawsuits against corporate Linux users), yesterday attacked the GNU GPL (General Public License) in which Linux is distributed. In an open letter from SCO CEO Darl McBride, SCO said the the GPL is in violation the United States Constitution (and also some U.S. copyright and patent laws).  


They are bringing in the US Constitution to this debate? Please.


Here is my open letter to SCO:


Dear Darl McBride,


Drop the damn lawsuit already.



Stephen Forte

New York, NY

posted on Friday, December 5, 2003 6:52:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [14] Trackback
# Thursday, December 4, 2003

Open Season for Hackers on Linux Systems

Yet another high-profile attack on Linux- someone broke into one of the servers used to distribute versions of Gentoo Linux on Tuesday.

posted on Thursday, December 4, 2003 11:18:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Linux For the Masses?


Linux has always been a back end server and workstation for uber geeks only. A few workstation class systems have come out in the past but a compelling one is now released to the world, the Java Desktop System (JDS) from Sun Microsystems.


While this shows how desperate Sun is for any kind of revenue and proof of their relevance, JDS is pretty cool. It combines Linux, Mozilla, GNOME and StarOffice in one unit. Selling for around $150, this creates true competition to the Windows/Office offering. (Attention DOJ and EC, drop your suits. J)


So, does this mean corporate American (and elseware) will run out in droves and drop Windows/Office for JDS? Probably not. There are migration, document conversion, TCO and other concerns, but enough will make the move to JDS to scare the crap out of Redmond. I have to say that this is exciting. True competition is only good for the consumer, Microsoft and Sun will create better software and offer it cheaper than it is today, that is Adam Smith at work.

posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 6:42:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Serious Security Vulnerability in Linux Kernel


In light of the recent attack on the Debian Project’s servers, researchers have found some serious security vulnerabilities in the Linux Kernel. This vulnerability can enable a hacker to gain root access to a machine. (For those of you Windows only types, this is like the Admin). Once you have root, you can do anything, root is the uber user.


The vulnerability is in the form of an integer overflow in the brk( ) system call (memory-management). When the call invokes the do_brk( ) function, using user-supplied address and length variables, the call does not check for integer overflows when adding the variables together.


I am not one to dwell on an email virus or something like that. But fundamental problems in the Kernel are pretty catastrophic. Let me explain why. Because the vulnerability is in the OS kernel itself, the problem affects just about every distribution of the operating system from kernel version 2.4.0 through 2.5.69. That means that every version of Linux installed on every computer on the planet needs to be upgraded when a fix is available.


I am not going to lower myself to the mudslinging of the MS v Linux silliness, but am going to remind all the folks out there who tell us that Linux is free. The Linux community will rally fast to address this very serious security issue and everyone everywhere will have to upgrade their Linux installs worldwide (including Nicole’s machine in my living room sitting on my nicely secure Windows network). That is a total cost of ownership (TCO) issue. Nothing is free. It costs time and money to do this (just as it does when you apply a MS patch or upgrade).

posted on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 5:14:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [7] Trackback
# Friday, November 21, 2003

Vulnerable Systems Taken Down for 36+ Hours By Hackers


From eWeek:


An unknown cracker this week compromised several machines belonging to the Debian Project, including servers that house the project's bug-tracking system and security components. Officials from the project said they discovered the intrusion within the last 36 hours and are still working to restore all of the affected machines.”


Debian is cool. It is an open-source operating system that uses the Linux kernel and also includes a number of packages and tools from the GNU Project.


So I have been saying this for years, but now it looks like it is true, as Linux gains more momentum and marketshare, it too will be just as vulnerable to malicious attacks. Not sure what can be done, but I think international law has to be changed to take care of hackers easier.  

posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 9:06:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Linux on the Desktop


Not anytime soon. This actually bums me out, I would like to see what the competition would do to Microsoft. From ZDNet:


“Linux is seen by Microsoft as its most dangerous competitor for desktop operating systems, and after a number of high-profile cases where government departments have switched from Windows to Linux-based systems, the OS has been making some progress. However, Red Hat said that the hype around desktop Linux is still mostly unfounded at the moment.


Matthew Szulik, chief executive of Linux vendor Red Hat, said on Monday that although Linux is capable of exceeding expectations for corporate users, home users should stick with Windows: "I would say that for the consumer market place, Windows probably continues to be the right product line," he said. "I would argue that from the device-driver standpoint and perhaps some of the other traditional functionality, for that classic consumer purchaser, it is my view that (Linux) technology needs to mature a little bit more."

posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 2:06:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [11] Trackback
# Tuesday, November 4, 2003

An Evil Company Forcing Expensive Upgrades


Today an evil company told its customers that it will force an upgrade on its users. The company will discontinue maintenance and errata support for versions 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 as of December 31, 2003," and that the company will "discontinue maintenance and errata support for version 9 as of April 30, 2004," and that the company "does not plan to release another product in the line." You will have to upgrade to a very expensive Enterprise version.


So you say the boys in Redmond are at it again. Think again, these are Germans. Got this in the mail today. I have a lot to say on this, but will let it sink in, because I predicted this years ago and the Linux crowd created a FUD site dedicated to me. Payback is a bitch.


The email:



Thank you for being a Red Hat Network customer.


This e-mail provides you with important information about the upcoming

discontinuation of Red Hat Linux, and resources to assist you with your

migration to another Red Hat solution.


As previously communicated, Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and

errata support for Red Hat Linux 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 as of December

31, 2003. Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for



Hat Linux 9 as of April 30, 2004. Red Hat does not plan to release

another product in the Red Hat Linux line.


With the recent announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux v.3, you'll

find migrating to Enterprise Linux appealing. We understand

that transitioning to another Red Hat solution requires careful planning

and implementation. We have created a migration plan for Red Hat Network

customers to help make the transition as simple and seamless as

possible. Details:



If you purchase Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS or ES Basic before February

28, 2004, you will receive 50% off the price for two years.[*] (That's two

years for the price of one.)



In addition, we have created a Red Hat Linux Migration Resource Center

to address your migration planning and other questions, such as:


* What are best practices for implementing the migration to Red Hat

    Enterprise Linux?


* Are there other migration alternatives?


* How do I purchase Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS or ES Basic at the price



* What if my paid subscription to RHN extends past April 30, 2004?




Find out more about your migration options with product comparisons,

whitepapers and documentation at the Red Hat Linux Migration Resource





Or read the FAQ written especially for Red Hat Network customers:






Red Hat, Inc.


[*] Limit 10 units. Higher volume purchase inquiries should contact a

        regional Red Hat sales representative. Contact numbers available at



--the Red Hat Network Team

posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 1:37:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [13] Trackback