Archive | June 2009

The UNIX versus NT Organization

While going through some old notes, I was reminded that there once existed a website dedicated to explaining the differences between Unix and Windows NT. It began as a research project by one John Kirch. According to the site, after finding almost no information on the subject for his own purposes, Kirch decided to write a paper that compared the two systems critically. The paper covered various topics such as the costs and licensing, functionality, system reliability, management, performance and security issues, common misconceptions about both operating systems, and others. This paper was the beginning for the awareness site that also includes a lengthy article listing, links to FreeBSD and Linux resources, and a litany of companies and which web servers and operating systems host their sites.

The site authors denounced the claim that the UNIX versus NT Organization was “an anti-Microsoft movement”, stating that “this would be a poor description of what we are about.” We share this sentiment — if Windows is the best option for you, then you have the freedom to choose to use it. Obviously, we also believe that Windows is rarely the “best” option, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no? Our main concern is that Linux is being given a bad name unfairly and strive to expose when, why and by whom.

The Kirch Paper itself is far from being an academic masterpiece. For the most part, it is a collection of quotes from published magazines and journals, press releases and other sources. There does appear to be some original work, but it is difficult to determine where it ends and the quotes begin. Citation is spotty. Perhaps “a compilation of research notes” would be a more accurate title. While not a scientific study, it does provide an empirical view of the Unix-Windows debates based on the literature of the period.

Only an archive of the site remains, available via the Wayback Machine. The site was active between January 1999 and July 2001. After that, no archives were made for almost three years; however, archives spanning from March 2004 to January 2008 display a blank page. At the time of this writing, a WHOIS lookup shows that the domain is currently owned by a Maria Markarova of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, who reportedly owns approximately 150 other domain names.