The original version of this document can be found at

Microsoft have produced an comprehensive but presumably not exhaustive list of why they feel that NT is a better choice overall than Linux. We feel that some of the points in this article are simply wrong and therefore have released this response to their article. The 'we' who have contributed are named at the bottom of the page. Our comments are in bracketed bold italics.

(7th October) - Thanks to all those that have taken the time to e-mail me. Your comments are appreciated. I've posted some of the more interesting ones here. I'll keep posting comments as and when they arrive. I will be attending the Linux Expo at Olympia in London this afternoon so they'll be a delay in posts then.

(19th October) - We made a few mistakes that need to be cleared up.

Reality: Windows NT 4.0 Outperforms Linux On Common Customer Workloads The Linux community claims to have improved performance and scalability in the latest versions of the Linux Kernel (2.2), however it's clear that Linux remains inferior to the Windows NT® 4.0 operating system.

Myth: Linux is more reliable than Windows NT

Reality: Linux Needs Real World Proof Points Rather than Anecdotal Stories The Linux community likes to talk about Linux as a stable and reliable operating system, yet there is no real world data or metrics and very limited customer evidence to back up these claims. (And, of course, you very rarely see BSODs these days.</irony>)

Myth: Linux is Free

Reality: Free Operating System Does Not Mean Low Total Cost of Ownership (Likewise a £500 OS does not mean a low TCO.) The Linux community will talk about the free or low-cost nature of Linux. It's important to understand that licensing cost is only a small part of the overall decision-making process for customer.

Reality: Linux Security Model Is Weak All systems are vulnerable to security issues, however it's important to note that Linux uses the same security model as the original UNIX implementations- a model that was not designed from the ground up to be secure. (UNIX is designed from the ground up to be stable. The Linux security model is simple. Simple!=Weak. No-one I know has accused NT of being stable recently.)

Myth: Linux can replace Windows on the desktop

Reality: Linux Makes No Sense at the Desktop Linux as a desktop operating system makes no sense. A user would end up with a system that has fewer applications, is more complex to use and manage, and is less intuitive.

The Linux operating system is not suitable for mainstream usage by business or home users. Today with Windows NT 4.0, customers can be confident in delivering applications that are scalable, secure, and reliable--yet cost effective to deploy and manage. Linux clearly has a long way to go to be competitive with Windows NT 4.0. With the release of the Windows 2000 operating system, Microsoft extends the technical superiority of the platform even further ensuring that customers can deliver the next generation applications to solve their business challenges. More information

Customer Testimonials
See how these leading companies and organizations have deployed Windows NT Server 4.0:

(We notice that Microsoft didn't include the US Navy on this list.

Performance Data
See Industry Benchmarks Show Windows NT Server 4.0 Outperforms Linux


1. Siemens & SuSE announced a patch in September 1999 to extend to 4 GB, although this is not part of the 2.2 Kernel or major distributions.

2. Linux: How Good Is It? D. H. Brown Associates Inc. April 1999

3. Forrester Research, Software Vendors Crown Server OS Kings, Aug. 31, 1999

Contributors to this response (in no particular order):

Martin Brooks (

Steven Kowalik (

Stafford Goodsell (

Ivo van der Wijk (

James Andrews (

Last updated: 19th October 1999