[linux-elitists] Re: [Beowulf] Linux laptops, and M$ advertisement

Eugen Leitl eugen@leitl.org
Tue Apr 17 03:24:44 PDT 2007

----- Forwarded message from Jim Lux <James.P.Lux@jpl.nasa.gov> -----

From: Jim Lux <James.P.Lux@jpl.nasa.gov>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 17:37:47 -0700
To: "Peter St. John" <peter.st.john@gmail.com>,
	Beowulf Mailing List <Beowulf@beowulf.org>
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Linux laptops, and M$ advertisement
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version

   At 11:22 AM 4/16/2007, Peter St. John wrote:

     While looking around for a laptop I discovered that MS is paying
     Google for the keyword "linux" to point to a "Get the Facts!" page
     (reminds me of TheTruth.com) with testomonials about why MS is
     better than Linux for clustering (!). What struck me was that I
     wasn't googling "linux cluster" but just "linux notebook", yet the
     page is about MS cluster installations at research facilitites.

     The ad is

     The testamonials all seem to be equivalent to "I"m a PhD in Rocket
     Science but setting up a Linux Cluster is too complex, so using MS
     saves me time to do Rocket Science".

   Well, as a rocket scientist of sorts (although not actually in
   propulsion), I didn't see any rocket science folks.. I'd be willing to
   bet that among those who actually DO rocket science Linux has a fairly
   high penetration(at least here at JPL, it does).
   But your point is well taken.  And so is Microsoft's...
   A more accurate model for this market would be "I'm a rocket scientist
   with a Windows desktop application that provides me with a familiar
   interface to a back end that might be a cluster or might not. I don't
   want to have to care what's running back there in the closet, because
   I'm a rocket scientist, not a sysadmin.  *I* don't much care who
   provides me with a turnkey solution, I'll be happy, independent of
   what's under the hood. But I'll be darned if I'm going to download
   ISOs off the web, burn them and build my own cluster.  Talk to the
   computing infrastructure people and stop bothering me.  And if you're
   selling something they don't like, you're doomed.".

     None of them mention if their MS clusters were in any way
     subsidized by MS.

   The U Va one is probably the Apple Mac cluster, no?

     Also, I assume that essentially they are paying their vendor to do
     the setup & support, and they don't say if that compares
     economically to, say, paying Joe to do that, only that it saves
     them time themselves. Sure, if I had that budget, I'd pay Joe and
     RGB to come and work for me and I would have more time for other

   Institutional budgets are a funny thing.  Many things get done that
   don't make a heck of a lot of sense from the end user, but make
   perfect sense from another viewpoint.  This is especially true with
   the parts of the "life cycle cost" that aren't in the original capital

   James Lux, P.E.
   Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
   Flight Communications Systems Section
   Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
   4800 Oak Grove Drive
   Pasadena CA 91109
   tel: (818)354-2075
   fax: (818)393-6875


   1. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/facts/default.mspx?R=cf

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