Re: I don't see much reason for Windows server
I know that a bunch of die-hard *nix folks will say very mean things, but here's the whole truth of the matter: because it is the best damned operating system on the market for a number of different usage cases.
I use Linux, Unix and even Apple server when and where they make sense. But where I spend the early 2000s pushing Linux as the best server platform available, MS has today taken that crown. It might not be something a lot of people like to hear, but I do suspect they haven't actually given the thing a fair chance in the past 5+ years. Server 2003 was a good OS. 2003 R2 was fscking gorgeous. 2008 was pants, but 2008 R2 is a sexy, sexy girl.
From what I have seen of Server 8, the desktop UI is shite-on-a-stick, but hot damn that OS does the thing, and does it well. I can forgive the stupid iOS wannabe interface, because it is simply so very fit for purpose.
Understand me here: I am not a Microsoft fanboi. I am not rich enough to be a Microsoft fanboy. The truth of the matter is that in a lot of cases I cannot afford their stuff, and neither can my customers. Open source fills the role in most areas quite nicely.
But there are usage cases where it makes abundant sense to find the money, and to put up with the ridiculous, intrusive and time consuming “licenceing audits” that are now mandatory for all volume licensed shops in Canada.
I loathe Microsoft’s licensing shenanigans. I abhor most of their business practices. I think that their attitude towards end users is appalling, and I hate that they take 2-3 years to offer technologies that other people have had on the market for ages.
But when Microsoft finally gets its crap together and incorporates things into their server OSes…they generally work. What’s more, they are easier to use and understand (in most cases) than the equivalents offered by others.
That’s Microsoft’s schtick. They are second best. Firmly, entrenched, unashamedly. But there is a great deal of money in not pushing the boundaries of everything all the time. They let other companies pioneer the technologies, fall on their faces trying to make those same technologies comprehensible, then implement their own version with a usable interface and good documentation.
Is Windows Server the best, most advanced operating system for any given technology? No. But you know what? Taken together, as a package, it is the most reliable, robust, stable and easy-to-use server package available on the market today. It is feature rich, it is interoperable with just about everything, it complies with every standard I care about, and it comes with great enterprise-level support.
To me, that makes it the best server operating system for a huge number of circumstances. Specifically those in which I want to put something in place, remotely administer it, but still give the client some ability to make changes on their own. (For example, most of my customers are quite adept at creating users in AD, managing shares, etc.)
That way I don’t waste my time on piddly little crap, and can concentrate on real problems that other people can’t reasonably solve without 10 years of experience.
Mind you, I also use Webmin for my *nix server religiously, and find my customers love it too…