Novell has criticized a Microsoft-sponsored report that stated the SuSE Enterprise version of Linux is relatively unreliable and difficult to maintain in comparison with the Windows Server operating system.
Novell spokesperson Kevin Barney noted that the study is intended to confuse the market about the value of Linux.
"Security and reliability are inherent in many of these products, and it's an important issue because there are a number of folks looking for a better solution," he said. "There are some interoperability issues, but not to the degree that enterprises should be reluctant to migrate."
The report, published by independent firm Security Innovation, downplays reliability, security, and cost of ownership issues Windows users are facing, Barney added.
Also at issue is the sponsorship of the study. As with other company-sponsored reports, the results tend to be seen with skepticism, especially by vendors like Novell, which pointed out that Security Innovation is a Microsoft-certified partner.
But Microsoft director of platform strategy Ryan Gavin noted that the company ordered the study to prove what it was already seeing in the marketplace.
"The results weren't surprising to us, because, anecdotally, we'd heard that the Windows platform was more consistent and predictable than Linux, as well as easier to manage," he said.
Microsoft hired an independent firm to verify reliability issues and confirm issues seen by a range of customers.
"People are telling us that they're hitting a wall after putting in Linux," said Gavin. "It's not what they thought it would be."
On the Attack
Although Microsoft stands by the study, Novell has sharply criticized what it calls "Microsoft misdirection."
Barney pointed out that the number of patches needed to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs cannot be reliably compared between the operating systems.
Also, he is suspicious of the way that Security Innovation lauds Microsoft's "integrated innovation" philosophy, which he believes is "widely regarded" as the reason Windows is an inherently insecure operating system, according to Barney.