Linux Myths


October 4, 1999

With all the recent attention around Linux as an operating system, it's important to step back from the hype and look at the reality. First, it's worth noting that Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture. Linux was not designed from the ground-up to support symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP), graphical user interfaces (GUI), asynchronous I/O, fine-grained security model, and many other important characteristics of a modern operating system. These architectural limitations mean that as customers look for a platform to cost effectively deploy scalable, secure, and robust applications, Linux simply cannot deliver on the hype.

Myth: Linux performs better than Windows NT

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 are no real world data or metrics and very limited customer evidence to back up these claims.

Myth: Linux is Free

Reality: Free Operating System Does Not Mean Low Total Cost of Ownership

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 customers.

Myth: Linux is more secure than Windows NT

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.

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:

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

Copyright 1999