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Unisys-Microsoft Anti-Unix Campaign Stumbles Out of Gate

A joint marketing campaign from Unisys Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to promote Windows on 32-processor Unisys ES7000 servers got off to a rocky start when its anti-Unix homepage was hosted on a Unix/Apache server.

The site, www.wehavethewayout.com (as in we have the way out of proprietary Unix systems), originally went up on a server running the FreeBSD variant of Unix and an Apache open-source Web server.

After the blunder generated a flood of embarrassing publicity on Monday, the parties switched the server on Tuesday to Windows 2000 and Internet Information Services 5.0, according to a Web server testing tool on the Netcraft Web site. The Netcraft data indicates the site ran the FreeBSD/Apache combination for five days.

Unisys and Microsoft refused to comment on the issue Tuesday. The www.wehavethewayout.com site carries a Unisys copyright, although Netcraft's tool indicates that Web hosting company NTT/Verio Inc. owns the associated block of IP addresses. Verio hosts many sites running FreeBSD and Apache and also hosts Windows 2000/IIS 5.0 sites. Most public Unisys URLs run Windows NT 4.0 and IIS 4.0.

The most embarrassing aspect of the issue for Microsoft and Unisys is that the multi-million-dollar, 18-month marketing campaign is designed to promote Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and the Unisys ES7000 servers as a data-center alternative to Unix.

It would have been worse had the site been running Sun Solaris Unix, which is referenced in the marketing campaign, or Linux, which many Verio-hosted sites run. Microsoft last week showed it views FreeBSD as the lesser of open-source operating system evils when it provided 1 million lines of source code for the C# programming language and the .NET Common Language Interface on both Windows XP and FreeBSD.

The Apache link is an embarrassment as well, as Microsoft's IIS Web server competes vigorously with the open-source Apache.

The Unisys-Microsoft page that had been running FreeBSD and Apache consisted merely of a registration section and a handful of white papers and analyst reports about server consolidation and scalability. After that, users link directly to a Windows NT 4.0/IIS 4 page within the Unisys domain.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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