Oh, You Wanted "Awesome" Edition

We recently upgraded our database server to 48 GB of memory -- because hardware is cheap, and programmers are expensive.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/07/oh-you-wanted-awesome-edition.html

This makes me wonder, how many more times you will willingly spread your buttcheeks before you consider Linux and Postgres? :slight_smile:

As others have pointed out: Microsoft developed a single version of the OS, and then purposefully crippled it. 37Signals meanwhile uses the same software, but your use uses up significant resources.

Yeah, remember, FOSS is only free if your time isn’t worth anything.

Depends upon the software: There is much of the Open Source software that is well written, well documented, and well understood. Then, there’s the crap that’s …well… crap. Most of the important OSS packages are now well supported and well written. No one expects you to be a developer anymore. The old line of “If you want a feature, then why don’t you program it?” is no longer true.

Training for MySql and Postgres is readily available, and there are plenty of people who are experts in both. Linux is even better in terms of technical resources.

I think you got it all wrong - it may be just flipping a bit now but
how did the support for 48 gigs get there in the first place?? By
developing and testing code which all takes time and money.

Look at it this way. You develop some software, you release a single
version at a single price. It works great but some big businesses
need feature X. So you develop feature X - investing a wack of time
and money.

Now do you roll the new feature into the single version? No -
because you will have to raise the price for everyone - even people
who don’t want the new feature.

Except what we’re talking about here isn’t “more featured software is more expensive”, but simple arbitrary limits. There was no extra programming involved with 32Gb vs. 48Gb limits. That’s just marketing crap.

Let’s take the difference between OS X for the Desktop ($129) and OS X Server Edition ($499). The Server comes with extra software to help manage your company’s software setup. However, both have similar performance specs, and there’s nothing in the licensing of either product that would prohibit me from using the Desktop version on my server. Yes, Server is 4x the price, but there’s much more in the server.

The difference between Windows Server Standard Edition and Windows Server Datacenter Edition (besides clustering software) are some arbitrary limits, not extra programming.

All is not paradise in OpenSource land. RedHat (website down so I can’t paste a link) has a few support packages available. Although not as many as Windows Editions.

This article makes me wonder: will this whole experience make you (seriously) consider an alternative to your Windows stack? Obviously, switching your O.S. now would be a big no-no, having all that code and those pesky clients demanding uptime, but if I were you I know I would be mad as hell with Microsoft for this. I know a lot of developers would curse at the whole Gates family tree and switch to Linux/Mac/FreeBSD/whatever, but when you invested all that time and money in your business, you take it as the ultimate insult, or as a necessary evil?

Also, to the commenters:
Windows guys: we heard the “time is wortless” argument a lot. Just drop it already, is not even that accurate. There are better arguments against linux than that. Seriously, is annoying.
Linux guys: “switch to linux” is not always the answer. In fact, it hurts your point. Money (or even availability of source code) is not always the top priority.
Mac guys: I envy you. I thought you would like to know that. I wish my O.S. had a Steve Jobs behind…

@DMB: Linux/PostGRE great combination, etc., but PostGRE is absolutely the wrong database here. And the Windows 7 / IIS / ASP.NET MVC stack is second to none for specifically web apps like Stackoverflow.

I am not crazy about the tiered models but there are good reasons that a vendor might make that choice. In the enterprise space, in most cases larger installs ( more machines, beefier machines…) will incur higher support costs and generally require higher costs in testing to validate the product for such deployments. So it makes sense to pass that cost to those that have such requirements. Whether this is the case for MS or not and whether the value seems reasonable for the additional cost is questionable.

Generally OSS initial costs are lower, but the complexity and time to get a stack working often offsets such savings. In some cases it may not even be that much cheaper to use OSS if using a major vendor ( Red Hat, Suse…) which also charge tiered prices.

Although the whole Vista and Win 7 tiered pricing is evil.

@Brizian: Yes, OSX only comes in awesome, but the server edition breaks the “hardware is cheap, and programmers are expensive” rule.

@Jeff: M O N O!

now, that’s the way to get comments and people talking about it, praise the open source and bash MS!

Reminds me of milk pricing - whole milk usually costs more than skim, but don’t they have to put more work in to skim out the fat? Seems contradictory to me.

I hate price points in software Microsoft Windows especially. One of the most frustrating things about vista was it’s attempt at segmenting the market.

Just because i’m a home user doesn’t mean I don’t want to be able to save network passwords or connect to an AD every so often or have volume shadow copy. Lots of home users want this stuff, home networks are common place now.

Just beacuse i’m a business user doesn’t mean I don’t want to be able to play HDTV.

Don’t get me started on the rip off Ultimate edition.

I’m sure Microsoft will once again ruin their reputation and cripple Windows 7 in the same way.

You missed one thing. It takes more resources to host the bigger site at 37 signals. More disk, fewer clients per server, etc. It costs MS no more to flip that bit. They are just charging you more because they figure if you can afford the more memory, you can afford the more license.

If it were a change that would likely lead to more service calls to them, I could understand it, but…

All of my software is only Awesome Edition.

Oh and the prices to change version complete rip off.

I know it’s been said several times here before, but this is one of the major reasons I use OSS whenever possible : OSS is never intentionally crippled, especially not because someone is holding out for more money.

When you install a piece of open source software, you can rest assured that the software in question is the real, full-featured version.

"Yeah, remember, FOSS is only free if your time isn’t worth anything."
In the last year, I’ve spent about a total of about 20 hours on the phone dealing with failures of Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage authentication on completely legitimate copies of Windows XP.
A Linux install would never intentionally shut itself off and make me call someone in India to beg for a new magic number.

I have spent a far greater period of time (probably >200 hours) fighting with video drivers that try to “auto configure” themselves but do so incorrectly if you’ve got esoteric hardware requirements. I could have fixed these issues in about five minutes if I had an xorg.conf file.

I’m not sure where the idea that FOSS software necessarily takes a lot of effort, while Microsoft software necessarily ‘just works’ came from, but it is clearly not true in all cases.

To all who are complaining that Linux is cheaper up front, but more costly in the long run, I think you have it backwards.

Linux is cheaper in licensing, but you need a more experienced admin, who makes more money, and it takes a little longer for the initial setup. That costs significantly more.

That said, once it is up and running, it allows more machines per admin, and supports more users per machine, and allows longer between hardware replacements, so your real savings are in the longer term. The licensing becomes such a small part of the cost once you look at labor, that it really does not matter much.

@Grant
So Windows servers administer themselves without an experienced admin now? Maybe I just haven’t heard about it yet 'cause it only comes with Windows self-administering edition :wink:

“FOSS is only free if your time isn’t worth anything”

What’s the deal with this line? I see it trotted out now and then, but it makes no sense. Does the speaker mean to imply that commercial software installs itself, has zero configuration, and never needs maintenance or working around bugs/incompatabilities/whatever? Like because it came from a commercial source means they sprinkled magic pixie dust on it or something?

Both FOSS and commercial software have bugs and issues. Usually, in either case when you have trouble you also have a choice of sitting with a phone on hold or searching forum posts. I don’t really see the difference in terms of time, but at least open source gives you an opportunity to fix problems literally at the source if needed.

Just don’t use Windows… Oops sorry, I forgot, you’re dumb!

@Wedge All manufacturers had a short period where they had 64 bit CPUs on 32 bit chipsets, meaning they had 4GB of addressable space, which is NOT the same as 4GB of addressable memory. Many of the other system components needed about 700MB of addressable space so no matter how much RAM you put in, they chipset could only let you access 3.3GB of it. Many companies like Dell and HP chose to sell users 4GB upgrades knowing that they couldn’t get full use out of it. Some companies like Apple were honest and simply said their laptops could only handle 3GB of RAM. When they gained 64 bit chipsets laptops could address a full 4GB of RAM.

FOSS is certainly only free if your time isn’t worth anything, but Microsoft is both expensive up-front, expensive in the long run, AND expensive if your time is worth anything. Let’s not pretend here that “Microsoft” is synonymous with “commercial software,” though – thank goodness it isn’t.

(And speaking of time not being worth anything… the new CAPTCHA system is tough to satisfy! It’s just bounced me six times in row… I swear, I’m human!!)