Microsoft is gearing up to neutralise one of its biggest ongoing embarrassments - the fact that its Hotmail service runs on FreeBSD/Apache. According to Netcraft's July Web Server Survey, Microsoft has started to move some Windows 2000 machines into the Hotmail load balancing pool; all being well, this will be the beginning of a migration.
Having people point and laugh because you're running Solaris, Linux, FreeBSD or whatever is what you might call an acquisitional hazard for Microsoft. As the company grows the MSN empire by buying up services, it inevitably ends up owning sites that don't run on Microsoft code. Netcraft's July stats ram home the statistical inevitability of this, showing Apache with 62.81 per cent of the market (up a little) and Microsoft IIS with 19.86 per cent (down a little).
The Unix tribe provide the platforms of choice for the Web, and although Microsoft is determined to break this, it's not having much success. Netcraft comments: "Windows 2000 has yet to see significant takeup with hosting companies, but this was clearly set out as a goal for Microsoft by Steve Ballmer in the advent of the Windows 2000 launch."
At the moment, Netcraft says that only 5-10 per cent of Hotmail requests are being served by the Win2k boxes, and it may well be some time before security escorts FreeBSD from the premises. Netcraft says that "even if everything runs smoothly, a migration will likely take several weeks." Microsoft also owns LinkExchange, another major FreeBSD site. ®