Summary: Data corruption glitches inherent and more likely with Microsoft’s sub-standard products that do not comply with industry standards
TWO YEARS ago I called Windows Home Server (WHS) “data corruption server” because it turned out that its unique feature (or antifeature) was that it silently destroyed people’s data rather than make backups like it was supposed to. We wrote about the disaster which is Windows Home Server around that time; it’s built upon pretty much the same codebase that makes up Vista 7.
According to this very extensive new review of the Asus TS Mini Windows Home Server, GNU/Linux is still miles ahead of Microsoft when it comes to so-called “home servers” (Microsoft terminology for the most part). To quote some portions of the text:
Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are essentially small servers designed for use in the home, but generally use modified versions of Linux. It was only a matter of time before Microsoft got in on the action with Windows Home Server (WHS), which it introduced in 2007.
Most NAS devices run Linux on hardware based around embedded processors from manufacturers such as Marvell or Freescale, typically based on the ARM design. WHS, on the other hand, will run on standard PC hardware based around Intel or AMD x86 processors.
Linux is the obvious choice since many distributions are free and its reliability is well-documented. Installing, configuring and maintaining Linux can be a time consuming hassle though, even if you’re already familiar with the OS.
Overall, Asus’s Home Server TS Mini is a disappointment. The hardware’s clumsy design makes adding or replacing a hard disk more difficult than it has to be. Asus’ WHS plug-ins don’t add much value either, although these can always be updated in future or just replaced with alternatives of your choosing. The sluggish performance is particularly disappointing though, limiting the TS Mini’s usefulness.
All of this is a shame, since the WHS OS clearly has much potential, but it’s not without its flaws either. It’s disappointing that almost three years after its launch, there aren’t easily accessible printer sharing options or RAID support.
There is one area where the failure of Windows Home Server is similar to that of OOXML. According to this new post from Rob Weir, Microsoft Office has data corruption problems that affect OOXML.
In this post I take a look at Microsoft’s claims for robust data recovery with their Office Open XML (OOXML) file format. I show the results of an experiment, where I introduce random errors into documents and observe whether word processors can recover from these errors. Based on these result, I estimate data recovery rates for Word 2003 binary, OOXML and ODF documents, as loaded in Word 2007, Word 2003 and in OpenOffice.org Writer 3.2.
My tests suggest that the OOXML format is less robust than the Word binary or ODF formats, with no observed basis for the contrary Microsoft claims. I then discuss the reasons why this might be expected.
It is not exactly surprising because OOXML has corruption written all over it, but Microsoft’s crimes aside, there are clearly some technical deficiencies. Microsoft does not build software for robustness. The London Stock Exchange found this out the hard way [1, 2]. People inside Microsoft know this too. █
‘Eller and his team had written what they felt was some very good Windows code. When Konzen came over he appeared to want to counter this impression—he told the Windows team their code was garbage. They had completely misengineered the system, he said.
‘”These Apple guys really know their graphics,” Konzen told Eller.
‘”They’re better, faster, and simply easier to use. You chimps working on Windows don’t have a clue.”‘
–Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul