The plot thickens: LinuxPPC responds to Win2K challenge

In response to Microsoft's Windows 2000 challenge to hackers, the LinuxPPC organization--dedicated to Linux running on the PowerPC platform--has launched a challenge of its own. And the Linux version of the test has been running continuously all week, with over 11,000 attempted break-ins. It's still standing. And this brings up an interesting point, since the Windows 2000 server that went up on Tuesday had been down all week, though it magically reappeared Friday sans its message board. Sources have placed the blame for the downtime on "electrical storms" but one has to wonder.

"We're raising the stakes for these security trials, not only by giving away the box if someone manages to break in, but by showing that Linux out-performs Microsoft's latest offerings in terms of uptime and overall stability," says LinuxPPC's Jason Haas. "It's even more impressive when you consider that the target box is a Power Mac 9500, a 132 MHz PowerPC machine from 1996. It's not the fastest machine in the world by any measure, and it doesn't have any special attributes to speak of, except that it's running LinuxPPC."

Raising the bar indeed: Not only is the Linux PowerPC box technically far less impressive than the Windows 2000 hardware, its running more services. And unlike the Windows 2000 box, LinuxPPC is adding more services over time.

"Microsoft's bad luck seems to be three-fold: first, the weather, which contributed a little bit of downtime. Second, Microsoft's own software was bringing Windows 2000 down. They've had to turn things off, whereas we're turning more things on. Third, we came along and trumped them with an old PowerPC box running a free operating system," Jason says. "We're showing that the PowerPC is a viable server platform, from both the security and uptime standpoints."

In a humorous side-note as this goes to press, LinuxPPC's Jeff Carr has even supplied the root password for hackers. Needless to say, I'll be following this story closely but the score right now is Linux one, Windows 2000 zero.

For more information about the LinuxPPC Security Challenge, please visit the Linux PPC Web site

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