Monthly Archives: September 2013

Is Unix the most successful operating system ever?

A fascinating little point made in a much longer piece about the smartphone wars. One that makes me wonder whether Unix can now be considered to be the most successful operating system of all time. Which is certainly a change from when I first entered the computing industry when Unix boxes were vast behemoths and the Windows based PC was what was used by the masses.
The point is made here:
“Within that, roughly 1.1bn had ‘smartphones’ at the end of 2012, of which around 900m ran either the iOS or Android versions of Unix. (As an aside, it is pretty striking that almost a fifth of the earth’s adult population has a Unix box in their pocket.)

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are variations of Unix and with 900 million concurrent users it might indeed be the largest number of people using an operating system yet.

I agree that Windows sales numbers are, over time, much higher than of these Unix variants. So I agree that Microsoft has, over all the generations of Windows, sold more licenses but many of these licences are out of use.

My feeling is that Unix is indeed the world’s most successful operating system ever considering justthe two Unix variants, Android and iOS.
Add in all the servers used in the world at the same time plus All the TV’s that use Unix and the number is probably double the 900 million units. 1800 million concurrent users? I don’t think Windows will ever managed that because the currently installed and in use Windows systems is unlikely to be 900 million units, certainly not all operating at the same time. 

The growth rates are divergent, almost all tablets and smartphones now run some variant of Unix and those markets are still growing by leaps and bounds whereas the PC market is actually shrinking. 


Windows is the most widely used operating system of all time? – I don’t think so


That accolade goes to a product we supply that not many have heard of.

Panasonic, Amazon, Google, IBM, the Internet, some CMX clients even Apple all have something major in common. They are based on a product called UNIX which first saw life in 1969.

Who realises that Apple computers, i-phones and Android boxes are UNIX derived?  

We installed UNIX systems in the early ’80s using computers supplied by AT&T. It’s now running on ordinary PC servers in several of our clients.

It’s main claim to fame?
It uses less computing power and is more reliable than Windows systems, most of the software is free, it doesn’t need licensing, Unix systems usually don’t get virii, There are tons of reasons it’s better than Windows.

If its so good why doesn’t everyone supply it? 

That’s simple it has to be installed by knowledgeable IT people because it’s not easy. There’s probably only about three companies in Essex and Suffolk who supply it, whereas whereas for Windows there are thousands because you don’t need much training.

So whats the benefit?
Basically reliability and cost. Lets look at cost. Microsoft Windows needs plenty of RAM and Processor, the software costs and on top you have the installation and maintenance. Unix uses less power, (thats why big business and phones like it), so cheaper hardware, no software costs and because we know its more reliable our support charges are lower.

When should I not use it?
If you have a special need such as an Exchange or SQL server then it might not be right for you as you may have to go to Windows, talk to us we can soon let you know.

Ok I have not heard of UNIX but I have heard of ??IX
Thats because it has developed and moved around over the last 40 years, ownership has changed and there are variants. There is XENIX, Chrome, iO7, Android, Apple OS, POSIX, AIX, Solaris, Linux, Sequent, HP-UX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mandriva Linux, Slackware Linux and Gentoo. Maybe thats why its not that known, too many flavours but thats re-assuring.

For more information go to or talk to us, we converse in English and compuspeak (Which sounds like Martian I am told).

Email us on if you would like to know more.  

If you have a spec

I know I’m safe because I haven’t been told I’m not


I keep looking at the title and I’m not sure if it’s good English but it exactly represents what we keep coming across time after time. Just because you haven’t been told something, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. That English seems just as bad, let me explain.

You install an antivirus package and then relax safe in the knowledge that should your computer become infected the software will stop it doing any damage. What if your antivirus package is so poor that it doesn’t react? Your computer is now infected, the virus is doing what it was designed to do, the AV Software is in La La Land but you feel quite happy, safe and secure as nothing has alerted you otherwise.

We all know the damage that the virus or spyware can inflict, not just on your computer but your personal wealth and possibly safety. If you don’t understand, then e-mail me at and I shall try to gently enlighten you.

Taking a recent example of a Windows XP machine running free AVG software, the user had complained how slow the machine was working but considering that it was eight years old we weren’t surprised. We connected it to a new Unix server where it just had a letter representing a volume. Although we had not supplied the machine, it was a simple task.

About five weeks later we were called back because the computer could no longer access the server. A quick on site investigation did not give us any clues so the machine was taken away to our workshops.

The first thing we did was to extract the hard disk and put it on our isolated system. This is a computer that is not connected to the Internet, it has the latest ESET antivirus software and up to date spyware checking software. The advantage of doing this is that we know we are inserting this disk into a clean system and any malware doesn’t get a chance to load before it’s detected in a scan.

The suspect computer had 36,000 cookies, not a problem but rather excessive, however 16 viruses and 32 malwares were definitely bad news. The disk was cleaned, reinserted and the system returned to the client fully functioning and considerably faster than when we collected it and with ESET installed

What damage had been done? We can only guess at as the malware that was loaded was designed to look for a sequence of numbers in four groups of four plus any sequences either side. Sounds like a credit card, expiry date and security number would fit the bill.

If a supermarket gave away free petrol and a short space of time no one would be selling any petrol let alone giving it away. If, however, the free petrol was defective then word would soon spread keeping the chargeable petrol companies in business.

For some reason most of the professionals, and I mean professionals, not enthusiastic amateurs either steer well shy of these products or just wipe their machines and reinstall regularly. The word hasn’t reached everybody that there are better products on the market because most people think they’re safe because they hadn’t been told them not. Or put it another way you get what you pay for.

If you think you’re machine need a check then the antivirus companies have online checking. Housecall by Trend is good and so is the online scanner on the ESET website. These are good at detecting Viruses but for spyware I would use Malwarebytes or Spybot S & D. If you are not sure how to use these then e-mail me or call our Ipswich and Colchester centres which are personned 24/7 and someone will come out and perform a free, yes free, System Health check for you.

I know the plural of virus is virii if everyone is used to viruses as an expression, this is one debate that if I do have an opinion on I don’t really care to express it!

Microsoft remove e-mail from the small business package, Why?

Up to 2001 Microsoft had a great package for small business, it contained all the goodies that the big enterprise guys use but at a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost. Now every small business server package has gone. You now buy the basic server version without all the bells and whistles which doesn’t make sense. A decent (not a toy, ask me why) file server with Microsoft used to cost around £3K. If you want in house e-mail then Microsoft ask you to add another server with Exchange for another £3K. So double the price for the same functionality you had six months ago, Why? That’s easy.

Microsoft (MS) only want small businesses to buy a single server but for e-mail you can use Exchange on their server for £30 a month. You see the difference? same initial revenue to MS and then an extra £30 a month, that’s at least an extra £1,800 going in to the MS pocket over five years, as they say MS’s duty is to the shareholders not the users or the partners (that’s us).

Now where this falls down is in this area, most small businesses are rural and in small towns in East Anglia. Broadband struggles to get over 2 Mb down and 0.5Mb up whereas London, Brighton can get 50-100 Mb in both directions. So not only does it cost more but the Internet is less efficient making cloud computing a non starter unless you are in the city. Oh, and you have less control and facilities.

The daft part is that where we are concerned it won’t make any difference but MS will lose out. Remember the 3K server, well we can get the same performance out of a Linux server for half the price. Need e-mail? Then we can install IBM PostFix or Mdeamon instead of MS Exchange for a minimal amount.

I like the idea, its marvelous, it means that Dell cant touch us for price and the small IT firms who don’t have the level of expertise like us can’t sell Linux.

So you will have a choice for your new server; come to cmx or spend more with Dell, MS or the enthusiastic hobbyist who thinks he is in the IT business, he sells boxes and has limited knowledge whereas we install cost effective business systems. Just ask anyone who is a cmx client, we can even give you the contact details of a few.

If you want to know more call 01473 231800 or 01206 256459 24/7 and talk to an expert in English