Queen banishes Linux

After a two-year reign as the power behind the throne, Linux finds that its place on the royal family's Web site has been usurped by Microsoft software
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

The Queen, or at least her new Web hosting company, has dumped GNU/Linux in favour of Microsoft IIS Web servers, ending the royal family's two-year flirtation with the open-source operating system.

In 1999, the administrator hosting royal.gov.uk -- the official site for the British royal family -- switched from Sun's Solaris operating system to Dell servers running Linux and Apache server software, citing better performance. But last Thursday Linux's reign ended when the site relaunched with its new service provider, CCG.XM (a division of Cordiant Communications Group).

"(CCG.XM) works with Microsoft Internet Information Server as standard," explained a palace spokeswoman. She also said that Linux is easier to administer, and that IIS was easier to configure in the case of royal family's site.

Linux is considered one of the few challengers to Microsoft's operating system crown, and has shown particular strength in the server market, where it is popular for its low price, stability and flexibility.

The site was obliged to switch to a new service provider after the former host, a government communications agency, ended its hosting operations.

IIS has received a great deal of bad press over security, since it has recently been the target of viruses like Code Red and Nimda, but the palace says it has shored up the defences against hackers. "We are confident that we have taken every precaution to ensure a secure site," said the spokeswoman.

Unfortunately, the palace couldn't stop someone from severing a cable, which it says resulted in the site crashing on Tuesday.

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