Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

Windows 2000 Server on a NAS? No, thanks.

Posted by isilanes on January 24, 2008

You would think that, as a researcher in a serious center like the DIPC, one would hardly ever encounter a MS product, at least in the server/cluster section (more than one fellow here has Windows in his/her computer, but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret).

However, we do have some server running Windows, and its presence is almost transparent for the user (which is good). And I say “almost”, because it stumbled upon one of its “features”, and the sysadmin ended up confessing :^)

The thing is that I happened to try to create a directory with “CO” (carbon monoxide) in its name (it was a dir for a SIESTA calculation), when a dir with the same name already existed, except it had “Co” (cobalt) in the name. Well, the filesystem complained that a dir by the same name already existed! I could not believe my eyes!!

Basically the filesystem would not make any difference at all for different capitalizations. For example:

% mkdir testdir
% mkdir TESTDIR
mkdir: cannot create directory `TESTDIR': File exists

% touch testfile
% rm TESTfile
rm: remove regular empty file `TESTfile'?

The explanation? The directory I was in was exported from a NAS running… ta-da: Windows 2000 Server!

How incredibly stupid and annoying is it to have a filesystem that ignores character case altogether? And how error prone? Because if you are not aware of that, you might delete a file you didn’t intend to!! Someone could try to excuse MS by saying that, OK, that was in 2000. But, look, Linux could tell upper case from lower case since its inception in 1991, and Unix since the seventies! The root of the problem is the filesystem used by the OS, of course. But it so happens that the filesystems used by Linux since 1991 (beginning in ext and then many others) had this capability (and many more), and are free. All that MS had to do was to use them, instead of FAT or NTFS. But instead they chose to develop those (inferior) filesystems in parallel for almost 20 years now. I call that stupidity.

No need to say that the sysadmin of the DIPC absolutely regrets having been naive enough to ever buy that MS crap.


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