Why Windows and Linux are the Same

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When we decided to build support for managing Windows apps into the rPath product line, there was a lot of surprise both internally and externally. After all, rPath was founded by a team with strong open source roots which helped build Red Hat into a significant enterprise vendor. We spent a lot of time selling the value of Unix to Linux migrations, with Unix to Windows being the obvious alternative. Why would we all “give up” on Linux in the enterprise and start building Windows solutions?

What we all realized is that rPath’s products are about managing large numbers of systems. We give our users a way of automating how software is deployed to thousands of machines, and we provide strong version control over the full software stack on those systems. There is nothing Linux specific about the problems we solve; the problems are prevalent wherever there are servers running software.

We began this process by supporting standard enterprise Linux offerings (like Red Hat and SuSE). RPM is an integral part of how software is deployed on those operating systems, so we added support for RPM deployments to rPath’s products. After all, our value is not creating files in the filesystem, it’s deciding what files should be there. Relying on RPM to create the files did nothing to dilute our value; in fact it enhanced it by expanding what we could version control and model.

Once we had done this, expanding onto Windows was an obvious step. Just like we rely on RPM for managing Red Hat, we utilize Microsoft’s MSI format for delivering software onto Windows machines. We take advantage of the standard WMI interfaces for managing Windows machines, just like we rely on CIM on Linux machines (two different implementations of the same basic protocol). The ideas of a versioned repository for software assets, version control for deployed systems, reliable updating, and system modeling all carried over to the Windows world without changing; what better proof could there be that the concepts rPath values are universal?

rPath can now deliver versioned, model based deployment automation to the vast majority of machines. We’re excited that there are so many more people our solutions can help. Today.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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