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Anti-Unix Web site back online

The "We have the way out" Web site sponsored by Microsoft and Unisys is live again after a lengthy outage that brought glee to Unix and Linux programmers.

An anti-Unix Web site sponsored by Microsoft and Unisys is live again after a lengthy outage that brought glee to Unix and Linux programmers.

The "We have the way out" Web site, which touts the benefits of running data centers and other server-centric operations on Windows-based machines, was working Thursday morning after being out of commission for two days.

Although it's less than a week old, the site has received a great deal of attention, but probably not the kind that Microsoft and Unisys wanted. Early this week, it was discovered that the anti-Unix site ran on Web servers powered by FreeBSD, an open-source version of Unix, as well as on the Unix-based Web server Apache, according to Netcraft, which tracks Web site information.

The companies shifted the site over to Windows 2000 and Microsoft Internet Information Server on Tuesday, the same day the site went blank.

Both Microsoft and Unisys have declined to comment on the cause of the outage. It is unknown whether there was a technical problem at the hosting site or whether the site was merely bombarded with requests from IT managers clamoring for copies of the free papers on the site.

At least two sites parodying Microsoft's message and promoting the benefits of Unix and Linux have sprung up. Several programmers have also expressed their disdain for the campaign in e-mails to CNET News.com and on chat boards.

"Microsoft is well known for trying to steer people away from anything non-Microsoft by any means possible," Jon Fields, of LinuxFreak.org, which runs the "We have the way in" parody Web site, wrote in an e-mail. "'Wehavethewayout.com' was developed to fool people into thinking Unix-based systems are a dead end and very costly. However, they didn't seem to notice they were running on FreeBSD at the time."

As of Wednesday, Fields' "We have the way in" site had received more than 400,000 hits.

"I don't hate Microsoft. I respect their work and think it is a fine product they deliver for some solutions, but in this campaign they overrate their own products," Johan Holst Nielsen, the originator of the "We know the way out" parody Web site, which he says will launch in a few days, wrote in an e-mail. "A lot of programmers know both Windows and Unix/Linux. And then the biggest software company in the world starts a campaign like this that only has one goal: (It's a) smear campaign against the 'opinion.'"