Penguins for President?

Is there any significance to what Web server/platform combinations 2004 presidential candidates are using?

As we swing into the thick of the 2004 electoral playoffs, it's interesting to see what kinds of platforms are running under the candidates' official campaign Web sites. Netcraft has a handy feature called "What's that site running?" that lets us see combinations of Web servers and OS platforms. So here's a quick rundown, in alphabetical order:

For what it's worth, the Republican National Committee is running Microsoft IIS on Windows 2000, while the Democratic National Committee is running Apache on Linux.

As of this writing, November 5, 2003, the RNC has an uptime of 4.26 days (maximum of 39.04) and a 90-day moving average of 16.91. The DNC has an uptime of 445.02 days (also the maximum) and a 90-day moving average of 395.38 days.

Draw your own conclusions.

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal.

email: doc@ssc.com

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

funny, last time i checked, what OS a person runs is not a measure of a persons worth. And i wonder if any of them would even know what IIS or Apache actually were. the bottom line is that they hired someone to make them a site and then left it at that....

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

What conclusions? My office is chock-full of Republicans, and all we run is Linux, to the tune of about 200 or so machines. My wife used to work for a heavily Democrat-populated lobbying firm in D.C. and all they ran was Windows. Sure, it's interesting as a lark, but meaningless nonetheless.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

I would have to agree.. my company is full of Reps.. and all they run is windows.. and hate that I have a linux box in running my NOC.. Although it may be intertaining..but across the street you have a pretty good mixture and the run both without thinking about it.. WAIT... that did not make since.. hehehehe

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Go Bush!!!!

The site www.whitehouse.gov is running Apache on Linux.
(http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=www.whitehouse.gov)

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

uh, yea,, but as other posts said,, its a leftover from the clinton administration...

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

First, shouldn't politicians be using the .con domain? (No, that's not a typo.)

Second, although the survey is "frivolous" (most are!), this should really be followed up on.

We can regard the survey as a "blind" study. The candidates don't care about the server. The server doesn't care about the content or candidates. Any variation from the "expected" value is therefore a result of what's delivered by the service (and therefore the server), and not by the label on the package.

The expected value (ie: the stastistical "null hypothesis") is 60%, according to Netcraft. If candidates randomly selected servers to operate from, this should be the number of candidates operating on Apache, regardless of political (or other) affiliation.

Of the ten candidates sampled, seven are running Apache (ie: 70%). This is well within the range most statisticians would consider normal, especially on such a small sample.

If you add in the minority candidates listed elsewhere on this board, we see a much higher deviation from the expected. However, this sample isn't necessarily representitive or truly random.

What's needed is a considerably larger study, not just of the candidates but of senators, representitives, etc. The data is simply inadequate to draw any conclusions.

Why's this important?

In reality, it isn't.

From the perspective of geeks (and corporations), if users in a blind study are attracted towards services using Apache over services using other web servers, then Apache's real popularity (if popularity is measured by what is provided, rather than by what it's called, who makes it or who runs it) is higher than Netcraft's 60%.

On the flip-side, if there is no difference between user usage and webmaster usage, then users just don't care about what's provided. All the feature lists, all the tweaking and tuning, etc, is just wasted effort. Slap anything on - an old copy of the CERN server, for example - and it won't make the blindest bit of difference.

That's a valuable bit of information to have. For geeks, because it tells them if completing their greatest ever invention is worth the effort. For commercial enterprises, because it tells them whether they need to go by features or if they can simply get the cheapest thing they can find. (Mind you, Apache wins both ways. :)

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Actually I think they're supposed to use the .conartist domain. It would better represent our elected officials at any rate.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Surely not...someone with a scientific aproach who isn't bashing one of the candidates or web servers...say it isn't so...it just isn't the community way. ;-) Good comment and well thought out. Nice to read for a change.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

The site www.larouchein2004.com is running Apache/1.3.28 (Unix) mod_perl/1.28 on Linux.

Note that LaRouche has the second highest public support among announced Democratic candidates as measured by the number of contributers in the State of Washington and I think third highest nationwide. A contributor for this count as defined by the FEC is someone who gives $200 or more.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Yes, but LaRouche heads a bizarre political cult, who's followers believe that the Queen controls the international drug trade, and that the Jews control world finance and meet under the Great Pyramid in Giza each year to hatch their diabolical plans. He also believes that the Greatful Dead were KGB agents, and that the world economy is about to implode (he's been saying that for 20 years or more).

In short, he's a nutcase (who's been convicted of fraud), but has plenty of followers around the world blindly sending him half their income each month.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

What, no Greens or Libertarians? Talk about a travesty...

chew on that

Anonymous's picture

echo republicans are;wget -qO - http://www.sec.gov/litigation/aljdec/id84bpm.txt|sed -n '143p'|cut -f "13" -d ' '|sed 's/,//;s/er/ers/g'

Re: chew on that

Anonymous's picture

echo -n 'Republicans are '; ...

Re: chew on that

Anonymous's picture

ROTFL.

Before running that, I looked at the webpage, and very successfully emulated it's output .

What about the Libertarians??

Anonymous's picture

Don't forget the Libertarian Party!!!

Apache on FreeBSD

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=www.lp.org

Re: What about the Libertarians??

Anonymous's picture

No thanks, it's bad enough having a single man who is naive and short sighted as president. Imagine what would happen if the whole government were run by a political embodyment of that philosophy: libertarianism.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Anyone else notice that Dean & Liberman are running the services from a linux operated CRM called "convio"?

John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

AaronMyers's picture

I'm the Dir. of Internet Ops for John Edwards' presidential campaign. It's worth noting that we run our campaign blog on Apache on FreeBSD -- and the blog is actually powered by Slashcode.

We use a handful of open-source tools here at Campaign HQ. Why? Cost and reliability. The same reason you folks choose this stuff. (Worth mentioining -- while we're discussing "political platforms"... our entire Web Team runs on Mac OS X. And Senator Edwards made it clear during Tuesday's debate that he prefers his Mac.)

Take a moment to learn more about John Edwards.

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

Anonymous's picture

"our entire Web Team runs on Mac OS X"

Well crap, you just lost my vote...

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

Anonymous's picture

Edwards doesn't have any votes to loose.

Sure does have great hair, though.

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

Anonymous's picture

yeah, that hair is fabulous.

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

Anonymous's picture

Too bad your actual WEB SITE runs on Windows/ASP. Kinda kills your whole "open source is better" argument, there, don't it? SO tell me, does Mr Edwards also support this kind of misleading "grass roots evangelism"?

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

AaronMyers's picture

Those NetCraft stats don't reveal the whole picture. We use a mix of machines and platforms to keep the Edwards for President online show running (including IIS for some portions of the site -- and other platforms for caching, streaming, e-mail, etc.).

We're particularly proud of the blog -- and the effort we put into making it look good and run smoothly. The support we've developed online is strong and growing. We owe a lot to the Slash community that helped us get things rolling.

You guys would love to get slashdotted, wouldn't you?

Anonymous's picture

Hahahaha, I suppose that'd be great for a political campaign. Only reason I mention it is that, well, why else mention slashcode, in bold font-face on a discussion list generated by PHP-Nuke, on a site that isn't slashdot. Oh well, can't blame you for trying.

Re: John Edwards (and Penguins) for President

Anonymous's picture

Wow! A television psychic is running for president? Cool!

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

While this is a rather small sample size, it is important to remember that the people that work on the campaigns are the ones that will benenfit from patronage. If the people use open source, they are more likely to advocate open source. Have a look at the different top level domains at at Security Space You will see that in most of the world and in most domains, that Apache is growing. HOWEVER, in the .mil domain, IIS is growing. I feel that this has a negative impact on US national security. We are also seeing the NSA moving away from supporting open source and even using IIS on thier web site - all during the Bush Administration. I do think that that there is a correlation between Pro-Microsoft and Republican. I also agree that this is a rather minor criteria for me determining my vote.

National Security

AndySocial's picture

NIMA recently nuked their open-source NIMAMUSE program for viewing the public-domain imagery and GIS products the government produces. They recommend using, instead, a variety of commercial products, none of which can do what NIMAMUSE did without paying upwards of 200 bucks for each product.

Is it legal for the government to make the exploitation of public domain items non-free? It seems to be a trend. I'd think, since our tax dollars paid for it once, we would be entitled to see the non-sensitive data at least. And, we can, if we wish to pay for commercial viewers. (or the wonderful Microdem, still free and available from the Naval Academy)

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Do you honestly believe that Bush has a say in what kind of Web server the military domains are hosted on? Get real you people. The candidates don't even care what platform they are running. Remember they are mostly business people, not IT guru's. Even if they say they support Linux you can ignore it. Remember, they are POLITICIANS.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

You can't look around and see what kind of pull Bush has? Please. Don't be stupid. Bush gets what Bush wants, and Bush is a big business man. If Microsoft isn't Big Business, I don't know what is. When the NSA and Military are using Windows instead of something secure, like OpenBSD, you know something is wrong. Especially since the NSA was working on their own ultra-secure Linux not too long ago!

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Business people, business OS - Microso...

www.RonaldReagan.com

Anonymous's picture

The site www.ronaldreagan.com is running Apache on Linux.

Re: www.RonaldReagan.com

Anonymous's picture

Or it least it does as best as it can remember.

Re: www.RonaldReagan.com

Anonymous's picture

'course that adds all kinds of new implications to the "fire and forget" nature of Apache on Linux. :)

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Never mind what platform they're using... what I'm concerned about is what top level domain they're using. Of the ones listed here, I see that one is using .org, which is the proper TLD for a noncommercial organization (such as a candidate's election committee). One more is using .us, which is also sensible for a USA-based entity. However, the remainder of them are senselessly using .com addresses, which are incongruous unless the campaign is being run for-profit as a commercial enterprise. (Back in 1996, most election campaign sites sensibly used .org addresses, as did most parodies of election sites; the rampant use of .com for both real and fake campaign sites these days is a sign of the growing cluelessness on the Net.)

Third-party, independent, and underdog candidates seem to be more likely to use proper domains than the big-money "major" ones.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Actually, you're wrong - .us is not appropriate. There's an entire RFC that lists the "appropriate" uses of a .us address, and those guidelines were clearly not followed in this case...

Good try, though.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Joe Average is probably more likely to remember a .com address than a .org one, so it makes more sense to use .com if you want people fo find you.

And - the fact that most of the "big-name" candidates are using .com addresses, while the smaller ones are using .org - well, maybe that says something about their underlying motives for running. The phrases "George Bush's presidency" and "noncommercial organization" do not exactly go hand-in-hand.

.com is appropriate

Anonymous's picture

After all, bribes are a commercial matter.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

the problem now is that just like any business the candidates must cater to the "clueless" masses.

people remember .coms more easily and if they don't see
mygopcandidate.COM or whatever then they might give up....

everyone should go to deanforamerica.com instead anyway. :-D

Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

I used to work for a very high profile website (don't want to mention their name) and Netcraft always reported us as running Netscape Enterprise Manager on Solaris. Like most large web presences, we ran a mix, but the majority of the website was actually served from NT/Win2k boxes running IIS. However, our load balancer, a single server that sat between our web server farm and the Internet, was running NEM on Solaris, so that's why Netcraft gave back the data it did. So just goes to show, don't automatically believe everything you read without checking your sources (and Netcraft isn't the ultimate source here).

Re: Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

Anyone allowing an win32 server to face the internet directly, without a reverse proxy to control incoming access, is just dumb. Republican leaders aren't involved in any decision making about which OS hosts their websites, but I bet they beleive that garbage about being certified with MSxx.
The only thing worse is a democrat who lies, steals and abuses power - ooops, at least Bill is out of the Whitehouse.

Re: Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

The only thing worse is a democrat who lies, steals and abuses power - ooops, at least Bill is out of the Whitehouse.
Well, let's see:

  • lying : er, WMDs in Iraq ? Connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda ?
  • stealing : Enron ? Halliburton confiscating most of the contracts for rebuilding Iraq ?
  • abusing power : PATRIOT act ? Guantanamo ?

YMMV.

Re: Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

I can assure you, that the DNC runs linux on their servers. The developers also run linux on most of their desktops. Although some of them run M$ on another machine for other purposes.

I understand your point though. A point similar to yours is illustrated quite well in Netcraft's www.microsoft.com runs Linux? Up to a point ... article.

Re: Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

I guess that is why you "used to work" for them.

Re: Remember the grain of salt

Anonymous's picture

"I guess that is why you "used to work" for them."

Wow! What crawled up your butt and died?

I actually cashed in my stock and retired, at age 43 btw :-)

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

While this is interesting, note that:

www.whitehouse.gov is running Apache on Linux.

Draw your own conclusions...

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Bush hasn't upgraded whitehouse.gov to windows yet and has left it runnning linux. Leftover from the Cliton Presedency?

Just my guess.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

ASS HOLE

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

The current version of whitehouse.gov was set up by the Clinton administration. Doubt the Rethuglicans have anyone bright enough on staff to figure out how do anything more complicated than updates, much less to change it over. Just as well, they've repeatedly demonstrated that they don't know enough about security to keep it running even if they did.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

Whitehouse.gov was setup as Apache/Linux under Clinton but was moved to IIS/MS under Bush. When it was brought down, then and only then did W's staff have the ability to have it cached. This is actually a Windows box( IIRC,located in Texas) being hidden by Apache/Linux. W is still paying back Bill for his support and $. If you look throughout our government,it is being converted to MS except where groups can make a true security concern.

Re: Penguins for President?

Anonymous's picture

W is still paying back Bill for his support and $.

Which Bill Gates is that?
Is it the one that gave Population Action International "$975,200 over 19 months to ensure that the language of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is not weakened as the world's nations meet on a regional basis to assess progress toward the goal of universal access to reproductive health care by 2015"? (source http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/Grants/Grant-26318.htm)
or perhaps the one who gave Population Resource Center "$80,800 over 1 year to support a study on the relationship between the availability of modern contraception and abortion"? (source http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/Grants/Grant-23917.htm)
or perhaps the one who gave Public Health Institute "$4,000,000 over 3 years to train family planning and reproductive health leaders from developing country"? (source http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/ReproductiveChildHealth/Grants/Grant-362_01.htm)
or perhaps the one who "commits $40 million to improve reproductive health in the developing world" including "family planning", and safe abortions? (source http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/ReproductiveChildHealth/Announcements/Announce-030605.htm)
or perhaps the one who is "providing an initial $100 million for a 10-year commitment to launch the India AIDS Initiative" including "condom distribution"? source (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/HIVAIDSTB/HIVAIDS/IndiaMission/IAIFactSheet-021111.htm)
All good bastions of the Republican party, I know. . .

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