It's been a trying year for Windows NT fans as security bug after security bug appears, threatening the claim that NT is "rock solid." Lost amid all the hoopla, however is the fact that UNIX is just as vulnerable as NT--if not more so--in many of these cases. The hackers that are attacking NT now do so because of it's popularity and because it is made by Microsoft. Only a few short years ago, UNIX was the most-often attacked, hacked, and abused operating system, because most Internet computers then used UNIX. Today, however, with Windows NT as the obvious choice for most new Web servers, hackers have turned their attentions to Microsoft.

Mike Nash, director of marketing for NT Server and Infrastructure Products, is tired of all the trash talking about NT. As he says, the latest problem to hit NT--the infamous "Ping of Death"--is just as deadly to UNIX servers. "The problem," Nash says, "is that there is this high interest in attacking NT because it's new and it's big. You call up and say, `Hey, I just brought a UNIX box down,' and see what the reaction is: `Huh?' I mean, these issues have been around on UNIX for years, but no one has cared because UNIX is obscure and fragmented."

Nash even pushes Microsoft into an interesting role: they are trying to make the Web affordable and accessible to everyone, not just command line gurus. With this move from UNIX mainframes to Windows PCs and NT Servers, the power has shifted from traditional computer experts to ordinary users. Some of them don't like this. "Our commitment," he says, "is to make computing more accessible to small businesses and individuals. We're going to create this market of high-value, commodity-based servers that are easier to use and allow for huge economies of scale in the industry."

Will they succeed? Most Likely: Windows NT is priced to sell and it runs great on commonly available--and inexpensive--hardware. Even the stalwart UNIX fans will admit that their favorite OS is on the downward curve of its lifecycle. Windows, meanwhile, has bucked industry trends by consistently growing year after year. Whether you like Microsoft or not, their vision of "information at your fingertips" is becoming a reality one desktop at a time