Microsoft has replaced its controversial anti-Linux “Get the Facts” website with a kinder, gentler version.

The new website explains how Windows Server operating system compares to open-source Linux as well as other competitive operating systems. It provides information about how Windows Server stacks up in total cost of ownership, reliability, security, manageability and interoperability with Linux, Unix and IBM’s mainframe architecture.

Microsoft has posted customer information, feedback from industry experts, white papers and resources about the capabilities of Windows Server on the site. It also offers information for developers building applications on Windows Server.

Microsoft said the new site is an evolution of its Get the Facts campaign, launched in mid-2003 and seen by many as a direct slam against Linux and open source.

The campaign compared Windows Server favourably against Linux and other technologies in terms of some of the same factors handled on the Compare site. Get the Facts was panned by Linux proponents. Their ire in part may have been due to the outspoken swagger of the then Microsoft rising star Martin Taylor who led the campaign. After 13 years at Microsoft, Taylor abruptly left the company in June 2006 and no explanation was given for his departure.

Since Taylor’s departure, Microsoft has appeared on one hand to be more friendly toward Linux and open source, while on the other continuing to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about those technologies, according to the open-source camp. Linux proponents gained fuel for their side when Microsoft executives earlier this year made bold claims that Linux and other open-source software violated more than 230 of Microsoft’s patents.

At the same time, Microsoft has put former IBM Linux executive Bill Hilf front and centre stage as its open-source advocate. The vendor also recently launched a new open-source web page that explains how the company views its relationship with the open-source community.