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Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the falling-tide-lifts-some-boats dept.

Linux Business 191

arashtamere writes "Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst predicts the enterprise open source software business will emerge from the economic crisis stronger than the proprietary market. 'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs." And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ... I think we'll know in about six to nine months but there is no question that open source will come out of this in relatively better shape than our proprietary competitors,' he told Computerworld."

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Yes young padawan... come over to the dark side... (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451901)

I feel as if thousands of MCSE's cried out in pain and were silenced.

Re:Yes young padawan... come over to the dark side (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25451939)

Were they using the Billy Mays awesome auger to run cat5 near gas lines?

F/OSS BPMs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25451929)

There's also Apache ODE [apache.org] .

Re:F/OSS BPMs (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452027)

True. But Red Hat owns and supports JBoss, so, uh, what do you think they're going to be pushing to their enterprise customers?

but how will ibm make assloads of cash? (4, Insightful)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451937)

as an engineer, with 10+ yrs in the industry, it still boggles the mind that closed source, proprietary software has such a stranglehold on the way businesses percieve 'value'.

all too often, you see a business with a couple of it 'support' staff, maybe developers too, and someone has a day at the golf course and comes back with 'great news, we've managed to secure a long term contract with IBM...'

i still loath cognos reportnet some 4 years after that guy came back from the golf course... whats that ? ibm bought cognos? greeeeeaaat!

Re:but how will ibm make assloads of cash? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452633)

As a manager, with 20+ years in the industry, I have solved the mystery.

"Golfware" is a term I invented to describe any combination of hardware and/or software that is purchased after a golf outing. Golf is powerful stuff; it enables non-technical people to make far-reaching technical decisions without spending the time to learn the details. You don't see open source on the golf course, and you have to understand open source to effectively utilize it.

There are people who actually CREATE solutions and those who merely SHOP for them. The "creators" can only rise so high in the org chart. Inevitably, somebody with a non-CS background becomes the "creator's" boss. Such people are inevitably "shoppers".

Re:but how will ibm make assloads of cash? (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452713)

ha!

worst part is.. i play golf a couple times a week, and _never_ do i get in on these deals!

Re:but how will ibm make assloads of cash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453227)

Not duffing it with the right people. Also, don't win. Miss a few short putts if you have to. Lowers the prices in my experience.

Re:but how will ibm make assloads of cash? (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453687)

as an engineer, with 10+ yrs in the industry, it still boggles the mind that closed source, proprietary software has such a stranglehold on the way businesses percieve 'value'.

Depends on the business. I got the top tech spot where I am precisely because of my background in both Windows and open source. Moving away from Windows as a host and development platform resulted in significant cash savings. We've even replaced a lot of our commodity workstations with Ubuntu and our productivity apps with a mix of GoogleDocs and OpenOffice.

Not only have we saved a lot of cash in licensing costs, but discovered that all the hype about increased training costs is just FUD. We haven't had any massive staff training costs, not even many calls to the help desk. The only ongoing annoyance is so many vendors want to use GoToMyPC and it doesn't support Linux. So we have to go scare up a Windows client.

Higher maintenance costs...FUD.

The line about paying more for qualified open source techs and developers is also FUD. We didn't have any problems replacing Windows only staff at competitive local rates. And our operating environment is so much calmer and more productive. You don't realize how much time you spend serving the Windows platform until you move away from it.

It's a pity it takes an economic crisis to get companies to look into a better way of doing business. You'll never make any progress taking advice from people invested in the MS platform, even if they're on your staff. The .NET developers said it would take us months to duplicate some of the systems they built, we did it in weeks. In one case days. We're down to converting the last couple core systems and the mood among the remaining .NET developers is grim. This is a bad time to be out looking for a job but I gave them a chance to get on board with the new order. We're shutting them down in the next couple months. Even the outsource vendors. I gave them the right answers the first day we met. Months later they're still trying to push .NET solutions.

It seems he is implying... (1)

GuloGulo (959533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451941)

It seems he is implying open source solutions win on cost.

Has that ever been definitively proven (as much as such things can be)?

Re:It seems he is implying... (2, Funny)

Risen888 (306092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453143)

Sure. 0 (not 0). Wow, that was easy.

Re:It seems he is implying... (2, Insightful)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453147)

Categorically speaking, you can't prove it.

You can only prove it on a case by case basis. The exact same solution that saves one company money might cost another company more once you figure in required training, infrastructure, and staffing changes.

Yes, but.... (5, Insightful)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451961)

Has anybody checked the price of a Red Hat subscription lately? It ain't cheap. In fact, it's cheaper to get M$ bundled with a server than it is to get a one year Red Hat subscription, given that you need to renew (read= pay more $$$) each year, and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

So yes, open-source as a "whole" (Articles of Confederation-type whole) will do well in tough economic times. If Red Hat wants in on this, they'll need to either lower their prices, or perhaps rethink they're "software as a service" model.

Re:Yes, but.... (3, Informative)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452037)

www.centos.org

( or - son of redhat )

presuming you havent built really crappy apps, one linux guy to install and configure, then let it just run in the background. java webapp? tomcat ! database backend? postgres ! ldap? etc...

of course, if your business demands up to the minute support, patches, etc, redhat can provide a reasonable service for a reasonable price, and will be pretty well binary compatible with your initial centos outlay.

Re:Yes, but.... (0, Flamebait)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452079)

It's not as if Red Hat doesn't negotiate enterprise and volume licensing just like Microsoft. Since Red Hat is a much smaller company with lower overhead and a product that doesn't cost nearly as much to maintain thanks to the slave labor, uh, I mean, volunteer efforts of the open source community, they have a lot more wiggle room.

Re:Yes, but.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452239)

The subscription gets you any new release while you're subscribed. For Windows, you need to buy the new OS. You can also seamlessly migrate to centos or migrate from centos if you want to try if it fits your needs.

Re:Yes, but.... (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452289)

The subscription gets you any new release while you're subscribed. For Windows, you need to buy the new OS.

Also, does a Windows subscription cover applications, or do you need to buy them (and support for them) separately?

OB car analogy:

It's like complaining that Red Hat's car costs more money than our MS's bare chassis. By the time you buy the MS Engine, MS Body, MS Wheels, MS Dashboard, MS Steering Wheel, etc, you end up paying more.

Re:Yes, but.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452841)

Exactly. To have a complete mail pushing system you need to buy Windows and MS Office suite for all people in the company (not exactly cheap). If a Linux offering wants to get a foothold into corporate desktops, it is crucial for RH and others to get OpenChange stuff into shape and tart shipping exchange client alternative (later even the server stuff) based on native MAPI.

For the full scale assault (integration with AD servers, or even replacing them), we will have to wait for FreeIPA and Samba4 to mature a bit, but it is on the horizon already.

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

CrackerJackz (152930) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453139)

You forgot the MS Airbag(tm)

You'll need those to survive the crashes ;)

Re:Yes, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453341)

but the Microsoft car will give you more headaches per gallon...

Re:Yes, but.... (2, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452277)

A Red Hat subscription was a similar price to a Windows 2008 (basic - I mean, Standard - edition) yearly payment with Software Assurance. The difference being that Red Hat does way more.

Or you were comparing that with Vista? Red Hat is a server system.

I've heard they've got legendary support (4, Informative)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452563)

No doubt. Red Hat is the only company that I know of that will support other vendors apps to the point of fixing it themselves, or even having one of their kernel devs patch Linux. If fact, Red Hat is the only company that I know of that can really claim that they can get fixes for customers directly in to both the mainline Linux kernel and Samba. My understanding is they'll also support any of the products created by the thousands of vendors that are part of the Red Hat Exchange. Microsoft just can't offer that, even if they wanted to.

Re:I've heard they've got legendary support (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452725)

I guess it makes sense... I mean, their product is support so it had better be pretty good. MS's product is more of the traditional model of software, with support added on so that they can sell more software.

So true (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453351)

Actually, if you think about it, support is just a money sink for Microsoft... it costs them lots of money and generates no extra business (if you're calling for support, they've already got your money, most likely).

Re:Yes, but.... (5, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452593)

and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

True, but you need fewer of them. The rule of thumb I've always seen used is 1:25 admins to servers with Windows, but 1:50 (or 1:100 if the guy's good) with Linux (on desktops, that ratios on both are around 1:50 or more, but then desktops aren't usually pushed as hard as servers). This may not be as true as it once was, I understand Windows Server 2008 has made some impressive leaps, including a full command line shell and SSH server. But that's the historical reason for Linux (UNIX guys in general, really) commanding more dough: better rate of return on each dollar spent.

Re:Yes, but.... (2, Insightful)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452901)

From what I've seen of Windows v. Linux shops, most shops that use Linux are still made up mostly of techies while Windows shops tend to be more of a mixed bag. When I've been in Windows shops where the majority of people are technical, the ratio of techs to users seem to be much higher: in fact, in the same ranges that you have quoted for Linux.

What I'd like to see is a study comparing similar situations: average number of techs for businesses that are mostly technial or average number of techs for businesses that are mostly business (banks, insurance companies, manufacturing companies, etc.)

Re:Yes, but.... (2, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452773)

Does the cost of Microsoft Windows included with a server include a support subscription comparable to Red Hat's? If not, you are not comparing like with like.

The fair comparison is: Windows licence plus support contract versus RHEL subscription,

or: Windows licence with no support versus CentOS with no support.

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

n4djs (1097963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452805)

obviously you don't right the checks for your Microsoft Select or Enterprise agreement each year... do you think that Microsoft is giving it away support for free?

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452967)

Well, not only that, but replacing existing, working software that's already been paid for somehow saves money? Does WebSphere only come in a subscription flavor?

Sure, you can save on licensing with new systems, but don't you just end up paying for support from Redhat anyway? So, where's the savings?

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

talcite (1258586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453259)

I think you're comparing apples and oranges here. Redhat subscriptions include service and support. Windows server subscriptions don't. You're paying yearly because you're paying for the support, not the software. You can get the software for free by using CentOS.

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453309)

With RedHat's subscription you get support for quite a few applications besides the base OS.

Re:Yes, but.... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453581)

Has anybody checked the price of a Red Hat subscription lately? It ain't cheap. In fact, it's cheaper to get M$ bundled with a server than it is to get a one year Red Hat subscription, given that you need to renew (read= pay more $$$) each year, and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

I have no idea what the service level is so this is a serious question: Is the lowest support option, the one bundled with the Windows server license any good? Or is it more of a place you can open a ticket and maybe get an solution sooner or later or not at all? Where if your local support with the help of google can't find a solution, the ones you report it to are equally out of depth? Because I imagine there's quite a few that are really only interested in the license and would buy it no matter how poor the bundled support is, while noone would buy support from Red Hat unless it gave something. Since hiring a good support staff is expensive, I'm just wondering if this is an apples-to-apples comparison of what you're getting, or if you're comparing the 1st level of Red Hat support to the 0th level of Windows support and that equal service is actually one service plan up.

Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451973)

Why is it that every story evaluating open source as a replacement for proprietary software starts with, "We want something cheaper." It's encouraging that people are comfortable with the reliability and features of OSS that they are comfortable putting businesses on it. But I would be concerned as an employee at these shops that management had fully evaluated the the needs of the company with respect to these packages. I've seen it a few times already at places where I've worked where a manager says, "This is cheaper, lets get this." and then doesn't realize that he needed someone who actually knew how to configure and manage things like the Linux box it was going to go on, etc.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (2, Insightful)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451981)

"This is cheaper, lets get this." and then doesn't realize that he needed someone who actually knew how to configure and manage things like the Linux box it was going to go on, etc.

clearly you've never been somewhere that thought oracle was a good idea either...

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452069)

clearly you work in the public sector.

As all managers only understand MONEY £££ $$$
Does it do the job as cheaply as possible. And have They heard of it.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452135)

Does it do the job as cheaply as possible. And have They heard of it.

oracles response: ' oh, it will do it. now - how much you got? '

or even more damaging is when oracle puts a concerted effort into 'site licenses' where management several layers removed from actual technical knowledge listen to the oracle reps lay it on thick about 'real savings' and equate a need for a simple database feeding a short term website with a big-iron requiring 'enterprise' system.

then they go and bury some clause about penalties per non-oracle install in the organisation.

bastards! ( or even worse.. what kind of fuckwit would sign a contract like that?? )

that, incidentally, is why many governments cant move to open source - penalties from an existing contractual arrangement.

dont get me wrong, theres a time and a place for oracle (db, NOT the appserver), but for the _vast_ majority of apps, postgres &/or mysql will do the job better.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452123)

clearly you've never been somewhere that thought oracle was a good idea either...

In many cases, Oracle is a good idea. There are many cases where MySQL or Postgres will just not due. I've seen 96 CPU Oracle servers (actually CPUs, not just 96 cores) kicking around databases with terrabytes of data. How many Postgres boxes have you seen at that scale? I haven't seen any.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452157)

Wow morgan, if you haven't "seen" them, they must not exist right?

Kind of like boobies.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452173)

actually, i think i'm seeing a boob right about now.

oh, that isn't what you mean? sorry. idiot.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452189)

No. My point is that Oracle scales very well and is trusted in the enterprise for enterprise-level applications. It's supported by major enterpise application vendors as SAP, UGS/Siemens, etc. It's a known quantity. Truth be told, until enough large enterprises are running MySQL or Postgres for applications on this scale, they will never be trusted for major enterprise-level applications. These databases are shared out all over the globe and if they're not running Oracle, they're running DB2 on an IBM mainframe. Downtime is simply not an option.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452221)

hi morgan,

i would like to buy one of your oracles, could you give me a quote on the price?

regards,

the management.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

partenon (749418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453161)

No. My point is that Oracle scales very well and is trusted in the enterprise for enterprise-level applications. It's supported by major enterpise application vendors as SAP, UGS/Siemens, etc. It's a known quantity. Truth be told, until enough large enterprises are running MySQL or Postgres for applications on this scale, they will never be trusted for major enterprise-level applications. These databases are shared out all over the globe and if they're not running Oracle, they're running DB2 on an IBM mainframe. Downtime is simply not an option.

Am I safe to assume that Google uses Oracle or DB2?

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (2, Informative)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452205)

I've seen 96 CPU Oracle servers (actually CPUs, not just 96 cores) kicking around databases with terrabytes of data. How many Postgres boxes have you seen at that scale?

yes, we had a postgres instance running on a 32 way sparc, later ( after my time ) updated to a 64 way e2k machine at a multinational logistics company. keeping billing records ticking over. several tens of millions of $ per day.

cpu was never the problem - linux and postgres seem to manage that quite well ( across 32 gigs of ram i believe ), what got us in the end was the slow old disks in the e10k.

that particular example aside, i have also seen/been involved with the development of 96+ ( just to re-use your 96 number above) database backed apps where postgres ran on just the single physical cpu or dual at times, and again, postgres on linux just works and works and works.

would you be so kind as to suggest just the range of licence cost the above mentioned oracle array set you back?

i can give you a hint for the total of all postgres licenses i've shelled out for : $0

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452395)

I have no idea. But it wasn't my money. I was just being paid for my Oracle expertise. Very well, I might add. ;)

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452561)

I have no idea. But it wasn't my money. I was just being paid for my Oracle expertise. Very well, I might add. ;)

so kind of you to bring the thread back on topic ;)

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453673)

Maybe you could pay ahead some of the savings to the postgresql folks. I do, and I'm a single user on a single DB box. It's just a fabulous and solid product and I support them with my $, few though they might be.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452361)

"How many Postgres boxes have you seen at that scale?"

A 96 cores machine. Well, really none, since Postgres actualy does clustering, differently from Oracle that uses marketing newspeech to redefine clustering to mean what they do. With real clusters you can use cheap commodity hardware, no need for a supercomputer to run databases on.

That would be FEW cases (2, Interesting)

coder111 (912060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452503)

I agree that there are cases where PostgreSQL or will not do. But they are not "many cases". In many cases, Oracle is an expensive overkill. In many cases Oracle introduces more overhead supporting the database than it is worth.

--Coder

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452419)

"It is cheap, so let's buy it!" or "It's expensive, so let's buy it (it must be good)!". Signs of great managers.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (5, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452131)

Cheap is a valid metric for evaluation. The employees will use what the company gives them to do the job the company asks them to do. These aren't personal gaming machines at your house.

I have found that combining Windows XP with FOSS is a good thing. You give people an OS they are know, along with software that doesn't cost you anything but the time it took to create the gold image.

My company saves money by buying our PCs used. We buy off-lease Dells for a pittance, and they already have the XP Pro sticker on them. Microsoft Tax? Not in this company. And we aren't talking about slacker machines, either. P4 with 2Gb RAM for a tad over $200 each.

Cheap PC + Windows XP sticker + FOSS = IT being able to buy more toys.

Slacker machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452227)

And we aren't talking about slacker machines, either.

Slacker machines work pretty well once you get beyond the piercings, tattoos, and the skate shoes.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452285)

That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452357)

That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.

I am blessed to be working at a company with slightly smarter managers. I am the one with the weak linux knowledge. Half our servers are already linux.

And why not? (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452641)

That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.

And why wouldn't they think that? To me, there is still a whole lot of confusion revolving around "free software" and "open source". To me, they have always been synonymous. If I can go download it and use it legally for free, then it's free. You call call it open source, open wide, whatever you want, if I can downloaded it and use it legally for free, I don't care.

Now I'm learning that maybe it really isn't supposed to be free, it's a teaser, like 0% interest rates on credit cards. Sure, we give you this freeeeee software, but really what we are hoping is that you buy a service subscription from us. Well if I'm going to pay for the software, now I'm back to shopping around for the best commercial deal again.

Sure I have to have an IT guy who knows how to install and maintain the apps. This is true no matter who I buy the software from.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453375)

``Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.''

That's probably because they have people on staff who are supposed to maintain/support the software the company uses. Of course these people won't magically be able to support whatever others decide to throw at them, but that is the case regardless of whether the software is open-source or not. And the solution is the same as always: either get your people to learn the new software, or hire new people who already know.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452529)

Disclaimer: I am a Red Hat employee

Cheap is the wrong word and not the one used in the summary either. Value, which is what an IT department looks at (or should), is an equation of price vs. performance. The higher the price the less value, similarly the lower the performance the less value is gained. Cheap connotates both a lower price and lower performance. Linux (and other open source apps such as JBoss) has shown to both be of lesser cost and higher performance than proprietary competitors. This also shows why people are willing to pay for something they can also get for free. For an enterprise, the added benefits of supporting constant development along with the piece of mind that there is someone who will fix your bugs goes on top of the performance column and is enough to offset the extra costs.

It is interesting to note that the article specifically addresses lowering costs in the first paragraph (and doesn't dwell on adding value). This is because in any buisness I know of the IT department gets a fixed budget and the less they spend on any one item means they can buy more of that item or use the money elsewhere. In a tight economy this is important but don't think they are going to trade in efficiency for price. Reducing costs always involves keeping the same level of performance (or expanding it) while bringing cost down, unless the performance is way above what is needed to run efficiently. Reducing costs without maintaining performance will ultimately end up costing more down the road either by adding unexpected costs or reducing the budget further because the company is not making as much.

The article does go into added value later on.

Why is it seen simply as the cheap argument? (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452589)

Maybe because FOSS supporters have done such a good job with the "it's free" argument.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452933)

Products often enter a market on cheap side. RedHat can charge as Linux Server is no longer bought on ILC. Linux desktop surpassed Windows in functionality and EoU in the last year so presents an enormous opportunity for someone. (Any VC want to fund me? :-) Here's a book I did surveying the FOSS landscape in 2006. Its opensource. As each app matures the FOSS apps in the space will not have to compete on price but win due to superior features, RASUI. E.g. Apache, tomcat, mysql. GnuCash. OpenOffice. Evolution. I'd say all of these are superior for many user needs to the proprietary counterparts. amazing really. Just think how much FOSS will dominate all areas in the next two decades. While researching it I became very convinced FOSS is the future of software (http://sourceforge.net/projects/bizguide, 2006)

Penny wise, pound foolish (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453257)

Where I work they buy recycled toner cartridges at half the price of new ones. The trouble is, you only get 1/10th as many pages before they peter out, and usually spill toner all over the inside of the printer, necessitating repairs.

I've found that managers aren't very smart.

There is argument about the cost of server software here, and seeing as how it's Red Hat speaking, that makes sense (I have no idea whether RH or MS server software is cheaper to run), but I don't understand why businesses are using Microsoft Office instead of Star Office. Is Star's spreadsheet really that bad? I haven't used it, I have no need for a spreadsheet at home and they use MS at work, but Star's word processor is as good for what I need (at home and work) as MS's.

Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft.

Re:Why is it seen simply as the cheap option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453515)

Because while OSS is sometimes superior in features sometimes its inferior and frequently its on par with closed source apps. So by the mantra of don't fix what isn't broken business stick to Windows.

  Price (and freedom) are truly OSS killer features.

Hi Peter, (3, Insightful)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25451975)

If you could just go ahead and convert all of those windows servers containing all of our business value into linux, that'd be great, mmmmk?

Wouldn't it be cheaper for them to just stop upgrading to the latest and greatest and stick with what they've already got?

(I am a linux fan and don't even run windows, it just seems like it'd be more money and less cost effective to start switching over just leaving things alone).

Re:Hi Peter, (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452329)

It would be cheaper to stay with what they already have, if only it were that easy...

What happens when the current software reaches end of life? No patches, gaping security holes, nothing you can do about it... Have to upgrade, and possibly upgrade the hardware at the same time.

What happens when you need to buy new or replacement hardware, the old software may not run on it, or its license may forbid it, meaning you now have some new and some old. Will you be able to run old alongside new, or will you start having compatibility problems that will force you to upgrade everything?

If you move to open source, then future upgrades are a lot less painful, and its easier to retain older versions if you need to.

Re:Hi Peter, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452701)

So.... how long would it take to re-educate all your IT staff & programmers for the new software? Or would you just fire them and hire someone who already knows the new stuff? Add the cost of doing either to the cost of converting all of your company's data assets over (as drunkennewfiemidget said) to the new format. Take that total cost, add 10% for unforseen costs involved with the whole process, and compare to what it would have cost to just stick to your guns and keep using whatever you were using before (remember, hardware costs/requirements will go up regardless which software you use, so those ought to even out, more or less). How much would you actually be saving if you came out ahead? Or would you break even, in which case, what was the point? Or, if the cost of adopting OS software turns out to be more, then you'd have done all that work for nothing.

Just saying.

Re:Hi Peter, (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452697)

Yeah, so long as you're not looking down the barrel of a critical app that is about to hit end-of-life without an upgrade path. For instance, anyone who had a critical in house application using COM/OLE when Microsoft switch to .NET. You've gotta' switch before you've got no safety net, so why not use it as an opportunity to switch platforms?

OTOH, to switch platforms solely for cost reasons, while said platform is treating you well, is fairly irresponsible and probably more costly than riding out your current solution to its EOL.

Hell yeah! (5, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452001)

The year of the Linux desktop is finally to come.

...again.

You're more right than you think (1)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452611)

I think everyone understands that it would be impossible to just wake up one day and *pop* everything runs Linux. It's just not possible.

The only way Linux will come to the desktop is in a slow march. All this article is describing is another step, another foothold that free software has on the desktop. The 'year of the desktop' isn't 'coming'; it's here. Just not everywhere.

8 years ago.. (5, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452039)

I had a customer who needed to start from scratch with a new business. They could allocate about $5k for the whole database server. I priced out an NT+SQL Server (what they requested), and then priced out a Redhat ($50 at the time) box where we spent the same $ on hardware that we would have spent on software... so they got a kick butt system with $4950 worth of hardware versus a piece of crap machine with $3000 worth of software. That company is now worth something in the 8 digits range. (Wish I had an equity stake now!) That server also served their needs for 5 of the 8 years until a hardware failure, and all we did was move Mysql/Apache and the source to an externally hosted platform.

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Interesting)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452217)

Large companies will gladly pay for an expensive system that comes with guarantee for support. Microsoft + Intel is a good example. If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others). Same with MS.

If you cobble something cheap/free together you'll likely have a hard time finding a support solution that will take your problem as their own and find a resolution for you no matter how long it takes.

Re:8 years ago.. (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452315)

You can buy support from Redhat as well

Re:8 years ago.. (3, Interesting)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452351)

If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel

so the admin guys with MCSE's you employ to babysit your system guess its a hardware problem...and so the call intel.

whereby intel will direct you to the software vendor, who is clearly responsible for the ${fault} you have described. .. and such and such.

_or_ you could employ a couple of guys who know their way around f/oss, use commodity hardware and when a part fails, just replace it. if its under warranty, great, maybe get a fresh replacement part for the next one that blows. if not - meh.

all the support in the world isnt going to help if your raid array fries and the mcse's didnt back up the data....

my point is that if you have to have local support ( sysadmins, whatever ), then they should be able to handle 99 % of any problem likely to arise, the other 1% should be cheaper to just replace parts with - so what does ' vendor support' really get you?

Re:8 years ago.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453205)

Eh the situation you describe really depends on the company. At my last employer a major fault in a box that mattered generally resulted in a conference call with upper management and engineers from both $HARDWARE_VENDOR and $SOFTWARE_VENDOR wherein they got to blame each other until one convinced the other that it was their problem.

From that point it was a couple hours until $HARDWARE got replaced (including "we don't have a local part for you, so we're putting a guy on the next plane with one") or we got a custom build of $SOFTWARE that exactly matched our current deployed version (which was usually a version or two behind current) plus the fix we needed.

Big proprietary vendors really are capable of taking care of you in a way that their OSS counterparts (generally) are not. You just have to be willing to pay enough to basically employ all the people who are going to support you full time for the few hours/year you actually need them.

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453271)

``what does ' vendor support' really get you?''

Apparently, extra costs during normal operation, and extra costs in the event of failure, where you have to sit and wait for the support provider to diagnose the problem. And then maybe a free fix, if the provider decides that this is covered under their contract with you.

By contrast, without the vendor support, you have no extra cost during normal operation, and some of the people who would, in the vendor support scenario, be twiddling thumbs during downtime would instead be diagnosing and fixing the problem. And then you would have to pay for the fix.

There are a couple of scenarios where vendor support wins. For example, it could reduce your costs during normal operation, because your people don't need to be qualified to diagnose all possible problems - after all, that's what you have vendor support for. By the same token, if your people aren't as good at diagnosing problems as the vendor's people, vendor support may win in the event of problems, because they get diagnosed and fixed faster.

On the other hand, I prefer just having people who know the system well enough that they can anticipate and diagnose problems, and have spare parts on hand to deal with hardware failures. That way, I don't have to depend on a vendor for support, I don't have to pay the vendor for it, and I don't have to wait for the vendor to provide the support.

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25453461)

CYA, somebody to blame, not my problem, etc.

Re:8 years ago.. (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452377)

He priced out _Redhat_. If there's a problem with any of the software that comes with Redhat, you call Redhat and they will solve your problem.

Re:8 years ago.. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452383)

MS will often blame the hardware vendor, Intel will often blame the software...

What you really need is a system where the entire stack of both hardware and software is supported by a single vendor. Try looking at Sun, Apple or IBM. HP have some offerings too based on HP-UX and Linux, and SGI have supported linux offerings i believe.

MS don't offer hardware, and i'm not sure if Intel offer any kind of software support with their hardware (although they could easily support a version of linux running on their machines).

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452519)

Have you ever called Microsoft for any support? Get your credit card ready because just OPENING a support request will cost you ~$150 unless you have an Enterprise Agreement and even then, getting the information together they need before opening a support request made one of my previous employers break out his Visa card and bill it as a company expense. And I didn't know Intel made full machines that they support. Unless you buy an expensive machine from a vendor like HP or IBM, you won't get any level of support either (SuperMicro comes to mind) or yeah, you'll get some support (Dell) but they only know what any junior level sysadmin would know.

Buying Red Hat with a yearly support contract is cheaper in most instances since their yearly support cost as much as one support instance with Microsoft. Hardware isn't THAT difficult to maintain and support by any sysadmin worth it's money (any sysadmin even at junior levels that doesn't know how to diagnose a bad stick of ram or a failed hard drive should be fired). And if you want a nice combination of hardware and software support, cheap/free software and ease of use, get a Mac. Their servers are decently priced for what you get and their support is the best I have found so far in the industry (IBM actually has really good support too) and I should know I have a degree in electronics and have worked internationally for and with some of the biggest corporations in the world as well as large and small hosting providers and currently work in a large education environment, I know when someone is talking crap or is using a script on the other end of the line, I am usually transferred to second/third line support within the first few minutes of support calls.

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453075)

If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others).

Seriously? So if your RAID controller burns out, you can call Intel and they'll say something other than "Sorry, can't help, call your vendor"?

You buy a hardware support contract from the vendor who assembled the hardware, not from one of the component manufacturers. And the purpose of a hardware support contract is to replace faulty hardware after the initial warranty, not to debug the problem in the first place.

Re:8 years ago.. (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453137)

1) Red Hat does support entire OSS stacks. Other people do as well. You can also switch more easily if the support is not satisfactory. 2) MS will not fix every single bug you find as soon as possible - it could be a disaster for you and low priority for them.

Re:8 years ago.. (1)

ibmjones (52133) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453681)

I think you missed the point of the parent post - using free software enabled them to purchase hardware that allowed them to expand their business without any additional investment in their IT infrastructure (aside from the usual administration costs). By the time they outgrew their server, third-party hosting allowed them to move their business over easily and with no apparent significant cost.

8 years on a single server - that's an impressive ROI.

Re:8 years ago.. (2, Interesting)

neurovish (315867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453073)

What if the Red Hat license was the $350 - $1300 / year of use that it costs now? Would that company still have chosen it?

Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Sourc (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452045)

Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source

No! Really? I'm shocked!!! Who would have thunkit????

Nobody got fired for buying Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25452065)

And that's the problem. When the economy is in a downturn, people are going to cover their own asses and pick the "safe" option.

Re:Nobody got fired for buying Microsoft (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452455)

When the economy is in a downturn, the safe choice can quite likely lead to bankrupcy and, consequently, unemployment. Thus, it isn't safe anymore.

Great, but... (1, Offtopic)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452099)

I can't help but be a little peeved at this guy. Here is a situation where potentially thousands of people in the industry are going to be laid off because of this economic downturn, and all he can mention is how great it's going to be for OSS. I mean, I see his point and it may be a valid one, but he could be a little less gung-ho about it.

Re:Great, but... (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452251)

Here is a situation where potentially thousands of people in the industry are going to be laid off because of this economic downturn, and all he can mention is how great it's going to be for OSS.

well,

on the bright side - F/LOSS is priced with the developer in mind! all the poor windows mcse's will be able to re-tool themselves with nary a msdn cost amongst em!

Re:Great, but... (4, Insightful)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452429)

Here is a situation where potentially thousands of people in the industry are going to be laid off because of this economic downturn, and all he can mention is how great it's going to be for OSS. I mean, I see his point and it may be a valid one, but he could be a little less gung-ho about it.

Maybe he's hoping to hire some of those laid off workers. I do see your point though, I warned a relative about debt levels, houses, etc. Now I'm keeping really quiet about it. It's a really hard situation for people who didn't know how to evaluate the situation and went with what seemed like good advice because it was popular, only to be stung.

That said, it has seemed obvious to me since reading the GPLv2 and seeing RedHat 7 where this thing (OSS) was going, and I've always been a bit surprised that most people don't see it too. Proprietary licences are designed to benefit the business, GPL is designed to benefit the user (and the users they distribute to, in perpetuity).

How hard is it to work out that the software distributed in a manner that it benefits people (customers) will eventually gain dominance over software that is distributed in a manner that restricts customers for the benefit of the distributor? It is very unlikely that any other consideration will outweigh that in the long run although they often do in the short term. Tough economic times require purchases to be evaluated more thoroughly, so yes it is likely to benefit OSS.

Likewise, how hard is it to figure out that if you allow corporations to produce the money supply out of thin air as loans that you are headed for financial collapse? Tighter regulation can do nothing to prevent the collapse of a financial system based on money that isn't worth anything.

Not Convinced (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452231)

I would like to believe that Linux would be positively promoted due to the economy. However, re-tooling an enterprise or SMB from MS and proprietary software to Open Source is costly and time consuming. There is an up front cost to be considered. The selling points of Linux and OSS are not necessarily bound with cost (although it helps) but with flexibility, stability and security. These three items, if working properly, should be transparent to the end user (and upper management). Thus the argument would be, "See, nothing is happening - isn't that great!"

What is often not offered by OSS is ease of use. That is in front of the user and the under trained IT guy supporting them.

As an employee for a non-profit, OSS has been a lifesaver but it will be difficult to find a replacement who will be familiar with the OSS applications and Linux.

Re:Not Convinced (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452433)

As an employee for a non-profit, OSS has been a lifesaver but it will be difficult to find a replacement who will be familiar with the OSS applications and Linux.

suggest walk into any small business office and see how visual basic for applications has completely anchored the business processes in that company, and will be there till the business dies.

in that regard, crappy custom apps are always going to be harder to 'pick up', as at least with OSS apps there is a much wider pool of resources available to help.

Re:Not Convinced (2, Interesting)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453431)

not necessarily ease of use, but familiarity. Is Windows actually that much easier then Linux? I doubt it, its just that more people are familiar with windows so it gives the appearance that its easier then Linux

I can see this working the other way... (3, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452335)

A lot of businesses may become increasingly unwilling to take risks, such as radically switching their technology.

It's easy to take risks when business is good and there is plenty of cash sloshing around, but changing mission critical systems during bad economic periods will be seen as a bit too radical for many businesses.

Having said that, I think smart businesses will be willing to make the change in many cases, especially when there is an OSS drop-in replacement, or where they are implementing a greenfield system.

Paul

While it sounds great for servers... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452393)

...It's still a not-so-great idea for home desktop machines.

Since servers tend to require a lot less in terms of end-user experience, you can get by with a lot more command-line operations to get the server to work correctly in the first place. That's why you see IBM being perhaps the world's largest distributor of "big iron" minis and mainframes that run modified versions of various commercial Linux distributions, since it wasn't that hard to port Linux to them.

But a home user desktop machine is a completely different thing altogether. For home computers, not only you do need full software driver support for various hardware out there, but also make it relatively easy for end users to update their operating system to support any new added hardware. While Linux is getting better at this it's still behind both Windows and MacOS X in terms to full-function support for hardware out there. I mean, does the Linux driver for the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi series of sound cards offer the same full functionality as the Windows XP/Vista driver?

Re:While it sounds great for servers... (2, Interesting)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452557)

My experience was quite different. My first computer was a second hand box with 95 on it. I was a tinkerer, didn't know anything about anything (malware etc) but you can bet I learned how to reinstall windows 95. When I first installed linux I would dual boot because I couldn't get everything working. After time I got my linux partition doing everything I needed but I was still messing up my windows install. I just stopped reinstalling it. My tinkering just never seemed to render my linux installs unusable. It's good as a home desktop OS and has been for years, depending on who you are.

Hah, look who's coming back now! (5, Funny)

paniq (833972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452525)

First we were afraid
we were petrified
Kept thinking we could never live
with Windows on our drives
But then we spent so many nights
hacking Linux all night long
And it grew strong
And we learned to carry on
but now you're back
your battle lost
I just logged on to read about you
urged by your bosses to save costs
we should have told Novell to wait
We should have raised our service fees
If we had known for just one second
you'd be begging on your knees

Re:Hah, look who's coming back now! (2, Funny)

poormanjoe (889634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453101)

If only I hadn't lost all my mod points in the stock market!

Funny +1

random thoughts on this (3, Interesting)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452699)

On paper, RHEL is a tough sell against Windows. The pricing just isn't aggressive enough.

For CIO's with more foresight, migrating from Windows to Linux makes future migrations much easier. Since Linux is a very UNIX-y environment, it's relatively painless to move from one Linux flavor to another, or from Linux to another UNIX-y OS.

Migrating to or from Windows is the major point of pain. Once you can get away from Windows, it actually doesn't make a lot of sense to ever go back to it (again, because migrating the other way is so hard).

Linux, on the other hand, will run on every machine at the company. Everything from your cell phones to your desktops, x86 servers, midrange boxen, and mainframes. Your IT department can become far more efficient (read: less head count) managing UNIX and Linux across the enterprise instead of Windows on the desktops & low-end servers, something else on your bigger servers, something else on your phones, etc.

Re:random thoughts on this (5, Insightful)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452875)

almost.

what they need to do is stop investing in vendor lockin.

dont write that new app in dot net, do it in java with open source libs.

dont use oracle/sql server, use postgres.

with that first step tidied up, moving to an open source app server running on linux is very simple.

or even moving to a closed source app server on linux. or aix. or solaris - your apps, if well written, will not need to change one bit.

Re:random thoughts on this (1)

Tsagadai (922574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453061)

Because on paper you failed maths. If you have ever called Microsoft for support you would know the difference between a support contract and a software license. It's not a hard sell at all.

Re:random thoughts on this (3, Informative)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453485)

In fact, I have called Microsoft support in the past. And I found the experience to be one of the few gratifying aspects of being a Microsoft customer. Once you get past the costs, Microsoft support is (or was) truly top notch. Certainly much more effective than Red Hat's.

Then again, I haven't had to deal with Microsoft products in 3 or 4 years, and I haven't called Red Hat for support in about as long.

Coincidentally... (2, Funny)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25452781)

The Red Hat CEO also reported that the latest sun spots are a good reason to switch to Linux...

Or switch for free (3, Interesting)

Flagg0204 (552841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25453395)

'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs."

This makes Jim sound like a complete tool. People who want to save money by switching to open source solutions typically don't go to Redhat. You really want to save money? Switch to CentOS or Debian/Ubuntu. Those are free. In my experience companies usually use free solutions for the majority of their server fleet. For systems that require commercial support (Oracle, Weblogic, etc) they will use RHEL.

And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ...

On a personal note.....DONT DO IT! JBoss blows chunks compared to Weblogic 10. If you want a cheaper J2EE solution, look at Glassfish its getting a lot of attention and having used the last stable version it is actually pretty good.

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