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Linux Usage in the UK

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the penguins-in-peterborough dept.

Linux Business 280

pdajames writes "Techies don't seem to understand that businesses want to have a support contract with their usual supplier before they will buy Linux, even though the likelihood is that they may never need support. A survey in the UK showed that support concerns were the No. 1 factor keeping companies from investing in open source software."

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280 comments

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Noooooooo.....can't....resist.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321485)

FP!

Nudge, Nudge (4, Funny)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321486)

Man:
Evening, squire!
Man with hat:
Good evening.
Man:
Is your...does your sysadmin support Linux?
Man with hat:
I-I...I beg your pardon?
Man:
Your...your sysadmin. Does he support Linux, eh? Does he support Linux, eh? Eh?
Man with hat:
Huh, sometimes he has to support Linux, yes.
Man:
I bet he does! I bet he does! Say no more! Say no more! Know what I mean? Nudge, nudge!

Err... (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321796)

Shouldn't that by "Wink, wink; nudge, nudge"?

Re:Err... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321851)

Shouldn't that by "Wink, wink; nudge, nudge"?

Say no MORE!

Re:Nudge, Nudge (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321860)

I'm not sure why this is funny. I mean, I know it's from the "Is your wife sporty?" Monty Python sketch. But what has this got to do with UK uptake of Linux?

OK, I get it, Monty Python is the only recognisable UK comedy in the world. Right.

I know you yanks like the Python; I'm a fan myself. But there are many other British comedy talents, in general far superior to what I've seen coming from the states (of course, we brits do have the worlds most refined sense of humour).

Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge) and Eddie Izzard spring to mind for a start. Kenneth Williams, Peter Cook, Eric Morcambe... what can I say, as a nation we produce peerless wits. The Pythons were unique but by no means "the best" or "the most British"; in fact, I think you'll find their following is bigger in the States than it is over here.

My experience with LINUX (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321501)

I used to work as a consultant for a Fortune 500 company (more than 10,000 employees). As an expert in the field of IT consulting, I think I can shed a little light on the current climate of the open source community, and Linux in particular. The main reason that open source software, and Linux in particular, is failing is due to the underlying immaturity of the technology and the perception of the viral GNU license.

I know that the above statements are strong, but I have hard facts to back it up with. At the Fortune 500 company that I worked for, we wanted to leverage the power of Linux and associated open source technologies to benefit our server pool. The perception that Linux is "free" was too much to ignore. I recommended to the company that we use the newest version of Linux, version 9.0. My expectations were high that it would outperform our current solution at the time, Windows2000, which was doing an absolutely superb job (and still is!) serving as web, DNS, and FTP servers.

I felt that I was up to the job to convert the entire server pool to the Linux technology. I had several years experience programming VB, C#, ASP, and .NET Framework at the kernel level. I didn't use C, because contrary to popular belief, ASP and VB can go just as low level as C can, and the latest .NET VB compiler produces code that is more portable and faster than C. I took it upon myself to configure and compile all of the necessary shareware versions of software that we needed, including sendmail, apache, and BIND. I even used the latest version of gcc (3.1) to increase the execution time of the binaries. After a long chain of events, the results of the system were less than impressive..

The first bombshell to hit my project was that my client found out from another consultant that the GNU community has close ties to former communist leaders. Furthermore, he found out that the 'x' in Linux was a tribute to the former Communist philosopher, Karl Marx, whose name also ends in 'x'. The next bombshell to hit my project was the absolutely horrible performance. I knew from the beginning that Linux wasn't ready for the desktop, but I had always been told by my colleagues that it was better suited for a "server". As soon as I replaced all of the Windows2000 servers with Linux servers, the Linux servers immediately went into swap. Furthermore, almost all of the machines were quad-processor x86 servers. We had no idea that Linux had such awful SMP support. After less than 1 day in service, I was constantly having to restart servers, because for some reason, many of the servers were experiencing kernel panics caused by mod_perl crashing apache! The hardship did not end there! Apparently, the version of BIND installed on the server pool was remotely exploitable. Soon after we found that out, a new worm was remotely infecting all of our servers! We were not expecting this, because our IIS servers running on Windows2000 had never experienced a worm attack. Microsoft has always provided us with patches in the unlikely event that an exploit was found. It took us hundreds of man-hours just to disinfect our Linux servers! After just 48 hours of operating Linux servers in our server pool, we had exhausted our budget for the entire year! It was costing us approximately 75% more to run Linux than Windows2000.

Needless to say, I will not be recommending Linux to any of my Fortune 500 clients. In the beginning, we thought that since Linux was such "old" technology, it would be more mature than anything on the market. We also found out the hard way that rag-tag volunteer efforts responsible for Apache and BIND simply are not able to compete with the professional operations of Microsoft. I guess the old saying is true; "You get what you pay for!" Needless to say, I will be using Microsoft's "shared license" solution for my enterprise clients, rather than the communist GNU license.

As it stands now, I do believe Linux has some practical uses. I think it will be useful in a University setting for first year computer science students to compile their "Hello World!" programs on (provided that gcc won't kernel panic the machine). Simply put, Linux just doesn't handle the rigors of a real-world work environment.

MOD PARENT UP INSIGHTFUL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321598)

This post is just the plain truth.

DON'T READ THIS TRIPE ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321706)

This person has cut and pasted this crap from previous posts!

Just baiting people, don't waste your time.

DON' READ THIS, NOT ORIGINAL (POSTED BEFORE) (0, Offtopic)

wukie (684014) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321729)

This ANONYMOUS COWARD is spreading FUD.

THEN he replies to himself saying it's true.

Who needs support (3, Funny)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321505)

Support? Who needs support when you have the LDP! :)

Re:Who needs support (5, Funny)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321530)

Good lord man, that's not even funny in the Linux reality distortion field.

Re:Who needs support (1)

dknj (441802) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321542)

or Experts Exchange [experts-exchange.com]

-dk

Re:Who needs support (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321625)

A lot of UK businesses apparently...

Re:Who needs support (1, Flamebait)

essdodson (466448) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321699)

Hoorah for worthless and frequently contradictory documentation! LDP rocks...

the usual supplier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321508)

... you'd be hard pressed to get Linux support from Microsoft.

Re:the usual supplier (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321627)

... you'd be hard pressed to get Linux support from Microsoft.

Of course you can get Linux support from Microsoft.

Call them and ask them to solve a sendmail problem for example (assuming you want to waste $$$ on the support call that is) and you can bet they'll answer something like "Hmm, I think you really do need IIS sir. Would you like to hear more about it ?".

So you see, they do give you advices to help you solve your Linux problems ...

Re:the usual supplier (2, Informative)

eht (8912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321714)

They also made the award winning Microsoft Services for Unix 3 [microsoft.com] , that's right, Microsoft won a LinuxWorld award.

No issues here (5, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321509)

I can never see the problem, at my place the only support contract we have is for the AIX server. We have a liberal number of OpenBSD and linux boxes around the business, all running semi critical and critical systems, and we have no support contracts. All of it is handled inhouse by moi, we have redundant backup systems, and a good backup procedure. Any issues i get that i cant resolve, i can usually find a good answer from mailing lists, google or IRC. Seriously, how many of these same people have support contracts for their Windows systems?

Re:No issues here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321544)


You better have a support contract for that AIX server, since that is the first OS SCO will be suing you for using!

Re:No issues here (5, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321599)

Seriously, how many of these same people have support contracts for their Windows systems?

What we're talking about here is places like my day job, where we have someone from Microsoft on-site full time. I was most upset when I found out, I mean, how pathetic, but there you are.

Support matters when you're a large company who is in it "for the long run" as I've been told.

Yes, we use Linux, but we have support from the supplier (SuSE just now, RedHat to come).

I can't implement software without a support contract! Isn't it insane? I was going to install a little GPL'd FTP proxy because our Microsoft proxies were failing, first thing management ask is "where's the support coming from?" Heh, a couple of hundred lines of C but it needs supported.

Re:No issues here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321744)

> I can't implement software without a support contract! Isn't it insane? I was going to install a little GPL'd FTP proxy because our Microsoft proxies were failing, first thing management ask is "where's the support coming from?" Heh, a couple of hundred lines of C but it needs supported.

Management didn't ask "where's the support contract", they asked "where's the support coming from?". If you get hit by a truck immediately after installing that FTP proxy, who maintains it? You've made those kinds of arrangements, yes?

No? Well, no wonder your management's so nervous. You've done nothing to help ease their concerns, just settle by with making clever remarks.

Re:No issues here (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321767)

Management didn't ask "where's the support contract", they asked "where's the support coming from?".

No, I should have been more clear. They asked "where's the support contract".

I said, "I'm speaking to OpenCare [in France] and Cendio Systems [in Sweden]".

OpenCare went bust shortly after I received the "We'll get back to you soon!" email.

Cendio wanted about £5000 to "do a feasibility study" and there was no guarantee, or even a positive feeling, of support after that; if they decided they could support it, we were looking at several thousand pounds a year. That would be OK, but wanting £5000 up front with no firm return was unacceptable.

It isn't about "support". (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321749)

"Support" is just the name they give to their fear.

They are afraid to use Linux because Linux hasn't achieved the market dominance they feel comfortable with.

If Linux had 51% of the desktop market, they'd feel comfortable with the risk of having their current Linux support person/company becoming unavailable.

This is about fear. You cannot remove fear with facts.

But who cares? The businesses that have people who can evaluate the risks and benefits will make the jump first. And they will reap the rewards.

As each year passes, more companies will feel comfortable enough to switch.

Don't sweat the "support" issue. Support is readily available and easily found. But pointing that out will not end stories such as these.

This is about fear.

Issue is about AVAILABLE support ! (1)

wukie (684014) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321775)

AIX has available support.

What is required on a commercial OS is immediate support, not a week or month from "mailing lists" which might have the wrong solution aswell.

You probably won't believe this, but larger companies do not upgrade every 6 months. Any server put in today, needs to run up to 5 years. What holes will be uncovered in you version of Linux/FreeBSD, and who will provide commercial quality (i.e. vigorously tested) patches?

Another cluebie post... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321526)

"even though the likelihood is that they may never need support."

Nope. Businesses rarely use support. Nope. No-siree. Oh... wait...

Isn't that what Redhat is for? (1, Insightful)

StrifeCX (589172) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321532)

Honestly I could never see anyone making any money from linux exept when selling support. Or hardware. Reason I guess why IBM loves it. Isn't that what Redhats buissness model is? Support and hardware?

Linus should provide support. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321624)

This is the big flaw of Linux. OSS Zealots clain that with OSS, one can contact the creator directly if needed. Well on my Linux install, there is no way that lets me get a direct line to Linus. This is fucked up. I feel like I have been bait and switched. Linus lied

If Linus is not interested in providing support, he needs to cancel this shit. Someone please post his phone number, I need some troubleshooting done.

Re:Isn't that what Redhat is for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321801)

Honestly I could never see anyone making any money from linux exept when selling support. Or hardware.

Most of the money made from Linux is by people using it. Support and hardware can be money makers too but they're relatively peripheral (and are dependent upon the people who are profitably using it).

It's an excuse... (5, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321533)

Developer: I'd like to use Linux for this project.

Manager: I'll check with our suppliers to see if they support Linux.

Suppliers: hahahaha.

Manager: sorry, developer, company policy is clear: no support, no project.

Developer: COM+ gnash MTS splutter IIS damnation.

Re:It's an excuse...Make the money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321594)

Yeah that's one way to look at it. But in these tought economic times it can also be seen as a money making opportunity. You say you want support? Well for this much money I will support you. Any other questions I can help you spend money on?

Some companies aren't scared of it. (3, Informative)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321538)

Some companies aren't scared of it.

It's just a case of time before everyone else gets in on it. [informationweek.com]
Of course there are still those companies that will always eat the dog food they're given, rushing to pull the money out of their pockets.

Re:Some companies aren't scared of it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321612)

They'd better start negotiating their license agreements with SCO now. Once they've won the lawsuit they probably won't agree to as generous terms as they will now. And I have a feeling you're not going to want to run Linux without a valid SCO license in the future.

I totally agree 'its about support stupid' (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321557)

Almost every high level manager I've spoke too, that is their #1 concern.. ' If you are not around, who do I call when its broke?'.

They understand the stability, the lower cost ( notice I didn't say free. it does cost something to maintain ), and that it *can* replace functionality of the commercial alternative at this point, but being out on their own worries them. And rightfully so.

Even down to the techies that defend Microsoft, that is their one remaining argument,that they have the huge support team back in Redmond to call on. And scoff as you want about Microsoft support, if you are a big enough dealer they WILL help you, they do have actual competent engineers hiding somewhere.... and the managers know this..

Having somone like IBM sell support, or even produce their own 'commercial' distrobution + support would go a looooong way to get past this.

IBM does sell support. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321591)

And they have for years.

IBM will sell you worldwide, 24x7x365 support for Linux.

They dont advertise it well... (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321632)

Then few people out side the industry know about it.. even I was unaware they would.

Marketing that would help a LOT.

Even some of their techs and sales guys don't know this.. I've spoken to some at our place on occasion wile they are working on things, or working out costs for the next round of PC upgrades...... they had no clue either..

Re:They dont advertise it well... (1)

henrygb (668225) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321759)

They announced it in a press release [ibm.com] in January 2001, and have several pages giving a description of the offered service. [ibm.com]

In the US, IBM runs TV ads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321760)

On the "telly" as it is known in the UK.

A manager in a panic because all of the servers are missing.

Tech: "I told you I was switching over to Linux this weekend."

A shot of a single server in a huge, empty room.

I like that commercial.

Re:I totally agree 'its about support stupid' (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321737)

"What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" do you not understand"

The point?

The point (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321779)

Its my signature, it's not related to the story in any fashion.

If you have to ask what it means, in the proper context, read my journal.

I totally agree its about support stupid-Wrong end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321840)

"Almost every high level manager I've spoke too, that is their #1 concern.. ' If you are not around, who do I call when its broke?'."

And yet companies see no problems with treating their employees like dirt. [slashdot.org]

Maybe the #1 concern should be: If I overwork you, cut your pay, shorten your vacation time, etc who do I depend on when what I bought breaks?.

Support is everything (2, Insightful)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321558)

From the article:

Yates gave the example of an installation of 50 DHCP servers running Linux, which was set up several years ago, and for which the technical support is tenuous. "The people who set them up have gone on to other projects," he said. "People are terrified about what the support would be like if something went wrong."

I think that pretty much sums it up. Too many people thing computer = Windows and don't know how to use anything else. So if the Linux server (God forbid) breaks, who will be around to fix it?

And no, whatever monkey was assigned to look after the box after the guys who were l33t enough to set the whole thing up is probably not going to research the problem. He was probably hired to look at the pretty light and call whatever vendor's tech support when the light went out.

That, and if something does go wrong, there's someone else to blame.

Re:Support is everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321781)

> I think that pretty much sums it up. Too many people thing computer = Windows and don't know how to use anything else. So if the Linux server (God forbid) breaks, who will be around to fix it?

And your answer to this question is?...You seemed to have missed the phrase "...and for which the technical support is tenuous." when discussing those 50 Linux DHCP servers. Too many people don't know how to use anything else, and too many people aren't advertising/marketing Linux support when there's a growing need for it..

Re:Support is everything (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321834)

That's the problem, it doesn't matter to the decision makers. No support is a big deal breaker, even if the downtime for the system in querstion is once in never.

There is no answer to the question until some big name breaks out the Linux support.

If you pay peanuts (2, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321855)

It's good that the I.T. industry is in recession.

It's weeding out a lot of the complete numpties. It's also weeding out a lot of the companies who have absolutely no idea how to manage their I.T. costs effectively.

One of the companies I worked for were spending half a billion dollars a year on their I.T. systems with absolutely no idea why or what was happening to the money. They haven't been making a profit, obviously.

Identity and accountability (4, Interesting)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321561)

It's not so much about the actual amount of open-source tech support out there -- we know full well there's a hell of a lot of it -- but about about tech support identity.

Who do you call for trouble with Windows? Microsoft. Trouble with DB2? IBM. Trouble with Red Hat or SuSE Linux? Red Hat or SuSE. What if one of your critical machines happens to be Debian and the one guy that configured it isn't home? Is management going to endorse going to a mailing list or USENET for the solution? What if those sources are wrong?

Quite simply, the very nature of open-source development does not lend itself to the establishment of centralized technical support, which is exactly what corporations are looking for. Perhaps individual companies whose sole focus is tech support of open-source operating systems and applications could emerge as viable contractors.

Re:Identity and accountability (1)

cdc179 (561916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321777)

Quite simply, the very nature of open-source development does not lend itself to the establishment of centralized technical support, which is exactly what corporations are looking for.

-->RANT=ON

This is just another example how managers are full of shit and should get their heads out of their asses!

-->RANT=OFF

There is plenty of support available as others have mentioned a few (IBM, SuSe, etc...). Why would want just one company providing support? One central company providing support is called a monopoly.

Re:Identity and accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321821)

Who do you call for trouble with Windows? Microsoft. Trouble with DB2? IBM. Trouble with Red Hat or SuSE Linux? Red Hat or SuSE. What if one of your critical machines happens to be Debian and the one guy that configured it isn't home? Is management going to endorse going to a mailing list or USENET for the solution? What if those sources are wrong?

Huh? Going with Linux doesn't mean you have to use multiple distros, and a random scattering of open source apps. People who have trouble with Microsoft Windows call Microsoft, people who have trouble with Redhat Linux call Redhat. How is this anything but equal?

Quite simply, the very nature of open-source development does not lend itself to the establishment of centralized technical support, which is exactly what corporations are looking for.

What? You have just mentioned two examples to completely undermine this position. Trouble with Redhat Linux, call Redhat. Trouble with SuSE Linux, call SuSE. That is one of the core business models associated with open source development - package up open source software in a known configuration, and sell support for it.

Hey... (5, Funny)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321565)

the UK has computers now?

Re:Hey... (3, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321727)

Yeah we do have computers but most of them were obliterated by friendly fire a few months ago from rogue smart bombs.

Note to overly patriotic mods: this is just a [bad] joke

Re:Hey... (1)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321730)

Bleh I'm from Kendal in the Lake District, mate. I too was just telling a joke :P

Re:Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321757)

I'm from Kendal in the Lake District
My condolences :p

Re:Hey... (2, Funny)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321814)

bleh... we have mint cake you know!!! MINT CAKE!!!!

Re:Hey... (3, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321751)

now?

we had them FIRST

Re:Hey... (1)

Pinguu (677142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321827)

(Score:2, Insightful)
(Score: -2, Doesn't understand sarcasm)
:P

Microsoft (1)

sn0wflake (592745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321568)

I'm wondering why in all the places I've worked we never called Microsoft for support. Maybe because support is asking a friends friend for complicated problems.

Is there really a need for supporters since everything can be answered in webforums or otherwise read?

Re:Microsoft (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321807)

Is there really a need for supporters since everything can be answered in webforums or otherwise read?

Paied support is like insurance. You pay your yearly premium hoping you will not need to claim, but when you need them they are there. Its simple risk management. What's $120 per PC, per year to your average company anyhow?

Why not get support ? (4, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321573)

SuSE offer support [suse.co.uk] to those in the UK (and elsewhere) that want it. It is just more FUD that you do not get support with Linux, it is just an option to save your cash and not buy it if you do not want it.

I blame the British 'techie' environment. (5, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321577)

I think the main reason British is such an 'open source third world country' is because of the techie environment here. In regular schools, all you learn about is Microsoft, Microsoft and Microsoft. Why? Because Microsoft supplies the schools and makes money from the schools. [theregister.co.uk]

I have a lot of friends who are techies who came through the 'proper' way. That is, they were educated at college, did courses, and got qualifications. They're good guys, but when it comes to solving something, IIS and VBScript are almost the only two solutions!

One friend of mine was whining that he needed to build a new server and migrate and mirror data over to it. I suggested using an NFS server. This isn't rocket science, but concepts like these are unknown to the millions of lower-end techies in the UK. Why? Because Microsoft is #1. I know a lot of people studying for MCSEs, yet they're barely computer literate. They can get around in Windows 2000 or XP, but throw them at any command prompt (even DOS) and they balk.

UNIX and its variants just aren't considered cool within the larger techie environment in the UK. Microsoft has very deep roots here, unlike in the US technical fraternity, and most UK techies are so stupid they won't leave what they know.

I can't really venture as to the exact reasons for this... but perhaps it's because the British are used to doing things one way. I mean, we only had a single national telecoms provider, a single national gas provider, and a single national postal service until ten years ago. Therefore, when schools only show that Microsoft is the way.. the average Brit will nod and use it.

Another problem is the lack of decent IT education in schools. There are very few 'computer clubs' in UK schools, and those that do exist are only there for allowing kids to perhaps do something in Pascal under Windows, or to do their regular homework in Microsoft Works.

UK schools need to be more open, like US schools. US schools often give budgets to their computer clubs.. I mean, look at the Ask Slashdot thread the other day.. they ponied up $4000 for the guy to build a server system and get some connectivity. What a learning curve his computer club will have!

In the UK, by comparison, everything is so bureaucratic and purchases are so decided 'by the local education authority' that any choice other than Microsoft Microsoft Microsoft is effectively vetoed.

Personally I think this is great, because people who DO know Linux, who DO understand Computer Science properly and who DON'T have MCSEs, get rewarded reasonably well in the UK! But.. the knowledge just isn't there, and while Microsoft gets rammed down the wanna-be British techie's throat, Microsoft will prevail.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (2, Informative)

Cassius105 (623098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321683)

I totaly agree

im at college in the UK at the moment just finishing off a national diploma in computing

and i was talking to the sysadmin at out college

even though it would save the college money and make the network run faster he is actualy forbiden from using non microsoft software to run the college network

its fucking rediculouse

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (0, Offtopic)

Omicron32 (646469) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321728)

National Diploma?

What did you get in english? :P

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (0, Offtopic)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321771)

"must try harder"

Let me just clarify I'm not anti-Microsoft. (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321685)

I just want to clarify. I'm not some anti-Microsoft zealot. I use Microsoft software, and I prefer to use Microsoft Windows 2000 rather than Linux as my desktop working environment.

I actually like a lot of Microsoft stuff, but my main complaint is that Microsoft is too often see as 'the only solution' here. Now that's screwed up. Microsoft is an okay company producing 'okay' products, but they're just one of a bucketful of vendors who should be considered.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321689)

I know by experience how developers from the UK are and this is truth. If it ain't by Microsoft they say ohh no... that isn't going to work and you're an idiot for not knowing better that Microsoft's way is the ony choice in the world of computer solutions.... What the fuck ever!

Please think of the idiot choices in the UK, choose Linux and learn C/C++, god damnit! ;)

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (1)

vnv (650942) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321733)

As you know, the British government has a long tradition of spying on their citizens. From a recent article [go.com]
"A new British bill would enable law enforcement officials to watch every byte of e-mail as it passes through the country's networks, in real time. The government's Home Office says the new system is necessary to catch criminals who do their business online."
Unfortunately, the governmental monitoring dictates that Microsoft be the only available "option" for software. Britain's government has the same "monopoly for spyware" deal that the US government has.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (2, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321742)

I was going to argue with you, but after editing and re-editing and eventually deleting, I think you have some very good points. Unfortunately I've posted here already so I can't use my mod points.

I would add: conservatism. A breed of conservatism that I don't think exists elsewhere. I mean, look at our judicial system, we've only just got rid of the 1,400 year old post of Lord High Chancellor.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (2, Interesting)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321755)

I personally blame the demise of the BBC Master - after that with their fancy Acorn/RiscOS GUIs teachers no longer needed to program anthing at all.

My school followed the same restrictive policies as most while I was there, lock everything down, don't let the kids play - even though drives can be reghosted fast (you could leave at least one machine for messing around) and screwing up the software doesn't break the hardware. That would have encourage creativity. The computer club was about _using_ software not _developing_ it or even pushing it's limits.

My university isn't much better - officially it's Microsoft for everything. Even the SU spam server (really, they partner with an odious outfit called Uniservity) runs on exchange. Thankfully the techies know what they are doing and the routers and mail system run on Unix, and there are a couple of semi-public Solaris boxes if you know who who to ask for passwords. They even unnofficially support the local LUG with disk space and a mailing list - but it's a far cry from educating people about why Unix is a good thing.

The engineering department is the latest casualty to this - the CAD lab just got rid of SPARCs which ran for 5 years with no admin in favour of new x86/2k boxes that crash once a week. The BIOSes are locked so that you cannot dual boot with a Knoppix CD. They have even stated that you cannot install VNC and talk back to your box in halls, and have disabled Java applets to stop that too :o(

The sooner educational insitutions wake up to what is going on and realise that they are there to allow students to _learn_ not to restrict them the better. Probably not much chance though when everything they get is funded and dictated by industry.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321804)

Well, I spent three years at the University of Westminster, and never used a PC once. I used Pine to do my email via a VT100 emulator on a Powermac, Excel for graphing most of my data and Quark Xpress for writing my reports.

If there's something that Unix (well, Solaris) servers and Mac clients can't accomplish together in higher education, I never tripped over any of them during my degree.

Re:I blame the British 'techie' environment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321785)

I totally disagree. I went around looking at colleges in which to read my BSc in computer science last year. I visited all the majors (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Durham...) and all of them had more lab machines running Linux than MS Windows. The major languages were Java and C.

hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321581)

With all this FREE software that eventually (hypthotically) EVERY COMPANY will use. Who is going to pay you for you're work? (Assumption you are a software developer etc). But Its FREEE man, don't come crying to me because everybody has programs free, and even the source. But.. but... yeah i hear you cry. What about all those IT companies that used to make money from closed source, what shall they do, all those junkie out of work developers. Not enough places for them all.

Re:hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321595)

Yes you can still sell closed source, but hey look what I found, a comparable product thats FREE and OPEN!!! woo yay lets not BUY that closed source anymore. Will code for food anybody?

Uh, Redhat ? Linuxcare ? Suse ? Support BBS ? (2, Insightful)

OneInEveryCrowd (62120) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321585)

Could many of the people who responded that they didn't have Linux because of lack of support just be uninformed types who haven't done their homework and wouldn't use linux anyway ?

I can see this... (3, Interesting)

Dysan2k (126022) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321592)

Well, as one who's had to use support contracts in the past (Cisco and Oracle specifically along with a couple of very poorly built proprietary apps), I've seen the value in this. Being an expert in something does NOT mean you know everything, and it's nice to have someone you can pick up the phone and talk to, getting your critical machines back up and running.

Even library projects have given me the fits both professionally and non. QT support helps in a LOT of cases where documentation is SEVERELY lacking, but in other cases (kernel issues I had), the support from the maintainer was "less than shining". And people constantly say "Don't expect anyone to get off their duff to fix YOUR problem unless you pay them." Well, that's kind of the line of the support contract. I'd rather my job not be in jepordy due to some individual who could care less about the past work he's done.

So, support contracts? Sure. Make them reasonably priced, and not read like stereo instructions. Simple pricing, simple support, and simple solutions. And don't expect M$ to give you much support as I've run into massive horror stories (usually related to Exchange). It's nice to have your problem solved, and not spend 3 hours "guessing" you have fixed it. Besides, having a second person to get ideas for solutions from is hardly a bad thing.

Reminds me of Tommy Boy (1)

KingArthur10 (679328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321600)

Something like: "Your product doesn't have a guarentee on the box. Customers want that. Calling to them. Comforting them. 'Pick me, I won't let you down.'" The problem with that is, how great is the support at most places anyway? You end up with your "daughter knocked up" (aka a new problem) and the "change is missing from the dresser" (aka, to get it done right, you have to spend an extra arm and a leg). Just my two cents (since I have no sense ;-) )

Sounds like easy money... (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321613)

Start a business selling support for Linux. Sell it by seat, at perhaps $200 per seat per year (or something a bit lower than the business support agreement for Windows). Add a $400 per user install and one time training fee. Pay higher a former teacher to provide education at $30k per year. Word into the contract that additional one day training sessions are available for $500 per day per user.

Configure a basic user workstation and server set, with scripts to auto update bug fixes first copies to one or more servers (depending upon seat base size) with re-distribution down to the desktop. (i.e. nightly ftp mirrors from your favorite security mirror for the distribution(s) in use, and a update shortly after that to all workstations, use anacron or other cron deamon that will catch the fact an event should have happened while a workstation was powered down.)

Sell your services to businesses in England.

Profit.

-Rusty

p.s. yes I know its not quite that easy, it needs to be fleshed out a bit.

Re:Sounds like easy money... (1)

sully67 (550574) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321644)

>Sell your services to businesses in England.
Yeah, wouldn't want to have to deal with those tricky Scottish and Welsh accents.

Re:Sounds like easy money... (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321679)

I'm sorry, being partly Scottish Highlander myself (though it gets interesting when visiting the family tree throgh Virginia) I usually bash the box around a bit rather than ask others for support, and felt this was the normal state of events for the Scotts, Northern Irish and the Welsh. I should remember never to take a generalization like UK businesses and restrict it's meaning to the standout representatives of that class who happen to be in London, (where they should probably be looking up at their heads on pikes for stupidity)

-Rusty

Re:Sounds like easy money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321741)

If their head's on a pike how do they look up at it?

Do you pluck their eyes out or something?

Re:Sounds like easy money... (4, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321645)

note also one should remember that when selling services to England, take the value you price at in dollars, remove the dollar sign, add a pound sign, leave the numbers alone, and you just added about a 33% mark on.

Really, people. (1, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321620)

even though the likelihood is that they may never need support.

Now, isn't that a bit presumptuous?

I don't care what OS you run on your desktops/servers, stuff is going to screw up. It's the techie's job to minimize the impact.

Re:Really, people. (0, Redundant)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321702)

And of course, all those running Windows will have stuff screwing up left, right and centre. Blue Screen Of Death, Blue Screen Of Death, haha!

(Score:5, Anti-Microsoft post)

Disclaimer: this is sarcasm

If you build it , they will come. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321622)

Well, its built, so where are they? (the applications).

I am still waiting........ and waiting.....

Support Clearing House? (4, Interesting)

PM4RK5 (265536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321631)

Maybe what Linux needs is a giant support clearing house. By that, I mean that most open source projects don't have the resources to have their own support department, but if one were to form a company or other institution with a handful of linux techies, companies could use OSS and rely upon the said support clearinghouse for their support needs, should they actually need help.

And in some ways, that might be better, because if you have a handful of people who understand the software itimately, you won't have to cut through 3 layers of workers before you get to the "Engineer" level.

In addition to that, the cost of support is taken away from the maintainers of the OSS projects, and placed in one company which could take the revenue and pay their own costs, and then distribute profit (if any) amongst open source projects, possibly, to help improve the OSS? I know that's idealistic, but hey, it could happen...

Anyways, just my thoughts on the issue.

Re:Support Clearing House? (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321811)

What are you saying, that you want a giant monopoly doing free software support staffed by a handfull of techies?

How about just "let's have some companies offering support"?

Linux support (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321634)

XYZ ltd wan'ts linux on its 200 PCs. They pay £0.10 for the cost of a downloaded copy of Debian linux.

XYZ ltd configures linux and makes a disk image, and images its computers.

One day, XYZ ltd wants to install KDE 3.2. It downloads the RPMs for it but the dependancy hell is so bad that the need help. So they contact Debian corporation and they pay £1000 to get told RTFM or switch back to windoze.

XYZ ltd then reinstalls windows and then tell ALL it's clients that linux is SHIT and they wasted money to get told a 4lw.

Debian corporation goes out of business while microsoft laughs in it's lock in with XYZ ltd.

-1, troll^H^H^Hue.

Sounds like a Business Opportunity to me (5, Insightful)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321649)

Techies don't seem to understand that businesses want to have a support contract with their usual supplier before they will buy Linux

Can you say "business opportunity"? I now only install and support only Linux solutions (I don't do Windows anymore - I have other "grunts" with MCSE's who do that for cheap). The sell is simply two points 1) Open Source products use Open Standards, which will interoperate with anything. 2) The business decision to keep, update or upgrade company software is back in the software buyer's hands. If you want to keep your software, or hire someone to [fix|add] features, or upgrade to the latest version - it's their choice.

The Redmond camp keeps hammering on the point that Linux doesn't have support. So hammer back on those two points: open standard interoperabilty, and the return of the business decision. It really shakes people up to realise they _do_ have a choice, and that Microsoft is not the safest choice anymore.

Get an Apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321651)

MacOSX ain't Linux, but it's as f**ken close as you'll get!

And the hardware components are tested to work with each other aswell...so your scanners will work without employing the biggest nerd on the block!

Re:Get an Apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321739)

but what happens if they ain't homosexual ?

Huh? (2, Insightful)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321660)

Never needing support?

With Linux?

Sure, maybe if you're Linus...

the focus on "support concerns" is rather ironic (5, Insightful)

vnv (650942) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321696)

Considering that with closed source software, over 80% of the total cost of "business software" today is essentially "support", it is ironic that this is the concern of those moving to open source.

According to the recently discussed Business Week article [businessweek.com] ,

"Analysts estimate business-software customers spend $5 installing and fixing their software for every $1 they spend on software."
If anything, open source will lower support costs as you can get support from more sources at a wider range of price points.

With a global support base of people with the same software, open source will rapidly lower support costs. Today people get far more information and many times higher quality information on problems via the net than they do from a manufacturer.

And beyond support, you can now directly hire people to work on the software changes you need to make your business work. That means you don't have to wait years for your vendor to listen to you. In today's hyper-competitive global business market, the time you save may be the difference between your business succeeding or failing.

All in all, open source is a giant win for business. Hopefully we can soon move past the incredible amount of FUD the closed source vendors are promulgating in the market.

Linux has problems with UK-l10n (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321711)

One of the problems with linux in the uk is the l10n problem. They just think that because we speak english they can just dump "americanisations" (note the s in isation) on us. But were different. We use Metric now, we use A4 paper, we use DD/MM/YYYY we spell colour with a u, and so on.

XFree86 diidn't even support keyboards with euro keys (alt-gr 4) until recently and gnome still chokes on that. The same problems occur to other english speaking countries as well, but I'll just have to put up with 06/28/03 until gnome uses 28/06/03!

Support (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321748)

Surely technical support is also the no. 1 way for open source producing companies to make money? For example, Red Hat (while I know they didn't produce all of GNU/Linux...) supply Linux for free and charge for support.

Besides I wasn't aware that Microsoft offered good technical support anyway so what's the difference!

Very similar situation in Israel (3, Interesting)

ohad_l (683421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321750)

Everything you see here, much like the comment by Peter Cooper describes, is Microsoft. The difference is that England can afford it, and Israel can't (palestenian conflict wreaking havoc on our economy and all). Piracy here is outrageously high, but Microsoft doesn't really care - especially in the past few years: more pirated copies means better lock-in. And they've got a point: Anyone who knows anything about computers here, it's all Windows. True, we have some very skilled hackers here, and people are generally very computer-literate... but Linux's penetration is very weak, mainly due to the fact that bidi (right-to-left text) is extremely hard to implement, and has only recently become usable in Linux. People are working on various distributions - mostly Knoppix-like - for Israelis, the most notable one being Kinneret: a bootable distro geared towards Israeli students. Why? Becaue our teachers openly encourage us to copy our compilers and IDEs from friends. Still, for my 12th-grade C project, I won't be allowed to use any compiler and library but Borland's old DOS one. As for support - the issue is very apparent here. The few Israeli "big-chiefs" who have heard about Linux are extremely concerned with support. Hopefully, our goverment will do something smart about it, like the support they've been giving the OO.o team.

Israel can't afford something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321861)

This is the most absurd thing I've read this year.

This guy is obviously not asking the backers, movers and shakers of Israel, of which many are living in "Little Moscow on the Hudson", the most exclusive area of New York [have a guess why Russia is broke], for cash.

Seriously, how many Synagogues are there in poorer areas of US, UK, Germany, Rome, etc.? Don't take my word for it, LOOK IT UP!

Israel is given billions in free cash from US taxpayers, not to mention free arms technology, making this tiny nation the 4th most powerful military superpower on Earth (look it up).

Have a guess why New York was attacked. It had nothing to do with US citizens. Note that only ONE Israeli died in the attack, while over 400 work in the building (LOOK IT UP).

To me this is another pathetic attempt by a people who always exaggerate the truth to make the rest of the world feel sorry for them.

If this guy is so poor, then what about the Palestinian who's home he is living in?

Re:Very similar situation in Israel (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321863)

"palestenian conflict wreaking havoc on our economy and all"

well, why don't you fucking LEAVE PALESTINE then?

fucking Nazis.

Really, now... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321782)

...I don't think the poster has any work experience as tech support.

even though the likelihood is that they may never need support.

1. If you make an idiot-proof system, the world will invent a new and better idiot (By who?)
2. There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupitidy. And I'm not sure about the former (Einstein)

Despite being a company, many companies don't have the qualifications in-house, or they simply don't want to spend time supporting their OS (it's not usually a "core competency"), so they want to have another company that specializes in that to do it. And I do think you can get that support if you want, but very few are aware that it exists.

Kjella

SLASHDOT CHAT ROOM!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6321790)

Yes! Slashdot now has a room on AOL Instant Messenger.

Join chat room "Slashdot" or use this AIM hyperlink: Click Here [nero-online.org] .

Click Here now [nero-online.org] .

More of an HR problem (1)

IdleLay (682465) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321792)

FFS - technology is a tool, not the business! There are plenty of people out that are Linux/*nix/*BSD proficient and lookig for work. If there company can't find the people to support their system, then it is more of a HR or business model problem. You recruit IT people who know how to solve a technical problem, not just one that can dial a bloomin phone.

Dream On! Every OS Needs Support (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321793)

>> ... the likelihood is that they may never need support.

Yeah, right. Linux is good, but it's not perfect. What happens when the boss comes back from the last roadtrip having bought a dozen steam-powered Twin Confabulators that she wants on every Linux server in the building?

Or, when the summer intern drops a coke on the billing server, doesn't tell anyone, and a week's worth of online purchases disappear?

Unless a business wants to commit to always maintaining an internal support staff regardless of cost, management has to know if the vendor is going to be there to provide support.

An equally reasonable reason to desire external support is that relying on in-house staff can eventually block forward movement. For example, if you're a Micorosoft house, with a veteran in-house support staff, you've got a subtantial amount of equity tied up in your commitment to Microsoft. The cost of replacing all those Microsoft techies with Linux techies can easily push a decision to stay with Microsoft.

50 DHCP servers (1)

bbcb (520333) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321831)

50 DHCP servers on one network ! Maybe they should talk to the router guys to open up DHCP relay and then cut down to 4 centralised servers.

We Here at SCO... (1)

ChrisSontagsAnus (685214) | more than 11 years ago | (#6321838)

Understand your problem completely. As soon as we have complete ownership of Linux, we pledge to give you 24/7 support for all your linux needs. If we feel like it. And if you pay us $1^9 per year. If you stop calling us bad names. After all, it's ours. It's all ours. We wrote it and Linus stole it. Support us and we will support you. But it will cost you. No more free as in beer. No more free. Pay us now and we won't shoot this dog. Ahhhhhhhh.......
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