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Ret. World Bank CTO on Desktop Linux TCO Facts

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the illusion-of-choice dept.

Linux Business 345

comforteagle writes "W. McDonald Buck, retired CTO of World Bank, believes we need to take a more honest and frank look at the Cost Analyses it will take to put Linux on the corporate desktop. In Part I of Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth he begins with one of the most common misconceptions... that a business can buy a computer without Windows and save money in the transaction."

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How to tell if you are a linux fanatic. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581977)

AKA a nazi fanatic loser.

1. You rejuvenate and dance when you hear a windows flaw exposed, but you conveniently ignore the thousands of security flaws exposed in linux.

2. You yell loudly TROLL! at any person's post or at any person you see posting facts that you do not want to hear about your oh so cool linux.

3. You know it's a classic case of penis envy, you don't have all the support, software and hardware available for linux and you have to let that anger out somewhere, but you don't have the brains to admit it.

4. You hate windows, hate Microsoft, but race to emulate windows, have programs to run office from within linux, and spend a $300 on a Windows emulator, only Windows fools.

5. You cannot admit that you don't have professional usage of Linux outside server markets.

6. You cannot admit that most of the joe user out there when told that there is linux will respond, what is that?

7. You cannot admit that there is no professional printing capabilities in linux.

8. You cannot admit that you are a masochist (otherwise why would someone spend hours playing with scripts,
and recompiling programs that are available for Windows?)

9. You cannot admit that there is no professional desktop publishing done on Linux.

10. You cannot admit that no one in their right mind would do professional video editing in Linux.

11. You cannot admit that linux sucks when it comes for gaming/home entertainment or education.

12. You have problems in understanding Windows, and you will blame your own incompetence on Microsoft.

13. You have problems in pointing a clicking, but have no problems in wading through cryptic scripts written by lunatics.

14. Nothing will get past that shit that fills your head, you will not admit to any facts.

15. You can't admit that naming of linux components, packages, and others are weird and fits profiles of troubled teenagers. gentoo, lgx, rpm ....

16. You feel angered because you were left out by microsoft's Media technologies, they support Mac, Sun sparc, but not linux.

17. You feel inferior deep inside but unable to admit it, you don't have a database as easy and powerful as Access.

18. You cannot tell that not a single office package outside Microsoft's is worth looking at or bothering with.

19. You don't know that your CD recorder software sucks.

20. You don't have DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW support in your pathetic OS.

21. While the rest of the world moves on, you're stuck in a stone age technology that needs third party software to boot into GUI.

22. You act out of prejudice, you kill file domains and users of specific news readers while you ignore the bullshit that your fellow linux losers post.

23. You don't know commercial support in Linux is almost non existent.

24. You miss the fact that companies are leaving linux because of the chaos, and the cheap linux losers who are unwilling to pay and support hard work, Corel, gaming companies,...etc.

25. You are unaware that linux has no terminal services (there is a lame one that no one uses), and commercial support for it is not happening.

26. You are unaware that setting up servers on Windows takes couple of minutes while on linux, good luck playing with configuration scripts.

27. You cannot admit that support for USB on linux is laughable at best.

28. You think that Linux is better because slashdot told you so.

29. You spend countless hours flaming people because they post their opinions about your oh so cool linux and your attitude, instead of researching things for yourself and understanding fact in order not to look this stupid.

30. You think that anyone who uses linux has a clue.

31. You think that linux cannot crash.

32. You think that everyone is interested in your conspiracy theories about Microsoft (or should i say M$ in order for you, teenagers to understand?), and how they destroyed linux, ...etc.

33. You keep ignoring the fact that thousands of linux servers get hacked every year, but it takes one Windows server hacked to get you and your fellow linux idiots to dance and celebrate.

Microsoft Astroturfers (0, Flamebait)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582008)

So, Redmond now has a corporate policy of encouraging its staffers to troll the intarewb that Bill gave us with Windows 95?

/me ducks

Re:How to tell if you are a linux fanatic. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582048)

I would agree except for the Access bit. Access/Excell is actually a very dangerous tool for companies. Sure it is ok for the one person perhaps 2 user database. But that is rairly the case. What happens most of the time this guy in makes an Access Database then it grows and grows scope creep kicks in and before you know it you have a full application written an access by some guy with minimal programming experience which leads to a lot of bugs and difficult to manage. Then it is often handed to IT to support and forcing them to read threw the code and rewrite it again (Wasting more time). If the program was sent to IT before all this stupid access/excell stuff the program would probably have less problems in the long run. The Developer usually can sense if the scope creep is fixing and and readjust the program design for more expandability. Access is much like Active-X controls on web pages. Yea they are handy but more often then not they are more of a problem then they are worth. As for the rest of your post I would agree.

Re:How to tell if you are a linux fanatic. (1)

fuzzbrain (239898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582173)

Yes, as you say Access is dangerous. But as I see it this is also its advantage: you can have a non-programmer or beginning programmer who works in the area that the programme deals with and who understands what the program needs to do writing a working prototype. Of course the thing to do is to get the tool to IT before scope creep has gone to far so it can be re-written properly. I haven't thought through this fully but sometimes I think it would be better to get a semi-working access program as a specification rather than a bunch of power-point slides or word document with an ill thought out description of what the application is supposed to do. At least the Access guy is forced to think a little bit about the business logic of the application. We need more tools to bridge gap between programmers and users and Access possibly helps with this-- though I'm sure there are better ways of bridging that gap.

Article before the slashdot effect kicks in... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581978)

I'm a Linux devotee. I'm offended by the rigged analyses that Microsoft has purchased in its "Get the Facts" campaign. But I think it is important that the open source community demonstrate fairly that open source software presents a better cost/benefit case than Windows. This case is not helped by resorting to the same kind of trickery and distortion of which Microsoft is guilty. I don't like to see obviously skewed analysis on Linux's behalf any more than I like to see it on Microsoft's behalf. No that's wrong. I have a greater dislike of pro-Linux trickery, because I expect better of us. Without an honest and frank appraisal we don't really know where we are. Better to know where we are, even if parts of the truth aren't always palatable.

So I set out to review some of the TCO analyses I had seen on the net. To begin, I wanted to get a realistic assessment of how much one could save on a Windows-free computer purchase. It's at least erroneous, and probably intentional distortion, to use the Windows shelf price of $299 in a TCO analysis. Nobody pays $299 to get Windows with a computer. A fair assessment of what they do pay is the difference between otherwise identical configurations with and without Windows. That is what I wanted to find, and so I went shopping. I thought this would be a relatively straightforward number to get. Silly me.

When I went to IBM's website I couldn't find an option on their desktops to enable me to buy Linux (or anything other than Windows). After diligent searching I simply couldn't figure out where IBM had hidden it. So I called their toll free number for help. This is IBM - you know, the company that has invested more in Linux than any other company? The company who says "the future is Open". That IBM. The sales rep explained that IBM does not sell desktop computers without Windows. I thought at first I was just getting the run-around, that the guy didn't know what he was talking about and just wanted to get rid of me. But he explained that I was not the first caller to ask for this, that he gets these calls from time to time, and he has, he says, checked it out thoroughly. There is no option to buy a desktop without Windows. In fairness, maybe this is part of the reason IBM sold the PC business.

Then I went to Dell's website. I had had some experience there a couple years ago, and had a memory that their configurator would allow me to pick operating systems. I was right, there was an operating system selection combo box which offered the choice of Windows XP Home or Professional. Where is Linux? It took me a while to figure out, but at least they sell such systems. Dell has invented a whole new series of systems, "the N series", which have pretty much the same features available but come with no Windows. This separation makes it pretty hard to compare: you have to drill all the way down into the regular systems from the top, and configure. To compare you have to back all the way out, and drill in again into the N systems. I'm sure the difficulty in comparing the prices is just an accident, of course. I did this a few times, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, because the systems without Windows kept coming out more expensive. Eventually I stopped trying to remember, and carefully wrote out an exact configuration, one that was simple, and that I knew was available in both places. PIV 3.0G 800FSB, 512M/400 2Dimms, 80G 7200, 48xCD, built in sound, video & net, basic KB/M, no speakers.

The boxes with Windows are less expensive than the boxes without.

Did you go back and read that sentence again?

I tried a lot of configurations. I was looking at the Optiplex line, including the SX and GX 280, and the 170L, and I found a few where the Windows option costs $10-$20 more. Just a few. Mostly the Windows boxes cost up to $230 less when you factor in the big "instant discounts" which are available only on the Windows boxes. I called their toll free number too, and another polite fellow explained to me that they have this assembly line, and they are all set up to install Windows, and an out-of-the-mainstream order without Windows is hard to deal with.

At HP I had somewhat more success. I was looking at the HP Compaq DC5000 and DC7000 configurations which they claim are business computers. They are sold with and without Windows. They even show them almost side by side - though never exactly the same configuration, but they can be configured with the same cpu, memory, etc. Here a bit more sanity prevails - the boxes with Windows cost more than those without, usually by $60-$80, sometimes as much as $130. Of course, my joy was spoiled when I realized that every HP box of my chosen configuration which I costed without Windows was $100 to $150 more expensive than the Dell boxes with Windows.

For fun I also tried some other places, but I didn't look quite so hard and the vendors might have successfully hidden things from me. At Gateway and Sony I couldn't find a non-Windows option. At CompUSA they don't sell name brands without Windows, but they do have exactly one configuration of one brand I never heard of that comes with Linux.

This was not an exhaustive and thorough exercise of checking and documenting every configuration. Nor did I spend time analyzing the differences between the boxes - how many slots, how big a power supply, etc. Could be someone will point out that the HP and Dell boxes were apples and oranges in some way. Maybe.

It looks to me, however, like the Microsoft monopoly has such a stranglehold on the tier 1 manufacturers that it is now not possible for a corporate shopper to save money by avoiding Windows unless they are prepared to go outside the first tier (which brings another whole set of buying issues in organizations with strong procurement rules), or unless the size of the deal is large enough to merit special treatment. Of course, if you want a computer without Windows they are easy to find on the net. That is actually how I bought my last one without Windows, of course. Small businesses may buy computers this way if they have or hire somebody tech savvy to help them, but I don't think this is how your average homeowner buys, and I know it isn't how large companies buy.

In Part II: The Hard Truth about Linux on the Desktop - The Hard Costs I'm going to continue my attempt at a more accurate TCO analysis for the desktop, reflecting the hard truth that saving money on the Windows license isn't going to be the big money saver that some analyses have assumed.

Re:Article before the slashdot effect kicks in... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582191)

You are claiming stuff about what a "corporate shopper" would experience by going around public web sites? Oo I'm sorry, but that is so fucking clueless I don't know where to start. When the place I work at was about to move away from Sun hardware their sales rep suddenly dropped their price quote something like 50%.

Of course we were buying some serious hardware and they knew we were going to be getting support for it as well for a long time. But even less serious corporate buyers will never be buying a single workstation and will never paying what joe sixpack pays either. Websites targeted at consumers have absolutely nothing to do with what corporate people pay.

Bring it on. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581979)

This guy is trying to make a fair TCO analysis of Linux Vs. WIndows and part 1 doesn't look good for Linux. Now it is time for slashdotters to say that businesses should Install all their systems from scratch or Buy the Walmart systems.

Re:Bring it on. (2, Insightful)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582011)

This guy is trying to make a fair TCO analysis of Linux Vs. WIndows and part 1 doesn't look good for Linux. Now it is time for slashdotters to say that businesses should Install all their systems from scratch or Buy the Walmart systems.


Well it might not look good to start when you can buy a windows dell for $400 but the same Linux dell costs $420

But DUH you can buy the Windows dell for $400 and install linux FOR FREE ON IT

Even then if you needed to deploy a hundred of them through all a company then you can make one main install of linux and mirror it everywhere.

So Linux actually can never be more expensive than windows even if windows is the 'cheapest' to buy from the store.

The best mac support on the wed [tribbles.org]

Re:Bring it on. (4, Insightful)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582049)

We're talking about TCO - Total Cost of Ownership. It takes time and effort to create an install and then mirror it to a hundred systems. The business pays for that time and effort. Even if it's an in house tech doing the job, at the very least his salary for the time spent doing the install should be factored into the cost.

And it's hardly a win for Linux to say that Linux is not more expensive than Windows. If we can't show a cost savings for Linux, it's a win for Redmond.

Re:Bring it on. (2, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582072)

> It takes time and effort to create an install and then mirror it
> to a hundred systems. The business pays for that time and
> effort. Even if it's an in house tech doing the job, at the very
> least his salary for the time spent doing the install should be
> factored into the cost.

Well then you can buy 99 Windows PC's for $400 and one Linux PC in the same configuration and mirror the linux PC configuration and put it on all the Windows PCs then. So then you save $99 times $20 or $1980 doing this. And you didn't have to spend on creating an install!. And when in the article he says Windows boxes cost up to $230 LESS with dell and 100 to 150 LESS with HP then over 99 computers that is a saving of $1450 to $2270.

That is latteral thinking!

The best mac support on the web [tribbles.org]

Re:Bring it on. (2, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582100)

I got those numbers wrong. I meant when in the article he says Windows boxes cost up to $230 LESS with dell and 100 to 150 LESS with HP then over 99 computers that is a saving of $14,850 to $22,770.

so twenty two thousand dollars saved by going with linux.

The best mac support on the web [tribbles.org]

Re:Bring it on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582185)

Yes, but Microsoft are still getting their money for 99 Windows installs. Your lateral thinking unfortunately gives MS a big wodge of licensing cash and a healthy lead in the sales figures.

Re:Bring it on. (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582076)

Well to be fair on the other side. A lot of companies do re image their systems anyways. Even if it comes with the OS they are using. Just because they want to install all there common 3rd party applications in one swoop.

But can you bring it off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582193)

Anyone who doesn't know that you should have written "their" rather than "there" (where?) needs to work on their command of homonyms. And I don't mean homosexual BDSM!

(this post brought to you by Grammar Man, picking Slashdot's nits since the 20th century!)

Re:Bring it on. (3, Informative)

MrPoopyPants (146504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582101)

Good point, but... Most businesses actually do make their own image of Windows and deploy it throughout the company (at least this has been the case for all the large companies I've been involved with). Usually it's easier to just reimage the hard drive than to install all the company's software on the default windows install (besides that, the image is updated with all the latest service packs and the version that came with the machine may not be).

So, Linux and Windows are dead even in this area.

I think the real problem is that hardware companies (Dell, Gateway, even IBM) don't have the guts to stand up to Microsoft and offer a real alternative.

Re:Bring it on. (3, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582203)

We're talking about TCO - Total Cost of Ownership.

You mispronounced 0wnership [immunitysec.com] .

Re:Bring it on. (2, Insightful)

yorugua (697900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582227)

I guess there are a couple of points that have to be considered in all this.

First : If the cost of a PC with windows is $400 and the same PC with Linux is $420, you have to realize that actually a PC with either Windows or Linux or BSD costs $400, because you can install whatever you feel like on that PC. After that, the cost of additional software for basic things also has to be considered. Windows is an obvious loser in that area (consider antivirus/basic editors/remote mgmt/whatever and the bill starts to grow).

Second: If you really think that for medium-large companies it's a hassle to have to re-install the machines with Linux if they have shipped with Linux, I guess that's not a problem. Actually, PCs where I work are being reinstalled anyway with the corporate image, so that time of reinstalling has to be counted on the TCO for both Linux and Windows.Then again, those images are more expensive for similar functionality with windows, than a similar image based on linux (and we have both where I work). Of course, maintenance of windows machines tend to be a little, well, harder and problematic, so it all adds on the TCO. \P>

windows and dell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11581981)

Linux installation cost penalty? Who would have thought?

Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (4, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581986)

When you buy into the Microsoft platform, you are buying endless upgrades for years on end.

When a user bought Windows 3.1, they also unwittingly bought Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, and Windows XP. This is planned obsolescense for no other reason except to keep Micorsoft shareholders happy.

With Linux, you avoid that ridiculous problem.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (4, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582046)

With Linux, you avoid that ridiculous problem.

If only 'twere true.

The problem with Linux is that over the years things have changed and broken binray compatability. This isn't a show-stopper usually, but if you do have some closed-source software from 5 years ago that you still want to run today, you are going to find all kinds of library dependency problems.

The thing about Linux is that most of your applications are Open Source or Free, so they get updated and recompiled incrementally as time goes on.

I bought some Loki games for Linux a long time ago. Some of them haven't worked in years because they depend on obsolete and deprocated libraries. If I had lots of time on my hands (which I don't have nowadays) I could probably spend several days looking out old source tarballs and doing a bit of porting, but life's too short.

Most people or businesses who buy software or computers to do a job need specific version of specific kernels with specific libraries and utilities and specific versions of applications that have been integrated, tested and certified to work together.

Windows is very poor at this. Linux is a bit better, but if you're using Linux commercially, you're probably using RedHat Enterprise Linux (or maybe SuSE), you've payed hundreds or thousands of dollars for the software license (for the OS), you've probalby spent tens of thousands on the hardware, you have a support contract, you'll have spent thousands on the applications and you'll have trained clued-up staff to deal with it all.

Does Red Hat garantee backwards compatability?

Can I get Red Hat ES today and Oracle and be garanteed that in 5 years time, my Oracle that I bought will still run, unchanged (same binary), still supported etc.?

Linux is much, much better than Windows, but no Linux company has solved this problem yet.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582159)

Uhhh, if you're paying the big bucks to Oracle for a license their gonna give ya a new binary if it becomes incompatable, duh.

Getting an Oracle license isn't like buying Quake 3, guy.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (1)

ibm1130 (123012) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582198)

Backward compatibility...
I'm sure you heard about the further delay in Winders Longhorn.
Know why that was?
They had to can the WinFS part and go to a plan B.
Some verbiage was mentioned about resource forks a la Apple HFS(?).
The insurmoutanble problem was apparently there was no way to make WinFS backward compatible.
My source sez it wasn't a question of performance at all.

YMMV, but... (1)

pb (1020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582216)

I thought your claim was interesting, so I figured I'd test it. I actually beta-tested Heroes 3 for Linux back in the day, and I liked it so much that I later bought a copy.

Now at the time I ran RedHat, but I've since switched to Gentoo. I just restored my old Heroes3 installation from an archive of it that I had lying around.

It works flawlessly.

Now of course I'm not saying that this will always be the case, but obviously someone's done something right, considering the timeframe involved!

As for running a 5 year old version of Oracle, if it didn't run for some reason on your current version of Red Hat, you could always try it on the original version. Or, you might want to get a current version of Oracle.

Then again, it might work just fine.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582220)

THe only system I know of with this kind of backward compatibility is OpenVMS. A 25 year old V1.0 OpenVMS VAX program will still run on a V7.3 OpenVMS VAX system today. Libraries and such have changed, but compatbility has been maintained consistently.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (1)

dvNull (235982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582223)

My loki games still work. At the most I have had to create a symlink to a certain version of SDL.

The same can be said for any industry (2, Interesting)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582086)

"Planned obsolescense" is something we deal with every time we buy a car or a vacuum cleaner. I'm not certain the Average Joe realizes this.

Parts break down and need to be replaced but, d'oh!, that line has been discontinued. Please upgrade your [[insert item here]]. That means buy a new(ew) car or new vacuum.

I've got an old eMachine P3 500Mhz happily running Linux and I believe this box is still capable of doing real work. Sadly, the mindset we all seem to share is that that old box is too, well, old and too slow. So corporate environments buy newer and bigger machines. Why? So our little automation tasks can running a little faster?

I don't know much of the specifics about Google's server farm, but from what little I understand, many of their machines would be considered old and obsolete. Meanwhile, they have those machines performing real work.

My old eMachine might be old, but damn if it can't crank out thousands of our little automation tasks per day. But people still want to have the latest and greatest. Maybe it's marketing that won us over, but if I were a business leader looking to keep costs down, I'd get as much value from these old machines as I could. But that's just me.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582126)

You also avoid the ridiculous problem of having to pay full time support staff to keep the damn typhoid marys running - unless you don't plug them into a network. Or better yet, don't plug them in.

I give the CTO of Worldbank the same credence I give Worldbank in general. Zip. A nest of thieves. If you can't smell the conflict of interest in this guy's perspective, you don't have a nose.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582169)

You avoid "this" ridiculous problem and bump into a dozen of others. Hardly is it a matter if you pay few bucks more for Windows license.

A little reality from my prospective - most user use their computers to make money, therefore they choose systems that work best for their use cases. They need quick learning curve, plenty of integration and interoperability between components, many off the shelf tools, low administrative costs, etc. and most of them don't give a heck whether it's Microsoft and someone else.

Honestly, do you think that Linux distros are ready to combat with these criteria and which of them?

For those that don't need the computer so much Microsoft is just a prominent brand. Rember what suit you bought last time you got a promotion.

Re:Yeah, but it's not a one time purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582194)

Not to talk about always having to buy updated antivirus, firewalls, and anti-spyware.

It's free!! (1)

panth0r (722550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581987)

But... but... but IT'S FREE!?!?!

Re:It's free!! (1)

panth0r (722550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582022)

Fine, I just won't bother

Ofcourse (4, Funny)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581992)

"The boxes with Windows are less expensive than the boxes without."

This is common sense, they're paying us to help dispose of their rubbish.

Well he ignores one big fact (-1)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11581998)

Well he ignores one fact here by only comparing buying windows with IBM DELL or HP and finding sometimes machines with windows are cheaper through them than with linux, they are in Microsoft's pocket!

he completely ignores when you can order your computer piece by piece and put it together not only cheaper for the hardware but there's no price fixing with windows included. in fact the price of a computer with no operating system like this is the same as one with linux!

So he purposely misstates any facts and says that windows is cheaper because some pricey manufacturers choose to sell windows for less than linux installed machines. This is silly too because you can just buy the chjeaper windows default install and put linux on it with a burned CD you downloaded for no cost. And then throw away the Windows CD!

The best mac support site on the web [tribbles.org]

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582015)

IDIOT!

He's talking about corporate purchases; where the company buys off the shelf, simply re-buying "their standard configuration" each time another cubicle needs filling. These kinds of customers don't build their PC from bits, you fool!

And they DO worry about tiny differences in price; because they get multiplied out by the hundreds of boxes getting bought by the whole company.

Get a brain before using your keyboard, FFS.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (0)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582034)

> He's talking about corporate purchases; where the company
> buys off the shelf, simply re-buying "their standard
> configuration" each time another cubicle needs filling. These
> kinds of customers don't build their PC from bits, you fool!
> Get a brain before using your keyboard, FFS.

Well sorry you are an irrelevant answer. You corporate buy a few dells in the standard configuration with windows or with linux whichever is cheaper and then put the linux mirror back on it. total time spent like minutes? And you don't have to pay to be locked into MS again! So your benefitting twice.

So either way if windows is cheaper then linux is the same price
And if linux is cheaper then windows is more expensive.

The best mac support site on the web [tribbles.org]

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582138)

I disagree with the poster claiming parent is an idiot. It is basic economics - a company wants a hundred platforms pre-built and installed from a 'parts list' then any corporate entity with half a brain cell is going to do this. (And they DO) Who gives a rats if IBM / DELL or whoever do not. (That is speculation at best, as I'm sure they do - just need to find the right contact)

The CTO in this instance simply did not do what most would consider even rudimentary research. He would be more deserving of the term 'ignorant' (or idiot)

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582158)

The thing you're missing (and the one that I'm sure is mentioned elsewhere on this thread, and that the author is hinting at) is that one of the main arguments for a lower Linux TCO than Windows TCO is that it avoids the Microsoft tax, thus saving you a lot up front to offset the possibly higher costs of learning the system.

I guess this isn't usually true in the corporate world.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582202)

He's talking about corporate purchases; where the company buys off the shelf, simply re-buying "their standard configuration" each time another cubicle needs filling. These kinds of customers don't build their PC from bits, you fool!

- they are reading this because they want to save money? YES?

Ok then....

And they DO worry about tiny differences in price; because they get multiplied out by the hundreds of boxes getting bought by the whole company.

- But you just said they want to save money? Surely building them from bits would save $$$. I know it does at my university, they hire students each summer to build 10,000 or so computers for them.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (4, Insightful)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582032)

And you seem to be ignoring the fact that no corporation in existence is going to start building their own computers from components. The added labour costs make this the least cost effective alternative.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582135)

And you seem to be ignoring the fact that no corporation in existence is going to start building their own computers from components. The added labour costs make this the least cost effective alternative.

I know one that did, at least four years ago. They had a PC department that constructed white-box PC's out of commodity components.

I don't know if they still do it, since desktop prices have dropped to the point that it is difficult to save much money by doing it yourself.

Not in the article I read (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582042)

He spoke specifically to this. In fact, he admits to buying machines without Windows on them. The problem is, companies don't buy computers that way. Company procurement follows rules; rules which he is trying to follow.

Nobody every got fired for buying IBM.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (5, Interesting)

philkerr (180450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582044)

I think you are ignoring who the article author is.

For techies, building your own or going with not so mainstream manufacturers isn't a problem.

But for W. McDonald Buck, retired CTO of World Bank, he wants a big name, 1st tier manufacturer to supply his PC, not Joe Bobs PC Hardware Shack.

The point Buck makes is:

The boxes with Windows are less expensive than the boxes without.

Or to be more accurate:

It looks to me, however, like the Microsoft monopoly has such a stranglehold on the tier 1 manufacturers that it is now not possible for a corporate shopper to save money by avoiding Windows unless they are prepared to go outside the first tier...... Small businesses may buy computers this way if they have or hire somebody tech savvy to help them, but I don't think this is how your average homeowner buys, and I know it isn't how large companies buy.

Which is the main point he makes. The big players, including IBM, are still shills for the Microsoft tax.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582184)

Would that not make him somewhat blinded? In government we put out tenders to build things like satellite receiving stations and look 'seriously' at ALL respondents. It's not always a matter of who has the best track record or the lowest price.

I think any CTO not able to think beyond the big few (whoever they are this month) - perhaps shouldn't be so deserving of the position.

Of course he's not seriously going to drop by Joe Bobs with the company credit card - but any sane person would put it out to tender. Describe what is needed, and go fishing through the results. World Bank wont have to build the PC's, but they sure as hell could give a parts list and have it built to spec.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582050)

he completely ignores when you can order your computer piece by piece and put it together not only cheaper for the hardware but there's no price fixing with windows included.

The title of the article is Corporate Desktop Linux. Corporations don't piece their systems together.

So he purposely misstates any facts and says that windows is cheaper because some pricey manufacturers choose to sell windows for less than linux installed machines. This is silly too because you can just buy the chjeaper windows default install and put linux on it with a burned CD you downloaded for no cost. And then throw away the Windows CD!

No, he's stating the facts correctly. Theoretically, buying an N-series from Dell should be cheaper, because they are not including a Windows license in that price. But it's not.
If you want it without a particular option, the price should be less than an identical system that includes that option.

Just like buying a car without a radio. It should cost less than an identical car with a radio. Not more.

You don't need to buy piece by piece (2, Informative)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582051)

Many, perhaps the majority of our local (Perth, WestOz) wholesalers will sell you a "naked" system for AUD$50-150 apiece less than an XP-burdened system. Many of them have been offering this for over a year.

Forex, one wholesaler is offering 2.4GHz Celery, 256MB, 40GB, CD, Floppy for AUD$399exGST. With XP Home OEM, AUD$514; with XP Pro OEM, AUD$584; with 98SE OEM, AUD$578. Their home page proudly displays the Microsoft logo, too, and until recently had a direct link to their "piracy" (as in, "We're going to copy down all of your sea shanties and not pay you any money for them!") page.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582063)

OK you are IT Manager of a large company. You have 1000 systems to install. What are you going to do. Buy from Dell/HP/IBM who you know can deliver, Try to organize all the parts you will need bargin shop for all of them Then have your IT Staff build 1000 boxen, Or call Mr. Noname running from the basement and ask him to build 1000boxes for you.

I would probably go with Dell/HP/IBM because it is actually a better value because your time and the staffs time costs money too and you also need to save your butt from management if something goes wrong.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

jd142 (129673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582067)

he completely ignores when you can order your computer piece by piece and put it together not only cheaper for the hardware but there's no price fixing with windows included.

Assuming it's true that you can do that, businesses would be stupid to do that. (The last time I checked it wasn't, simply because big manufacturers like Dell, HP, Gateway, IBM, etc., get such a big discount on bulk hardware orders that it is cheaper for them to buy the parts than it it for you.)

Do you know how much time and effort it would take for techs to research, purchase, and build 100 computers compared to phoning their Dell rep and saying "Give me 100 of model A?" Not to mention the fact that most business computers come with 4 or even 5 year warranties for the whole box. You deal with one entity for all hardware problems this way. Your way has a different hardware vendor for each part with different warranty rules.

It can take 2 hours to build and test a computer. Even if the price for the parts was the same as the price for a pre-made computer, you've just added $100 in tech time to the cost. Now multiply that by 20, 50, 100 or 1000 computers and you see why companies simply do not build from scratch for their standard desktop except in very rare and very specific circumstances.

Purchasing a distro gives you support options that you simply don't get with the free download. Remember when Linux companies were saying they'd make money selling support? ;)

No, businesses with more than about 20 computers are going to want standardization, one point of contact for hardware and one point of contact for software.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

thenextpresident (559469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582137)

No, he doesn't ignore these facts. Your average business doesn't have the time or inclination to by a computer piece by piece and put it together. When I need a computer, I run down to the local CompuSmart, and find something. Why? Because I need a computer now, not later. I rarely have spare computers lying around doing nothing.

Your response is a typical /. response based on not RTFA. His article was targetted at businesses, not your home user who has the time to build a custom machine.

Listen, I'll make you a deal. You claim a lower TCO on your custom machines than what I can find prepackaged at CompuSmart. Okay, fair enough. Put your money where your mouth is.

Provide the same service that HP or Dell or Compaq provide in their machines at CompuSmart by doing it yourself. Next time I need 10 machines, I will call you up, and order them from you. Of course,
I expect they are here the same day. I expect that I will pay you on delivery. And I expect they are already preinstalled with an OS. All of course at a lower cost than what I can get at CompuSmart.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (4, Insightful)

katsushiro (513378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582166)

Actually, I think it's you who's missing the point. First off, to get it out of the way, I hate MS, I use Linux at home, blah blah blah.

Anyway... have you ever worked for a large company, say, a bank or large corporate office, with procurement policies? I think you haven't, otherwise you would know that just telling them "Just buy a couple hundred motherboards, HDD's, CPU's, RAM sticks, cases, monitors, keyboards and mice and have your techie guy working in the basement put them together for you over your lunch break and install Linux on them." just ain't gonna fly. They are large companies, they do business, their business is not computers, but they need computers to run their business, so they look for other large companies that assure them that they are getting solid computers that will get the job done. They're going to buy Dell, or HP, or IBM. They are *not* going to show up at Bob's Discount Linux Shop and order a couple hundred desktops. And they are not going to give their one IT guy back in the server room a pile of components. They are going to go with a large supplier who will deliver a bunch of pre-built, pr-econfigured machines that they can plug into their network, put their username and password in, and get to work.

As for mom and dad and grandma, you try telling them to buy the components and build it themselves. Or telling them to go to Bob's Discount Linux Shop when they can get the same computer with an OS they allready know, and often for a couple hundred dollars less thanks to the discounts the big companies offer that small shops just can't match. They want a computer thay can buy, plug in, and start sharing pictures. They don't know, or care, about Linux or wether it's better/cheaper/sexier. They didn't buy a windows machine. They bought a Dell.

The point the guy makes in the article is completely valid: Unless and until large suppliers like Dell/HP/IBM make computers preconfigured with some flavour of Linux available, and make them cheaper than a comparable Windows box, then Linux will never be 'cheaper' or 'free' to the 99% of people out there who aren't geeks like us.

As a bit of background on me, I also work with Windows 2000-2003 *and* Linux servers for a living, in an environment where we have all our outward-facing machines running Linux and acting as webservers/webapp servers/firewalls/VPN server, and inside the network itself we've got several Windows 2000 and 2003 servers running Active Directory, Exchange, and several proprietary apps that require a server component running on a Windows NT-variant, and a client component running on a Windows desktop. Point is, I work with both Windows and Linux servers and desktops on a daily basis, I have some idea what I'm talking about.

Re:Well he ignores one big fact (1)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582236)

Or telling them to go to Bob's Discount Linux Shop when they can get the same computer with an OS they allready know

I agree with all of your points except that one. Everybody who doesn't want to switch to Linux says "but I know Windows and I don't know Linux". In fact, most of the people I've talked to *don't* know Windows; they know by rote 4 or 5 tasks they use for their job or personal life. They are just as clueless about using Windows as they are about Linux. And thanks to Knoppix, I have now proven time after time that the learning curve for everyone I've shown it to has been about half an hour.

It can be irritating, but people need to accept the fact that if they can't use Linux they probably can't use Windows either.

Try WalMart (1)

mattspammail (828219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582001)

I hear Wally world is going to meet that need soon.

But seriously, doesn't anyone else see that until DEMAND is noticed, SUPPLY won't increase?

I guess that once WalMart starts selling Linux boxes (laptops in this case), and they don't sell (because no mom with 3 kids hanging on the shopping cart is going to buy one), we're going to take an even bigger step back.

Re:Try WalMart (1)

s.o.terica (155591) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582180)

I hear Wally world is going to meet that need soon.

They already have. [walmart.com]

More Fodder for Anti-Trust? (3, Insightful)

LOGINS SUC (713291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582002)

Too bad this kind of analysis didn't make it into the anti-trust cases....

I'm a programmer at a bank.... (4, Informative)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582004)

We rely HEAVILY on vendor software...and I'm not talking about office and that crap. I'm talking about MANY different systems, almost all of which have some kind of desktop component. Guess which OS all these desktop components are made for?

Sure, all the Linux Gurus can point to software that does the same thing...the only problem is big banks don't like writing/customizing/modifying/maintaining software. They're not in the software business. They want a vendor to do that and for most Linux desktop apps, that's not an option. They MUST have a contract with a well established vendor that can fix an application when it stops working. I wish it wasn't that way....hey I'm a programmer....but I can't blame them either.

Re:I'm a programmer at a bank.... (2, Interesting)

mattspammail (828219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582037)

What a tough world to live in. Too bad someone doesn't come up with a standardized method of moving data to accommodate any platform (XML), or provide a way for any OS to connect to a database (ODBC).

Step outside your cubicle. Banking is not the only thing going on in the world, and it's definitely not the most difficult.

A security-minded industry? Absolutely... But then why do you choose to rely on WINDOWS?!!

Re:I'm a programmer at a bank.... (2, Insightful)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582084)

We use all the latest technology, XML, ODBC, etc. We still have many Unix based servers.

But the point of the article, and my post, is about linux on the desktop and how difficult that could be to implement (in a large company). I was specifically talking about how most vendor products used in my bank (or any large bank) don't include desktop components that run on Linux. It's different when IBM comes out and says "Were moving to linux!" since they are a technology company. They have the knowledge and resources to make that shift. A bank has NO interest in the progress of technology. They want to use off-the-shelf technology to meet their business needs. Most large non-technology businesses are like that.

Re:I'm a programmer at a bank.... (3, Insightful)

mattspammail (828219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582153)

I would agree that most industries don't look to change platforms or migrate software packages. All it would take is for the demand to exist for the supply of strongly-supported apps to be developed.

Another thought is that with web-enablement of apps, platform independence is that much closer to being an option. And web apps have *definitely* come a long way to providing much of the functionality we have had for some time in regular apps.

Give it a few years, and those web apps will make desktop platform indpendence a reality. You can still program however you choose, and your servers can be whatever you need them to be.

Re:I'm a programmer at a bank.... (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582039)

Sorry to respond to my own post....

One thing I forgot to mention... I work with many different systems in the bank. I can think of 4 systems, from different vendors, that all ran on Unix as of 5 years ago. Now, they all run on Windows Servers.

Re:I'm a programmer at a bank.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582099)

what bank is this, i will be sure to avoid using them for financial transactions since i do not trust MS-Windows since it is so easily cracked and suffers to lots of downtime due to viruses & worms...

as a reply to your first post i suggest you brush up on your Linux skills, i believe Windows will be kicked out of the saddle in more & more places where security and stability is needed...

Um Big Banks (1)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582201)

And large banking institutes (like the largest bank processing company in the country) right all their own software!!! EVERY BIT OF IT.

Most of the software is written on older systems. Mainframes are still heavily used. You really need to get out and take a look around. They are not using .NET and those tools.

Why do i know...well my wife works for the larget bank processing company in the USA.

huhhuh????? (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582005)

ok.. so linux is not cheaper because windows is "free" as well.

i think he should take a good look at his support contracts and then figure out just what's wrong with his reasoning here. that's right, his reasoning would be ok IF he was arguing about home desktopts - but he isn't, so what does the initial ten or twenty bucks mean?

of course, maybe the final chapter will be "linux just can't compete.. because linux can't give me huge discounts if i would have said that ms sucks".

Windows OEM shop prize (2, Informative)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582012)

A fair assessment of what they do pay is the difference between otherwise identical configurations with and without Windows. That is what I wanted to find, and so I went shopping. I thought this would be a relatively straightforward number to get. Silly me.
It is a relatively straightforward number to get: 100 EUR. source: http://siggelkow.de/ [siggelkow.de] (just an example)

exactly (1)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582192)

I used to work at a computer store where we assembled computers. He could have called any such store and asked "Hey I'm trying to determine the cost savings between buying a computer with windows and the same hardware without windows. Could you give me an idea of how much an OEM windows license, both professional and personal, costs?". I think $60-$80 is a good estimte to how much it costs the OEMs.

Anther matter is the office suite. I would imageine the full office pro would run about $200 oem. So saying that using linux and open office will cost you $260 less is pretty accurate in that regard.

These are the guys that prey on the poor. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582016)

These are the guys that prey on the poor.
Their job is to privatize social services.
Of course they want to reenforce the power
of their corporate sponsors.

No wonder people protest whenever they
meet.

Re:These are the guys that prey on the poor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582234)

Hey the Victorian Era was great!

14 hour workday!

No pesky environmental or safety standards to get in the way of profits!

Bush is going to roll back the clock to the good ol' days!

Personally I think it's great American workers voted for Bush so they can enjoy the big fat shaft they are getting.

I saved $65 (4, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582021)

I just bought a gray-box computer for my Dad. After all the negotiations, the vendor reduced the price by $65 when I deleted Windows XP Home from the package. A significant chunk of a $515 (CAN) box.

The guy I brought it from was pretty impressed when I slapped in a MEPIS CD and checked out everything - RAM, CPU, Ethernet, Multimedia - in a few minutes in the storefront. I left a copy with him.

Re:I saved $65 (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582150)

link?

Dell boxes cheaper with windows than without (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582023)

That's just stupid. But it is an important lesson: it presumably matters more to MS to preserve their monopoly (and maintain societal control over casual computer users) than to make a profit on windows - i.e. MS, unlike most rather more idiotic companies, is thinking strategically, not just tactically. Don't underestimate them.

Personally, I wouldn't _use_ windows even if I was offered 40000 a year just to do so - I want my computer to do what I say, not what microsoft says. A palatial prison is still a prison.

But the OS is just the starting point (4, Interesting)

haus (129916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582027)

He is right that if you wish to purchase a PC from a major distributor you will likely get no break for not having windows. But for a moment lets say that one where to simply buy Windows boxes and then reinstall them when they arrive.

I know that to some, this might sound silly, but it is common practice in many medium to large business anyway. They will simply overwrite the OS that comes on the box with the version that they want configured in the manner that they want it for their IT department.

Now lets look MS office that is installed on the image that is deployed on almost every corporate system across the country. Now if you are a company of any size you will likely get a very nice discount of the retail price, although if you are talking 1,000 PC or more, unless you wish to risk ripping of MS, the price will still add up to a pretty penny.

Then we have things such as Exchange, which at first everyone will swear that they need because it has integrated scheduling functions, despite the fact that most corporations hardly ever use the functionality, except for one or two very annoying people who are quickly ignored by everyone else (if you are one of those people, think of that statement as humor). Here is where the price starts getting steep.

But he does make a fair point, that when we discuss this matters it is only fair that we make an effort to be fair with ourselves and others on the subject.

Cost of viruskiller, spyware cleaners, downtime? (3, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582087)

When counting the cost of winblows, you should also include:
-cost of Anti-Virus software (that slows the system down)
-cost of anti-spyware solutions. Typically you need two or more cleaners to get the most common ones.
-cost of downtime. Typical desktop PC in a business is down for most of a day many times a year.
-cost of the forced upgrade cycle.
-On top of that, Windows comes with NOTHING bundled. Everything costs extra. Just managing the licenses in a corporate environment is pain!

Add to this the much bigger probability of data loss and theft, and the Windoze solution does not seem like a solution at all.

Bandaid over duct tape. Legacy crap is what keeps people using Win32, there are no other sane reasons.

Re:But the OS is just the starting point (3)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582097)

Then we have things such as Exchange, which at first everyone will swear that they need because it has integrated scheduling functions, despite the fact that most corporations hardly ever use the functionality, except for one or two very annoying people who are quickly ignored by everyone else (if you are one of those people, think of that statement as humor).

I think the joke is on you.

Every company that I've done consulting for in the past 5 years uses Outlook and Exchange for scheduling meetings among individuals. Several have set up a temporary account for me specifically for that capability.

I haven't tried the recent version of Evolution, but until there's a reliable replacement for Outlook that works with Exchange, Linux won't even be considered in many companies.

Re:But the OS is just the starting point (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582197)

Yeah...evolution is quite stable, and it will work with exchange. So I guess "until" is "now."

A golden opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582029)

For the entrepreneural types out there this is a golden opportunity.

Outfit systems identical to Dell/HP and all the others, only do it with same hardware specs and equivalent software (or better) Linux based naturally.

Put up a comparisons sheet and start making money... naturally you need to get the marketing droids fired up but I suppose the /.'ers could assume that responsibility... At least those with some clout...

there is a demand for Linux (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582033)

The world's largest Linux migration is speeding ahead, with the German national railway announcing today it has successfully moved all of its 55,000 Lotus Notes users onto the open-source operating system.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=1 817&e=10&u=/pcworld/20050202/tc_pcworld/119537&sid =96120756 [yahoo.com]

Re:there is a demand for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582215)

I always figured the Nazis would eventually turn Socialist...

Ich haben wurst.

Re:there is a demand for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582225)

drink the koolaid comrade...

Dumbass, Your'e a Banker or a MS shill? (0)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582035)

Purchase price is 15% of the lifcycle TCO you moron. The other 85% is support costs. And that is absolutely less with Linux because of the corespondingly less break-fix, patching, security disaster recoveries.

Re:Dumbass, Your'e a Banker or a MS shill? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582085)

Purchase price is 15% of the lifcycle TCO you moron. The other 85% is support costs. And that is absolutely less with Linux because of the corespondingly less break-fix, patching, security disaster recoveries

This is only Part I of a series. Let's see what he says next time.

Here, he is talking specifically about one and only one of the main tenets of why a corp should switch to Linux, i.e. saving money on the Windows license. He is not going into the entire lifecycle TCO.

Re:Dumbass, Your'e a Banker or a MS shill? (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582131)

Day one is meaningless as is this article and your defense of it. If I'm a big enough customer I can get the whole truckload of PCs fully loaded for almost zero dollars which is why companies like IBM are leaving the business.

Please continue with your apologia though.

Re:Dumbass, Your'e a Banker or a MS shill? (2, Insightful)

woodhouse (625329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582090)

That was just part 1, and didn't conclude what you seem to think it did. But hey, don't let that stop your inane ranting.

Re:Dumbass, Your'e a Banker or a MS shill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582163)

"absolutely less with Linux because of the corespondingly less break-fix, patching, security disaster recoveries"

You got that right. None of those things happen with linux.

Linux users do not patch because it takes an admin 7 hour a day per machine to find, download and compile the pathces.

They dont have security disasters because they never got around to configuring security in the first place - all the docs were too out of date to attempt it.

They don't need disaster recovery because they never got enough done on the machine to warrent anything but a clean re-install anyhow. Rinse, repeat.

I think the conclusion ... (2, Insightful)

errl (43525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582036)

... after the whole series will be that Linux does not save money for an average company. This first part gives a major point why a company won't save money. Another major point, I think, will be the time spent in helping users using Linux. The average company will have employees who are used to Windows and they will thus need help to get on track using Linux regulary. This time will probably cost a company much more than the licenses for the applications needed if they ran Windows. Another point I see coming up is the time for installing software. I'm a very experienced Linux user, and a less so Windows user, but I'm finding it quite alot easier to install software on a Windows system. And then I'm not talking simple software such as firefox, I'm talking complicated applications such as j2ee application servers (for sandbox development), advanced IDEs and so on.

My two cents :).

The Facts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582047)

The word Corporate Desktop for Linux I usually hear together with the name GNOME which is praised like such. That's where the first problem begins. GNOME is by far to immature and broken to be taken serious. Lack of applications for business exists too. I think the real corporate would have benefit more with KDE as Corporate Desktop solution because it feels common with Windows and supplies a lot of business centric tools. Well real experts will know what I mean. GNOME is always stuck in the 'hackers toy' area and will probably never mature enough to be worth being used in the business. While having nice ideas it still lacks the people who can translate these ideas in usable code.

Flawed Logic (5, Informative)

scarolan (644274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582064)

Mr. Buck tried to take the cost of a box without Windows installed, and compare it to a box that does have windows installed.

What he forgot to mention is that any serious business trying to get some work done "the Microsoft way" must own a copy of MS office for each computer in their workspace. So for a small business who can't afford huge site licenses, that's going to add another $379.00 to the cost of each workstation. Even if the bundled windoze works out to only $20 a machine, you are still out $400 per worksation just to open and read your doc and xls files.

Another consideration is that in the Windoze world, you pretty much have to have a full-blown installation for each user. Yes, I know you can do thin-clients with windows too, but there isn't an easy and inexpensive way to do this for small businesses.

Also take into account that once a business reaches a certain size they are going to need dedicated backup servers, mail server, exchange server, etc. All this stuff costs $$$ to implement, and is usually more expensive than the linux alternative.

We run a small business and power our entire sales and support department on LTSP-based thin-client terminals. The cost of each workstation? Well let's do the math:

* Pentium II computers, bought from an auction, by the pallet. About $3.00 per workstation.
* 17" CRT monitor - brand new $89.00
* Fedora Core Linux - FREE as in freedom AND as in beer. w00t!
* OpenOffice - Free.

I am not going to include the cost of my time as a sysadmin, because I'm going to get paid to do my job whether the end-users are on windows or linux. I probably spend less time troubleshooting things now that we are using linux so ostensibly the cost of tech support is *less* but I don't have the empirical evidence to back it up.

The server running LTSP has 4 gigs of memory and a Pentium 4 processor and handles up to 20 users quite nicely without even getting close to dipping into the swap file. They are all running web browser, Open Office, and Evolution pretty much all day long. I expect that this particular server could support up to 30-35 users before we saw a big performance hit. This server cost less than $2000 to configure.

My LTSP workstations are so cheap they are nearly disposable. Oh, dropped your computer on the floor? Power supply burned out? Let me pull another one out of storage, plug it in, and off you go. Try that with your windows boxen.

Yes, I'm aware that you can put openoffice on a windows box and use that, but why would you do that when OO, Firefox, and Evolution are available for linux?

The only groups that I would *not* recommend this solution to would be companies that use and depend on a lot of doc and xls files that are heavily formatted and full of macros. Open Office still can't quite render all .doc files perfectly, but that is hardly the fault of the developers. They have done a great job reverse-engineering the format as best they can so that it renders well in OO.

All in all, Linux is easier to use, and less expensive but to really find that out you have to take more into account than just the difference between an off-the-shelf computer from IBM or Dell, and the similar no-os computer.

funny different link for slashdot (2, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582080)

Funny, they are using a different url for slashdot,
here is a link to the one where everyone shoots down
his unqualified opinions.

http://osdir.com/Article3992.phtml [osdir.com]

You buy a machine it does not matter what comes on it since every single corporate environment images machines when the come in the door anyhow, so the price is still the same.

Besides no Linux administrator worth a grain of salt is gonna install linux on anything anyhow. Everyone I know that runs real desktop installations does so using thin client.

Re:funny different link for slashdot (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582217)

funny though... his reasoning is so stupid that his getting so much negative feedback about it that i have to wonder if he's going to have balls to write that part 2.

maybe in that he'll try to buy open office and concludes that ms office is cheaper because open office isn't even available in stores.

Why branded? (2, Interesting)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582081)

I don't understand why American (and probably European) companies buy branded PCs. Most companies and people here, in India, just buy assembled PCs which are much cheaper. I'm not sure if you use the same terminologies over there so: A branded PC is a PC by some big company like Compaq (HP) or Dell. An assembled PC is one put together by a small shop owner or a small company. Assembled PCs are usually completely customisable. [Branded PCs here cost more or less the same as in the west.] Therefore, in most situations, PCs with Linux are much cheaper than PCs with Windows.

Re:Why branded? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582199)

The big difference is support contracts. The community college I went to a few years ago had most of their labs full of nice Dell P4s. Talking with the IT guys I found out that if any one of them goes down, the replacement part or computer will arrive next day or two depending on when the call was replaced. Plenty of small stores will offer some sort of warranty on their work but not to that extent. Being a college, Dell's supplier status might have even been determined on the state level as well

There's also the issue of volume. On a large order like that Dell can go alot cheaper on a complete system due to its connections than a local shop could.

Re:Why branded? (1)

myukew (823565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582212)

lucky you! here in germany an assembled system usually costs ~10% more than "branded" systems - without software!

Thin Clients (2, Informative)

fuzzbrain (239898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582083)

While the writer is making a fair point, one counter-argument is that a Linux corporate desktop installation would quite likely use thin clients like they did in Largo [zdnet.com] in order to make the system easier to manage for system administrators.

Ouch. So true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582123)

I love (GNU/)Linux about as much as the next Slashdot dezien. In fact, I'm incredibly fed up with Windows not "Just Working". This, my friends, is why I'm currently using a Live CD of Ubuntu Hoary to make this post on a computer with Windows installed. (For the record, my laptop is my Windows box, and I'm at home for the time being. My desktop at school is running Ubuntu Warty.)

However, I have priced computers pre-installed with Linux, and they are usually about $50 more than their Windows counterparts. Is this Linux's fault? No. The problem is that you're paying for a company to buy the computer for you, usually at full retail price, remove Windows and install (insert distro de jour here) for you. While Linux doesn't add to the price, the companies have to make a profit, and their employees would like to get paid for their work: installing Linux on computers that came into the shop with Windows.

Given that situation, it doesn't really matter how good of a desktop system (insert desktop distro de jour here) has. It's more expensive up front to install Linux. Granted, during my entire time on Linux, I've shelled out for exactly one program (Dad needed a Crossover license, as he's stuck to MS Office for work...stupid PHB's, and I wanted to check out the iTunes support), so over the long run, I'd say it's cheaper. During the same period of time, my father has spent far more money on maintaining his Windows computers than I have on my Linux machine. This doesn't even take into consideration that I changed from Fedora Core 1 to Ubuntu 4.10, and will be upgrading to Ubuntu 5.04 as soon as it is practical (I'm thinking about the time of the Gnome 2.10 release) without paying a dime. No Windows user could say that he changed systems or intends to upgrade for free without any criminal activity on his part.

Yes, I support copyright law as it stands. If people are forced to pay for something that sucks so badly as Windows, they'll look into cheaper options. Demonstrating the freedom of free software and the slavery of proprietary systems is, in my opinion, the best way to get things to change. That, and teaming up with evils bigger than Microsoft (I'm thinking that Wal-Mart is an excellent candidate here) can really help end the slavery to large software companies.

Very true (3, Insightful)

Xerp (768138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582164)

Unfortunately, the article is very true.

It can be difficult to get pre-installed Linux desktop.

Servers, though, a totally different matter. Here you can make really large savings. Especially when you consider that you don't need all those CALs. Compare a Windows Server 2003 running Windows Terminal Server and having 20 Windows XP desktops connecting to it, to a completely Linux Desktop OS and Linux Server OS solution, and you're biggest saving is in the server area. Heck, according to this article the Linux Server / Windows Desktop would be the cheapest solution!

Re:Very true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582218)

Here in NZ it is completely the opposite. There is not a single shop selling computer systems/hardware that doesnt pre-install linux by default. The only ones I have found so far are in the warehouse (el-cheap, mass produced dell systems prepackaged in 3 boxes, monitor, base unit, accessories with windoze xp and works installed).

W. McDonald Buck? (3, Interesting)

pangur (95072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582175)

W. McDonald Buck sounded like a made up name to me. How about G. Penny Cash, or Exxon Starbucks? W. McDonald Buck as a CTO of World Bank? If you google for that name, you don't find a mention of that name anywhere except at a university. If you search on worldbank.org, that name doesn't come up there either.

I think you all have been hacked, because the article tells you what you wanted to talk about.

Looking at worldbank.org and searching for CTO, I haven't found a reference to a CTO for themselves, only references to CTO's elsewhere. I don't beleive they even have a CTO, honestly.

Just sayin'.

The HR cost... (2, Insightful)

classzero (321541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582181)

If you buy all Linux systems then you will have to train your employees on linux. Just about everybody who knows how to turn a computer on knows Windows. Not to mention getting administrators with a more rare skillset is usually more expensive. I haven't checked the salaries Linux admins command but I know MCSEs are a dime a dozen. Even if they make the same you'd have to at the very least hire trainers for every single department that will be using linux.

Hey, if you can sell the idea to the bean counters more power to you but I don't think Linux will be cost effective for enterprise any time soon.

The price of "change" (2, Insightful)

krygny (473134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582182)

In most organizations, the most expensive aspect of a F/OSS migration is resistance to change:

WHAAAAAT?!! YOU'RE TAKING AWAY MY POWERPOINT?!!

People grow up with these programs. They devote time and personal resources becoming proficient with them. They don't want that background to become obviated. They don't want to start over. We who work in technology are just the opposite by our very nature. We like change. We like the challenge and adventure of learning new (and better) things. That nature is one of the things that drove is into a technical field.

I personally think the only practical migration is to first migrate to F/OSS apps on Windows, gradually. Then, migrate all those apps to Linux. So that, to the user, Linux is just another application migration.

MS Lock-In? (1)

Snorpus (566772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582196)

At one time, didn't MS's contracts with the big PC builders (Dell, Gateway, IBM, etc.) include the requirement that every box the builders sold had to include Windows, whether the customer wanted it or not? Did the Antitrust "settlement" change that?

TCO my backside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582200)

Makes Sense that some organizations would have problems switching like banks, but banks and other existing organizations have other problems. They have an EXISTING infastructure. There is no easy way to change over an existing infastructure no matter how much money you have, take the FBI for instance.

This information should be used to influence new businesses. Linux can also be targeted to single persons for private use since the cost of switching is much lower. A problem arises again that prevents this from happing. Linux companies don't make money selling linux, they get money from consultations about linux, so these areas are not targeted.

On a side note, I see all these comments about Supply and Demand. The supply of Linux is infinite, because thats the nature of linux. So don't talk about supply, it makes you look the fool. You don't need consultents or marketers to create supply for linux.

Negotiated prices? (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582204)

I'm not a buyer for an organisation, but I assume that the purchase of bulk systems for a corporate client would involve negotiations that could remove the Windows tax entirely.

Why isn't that route followed? Say if he rung up to get quotes for 20 systems suitable for office use (Celeron/Sempron, 256MB, 20GB discs and flat panels) without Windows, that would provide a better understanding of how it is to be done. I will assume that he did look on Dell's Corporate sales site, but I suspect that ringing them up would get a better grasp of the sales cost.

Is this REALLY a problem? (1)

dmouritsendk (321667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11582206)

I mean, it's all about demand. If more corporations start demaning "Linux ready" prebuilds, or maybe even boxes with linux pre-installed it will quickly become a non-issue.

With that said, I don't really see Linux becoming all that big on the desktop. Because most of the office users won't start using it at home, simply because 8/10 users plays with their computers in a very different way of what the more geeky types does. Me for example, I only use my computer to code, write rapports with latex, maple and to use the internet. Linux have offered me a perfect platform for doing this work, and have been my platform of choise for over 5 years.

But not alot of uses their computers only for development and rapport writing, most the users found in a regular office use their machines for multimedia stuff. And belive me, very very few of them will like applications like dvdauthor. And I don't blame them really, I'm personally getting a little tired of having to spend time learing to do stuff that are insanely trivial on other platforms. Like mastering a DVD or such, therefore I'm currently saving my money to get a OSX based computer(hopefully, I'll have a sparklin' G5 in about a months time). It's the closest thing to a perfect UNIX based desktop as far as i can tell.

I think the future will be Linux on the servers (to cut down the licences that really hurt, aka. the fileserver/exchange/etc) and OSX on the clients.
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