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Ask OSDL CEO Stu Cohen About Linux TCO Studies

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the truth-lurks-somewhere-in-the-grey-gloom dept.

Windows 150

This morning OSDL and OSDL member Levanta jointly released a study done by Enterprise Management Associates called Get the Truth on Linux Management. For years, a proprietary software company in Washington State has run what they call a Get the Facts campaign about Linux, full of studies that invariably show Linux to be expensive, hard to maintain, and less than totally secure. Stu Cohen, as CEO of OSDL, a group "dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise," will happily answer your questions about Linux vs. Windows studies and the myths and FUD that seem to hover over them. Expect Stu's answers to the 10 - 12 highest-moderated questions later this week.

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A Movement within the Students (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705371)

This may seem like an inane question but why don't I see more of a push to get Linux into the realm of academia?

I know that Ubuntu [ubuntufund.org] has made strides to incorporate themselves into learning environments but where is the effort to alert students (primarily other than computer science majors) to the benefits of Linux?

When I was a freshman at the University of Minnesota, a friend handed me a CD distribution of Debian that would change my life. I knew of the Linux labs in the University but only now did they interest me. I'm now getting my masters at George Mason University and I don't believe there's a single Linux machine on campus. In fact, the whole Computer Science department has only two Sun servers to offer me an account on! Everything else is Microsoft!

Now you may lay claim that every computer science major these days is running Linux anyway. But how about the other areas of study? I used to take music theory and people would rant and rave about their Macs or one of various composing suites in Windows. I tried explaining that Linux has (certainly more affordable) solutions to offer in this department too but no one would even listen to me. It's not like they were mixing platinum selling records, they were just looking for software to write sheet music with.

I think that both Apple and Microsoft realize that the toys people have in college become the toys they demand in real life. So there are all these [apple.com] efforts [e-academy.com] to garner the student's interest hoping that they will use them in their careers.

They make it free (which Linux already is), they make it easy and they make it available.

So how about it? Why isn't the Linux community minting install discs and distributing literature on campuses? Why isn't Linux tailoring cheap solutions to K-12 schools that don't have the money for Windows anyway? Why do we risk letting someone leave academia without ever experiencing the real fruits of it?

If you are doing this (and I just don't know about it), what steps have you taken?

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

selil (774924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705458)

I do this with my students. We install a variety of operating systems. Since I have technology students I push them outside of their Linux zone into the world of helping others. It's really easy to say everybody needs Linux when you know the OS. It's harder to be a advocate for the users needs over your own. In their sophmore operating systems classes I have them pick a victim, err. friend who is non-technical (even gramps, or grandma). They then have to watch and write down all of the issues of installing Linux without "helping". The person installing can use any resource they know or can find. We do the same with Windows, etc.... You can likely guess which is easier to install, and then install a new application on also. Interesting things happen though. As the non-technical users explore Linux all of those things the development community decry (bouncing cow screensavers, games, etc..) are what draw the non-technical Linux user back to the OS. Not all like it, but a few do. Then we start the holy discussion of Linux on the desktop or Linux in the server room only.

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

JonJ (907502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709169)

We do the same with Windows, etc

So, you're seriously saying that having to hunt down software on the intarweb, watching out for spyware, and installing anti-virus is easier then using synaptic, yumex, or YaST?

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

Adhemar (679794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705510)

When I think about the human factor in TOC, I see 2 issues:

  • How many human intervention (administration, helpdesk, ...) is necessary to run the system and keep in running and functional?
  • How much does this human intervention cost?

In the second issue, do you think there's a significant positive feedback loop? And is this significant compared to the entire TCO? I'm thinking about something like:

The more Linux is used in the corporate world => the more students and people will study and practice Linux technologies and skills to have an advantage in the work market (and the more universities and schools will use Linux) => the easier and the less expensive it will be to find and hire Linux skilled employees => the lower the TCO => the bigger the advantage to use Linux => the more Linux is used in the corporate world

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

selil (774924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705773)

I think you have very valid points. There are two user groups that produce a lot of help desk calls. The general labor force with zero expected computer skills. The Suzy Secretary, and Joe the Janitor user are going to likely be trained only on specific applications. My gut feeling is that their adoption of an OS will be met with some trepidation, but management and expansion (installing programs) will likely not occur. The second group is more difficult and maybe a case for not adopting Linux as a desktop operating system can be made. Sal the Sales guy who drives a third of the enterprises revenue is not going to like being put in a pigeon hole with everybody else. He already is a nightmare to IT, but not many in the enterprise are going to attempt to corral him. He's the guy who installed Tax Cut, Money, and a dozen other programs on his company laptop with all of the SpyWare known to helpdesk denizens. Pushing him off Windows isn't going to happen unless you can make a case to him. In trying to figure out the TCO all of these user issues are so often over looked. TCO at the license, hardware, IT training, and server level are great, but the business impacts at the higher strata of users are ignored (ignore Sal the Sales guy at your peril). It's pretty obvious that most of the previous TCO studies are biased. I've suggested and seen a few examples of how a company can do its own TCO, or better yet create a TCO framework. That might allow the company to look at adoption costs, first year, second year, etc.. maintaining costs over time. I have a gut feeling that long term adoption strategy is where Linux would shine in that path. That is where cultural and community changes of users start to create the self fulfilling adoption practices too.

Free/Cheap Software... (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705645)

Why don't I see more of a push to get Linux into the realm of academia?


The answer is 'free stuff', or at least very 'cheap stuff'. Microsoft practically gives away copies of Windows, Office, and Visual Studio (for example), so that those fresh out of high school and university are trained in it.

Ultimately, why go with a less compatible solution when you can have the mainstream one for pretty cheap? Also application support (Adobe, CAD software, Mathemtica, etc are all Windows)

-M

Re:Free/Cheap Software... (1)

Pixie_From_Hell (768789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708181)

Ultimately, why go with a less compatible solution when you can have the mainstream one for pretty cheap? Also application support (Adobe, CAD software, Mathemtica, etc are all Windows)
I understand the point you're making, but I can't let this pass without comment. Linux (and in a broader sense Unix) are not outside the 'mainstream' (as you put it). They may be in a business environment, but in an academic environment they are most certainly not. You just have to look outside the English department (nothing against English departments, of course).

I'm a math professor at an officially all-Windows university, and at least 20% of my colleagues use Linux as their desktop of choice. And Mathematica, in particular, is certainly not a Windows-only piece of software. I have it here on my Ubuntu 5.10 desktop. My previous job came with a PC on my desk, running a shiny new version of Red Hat. I could get Windows, but I would have had to be difficult.

Clarification, Example. (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709604)

I stand corrected on Mathemtica. I know Maple is Linux as well.

Mainstream was the wrong word I suppose, but I couldn't think of a better one.

When a student comes out of university and wants to enter the business world, being familiar with Excel, Visual Studio, SourceSafe, Adobe Photoshop, Visio, Macromedia Flash, etc _CAN_ all work to their benefit and are probably used in more businesses for non-tech jobs than OpenOffice, GCC, CVS, Gimp, ???, ???.

This isn't an attack at anything, as I use Linux and Windows in many contexts (both as server and workstation facilities) and their various support programs. I love my Linux. I'm just saying that when microsoft offers 10,000 workstations of software for $200,000 [20 bucks a workstation] you have to jump on that opportunity, as it'd normally be a few thousand per workstation. I don't have the exact figures, but when you buy in volume and for academics, things get cheap. Not to mention, more users know it from high school.

If I offer you a $5000 in the box plasma TV for $500, whether you need a TV or not, you're damn-well surely going to buy it!

-M

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705667)

Hmm -- Lets see ---
Apples in elementary schools - check
Apples in High Schools - check
Apples in Colleges - check
Apples in business - nope
Apple tried it in the 80's, and what they found out was business didn't care what you were used to. Meat fresh from campus is low enough on the totem pole to be ground up and spit out if they don't like what the business is using.
The only reason Apple took over the graphics industry was because it was orders of magnitude better than DOS & WIN3.1 for doing the work. 'Business' work - word processing, spreadsheets, etc. no gain - no change.

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708437)

Apple tried it in the 80's, and what they found out was business didn't care what you were used to. Meat fresh from campus is low enough on the totem pole to be ground up and spit out if they don't like what the business is using.

I think the problem was that apple wasn't pushing Apple's as something to learn to program on. Sure all the kids in Elementary and Jr High were using Apples. But the people I knew who were learning programming were NOT programming on Apples. They were programming on DOS/Windows machines.

So when they got out into the world to program applications, they made Windows apps because that's what they knew how to program. We may not like the result, but Microsoft made it easy to whip up a functional [if not exactly stable or secure] application quickly.

The programmers are more likely to drive the direction of computers than the users. If all the apps are made for windows and none are made for Linux, nobody is going to use Linux. If the apps start becoming available for Linux, more people will start using Linux [or whatever OS the apps are running on].

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

greginnj (891863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705708)

Here's how to solve the problem at George Mason and other universities: Sic Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter on them for refusing to allow 'alternative viewpoints' in America's universities. If it works for politics, it will work for OSs...

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705768)

Did you know the site you linked to has nothing to do with Ubuntu Linux? Nice program though.

Re:A Movement within the Students (1)

generalphilips (816053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705898)

Your question is not bad. However, I would just like to point out that OSDL's mission, according to their website is:

To accelerate the deployment of Linux for enterprise computing through:

  • Enterprise-class testing and other technical support for the Linux development community.
  • Marshalling of Linux-industry resources to focus investment on areas of greatest need thereby eliminating inhibitors to growth.
  • Practical guidance to our members - vendors and end users alike - on working effectively with the Linux development community.

Schools are an enterprise too (1)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707532)

Any school that is not managed as an enterprise is wasting its students' money.

It is often already there. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707874)

I would bet that Linux is already well known in most computer science programs. The reality is that many universities see their job as supplying the skills that industry needs. That is not a terrible thing since most people want to leave college with marketable skills. There is currently a lot more demand for people that can develop for windows than for Linux.
Someone that is graduating from a good but not great university with a degree in IT that doesn't know how to use Windows will have a hard time finding a job.
Not everyone gets to work for Google and even Google develops stuff for Windows.
Get a masters or PhD in CS and you will know Linux. Get a BS in IT and odds are you will know Windows.

Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (2, Insightful)

selil (774924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705386)

What I would really like to know is why Linux or Windows? Why hasn't there been a really good study that included BSD, Solaris, OSX, or even licensed variants of Unix? Is it all about Linux or is it about better operating systems?

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

Wilykiote (945178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705437)

I worked in a mixed environment and it is truthfully a matter of preference. I support Linux, AIX, Solaris, and Windows. The security of any OS is only as good as the person securing it. In all truthfullness, it all boils down to cost, or TCO rather. At home I use *Nix, Solaris, and Windows, each has something that I like that the others don't but I don't really have a preference of one over another.

Speaking of Mixed Environments. (1)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707714)

Because of the current ubiquitousness of Windows, frequently a *nix SysAdmin needs to know more than his fair share about how to service Windows boxes. Whereas many Windows SysAdmins don't know the first thing about Linux. It's like a personal injury attorney being required to know the tax code.

Frequently the most complicated part of Linux System Administration is making it "just work" with Windows in a mixed environment (especially inside of a Windows domain). (And because Windows doesn't even acknowledge Linux inside of its OS, that invariably means it's the Linux part which needs to get complicated while Windows remains silently complacent and not any the wiser.)

I suspect that, (but I have done no research), that the TCO of doing this shit is layed on the Linux side of the aisle, when in actuality the blame for this lies with Windows for being hard to work with and not playing nice with others.

So, perhaps you can confirm or deny this, how are TCO split up in mixed environments? And if it is indeed split in the manner stated above how would you rectify this? How would you split up the TCO to be more fair in a mixed environment? And are the TCO studies of mixed environments actually being labeled TCO studies of Linux?

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705474)

The problem is support. There are large numbers of developers behind Linux at Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva, Ubuntu and so on, vs only a small handful of developers at the UNIX flavours. The result is that when you try to build a real system using one of the Unices, you quickly find that many of the utilities and libraries that you need are either hopelessly outdated, or totally unavailable, or the source won't compile on your flavour of Unix. Been there, tried that.

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705610)

The result is that when you try to build a real system using one of the Unices, you quickly find that many of the utilities and libraries that you need are either hopelessly outdated, or totally unavailable

Which sort of real system are you talking about? One where you've compiled everything yourself? In commercial unices, you don't tend to have to do that. What you lose in flexibility, you also lose in complexity and maintenance work. I'm not going to tell you that any of them are the be-all end-all, but there are plenty of "real systems" running Solaris in production, for example, which have never compiled a line of code on the production system.

Methinks your idea of "real system" is a product of underexposure.

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705656)

Solaris is a pig until you've installed a load of stuff on it to make it usable (not tried Solaris 10 though.. we don't have any customers on that).

Once you get outside the Linux/OSX/Solaris 'safe zone' it all goes to hell.

HPUX? Good luck getting any precompiled software for it, and when you do good luck getting it to work. Compiling? It takes me 3-4 *days* to build a release of the (relatively small) software suite we do, due to constantly having to work around bugs in the compiler/linker/libraries, etc.

Tru64. Makes HPUX looks like childs play. Rumour has it that they sacked their develepmont team that the last release is their revenge.

OS-400. I'd love to see a Solaris user ever try to *use* that let alone get something done on it. It's the OS from hell.

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

an_unknown_soldier (908273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706766)

I'll agree with you on the HP-UX issue. I have to develop for a large customer base on legacy HP kit and it's a pain to develop on. Most cool Linux tools, as you say, don't exist, won't compile or are woefully out of date. Case in point, netstat on the latest HP-UX 11i version that I have access to (on a server not 6 months old) is the 1999 version. It doesn't even support the '-p' to show you the immensly useful 'program name' that is on the local end of a socket. Only the man page date has been updated from the 1999 version and some kind of horribly unreadable bolding effect.

I could go into similar and more detail on a host of tools like strace, ptrace, bash, an X-windows GUI from the late 80's, etc.

Suffice to say I develop only on Linux and port to HP-UX for testing and building on the target OS.

an_unknown_soldier.

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707343)

I heard a rumour once of a Unix supported by some minor business, called International Business Machine I think, called AIX. It may be suitable.. Or at least comparable to Solaris.

Re:Is it about Linux or better operating systems? (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705831)

Well, you picked a good example. I think Solaris is the only Unix that is still supported properly. With any of the others, all bets are off.

This doesn't make sense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705391)

Why would you expect that the answers of someone "dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise" would be more objective, in any way, than any of the reports created by pro-MS companies?

It just doesn't make sense...

Re:This doesn't make sense (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705593)

God I wish I had mod points, otherwise they would be yours as you have asked the my question.

I have one question... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705704)

Will 2006 be the year of Desktop Linux?

*runs*

Re:This doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706584)

If companies are willing to accept proof from MS (taken with a grain of salt); then they might be just as apt to accpet documentation for the Pro-Linux companies (with another grain of salt). Just level the playing field with respect to info.

Just my humble opinion.

Slight variation. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706634)

Why would you expect that the answers of someone "dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise" would be more objective, in any way, than any of the reports created by pro-MS companies?
Since it all comes down to what you choose to measure and how you measure it ... I'd rephrase your question as:

Why would anyone expect that the criteria of someone "dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise" would be more objective or that the measurements would be more accurate than any of the "studies" done by pro-Microsoft companies?

I've seen pro-Microsoft studies that "extrapolate" data out for 5 years to get their "TCO" figures.

Not to mention that "TCO" figures are meaningless when compared between different companies. There are too many variations between the tech staff, the users, the apps, the hardware, remote vs local users, and so forth.

Re:This doesn't make sense (2, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707311)

Often those facing a well-financed, established group (whether it's "the establishment" or Microsoft) need only to expose how ridiculous the established group really is ("Linux is cancer!"). Hopefully this venture will do just that.

Re:This doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709188)

Because, he will not be spreading fud about windows, he will talk about linux.

Bias (4, Interesting)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705396)

Since almost all of these studies are funded or organised by a party which appears to be inherently for or against one of the things being studied, will it be possible to find anyone willing to compare them impartially? After all, how many people would believe an Open Source company to be any less biased than MS when it comes to comparing their products?

Re:Bias (2, Funny)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705484)

After all, how many people would believe an Open Source company to be any less biased than MS when it comes to comparing their products?

Well, it looks like /.user ids are getting near the 900,000 range so there are at least nearly 1 million who would believe that ;-)

Re:Bias (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705496)

Touché :)

Counter spin .. :( (1)

Marbleless (640965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705406)

So basically this Q&A session is just spin in the opposite direction to the Windows spin?
Are there any really independent studies on TOC that are produced by fanbois of one side or the other?

Re:Counter spin .. :( (1)

Marbleless (640965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705425)

.. of course that should have been

"... aren't produced by fanbois of one side or the other?"

Re:Counter spin .. :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709640)

network booting or thin clients are definately cheaper and easier to manage. no question.

The problems are usually

A
User resistence/satisfaction

most people are using their PC for non work related tasks, movies mp3 chat. etc etc These are generally the same people who carry the most weight, secretaries, management etc. Although corporates should really have this locked down a hell of a lot don't. As a related example most of corps could move 90% of users onto an internal email service only.

B
Management from a business perpective.
difficult to find people with half a clue. This is generally true across the board but there is a greater wealth of industry / software / people available relating to the MS platform. It costs $ but really there is.

Linux is cheaper and easier but there are user resistence/satisfaction and management issues which are an indirect and often ongoing cost that has to be considered.

suggest start with
- backoffice systems
- specific use environements (thin clients in the call centre, warehouse etc)
- special 'testing / focus groups' give a few secretaries dual monitors with the 'cost savings'

I would say all things taken into account they cost about the same overall what will swing it one way or the other is your individual environment. There is certainly scope for a mixed environment in most organisations.

Security Question (5, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705417)

How can we fix the problem of the way TCO studies handle security? In so many of them every OSS application under the sun gets tallied against Linux systems, regardless of how obscure, or unrequired that application may be. Yet all of the 3rd party things that have holes in them rarely seem to even get looked at when talking about Windows security. Firefox for example seems to get tagged frequently when talking about Linux security in these studies, but Firefox isn't integreated into Linux, and it runs on both platforms. IE on the other hand is integrated into the OS, sure you can not use it, but there is a ton of junk in Windows itself that requires the various bits and pieces of IE to operate correctly. What is it going to take for these studies to finally start comparing apples to apples in regards as to what really is part of the OS and what is required for it to run?

Re:Security Question (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705470)

What kind of stupid fucking bullshit are you whining about? Here's an idea... let's make a Linux distro without third party apps! Oh, wait, you can't. Everything is third party, including the basic GNU tools, the X server, the window manager, the browser... EVERYTHING BUT THE FUCKING KERNEL IS THIRD PARTY YOU MORONIC FUCKING PUTZ.

Either explain yourself better or shut the fuck up.

web browser in OS security (2, Informative)

EightBits (61345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705542)

Part of the problem here is that when comparing a Linux OS to Windows, you have to recognize the fact that Windows comes bundled with a browser. It is part of the OS and you know that few users want a computer that cannot browse the web. So, to be fair, you have to compare competing OSes on like terms and this means including a web browser with linux-based operating systems.

Most distributions include Firefox in their installation. Yes, it's true, Firefox is not linux. But then if you start going down that path, we'll start to see people going to the extreme of saying, KDE is not Linux, glibc is not linux, linux is a kernel, etc... We have to draw the line somewhere. So, we include browsers in the comparisons. But, we can't include browsers like Konqueror because not everyone uses KDE. We have to use a browser that the majority of users actually use. On Windows, this is IE. On linux-based OSes, this is mozilla/firefox. It just needs to be stated as a caveat that Firefox security holes exist on both platforms as with any application that runs on both.

Re:web browser in OS security (2, Interesting)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705699)

Go delete all the files related to IE on a Windows computer and see how far you get. That is a big part of how they dodged that whole separation order back in the Browser Wars. They integrated IE so you HAD to have the core pieces of IE to make your OS run. You can delete every file related to every web browser on a linux system and it will happily chug along. Do the same on a Windows system and you will be in a world of hurt. My point is in linux every browser is a 3rd party application and nothing more, in Windows the key parts of IE are required OS pieces, and not just an extra application.

Re:web browser in OS security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705724)

Actually I do think that Konqueror is a better analogy than Firefox. Konqueror shames a very similar fate to that of IE. It is, as a KPart, reused throughout KDE and cannot be removed without effectively breaking many pieces of KDE. It is used as the file browser, just as IE is. Users may choose to run FireFox, but if they're using KDE they're likely also using Konqueror whether or not they wish to be.

Re:web browser in OS security (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706648)

It's not surprising, as KDE was designed as a highly modular system. Konqueror is little more than a framework for accepting files via protocols {KIOslaves} and passing them to viewers/editors {KParts}. If anybody ever invents a new type of file, then Konqueror will be able to display it as soon as a viewer exists and has been made into a KPart; likewise, if they invent a new protocol, then Konqueror -- and in fact all KDE applications -- will be able to speak it as soon as a KIOslave exists.

When you think about it, it's really only like /dev -- but at the next level.

The important difference between Konqueror/KDE and IE/Windows is that Konqueror and KDE are released under the GPL; therefore, any person concerned about the implications of tight integration between the browser and the underlying layer, need only refer themself to the source code in order to confirm or assuage their worst fears, and has the option to modify the code to suit their circumstances. Windows and IE are closed-source and you have to take Microsoft's word for it.

Re:web browser in OS security (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709564)

Actually I do think that Konqueror is a better analogy than Firefox. Konqueror shames a very similar fate to that of IE. It is, as a KPart, reused throughout KDE and cannot be removed without effectively breaking many pieces of KDE. It is used as the file browser, just as IE is. Users may choose to run FireFox, but if they're using KDE they're likely also using Konqueror whether or not they wish to be.

The difference is that you don't have to use KDE or X for that matter with Linux. Whereas IE and the Windows GDI are quite deeply intertwined with the OS. If you need a fairly low resolution display e.g. for a till or ATM you will need to do all sorts of fancy tricks with windows.

Re:web browser in OS security (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709438)

Part of the problem here is that when comparing a Linux OS to Windows, you have to recognize the fact that Windows comes bundled with a browser. It is part of the OS and you know that few users want a computer that cannot browse the web.

Where the computer is a tool for said user to do their job it dosn't really matter what the user wants. There are plenty of situations where there is simply no need for a web browser. Both in the embedded and "single application" senarios...

Re:Security Question (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706170)

Because it's *Total* *Cost* of ownership? I don't see the point of making an "apples-to-apples" comparision -- If firefox etc is on your systems, you have patch it, and that has a cost associated with it. (And yes, putting Firefox on a Windows system does also increase TCO).

Now, this cuts both ways -- Unix/Linux users have long argued that their server system is better for TCO specifically because one can strip it down and not have browsers/etc on machines that don't need them. I think the market recognizes this. It also recognizes that the desktop Linux patch cycle isn't significantly different than Windows'.

Re:Security Question (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706929)

But the patch cycle does start to look pretty different when you start to strip things down. When you count all the patches for the hordes of non essential 3rd party applications towards the linux security/patching. Looking at the numbers it often says that linux has more patches and more critical vulnerabilities in a given timeframe. If you look closer you start to notice that alot of those vulnerabilities are in non essential pieces and could be discounted completely in many setups. Even kernel vulnerabilities fall into this category...with Windows you have all the vulnerabilties, in Linux you can completely bypass vulnerabilities in parts of the kernel by not compiling the code that you don't need. Things like this drastically effect the TCO, the less holes exposed, the less chance for an expensive system compromise.

Re:Security Question (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709394)

Because it's *Total* *Cost* of ownership?

Except that when you look at such studies you often find all sorts of omissions.

Fixing TCO fixing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709266)

Keep an eye on GrokLaw (groklaw.net) for the next couple of days. The answer is nearer than you think.

You're doing the same thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705432)

One of the reasons people didn't like the Microsoft study was because Microsoft itself was (financially) behind the whole study and considering the marketing intererst people complained that the study was biased, even before it was out.

Now I see on the webpage that you guys are basicly doing the same thing. "Co-sponsored by ODSL". Why? Because those critics don't apply to you because you're defending open source software? I beg to disagree, there are nowadays also big commercial interests in open source so in that aspect I think this study isn't much better than the one MS did.

I Wonder What (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705451)

The Total Cost of Owning Enterprise Management Associates is? Willing to bet the folks behind the study know...

Re:I Wonder What (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705465)

Dang! I meant the TCO of ODSL!!!! Sorry to be so Trollish!!! Users Guide for me: Open mouth, insert foot.

Re:I Wonder What (0)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705477)

Duh! I mean the folks behind Get the Facts! Mod me down to heck where I belong please.

One question (2, Funny)

boy_of_the_hash (622182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705464)

How many rounds would you go, one on one, against Steve Ballmer in an auditorium full of chairs?

One of the main problems (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705485)

In looking at Microsoft's TCO claims in particular, I've been unable to avoid noticing that a lot of the company's material on this subject consists of, to put it simply, straight lies. Aside from anything else, nothing is mentioned by them about their licensing fees. How they can state with a straight face that after their licensing fees, Windows can still be cheaper than Linux is beyond me.

Legitimate performance competition is one thing, but I'm curious to know how the ODSL is able to deal with Microsoft's lack of ethics in this regard? Given Microsoft's marketing power, how are Linux advocates able to communicate to people that many of Microsoft's claims in this area are deceptive?

Re:One of the main problems (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707617)

I've been unable to avoid noticing that a lot of the company's material on this subject consists of, to put it simply, straight lies

My interpretation is that some of thew were half-truths. Statistics can be bent to show anything you want. One way is to select the metrics so that they are biased regardless if the metrics are correct.

For example, in the area of resources, the MS studies state that Linux admins cost more than Windows admins thus appearing that Linux costs more. This is technically true. Even this study says that. However, a better measure should be admin per server cost in which Linux is cheaper.

Another way to manipulate numbers is to state numbers without a comparison. For example, previous studies have cited how expensive it is to migrate hardware from Windows to Linux. That is technically true, but there are costs in migrating from one OS to another period. Never included was the costs of migrating from one version of Windows to another to do a valid comparison.

Re:One of the main problems (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708588)

However, a better measure should be admin per server cost in which Linux is cheaper.

This is VERY true. I worked at a hosting company. We had 6 Windows Admins to handle the 300 Win2K servers [and boy were they overworked when the Witty Worm destroyed a couple hundred of those servers]. We had 6 Linux Admins to handle the 3000+ Linux servers, and we spent most of our time surfing Slashdot and Fark. About half of our busy time just came from replacing dying HD's that physically died.

I'd like to see them calculate that out and see which platform has the lower TCO...

Setting up Linux from Win2K3 (3, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705500)

Say I wanted to switch from Windows Server 2003 to Linux in a company of about 400 people with the same equipment I already have, generally speaking how long would it take and how much would I need to invest?
Do I need to hire several Linux experts just to get it up and running?
Would you expect this to be relatively easy or would it be very complicated and time consuming?

Re:Setting up Linux from Win2K3 (2, Insightful)

splutty (43475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705557)

Bit of a silly question if you don't provide a list of what you want to run, are currently running, and am planning on running in the future :)

If you need MSSQL, you're SoL, if it's just a fileserver, samba will work fine, etc.

Splut.

Re:Setting up Linux from Win2K3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705686)

That's assuming he couldn't use MySQl to do the database work

Re:Setting up Linux from Win2K3 (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706836)

you can't just remove one backend SQL dbms and slide another one in, there's way too many differences in SQL commands, data types, stored procedures, triggers, management, configuration. You're generally going to have to do a migration and change client side software. Huge projects, I've made a pile doing them.

About 5 Years Because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705845)

first you have to get rid of all the Windows and Exchange sysadmins. They will fight you tooth and nail over every change: Exchange servers and email, database, and client systems. This because, were you successful, they would lose their jobs.

Next you would have to get rid of the (Excel, Access, Word) "power users" and users of other Windows-only software. These people, many of whom have nothing to do (but are relatives of the VP of finance and are in high-level positions) have been dicking around for 4-5 years and have written thousands of mini-apps and VBA scripts that won't run under Linux. They will quickly go up the chain of command to get your head on a platter.

Finally, you would have to educate the remaining user community.

Conclusions:

  • Political problems will dwarf the technical problems, and
  • if change occurs, it will come from the top, not from the bottom.

Re:Setting up Linux from Win2K3 (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706775)

Hello, is that the vet? My pet is sick.

Further information is required. Please go back to bed and continue sleeping until you have the required information. Thank you for your co-operation.

To be fair (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705502)

This study is sponsored by the OSDL so it has an initial bias. If it were a study proving Windows to be cheaper sponsored by Microsoft, everyone would be yelling at the bias - rightfully. So it's only fair game to strongly underline this. (BTW, I AM Linux biaised. but that's not the point here ;) )

Re:To be fair (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705846)

There is certainly bias here, but the ethics issues and conflict of interest issues tend to be larger on the other side of the fence. I think it would be terribly difficult to remove all of the bias from these sorts of studies, because even at the lowest level, people involved are going to have personal preferences. Ultimately, I am going to tend to believe the guy that wants to give me the free (as in freedom) stuff telling me his stuff is better, because the other guy telling me about HIS junk wants me to shell out some big money and agree to their terms.

Re:To be fair (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709726)

Actually, OSDL did not commission this survey. Levanta did. OSDL only signed on as a co-sponsor after they saw the results and that they seem to support specific positions OSDL has taken.

Not that this detracts from your point, but it's only fair to clarify.

Which is better? It all depends! (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705503)

Especially not in a heated market like the OS biz. Who can tell what's "better" or "worse"? To what scale do you measure? And even if you find a way to compare them, what tells you that we won't see the same phenomenon that benchmarks sparked in the CPU and Graphics sector, companies that trim their products to perform perfectly in the artificial test environment (and really suck sometimes in everyday appliances)?

Do I need graphics on a server OS? Do I need highly sophisticated user permissions on a single user machine? Do I need support for 10 billion hardware pieces? Do I need flying pages when copying? Is it important that you can trim the system to run even on a P90? Do I want to be able to use the most recent fads in anti-aliasing and pixel shading? Do I need to be compatible with 100 other formats across 20 OSs? Do I need or want to customize my kernel? Does it make sense to cram the GUI into the system (and the internet browser as well)? Is it useful to ram the Mailreader into the system so tightly that it's virtually impossible to get rid of it?

No offense, but who are you to answer those questions for me?

So which system is "better"? Neither. Or both. Or it's really one of them. It just depends on who you are, how much you know (or want to know), how flexible you would like to be, and most of all, what you want to do with your machine.

Re:Which is better? It all depends! (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706327)

No offense, but who are you to answer those questions for me?

Someone who might provide different answers to Microsoft's answers.

Given that, as you say, different people will find different products suit their needs better, it makes perfect sense that we WANT everyone who advocates a particular product to perform comparative studies against other products. If they don't perform comparative studies, all they'll do is shout about how great their respective products are, and we won't know which will be better to solve which problems. But by looking at the scenarios they choose to show that they're better than the competition, we actually find out which problems their product excels at solving.

So we end up better informed and better able to select the right tool for each job. Sounds good to me.

If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO ... (5, Interesting)

hweimer (709734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705517)

... why don't they use it?

Almost every PDF document on the OSDL website has been created on a Windows PC or on a Mac. Even the Desktop Linux Survey Report [osdl.org] shows:

$ pdfinfo DTL_Survey_Report_Nov2005.pdf
Title: Microsoft Word DTL_Survey_Report_v4.doc
Creator: Word
Producer: Mac OS X 10.4.3 Quartz PDFContext

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

data64 (300466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705837)

... why don't they use it?

I believe they are advocating Linux on servers and not the desktop at this point. Linux for general end-user desktop consumption still needs a little more work IMHO.

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705901)

Hm.
It needed "a little more work" in 1999, too. :D

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706010)

Almost every PDF document on the OSDL website has been created on a Windows PC or on a Mac.

That's as funny as it is sad, especially given that Word regulary generates ugly looking documents, and that Word -> PDF is generally a Bad Idea.

The only excuse I can think of is the unlikely scenario where they were typed-up by an overworked secretary who didn't know anything else. But that would invite another TCO analysis, wouldn't it? Thirty minutes of LaTeX tutoring (for example) vs. the cost of a Microsoft Word license.

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706582)

LaTeX tutoring? Hell, I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable Unixhead, but even I don't use LaTeX if I need to create a document quickly.

I use LyX (www.lyx.org) for that. All of the good-lookingness of LaTeX, most of the flexibility, no cryptic syntax error messages. And the best and best-integrated graphical equation editor I've ever seen.

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

rhendershot (46429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706305)

looks like the file was created from Word on the MAC to me. When I run against one of my own PDFs created and managed solely on linux, the creator field says writer, the producer is OpenOffice. Doesn't seem to be any direct correlation to the platform, but then- why should there be?

I'd agree with value_added that it's likely a machine in use by secretarial staff.

Can anyone from OSDL comment?

---

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709535)

I bet we won't hear any comments from OSDL. They're probably too cowardly to admit they don't know how to use Linux.

I use Linux for all my work. I only play games on Windows, or occationally use OpenOffice or a cygwin terminal and ssh.

I expect more from Linux advocates. Unless I'm the only one.

Re:If OSDL believes that Linux has a superior TCO (1)

4pins (858270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707613)

Could there be a better question? How about in a court of law?

Are the OSS IP Indemnification offerings worthy? (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705552)

We recently had an issue in which Microsoft Office included unlicensed IP (according to a court settlement). Microsoft did not require us to patch existing installations, rather simply protecting our use via the settlement, agreeing to require future installations to include the patch. This seems like a case in which indemnifications worked (although they could have offered some compensation for the extra work - it's cheaper than litigation). For background, see http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/facts /topics/ipi.mspx [microsoft.com] .

How do the OSS indemnification plans stack up? Have there been any significant cases involving IP indemnification?

Linux devices problem (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705616)

I believe that if you are OK with the application space that you can have equivalent or lower enterprise TCO on desktop Linux.

However, in broadcast engineering, we have a problem that there are lots of devices (satellite receivers, video compressors, video effects devices, video monitoring systems) that are using GNU/Linux. Each vendor seems to pick a different distribution version, basically requiring keeping track of patching 10 or 20 different OS versions. And the truth is that vendors seem so sold on the notion of Linux security, that they often don't feel the need to have to even consider the need for automatic and regular patching of the OS. While Linux does tend to have fewer security problems than Windows, they do come along every now and then.

By insisting on Windows in devices, one can at least know there is a single location for automatic patching. You do have to be on top of the situation and be wary of zero-day events, but it is fairly manageable.

Re:Linux devices problem (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707353)

Unless they're rolling their own distro, with custom and proprietary drivers, and custom kernels, you can pretty much assume that if it'll run one one distro, it'll run on another. You might have to recompile a driver or two, but that's not unreasonable to get one consistent, easily maintained/patched distro.

Symbiotic Sysadmins? (-1, Troll)

the packrat (721656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705677)

For a long time, Unix systems have required near-symbiotic sysadmins who are willing to become conversant with tiny system details and be available nearly around-the-clock to maintain their systems. They're required to be programmers and librarians and evaluate software. They have to manage the frequently terrifying upgrade procedures inherent in highly configurable systems. This in comparison to the several levels of system experitise generally seen and required in VMS or IBM shops.

How would you say that linux is moving away from the need to have highly specialised linux people available on tap to be deployed to any advantage? Has it, and where do the sudden profusion of linux distribution vendors and providers fit into this? B>

Re:Symbiotic Sysadmins? (1)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707338)

Maybe in 1995. This is 2006. Welcome to the new millenium. The most terrifying my upgrade procedures get is forgetting to type sudo before apt-get.

Why Should We Care? (2, Insightful)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705718)

It's a Serious Question. Don't TCO costs end up coming down to how much you will pay employees, how many employees you need, and the price of software? Shouldn't any capable manager be able to estimate the costs themselves? After all, I'm certain TCO varies wildly from workplace to workplace, considering what kind of system is already in place, what software is readily available for an OS, and what skills your current employees have.

My question is: is there really a use for these reports other than for 'defense': positive propaganda versus negative propaganda?

As an aside, do these studies take into account the availability and flexibility of currently extant software? Is there even a way to turn that information into TCO?

Quality comes with price? (2, Insightful)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705731)

Maybe the TCO summaries are right after all?
Atleast partially that is.

Using the linux road, you have to pay competent people salary for actually knowing something about the system they're dealing with.

Anyone can get windows server up and running after 10 minutes of reading help files, but it won't be secure by a long shot.

I guess same applies for linux in some ways, but it's like comparing iron ball and snow ball in hell.
Both will melt down eventually if left unmaintained, but it's just matter of how long it takes.
And longer it takes, the more profit you make.

TCO might be higher, but you simply get more work done when your IT department doesn't have to spend 2 days every week reinstalling all workstations.
And getting more work done increases profits and in the long run, brings down the TCO, even if it's higher at the beginning.

TCO surveys are statistics, and statistics always tell what the collector wants them to say.
It's just matter how you count things.

TCO Claims (2, Interesting)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705905)

Ernie Ball goes Linux [com.com] if you havn't seen it yet. There is alot of noise about these mythical enviroments that are pro windows or pro linux, but here is a good example of a real world switch. Ernie Ball makes guitar strings, so there really isn't any internal bias about who to support beyond it being a business decision. It is also a bit of an entertaining story on how they dealt with the MS strongarming about their licenses.

Re:TCO Claims (1)

Marbleless (640965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706215)

FTA - "Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months."

No bias there! ;)

Re:TCO Claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707513)

/quote/FTA - "Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months."

No bias there! ;) /quote/

Now beyond the snide comment, how about adding why Mr. Ball was a tad peeved with the BSA "surprise" audit.

Someone comes into my home/office and assumes I'm a thief, I'd be a little pissed as well. Granted I'd be more likely to be dealing with anger-management folks after tossing the prats out on their heads.

Ignorance is bliss, and knowledge leads to bias I guess.

Linux management study versus Linux desktop survey (2, Interesting)

wysiwia (932559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705927)

What does have more impact on the success of Linux, the "Linux management study" or the "Linux desktop survey"? Which of these two areas are more important and should be taken more care of?

O. Wyss

TCO? Don't make me laugh. (0, Troll)

AnyThingButWindows (939158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706146)

In the Windows world:

New Computer: $469
Windows Tax: $300
Spyware Cleaning: $65 (Probably every 3 months)
Virus Cleaning: $65 (Probably every 3 months)
Microsoft Office: $400
Commercial AV software: $80 a year

In the Linux World:

New Computer: $469
2 hours of lessons by my trained staff: Free
If something goes wrong after warrenty: $40

the TCO of Windows is WAAY higher than Linux in my company which I own. I set the TCO
of Windows in this small town. You choose Windows, you choose to pay.

So you are the local PC dealer? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707283)

One question in return:
Do you still make a profit on the $469 computer after throwing in 2 hours of lessons by your trained staff?

Offtopic, but - too many acronyms in a title! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706167)

Too many acronyms in a title!
OSDL - Open Source Development Labs.
CEO - Chief Executive Officer
TCO - Total Cost of Ownership
Why don't we just give up on words ;-)

What difference can OSDL make? (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706944)

There's certainly been a good few questions asked already, but the one I'd like to get an answer to is,
how do companies see OSDL? Do they believe it's a trustworthy group that knows what they're talking about, or does it look like another one of those 'fad-like' groups that's going to fade away? I don't mean to say OSDL is fading out, I'm curious to know what the real-world perception of it is. I've noticed that while many of my friends use linux and are generally well-versed in what's going on, they're usually totally unaware of the existence of OSDL, or it's purpose.
How will this change? How will OSDL become a trusted group for IT managers, especially in a world where most of them have only heard of Microsoft's "Get the facts", or have some shares in MS stocks?
I feel that part of the reason that one of the above posters was asking why isn't linux penetrating the educational market is because the trustees funding the schools have a say in what to use, because they're paying for it, and the trustees will usually have a significant amount of MS stocks.
What's the chance of all of this changing? Or rather, what are the means in place for all that to change?

It is less than totally secure. (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707017)

...full of studies that invariably show Linux to be expensive, hard to maintain, and less than totally secure

I suspect the first two are potentially true, but that would depend entirely on the situation. Bad choices can always be made, regardless of the systems involved, that turn out to be expensive and costly to maintain. Just because it's open source doesn't make it immune to bad management.

The third is most definately true. As far as I know there is no OS that is totally secure. It's a lauable goal to be sure, but not one that I ever expect to be reached.

OS Deathmatch (3, Interesting)

MichailS (923773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707074)

I'd guess the only fair way to pit one platform against another would be to offer a scenario - client company X has a list of specific needs and requirements - and let teams of experts of either party deploy their solution. Mano an mano.

Then when the smoke has settled, they are compared with regards to cost for things such as licenses, staff, etc.

It would also be important to note the differences in the solutions to the client.

Will the MS solution be simpler to manage, to update? Will the Linux solution require less tweaking a year later? Will there be hacks beknownst only to the people who set up the solution.

And to make it all worth while - these contests should be arranged regularly and have different levels of difficulty and scope.

Call it "OS Deathmatch" or something silly like that and offer prices. Host it at sports arenas. Set up a fair with computer gear for sale at the entrance.

Invite thousands of low- and high-profile geeks. Invite crackers to attempt to find vulnerabilities with the solutions.

Invite companies with real-world cases to get the contestants to work on their requirements. Let them sponsor the show and in return get the elite solutions.

Not only would this generate tremendous media coverage and potential income for entrepreneurs, it will also make for much more fair scrutinizing of the software than the current crop of shady "independant experts".

Leap to desktops? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707209)

There is a large shout for expanding the amount of desktops running Linux. While most users on Slashdot seem fine and dandy with the way Linux desktop is now, I believe that a lot of changes will have to occur before you can get Joe Sixpack to replace Windows or Mac with Linux, such as making tasks more automatic, improving hardware support, and completely removing the need for the command line/terminal (except for development).

Do you believe that the desktop needs to change before its user base expands? If so, what changes do you believe are necessary, and which would be mere "bonuses"?

Troolkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707380)

The Linux Trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707443)

Seems if any other trademark were lied about as much as Microsoft lies about Linux[tm], there'd be legal action. When will we start seeing this?

The difference to a worker is? (1)

webweave (94683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707539)

This is really telling. Part of the argument is that linux costs more because you have to pay your staff more. As a tech or someone planing on going to school to learn one or the other which would your choose? I'd rather make more and work with Linux but that's just my opinion. There must be some benefit to working in a windoze shop other than the low pay.

Biggest issue is conversion costs (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707858)

In rare cases, servers can be deployed using just about any server operating system (BSD, Linux or Windows). Usually, though, history matters. Applications that originated on a Unix type OS are generally going to be much more easily ported to Linux than applications built on MS Exchange, ActiveX controls and VBA. Similarly, conversion costs from Unix to Windows can be very high.

There is also the issue of staff retraining. I am aware that the study looked at availability and costs of Linux versus Windows admins, as well as how much training was needed for existing staff. But, this is overly simplistic if considering massive OS conversions. As a practical matter, you do not want to layoff your existing staff (who understand your entire setup intimately) to replace them with people who happen to have better knowledge of Linux. In some countries, you would not even be legally permitted to do so.

Am I right in guessing that the mix of operating systems in almost all these sites evolved gradually, and the decision for individual servers rarely depended on the kind of TCO evaluation favoured by studies like this latest one?

How to include virus aftermath in TCO? (1)

debest (471937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708129)

The biggest risk to running a MS shop is the proven history of exploits on the platform that can wreck havoc on your network. True, if the patches are up to date your risk is greatly reduced, but we have seen plenty of organizations that ought to have been better prepared get clobbered. It is a real risk, and can be as a result of intentionally not being up to date (because the patch hadn't finished QA), or unintentionally (mistake or oversight by the sysadmins).

The problem from a TCO point of view: How do you quantify this in terms of a cost? Many (most?) companies are never affected at all, and thus have no cost. Others have their entire business grind to a halt for a day or two, at what must be a massive cost. So there is most definitely a cost here that should be included in the study, but any figure is almost certainly going to be criticized as either much too high or much too low. How are you planning to address this?

The problem with studies (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708393)

Studies are usually designed to prove a point rather than to objectively study a difference. Even when this is not the intent, study designers are likely to subconciously inject their own biases. Only a truly representitive sample, compared totally objectively, can really be considered neutral - and you're simply not going to get that in any study conducted by people. There is also the problem that TCO is not a fixed number. You're looking at a fairly complex function that varies wildly according to a large number of parameters. however, any such plot of TCO would be completely meaningless to any corporate manager.


I guess my question could be phrased as: "how do you maximize the usefulness to the audience while minimizing the sacrifices to accuracy? And how much of a compromise can you really afford to make before the study actually degrades understanding?"

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