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Novell Assents To "Windows Is Cheaper Than Linux"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the whose-side-you-on-anyway dept.

Linux Business 351

dyous87 points out a ZDNet article reporting that Novell has endorsed a customer's comment claiming that the total cost of ownership of Linux is higher then that of Windows. Novell and Microsoft jointly issued a press release quoting an IT guy for a UK-based bank, HSBC: "Some will be surprised to learn that our Windows environment has a lower total cost of ownership than our current Linux environment." The context of the comment makes it clear that HSBC's Linux environment has a mix of distros, and that a move to centralize around one distro — Novell's — will save money. Nevertheless, Novell's connection to this assertion is not likely to improve their reputation in the open source community.

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its a bank (5, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363257)

This is coming from a bank. They probably spent ridiculous amounts of money verifying linux is secure. They probably take microsofts word for it.

Re:its a bank (4, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363377)

They probably got a ridiculous discount on Micro$oft licenses.

Anywho, I find most all TCO calculations to be dubious and akin to damned lies.

And not just any bank (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363531)

HSBC's long term TCO decision making strategies of late may be deemed... well... questionable [sfgate.com] .

Mod AC up (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363745)

HSBC is the very same bank that is most heavily exposed to the subprime market right now, which is under a lot of stress, needless to say. When I read the summary, I was thinking, "Yeah, HSBC sure knows how to save money..."

Re:its a bank (4, Insightful)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363545)

This is coming from a bank. They probably spent ridiculous amounts of money verifying linux is secure. They probably take microsofts word for it.

Also, from TFA :

"Some will be surprised to learn that our Windows environment has a lower total cost of ownership than our current Linux environment."
HSBC claims it will achieve cost savings by reducing the number of Linux distributions it uses

So basically, they're saying it costs more to manage several different distributions of Linux than a single "distribution" of Windows... Well d'uhh. How about migrating all their Linux boxes to one distro, and then telling us it's harder to manage.

FREE Software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363925)

Suse is NOT free. RedHat is NOT free.

I'm quite sure it would be a different story if they had used a non-parasitic distribution. Novell will NEVER save you money.

Slackware or FreeBSD, is another matter entirely.

(TFA is slashdotted, or incompatible with dial-up. I could not view it. I am assuming they are using non-free Linux distributions. Oh, no wait, there it is 5 minutes later... 6 minutes total for the page to download.)

Well now that I can see TFA, they do not say what distributions they are curretnly using, but I can pretty much guarantee that they are not using FOSS given the statement made that 'Windows cheaper than Linux'.

Stupidity is its own punishment.

Re:FREE Software (2, Informative)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364291)

Cost of purchasing is not COST OF OWNERSHIP. SUSE has "OpenSUSE" which IS free and pretty good. SLES, their competitive product to RHEL is VERY good and cheaper than RH. You pay for support, which many large business like to have. My company had to use our support agreement (which when we migrated from RHEL to SLES saved us nearly 50%) because of a bug in winbind. In under a week, the issue was fixed.

It's probably true.. who cares (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363261)

If all you want is a machine to look at spreadsheets on, there's nothing wrong with windows. Hell, for a lot of people it's fine - if you're behind a firewall, who cares? The computer is just a tool to get the job done.

When you're looking at managing systems en masse, it's different, and it gets really different with servers - that's where microsoft's liscencing comes back to hurt them.

Re:It's probably true.. who cares (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363645)

except with windows I'm being forced to spend a few hundred bucks to upgrade to Vista (either now or later), plus another thousand on hardware capable of running the Vista in business context, plus maybe some retraining

Re:It's probably true.. who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363803)

Microsoft is cheaper than Linux. Yeah, and the world is flat and gravity doesn't really exist. Just how stupid do they think people are?

Re:It's probably true.. who cares (-1)

mungtor (306258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364047)

Licensing may hurt, but some Windows things are still easier... Using a combination of a Windows Update server and some SMS stuff, the windows admins patched all the machines here for DST automatically and in about 90 minutes once they had proof-of-concept and testing done.

Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX machines all had to be patched individually. Probably not because it was impossible, but because it was easier than building the infrastructure to do it. Windows already had the tools in that case, and could make a big dent in TCO depending on the overall number and mix of Linux distros nevermind the other *nix machines. Whether the TCO savings on that offsets the licensing costs would depend a lot.

Re:It's probably true.. who cares (4, Informative)

Feyr (449684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364107)

using debian i patched all of my servers in 15 minute, using a cute little script called apt-get

what's your point again?

Re:It's probably true.. who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364207)

If all you want is a machine to look at spreadsheets on, there's nothing wrong with windows. Hell, for a lot of people it's fine - if you're behind a firewall, who cares? The computer is just a tool to get the job done.
Thats fine, but how that makes the TCO lower?

Honest Truth and Dirty Lies (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364283)

The TCO of Using Windows can and often is lower then the TCO of using Linux. But Linux can have a lower TCO then windows too. It depends on how you use them, and what you use them for. If you are going to do work the same way as you done in the past with running application localy on your system. Then Windows is the best solution. If you are going to have mostly all web/terminal based application, Then Linux will Win. Windows wins in a distributed enviroment where people have greater atonomy over their Computers, Linux works best in a situation where there is a few experts maintainging the systems and and the users are stuck with what they have. Both have there Ups and Downs but if you have a different configuration then there is a lower TCO. A good Linux enviroment will be a better TCO then a Bad Windows enviroment and vice versa if a Well planned windows enviroment is set up vs a crummy Linux enviroment then Windows will win. The problem is when companies switch to Linux from windows or try to switch they normally do poorly because they work in a windows mindset. Unix companies who switch to Linux are normally much more successful and reap a large cost savings.

Since Novell and Microsoft said this... (4, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363265)

... it must be true!!

Re:Since Novell and Microsoft said this... (0, Troll)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363335)

I didn't know Novell was behind the success that is the Iraq War. Mission Accomplished - Windows is now cheaper than free GNU/Linux.

Re:Since Novell and Microsoft said this... (2, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363697)

Actually it should be:

Since Microsoft AND Novell said this...

No conflict of interest here; move along, citizens.

Re:Since Novell and Microsoft said this... (2, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364101)

Why should it not be true? What part of OSS guarantees a lower cost for enterprise? The code is free and open, thats the long and short of it. If it costs more to implement using current business practices, methods, testing, support, yadda yadda compared to a commercial product, I still fail to see the problem.

The benefits of OSS is that its free and open, not that its cheap for some bank to use compared to windows. MS may be completely right. I'm certain depending on the environment and what "ownership" consists of, services, level of support, etc it may just be a wash and that money spent on the initial purchase of the OS is the lowest long term cost.

Expected (1)

PaisteUser (810863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363279)

Of course Novell wouldn't want to poo-poo it's "partner's" product.

Re:Expected (1)

Elliot_Lin (972399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363847)

Of course Novell wouldn't want to poo-poo it's "partner's" product.
But I'd have thought they wouldn't poo-poo their own product in the process!

What's the story.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363281)

What's the story about someone selling their birthright for a bowl of porridge?

That would be Esau (2, Informative)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363679)

Who sold his birthright to Isaac.

And the New Testament says of him "that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it dilligently with tears."

Maybe there is a warning for Novell on a business, non-spiritual level.

Re:What's the story.... (2, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363741)

What's the story about someone selling their birthright for a bowl of porridge?
Sounds like the bastard offspring of the biblical story of Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of pottage (lentil stew) and The Three Bears.... sort of "Goldilocks 5:14" ;-)

Bah, call the inquisition. (0, Offtopic)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363289)

They knew how to deal with traitors back in the day .... "The Pear" being a personal favourite...

Re:Bah, call the inquisition. (1)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363465)

The pear? Pffth. Bring me.... the COMFY CHAIR!!

A chair? (2, Funny)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363763)

"The pear? Pffth. Bring me.... the COMFY CHAIR!!"

Well, I certainly didn't expect that.

Re:A chair? (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364033)

In Soviet Russia the Spanish inquisition expects nobody!

I'm sorry (0, Redundant)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364073)

Well, I certainly didn't expect that.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

wow (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363293)

I'm surprised Microsoft and Novell waited this long for their first anecdotal PR coup. I'm not surprised it's happened. It certainly has tainted even more my opinion of Novell, long the staunch enemy of Microsoft because of hardball MS tactics against them. It seems desperate or stupid.

Forgot something (3, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363311)

In the release, Matthew O'Neill, group head of distributed systems for HSBC Global IT operations, states that the bank's existing Linux environment is more expensive to maintain than its Windows environment. "Some will be surprised to learn that our Windows environment has a lower total cost of ownership than our current Linux environment." - they forgot to mention that the GNU/Linux environment consisted of 10,000 boxes and the Windows environment was only 3 boxes and 2 of them were down most of the time.

Ok, I just came up with this, but it's not different than what the 'article' is saying, there are no details at all, it's all just hand-waving and no facts.

Re:Forgot something (1)

jcheezem (96097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364289)

Probably not as bad as that, but I'd bet they're comparing two separate environments: Windows for desktop and Linux for everything else...

I'd bet the desktop doesn't do much in the way of financial transactions except act as a terminal to a Linux-based platform.

depends on the SAs (2, Insightful)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363325)

I think this has to do with the SAs. Shops running mostly windows servers will have windows-saavy SAs. I say if you have a good linux SA, the TCO will be less for linux. If you have windows SAs doing linux, then of course TCO for windows will be less.

Where I work, we have had many more problems with our linux web servers than with our windows servers. I chalk it up to the fact that the team that manages our servers has WinTel in their group's name. Windows and Linux administration are two different skill sets. But somewhere along the line, someone decided that they'd rebadge a few windows SAs as linux SAs, which in my estimation, is a mistake.

Re:depends on the SAs (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363451)

Actually, in my own experience I have found that any NT admin that I would want to touch a server of any sort was quite capable of quickly picking up Unix and succeeding with it. Perhaps Windows just provides a haven for idiots.

Re:depends on the SAs (2, Interesting)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363703)

Maybe, but there are subtleties between the two OS. For example, our web server was just appearing to be drinking up memory. Forgive me if I get my facts wrong, after all I am just a web developer and not an expert SA, but I think I remember what part of our problem was: On linux, memory is handled differently. All of it is allocated but not necessarily committed. On windows, memory won't appear to be used if it is not committed. So instead of looking at memory consumption, we should have been looking at how much paging is taking place on our linux boxes and adjusting the settings accordingly. IIRC, our SA was trying to figure out why, every time he allocated more memory, it would be consumed just as quickly. He was in a Windows mindset. It took a *real* Linux SA to point out that excessive paging was the real problem in our situation. Again, not an SA, so not sure if I said what I said correctly, but that was the gist of it.

I guess my original post should be restated a bit: windows admins can handle linux just fine -- until it comes time to optimize or do some serious troubleshooting. That's when a lack of intimate knowlegde about the subtle differences between the two OS can come into play. But for general administration, you are probably right though.

Re:depends on the SAs (3, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363563)

Exactly. Any decent linux SA will also have a higher pay as well, because it's not as common a skill as windows SA. Again, stereotyping here, but windows SAs hate the command line in general and keep their skills at "point and tick the right box, restart".
If you count the cost of your SA's pay, then yes, I would expect the TCO of linux to be a tad higher, if you omit the cost of windows licenses on the other side. Linux/*nix SAs in general know more of the underlying OS than their windows counterparts do, it's just a fact because of how the system works. Where windows provides GUIs for all aspects of configuration, *nix provides .conf files that you can edit by hand and get exactly the configuration you want in just the same amount of time, and with Linux, you don't need to reboot, just restart the service. More efficient and faster! Not user-friendly for a granny's desktop, but for a SA, whose very job it is to make sure everything's configured right, it is.
I haven't seen Vista, but XP and the little bit I've seen of Server 2003 all seemed very GUI based to me. There was an article about Windows finally receiving a decent command-line utility. Is Vista Pro going to get it so that SAs can actually do linux-style administration? Or is everything still going to be a mix of .ini files and registry keys to be activated using a GUI?

Re:depends on the SAs (1)

Evardsson (959228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363599)

I'll second that. I am responsible for several linux servers, and two windows servers. I always end up having to ask for help from the pc tech for all but the simplest tasks on the windows boxes. It just seems to me that everything related to sysadmin on windows is counter-intuitive. Probably because I cut my teeth on linux admin and am more comfortable working with command-line tools than trying to hunt and find the right gui and then the right tab and then the right 'advanced' button, etc etc. I would say that box-for-box the time I spend around 2.5 hours in windows to do what takes 1 hour in linux. Of course, we 'downsized' a while back, and the guy who was let go was the windows sysadmin. He could match me pretty well, timewise, for equivalent tasks (he in windows, me in linux) while he was often stuck rather quickly when trying to work in linux.

RTFA, again (3, Interesting)

bbsguru (586178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363329)

In the article he is comparing the cost of a varied and diverse *nix mashup with a comparatively homogeneous Windows world. Sure, support a couple of versions of Windows versus 12 variants of Linux? Yep, cheaper. Fine. But the POINT is that standardizing on one Linux Will Save Money, compared to many versions, OR compared to Windows.

Re:RTFA, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363989)

Apples and oranges.

I think the problem they really ran into was that they'd get a system working on linux and then just let it be. It tends to continue to work. When they needed to build a new system, instead of using the same setup as the old one, they started from scratch again.

This isn't a linux specific problem, it is a poor system's administration problem. If you had old NT systems, 95, 98, ME, 2k, XP, Vista with verious home, business and media(tends to come on laptops if you aren't careful in ordering), you'll have just as many, if not more problems than the linux systems.

Standardizing wherever possible will always save IT resources.

Good Luck in 2-3 years when you have to replace/relicense the entire infrastructure because the next version of windows comes out.

I'm torn (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363363)

On the one hand, we OSS advocates can't afford to live in a dream world. If Windows is cheaper than Linux, we need to know about it, know why, and fix it. So from that angle I'm glad MicroNovell assented to it.

But we also know that statements like this are typically used out of context, especially by the professional liars who do advertisting for a living. Somehow, when MS runs ads talking about TCO, they'll forget to mention all of the qualifications that accompany this case study, such as the fact that it had a mixed Linux environment. So from this angle, I almost wish that MicroNovell hadn't assented at all, since it's likely to be used to mislead the general public rather than make them wiser.

Re:I'm torn (4, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363839)

Your comments were well thoughtout, concise, and without hysteria or bias.

You must be new here!

Multiple distros ?= $$$ (1)

kiyoshilionz (977589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363365)

Although it is unclear at this time which Linux distributions the bank is using, the fact Novell is associated with a statement that claims Linux has a higher total cost of ownership than Windows will surprise and anger many in the open-source community.
Wow that's a surprise....

Anyways TFA said that the bank was running a bunch of different Linux distros. I would tend to think that running a bunch of different flavors of Linux would cause compatibility problems that raise their TCO...hence the reason why moving to Novell/MS would be cheaper.

So... (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363371)

If HSBC thinks that Linux has a higher TCO than Windows, then why do they even have Linux machines?

The only reasons I can think of are that
  • They have Linux-only apps that they can't run on Windows. (Is that likely? Perhaps someone here can shed some light on that matter.)
  • Linux has a higher TCO, but is worth it.
  • Linux had a higher TCO when using multiple distros, but after consolidating to Novell SUSE, they expect Linux's TCO to be below Windows'. TFA does focus on their moving to a single Linux distro to cut costs, but doesn't mention whether after that cut Linux will have a competitive TCO vs. Windows or not.


Re:So... (1)

Shisha (145964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363735)

It's entirely realistic to imagine that they migrated some apps from UNIX (AIX, Solaris, who cares) to Linux. It's easier to port software from UNIX to Linux (if you're lucky you just recompile). Porting to Windows could have been a major hassle.

Re:So... (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363891)

Would not Cygwin be a viable solution, in that case, that is to port them to Cygwin on Windows rather than Linux? - not a rhetorical question, I am honestly asking (never used Cygwin myself).

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363793)

Maybe they drank the Linux koolaid and are now finding out that there are much bigger problems than they imagined or were led to believe?

That seems to be the most common story.

you forgot: (3, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363811)

  • They couldn't find enough data to make an educated decision so they tried to gather it themselves
  • They found evidence that they though was convincing, so migrated, and then found out otherwise


Those are two more valid possibilities.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363887)

Or, the Linux TCO - whilst higher than Windows - is lower than Solaris/SPARC. That's why _we_ have a Linux environment - it doesn't compete with Windows, it competes with Sun.

Re:So... (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364169)

If that is so, then the question I have can be rephrased as: why is Linux competing only with Sun, i.e. why isn't Windows a possible alternative to Linux and Sun (as Microsoft would have)?

Worth it? (1)

Mariner28 (814350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363965)

Linux has a higher TCO, but is worth it.

I'm a Linux fan myself, but your reasoning here doesn't make sense. TCO means Total Cost of Ownership. It should take into account monetary benefits. How do you think it could be "worth it" if TCO is higher? A warm feeling in your tummy?

That said, the only way to really interpret the article is that HSBC finds that running a mix of various distros to be more costly than a homogeneous Windows, and that standardizing Linux on Novell will bring the TCO in line with - or perhaps below - the TCO of Windows.

Re:Worth it? (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364109)

I'm a Linux fan myself, but your reasoning here doesn't make sense. TCO means Total Cost of Ownership. It should take into account monetary benefits. How do you think it could be "worth it" if TCO is higher? A warm feeling in your tummy?

TCO is "total cost of ownership", so it doesn't consider the benefits of ownership. That is, it is just the 'price' out of 'price/performance'. Product A can cost 10 times more than product B, but do 100 times more useful things. So, even if Linux has a higher TCO (which personally I doubt), it might make up for that by being a better product (which, certainly in the server space, I believe it is).

TCO Comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364043)

A Athlon 4000 Dual Core with Linux: $600
Same PC with Vista Ultimate: $900 (Since vista IS $300 or so)

User Lessons Linux: $40
User Lessons Win32: $80

OpenOffice for Linux: $0

MS Office 2007 for Win32: $500 - $600
AV For Win32: $50

It depends on what you charge.... And what type of software you use.
If you get me to work on it, your TCO of windows is higher than Linux.
And if you get spyware on that windows machine, thats $80 to clean it off.
If it fubar's Windows, and have to call M$ to reactivate it, thats $5 a minute.

Do the math.

My windows environment is low cost too. (2, Interesting)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363381)

We have one Windows machine here used for testing. The rest are Linux. Technically all of these Linux machines cost more than that one Windows machine. So I suppose I too could say my Windows environment costs less than my Linux environment.

Re:My windows environment is low cost too. (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364069)

So are you implying that this person is being intentionally misleading, or just stupid?

HSBC (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363407)

... stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Hongkong and Shanghai are no longer part of the UK. You need to update your map (I hear Google has good maps).

Re:HSBC (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363519)

... stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Hongkong and Shanghai are no longer part of the UK.
I think that you will find that as part of getting permission to buy one of the UK's "big 4" banks, HSBC moved its HQ to the UK.

Re:HSBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363605)

Its based in the UK. The HQ is in London. Perhaps you should do some basic research before trying to be clever.

Re:HSBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363611)

BUT it's major component was the midland bank in the UK with large banks in HK.
After the hand-back, consolodations were formed.

Re:HSBC (1)

Nexus Seven (112882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363683)

HSBC was founded in the 19th century to finance British trade in the Far East. Its name does not denote its ownership.

Welcome to 21st century (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363705)

Smartass, HSBC is currently headquartered in the UK. Plus, HSBC ceased to stand for "Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation" LONG ago - it was just where the name *originally* came from.

Re:HSBC (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363863)

stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Hongkong and Shanghai are no longer part of the UK. You need to update your map (I hear Google has good maps).
No-one said that they were. They said that HSBC is a UK-based bank, which it has been since the early-1990s.

Re:HSBC (1)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363901)

HSBC - Halve the Staff, Bugger the Customers.

zzz (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363409)

in some environments, windows makes more sense than linux

in other environments, linux makes more sense than windows

the truth is bland and unexciting

linux zealots and microsoft ad execs may have more exciting things to say on the subject, but they're just deluded or lying

Than (2)

Noexit (107629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363427)

The word you're looking for is "than". Dammit.

They're begging for it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363469)

Flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame, flame!

I actually don't mind the Mormons (LDS). They at least accept their own fallibility a lot more readily than most other mainstream religions. Maybe they are just a little too ready to be self-effacing and agree with the latest MS-sponsored-study-#33245221-that-reaches-the-same -conclusion-as-all-previous-MS-studies-that-Linux- has-a-higher-TCO (really, Redmond will never get tired of that old gag and now they've found a whipping boy who's ready to bend over and take it.)

Applied Freudian Physchology (5, Funny)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363483)

How the open source community views Novell is reminiscent of the madonna-whore complex.

1. We can only love a perfect(technically) and chaste(doesn't screw msft behind our backs) woman

2. However we want her to be sexy(successful) and do the nasty(make money).

In essence we can never be satisfied with a company's performance and also love them at the same time. We are doomed to hate Novell and yet we desperately want her.

Re:Applied Freudian Physchology (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363747)

It has little to do with faithfulness or whatever other tortured metaphors may apply with respect to the open source community. To me, it has nothing to do with open source: I've lost faith in Novell because their "partner" has them talking down their own product. That's all I gotta say about that.

Re:Applied Freudian Physchology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363819)

The problem with that theory is that Novell aren't as good at making money as Red Hat, who aren't 'whoring' themselves to Microsoft. On the contrary, Novell appears to be doing its damndest to destroy its own business. Slashdotters might have had a grudge against them even if they were shrewd businessmen, but it really doesn't look as though they are. Time will tell, I guess.

Re:Applied Freudian Physchology (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363955)

Clever, and of course total bollocks. I believe it's that people want Linux to be adopted more widely, and they realise that to achieve this, companies promoting its use have to make money. The financial aspect is a means, not an end.

For SOME Windows is cheaper. For others not. (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363553)

It's not hard to find specific cases where Windows is cheaper. The problem is when people use specific instances of cheaper TCO using linux or Windows to generalize which one is cheaper for other cases. It is easy to find specific cases where linux is the better option and others where Windows makes more sense. Finding examples however does not answer the question of which is more cost effective in general. I'm not sure there is a good way to answer that other than to assume that companies are rational enterprises and that they will gravitate over time towards to most cost effective solution. Installed base size might be the best available (albeit highly imperfect) measure if you accept the above premise. If linux is growing in market share, that might be rationally construed as evidence that companies are finding the TCO of linux to be lower. It's not the only factor of course but I think it is a reasonable inference.

For the desktop machines in my company which was cheaper depended entirely upon how we used the machines. We ran our servers on SuSE linux but for the desktop machines we needed specific applications where the linux alternatives were sufficiently inferior as to make them not cost effective. For our server needs there was no comparison, linux was vastly more cost effective. TCO is specific to the needs of the organization and/or individuals using the product. Its going to differ on a case by case basis and we would be foolish to generalize our needs to that of the IT community at large.

Old cost of 0wnership article (2, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363593)

Not that long ago, there was an article about the cost of 0wnership (that first letter is a zero, not an o). It basically stated that it was cheaper to take control over a Windows computer than a Linux, and that by implication, it was more expensive to provide proper security for Windows than for Linux.

I wonder if Novel fairily included the higher cost to make a Windows system as secure as a Linux is.

Now, please note that much of that security is based on "security by unpopularity". However, if Linux were to become more popular, then the costs to find trained people and to pay them to support Linux would drop, probably just as much as the security costs went up.

Re:Old cost of 0wnership article (3, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363799)

> Not that long ago, there was an article about the cost of 0wnership (that first letter is a zero, not an o).

The easiest way to disambiguate that spelling is spell it: "Total Cost of Pwnership"

(TCP might not be the best way to abbreviate it though)

Re:Old cost of 0wnership article (1)

sgholt (973993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364059)

"security by unpopularity"

This whole concept of "security by unpopularity" is misleading. Linux is more secure because of it's permmisions system...add SeLinux to that and you have something that there is no Windows equivilent.
Granted that there are few linux viri but even if infected, only the users home directory would be affected, as opposed to the entire Windows system.
Yeah, I know there are security measures you can take with windows, but far too many applications have to be run with "admin" privleges...in fact most windows users run as "admin" when they shouldn't. Vista has implemented a permissions system but it is so annoying that it is going to be disabled by most users. They have not implemented application level protections as is done with Selinux.
Believe what you want, but it would be foolish to think that "security by unpopularity" is the only reason linux is more secure.

I have a few questions on the grounds of such... (3, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363625)

a statement.

TCO of Linux being higher than Windows wouldn't completely surprise me given my own personal experience with the OS, though hearing other people's experiences, I would not bet on either outcome. It, in several of it's incarnations, has given me more grief than almost any other OS I've used/administrated (there's only one worse I can think of, sorry /.ers, it's not Windows).

That being said, I'd still like to know -
is this weighted per machine on comparison, or per desktop in one set, per server in another, or is it just overall -
- If it's the latter, than TCO will be best on whatever system is used least.
- If it's the per server/per desktop, then it's a good measure
- If it's per machine, whichever has the highest desktop:server would probably win, so it's again unfair/biased.

Also, as it's stated, there are multiple distros; with how differently things are done, I wouldn't except a low TCO for multiple distros. My experience stems from 4 major distributions, totalling maybe 10-12 versions, the administration of different distros seems to be quite high, making multi-distro administration also a challange. That right there tells me this is biased against Linux.

Finally, learning cost: Learning is a sunk cost, and not an over-time cost. Was this TCO over the first year, or was it over a longer time? Did it involve a time-related cost projection? This is relevant because most of the users would have come in knowing how things were done in Windows, but not Linux, some of the admins may have even come in that way. The initial training cost would have been comparatively high compared to the new employee training cost - another VERY important factor that most likely biased this report against Linux. Anyone know if they actually put up facts about this?

A lot of words said and conclusions made in TFA, but at the end of the day, I don't feel any more educated than before - they just gave no useful or novel (/new/ not book or corporation) data.

Typo Fix: (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363959)

the administration of different distros seems to be quite high

TO:

the administration of different distros seems to be quite different

Re:I have a few questions on the grounds of such.. (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364227)

The usual bugaboo in these studies is training. They usually assume no training costs for Windows vs. having to train every user on everything from scratch for Linux. This means things like assuming you'll need to train them on how to use OpenOffice before they can get any work done, even though they've been using MS Office for years and already know 80+% of what they need (and 99+% of the basic stuff like how to save files, change fonts, right-align text and the like). Basically the studies count initial set-up costs for Linux but omit them for Windows. That's like saying a Ford GT ($65K) costs less than a Focus ($15K) because this month's payment on the GT is only $500 while the Focus costs nearly $3000 to drive out of the show-room ($2K down-payment, $200 first month's payment, plus tax, license, registration, insurance, etc.).

Another bugaboo is in how they calculate system administration and maintenance costs. They usually calculate it assuming people administer Linux systems like they do Windows: by physically going to each computer that needs work and working on it. Good Unix admins don't do that, though, they set up SSH and rsync and the like so they can get into any box on the network and do their work without ever leaving their desks (which is a lot cheaper than having admins walking around to desks all day). Even the work that requires GUI tools, since X11 works as readily over the network as on the local console. That's also how you get arguments like "Linux doesn't have a standardized desktop, so the admins will have more work trying to figure out each different desktop.". Well, if the sysadmin's logging in to his own account, he'll get his desktop which'll be the same on every machine independent of what the user has picked. Desktop support needs to deal with the user's desktop to answer questions and help with configuration of that, but administrative work doesn't happen in the user's account.

Depends (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363635)

Of course, this depends on a number of factors. The TCO of my Linux box is £0.

Re:Depends (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363685)

Of course, this depends on a number of factors. The TCO of my Linux box is £0.

Interesting. You don't pay for hardware or bandwidth?

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363991)

Interesting. You don't pay for hardware or bandwidth?

Those costs are typically irrelevant when comparing, side by side, the administration of the Operating System. Linux can run on any hardware Windows can run on (or less if you don't need a GUI). Bandwidth is completely irrelevant in this argument.

Re:Depends (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363855)

Completely free? You must not be running a massive international bank with a large number of servers and networked systems.

Partly true (3, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363641)

As with many things, when you save money it doesn't necessarily mean you've got more "money in the bank" it just means you have more to spend on other things. Where I work we're a mixed windows/linux shop, and moving more towards the linux/FOSS route all the time.

Does that mean money saved overall, no. What it does mean is that money that would have been spent on X (software licenses, etc), is now spend on other stuff (aging infrastructure, upgraded network, etc and lots of other things that would have otherwise stay or been delayed in upgrading). There will always be places to dump cash, and what most of these studies don't seem to incorporate into the "studies" is that dollar for dollar, the spending might be the same or more for FOSS, but the results might not be the same nor what the money was spend on.

TCO of Williams FW29 is more then a Vespa! (2, Interesting)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363649)

The point being?

Novell renamed to (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363665)

Novel renamed to MSBitch 1.0 beta.

MicoBorg (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363707)

The assimilation has begun. Resistance is, apparently, futile.

No credibility, since msft paid novl over $100M (2, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363759)

It's hard to take anything novl claims about msft seriously. This seems like more bought-and-paid-for msft brown-nosing. Very similar to the all the bogus "think tanks" that msft bought, or all of silly msft sponsored astro-turfing, or all the phoney-baloney msft sponsored TCO studies, or all the msft paid analysts that gush over msft. And doesn't msft pay bloggers, and message board posters?

Frankly, I don't see how any reasonably well informed person can believe anything positive published about msft. Msft pays for good PR in every way imaginable.

Re:No credibility, since msft paid novl over $100M (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364099)

Pronouns: They're your friend.

TCO calculations (3, Insightful)

Down_in_the_Park (721993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363781)

Great, now we know that the TCO for a mixed Linux environment is higher than for Windows. And what does it mean?

Did they calculated the costs by taking the productivity of their personal into account, the increased security risks and possible costs for disaster recovery ( like an employee responsible for account creation, who had a keylogger installed, yesterday news http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/14/133 0215 [slashdot.org] )?

What does it really mean, if you don't get the details of the entire installation and their calculation? Training people on new software is certainly the biggest costs, training people on a closed source system just means that security is controlled somewhere else and that users will not understand, can not understand and will make errors, which put your business at risk.

Sure, Linux can be attacked as well, but once there is a critical bug known, you can react by getting a patch, disable that part or write your patch yourself (not that I could do it, but a programmer employed by a bank...)

Much better than a "patch/nopatch tuesday".

Re:TCO calculations (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364083)


>Great, now we know that the TCO for a mixed Linux environment is higher than for Windows. And what does it mean?

It means the study needs to be repeated for a "mixed Windows" environment.
It also would be interesting to see specific use cases. Are they comparing developers' linux boxes against receptionists'
Windows boxes? Application servers against salespeople's notebooks?

Many people can say the following... (3, Insightful)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363837)

If I am capable of installing Linux on an existing computer that is longer capable of running Windows because it is so bulky, how can it be more expensive?

The answer is: Running Linux isn't more expensive. In fact, it is less expensive. This does not prevent people from making the flawed and misleading argument that on a corporate level it is more expensive because people need to be trained to use Linux, whereas they are already familiar with Windows.

This is a logical fallacy at best, and deliberate misdirection at worst. The fact is, there are a lot of people who are very skilled with Linux who can provide excellent support for a corporate infrasrtucture. In reality, people generally need to be trained with Windows as well. The honest truth is the cost is about the same on the support side, and less expensive when it comes to software and equipment.

Of course, that's just my 2

Banks, mucho money, mucho incompetence. (3, Interesting)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363875)

I wouldn't put much faith in the ability of HSBC to manage anything IT related. I work for a company selling trading software to top tier banks, many of them based in the UK. Overall, their IT staff are useless. Their seems to be two type of bank IT staffer - the permanent staff hired straight out of college, with no real world experience and no chance of acquiring any because the second kind of staffer, the contractors, do as little as possible but ensure their own job security by keeping the permies as ill-informed as possible.

This may sound cynical, but it is all too true. As an example, we had an IT person from one bank try to apply an update to their system by first untarring it on Windows and FTP'ing each file in turn to the Unix box. In the process they managed to change the case of all the files. This was despite the release notes (complete with cut 'n' paste, step by step instructions) telling them to apply the patch by untarring it on the Unix box.

Another example is a client who has switched from HP-UX to Solaris and now to Linux within the space of a year. With that kind of regular platform jumping it's no wonder this clients Windows TCO is lower than the one for Unix.

Re:Banks, mucho money, mucho incompetence. (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363939)

Funny, I subbed to HSBC in NY through Sun, and have pretty much the same opinion of their ability to buy/manage IT.

I got a knock knock joke for Novell (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363879)

go fuck yerself!

PS - don't worry your latest suck up to Redmond hasn't affected my opinion of SUSE -- I stopped installing it a long time ago.

how to reduce TCO the HSBC way .. (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363943)

'In 2004, financial group HSBC launched an initiative to reduce the cost of supporting 300,000 desktop computers by 20 percent through rigorous standardization. To help achieve this goal, the company deployed Microsoft ® System Center solutions as an integral part of its new environment. Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 facilitates centralized software deployment, roaming user desktops, and the ability to track software usage to the individual user'

'To date, HSBC has realized an estimated U.S.$50 million to $75 million reduction in annual costs--expected to increase to $100 million [microsoft.com] by the time deployment of the new desktop standard is finished at the end of 2007

How can you save money by spending it on another system to help you manage a system that is supposed to be easily managed in the first place - Active Directory.

How does the Windows environment have a lower TCO than Linux. Do they have keep the Linux admins in a separate part of the building. Aren't they allowed to admin the Windows boxes. Do they cost more. Do the Linux updates take longer.

Look at the TCO (2, Insightful)

cyberkahn (398201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364005)

I have to disagree. After you purchase Windows then start adding on all of the other necessary software to run a enterprise Windows environment such as Ghost, Backup Exec, Disk keeper etc. and then tell me if it is cheaper than Linux.

How likely is it they are correct? (3, Insightful)

whorapedia.com (1070006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364031)

Let me quote two Gartner studies:

IT services for open-source software represent 1.2% or $2.3 billion of the addressable 2006 North American IT services market.
- Report Highlight for Dataquest Insight: Open-Source Software IT Services, North America, 2005-2010

Across all organizations, one-fifth say they use OSS. As few as 17 percent of midsize and large respondent organizations say they use OSS, and 28 percent of organizations of 500 to 2,499 employees claim they use OSS.
- User Survey Report: Open-Source and Linux Software Support Services, North America, 2006

OSS services account for 1.2% of the IT budget, yet 20% of larger companies use OSS? So worst case, if less than 6% of the average company's software is OSS, then MS/NV are correct. If greater than 6% is OSS, then they are obviously wrong - due to OSS's relatively small market share.

Re:How likely is it they are correct? (1)

whorapedia.com (1070006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364181)

Sorry, correction: If less than 6% out of the 20% of companies who already use it are OSS...

TCO is Meaningless (4, Informative)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364065)

TCO is Meaningless. There is no accepted measure of TCO. It is not a normal accounting procedure and it appears to have been developed in the computing industry probably by Microsoft.

There is a real accounting procedure used by corporate accounts that could provide a comparison and that is Return on Investment (ROI).

Computers have a higher TCO (2, Insightful)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364077)

Computers have a higher TCO than empty boxes. Computers consume electricity, while empty boxes consume none. Computers require staffing and software in order to be useful. Empty boxes require no software or staff. While it's true that employees are unable to do any work with empty boxes, this can save companies billions of dollars a year in payroll, as they do not have to hire employees. Also, there are significant savings because it is difficult to commit accounting fraud, or other white collar crimes with an empty box.

Why would Novell care about the open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364131)

community. The open source community is pretty much the enemy of any for profit software company. Even if you build your product from open source.. the community is giant threat to the profitability of a product. They will copy and steal you work the instant they think you aren't taking the project in the right direction. It happens constantly in open source and many times the innovative programmers are displaced by the more business savy ones. That is why many of the latest projects are switching to a close/open source model where they take the open source buy close their other contributions so that they actually own their own work instead of doing it so some investment group with more money than the programmers can steal the product.

Open source is a great way to combat the corporate evil, but ultimately without the corporate evil open source would never be even remotely as popular as it is today. The open source effort is more of a result of overly strict business practices. If software was cheap for instance open source would have infinitely less reason to exist. People go for open source for one main reason, because it's free and all other reasons are a distant second. That is not a strong model for long term survivability. While open source projects are cool the vast majority of them are dead ends and few of them even make it to useful products when compared to how many open source cluster fuck projects there are out there.

I don't respect the idea that the driving force behind open force is simply peoples natural desire to get everything as cheap as they possible can. It's bad for the software industry that free crappy software is taking development money away from legitimate programmers. It's good they have competition, but open source is not REAL competition because they are not driven by the standard model of success and failure that works so well with capitalism. That is the natural evolution of a business is that if their product cannot compete with the mainstream products it's supposed to go out of business. However, if the project is open source it will be artificially by the fact the people are more cheap than they are smart. The good aspect is that the work done can be picked up by other programmers and thats one major problem in the profitable sector of computer programming that contrasts against open source. If a project gets killed in the corporate sector the work could be archived and lost forever. Companies can kill and shelve great products because marketing numbers of BS consultants pressure them. Look are Xerox they gave apple the secrets behind the GUI and made no attempt to patent the idea or even the mouse. Usually though, companies don't even share this type of development information (and after that xerox probably never will again either). So open source is great for that fact, though many times a dead project is best left dead and started over or forgotten about.

If open source companies become profitable all they are going to do is close their business model as soon as they can. They will turn that model on it's heads as soon as the profit numbers say they can and become a proprietary solution. Just because they started out as open source an used the community as free developers and testers doesn't mean they won't turn around and created a close, for profit, branch of the project, which will ultimately take over the project since it's for profit and almost EVERYONE wants more money.

Open source is plagued by this problem and it's getting much worse, much faster and there is no solution other than the member who contribute do so under strict contract, but this is completely against the free open source feel. However, business is business and companies with money could corrupt open source efforts so easily it's not even funny. In the end open source can stick around longer than any one company, but the simplified model of everything I do belong to the project that being run by some guy I never met is stupid and it's a waste of your time to contribute development that you have no control over which will ultimately become a tool of some monopolistic company without you getting a dime.

So either choose your open source projects very carefully or get used to the idea that as soon as you have something good a wealthy investment group can take it right out from under you and there is very little you can do if you don't have the cash to combat them.

Cost of Linux or cost of applications (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364179)

I have found depending on what you are trying to do, the cost and support level vary considerably between the systems.

On the other side of the coin is many data recovery applications where the TCO is much less on Linux.

A prime example I had a friend bring be a dead laptop.. Won't even boot into the BIOS. Please recover my documents..

In Windows it requires finding an adaptor so you can put in both hard drives in one laptop at the same time and configure the drive as a second drive, etc..

In my case I put the drive in my laptop, booted Ubuntu off the CD. Mounted the drive and copied the My_Documents folder to a network share. Zero extra cost, no configuration (auto found my network and got an address).

I needed to burn an ISO to make a Ubuntu CD. In Windows the aparant choice is to upgrade the limited function CD burning software bundled with the machine or search online for free software (possibly trojan), scan it for viruses (purchased subscription application) and then burn a CD. On a Ubuntu machine, simply right click on the ISO and chose burn to CD.

To be fair, on the flip side of the coin, I do some MIDI stuff and DMX512 lighting. There are tons of free applications for Windows and only limited support on Linux. So the TCO study to be unbiased would point out there are applications where both have their high points. That is why I have a Windows machine and a Ubuntu machine and Live CD's for laptop data recovery.

In the enterprise where I work, It's a Windows environment because of the platform the vendors write for for our customised applications and embedded control and for hardware support of the same. I don't see any easy migration path away from the entrenched environment any time soon.

At home and on the desktop and on some fileservers and network appliances, it's a mixed environment is the lowest TCO. My Router and my Fileserver and my Printservers are all Linux based.

Our experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364221)

In the case of my present client, we spent quite some time in analyzing whether it makes sense for us to move some of our desktop to different OS other than MS windows. We did consider Apple and Linux. Since the company needed some reputable company giving them service we decided to go with Novell (decision makers decided against RH) and from our analysis we found using Novell would cut costs by 23% compared to windows over 3 year period (Considered SA training and hiring new SA with Linux exp.) where as using Apple would increase costs by around 18% compared to Windows. But the gottachas were assuming all the applications were web based and were not created solely for IE. Only our call centers applications met the criteria and we moved neally about 1500 CSRs (who are about 12% of the workforce) to Suse. We also moved all the Call center apps (all J2EE based and required very minimal migration from Windows to Linux. All our Oracle DBs run on Linux) to Linux servers Are they considering moving everybody to Linux? May be not. But they are keeping the options open and where ever it makes sense we will move users to Linux.
I think each and every business needs to do their own analysis than blindly following somebody's PR BS.
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