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Win2k Cheaper than Linux 1279

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-just-like-your-opinion-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to this story, Win2k costs an average of 11%-22% total cost of enterprise. The study showed that the initial investment takes up less than 5% of the total cost. Linux did beat Win2k in one category, Web-serving." Man did this thing get submitted a lot.
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Win2k Cheaper than Linux

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  • by Erik K. Veland (574016) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:10AM (#4800868) Homepage
    Finally someone realises that the initial cost does not reflect the TCO. Wonder why Mac OS X was left out of the quotation.

    Oh, probably because macs won every other TCO report I've seen ;)
  • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot.morpheussoftware@net> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:10AM (#4800872) Homepage
    of windows 2000.
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:11AM (#4800877)
    I can define TCO my own way, but it might prove that BeOS was king (yeah, right); and other's may define it their own way. We'd need to know exactly how they defined TCO to know.
  • Alas.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:12AM (#4800888)
    It is a matter of taste. If you care what the hell is going on in your computer. Run Linux. If you don', like most people. Run Windows. There is no war, there is only what people like or do not like.

    People should relax more. This is what creates wars :p

    In the dark and grim future, there is only MS VS LNX.
  • Lifespan Issues (Score:4, Insightful)

    by larsal (128351) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:12AM (#4800894)

    Part of the cost of maintenance on the Linux platform is surely regular installation of upgrades which are freely available.

    By contrast, who keeps a Microsoft product for five years without upgrading it? Especially in a corporate environment? That means that two years down the road, it's time to pay for a new version. . .

    Just a thought.

    Larsal

  • by TechnoVooDooDaddy (470187) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:13AM (#4800905) Homepage
    keep in mind, we had the full $2k/year MSDN subscription for each developer, paid each year, as well as some very experienced staff on hand... MS charged us $150/h to talk to us about a problem that we were pointing out in their CMutex MFC class (a bug they later admitted to) This was back in 1995 or so before MS jumped on the newsgroup bandwagon. At any rate, i wonder if these kinds of fees factored into the TCO?
  • by Sex_On_The_Beach (621587) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:13AM (#4800907) Journal
    it takes many highly literate propeler heads to support Linux while it only takes a handful of newbies to run and maintain a Windows based setup.
  • Re:5 year study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nagora (177841) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:15AM (#4800927)
    I think you have to remember how 'rough' linux was 5 years ago.

    I also wonder how rough Windows 2000 was in 1997! Could it be that these figures are made up!?

    TWW

  • The problem is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:19AM (#4800957)
    Linux admins are relatively "new". Let me elaborate.
    You have a previously win32 shop where everyone know how to support win32. You either train or hire someone to support Linux. That is where you incurr the cost. From there, you have one person supporting 1-5 boxes (typically in test deployments) and so your divisor is low, with a high numerator.

    What these studies don't do is assume that you have the same size install base of Linux as for Win32. Everyone knows that Linux is more reliable (and having worked in IT as a professional for 7 years, (and still working in it now) that is not heresay) so the same person can support more boxen.

    Another problem is that the people who train rather than hire have the problem of unfamiliarity. Just like with any other job, it takes newbies longer to do anything.

    Finally, the last reason is because it takes more to be a good Unix admin, and their salaries reflect that fact. But fortuneately, the stability of the boxes more than make up for that fact.

    We will never have a proper TCO study unless conversion is 100% with proper support staff. The closest thing would be the migration of Hotmail to Win32. But we all know how that turned out...
  • by bunyip (17018) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:19AM (#4800965)
    We see a similar effect where I work, an NT box costs us about 30% less to run than a Solaris box.

    Why?

    There are less mission-critical systems running on NT, so there are less DBAs, less backup, etc. The print server sits in the corner and gets a 3-finger salute if it plays up, so it's cheap to run. The mission-critical boxes, running web servers, databases, etc can't go down, so we have administrators to look after them.

    IMNSHO - if we normalized for what each box is doing, Linux and Unix are cheaper to run.

    Alan.
  • typical MS tactic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by octalgirl (580949) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:20AM (#4800977) Journal
    MS has done this before, and it only proves true on the $$. They pulled this off with their fight for dominance over Novell and Mac servers, and won. Both competitors were more expensive, true, but each offered unique functionality not available in MS. I still can't stand doing a tape catalog/restore on Windows today, it was so easy on Novell. I know it's not that difficult, but there are just a couple of extra steps in there that make it more time consuming than it needs to be.

    When you take into account third party apps that are necessary to get a true useable, functional and secure system from MS, plus the training and high licensing fees, this introductory TCO comes out to BS. Novell or Mac, and Unix hardly ever needed 3rd party products to get them to do what you want. And regardless of the system, books, training, salary - are all going to cost. I mean, do you really want Proxy server as your firewall?
  • How can this be? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AUsBandit (601113) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:22AM (#4800984)
    Well because morons can run windows servers.

    IDC says that IT staffing alone accounts for 62.2 percent of TCO, while downtime represented another 23.1 percent of the costs.

    So basicly the people running Linux weren't exerianced enough to keep it running more often than the tards that ran windows could(since all the windows admins needed to do was reboot). And on top of it all the Linux admins got paid more. So if you truly want the idiots of the world to use Linux then you have to make it alot more userfriendly and we need more services like http://e.linux-support.net/

    If you listen carefully you can hear the Linux backlash comming. But then again the good book says "Don't throw pearls to swine. They will just trample them under their feet."
  • Does MS agree? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpaceRook (630389) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:22AM (#4800986)
    From the article: Expenditures for managing, maintaining, troubleshooting and restoring the systems operations of a Linux server were, "in almost every case, higher than for systems running Windows 2000," according to the study, titled "Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing." Didn't even Microsoft disagree with this statement in those "Linux Vs Windows" docs that were leaked a couple weeks ago?
  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:22AM (#4800987)
    "I don't remember seeing a 'use before' date on any linux servers. Do you?"

    I haven't seen a 'use before' date, but Linux distributions get cut off just the same. I've got a box at home running Redhat 5.2 that's no longer being supported. Here's the errata archive [redhat.com] where they recommend upgrading to a supported product.

    While Linux (and open source in general) does have the advantage that someone can always support it, that doesn't mean that someone is supporting it -- especially when the package in question has been superceded by a number of later versions. There's always the option of hiring a trained individual to handle watching bug lists and backporting necessary fixes, but the pricetag on that would make Windows mandatory upgrades cheap in comparison.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gezerk (455962) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:22AM (#4800988)
    Willy Gates has made Windows so easy anybody can use it.

    Now theres something to curse Bill Gates for, Gee he makes it so easy to use.
    Ease of use should be a goal of EVERY software design.

    The real problem is that Windows is easy because it defaluts to the lowest level of security. If you want to try to make it secure it becomes much harder.

    If your software is better because fewer people are smart enough to use it, you have accomplished nothing.

    Promote Linux because of it's real strengths, not because being able to use it makes you feel smarter than someone else.
  • by virtual_mps (62997) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:23AM (#4800990)
    Without some details it's impossible to tell either what these results were based on or the specific areas where win2k was found superior to linux. I didn't see a reference to the actual study, so there is no way to gauge the validity of the results. There's just no meat to talk about with this marketing blurb dressed up as a news report.
  • Win2K Uptime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ceics (158961) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:25AM (#4801004)
    Considering TCO can be defined many ways, most will agree that system uptime is a huge factor, as downtime has the direct cost of the people working on the server as well as the indirect cost of lost productivity from users who are unable to access the server resources.

    The main knock against Windows here on Slashdot is that it is not nearly as reliable as Linux. I maintain that the two most significant reasons for this are that the typical Linux admin is much more experienced and that Linux is installed "bare-bones" and features only enabled by direct action. Windows, on the other hand, is designed to install with a ridiculous number of services and applications by default.

    A properly configured Windows Server can be quite reliable. The main problem is reboots to apply service packs and hot fixes (although this is getting better). An experienced (not "certified") Windows admin knows how to configure Windows Server with only the necessary services and the proper security restrictions. You actually can get pretty good uptime if you know what you're doing.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:25AM (#4801007)
    No, that's a bullshit comparison. The IDC study (yeah, I read it; you should, too, because it brings up some really good points) essentially says that the costs of administration for Linux are often higher than for Windows 2000 Server because Linux is, basically, a lot harder to use. It has nothing to do with the "weld the hood shut" open-source/closed-source argument (which is bullshit in and of itself, but that's another post).

    The first comparison was, while still off the mark, more apt: driving an automatic is easier than driving a stick, and Windows 2000 is easier to set up, administer, and use than Linux.
  • Re:Lifespan Issues (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enigma2175 (179646) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:26AM (#4801020) Homepage Journal
    By contrast, who keeps a Microsoft product for five years without upgrading it? Especially in a corporate environment?

    Actually, a corporate environment is more likely to stay with an old operating system than an individual or small business. There are still plenty of companies that are still using NT4 with Novell clients, or even Windows 3.11. Hell, there are still many (inventory, purchasing, etc.) systems that run on mainframe-type unix terminals. Agreed, most companies don't go 5 years without upgrading but there are certainly some that do.

  • by virtigex (323685) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:26AM (#4801021)
    Wonder why Mac OS X was left out of the quotation.
    Sheesh - it was a FIVE YEAR study and Max OS X hasn't been out that long. Oh wait... neither has Windows 2000. In fact, Windows 2000 will not be supported five years after it's release date.
    Oh I get it. Windows 2000 doesn't cost anything to support after 5 years, since your forced to upgrade at that time.
  • by BongoBonga (317728) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:27AM (#4801033)

    I am really sick of reading all this rubbish about the cost comparison between linux/unix and windows.For the sort of work that i do which is scientific based, the applications that we need are not available under windows. So it is impossible to run a cost difference between linux and windows, linux is basically priceless. And I am sure that there are some people that it works
    the other way for as well.

    In order to decide what operating system to use, one should first know what one wants to do with their computer and then decide what operating system to use. Cost should not be the deciding factor (although an important one) when choosing an operating system. If an operating system does not do what one needs it to do, then no matter how inexpensive it is, it is just wasted money.

    As for training costs while using computers. It has got to the point now where the basic operation of all operating systems are very much the same. Using a browser in linux is almost identical to using it under windows. So it is impossible to say that training costs are substantially different for any operating system.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:28AM (#4801040) Homepage
    I expect a lot of side-taking on this one.

    But I cannot see how they can support the argument except that at the moment, there are simply more Windows administrators and techs out there than there are Linux administrators and techs. What's more, I have encountered people who proudly make statements like "Microsoft Only" as if it were some status symbol or major accomplishment and who won't even go NEAR a machine running anything else as if it were diseased and might infect his mind. (Brings to mind certain flavors of Christianity)

    But as there are more Microsoft-supporting professionals and so many of them are still out of work, it stands to reason that the TCO is low over 5 years... except one thing-- will Windows2000 still be supported in 5 years or will their license terms change again encouraging [requiring] upgrades to their latest OS? So yes, MS people are more available and will accept lower pay. Linux people are still more rare and generally expect more pay because we know a bit more... and usually know MS in addition to other OS's pretty well.

    You still get what you pay for, for the most part. But the TCO figure is a very subjective thing... and has anyone asked if this was also yet another MS supported study?
  • by niclas_b (575629) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:28AM (#4801041)
    If you let a person not used to UNIX/Linux administer the linux-server the cost is likely to go up, which seems to be the case here.
  • Re:Absolutely True (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:31AM (#4801057) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather assume he's a troll because he's comparing a legitimate Linux ISO set with a pirated copy of Windows 2000 already on his hard drive!

    When factoring TCO, you must also realize that 500,000 per infraction is a lot to pay if you're caught for software piracy.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sphealey (2855) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:31AM (#4801060)
    The first comparison was, while still off the mark, more apt: driving an automatic is easier than driving a stick, and Windows 2000 is easier to set up, administer, and use than Linux.
    Interesting comparison. I used to live in a densely populated area of Chicago, where parking was a nightmare to say the least. My friends and family used to ask me how I could bear to drive a stick shift car, since "parking is so much harder with a manual".

    Well, it did take me about 6 months to learn how to parallel park smoothly. But - once I had learned, it was in fact much easier, because the clutch gives you an added dimension of control as you slip into a tight parking space. I got to the point where I could park the manual in a space 6" (15 cm) longer than the car. No one with an automatic trans could match that.

    My experience with Windows products pretty much parallels (ha ha) this: easy to learn. Hard to administer.

    sPh

  • What's the point? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jimmy_dean (463322) <james DOT hodapp AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:31AM (#4801061) Homepage
    What is the point of this article? The best solution is always to evaluate what is the best solution for each particular need. It is not proper to say that Linux or W2K or Mac OSX will be the best for anything everytime.
  • by esarjeant (100503) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:32AM (#4801065) Homepage
    According to the analyst responsible for this study; "Linux requires more care and feeding, basically...".

    Read more at InfoWorld [infoworld.com].

    How does Linux require more care & feeding? I don't understand, my experience has been the exact opposite. Whenever I patch a Linux box it continues to function properly, similiar maintainence on a W2K server (with a subsequent reboot) invariably leaves me with a new problem. BTW, patches to W2K servers are far more frequent and require longer download times than any Linux patches -- even when a new kernel is required Linux is still faster.

    I think Giga has the right perspective here, if you don't know what you're doing of _course_ it's going to require more care & feeding. I'm eager to read this report, there is another MS sponsored study coming out 1Q2003 that should be equally interesting....
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:32AM (#4801068) Journal
    It takes a sysadmin every bit as competent as a good Unix sysadmin to PROPERLY administer a Win2K server and its associated workstations. It's a fallacy that you can hire cheap newbies to run a Windows network. Instead of having the problems fixed, scripts written to have certain things get fixed automatically, you get reboot monkeys.
  • Re:Support costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N3WBI3 (595976) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:32AM (#4801069) Homepage
    I think in general it is, but it would be interesting to see if this was the TCO for one server or ten or one hundred servers? While a unix admin is paid more usually they can support more boxes because a UNIX environment scales better.

    I love when a TCO study comes out and people read and article (not reading the TCO itself) and claim victory, the fact is you have to treat one hundred servers differently than you do 5 servers. A TCO is not scale at a linear rate.

  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PetiePooo (606423) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:33AM (#4801072)
    Given: After a period of time, Linux kernels are no longer supported by the majro distros.
    Given: After a period of time, Microsoft operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft.
    Given: Windows 2000 will no longer be supported by Microsoft in about 2-1/2 years.
    Given: The study was for five years.

    Since the front end costs are greater for Windows 2000, their study claims to show that, over five years, the backend costs (administration) overcome the frontend savings.

    Now, shave off the backend by cutting the case study to half the length: the front end costs become a much more significant portion of the TCO. </obvious>

    Draw your own conclusions...
  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:35AM (#4801085) Homepage
    No, but go try and find security patches for a Slackware 1.0 system... or anything running the 1.x series of kernels. Good luck!

    While the theory is nice, and I'm sure someone will note that the source is available so you can patch it yourself (which is most certainly not true of Windows), the reality is that outdated Linux systems are harder to find patches for than Windows in some cases. Most serious bugs aren't patchable by even above average programmers -- the time involved in learning the code base so you can figure out where the bug is and fix it is usually huge... hell, most programmers have a hard enough time fixing code they wrote 3 months ago, much less someone else's code!

    As a case in point, MS is still providing patches to Win98. Trying to find patches for a Linux system 4 years out of date is a daunting task. No, it's not true in every case. But the majority of cases it is true. It's stuff like this that makes CTOs break out in cold sweats when they think about moving to Linux. You can't simply upgrade to the latest version of library X everytime one comes out -- that kills support because they have to test everything before every upgrade to make sure nothing breaks. But if you don't then you run the serious liability of not being able to patch a security hole several months or years down the line. Yeah, theoretically true for other OS's as well, but very few OS's have the level of constant flux that Linux exhibits.

    That said, we're slowly moving to Linux here (Redhat specifically), and I couldn't be happier. AIX sucks. SCO sucks even more. But both have better long term support than Linux has shown thus far.
  • by Mantrid (250133) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:36AM (#4801102) Journal
    Part of the lower cost comes from the factor of scale. If you're looking to do some consulting, well Microsoft has a massive and undeniable lead in the number of users- so you start up a business to take advantage of this and offer services for Microsoft software.

    But everyone else is doing the same thing, so you have to lower prices and they lower theirs. (This is overall mind you, not pinned down to any two support services) Microsoft products are also quite easy to manage on the whole. Especially since Win2K came rolling in, plus with NT4SP6a you shouldn't have too many major server problems either.

    Everywhere you go you can find all sorts of Microsoft camp product support. Once you learn one Microsoft product you are well on your way to knowing another.

    Many corporate level packages also come on Microsoft (ERP, etc.) so that gets added into the mix as well - if you want a Linux solution you are really going to have to take the long way around for a lot of this stuff.

    Linux is doing quite well, but entry into the Linux world is like running into a brick wall for many. There are far fewer Linux users around and the system is totally different from what most people are used to. There is a staggering amount of things to learn when taking on Linux, kernel recompiles, following the chains of dependancies, all of this takes time to learn and internalize. Most Microsoft type products are a matter of getting the latest service packs.

    So there are fewer Linux users and fewer people overall familiar with Linux. The cost of finding someone to help you is going to be higher. Plus, I would argue there is *far* more to learn so you're going to pay the high priced people even more.

    This presents a massive total cost barrier for those who would seek to save licensing money by switching to Linux. It is far easier to pay out to a software company for support and pay cheaper mainstream consultants and get things done than it is to start entering this whole new world of OSS. And you'll have to keep paying out more money to expensive consultants and employees to keep up-to-date, even though the initial costs are cheaper.

    Then there's all of the little things that Linux can't quite do yet. Incompatibilities with the mainstream software products, pieces of software that just aren't available or which just aren't up to snuff when compared to the MS world. Add these in as indirect costs - even if you get the money to start up with Linux these little niggling issues will make management wonder why they bothered. Finance is not going to be happy without running Excel, the VP is going to be annoyed by not being able to access his IE only stock market site.

    On the flip side, if you happen to have employees that known their Linux and know it well, there are definitely benefits to be had. If you want to add a new web server, W2K Adv Server is going to cost you more than the hardware and your Linux-savy employee can probably get an Apache server running nice and easy.

    The problem is Linux is just not quite popular enough yet so these gifted people are hard to come by. Trying to insert Linux into a corporate world of Windows raised folk via consultants is going to mean huge dollars - basic stuff that everyone at least sort of knows how to do in Windows may require more consultant hours for instructional purposes.

    But, even as the article mentions there are places were Linux is making itself cost effective and useful - like webserving. These tasks should be Linux's thin-end-of-the-wedge. Slowly get Linux in there for these tasks, and then maybe it can take over one more job, then another. Sys Admins can slowly learn more about it and become more experienced. Eventually that TCO is going to balance towards Linux.

    There is a long ways to go though - and screaming that all MS users are idiots and they just don't realize how far superior Linux is, is counter-productive. The technical snobbery that often goes on (knee jerk MS bashing, even near-religious fervour found within variations on Linux, newbie bashing, etc.) helps nothing. The rest of the world will just ignore Linux even more and continue on doing their business using MS and closed-source products that they are comfortable with and *that work* as often as not. They *really and truly* don't care what software they use as long as it works, and as long as it is cost-effective to use it. Most business need to use computers, but what computers they use are irrelevant to them. They just need to, well, take care of business.

    Find ways that Linux helps them to that in a cost-effective and friendly way and I'm sure more and more business will bite.
  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gerry Gleason (609985) <{moc.nosaelgdlareg} {ta} {yrreg}> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:36AM (#4801103)
    Hmmmm, the included story at theregister.co.uk seems to be word for word the same as a comment I read on /. yesterday. It doesn't surprise me that MS would send a "SWAT" team to head off Open Source installations, and offer to give away licenses to compete, but seeing the same story in two places makes me wonder if it is being copied around and such. Shouldn't there be many different stories with about the same parameters?

    Of course, it would be just like MS to give away licenses to Win2K when it will be unsupported in a couple of years. I doubt anyone will be getting any discounts when they are forced to upgrade at that point. With Their differential pricing, they'll probably try to make up the revenue lost giving away the initial licenses.

  • by WPIDalamar (122110) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:38AM (#4801116) Homepage
    Totally worthless... they will say whatever the company paying for the study want to hear.

    I'd like to see this study with 10 windows vs. 10 linux servers, or 100 vs. 100 ... one linux admin can handle WAY more linux servers than 1 windows admin.
  • Hmmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quill_28 (553921) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:39AM (#4801128) Journal
    I find it interesting the way arguments are going around here.

    "Well sure any retard can run Windows so of course it is cheaper TCO"

    And that is exactly how MS will market their products. Wanna web server? No problem, sure linux/freebsd is free, but the staff to support it will end up costing you more in the long run.

    You folks act like being easy to use is a _bad_ thing. While the rest of the world thinks it's a good thing.

    You call people who install a win2k server for their small business idiots and they're idiots for not mastering unix. But maybe they don't time to learn all that is needed, because they have a business to run, and it is simply cheaper(in the long run) to run a Win2k server than a linux one.

    Think about it.

    Sometimes it seems like slashdot folks sits in their geek tower and spews insults at all the morons for using MS. Without ever knowing what's really going on in the real world.

    BTW, I use linux/freebsd and love them. But i also love computers in general.

    Talking with some of my friends who run their own business they are really nervous about going to linux yet they are interested.
    I can't give them support and they are afraid that supports costs will be too high, and Jim down the hall is pretty good with Windows so we will just let him do the administration.

    Sorry for the rant I know everyone on slashdot is not this way.

  • Re:+ 10 Karma! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fdsa (78632) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:42AM (#4801145)
    He's not claiming the article at The Register is
    balanced, he's claiming that the Register article's
    bias balances the linked article's bias; i.e. the opposite biases cancel out, leaving an objectively informed reader. At least that's how I understand
    that post.
  • by bmetz (523) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:43AM (#4801155) Homepage
    'proves' is a strong word. 'implies' is a better one. Let's stick to the facts and stay away from zany assumptions.
  • Re:Lifespan Issues (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:45AM (#4801167)
    By contrast, who keeps a Microsoft product for five years without upgrading it? Especially in a corporate environment? That means that two years down the road, it's time to pay for a new version. . .


    From everything I've read, companies are sticking with W2K for the forseeable future. It's stable, it's fast, and there's no great reason to go to XP or .Net. They used to have to upgrade the DOS based desktops, but now with W2K, what's the point?
  • by rkhalloran (136467) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:46AM (#4801183) Homepage
    The article says that software costs are only a small percentage of total cost, which is true. They put most of the cost into staffing.

    HERE'S WHERE THEY CAN COOK THE NUMBERS: if they say one-admin-per-10-machines, and MS admins are so much cheaper than Unix/Linux admins, then Windows wins. Of course, typically an admin can support many more boxes using *ix than Windows, so the higher cost of the *ix admin is spread out more, so *ix wins (or at least breaks even) vs. Windows.

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics?

  • Re:IBM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:47AM (#4801190) Journal
    "As a technologist I'm very sceptical to economic calculations. I believe that they can be twisted in any direction."

    All too true. I'd like to see the full study this article refers to. It is very easy to manipulate these numbers, and I am sceptical of a few things as well.

    For instance they state that downtime represents 23.1% of TCO. When comparing two systems with an (alledged) large difference in reliability/downtime, one would expect the cost of downtime to loom larger for one OS than for the other. Also... Cost of downtime is very hard to estimate and varies a lot between businesses (suppose the corporate webserver goes down: how does this affect a phone company as opposed to, say, Amazon?). If Linux would have a favorable downtime average, one could simply downplay the cost of downtime to fix the numbers.

    Likewise for staff cost. Staff cost is very hard to estimate as well, and even looking at existing companies won't help: they'll all have different needs and will staff accordingly. A company using Linux might need much more staff to run their servers than another company using Windows... at first glance. But perhaps the first company is in a business where downtime stop everything, and has plenty of expensive experts to quickly cope with any calamity. The second company might figure that a system availability of 85% is fine, since people can get on for a day or two without server access.

    Most TCO figures by themselves are meaningless since many of the parameters are business-specific. You may find that in a particular business, Windows is a cheaper and better solution than Linux, and in other businesses it will be the other way around. Lastly... when a OS vendor starts waving such figures at you, I suggest the Dogbert approach: wave your paw back at them and say "bah".
  • Re:Well duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dwaggie (106338) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:48AM (#4801195)
    Er, yeah, they could. I know a guy who can park in a spot just big enough for his car, with hardly a hand's width between his bumpers on either side.

    At any rate, the point is moot. Linux is harder, OUT OF THE BOX, than Windows to set up a total network solution. That's just the way it is. It takes more effort, and the people who do it will be paid more for their knowledge to get it done right, to setup a Linux network.
  • by aphor (99965) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:50AM (#4801216) Journal

    The problem with normalizing the servers is that your non-technical businesspeople are retarded from learning the interdependencies of the systems and the business. The costs, risks, and benefits of any system directly emanate from the impact they have on the operation of the business. Your MBA doesn't really know *any* details about the operation of either the business or the systems or the people that execute those details.

    This kind of reporting is just upper-executive grandstanding, trying to reinforce the justification for their astronomical salaries. Look at the numbers. They are designed specifically to make it seem like the proponents of such work are making decisions with consequences that dwarf their salaries. The inferences are drawn from overgeneralized facts, and the conclusions ignore the significance of overlooked factors.

    If you do not see the scientific explanation of "how to repeat this study in your situation" it is BULLSHIT!. YMMV: here, it holds just as true as anywhere else! Now what are we paying these jokers for?

  • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:51AM (#4801224)
    That's all bullshit and you know it.

    Microsoft's offerings were never especially "easy to use".

    Is it "easy" to remember wether your burner is E: F: or G: ? Or was that a network share? Or did that change after I put in a harddrive?

    Call me crazy, but I feel much better having /dev/hdxy and mountpoints than that mess.

    Is it "easy" that you have to install numerous add-on programs to make Windows usable? My Linux distribution came with an Office suite, ICQ, a browser that doesn't suck, image manipulation software and much, much more.

    Is is "easy" to edit undocumented and strangely named registry keys? I'll rather be able to make a backup of a config-file and then make changes guided by instructions *IN* the file, not buried inside a 2000-page doorstopper. Of course, usually you will use the GUI tools to change settings, but they don't cover everything, neither in Windows, nor in KDE/Linux.

    Is it "easy" to remember when to double-click and when to single-click? For beginners it's harder than it sounds. They will ask why they don't have to double-click icons in toolbars, but do have to double click icons on the desktop, why they have to double-click directories but not links in Explorer. KDE/Linux is A LOT more consistent here. A lot.

    Face it, guys: Windows is not that "easy to use" at all. It's just that people have got accostumized with it's problems and think that they are normal.

    And BTW: Windows did not build Microsoft's empire. DOS did. And DOS was the most unfriendly OS in existence.

    There are only two reasons why DOS/Windows is so widespread: Because it comes with the computer and because of available software

    That's it. No other explanations necessary. KDE/Linux beats Windows in every other aspect, including ease of use for true beginners.

  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:52AM (#4801231)
    Sure the price is cheaper, maybe. But what about in less developed countries were talent is far cheaper and software is far more expensive relatively.

    I have been travelling around South America for the last 2 months and I've probably been to about 20 or 30 cybercafes. Nobody is using windows XP. Hahahaha. People were fine using Windows as long as it was free but now, with the piracy protection and all they are just going to stick to win2k and win98. This is kind of like the computers getting too fast issue. Everyone has a computer now and they are fast enough. Windows doesn't crash anymore and people don't need anymore features.

    I talked to a guy who asked me about Linux who I met on the beach. He was the head of a large Chilean corporation who said that the software cops were coming to check out his licenses. I told him RedHat 8, Evolution, Star Office. Get the Point Of Sale and Call Center Running on Linux first. Oh yeah, and get a LINUX GURU.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <[giles.jones] [at] [zen.co.uk]> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:53AM (#4801237)
    In my experience it's easier to backup and restore Linux based systems. Fair enough with Windows you can backup the registry hives but that's a lot trickier than just copying a few text files. When Windows NT/2k/XP won't boot (BSOD on bootup) you're often up a creek without a paddle. At least with Linux you can get the system up with a bootable CD or boot floppy.
  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cjpez (148000) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:53AM (#4801240) Homepage Journal
    The 2.0 kernel tree is still being maintained. The datestamp for the initial release on kernel.org says "Jun 9 1996." Perhaps Redhat isn't supporting some of their old products, but the software that's running on it probably is.

    Also, I think it's somewhat less of a problem in the Linux world. After all, nobody's charging you for the upgrades. It's still a pain to have to make sure everything works, etc, but at least you can do it for nothing but time.

  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:56AM (#4801254) Homepage Journal

    There's always the option of hiring a trained individual to handle watching bug lists and backporting necessary fixes, but the pricetag on that would make Windows mandatory upgrades cheap in comparison.

    Or you could just use RHN/up2date and spend $50.

  • by lactose99 (71132) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:59AM (#4801277)
    The thing they don't seem to mention is the volume of staff needed to admin the two different platforms. I think that 1 MCSE (or equivalent) per 5-7 Win2k servers is probably a common ratio at many companies (that's about what my company works with), while you can have 1 *NIX admin manage 20+ Linux/BSD machines with ease (my group has 5 people managing 96 FreeBSD servers). Many companies don't understand this, they think that if you just *throw* more staff at the issue (untrained staff at that), you are getting an acceptable TCO. One good *NIX admin hardly needs to admin his boxes at all.
  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ami Ganguli (921) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:00AM (#4801283) Homepage

    Dunno, my experience is a lot different, and I've seen both large Unix and large Windows environments.

    Without any fancy tools, administering a large number of Unixy boxes is easy, whereas administering a large number of Windows boxes is hellish.

    With fancy tools (which are available for both environments - see Tivoli) you can set things up so that operators can do just about anything as long as nothing breaks. When things go wrong you end up having to revert to the standard admin. tools anyway. Unix is fixable, Windows a nightmare.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:04AM (#4801325)
    Windows 2000 is easier to set up, administer, and use than Linux

    Well, according to my experience, that's wrong - and wrong in all 3 aspects.

    Set-up: Win2K is easy to set-up, but so is any modern Linux distribution. I don't see an advantage for neither. Well, maybe a small advantage for Linux because you don't have to install a virus scanner.

    Administration: Linux is easer to mantain because it has both GUI-tools and CLI-tools. So for quick-and-dirty administration, you use the GUI-tools, but for automated tasks you use the CLI-tools in a script. Win2K has some CLI-commands, but the basic CLI-tools like grep/awk/sed etc. are missing, so it's not nearly as useful. Also Linux can be easily administered from anywhere and from any OS through SSH. And I didn't even start to talk about the flood of patches and security problems you will have to handle on Windows...

  • This is humbug (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:08AM (#4801364) Homepage Journal
    Quite frankly, this is non-sense. Let me point out a few flaws in this study:
    • Its can't possibly be a true study. Windows 2000 is all of 2 years old, not 5 years. So any estimations of 5-year costs on Win2k are based off of 2-year studies and 3-year projections. However, the studies down on Linux used Linux as it was 5 years ago: this is an unfair comparison, comparing a study on Linux's from 1997 up to 2002 with studies & projections of Win2k for 2000-2005.

    • Invalid/irrelevant comparison. No-one is buying Win2k or Linux from 5 years ago anymore. The best comparison would be between WinXP and the latest release of Debian or Redhat. One should note that the cost of upgrading Linux software is $0 for Debian, and negligible for RedHat (as you only have to buy one license). When upgrading Debian, one doesn't even need to worry about down-time.

    • Incomplete consideration. This "study" seems to completely ignore the fact that one Linux admin can attend to many Linux workstations, due to some of Linux' powerful tools. Also ignores the fact that with Linux, you can run everything in your company off of one computer, with terminals to that computer located at different physical locations throughout the company. This reduces the point(s) of failure from hundreds to 1. Redundancy can also be implemented if your worried about putting all your eggs in one basket. Other things this study seems to ignore -- like every other study -- is the cost of a BSA lawsuite and the cost of remaining compliant wit the BSA, which can be quite expensive. Let's not forget that Linux can run better on cheaper hardware, allowing you to either save money on hardware, or spend the same amount and get better performance. Yes, Linux admins may be more expensive than Win2k admins -- but because they can administer many systems at once through automated methods, you don't need as many of them. Ref. to IBM's study.

    • Technical Support. This is one of the greatest atrocities of many proprietary companies like MS: claiming that tech support is cheaper for proprietary products than for FS/OSS products. Bull. The cost of tech-support is built into proprietary products -- its built into the price you pay for the product. It may be hidden, but its still there. That said, with Linux you can purchase useful tech support from a free market, with heavy competition -- that is, you get guys who know what they're doing. As someone who's used MS' tech support, I'll tell u its crap: they've never known anything I didn't know, and have never provided a useful solution to a problem I couldn't solve. Tech support solutions for MS go somewhat like this: (1) Take you through cook-book procedures you've already done; (2) Ask you to uninstall whatever you installed last; (3) If that doesn't work, reinstall OS.

      It might be worthwhile noting that real studies, which we can look at, unlike this one, and which aren't backed by MS, show that Linux has a lower TCO:

      http://www.cyber.com.au/cyber/about/linux_vs_win do ws_tco_comparison.pdf

      http://www-1.ibm.com/linux/RFG-LinuxTCO-vFINAL-J ul 2002.pdf
  • Agree! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:22AM (#4801487)
    What's easiest is what people are accustomed to... and the MS monopoly, handed to them by IBM all those years ago, is still in full effect...

    I'm not saying Windows is crap, I am saying I've pulled more hair out trying to maintain Windows systems then Unix systems...

    The drive letters you mention are especially frustrating. How many people can fix it when they add a hard drive, and suddenly their games don't run because they all think the CDROM is D: and now it's E:? Most reinstall - and then call it an "easy" fix. Sure, a lot of us will jump into the registry and fix it...maybe have to edit some .ini files...

    Windows is wonderful if you get a stock system and never change it. Change things around - new drive, video card, network card... it might be easier then Linux, and it might not - and when it's not, it's a horror show.

    Windows maintenance is NOT easier then any version of Unix I've ever had the pleasure of using... there's a perception there that it's easy to maintain, and it's usually by people who've never used anything else, or learned Windows first then tried some ancient version of Linux.

    As far as security goes, it's not that easy locking down anything...if you think you've clicked the right buttons in Windows, then your system is probably not as secure as you think it is.

    Easy is when you know how to do it... Windows is more popular than Linux... More people know how to use/maintain Windows, therefore there is a perception (false, in my opinion) that Windows is somehow easier. The same people call things "standard" because they're made by Microsoft, not because they actually follow some publicly agreed upon "standard".
  • by Man Eating Duck (534479) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:23AM (#4801498)

    It's interesting to check out netcraft's [netcraft.com] statistics about web servers with insane uptimes.

    They only list the fifty highest uptimes, the 'winner' (FreeBSD/Apache) have been up for 1410 days. That's right folks, three years and 315 days.

    I'm aware that OS uptime != service uptime, and that most admin work on a *nix doesn't require a reboot, but still it indicates that they have had no major problems due to the OS.

    Too me it seems like this is a great advantage when running a production server (is that the term in English?), and that it at least indicates a lower long term maintenance cost. Admittedly, those servers are only web servers, but I would think that you would observe a similar trend for servers running other kinds of services.

    I'm not an admin (not yet, currently studing CS). Still, am I way off here? I see no Microsoft software on that list... Just a thought.

    I'm eager to learn, corrections/observations are most welcome!
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sporty (27564) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:32AM (#4801568) Homepage

    If you can't remember simple drive letters, then you need help.


    Am I the only one who actually thinks the 'unix way' is better? Mount things where they make sense in terms of how your data is partitioned? My second hd in my unix server, which is typically newer, larger drives, is /usr/local and /usr/X11R6 for all the stuff I install. That is the strength of unix in this matter, consistency while being transparent. Fuck, if I wanted /var /var/pkg /var/spool /var/blah could all be on different mount points without the user even knowing unless he explicitly looked.

    So don't call bullshit just 'cause you can remember if E or F are your cdwriter or reader. All if means is if I come to your machine, i have to sit there and figure it out by doing directory listings.

    At least by doing a mount, or simply going to /mnt/cdrom1 /mnt/cdrom2, it's a bit more.. verbose.
  • by TheGreek (2403) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:33AM (#4801582)
    In fact, Windows 2000 will not be supported five years after it's release date.

    Yes it will. [microsoft.com]

    Oh I get it. Windows 2000 doesn't cost anything to support after 5 years, since your forced to upgrade at that time.

    -rw-r--r-- 1 536 536 6573183 Dec 16 1997 linux-2.0.33.tar.gz

    Still using Linux 2.0.33? That came out five years ago. Want to count "service packs?" Okay. Still using 2.0.x?

    You're not?

    Then shut the fuck up about using something for five years. Linux has seen more substantive change over the past five years than the NT codebase has. With Linux, if you wanted new filesystem support, SMP, faster I/O, etc., you needed to upgrade.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by splume (560873) <splumes@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:43AM (#4801684) Journal
    Don't get me wrong, I too prefer the mounting system, however when it comes to ease of use the Windows way is just so much better. It is not easier to "mount /cdrom" and type "eject" when in Windows you pop the damn cd in and it will start playing, or when you push the eject button on the CDROM, it actually ejects.

    All I am saying is that for the newbie, Windows is the easy way to go. I started out on DOS, went to OS/2, then to 98, 2000, and I now run FreeBSD. However, I would have had one hell of a time going in reverse :)
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:46AM (#4801708)
    If you can't remember simple drive letters, then you need help.

    Well, then my apps need help. A couple of years ago, when I still used Windows for serious tasks, I had to reinstall half a dozen apps because the drive letters changed after a hard-drive installation.

    And I need also help, because I have more important things to do than to remember drive letters on all the machines I administer.

    Right, and it is easy for beginners to remember how to chmod, sh, and rm without totally fucking things up. I see, I forgot how second nature the command line is to newbies.

    Beginners don't need to know that. Even you should know that by now. But it's very nice to be able to send a command line for copy-pasting via email, so yes, the CLI (alongside the GUI) is also great for supporting beginners.

    Yea, you are right, the start button, the My Computer, the Control Panel, all very confusing and counter-intuitive. KDE is such a god-send.

    I know that you are desperately trying to be ironic here, but yes: The "Control Panel" in Windows is just a directory with apps randomly thrown in, while the KDE-control-center is organized tree-like, which makes it much easier to find what you are looking for.

  • by sheldon (2322) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:48AM (#4801724)
    Generally these comparisons of number of admins for one type of server based on the OS are nonsensical. The real comparison needs to be focus on what function the server is performing.

    Database servers require far less daily change control than File/Print servers. Even less when you consider it's the DBA doing changes, not the server admin.

    What if you have one NT admin for every 40 NT servers, but only have one Unix admin for every 4 Unix servers? Isn't that a nonsensical comparison, when the NT boxes are 1U Compaq rack-mounts, but the Unix boxes are HP Superdomes?

    And besides, when people talk about administrative functions they are thinking enterprise level. Not your dorm room.
  • The register (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nelsonal (549144) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:02PM (#4801850) Journal
    I think the best writeup of the article comes from the register, to summarize, Windows is cheaper because it compared all the expected costs, Linux/Unix administration costs more becuase the admins have a more hands on role in setting the system up, while Windows admins need the skill of a trained monkey to get everything up and running. However, when something goes wrong, as it will, the Linux/Unix admins will be better able to correct it, both by design and because of the hands on role they had in setting up the system, while the bargain basement windows admin will pilot his cursor around the screen hoping things fix themselves. A smarter Windows admin will be better able to fix the problems, but your cost savings goes away.
    Also, the write up pointed out that if you add in an upgrade, the Linux system would come out ahead, since upgrades are free, and the cost differences are small.
  • by paradoxmember (609285) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:16PM (#4801967)
    You are missing the point of TCO.. when u factor in the cost of the software and the upgrades to that software in most instances they are penuts compares to the salaris of the administrators that maintain these machines.

    The reason that this article can be viewed as valid is becuase any idiot can go to windowsupdate.com and patch their server box. In my area of the world a MCSE might make 40 grand a year, a Red Hat certified Linux admin might make well over 6 figures a year.

    Hencforth that makes the TCO of windows less than that of linux. While it is generally true that a linux admin can handle more boxes simutaneiously than a windows admin... most companies that i deal with only have a max of 5 or 6 servers. Which one admin can easily handle no matter what the OS.

    So there are some instances where linux may have a larger TCO than windows. That is not to say by any stretch of the imagination that I would ever install a windows server in MY office. I have 6 servers sitting in my server room and not a one of them is running anything other than SlackWare. But thats not to say that it may be cheaper in some cases to run windows, but nowhere near as reliable.
  • Re:Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShinmaWa (449201) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:20PM (#4802005)
    I have to agree. I also have to question the motiviation behind the study.

    It was "Windows 2000 vs. Linux".

    Not "Windows 2000 vs. Unix-like Operating Systems." Not "Windows 2000 vs. Solaris vs. AIX vs. Linux." Just "vs. Linux". Why? Surely there are more choices than Windows 2000 and Linux for all your server needs.

    I would think that a research company would want to compare TCOs from a wide range of options to increase the total value of the study. However, this reeks of a targeted result based on an agenda to me.

    Mike
  • Re:Well duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by incongruent (622739) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:57PM (#4802348)
    again, this is depending on the OS to be recoverable. migrating things in windows between servers is a PITA. then there's registry corruption (oh yes we can back everything up on a floppy, or whatever... until you migrate whatever you want to another server and something 18 levels down doesn't match up and you get a big fat bsod. the fact that windows automagically does everything for you, and won't LET you do anything yourself without a long painstaking process is hella annoying. guess what i need to do to back up and/or migrate my webserver? copy the httpd.conf file and the directory structure and files of the old server to my newly installed box, and wa-la - it works. Automagically! simplicity truly is the better option.
  • by hackstraw (262471) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:59PM (#4802380)
    I'm a Linux/Unix admin. And one of the things I tell people when I'm interviewing is that being an admin of these kind of machines isn't that difficult because they are reliable, and when there is a problem, the problem usually has a clear solution (ie, good error messages, much much better error messages than windows). Anyway, as far as TCO goes, since admining these boxes isn't that taxing, I can do _other_ things like program. This is something that I have never heard of a MCSE doing.

    Btw, I have a part time admin job (3 days a week) of 63 Linux machines, and the other days of the week I help out with another 100+ machines (admined by one person full time, who also programs), as well as supporting a number of lower priority machines.
  • by Ubernutter (542753) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:03PM (#4802423)
    carries quite a good story on this and brings up several valid points;

    the survey was paid for by Microsoft,
    the five year ownership DIDN'T include the cost of upgrading the hardware,
    that Microsoft recommend / require upgrade cycles
    that downtime wasn't taken into account.

    Hmmm.
  • by MADCOWbeserk (515545) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:05PM (#4802447)
    I hate to start a new thread on this, but I will. I will not compare ease of use between Linux and Windows in a desktop environment, (although those goddamn GPL violators Lindows are changing that) but I actually believe the Linux is much easier as server than windows. For instance setting up IIS requires mulling through several layers of menus, while apache only requires editing a short text which has simple instructions contained within. User priviledges are more complicated in windows, and don't do as good a job with program access rights as Linux, ie. more processes are going to have Admin/root access in windows than Linux. Hence Linux/Unix generally has by design inherently better security than windows. Backing up a Linux server is much simpler than windows as all than text config files can simply be backed up (along with whatever data your serving) rather than the whole system. Windows does allow the creation of a special recovery disk(ASR), but this complicated and often doesn't work. I digress, as I am running out of time. In a server environment editing text files can be much easier and faster than configuraring layers and layers of GUI configs.

    Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it.
  • REALLY read it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by praedor (218403) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:26PM (#4802647) Homepage

    And you will see the biggest unrealistic caveat: the study assumed no upgrades over a span of 5 years! M$ tries to force an upgrade just about every frickin' year or so. It is unrealistic to think a company will have the same windoze running 5 years down the line with M$ breathing down their neck AND M$ dropping support for their 5 year old OS after a mere 3 or so.


    Another interesting and true point is that those people you hire to administer a linux system setup are more knowledgeable, period, than the MSCE admins for doze so that when something really goes south (on windoze almost anything beyond people forgetting their passwords) the windoze admins are useless while the *nix geniuses can easily whip out a fix - probably without terminating network connectivity while they do it.


    An M$-funded study is the same thing as a "study" produced by the M$ marketing department and has the same legitimacy.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eccles (932) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:40PM (#4802800) Journal
    Even if it was, which MS recommends against using, CONVERT volume /FS:NTFS wow that was sooo difficult.

    Regardless (command-line in Windows? Heretic! Where's the GUI interface?), the name assignment doesn't solve the fundamental problem of apps expecting the drive in one place, but it moving to another. C:\CDROM might be nice for you, but apps are looking for D: or E: or...

    Fundamentally, Windows is an excellent implementation of a poor core design, whereas Linux is an unpolished implementation of a better core design. (Above the core, Windows starts to look better design-wise.) You complain about /etc/fstab? Windows has just as indecipherable a record somewhere, you just don't edit it directly. And a GUI app could certainly manipulate it in Linux too; editing the file directly is an option, but not fundamental to the Linux design.

    Ditto "unlike unintuitve Unix/Linux, Windows is actually smart enough to turn the respective icons (even if it's mounted as a folder deep in the filesystem) in to CDs or hard-drive-with-a-pipe-sticking-out-of-it". Are you sure Nautilus or another Linux file explorer doesn't do this? The info is certainly available. This sort of thing is an implementation detail, not fundamental to either system.

    Neither Linux nor Windows' preferences systems are perfect. Linux loses points on inconsistency in format. However, can you easily grab all the prefs related to a particular app, or several favorite apps, and copy them to another machine. Although you can select branches of the registry to do something similar, it's not as easy, has to be done app-by-app, and many apps don't store their settings in the registry but in .ini files. Nor is there an obvious way to script copying registry entries for a collection of apps. And there's no nice way to have documentation of the various settings inside the registry itself, like there is in most .app_rc files.

    The thing bout Linux being a better core design, and Windows being a better implementation: it's easier to fix an implementation than to fix a poor design.
  • Time travel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by endrek (547737) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:48PM (#4802878) Homepage

    If you read the article a bit more closly and check the comments for referance, you'll notive the article says that this study was done over a 5 year period of time. Windows 2000 wasn't out 5 years ago making this rather impossible and thus pretty hard to believe. And I can imagine that starting with Linux 5 years ago and using that till now probably would cost more than it would to start now and carry forward 5 uears because so much progress has been made. Were upgrades allowed? This article is very light on the details. Would a service pack be allowed then? Wouldn't this make Linux better because for free, you get better and better upgrades. Win 2000 only gives you a few services paks, unless you upgrade to XP (ha!)

    So in the end I am really confused at how this is even possible and sort of able to believe part of it because of the severe age-ness of it. But really. Come on, we need way more detail before I'll actually believe it.

  • by walt-sjc (145127) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:23PM (#4803231)
    First of all, Windows 2000 is not 5 years old. Second, Linux was not being adopted in a big way 5 years ago either. Numbers over a 5 year span would therefor be meaningless.

    Note that Linux has advanced MASSIVE amounts over those 5 years in both performance, reliability, and ease of maintenance.

    Second, it depends on WHICH 104 companies you survey. I could probably pick 104 companies that would have a totally different experience.

    What's that old saying about statistics again?
  • The Real Problem (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @03:28PM (#4803834)
    The real problem here is that MS seems to be suggesting you don't need a network administrator for a network of 100 people.

    Does this sound sane to you? Do you really want to be running a network with 100 computers on it and not have an administrator who can fix critical problems? What about security settings? I don't care how easy they make it, it's still not easy enough for the company receptionist to administer.

    I guess MS is saying nobody needs MCSE's either...

    I'd be kinda pissed off with them if I had a MCSE and read this report.

  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @03:41PM (#4803945) Homepage
    The problem with this kind of study (and I'm also including the ones by IBM that favor Linux over Windows in this) is that there is no general case that you can model results for. All these studies assume too many specific things about the "typical workplace" and "typical server needs" and "typical staff" that are not universal, and then have the hubris to take their conclusion and make the bold public statement that it applies universally. TCO calculations are especially prone to this since TCO depends largely on the staff's ability and willingness to learn the technology, and that's not the same for every situation. For us at work, Windows would be more expensive than Linux simply because we don't like it, and thus would spend the minimum time necessary to learn how to make it work just barely for us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#4805142)
    What this is proving is that the world still needs a non-OS operating system.

    A) For those users who don't want to know about files, permissions, etc., so they can use the system without messing things up.

    With Windows, Linux, etc., they can blow away files and get in a load of hurt.

    B) For running simple tasks, such as print servers, etc.

    Why would anybody need a full-blown OS for that? But they want something more configurable than a Cobalt box that is stuck doing only that task.

    Basically what users need is a box that hides all of the details of the underlying OS from them.
  • Scientific method (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Epsillon (608775) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @06:04PM (#4805245) Homepage Journal

    For folk who have an interest in the sciences, pooh-poohing a scientific study, with probable extrapolation, without looking at it objectivly is probably about as un-scientific as it gets. You want empirical evidence? Here's some:

    I have been trying to break from MS for ages. I can't condone a switch yet. Why? Admin costs. It isn't because myself and the other 2K admins can't understand or transfer our expertise to an archaic CLI based OS. It's not even because we can't work out how to do familiar things in *nix because we're all thick (much as you lot would have us believe).

    It's actually the cost of having more staff to administer each machine. If I were to switch 100% to Linux I would have to administer each machine individually at the moment. In Windows I can simply change the group policy for whatever AD object I wish to change for, say, a virus database update or a permission domain wide for installation of a certain program. In *nix I would either have to log in to each machine myself or write a script for a machine to do it for me. Each way faffing about is a process involved. Simply put, *nix hasn't got the group and domain managment facilities that Windows has. Until it has, there's simply no competition. And yes, I love the OSS idea too, but i'm also a realist. Sorry.

  • by Picklesnow (628403) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @08:14PM (#4806317)
    And you think that IDC will bite the hand that feeds it?

    Not only wanting to please the man (the one paying the bills) will affect the out come, you can bet that Bill & friends carefully chose a firm that could be trusted to get the "right results" in the first place. Now let me be really clear here if IBM or Red Hat were to directly fund such a study I would be just as unwilling to accept the out come as well and ,yes, those studies would find linux much more cost effective to use. In reality this study is just FUD, why would I want to waste time following it up, or arguing specifics because you still have a serious flaw at the outset that renders this study questionable at best.

  • by PajamaSam (621561) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @08:56PM (#4806630)
    American IT workers typically make 30% more than in other developed countries, ignoring altogether countries such as India. It is thereore possible that in the United States, the TCO of Linux may in some cases exceed that of Win2k. In many other countries the license for Win2K alone would exceed the TCO of a linux file/print server. In countries such as India, the cost of a Win2K license makes Linux very attractive, which may help explain the recent "Investment" by MS in that country (i.e. giving avay free Windows licences to deter defection).
  • wow 5 years (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bigmammoth (526309) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:44PM (#4807231) Homepage
    Microsoft's Windows 2000 offers a better total cost of ownership (TCO) than Linux for most traditional server workloads over a five-year time span, according to an IDC study.

    It must be a really good report if windows 2000 offers a better TCO over 5 years. . pretty cool that they can see into the future like that, and know exactly what windows will cost tomorrow, cuz the cost has been constant for the last 5 years right .. .? and know how Linux will develop over the course of the next 5 years as Linux is pretty much the same operating system it was 5 years ago, right...? Sure is Amazing they can predict the future so accurately.
  • Stupidity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whereiswaldo (459052) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @12:24AM (#4807763) Journal
    Linux is easier to manage (says Microsoft) on a large number of machines. So how can Linux be more expensive than Windows? People who know Linux don't magically get paid 10 times the money Windows people do. They probably make about the same in most cases, given equal # of years experience and equal talent.

    This study is a big Troll. The fact that it is "breaking news" ought to raise red flags for most people! tsk tsk

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