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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 Walterk (124748) <dublet@ac[ ]rg ['m.o' in gap]> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:12AM (#4800892) Homepage Journal
    I can understand that a UNIX admin is more highly trained, and therefor more expensive than your average MCSE. But then how would it compare to say, Mac servers? Any idiot could set those up, and they're more stable and secure than Windows..
  • Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Catskul (323619) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:14AM (#4800914) Homepage
    Google: IDC microsoft
    and you will see taht IDC has a history of tooting the MS horn.
  • Obvious questions... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jvmatthe (116058) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:16AM (#4800934) Homepage
    Five years of Windows 2000? Let's see, if Windows 2000 came out in 1999, then it's been out for 2000, 2001, 2002...that's only three years. So there must be some extrapolation going on here, even if we allow that some of these shops were using a beta version of Win2k a year ahead of release. Then there is the question of hardware costs, since Linux potentially needs less hardware to perform the same jobs. And finally, it'd be nice to know how the 104 shops were picked.

    Insert standard Mark Twain "statistics" comment here.
  • sponsor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by John_Renne (176151) <zooi@gniffelnCOF ... t minus caffeine> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:17AM (#4800945) Homepage
    It just makes clear in wich camp the researcher was this time. The first independent report hasn't been released yet. I think the real TCO is more dependant on admin than on OS.
  • How convinient (Score:3, Interesting)

    by robinjo (15698) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:19AM (#4800961)

    "Microsoft is celebrating the results of a study..." Hehee. It was about time they found one study to prove how Windows 2000 costs less over a five year time span.

    Never mind that Windows 2000 hasn't been around even close to that long.

    Never mind that Microsoft stops supporting it in year 2005. Wonder how a six year time span would have looked like...

    She could at least have linked to the study itself...

  • by puto (533470) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:29AM (#4801048) Homepage
    Or that most of the tests focused on networked apps? and webserving?

    To quote "better cost of ownership for running network infrastructure, print serving, file serving and security applications than Linux."

    These are all OS X things can do, well macs can finally do with OS X. PC's with Windows and UNIX have always done these well. When was the last time you say an all MAC ISP? Well, I suppose you could dig some up, i just googled and found a few.

    TCO on a mac for a workstation is great, but again this was focused on the server arena. And if you look at it, there are much more server options as for as hardware and apps for Linux and Windows.

    Mac OSX has not been around that long either. And who would want to put the pretty mac in a rack? Can I get a blade server mac? Can I get a g4 in a pizza box with a 2 meg vid card and a ps2 port for mouse and keyboard?

    The Mac is not ready to compete in the server market at this time and for that reason it was left out of the study. Sure they can be used as a server, but that would totally blow the tco figures outta the water. You need some heavy crunch boxes so you tell you bosses we are gonna get 15 dualie G4's. or for the same price we can get 30 dualie p4's. Did i mention the space recquirewould probably be a third to house them? Where is the headless MAC?

    I have an Ibook and love it. No complaints. But still I use a pc at home as well. With Windows 2000, got another with linux. I am pretty much OS nuetral and use the best one for each particualar aspect of my job. exchange on 2000(exchange is a great ap if you know what your doing) linux for file serving, print servers, backups and an accounting app(not written for linux, written for sco but fiddled with til it worked).

    I use my Ibook on the road and at work and to keep me abreast of the Mac Os. In the IT field we need to learn em all, not jihad behind one.

    Puto

    The MAC is a great machine.
  • by rokka (631038) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:29AM (#4801051)
    Why even bother comenting it? (can't belive I just did)
  • by LiquidAsphalt (627915) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:31AM (#4801058) Homepage
    Let me begin with saying I do like Linux. I enjoy using it, and I see its advantages everywhere.

    Now let me begin, most people here state that the statement offered above is wrong. From reading the article I see that that the total cost of ownership is in staffing smart people that understand Linux and can adminster it as well, if not better, than a windows admin can administer Windows. While Linux may not be point and click, and it offers a multitude of options, generally most IT professionals in the field have no freaking clue how to use it.

    Not only that, but where do you send these people to get trained? There is no single Linux distro that is a "standard" and there is no single known place to get training. If you do find training, the costs of sending employees there is too much. Many people who know squat get certified in Windows Administration and then find some jobs at companies, with Linux there is a bit of a curve and less demand.

    Lets also look at this in another way, say I wanted to change careers and get into the new latest fad of a business. Say I choose to get into day trading stocks (not different as people did a few years back) but didn't know where to begin. I am going to sign up with E-Trade or some online broker and begin trading. I am not going to open my own firm to day trade stocks. I am not saying Linux needs you to do everything, but for someone coming from a Windows enviornment, even the grep command is a bit much.

  • by McFly69 (603543) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:31AM (#4801063) Homepage
    CRN already was a pro windows site before they even made the review or article. Proof you may ask for? Well, their web pages are in ASP [crn.com] and not to mention that the pages are servered on an IIS box. This proves they used M$ technology before hands and are not open minded to other solutions.

    If you have a skilled employee in Linux and they are unskilled in M$, it would be alot cheaper to implement a linux box than a M$ box. The article is using the other side appproach, a M$ skilled employee that has no clue about Linux, will cost alot more to implement Linux.
  • by Dave21212 (256924) <dav@spamcop.net> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:32AM (#4801064) Homepage Journal

    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. . .
    I agree. It's entirely unfair to stretch the TCO out over five years without including the cost of *forced* upgrades [microsoft.com]. And what about cost savings [sun.com] by enabling managers to move to other (open source) tools instead of being 'locked in' to the Microsoft world [microsoft.com] ?

    Another job well done the IDC advertising department... Slashdot has better editors.
  • Re:IBM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:45AM (#4801169) Homepage Journal
    There are tools availabile that let you duplicate a UNIX environment network-wide, so I suspect that IDC ran the numbers for a single system. IIRC, UNIX admins usually end up taking care of more systems due to the remote management capabilities of the OS and as far as I know UNIX still outclasses Windows for remote management. And while you may in fact spend less money on your Windows admin, you do get what you pay for. Any monkey can keep the network up when things are good, but your admins really earn their keep when things are bad. The company I'm at now reduces Windows TCO by letting the employees manage their own machines for the most part and I blame this policy for them getting bitten by Code Red. We experienced about a week of downtime due to that -- the network was pretty much unusable. For the people in just my office, that cost the company in the neighborhood of $20,000 in lost productivity. Somehow I don't think numbers like that make it into TCO studies.

    Of course the Windows apologists will point out that Linux has security holes too and they would be right. I do spend a portion of my time trying to make sure my Linux system remains secure. 9 times out of 10 when the security bulletin comes out, apt-get has already fixed the problem. But you know, if I were running Windows here, would I be spending any less time making sure my system was secure? I don't think so. Perhaps that's the difference in pay between the Windows admin and the UNIX admin.

    Sorry if I rambled a bit here. Haven't had my coffee yet.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by N3WBI3 (595976) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:46AM (#4801184) Homepage
    The ease of use thing makes windows cheaper on the desktop (which I will concede for the most part) however on a server the ability to fine tune the source is critical for performance and to preven future downtime)

    I thought its funny that somehow downtime favors windwos when on a unix box it takes less than two seconds to resart a service and you dont have to reboot after installing an application..

    BTW I do drive a manual ;)

  • by kableh (155146) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:03AM (#4801319) Homepage
    You laugh? I worked at a company back in 2000 that put a serious investment into developing a website, with a Windows 2000 back end of course. This was a Fortune 500 company, so of course Microsoft conned them into hiring a bunch of MCSDs to code the thing at some insane price. It ended up costing several million for the whole shebang, which included space at Exodus for a 4 webserver cluster, behind an F5 and dual PIXs, with the database running off two quad Xeon boxen sharing a SAN. This all ran Windows 2000 Advanced Server so they could use the HA clustering functionality.

    Anyhow, I worked a later shift, and got to monitor in the evenings. Every evening, without fail, I watched each and every machine in that HA cluster get rebooted =). "Scheduled Maintainance" I imagine.

    Don't get me wrong though, this isn't an MS bash. I'm and MCP, RHCE, etc, and use both Windows 2000 on the server and desktop, as well as Linux on the server and desktop. Each has their place.

    Maybe when the server hosting this report isnt getting /.ed I'll be able to take a look =). I'll still take it with a grain of salt, as I would any report comapring the TCO of either of these products. Lies, damn lies, and TCO studies indeed.
  • by lizzybarham (588992) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:08AM (#4801361)

    I was dissatisfied with administrating her Win98 box so I set up her machine as a diskless host (the Win98 data on the HD is still there but the boot floppy prevents Win98 from booting). She seems to be understanding it okay (GNOME) and she's in her 60's - plus I can rlogin to her box and see what's going on/wrong should the need arise.

  • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:10AM (#4801380) Journal
    I have to agree with you and even extend the thought. How many companies really have enough experience with Linux in areas other than web serving to even make a wild hairy-assed guess about admin costs over five years?

    How about system recovery? eventualy every peice of hardware is going to take a puke. How hard is Win2K or Linux going to be to recover, have enough actualy crashed to even estimate?

    My guess is that as Linux penetrates further into the data center, and there is more experience top-to-bottom in the IT staff that Linux's cost will drop further than Win2K's will because linux will self-administer easier.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:11AM (#4801393)
    What did the latest Halloween document talk about, but how Microsoft needed to emphasize a lower TCO.

    Well isn't it nice that you can simply go and fund a survey to have that very thing become news.

    Hasn't Microsoft repeatedly been doing this? Under the guise of supposedly independent surveys, benchmarks, and/or studies (not surpisingly funded, supported, or sponsored by Microsoft) the answers come out in Microsoft's favor. Recent victims of this include Open Source, J2EE, and now Linux.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! This isn't independent news, it's just advertising. And it's damn effective because it appears legitimate.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blkdeath (530393) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:13AM (#4801413) Homepage
    You have to know what you are doing to use Linux.

    Willy Gates has made Windows so easy anybody can use it.

    This is the paradox of computers nowadays. What we have are people who are totally familiar with Windows 95 who honestly believe in their abilities to sit in front of a Windows 2000 / Windows NT (4) server and administrate a network. This is, of course, incorrect. This is the type of situation that works well when everything is going right and nothing is being (drastically) changed, but as soon as something goes wrong; here come the contractors and with them come very large contract fees.

    People always tell me about how Linux / UNIX / BSD is so much more difficult to install, administer, update, use, etc. - the problem is, they're talking from a Windows administrator (MCSE) point of view. My typical response to these people has always been along the lines of "Would you want an auto mechanic working on your brain, or a brain surgeon working on your car?"

    Before people jump all over me for drawing paralells between the human brain and an internal combustion engine; don't, because I'm not. {smile} Linux and Windows are like night and day in almost every regard, except that they both install on 'computers' of varying architectures.

    Long and short of it, companies who hire 'IT Professionals' or people with paper certs of varying degrees are going to have no luck in getting them to administer a UNIX-based network, it's completely obvious. Now, I'm trained and experienced on both Linux/BSD environments and Windows NT/2k environments, so someone like me would be a good candidate (hint, hint all you employers out there! ;) ), whereas many people I've worked with over the years who can barely get past a Mandrake/RedHat/Corel/etc.-Ized KDE desktop and are barely aware that such thing as a "shell" or "prompt" even exists would not be, because they run Windows networks in their houses and have no experience outside of the GUI. (Many of them don't even seem to hail from the DOS days, which IMHO is really a strike against them because they're not likely to have any experience in script-automating repetitive maintainance tasks).

    Hiring a competent team of *NIX administrators will, in the long run, save a company mega amounts of money, and I'd be willing to stake my livelihood on that. Task automation, machine hardening, strict user access controls, testbed update servers all lead up to an environment that can be controlled very easily by a limited number of staff each with only a single terminal to their name, and mass critical updates can be handled with great ease through the many, many powerful tools offered in a typical UNIX environment.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:17AM (#4801446)
    Windows so easy anybody can use it


    I wish that were the case. Where I work we started using WinXX with WFWG 3.11. The majority of our boxes are still Win95. We even have a training room and have given every worker training in the use of WinXX, Word Perfect, QPro (we can't afford nor would we want to use Word or Excel), and some specialty software. Yesterday I get a call from a supervisor who wants to run a program I wrote. It would be nice to have it on only one server, but we don't have 300 licenses to a single server. So, I explain that he needs to open Windows Explorer, navigate to the directory containing the particular copy he wants to run, and drag an icon to his desktop. "What's Windows Explorer?" he asks. He's been running WinXX a DOZEN years and doesn't know how to navigate or drop icons on desktops. He's NOT alone. I would estimate that 90% of the 300 employees are in the same boat. In fact, supervisors get demoted if they expect/demand employees learn how to use WinXX. The MSCEs have to setup desktop icons for everything workers do, and write step by step instuctions to run specific programs. Combine that with all the crashes, reinstalls, rebuilds, anit-virus upgrades, and license tracking paperwork and you have the total WinXX experience (nightmare). Each MSCE has to watch about 50 PCs, and three of the six have to watch about 30 servers. It runs the six of them them ragged.


    Mandrake 8.2 or 9.0 running KDE 3.0.4 is just as easy to use as WinXX, and for those 90% who refuse to learn, just as hard.


    Regarding running Linux, the time when one had to learn esoteric paramters to cryptic console utility programs in order to configure and/or run Linux is long gone. That modus operandi died with KDE2 or GNOME2.

    IF easy of installation is a criteria then MDK 8 or 9, RH 8.x or SuSE 8.x have raised the bar beyond Microsoft. Were it not for the court approved but still illegal MS Monopoly hedgemoney over the hardware vendors, people would be screaming at the difficulties of installing WinXX from scratch on a naked PC. I've installed more WinXX than I care to remember, and I'll take a Mandrake install over WinXX any day.


    That only leaves TCO. Microsoft BUYS a lot of "I can run WinXX cheaper than Linux" PR, they generated a lot of phoney reports, market studies that parrot their lies, but one only has to read the avalanche of news stories (not PR releases) of companies moving to Linux and reporting substantial savings on operating and licensing costs to get the emerging picture. A few recent examples: Banco do Brasil (http://www.vnunet.com/News/1137229), Telstra (http://www.itnews.com.au/storycontent.cfm?ID=0&Ar t_ID=11352), and my personal favorite, Earnie Ball, the guitar maker who was beat up by the BSA, http://infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/11/27/0211 27hnerniball.xml?s=IDGNS
    , and by switching to Linux is now saving $100K per year for an 80 empolyee company. That's not trivial. In thier own words :" Two years after moving to open-source products, Ball claims that he saves $80,000 to $100,000 a year on IT spending, which is sizeable for a company of 80 computer users. Savings come from decreased maintenance, but more importantly, there is no longer any pressure to pay for regular software and hardware upgrades, he said.

    The company was able to pull old desktop computers out of retirement, as its network is designed so that applications run off a main server, and are accessed using low horse-power desktop computers, or "dumb clients." For that reason, adding new users, or changing a user's credentials, can be managed centrally.

    "Nobody really has a local desktop per se," said Jeff Whitmore, director of IT at Ernie Ball in a phone interview this week. "Employees are all getting applications off of one server."
    "

  • ot but.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gimpboy (34912) <john,m,harrold&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:20AM (#4801468) Homepage
    well the original article was about tco of running linux as a server, and not really aimed at developers.

    one thing to not about Free software is that the support base from the community is huge. as a result when you are having problems there are many more resources available for you online than there are for proprietary software. also people developing Free software are more likely to admit bugs and problems with their system than those who close their source to the public.

    my own personal expirences have shown that developers in the linux community are more likely to respond to you personally than those from say microsoft. take for example a problem i was having with a network card. i was getting strange errors in syslog and i wasnt sure what they ment. i poked around on the net and i couldnt figure out what was wrong. in a last ditch effort i emailed donald becker [tux.org]. perhaps you've heard of him, he writes most of the linux network interface drivers and he came up with a little clustering concept called beowulf.

    well i emailed him with the problem i was having, and do you know what he did? he didn't ask me for money, or a credit card number, or a beer. he emailed me source code for a diagnostic program. i emailed the results back. this continued for a couple hours and eventually we determined that the nic was bad. oh did i mention that he responded to my initial query within an hour?

    now i ask you, if i emailed support@microsoft.com and asked them for help with my nic do you think the guy who wrote the network card drivers for windows would respond to me personally within an hour to work out my problem for free? this is the difference between support costs in windows and linux. you might not appreciate them, but i do.
  • by FreeLinux (555387) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:20AM (#4801469)
    One of the common citations that are bandied about is that Linux admins make more than their Windows counterparts. But, the evidence seems to contradict this "wisdom". Most of the Linux admin jobs that I see posted offer lower salaries than comprable Windows admin positions. Surveys [itcertinfo.com], such as this, also indicate that Linux admins are actually paid less than their MCSE counterparts. This naturally begs the question, are Linux admins truely more expensive than the Windows admins?

    Another issue is the "difficulty" of administrering Linux, as compared to Windows. While, there are some valid arguements to support this hypothesis, there are also some important details that are seemingly ignored. That is, the difficulty is in fact due to unfamiliarity. Windows admins are unfamiliar with Linux and it is therefore more difficult for them to administer it. But, were these Windows admins born knowing how to administer Windows? Is Windows truely so simple that they can do it without any prior knowledge?

    No! The fact is that the Windows admins have had specific training in administering Windows. They have gone to classes, MCSE Boot Camps, seminars all about how to manage Windows. They also have a bookshelf FULL of Windows administration books that they have studied. Now, after all that, Windows is familiar and relatively easy for them to administer. I challenge anyone who makes the difficulty claim to build a bookshelf of equal size to their Windows one. If these people read just as many books on Linux as they have on Windows Administration, they would not find it any more difficult than Windows. This would likely be true even without any Linux classes or Linux Boot Camps.

    It has been proven by a legion of CNEs who find Novell no more difficult, in many cases far easier to manage than Windows. Yet The same Windows admins will say that Netware is MUCH harder to manage than Windows.

    Also, on the subject of training etc. These TCO reports always factor in the expense of Linux training. However, they do not seem to factor in the cost of Windows training. Let's not forget that the books and the classes and the MCSE boot camps cost a lot of money. Even if that money has already been spent, it must be factored into the TCO. These MCSEs were not born knowing how to administer Windows 2000. It costed thousands of dollars each to raise this generation of MCSEs. In most cases these training courses were paid for by the companies. How can they be simply ignored by the TCO studies? Are these MCSEs going to live forever, or are they going to be replaced by a new generation that will have to aslo be trained at a cost of thousands per head?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:29AM (#4801544)
    I work for a large ISP. We have around 200 linux/FreeBSD servers that are admin'd on a day to day basis by 10 people.

    We have a similar number of admins running our "internal" servers (file servers, exchange, etc). we have about 1/4 the number of internal servers.

    I don't know about the rest of the world, but our TCO for linux is MUCH lower even if we through out the licensing issues.

    The issue is finding competent linux admins. Yes, they are out there, and no, you don't have to pay them $100k/year.

  • Re: Downtime costs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EricWright (16803) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:37AM (#4801622) Journal
    No... not W95, WinNT 4x. Also, I'm not an admin, but an applications programmer. I am friends with admins on both sides, and even the NT admins admit the *nix guys have it easier, even though the hard core DB apps, web server, bugzilla, etc. all run on *nix. The NT guys deal with desktops, Exchange server, etc. and spend much more time on those, even based on a per machine basis.
  • Re:Lifespan Issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:43AM (#4801677) Homepage Journal
    By contrast, who keeps a Microsoft product for five years without upgrading it? Especially in a corporate environment? ... Agreed, most companies don't go 5 years without upgrading but there are certainly some that do.

    Actaully, I'd say that the majority of medium to large corporations don't upgrade their OS any more frequently than 5 years. In a large company, it can take several years to work out a stable config that will work with older machines and servers during the transition, budget for it, and (the kicker) distribute it to all their employees. Most large companies use every other version of windows (many will likely skip XP and wait for Longhorn or whatever comes next, since 2000 is 'good-enough') since they come out too quickly to keep upgrading. Sure, the developers might need custom Win XP (or linux or anything) workstations, but most users will not know the difference between NT, 2000, and XP. If there are any day-to-day problems they have in NT or 2000, they're already used to dealing with them and aren't desperate for a new version on their workstation.

    And companies which depend on their mainframe servers for critical business processing will hardly ever change the system. Taking a chance at diabling their entire operation is just not worth a few more features or faster processing, for most business operations.
  • by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:47AM (#4801713)
    "Freedom is Slavery."

    "War is Peace."

    "Ignorance is Strength."

    You know Microsoft is running scared if it has the nerve to run TCO studies against OSS such as Linux. I wonder if the study took into account the high incidence of crippling worms for Microsoft server OSs? Further, certain things are so much better on Linux/BSD systems such as programs not polluting the OS image and no registry to be a point of failure and source of problems.

    It is also a big plus for the Unix variants that they can be easily installed and administered over the network.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:03PM (#4801858)
    I used to work at an ISP. We had 8 linux servers, 3 windows servers - one guy for the linux servers 2 guys for the windows servers. do the math.
  • Re:How convinient (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tongue (30814) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:04PM (#4801867) Homepage
    A five-year study, by definition, includes data collected over an ACTUAL five-year span. A PROJECTION can include predicted data, but its through the use of these PROJECTIONS that microsoft is able to make any type of argument whatsoever on the TCO front. The trouble is that microsofts projections are always WAY off--take MCSE's for instance. Has anyone ever seen less than five MCSEs handle the workload of a single experienced unix admin? I'm not talking about your typical non-saturated workload--i mean environments where the amount of work to be done is greater than the resources available to do it. That's the only way to really make a comparison.

    As for stupid arguments, I'd lean more towards that as a characterization of a TCO study using projected data.
  • by BravoZuluM (232200) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:14PM (#4801955)
    When you purchase and install a Win2K product, you give Microsoft the right to "audit" you. They performed one of these audits on a company I worked for. I am certain we owned all of the software that was on our machines. We had a corporate policy of no piracy, buy what we need.

    We just couldn't produce EULAs for 13 out of over 600 products. Their lawyers also wanted $6000 for the MSDN copies we had. These guys don't seem to even understand Microsoft licensing and appear to be trying to squeeze you for every cent. I had to fax the MSDN user agreement stating that MSDN CDs could be freely distributed within the company. It did not seem to matter to the law firm that we could produce the CD covers for the other products. No EULA, no credit. It cost the company $13,000 to settle. The lawyers got 2/3rds of that for their "work". The remaining third went for purchasing software which I feel we already owned.

    I felt scammed and violated. This ticked me off so I looked for alternatives. I discovered FreeBSD. I installed SAMBA and had the same fuctionality as a Windows Server without the risk. I had to buy 2 Samba books to figure it out. I had to reinstall FreeBSD multiple times until I figured out how to do it. I can do it now in my sleep. It is not that FreeBSD is harder, it was just unfamiliar.

    If you think this is an isolated incident, it is not. Audits happen everyday. Sometimes, the target really deserves the attention, sometimes it is just Microsoft biting a hand that feeds them. Sometimes, Microsoft's lawyers go over board and put the squeeze on a non profit or school and then people squak at Microsoft. Then there are a number of small companies that, unwittingly, find themselves in a bind.

    There are alternatives to some of the Microsoft software. I suggest to everyone that will listen to use the alternatives first.
  • Ernie Ball (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:22PM (#4802025)
    According to Ernie Ball (a company that switched 2 years ago), Linux saves them more than 1k / user / year.
    http://infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/11/ 27/0211 27hnerniball.xml?s=IDGNS

    So take you pick on studies and numbers:
    All studies from MS that says that MS is cheaper.
    or
    studies from IBM and a number of independant companies who claim that Linux is far cheaper.

    Personally, I have noticed that all the companies that have switched to Linux have announced savings. I would be interested in seeing one or more of them switch back and find out what the true costs are.
    BTW, I would expect that companies who made a partial switch and found Linux to be more expensive, would say that Linux is saving them tons of money in this area, but they would quietly switch back. Have there been any switch backs? I have only seen cases where Linux takes on more responsibilities. Never back.
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:23PM (#4802038)
    I'm not going to try to defend the notion that a Linux desktop has a lower TCO than a Win 2K desktop, because frankly I doubt that it does. Linux requires admins which, unlike MCSEs, aren't churned out by the dozens by your local community college.

    The problem I see here is that most of these Linux vs. Windows TCO studies hinge on the idea that you are replacing a Windows 2000 desktops with a full-fledged Linux desktops, and that's the wrong way to do it.

    I'd like to see a unbalanced TCO review of what the City of Largo, Florida has done [kde.org]. Basically, they've got 800 very cheap thin clients (230 concurrent) running X-Windows applications (KDE, etc.) off of a couple big-ass terminal servers. Very similar to the Linux Terminal Server Project [ltsp.org], and very cool.

    There are so many businesses paying $200 for Win 2K Pro and $350 for MS Office just so their employees can send email and dabble in Word or Excel. It's insane. They could be saving $550 per machine in software costs alone! Not considering the fact that the thin client hardware costs much, much less than the average desktop. And there's essentially zero administration costs on the clients. Let's see a TCO comparison on that.

    I'm starting to get off-topic, but I'm excited about the project so what the hell. I'm currently doing a little in-house pilot of the same thing at my employer. I've customized the KNOPPIX [knoppix.org] bootable ISOs to basically be X-Windows thin clients. You just pop the CD in a machine, reboot, and you get a KDM login box for our terminal server. Very, very cool. Even free server licenses [theregister.co.uk] from Microsoft couldn't persuade me to drop this project.
  • by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:25PM (#4802056) Homepage Journal
    Reminds me of the last time I read a Microsoft commissioned study in detail.

    If I recall correctly, it was NT 4 vs Novell 4. The study came out three years ago. Amusing thing was they disabled several features on the Novell server which were on by default and JUST happen to be necessary for optimized performance. Microsoft had optimized NT4 (things like tcp/ip window size were doubled for example). Things which were not defaults mind you.

    The end result? NT wins by a landslide. Never mind that they had to screw the results by messing with the server settings. Basically crippling the Novell server.

    I would be VERY surprised if Microsoft EVER did anything that didn't require tampering to get their desired result.

    Oh and BTW, 5 year study with win2k? How many of you guys know anyone running win2k that long?

    Thought so.
  • Re:Alas.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LordNightwalker (256873) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:27PM (#4802071)

    Just because Linux is open source how would I know whats going on in my computer any more than Windows?

    No, hardly any linux user reads the full kernel source plus all application sourcecode... I can't even code C/C++; yet I have a better understanding of what my linux box does, as opposed to what the windows box at home or my WinXP laptop do. Why? Simple: if I need a certain service, I must install and configure it. This configuration usualy consists of reading trough documentation to figure out what options to change in a certain ascii-file that acts as the config file for the app. Yes, it's more work than a click-trough wizard, but also, I have full control over the apps' behaviour.

    Besides, as schon [slashdot.org] already posted out a few threads higher up, even MS people don't realy know what's going on in MS Windows. To quote from the article [securityoffice.net],

    5) Image size. The team was unable to reduce the size of the image below 900MB; Windows contains many complex relationships between pieces, and the team was not able to determine with safety how much could be left out of the image.

    With linux, you hardly ever have this kind of trouble; any decent distro uses a package manager which maps the dependencies between pieces of software, so that your system is always in a consistent state. If you want to install something, but it needs another piece of software or some library, the package manager will warn you and probably even offer to download the missing piece of software for you. As an example: trying to install "xcdroast" (graphical CD burn frontend) will trigger a check for the commandline app it's supposed to be a front-end for ("cdrecord" is one of them). If not found, the package manager will tell you that you need to install it, and try to install it as well. At least apt-get for Debian does; I'm sure other distros do this as well.

  • by chryptic (25254) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:46PM (#4802231) Homepage
    I used to run a win2k network. I installed it too. Other than viral infections the workstations worked great. Win2k server and active directory sucked ass however.
  • Re:2,5 year to go? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:47PM (#4802238)
    "...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..."

    So mandatory Windows upgrades are installing themselves now, are they?

    Just a thought: why is it that a typical *nix admin is generally capable of handling any task in a windows admin role but the typical windows admin is useless outside the canned MS platform unless given training that has an unacceptable impact on TCO?

    Could it be that the REAL drain on TCO is the overuse of paper MCSEs to design/build the corporate network and they are UNABLE to think outside that box. Paper MCSEs eventually become management and the cycle continues...

  • by tshak (173364) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:55PM (#4802323) Homepage
    Still running NT3.51 and 4.0 over here and I have yet to see the gun pointed at me forcing me to upgrade. I still get support from my vendor, and the machines are (surprisingly) running so well that we rarely touch them.
  • Missing the point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cblood (323189) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:58PM (#4802358) Homepage
    The news here is that microsoft paid for a study that concluded that linux is a better web server. Do we care about the other part?
  • by Hildy_France (631087) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:58PM (#4802361)
    These results are based on a *survey* of businesses, and it reflects what they *think* the 5-year TCO is going to be, so all you guys who are fixated on flaws of the study or that Win2K wasn't available 5-years ago are missing the point. The point is that this is what the business world believes, not what reality is. You can complain all you want about MS, but I think of it as a good wake-up call: it tells us what the rest of the world is thinking about Linux and points out where we ought to be focusing our efforts.
  • by GeekBoy (10877) <leewsb@h o t m a i l . c om> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:31PM (#4802702) Homepage
    If your environment is setup in a unix/linux friendly way, TCO of unix/linux will be low. If you take an environment setup for windows, and try to plug linux or unix into it, the TCO will be higher.

    Interesting to note that downtime was the second highest cost in TCO. Are they saying that windows has better uptime than Linux? (Which is absurd, even if you don't factor in the downtime cost due to viruses). Look at http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/today/isp.avg.html [netcraft.com] The first windows machine comes in at 14th place.

    This study is just dumb. It's a projection, nothing more. Probably funded by m$.
  • Re:Time travel? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by josepha48 (13953) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:20PM (#4803209) Journal
    3 years prediction.. come on, can't you see 3 years into the future ;-) (ROTFLOL).

    They forget things like the additional software that you have to buy to fend off all the virus that come knocking at your door, like the one that is out now scaning ports 137 on my machine. So many infected, so much time I am spending laughing looking at my logs at the people with infected boxes.

    The cost of sourcesafe vs cvs. The cost of OpenOffice, vs MS Office, the cost of the BSD which I have gotton running Java on Windows which worked fine on ANY unix flavor I tried. The cost of.. and the list goes on.

    Is this a joke? A 5 year study on something that is only out for 2 years? What is this travel forcasting or weather prediction?

  • by defile (1059) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:37PM (#4803381) Homepage Journal

    That while the price of product A may be cheaper than product B, they both come with their own set of costs.

    Lets use an extreme example to illustrate this point.

    When you build a bridge, you hire the best talent and use the highest quality resources money can buy. Because no matter how much these things cost up front, they're nothing compared to what it will cost if your bridge collapses.

    You make similar tradeoffs every day when choosing between two products.

    You may be able to save by economizing on employees or software, but if it results in a huge security compromise where all of your systems are trashed, confidential data is leaked to the world, and it takes you a month to recover from the damage, you'll probably wish you hadn't been so frugal.

    Or maybe not. You have to decide which is more important, and if you're not qualified to make the decision, ask someone who is.

  • Re:Lifespan Issues (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phemur (448472) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:49PM (#4803511)
    Enigma2175 is absolutely right. Understand that large companies (like GE, GM, American Express) have tens of thousands of users, not half a dozen. In order to keep every body's system connected to a network, standardization is essential. They have no interest in upgrading every few years, much less every few months.

    I've actually attended a conference with GE's director of IT. He explained to us what upgrading means to GE: 6 months of testing, training and deployment, at a cost of 10 million dollars. And this is required for upgrades we take for granted, like a web browser. He made it quite clear to use that "upgrade your browser" is not an acceptable solution to a bug.

    Even though Microsoft doesn't support Win95, 98 we still do, because our customers don't want to upgrade. We only stopped supporting Win3.11 about a year ago, because there was that much interest in it. Phemur

  • follow the money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @03:20PM (#4803758)
    If you read the article at the register [theregister.co.uk] you'll see the first sentence reads "by strange coincidence [this was] sponsored by Microsoft."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @06:05PM (#4805256)
    I bet that they did not.
  • by synapticserver (627667) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @07:13PM (#4805850) Homepage
    It all seems to make sense. Linux support is more expensive than Microsoft support so your total cost of ownership will be higher. This report makes sense if you use the same support model for your Linux systems as you would for your Microsoft systems. The impication is that you need to directly replace your Windows support staff with Linux staff. This is simply not the case Linux is designed to be administered and built over the internet. Quiet large companies need no onsite Linux expert. A simple phone call and most poblems can be fixed remotly. This significantly changes the model. As for the "easy to use management tools" built in to the Windows 2000 Operating system. They are inflexible and often require you to "reboot" the system after changes are made. This does not sound like a problem untill you add up four or five server resets and work out how much downtime this adds up to. If you are using Linux the "server reboot" happens infrequently and then only if really big changes are made to the system. IDC mention file serving and print serving as a place where TCO is higher. On a standard Linux distribution I would probably agree. Setting up windows file sharng can be tedious and time consuming. But why would you choose a standrd distribution for this task. The Mitel SME 5 and Clarkconnect [to name but two] specilaise in this area. The setup of Windows file shares and virtual disk drives is absurdly easy. It needs no special IT training. [No not even a Windows expert] Printers are supported and appear on your network as though through a Windows server. For the sake of argument lets chuck a couple of Mac OS9 $ OSX systems for your graphics people and a legacy Solaris server running Oracle in to the mix. On the two distributions I mantioned both of these will connect and see the same file shares as the Windows workstaions No you won't need a MAC or Solaris expert. Never mind a Windows expert! So where is the argument now? You have no on site Linux staff . You have someone on-site who can deal with day to day administrative tasks [ no IT knowledge required ]and a Windows person who comes in to fix up the Windows Workstaions when they break. Upgrades are done incrementally for a couple of years and then you have to pay the Linux experts to come and spend the afternoon upgrading the system. How is you TCO looking?
  • Other considerations (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:12PM (#4807020)
    Even assuming a Windows 2000 server might be cheaper to operate than a Linux server in some situations (which I have to seriously doubt), there are a lot of other factors to take into consideration, including:

    1. Reliability. Linux is capable of uptimes of at least 1-2 years, where Windows servers often need to rebooted because they get trashed and almost always require one or more reboots for patches, service packs, etc.
    2. Vendor lock-in. When they've got you by the balls, they can extort as much money as they want from you.
    3. The time and trouble required to continually keep track of licenses to make sure you're in compliance
    4. (Related to #3) Not having to worry about the jack-booted thugs from the BSA kicking in your door and doing a surprise audit, and the tremendous cost associated with the audit.
    5. Having access to the source code to fix bugs, compile optimized binaries, customize applications, fix a security hole, etc.
    6. Dependence on the vendor to fix bugs or security holes. You are completely at their mercy without source.
    7. Cross-platform capability. You're only using x86 if you buy Microsoft.
    8. Not giving money to a predatory, anti-competitive company that has been found by a court to have violated anti-trust law and also has an obscene profit margin for Windows licenses, a clear indication of blatant price gouging.
    9. For foreign countries, especially governments, not being dependent on a single American corporation.
    10. Continual licensing costs each time you upgrade all your servers every few years.
    11. Costs of hardware upgrades that will almost certainly be needed when upgrading all your Windows servers.

    Can anyone think of any more?

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