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Linux Business

Businesses Slow to Adopt Linux 373

Posted by michael
from the penguin-and-the-hare dept.
milenko81 and several others submitted this CNET story about corporate spending on information technology. The reporter seems to interpret it negatively because Fortune 1000 companies aren't dumping Microsoft 100% and going for Linux. But interpret it as you will.
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Businesses Slow to Adopt Linux

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  • by RagManX (258563) <ragmanxNO@SPAMgamerdemos.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @05:54PM (#2534701) Homepage Journal
    I'm having this problem with my site. They don't want to go Linux, because they can't blame someone if there is a problem since it isn't a commercial application. I don't understand this, because a)it isn't true (that's why you buy a distro and support package) and b)Microsoft sells commercial applications that have tons of problems, but their license agreement is such that you can't blame them if something goes wrong.

    This brilliant company thinking has even extended to the security tools I use here. I can't use freely downloadable tools because someone might have trojaned them. Only if we can pay someone to ship us an install CD can we use it, because if we pay for it, *WE KNOW IT IS SECURE* or something like that. I mean, come on, Microsoft NT 4.0 is super secure, because we paid lots, right?

    Let's just face it, techies don't run things, and non-techies are mostly idiots when dealing with this kind of stuff.

    RagManX
    • by ChazeFroy (51595) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:05PM (#2534769) Homepage
      It takes X amount of years to integrate a system into your infrastructure. It also takes X amount of years to remove a system from your infrastructure.

      Say a company has spent 5 years integrating NT systems into their department. That usually means it will take another 5 years to get rid of it.

      Linux will not be an overnight success...it will take time to supplant Microsoft.
      • by pmc (40532) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @07:32PM (#2535207) Homepage
        Say a company has spent 5 years integrating NT systems into their department. That usually means it will take another 5 years to get rid of it.

        Mod up the parent, somebody, because this is the crux of the matter.

        Where I work there are approx 4000 staff in about 40 offices worldwide. Office numbers range from ~10 to ~1000. We have about 250 production servers all running NT (or 2000). The cost per head for MS is about $20 per person per year in support (this is the money we pay MS, not how much support costs), and about $400 per person one off payment for licencing (OS + office + CALS) - this does us for any related product XP (office, workstation and - I think - server).

        Our goal is to cut that spend. But the licence money is dead money - we don't get a refund if we don't use the products. We also don't get a reduction in direct MS support costs if we have, say, 100 of the 250 servers running Linux.

        Where we can make a start is nibbling round the edges - for example proxy server is not included, so we can use Linux and Squid. Except (SFAIK) Squid does not integrate with things like Websense which we need to block sites (nothing draconian - mainly web e-mail to stop viruses and web porn to stop lawsuits).

        And we could use Apache, but that is a direct increase in support costs. IIS is free (or rather, we're paying for it whether we use it or not, and we'd have to pay more to use something else) however crap it is - and as our servers don't accept anonymous connections the Code Reds had little effect (so no convenient lever there either).

        And then we come to the real killer - our business systems (which are extremely good - easily the best of any company I've worked for) are built about MS products - IIS, index server, Exchange, MS SQL held together with NT authentication. It would (will) be a huge undertaking to move these to anything else.

        There are chinks of light in this - the MS product line is changing, and a lot of the code is being rewritten anyway, so rewritting in the direction of vanilla or standards will help now (so redoing the MSSQL app to use only vanilla SQL will take an important step towards portability -it may not perform as well, but hell - this is a time when hardware can and should be thrown at a problem).

        Another killer is Exchange - there is nothing I can go to management and say "We should look to replace Exchange with XXXXXX" (and, before there is a flurry of "sendmails", Exchange is not just e-mail - in fact think of exchange as an enterprise PDA that also does e-mail).

        Anyway, a few thoughts about something that has been exercising my mind a lot recently - any other ideas to get out of the MS lock-in?
        • by Nailer (69468)
          there is nothing I can go to management and say "We should look to replace Exchange with XXXXXX" (and, before there is a flurry of "sendmails", Exchange is not just e-mail - in fact think of exchange as an enterprise PDA that also does e-mail).

          * Bynari Insight Server (seems like your best bet)

          * "Exchange compatible server from UK company that starts with an S but whose name I keep forgetting and its fucking hard to search for."

          * HP Openmail (though this is being retired soon, so don't really bother)
          • by tzanger (1575)

            Bynari Insight Server (seems like your best bet)

            I tried this about a year ago and it sucked harder than an industrial Hoover. Install was bad and it just didn't work right. It appeared to be supported by a part-time high school student (From my phone calls and emails, the kid knew his stuff when you could get to him but the support level just wasn't "professional quality" at all.) Maybe they've gotten beyond this now, but the taste in my mouth is pretty sour.

            I'm currently evaluating Steltor CorporateTime server. It uses a standard IMAP server and a standard LDAP server to provide mail and directory services (and shared folders if your IMAP server supports it) and its own calendaring server to do the shared calendars and scheduling.

            So far, so good. It has a standalone Win/Linux/Mac calendar client and also an Outlook service (as well as Palm and EPOC connectors, IIRC). What it *did not* have was a convertor to convert all your Outlook contacts into an LDIF format, and I haven't been able to find one that either doesn't drop fields or break in other ways. I've created a Perl script to convert the CSV-exported contact data to LDIF, and I'm almost done, but it's not perfect yet.

            CorporateTime seems to be very well supported and the price is about the same as Exchange Server. The fact that it uses standard protocols and the server will run on either Linux or NT is a big plus. I hope I can convince the people who write the cheques to go for it.

        • In understand that you would not move all your servers to Linux overnight. That is just plain business sense. However, even in your organization, Linux may make some sense in some areas:

          1: DHCP server.
          2: Public DNS server.
          3: Public Web Server.
          4: Private secondary DNS server (or primary if you are not using Active Directory).
          5: External "mail forwarders" which act as an email choke point in order to further secureyour internal exchange servers.
          6: Filtering routers (should have at least 2 for a decent firewall with a proxy in the middle).

          And so on. These ARE NOT the markets that Microsoft is really shooting for when looking at enterprise markets, but that is not the point. These are the areas that Linux is hard to beat.

          As for an Exchange replacement-- it might be possible to use a combintation of OSS components to create a custom solution (LDAP/Qmail/maybe an additional dbms like MySQL) or use Bynari. Also IBM has some similar groupware solutions for Linux, but they are proprietary. However, that would take more work to integrate with your active directory than using Exchange, so Exchange is still probably your best option.

          OK. Now that I have said this, now let us look at the other side. Linux could have several impacts on Windows in this way-- making customers aware of the necessity of interoperability and putting pressure on MS to deliver (otherwise, they won't upgrade their OS's). And more Linux machines in the infrastructure of the network also means that these areas are NOT controlled by Microsoft.

          Here are what is needed in the case of large businesses (in order): 1: Reliability and Supportibility, 2: Interop, 3: Scalability, 4: Managability, 5: development capability. Linux offers ALL these things, but it takes time for them to be implimented in foreign environments (Netware or Windows).

          I know this because I have attempted to build extensible, scalable, and powerful enterprise applications (mostly CRM) on Linux and it can be done. My application failed because I did not know what I was doing at the time, and I am currently re-writing it. It probably is being done more than we hear about. But until these become more commonplace, mose IT departments and internal development teams will only know Windows/VB (or maybe ASP) and be unable to make this into a reality in most places.

          In fact, I have tried to do the same with ASP and VB and I have always come back to Perl/Python/PHP for my environment of choice because I can put together more elegant applications in PHP than in ASP because ASP has a psychotic way of pipelining the include statements. For example there is no ASP equivalent to the following piece of php:
          include ("forms/" . $form . ".php");
          (of course PHP CAN be used on Windows).

          So, I expect in the next few years for MANY more businesses to begin to really using Linux because of its rich ability to develop enterprise-ready applications.
        • Another killer is Exchange - there is nothing I can go to management and say "We should look to replace Exchange with XXXXXX"

          Let XXXXXX=Lotus Notes.

          It has better security than Exchange and IBM is much more friendly to OSS projects than Microsoft. They also have a Linux version of their Domino server. It has ALL of the functionality of Exchange and more. It is also a web server to boot (if you want to use it that way). All-in-all a super replacement for Exchange and one worth looking at if for no other reason than lack of scripting viruses.

    • by Bobzibub (20561) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:07PM (#2534787)
      Ask them this: "If all the resources of the US DOJ cannot beat Microsoft in court, how can our company's legal council possibly expect to win should they sell us faulty software?"
    • Let's just face it, techies don't run things, and non-techies are mostly idiots when dealing with this kind of stuff.

      The difference is with most other things the non-techie managers know better than to interfere.
      Problem is that too many people think that being able to move a mouse makes them some kind of expert.
    • Show them a bigger company than yours which is running Linux. Most of Australias top ten companies seem to be at some point in their infrastructure, and I'd be durprised if the US is any different.

      And introduce them to the concept of digital signatures.
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @05:55PM (#2534706)
    About 65 percent of executives polled by Goldman Sachs said they have no plans to use Linux at their company next year.

    Does anyone else remember all those stories that came out a few years ago about IT staff secretly replacing their Windows servers with Linux servers, because the end-users wouldn't know the difference?

    • And about 60 percent of executives that we're pollled don't even know they are running linux already.
      • And about 60 percent of executives that we're pollled don't even know they are running linux already.

        Wonder how many of these executives even know what hardware they are using. They might know who put the computers together, but they probably have little clue who made the wall sockets, patch panels, switches and cable...
        • All they know is why you all stay nights and weekends to fix the problems they help create, they go home. And they make several times the IT lackeys salaries too. And we say THEY'RE the stupid ones?
    • Isn't Apache running on 50+% of the web servers out there, with a decent chunk of those being Linux... These guys are clueless..

      I have heard rumors of IT departments being told "You must have NT on the box" so they dual boot to Linux as well...

      Work gets done, when boneheaded executive shows up, the servers are rebooted that morning to show the nice BSOD, no one works that day anyway - then the servers are booted back to a better OS...

      The funny part is the group was finally challenged as to why they weren't seeing problem X Y & Z by the CEO - They were forced to admit that they were really running Linux - Making their boss look REALLY bad for fighting it so long

      Oh well
      • Isn't Apache running on 50+% of the web servers out there, with a decent chunk of those being Linux... These guys are clueless..


        Without trying to be too insulting here, you sound like one of those clueless people who think that the only reason why servers exist is to face the internet and serve web pages to browsers. You know, the kind of people who think that Netcraft numbers are a measure of the overall server market?

    • That's great: Linux adoption reduced to an urban legend.
  • Well would you? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cerlyn (202990) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @05:58PM (#2534717)

    If I knew I had a system that at least partially worked to my benefit, would I scrap it for a complete unknown overnight? I hightly doubt I would. If I could, I would attempt to fully stabilize the system I knew partially worked.

    Microsoft has promised they can do this with Windows. To a large extent, they have delivered.

    Why is everyone expecting businesses to risk their livelyhood for an operating system they hardly know? Wait until Linux makes some more headway into things; then we should see Linux used by larger and more significant businesses (and hopefully we will).

    • Re:Well would you? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EnderWiggnz (39214)
      >Why is everyone expecting businesses to risk
      >their livelyhood for an operating system they
      >hardly know?

      For the same reason that everyone jumped from a large corporation that rented applications (IBM) to a small, unproven technological upstart that cost a whole lot less, but wasnt as "mature".

      Just remember - no one ever got fired for choosing IBM - until they did get fired for choosing IBM's insane price structure.

      Thats you're argument - no one ever got fired for using microsoft?

    • If I knew I had a system that at least partially worked to my benefit, would I scrap it for a complete unknown overnight? I hightly doubt I would. If I could, I would attempt to fully stabilize the system I knew partially worked.

      Except that this is exactly what can happen with Windows, if you want to maintain the illusion of support.
      You can always end up with a partially working system, since by the time you figure out all the quirks of one version of Windows its time for Microsoft to drop it.
  • by Ami Ganguli (921) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @05:59PM (#2534727) Homepage

    You have to wonder about the negative spin on this. 24% of the largest, most conservative companies in the country are planning to use Linux next year. This is good news. Considering that two years ago nobody believed Linux could make it into enterprise datacenters, this is amazing progress.

    When interpreting these figures you need to remember that:

    • Large companies move very slowly. Some of these people are still using OS/2.
    • Many of these companies don't think about which OS they're using so much as which vendor they're using. In particular, many of these accounts are controlled by IBM. As IBM puts more and more energy into Linux, these accounts will (very) slowly follow.
  • 100 "executives", 60% of whom thought that Windows was going to be their enterprise server of choice. Not their desktop of choice. Not some of their webservers. Their enterprise server.

    The poll needed to ask those same executives what they DO use, and correlate that to what actually is used so they could remove answers from people who obviously have no involvement in their company's enterprise server purchaces. My guess is that they answered "Windows" for the same reason I told a telephone survey person that Glitton (however it's spelled) was my exterior paint of choice. It was the only name I could think of at the time, and they just wanted an answer. I answered "Glitton" to every question it was appropriate to.

    • The poll needed to ask those same executives what they DO use, and correlate that to what actually is used so they could remove answers from people who obviously have no involvement in their company's enterprise server purchaces.

      Except that the purchases may simply be of "shelfware". You also need to ask the people who actually run the systems. It's not like an end user can easily tell the difference between NT and SAMBA or for that matter one webserver and another (if the only way they use it is via a broswer.)
    • From the article:

      Ultimately, technology managers don't want to hear about the operating system, Robinson believes. "All you care about is wanting a stable, scalable platform for applications to run on."

      All good and well. But these are the people that Microsoft markets to. Look at Red Hat's marteking people as well for a comparison. Interview CTOs and CFOs. Otherwise you are not really doing a good job.
  • by ryanwright (450832) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:01PM (#2534743)
    Corporate execs don't understand how something that is free can be worth a damn. I know; I've tried to get Linux implemented in our enterprise as a basic web proxy. (Instead, we spend almost $10k on licenses for Microsoft software and third party filtering applications.)

    Here's the deal: When you pay a cool million bucks for the software to run your enterprise, you have someone to bitch at (Microsoft) should something go horribly wrong. With Linux, the only person you can bitch at is that uber-geek you're paying $50k a year. When millions of dollars are at stake every day, you just can't trust a free piece of software.

    Obviously, most of us here know this is bullshit, but it's the excuse given by every exec I've talked to. They won't trust their business to free software and a couple of geeks no matter how compelling the evidence. Even a mention of IRC as a help resource elicits manical laughter. If someone setup a high priced licensing & support system for Linux and gave it a different name, businesses might sign on. Sad but true.

    One last issue: MCSEs are a dime a dozen. Any moron can administer a Windows network. I'm the only one in my group that knows enough about Linux to properly setup and maintain an enterprise server. If we implemented Linux and I left, they'd be SOL. Nobody wants to put their faith in one or two employees, especially when those employees have knowledge that is (let's face it) hard to come by. The proportion of people that can adminster a Linux server vs. those that can admin MS is huge. Probably thousands to one. It's just not easy to find a good Linux guy, let alone the 5 to 10 of them it would take to run a medium sized network.
    • by SPiKe (19306) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:16PM (#2534834)
      >One last issue: MCSEs are a dime a dozen. Any >moron can administer a Windows network

      >The proportion of people that can adminster a >Linux server vs. those that can admin MS is >huge. Probably thousands to one.

      A lot of the guys that can do Windows correctly are guys that do Unix correctly.

      I've met the exceptions, but they are rare.

      A good admin is a good admin is a good admin. All one has to do is force yourself to think outside of just one particular mindset.
      • A lot of the guys that can do Windows correctly are guys that do Unix correctly.

        Very interesting. So good Unix admins are also good NT admins but not necessarily vice versa? I am not so sure. NT is really difficult to admin...
      • by mjh (57755)
        A good admin is a good admin is a good admin. All one has to do is force yourself to think outside of just one particular mindset.

        You know, I don't think that I agree. Of course, I might be misunderstanding what you're saying and arguing with that. In any case, I think that windows breeds bad admins.

        Let's use DNS as an example. The guy who admins bind knows that there are two db's that have to be maintained. He knows that the two can get out of sync. But the windows admin just uses a gui or a wizard. All of the intelligence is built into the wizard. Consequently, you end up with windows DNS systems that are responsible for a name->address zone, but wrongly think they're also responsible for the corresponding address->name zone.

        How many other wizards are there that hide the underlying infrastructure from the windows admin? Plenty. And they're breeding a huge number of people who don't really know what's going on, but think they do. Then when something breaks they have no idea why and no clue how to fix it.

        $.02.
        Cheers.

    • I used to work at Minnesota Public Radio [mpr.org], which was (and still is) a very fine place. They have the resources (people and money) to maintain a very nice web site -- but they're still public radio, and they're very cost-conscious.

      In spite of that, they were very resistant for a long time to free software for exactly the reasons you mentioned. But my boss was a good listener, and when her technical people kept telling her that free was viable, she started to listen. Our sysadmin, in particular, was very persistent -- not rude, just persistent. One day I said to her, "This is the 90s. Half the best software is free." Later, I heard her quoting that to VPs.

      And the ideas started to take effect. We switched from Netscape Enterprise Server to Apache, from Webtrends to analog, and my old co-workers tell me there may be some Linux boxes going into production. As the executives saw free software succeeding, they were willing to make the switch. There's a lot of inertia, sure, but execs are generally smart people. Stick with it. Little by little, if they're worth their salt, they'll listen.

      It really helps to get a high-profile success with free software. If you're making the case in your company, look for an opportunity to base a project in free software, and make sure it succeeds. This is the most effective argument you can make.
    • I went through this with a boss at a previous company. He decided to set up a small internal web site using Linux/Apache as an experiment, so I offered to let him use my recent copy of SuSE. But he preferred to go out and buy some sort of RedHat 'professional' distribution that cost $300.
      • >I went through this with a boss at a previous
        >company.

        I think the real problem is that the people with
        the knowledge and open-mindedness that would lead
        to a deployment of an alternative system, tend not
        to BE the BOSS. They tend to be people in inferior roles, working from a position of inferior empowerment, in a frame where specifying systems and planning IT strategies is not done with a presumption of authority.

        By this measure, Linux is a failure. Penguinistas aren't running corporate IT departments. We aren't making the important decisions. You aren't the boss. Why not?
    • Here's the deal: When you pay a cool million bucks for the software to run your enterprise, you have someone to bitch at (Microsoft) should something go horribly wrong.

      This gets things fixed how?

      With Linux, the only person you can bitch at is that uber-geek you're paying $50k a year.

      Or you could have 19 and still save money

      When millions of dollars are at stake every day, you just can't trust a free piece of software.


      But you can trust someone who will do absolutly nothing to help you over your own staff


      Obviously, most of us here know this is bullshit, but it's the excuse given by every exec I've talked to. They won't trust their business to free software and a couple of geeks no matter how compelling the evidence.

      But they will trust their business to a bunch of gangsters?

      Even a mention of IRC as a help resource elicits manical laughter.

      But the idea of telephone helplines sounds sensible, only to those who have never called them...


      Any moron can administer a Windows network.

      Not quite all any moron can manage is a simple network, especially if they have powerful hardware. To administer Windows properly takes a great deal of skill and knowlage
      In many cases considerably more than unix type systems since "administrator friendlyness" is rarely even a consideration with WIndows systems.
    • >Corporate execs don't understand how something
      >that is free can be worth a damn.

      This is a matter of cognitive dissonance.
      If you put effort into something, it has greater worth to you. If you spend money on something,
      it has greater value. This is one area where
      using "common sense" can get you into trouble.
      It's what keeps people in bad relationships, it's
      what makes people spend more repairing their old
      worn-out car than they would in payments on a new car, and it's what makes an expensive software solution more appropriate than a free one.

      "Corporate Execs" shouldn't be choosing enterprise server software. Their involvement should probably be no closer than a hiring decision for the person who has a specialized skill set for that task.

      >When you pay a cool million bucks for the
      >software to run your enterprise, you have
      >someone to bitch at (Microsoft) should something
      >go horribly wrong.

      Where is the list of companies and individuals that have gone against Microsoft in a legal venue, and prevailed?

      Has anyone ever sued Microsoft and won?

      Doesn't the EULA totally take away the whole "someone to bitch at" theory?
    • If someone setup a high priced licensing & support system for Linux and gave it a different name, businesses might sign on. Sad but true.

      SuSE [suse.com] has incident based support - and free installation support. The incident based support is expensive. There is probably more on suse...

      RedHat [redhat.com] product portfolio shows lots of support packages, that probably cost a lot of money.

      Mandrake [mandrakesoft.com] is doing some support too, I'm sure you could talk them into doing a support deal.

      I'm even sure you can get the guys at TurboLinux [turbolinux.com] to give you a good deal too.

      So next time you talk to an exec, say that ;)
    • While things are going well. When things go wrong, on the other hand...

      It's easy to get Linux people. Just run an ad. Linux people will jump on the chance to run Linux at work. I do because I'm in a dev shop but my target machines are AIX and the "real" development is happening there. It just happens that my interface to them is more seamless than the 'doze people in my office.

    • Instead, we spend almost $10k on licenses for Microsoft software and third party filtering applications.

      Try the back door route. Spend $99 bucks on proprietary BSD/OS with commercial support available from Windriver. That's your proof of concept. While everyone is admiring that, go sneak FreeBSD on all the other systems. "Of course it's BSD" you tell them in all honesty. Once you got FreeBSD in the door, sneaking in Linux is a piece of cake (not to mention redundant).
    • "Instead, we spend almost $10k on licenses for Microsoft software "

      If you are only spending $10k on licenses for software... you aren't working in a corporate world my friend. That's a small business.

      Corporations usually end up writing checks with 6 zeros at the end for just their yearly Oracle maintenance agreements.

      I especially liked the "Any moron can administer a Windows network" comment. I'll bet you couldn't even figure out my simple home LAN, much less a corporate network.

      Sheesh, how'd this get modded up?
    • by tclark (140640) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @07:33PM (#2535213) Homepage
      True story about a company where I worked:

      One day in a meeting, the president of the company said he was concerned because we were using MySQL. He said something to the effect of "How good can it be if it's free?". I could barely keep from laughing at him as I thought about the free software (Linux, Apache, Perl, PHP, CVS, sendmail, etc) that our mission critical apps used. In fact, none of our critical software was proprietary.

      Naturally, I didn't think it was necessary to tell him this.

  • Duh (Score:4, Informative)

    by chuckw (15728) <chuckw@quantumlinux.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:02PM (#2534746) Homepage Journal
    Of course it's low on the budgetary radar scope. They're not paying for Linux and they already have the Unix expertise in house. Since Linux runs on darn near anything, they probably already have the hardware there too.
  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anton Anatopopov (529711) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:03PM (#2534754)
    Linux is a great OS, and it is a miracle that it has come this far. But to penetrate the business market takes more than good technology, it needs suits.

    Most computer purchasing decisions are not made by tech-savvy developers with their finger on the pulse of modern developments. They are made by golf-playing middle management who are being bribed left right and center by their suppliers with free trips to Hawaii and other inducements.

    Linux will make it in the end, but it will be because one of the pre-existing corporations or management consultancies starts pushing it, because it improves their own bottom line.

    Sad but true.

    • I wish I had mod points because this is one of the most insightful/concise comments I have read on slashdot. I work in finance for one of the largest banks in the world, we make/arrange loans in the hundreds to billions of dollar range. Much of these hinge off what technology the suits are buying into.
  • This got me! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gosand (234100) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:03PM (#2534758)
    The very last sentence of the article: " Ultimately, technology managers don't want to hear about the operating system, Robinson believes. 'All you care about is wanting a stable, scalable platform for applications to run on.' "

    And the answer to this question is not Linux because....?

    • You remember the Mark Andreeson quote about "a loosely debugged collection of device drivers"? It's starting to sink in everywhere except Linux-land.

      The fact is, from an IT perspective, the operating system is not the most important platform any more. It's only interesting as a $billions legacy business for Microsoft. Combine that with migration costs, and you can see why people are ho-humish about Linux.
  • by carlos_benj (140796) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:04PM (#2534760) Journal
    Wasn't the poll about IT spending plans? Why should it be a big surprise that IT departments plan to spend more on Windows and traditional UNIX platforms? The poll wasn't about implementation plans, but what items have budgetary priority.
  • by mybecq (131456) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:04PM (#2534761)
    Respondents to the Goldman survey indicated that mainframes, Linux servers and supply-chain management ranked as the three lowest spending priorities, in that order
    Well of course Linux-spending ranks low in spending, it's free!

    (I'd hate to be writing supply-chain management software in that case.)
  • Windows, Security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeWalsh (32530) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:06PM (#2534782)
    The research cited in the article purports that interest in Microsoft Windows and computer security are both strong among Fortune 1000 companies, while interest in Linux is weak.

    Does anyone else find that position absurd? If folks were interested in computer security, you'd think they would have no interest at all in Windows.

    Ah, well. So it goes. Just another sign that most people are idiots.
  • was that their biggest concerns were buying Windows operating systems and security software.

    "Heh, I know what we can do now that the economy has soured, Bubba. Let's stop our movement to that free OS that puts us in control. Instead, let's buy an expensive OS that is known for lots of security holes so that we can buy more software to make it secure."
  • Goldman Sachs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EEEthan (41747) <emh26NO@SPAMcolumbia.edu> on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:07PM (#2534791) Homepage
    Most of the data in this article came from Goldman Sachs, which is heavily invested in MS. My company had a consultant from Goldman long before I came here, who made them implement their first demos with NT4 and Oracle. By the time I came in, they realized that they didn't have the cash or the need for Oracle. Now we're running on Red Hat and Postgres.

    Also note that these are Fortune 1000 companies--all really, really big, with lots of investment in MS desktops already, and some MS server infrastructure. Linux is faring much better with small companies that are strapped for cash, not bigass companies looking ways to cut people simply to increase profitability.

    Also--upgrading to XP or 2000 is one of the biggest expenditures. This is _not_ a good thing. It means that big companies are shelling out tons and tons of cash simply to stay current and keep WinWord 2.0 functionality. Eventually people will realize that this is not necessary.

    Even in this article, there is a spot of hope, however: they say that financial companies are quick to adopt linux, compared to other bigass Fortune 1000 companies. Maybe that's because they understand the bottom line a bit better, huh?

    I wouldn't worry about this article too much. Linux isn't about big business; it's about small business and low overhead. Big business and MS can do all they want and it won't matter.

    Anyways--linux is doing fine. Anybody running XP on a p2 266? If you don't get my point now, you will soon. Don't worry.
    • Also--upgrading to XP or 2000 is one of the biggest expenditures. This is _not_ a good thing. It means that big companies are shelling out tons and tons of cash simply to stay current and keep WinWord 2.0 functionality. Eventually people will realize that this is not necessary.

      Which also makes a nonsense of the common FUD that users cannot cope with a Linux desktop, because its different. But somehow they can magically cope with all the changes between different versions of Windows and/or MS Office...
      • The changes aren't that substantial, really.

        Going from Office 97 to Office XP I haven't noticed anything. XP basically has some new features that are quite nice to take advantage of, but the old stuff still works pretty much the same.

        Now as far as moving to WinXP.

        From an enduser perspective it really isn't that much different from Win95, much less all the versions built since then. The start button is there, you still click on icons to start programs, you can navigate through your files, etc.

        From a support position, that's different. There's a substantial learning curve going from supporting the Win9x world to WinXP. But it's not quite as substantial as going from Win95 to WinNT was. At least the Hardware Device manager exists in 2k/XP.

        There is also a great deal of planning that needs to go in to your 2k/XP deployment that wasn't necessary for 95. But as a side effect of this when you are done things just work... whereas with Win95 you would be fighting those same daily issues.

        If you've ever had to figure out Netbios "browsing" on a Win95 network you'd appreciate this pain. Those problems didn't exist with NT4 and with a full migration to 2k you don't even care any more because you can disable the browsing service and rely solely on Active Directory.

        Now moving from Win95 or WinNT to a Linux environment is a completely different issue. Here you have substantial end user training costs because things work very differently. Especially in the office suite products and working with files and printers and such.

        But on the support side, it's an even more substantial cost of retraining. Everything is completely different, so it's almost like starting from scratch. Also you have a problem because in the end you don't really gain much. The manageability tools just don't exist for Linux like they do with Win2k/XP. Or the ones that are out there require even more substantial investment of human resources to implement.

        It depends on the size of your network. You may not notice the hit with say only 500 desktops. But if you had 5,000 desktops to manage... Linux really looks like a poor choice at this stage of the game.
        • Now moving from Win95 or WinNT to a Linux environment is a completely different issue. Here you have substantial end user training costs because things work very differently. Especially in the office suite products and working with files and printers and such.

          Exactly how is "working with files" different? Remember that Microsoft copied the hierarchical directory structure from unix in the first place. As for printers one of the major problems printing with Windows is the inability to remove paper size settings from the software which the printer simply cannot print on. AFAIK even XP cannot do this.

          The manageability tools just don't exist for Linux like they do with Win2k/XP. Or the ones that are out there require even more substantial investment of human resources to implement.

          But someone having to be physically at the machine isn't a "substatial investment in human resources"? Sure you might be able to remotly access a Windows desktop when it is working correctly but how can you remotly troubleshoot the GUI?

          It depends on the size of your network. You may not notice the hit with say only 500 desktops. But if you had 5,000 desktops to manage... Linux really looks like a poor choice at this stage of the game.

          Unless you need an application to work on every workstation. In which case Windows looks a very poor choice. Let alone if users need to use more than one workstation, which under Windows leaves you tripping over the "roaming profile" mechanism.
  • Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whjwhj (243426) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:08PM (#2534793)
    Two comments on this: 1. Although at least some companies are switching to Linux and open source software, when was the last time you heard about a company dumping their open source software for Windows? Just doesn't happen. 2. The article mentions how "security" is in the mind of IT professionals these days. Yet Linux is phenomenally more secure than Windows will ever be. Seems like a lot of IT folks need to be educated.
  • Company IT departments don't have to buy linux. Thus, it never gets sent to HQ for funding request, thus, executives don't know about it.

    As far as business-critical apps: my company found out quickly how business-critical email was. Our internet was down in September (thanks Qwest) and our clients would call and say: I just got your email sent back with Host not found. Are you still in business?

    Every application in an enterprise is business-critical. It's just some are bigger than others.
  • Keyword: SPENDING (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:11PM (#2534817) Homepage Journal

    This is always the misleading statistic when evaluating open source based software solutions. The costs, the prices, the values require a different mindset.

    I could easily say that this year I'll only spend $1.95 on Linux based solutions (pocket change) and install the same ISO copy image on dozens of servers doing different dedicated tasks very nicely.

    Because the equivalent deployment in the Windows based world with licensing terms costs hundreds or thousands of times as much money, should I then conclude the Linux is failing to catch on in the enterprise?

    I don't think so.

  • by Embedded Geek (532893) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:13PM (#2534824) Homepage
    Ultimately, technology managers don't want to hear about the operating system, Robinson believes. "All you care about is wanting a stable, scalable platform for applications to run on."

    (*SIGH*) The big advantage that M$ has always had over LINUX is that it controls spin on its image very well - at least where it counts. Grunts in the trenches can scream as much as we want, but executives don't see many Blue Screens of Death. Therefore, the perceptions of the different options differ between top and bottom of the management pyramid.

    The other perception problem is that decision makers are (quite correctly) rooted in the here and now. They are not interested in hearing about security holes or bugs that present potentional problems, even if the potential consequences are catastrophic. Let's face it - most of the night terrors that techies have with M$ products have to do with the exceptional scenarios (hack attacks, cascading failures, etc) that might occur rather than the merely horrific ones we do face. I mean, the "house of cards" dread I get in my stomach when dealing with these things always seem to outweigh specific, documented incidents I can point out to a manager.

  • I like how the poll was about spending plans. Our spending plan for Linux in the next year is $0. Zero. A big fat zero. But we build and ship a product on Linux (along with other platforms). Ok, maybe we'll buy a Redhat box at Borders for $50, but that's not in the budget.
    • I plan to roll out 500 Linux servers and workstations tomorrow.

      Worth: priceless.

      Cost: $2.

      Do the same with WinXP. First, I have to buy 500 new boxes. Then negotiate the license.

      Worth: minimal

      Cost: $5 million.

      Now compare. Hmm, MSFT Wins!

      Yeah, right ...
  • One thing that has not been brought up yet is that most larger companies are publically traded. Their number one objective is to create value for their shareholders. While the same can be said for private companies, public companies are under much greater watch.

    That being said...It is very true that executives will pick a "name" that people recognize rather than the best technology. Everyone knows Microsoft. THat's why management picks it, supports it, and spends the money.

    If you want a chance in heck of deploying Linux over a MS solution, DON'T try to pitch it yourself. Call IBM. They talk the same language as your boss.

    Sure, you might pay more for an IBM solution than you would if you bought stuff yourself and configured it. But the end goal is to save your company money and deploy a product they will have faith in. If MS does it for $200k, IBM for $125k, or you for $50k. It brings Linux into the office behind a solid name and then you can expand slowly with homegrown projects.

    Also, is it so wrong that management would like to have a COMPANY to call to support a product they are using to run their business? It is a reasonable request, which is why you call IBM and tell them your situation.
  • The problem is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrcparker (469158) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:16PM (#2534833)
    .. that this was a survey of executives at fortun 1000 companies. The truth is that most executives at these companies would probably not know if there were Linux servers running in their own companies.

    I work at one of those companies, and we employ Linux servers for all sorts of things - which is funny because as far as the VP is concerned we are a Novell/HP Unix shop.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:16PM (#2534836)
    I sincerely do not mean this as a troll. I am both a user of Windows and Linux, and I don't lean zealously in either direction.

    If nothing else, at least with Windows there's a large company with financial interest behind it all. Sure, Windows sucks in lots of ways, but at least you won't find them generally working toward what customers want.

    With Linux, it's a bit scarier. Not so much with the kernel as with desktop environments and applications. With WordPerfect for Linux, I felt like I was just being used as a pawn by Corel to get a foothold in a new market, and the quality of the software was secondary. Miguel, of Gnome fame, often sounds an overly idealistic college student. It makes me stop and think "Should I really be letting this guy determine the direction of the software my company uses?" Sure, you can pick and choose different products, but with Windows you don't have to. If you go with Windows 2000 or XP and Microsoft Office (or just Word) then you don't have to worry about making the wrong choice. There's often too much personal agenda behind open source software for Linux.
    • The beauty of it all.

      Let's say you decide to add a USPS address parser to your favorite open source program that validates the Zip and the city via an xml-rpc interface to a server on your company with Linux&&apache&&(Perl||Python)... You can! And if it's great and you send it to the maintainers of that piece of software, they might put it in the official release, and then, everyone will have it...

      Can you ask Microsoft to do that in WordXP? Would they do it? Might they sell that back to you as a "feature" in WordXP2004? You betcha...
    • I won't comment on your point about having a professional face. But what you say here is interesting:

      Sure, you can pick and choose different products, but with Windows you don't have to. If you go with Windows 2000 or XP and Microsoft Office (or just Word) then you don't have to worry about making the wrong choice.

      I hate to say it, but you're right. Microsoft software does get the job done almost every time. Linux has clear wins in some areas, mainly the stability (predictability) of the overall system and, of course, price. But with any given piece of software you have to ask, "Does this do everything I need?" You have to ask that question less frequently with Microsoft products, because they're usually the ones defining what everyone else needs by virtue of already having it. They may suck in other areas, but if you need that feature, there's a program for Windows that has it. This is only true in Linux if you install large amounts of software from sometimes obscure sources, meanwhile increasing the complexity of the whole system through adding features piecewise and losing the stability advantage. This isn't always true, and many companies will have the expertise to make Linux and its applications work, and work better, than Windows could ever hope to. But still, you have to ask that pesky question.

      • Isn't the whole point about this bizarre and peculiar IT world that we live in that a 'different way of thinking' has brought us the Internet, GNU, Linux and the myriad of other splendid things into the world?

        I heard this kind of nonsense five years ago..

        We're brought us all closer to the world of 'business'.. a bit of common ground has formed... but do you really think that makes what most of these guys are up to OK or 'fair enough'?...

        The reason that folks are satisfied by M$ is because they've been trained to accept what they are given.. Microsoft has been working hard and very successfully towards this kind of atmosphere for years... how many of you're Colleges and Universities phased out Unix for a bulk deal with
        Microsoft..?? And what kind of IT are graduates learning then preaching about??

        Have you all just taken the money and run, coz suddenly your skills are useful for a few years?

        Are you prepared to die for your beliefs, or just to dye your hair?
    • Sure, Windows sucks in lots of ways, but at least you won't find them generally working toward what customers want.

      Was this a typo, or are you actually advocating products that don't do what you want? I mean, I've never found MS products to do what I want, but I thought either I was unusual in my desires or MS was making a mistake.

      I certainly agree that a lot of application-makers seem to be in the business of competing with MS, rather than of providing good software. On the other hand, emacs and LaTeX (or HTML or just plain text) have worked a whole lot better than Word for my purposes. Which RMS is strange and emacs is odd, it's solid, and, for anything Word is capable of (or, at least, that I could figure out how to get Word to do), it's easier.
  • I still don't think that the media gets it! Linux is not reliant on the extenction of Microsoft. I didn't say this ...

    Linus Torvalds: "I don't actually follow other operating systems much. I don't compete - I just worry about making Linux better than itself, not others."

    Now I would love to see every Fortune 1000 company run out and get Linux there is nothing more in this world that would thrill me than to see Microsoft file chapter 13 (expecialy after trying to stop non IE browsers from accessing msn arrrg!)

    Maybe I am off on this, I am not a programmer or a kernel hacker i am just a simple user ..does Linux need this boost from these companies?
  • by korpiq (8532) <-.@kDEBIANorpiq.iki.fi minus distro> on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:22PM (#2534857) Homepage
    This is what I'm doing:

    • practice nice, low-tone, clear-speech advocacy from the clients' point of view rather than technical (total costs,reliability,security)
    • find a small/medium-size company in need of firewall/file+printer-sharing services
    • offer a box that does it all, guaranteed, with remote administration when needed, with unbeatable price
    • check out their needs and environment (SMB password encryption, for instance) and find technical solutions (usually someone has done it already)
    • install debian, samba, netatalk, apache, lprng
    • set up netfilter accompanied with squid and postfix to drop dangerous attachments/scripts if sold as a firewall to secure windowses
    • set up a SIMPLE internal webpage for user account management (ask me)
    • offer enhancements like RDBMS, extranet (ftp/http-download) - what can we come up with?
    • repeat until world.domination() == TOTAL


    Coming up next year or so:

    • test out the Linux office packets, make up a desktop solution for office use
    • promote a solution with 100MB switched LAN, diskless workstations booting from server, centrally, remotely administrated for low cost
    • remember to spread FUD about viruses ;)


    I'd do it more given time and customer contacts (best advertisement you can have is a happy customer talking about you to its clients.)

    Share administration burden (what? doing something wrong?) with trusted friends.
    Take a fair price for your work, but avoid greed.

    This can and should be done as a side-job, unless you get very successful in the long term.

    Only fix what's broken, security hole, or a client-requested enhancement or new service. Never say "can't do", say "I'll look into it" and go for the web; Never say "you can't afford it", say "I'd be forced to hire people for approximately $this much money, would you like to try something else instead?"

    I could go on for hours, but you'll find it all out once you start thinking about it.

    Make difference where you can.
  • I thought it was universally accepted that the highest costs in running IT were in salaries and hardware. Software has never been on top of the list.

    Something that Linux advocates, ahem ahem, seem to put off to the side.

  • Fortune 100 companies and big megaliths with thousands of employees. It is fairly safe to label these employees as technically illiterate. Most need a computer to type documents and read email. Even the smallest of software switches causes widespread confusion. I worked for one company where they changed the mail from some old system to Lotus Notes. Everyone had to take a 4 hour course to "learn" how to use a blasted email program!

    Imagine switching not only their email program, but also their office suite and their OS. Widespread pandamonium! The cost (Linux may be free, but training certainly isn't!) is too much.

  • 10,000 machines running Win NT to be converted to Linux. Existing hardware == No cost

    1 Redhat distribution from Best Buy: $70

    Effective budget requirements (staff are already employed to do this sort of thing) for complete Linux installation. Total cost: $70.

    cf: Windows XP rollout - $100 upgrade per machine. $1million dollars plus extra new software

    It's not exactly a big suprise that Linux isn't costing the earth for these companies - and this survey is talking to the Financial officers.

    Cheers,
    Toby Haynes
  • Is this question relevant to the current topic - I don't know, maybe.

    Could someone who has followed the path and suffered explain to me how you finagle the required technical references to do things like work on a FreeBIOS project, write an ATI TVOut module or write a SoundBlaster driver for Linux?

    Motherboard companies, Chipset vendors, graphics card vendors, sound card vendors, they all seem to be reluctant to release technical documents except to large OEMs.

    Doesn't this hamper Linus development?

    Doesn't this guarantee that Linux support will always lag the rest of the world ( MSWin )?

    Isn't this almost as bad as Microsoft's restrictive licensing agreements?

    Or am I just imagining that I can't get easy access to these documents?

    ?
  • by dmccarty (152630) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:36PM (#2534906)
    The reporter seems to interpret it negatively because Fortune 1000 companies aren't dumping Microsoft 100% and going for Linux. But interpret it as you will.

    The double standard on Slashdot is hard to believe. If my neighbor Joe installs Red Hat Linux, Slashdot is first to post a story about it. But when a bona fide story comes out saying Linux isn't gaining as much marketplace acceptance as everyone thought it was, we all rush to find reasons why the report is wrong.

    There's a big difference between, as Michael puts it, "dumping Microsoft 100%," and, as the Goldman Sachs analyst stated, "with Linux...virtually not registering on our survey." But interpret it as you will.


  • The reporter seems to interpret it negatively because Fortune 1000 companies aren't dumping Microsoft 100% and going for Linux.

    No, the reporter interprets it negatively because the vast majority of executives feel Microsoft is a better choice, according to him. Not because Linux hasn't achieved 100% market share.
  • Reasons why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truesaer (135079) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @06:54PM (#2534983) Homepage
    1) customers have heard of windows/microsoft


    2) large customers get benefits, real or imagined, from being a good customer of a company like microsoft


    2) Bill Gates


    working at a certain large company, there was a new project that the software development folks were working on planning. The business customer demanded .NET be used. This was before it was even released. At this point, the tech architect was willing to use windows, but just wanted to use regular microsoft products that had been out and that the developers were already familiar with. Finally, it looked like they were going to win and the customer would just have to go with it. Then, Bill Gates had the CIO fly out to meet with him, and within a few hours, .NET was back.

    One of Linux's weak points is that in the world of big business, there aren't people that can leverage a new product like Microsoft can. I guess most people here would say thats a good thing, but it isn't helping fortune 500 companies choose to ditch microsoft.


  • I, of course, interpret it as "Linux Rulez!"
    HA!@
  • This still goes back to the Gartner report from this past spring that showed Linux market penetration at less than 10%. IDC is still claiming what? 32% and growing?

    If you look at Netcraft's web survey back in September, 2001 they show Linux has around 30% of the market for internet web server machines. Ok, so that proves the IDC numbers correct, right?

    Well not really, that's only counting web servers which are connected directly to the internet. This is the most established market for Linux as a server, so it's going to have a fairly substantial part of the market. But overall that's actually a relatively small percentages of global server sales, if you consider that there are other things servers run, such as databases, email, applications, file/print, etc.

    I don't know the numbers for that, but as an example our company probably has on the order of 200 internal servers running a combination of WinNT/2k and commercial Unix(HP-UX, Solaris, etc), but only maybe 6 external internet web servers. I'd say that balance is actually pretty typical for the Fortune 1000.

    But what percentage of the market for internal servers does Linux have? Well we can't rely on Netcraft as those servers can't be counted. You pretty much have to rely upon surveys of the IT staff to find out what they are actually buying or deploying.

    That's apparently what Gartner and Goldman Sachs have done.

    But where did IDC get it's numbers? Honestly I don't know, because every time I search I see conflicting details. At one point it appeared they were "estimating" based on the number of TurboLinux CDs shipped in Linksys NIC packages(as an example), and the number of Linux ISOs they thought were downloaded off ftp sites, along with the numbers of RedHat/Mandrake/Suse sales and some other factors.

    But while that might create a rather large number, how is it actually related to server deployments? IDC doesn't really answer that.

    When slashdot asked the questions to Mr. Kusnetzky he sort of side tracked the issues:
    http://slashdot.org/interviews/01/06/21/154203.s ht ml

    Basically it sounds as though the numbers IDC is reporting are what he calls "Supply Side". That seems to indicate more how many CD's have been pressed and sent out.

    But the numbers coming from Gartner and Goldman Sachs are what he calls "Demand Side". That is... how many CD's are actually being used, or wanted.

    It seems to me that the "Demand Side" is the far more important piece of the equation. It's relatively cheap and easy to press CDs and give them out, it's even easy to download something and try it out. It's much more difficult to turn that into a production server.

    Consider this. What if AOL had no real way to track who was using their software. What if they decided that the way to track this was to count the number of CD's they had shipped out to people. I'll bet we'd find that AOL would report that they have 6 billion people using AOL software. Is that realistic? Of course not.

    It's like MSN claiming they are now the most frequently visited website just because they changed the IE 5.5 browser to redirect to them whenever a page not found error shows up. It's not useful statistics.

    I'll just add a caveat. It's easy to dismiss these numbers as coming from Corporate shills... MS paid results, whatever. I already see such responses to this topic. I don't see that type of attitude serving any positive purpose, and really just gives the "Linux Community" a bad name, like the Amiga, Mac and OS/2 users before it.

    I'll go back to my days with the Amiga advocacy. There was a concerted effort to convince stores such as Software Etc. to sell Amiga software. We had a letter writing campaign to encourage them, we guaranteed them the demand was there.

    So they started putting Amiga software on the shelves. Guess what? They didn't sell much Amiga software, because the demand really wasn't there. Now we had a lot of excuses for that... Software etc was too expensive, I could buy it cheaper at Computability by mail order, etc. Yep, so why'd we try to convinced them to sell the software retail if we weren't going to buy it?

    People don't like being deceived. Companies don't like taking a risk that isn't well calculated. If they start noticing that a lot of these articles talking about the wonders of Linux, the fantastic demand, etc. are really just fabrications and wishful thinking...

    It's going to hurt with a vengeance when they abandon the market en masse.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ikekrull (59661) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @07:04PM (#2535039) Homepage
    Last time i checked, i used Linux because it makes a stable and high-performance network operating system.

    Whether a bunch of grey-haired IT managers for big bad corporations even know about Linux is completely irrelevant to me, and i would say most of the Linux community who are actually using the software.

    I suspect half the problem with adopting Linux is that it puts a lot of pressure on the IT department to perform. i.e.

    With traditional proprietary systems, a perfectly valid excuse for not doing something would be 'It's too expensive'. With Linux, the only excuse you can give is 'We're completely clueless'. I bet this, more than anything else, scares the shit out of every Fortune 1000 IT department.

    Also, this article states clearly that this was a survey of *spending* priority.

    For an existing Windows shop, the cost of Windows licensing outstrips the cost of a single distro of Linux by an incredible amount. If you had 100 machines, and deployed Linux on 50% of those machines, Windows on the remaining 50% of them, (lets say that Windows XP Professional costs $US200 and Red Hat Linux costs $US50 - i don't know the actual figures), then 50% of your machines are covered by $50, and the remaining 50% cost $10,000.

    I think you'd have to class the Windows XP as your 'Spending Priority', since the cost of purchasing Linux for half of your machines is negligible in comparison.

    All i know is that, at least on my desktops and servers, Linux is here to stay.
  • Time to put on the critical thinking caps on. Okay you statistics gurus jump in....

    a recent poll of 100 executives from Fortune 1000 companies .
    Was it 50 from one company? 100 from the last 100 on the list? This is not even a sampling in statistics. These numbers mean nothing, but make it sound "significant"

    Next we have . "Respondents to the Goldman survey indicated that mainframes, Linux servers and supply-chain management ranked as the three lowest spending priorities, in that order."
    Here numbers are made to sound significant because they rank as "lowest spending priorities". Time for a quick kill. Every Linux box we run came in as .....ding! you got it a Windows server. I also do not foresee IBM getting out of the mainframe business because they are on the "lowest spending priority."

    Conversely, the top items in order of importance were Windows 2000 or XP Professional desktop operating systems, security software and Unix servers.
    Now we are getting somewhere. Okay, based on the first point these numbers are meaningless, but if they want to use them... 2000 and XP, I am guessing like us they are in a forced migration to XP. The new pay now or really pay later licenses(although they probably did not know that). Instead, I would suspect, they heard XP was coming and wanted the interviewer to know they are keeping current. I do not fault the executives here. Most of the detail is more of a hobby, if they know much of it at all. And why should they care, as long as thier business gets done?
    As for security... Well with all the issues they have had lately, of course it is a priority. But come on, given a reasonable IT budget, do you really think security software and hardware is going to make a top 3 dent? These are priorities not expenses. If I buy 200 desktops and spend $5,000 on security, security was still important, but not significant to my budget.

    Even IBM--"Linux's staunchest adherent," in Goldman Sachs' view--is careful to say that Linux has its limitations.
    This is great. Goldman Sachs did not even ask IBM, they decided for them. I do not know that IBM would provide a much different view, but neither do they.

    Finally, we have Ultimately, technology managers don't want to hear about the operating system, Robinson believes. "All you care about is wanting a stable, scalable platform for applications to run on."
    Yes they do and where do they want to go today? ;-)
  • My company is converting a local school district to linux.

    The project consists of several stages.
    1. Web/Email/DNS
    2. Firewall/NAT/DHCP for main connection
    3. NAT/DHCP for each campus
    4. Samba/PDC server at central office
    5. Slave Samba/PDC servers at each location

    They are saving a ton of money as they won't have to renew their novell license.

    Then we're going to set up each campus with long range wireless if it's possible. We still have to check all the distances, etc.

  • I live in a rural area (very rural), and the local area computer stores aren't selling linux as a solution either, for the desktop or the server.


    Working in one of these computer stores, I can tell you the typical customer's request for a server. All he or she wants is a decent machine with plenty of hard drive space that has the ability to network with windows, can do automated backups to tape or cd-rw, can do NAT/Dial-on-Demand, and is rather stable. They don't care if its linux or windows, in fact, linux would probably be the preferred choice because of cost.


    However, nobody here can set up a machine like that (including I, who am a dumb, naive linux newbie, who knows about SAMBA and could probably work out a Bash script/cron job for automated backups, but has no idea how to do dial-on-demand for a NAT network). So, a windows 2k pro or win2k server solution wins out, depending on the environment.


    From my point of view, linux isn't winning in business because there are a lack of people who knows how to impliment it effectively. This may be in part because linux users might be less likely to overestimate themselves, unlike the many window users that assume that if they can install a simple program with an install wizard, they can do anything.


    As for me, I'm slowly learning linux and testing it out in the local store environment. I'd like to start selling it as a solution, it lowers our cost, provides the customer with equal, if not better service, and I don't have to mess around with product codes all day. :) Plus, it increases our margins, which is never a bad thing in a small store.


    Just my $.02

  • I think this survey is just evidence of the fact that no businesses are in any sort of risk taking position right now. While Linux may provide a cost savings, there's no guarantee, and no IT manager is willing to put his career on the line to proove it. In the high flying times of a few years ago, an IT manager could make such risks with less fear of repercussions (because worst case he gets fired and gets paid more money at his next job). Now, he's going to do everything to minimize his visibility and hope he can ride out the ecomonic downturn.

    In bad economic times, companies freak out about risk reduction because ultimately, unplanned risks cand cost a lot more money than following the status quo. A corporation with a tight budget isn't going to go and blow millions of dollars moving to linux because if it goes wrong they may end up in a worse position. I'm sure some, desperate to cut costs somewhere, will make a transition feeling that the risk is worth it (see Amazon's move to Linux from Unix). But overall, most companies are in bunker mode, and that doesn't promote experimentation.

    When the dust settles, Linux will still be there, a few more success stories under its belt, and that huge price tag for Windows or proprietary Unixes is gonna still be there too.
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @07:33PM (#2535211)
    Its really easy, you try to keep the execs out of the decision process. Get your requirements and develop a strategy.

    Go buy the high-end Red Hat distribution. We did this for a client that knows we were using OpenBSD off a $30 CD. We also buy the nice Red Hat distribution.

    Call up Red Hat and set up a support arrangement. They are a reasonable sized company. Alternatively, call IBM.

    The advantage with Microsoft is that if you are a big company (say, the Fortune 1000 in the article) you get the special phone line for support, etc. Microsoft supports the Fortune 1000 a little differently than your pirated copies of Win95.

    Don't sell them on free. Tell them that you worked with Red Hat's OS, and you found that it is better suited to this project. Inform them that you can reduce downtime (their real concern) instead of a couple grand on licenses.

    More importantly, emphasize that it will save you time.

    We don't use Linux or *BSD on desktops, it is too expensive.

    Win2K or even WinXP involves a short installation procedure (before lunch) then come back and finish. Setting up a Linux desktop (for a technology guy, not end users) takes a few days of playing. Win2K tweaking with fun apps takes $1000 in software (including a $200 shareware budget) and you're good to go.

    Look at your salaries. See what it costs your company to have you putzing around for days.

    BTW: with the MS licenses and a point-and-click installer, how much time does it take to get another server up and running. Including your downloading Redhat over the corporate T1 (or whatever), how much of your time is spent putzing around on IRC, etc.

    Sure, IRC is nice for REALLY hard problems. However, having a server down for 1-2 days while you troll USENET or IRC for help isn't acceptable.

    Next time a MS solution is being proposed, try to get 24 hours to stall. Take the same list of software, and the budget, and CALL Red Hat Sales. Tell them what is going on, and ask them to put in a bid.

    Alternative, call a Linux consultant, and work with them to put in a bid for the implementation AND for the Red Hat support contract. If the Red Hat fee is less, show that to management.

    You all would get a LOT more credibility with management if:
    A) You dress like professionals (I did NT Consulting for 4 years... we all wore a nice shirt and khakis... the Linux guys would often wear jeans, it makes a difference; my BSD shop does it too, it matters)
    B) Emphasize solutions, not technology (they are looking for a solution, show that you understand this. Emphasize the savings in downtime, not licensing fees.
    C) Focus on REAL cost savings. Don't CONSIDER unsupported downloaded applications. Discuss support agreements, Red Hat Network, etc.

    Geeze, this isn't rocket science guys, understand what the executive is trying to accomplish.

    Alex
  • The IT managers probably don't have a clue as to whether anybody is going to deploy Linux next year--those decisions get made elsewhere. Many of them are already running "critical services" on Linux and don't even know about it.

    This isn't new. 10-15 years ago, IT managers didn't have a clue about PCs. They would have cheerfully told you that they had no plans to deploy PCs. Meanwhile, people were buying and installing PCs everywhere.

    IT managers often seem to live in some stratospheric haze of PowerPoint presentations, corporate sales representatives, buzzwords, and grandiose strategies. Don't get me wrong: they do serve important functions: getting a budget, personnel, short-term strategies, and all that. But long-term planning and change is largely out of their control--long term change just happens for a variety of unpredictable and idiosyncratic reasons.

  • by ColaMan (37550) on Wednesday November 07, 2001 @07:36PM (#2535229) Homepage Journal
    The reason why companies are slow to take up linux? Because their trial 500GB linux data store is still working though fsck after some idiot MCSE pressed ctrl-alt-del to log in at the console!

    It's happened before, and it'll happen again ...

    'Gee, I've got this blank text screen thingy and it just says "Username:" ... hmmmm .... I wonder what it's for? I'll just press ctrl-alt-del to log in and ...
    OH GOD NO!!! '

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