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Australian TCO Study: Linux Wins Again 396

Posted by timothy
from the ask-enough-and-you-shall-receive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An updated Linux vs Windows TCO study has found that a 250-seat company can end up saving 36 percent if it were to equip its users with the open source operating system and applications that run on it."
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Australian TCO Study: Linux Wins Again

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  • by Myolp (525784) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:25AM (#11070871)
    It would be interresting to see the results of a similar study when applied to a company with a much larger number of employees. Would the results be similar in a world-wide company with 10.000 employees located in different countries?
    • More people = more savings. File that under "duh".
      • But more people = more retraining, and more training of new recruits, since they are probably just windows users.
        • The cost of training per user doesn't go up, does it? If anything you can argue that it goes down, because you can buy training for 10,000 users for less than you can buy training for 250 users.

          Meanwhile the cost of implementing the change per user - and by implementing I mean actually reimaging their desktops to run Linux, etc - and other such costs go down.

          Think of it this way: a 10,000 user company is like 40 250 user companies under one roof but with more purchasing power and more scope to use the eco
          • They still have to keep training new recruits. A Windows using company has millions of Windows users that an work for them without being trained in Linux.

            I still think Linux is the greatest desktop ever though.
            • And a 250 user company doesn't? The question was whether a Linux solution was still cheaper than a Windows one for a company larger than the 250 user one mentioned in the study, not whether Linux was cheaper than Windows.

              The separate question which you seem to be asking is whether that's still true accounting for employee turnover. Well, I've not done any study on it myself, but if you're going to bring up retraining of new employees then you also have to consider the continued year-on-year savings of not
        • More significantly, more people == more machines == more staff (the most expensive part) to support them.

          The big advantages with Windows infrastructure are the tools for managing lots of machines (eg: Group Policy) and the ease of integration.

          • by Hast (24833) on Monday December 13, 2004 @07:45AM (#11071218)
            The big advantages with Windows infrastructure are the tools for managing lots of machines (eg: Group Policy) and the ease of integration.

            Only if you haven't used Unix extensively. Compared to Windows managing multiple computers in Unix/Linux is trivial. You scripts don't care how many computers they connect to after all.

            And managing things like AV/Firewall/WindowsUpdate is still not as streamlined as it can be on a Unix system.
      • That depends. The larger the company, the more issues you can have when upgrading anything, purely from a communications point of view.

        The longer it takes to upgrade, and the longer that your systems are not running the same software, the more chance of problems. These problems are of course solved by hiring more support and doing more indepth planning, all of which costs money.

        Thats not to say that larger companies can't have better savings, but I seriously doubt its as simples as "More people = more sav
    • interesting thought, i guess large companies would work better with linux too. though there is no formal survey many governmental departments in india run linux and our annual budget has come down a lot...
      • Bigger companies often have a wide range of hardware and operating systems.

        The good thing with Samba is it can work with NT through to 2003 as well as the 9x versions of Windows. So replacing Windows servers is a good start, you can tie together legacy and brand new systems with Samba.
    • You know, because I work for big Pharma, I think about this every time one of these studies comes out.

      However, after to speaking with a few of the higher up IT guys at various trade shows and other events where we accidentally windup in the same room. I have concluded money has very little to do with us using Microsoft products. Rather it's other things like: PHB's (almost by definition) aren't highly technical people but maintainers of the status quo, "No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft", and most

      • by Anonymous Coward
        No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft

        I did...

        L.Torvalds
      • So why aren't we still using IBM products if no one ever got fired for buying them?
      • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:19AM (#11071040) Homepage Journal
        maintainers of the status quo, "No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft", and most importantly the incredible inertia of big companies like ours

        I remember when that saying went "No one ever got fired for buying IBM" and it's really not that long ago... Things change. Always have, always will.

    • "Would the results be similar in a world-wide company with 10.000 employees located in different countries?"

      A company of that scale has a bunch of problems. They most likely have a large number of custom applications. Most of these might be web based but even those might have dependancies on activex in the browser.

      In addition, you have to deal with all the excel macros, lotus notes/exchange applications and forms, custom vb applications, etc.

      On top of the inhouse applications, you have to deal with

      • "In addition, you have to deal with all the excel macros, lotus notes/exchange applications and forms, custom vb applications, etc."

        You might as well add the several billions of lines of code written in COBOL thirty years ago.

        The bottom line is: someday all that stuff is going to have to go.

        And the sooner it goes, the less it is going to cost.

        So it might as well go today (or over some reasonable transition period).

        This, however, is not something a manager can comprehend.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 13, 2004 @07:03AM (#11071117)
      I've found partial transition over 3-5 years worked well when it came to large organisations that are tied to MS platform. You dont change everything at once, you look long term and start where you can and move towards linux.

      If you get the CEO's backing it can be done as long as it is not rushed and your prepared to make it a long term goal. Middle management will always make things difficult, they have grown up on excel, vb etc. But as long as you have support from the top and dont stand on there toes to much it can be done.

      * Start with web server, dns and dhcp migration to linux.

      * Migrate the file servers to samba.

      * Follow that by email.

      * Replace browsers with firefox.

      * Replace outlook with evolution or thunderbird.

      * Start slow process of migrating desktop machines to linux. Start with upper management and people who only user email + open office. Single out a department for this if you can. X terminals can be a useful tool here.

      * Look at replacing key database applications with open source alternatives. Most SQL database have unix and linux versions, expect for MS SQL.
      Over a long time you can afford to look at replacing key infustructure.

      * Replace ms office with open office.

      * The small time custom apps that the organisation has collected over the last 20 years or any apps that are going to be too expensitve to port, place them on a w2k terminal server and access them from linux rdesktop. Over next 20 years they can be phased out.

      * Complete migration to linux desktop.

      * If there is an art department that use windows, use Mac OS X as your target platform.

      * Leave the middle managers there windows laptops, just firewall them off. When they die or get to slow replace them with linux or powerbook laptops.

      At the end try and aim for a couple dozen windows terminal servers to run whatever the organisation is still dependent on for windows, firewall these off to protect against virus and disable internet access on them. After 5 years these windows servers will slowly be decommissioned and the organisation would have made the complete switch.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "* Leave the middle managers there windows laptops, just firewall them off. When they die or get to slow replace them with linux or powerbook laptops."

        The computers or the middle managers??
      • Use Groupwise on novell servers. Install windows groupwise clients.

        Get rid of ms office and install OO on windows desktops.

        use NDS with windows client for your directory.

        Install ifolder on windows desktops and instruct users to put all their documents in their ifolder.

        Once the users are comfortable with groupwise, ifolder, and OO switch them over to linux running the same apps.

        Smart and painless. The idea is to keep them on windows on the desktop until the end.

        Note that products like NDS and groupwise
    • by parvenu74 (310712) on Monday December 13, 2004 @08:58AM (#11071451)
      Am I the only one wondering when we're going to see a TCO study involving the use of Mac OS? Surely there has to be some cost savings in reduced downtime and administration with using a Mac...
      • by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Monday December 13, 2004 @12:14PM (#11072792) Homepage
        Am I the only one wondering when we're going to see a TCO study involving the use of Mac OS? Surely there has to be some cost savings in reduced downtime and administration with using a Mac...

        Unfortunately, there's no cost savings switching to Mac; in fact the cost to the company goes up because they end up having to remove the cheap industrial drip coffee maker and replace with a latte machine and more expensive coffee.

  • by superskippy (772852) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:28AM (#11070882)
    Benchmarks are usually pretty unreliable and fudgeable anyway, but I think these TCO studies are the pits. I certainly don't believe them when Microsoft pays for studies to tell me that they are the best, so I don't see why I should pay any attention when an open source company (gasp) endorses open source solutions. Like all benchmarks, how good something is depends on circumstances individual to your situation, and TCO statistics surely must be more sensitive to individual circumstances than most.

    Note for slashdot bias fans: "Linux wins again" is actually in the story in the link, rather than a bit of spin on the part of everyone's favourite news site :)

    • by MoralHazard (447833) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:47AM (#11070955)
      Skippy has a point, but...

      TCO studies are just standard business cost estimation models, with assumptions chosen by the authors of the study. Most of the models are pretty good, in theory, with sound reasoning and empirically-supportable construction. If they didn't work, or if they tended to provide misleading results when applied properly, why would businesses use them at all?

      The problem is with the assumptions. Give me any financial model, from cost estimation to marketing models to arbitrage scenarios, and I can plug assumptions into it that will give any result you want. The models are fine, but the results are "the pits", as it were, unless the assumptions are carefully and honestly chosen.

      This isn't to say that a TCO model, even with well-chosen assumptions, can provide an incredible amount of precision, but it CAN provide accuracy of result. That's what REALLY pisses me off about this article--they're quoting numbers to a whole percent, when it's pretty obvious that the precision of the result isn't anywhere near %10. If the article is to be believed, they're using intentionally pessimistic assumptions in order to bias the study against F/OSS, and still coming out with F/OSS on top. They're acknowledging that they can't bring supportable, precise assumptions into it!

      So really, the study is saying "F/OSS is cheaper than MS by a good margin, but our precision is shitty enough that our actual number doesn't mean much. It might be %37 cheaper, it might be %80 cheaper, or it might be %1 cheaper--but we're pretty sure it's cheaper."

      I guess it's like that old joke, where the museum guest asks the tour guide "How old are these dinosaur bones?" The guide says "The bones are 2 million and 10 years old." The guest, astonished, exclaims "That's amazing! How can we know the age so precisely, when it's that old?"

      The guide responds, "Well, it was 2 million years old when I started working here, and I've been working here for 10 years."
      • If they didn't work, or if they tended to provide misleading results when applied properly, why would businesses use them at all?

        In my experience, most people use whatever methods appear plausible and support their own prejudices (generally subconsciously). Just because the person is in charge of millions of dollars worth of budgeting doesn't usually change that.
        • But the market is fundamentally a selective mechanism, right? People can and do make stupid, losing decisions, and many of them keep their jobs, but companies that have more people making better decisions tend to outperform companies that don't encourage good work as much. Over time and across the whole market, there is a tendency that bad methods disappear, because the companies in which those methods thrived paid the price with in market share.

          Coincidentally, this is also why people who say that the la
      • Plus the model has to be tweaked to suit the application of the technology.

        For instance a company doing 3D rendering is going to want vast amounts of storage and a few workstations.

        A company writing huge applications is going to want vast amounts of workstations and less storage.

        So it's not a case of Linux is always cheaper than Windows.
      • TCO studies are just standard business cost estimation models, with assumptions chosen by the authors of the study.

        Not necessarily -- if these guys were presenting a TCO case study, I'd take it seriously. But these completely invented numbers are an embarassment, even without the absurd degree of precision in the findings.

      • Or it might just be,

        "Hey, I bet I can direct a stream of urine in that direction and hit that fence from 10 feet away."

        "Can you get off the rollerskates and point at something not down the hill?"
    • Benchmarks are usually pretty unreliable and fudgeable anyway, but I think these TCO studies are the pits. I certainly don't believe them...

      Ahh, but you've missed the point slightly: PHBs love statistics to "prove" things.

      Most geeks already know the score, but TCO benchmarks aren't aimed at us, they're aimed at the PHBs. We can bang on about "freedom" as much as we like, but until someone has "proved" it will cost less, the PHBs won't give a damn!

  • Actual Study PDF (Score:4, Informative)

    by Biogenesis (670772) <overclocker...br ... shome...com...au> on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:30AM (#11070888) Homepage
    http://www.cybersource.com.au/about/linux_vs_windo ws_tco_comparison.pdf Linked to in the article.
  • uh (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    but the Microsoft adverts on Slashdot keep telling me that Linux has a higher TCO...?!?
    • Re:uh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TangoCharlie (113383) on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:08AM (#11071011) Homepage Journal

      Sounds like you need to be using Firefox [mozilla.org], a free open source web browser... suitablly equipped with the Adblock extension. Then you wouldn't keep seeing the Microsoft adverts :-)

      Not having to read the Microsoft adverts will therefore increase your productivity. Proof that Open Source software improves TCO!

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:35AM (#11070911) Homepage Journal
    So far all the TCO studies I've seen are quite biased by the looks of it - except this one about TC0 [bsdnexus.com].

    But you underestimate the staffing issues there. Firing all your MSFT IT guys and hiring new "LinuxCompatible" admins is a big pain for most companies. Of course you fire 3 Win32 admins and hire one Linux admin by default :)

    For a new startup, a Linux desktop is invaluable , especially if you have a couple of in-house developers who use it regularly. That's where linux is slowly creeping into the desktop - not in the big companies with million dollar CTOs and kickbacks from Microsoft.
  • what if (Score:2, Funny)

    by laka21 (839785)
    what if the company is a partner of the microsoft and is working on security issues in IE ? This is a generalised statement. It depends on the needs of the company. Neither MS nor the Linux group would be bothered by this.
  • Biased in MS Favour (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karora (214807) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:37AM (#11070918) Homepage


    It is very interesting the assumptions that they state have been made to bias this report in Microsoft's favour.

    • He said given the fact that the company deals in open source products, four aspects had been factored in to tip the scales towards Microsoft:
      The model was not modified to to reflect research by the Robert Frances Group which showed that Linux needed 82 percent fewer staff resources.
    • The costs of malware - viruses, spyware, worms, keyloggers, adware - were not taken into account. Zymaris said every research point found had suggested that this cost was essentially and predominantly a Windows platform cost, resulting in billions lost by business every year.
    • Costs which arose when systems need to be pre-emptively rebooted or crashed, resulting in unscheduled downtime, were not taken into account. "All our research indicates that Linux rarely if ever suffers such problems and open source platforms on the whole are extremely robust," Zymaris said.
    • "Finally, because Microsoft has claimed that introducing Linux into an environment will lead to increased reliance on external consultants, we have tripled the amount budgeted for such requirements on the Linux models," he said.

    Wow!

    • The model was not modified to to reflect research by the Robert Frances Group which showed that Linux needed 82 percent fewer staff resources.

      Primarily because that it isn't possible to have 0.5 people filling 3 roles.

      The costs of malware - viruses, spyware, worms, keyloggers, adware - were not taken into account. Zymaris said every research point found had suggested that this cost was essentially and predominantly a Windows platform cost, resulting in billions lost by business every year.

      Except the
    • by jellomizer (103300) * on Monday December 13, 2004 @08:59AM (#11071458)
      Linux into an environment will lead to increased reliance on external consultants

      Oddly enough the high costs of external consultants is often greatly exaggerated. Unlike full time employees who need other benefits as well Health Care, Retirement, ... usually adds 40% to the cost of each employee on top of their wages. Now paying 3 times as much for a consultant is now closer to 2 times as much as a normal employee and if this external consultant or external administrator can maintain you Linux Boxen 1 or 2 times per week you are saving money vs. Having a full time employee.
  • by beezly (197427) <beezly&beezly,org,uk> on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:38AM (#11070922) Homepage
    Every TCO study I have seen into the cost benefits of Linux over Windows, and vice versa, seem to all be flawed. They are always paid for by someone with a vested interest in getting one "answer" or another. How can they be taken seriously... it's like going to Sun and IBM and saying "Whose hardware is better?"... I wonder what answer each company would give.
  • A random study indicates that the actual cost of the licenses themselves is roughly 36% of the total cost of setup and maintenance of 250-seat corporate deployment.
    • wouldn't that imply that more expensive licenses would lead to higher cost of deployment and maintenance? Value of 36% times two = Value of 64% times two?! Or are you making fun of TCO studies?
      • Yup, it was expected to be moderated as 'funny'. TCO studies are generally worthless, unless we are talking about making an actual study of the actual costs of a specific deployment, and note that the results only relate to that specific case. There are so many variables that differ from deployment to deployment that a general TCO study is a worthess piece of paper with two pages of footnotes that you have to take into account - and which rapidly make the whole study worthless.

        I've seen many cases where go
  • The previous victory here [slashdot.org]
  • by ip_fired (730445) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:45AM (#11070947) Homepage
    I'm tired of all this TCO crap. I know that they are just doing it to offset some of the "studies" that Microsoft has funded, but I wish linux groups would focus on something else.

    In fact, I wish Microsoft would focus on something else. It's funny, but *cost* isn't something that seems to be a strength of MS. They should focus on their strengths (like consistent interface that everyone knows, massive hardware support, number of applications available, good multimedia support, etc). They have a lot going for them. Why do they always focus on the thing that they don't have going for them!!!!

    --End rant.
    • because their customers care?
    • by erikharrison (633719) on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:21AM (#11071045)
      Listen to me very very carefully.

      TCO is all that matters.

      Say it again kids.

      TCO is all that matters.

      A company makes a product. Technology is a means to an end. TCO is the TOTAL cost (in cash, lost sales, employee time, overhead) of the technology.

      TCO includes: the cost to initially purchase the software, the cost in lost time as users and admins to learn new interfaces, the cost in paying employees in maintaining the system, the cost in purchasing obscure or less capable hardware supported by the technology, the cost in lost time in porting/writing/purchasing applications to run in the environment, and on and on.

      TCO is NOT cost of purchase + cost of support. And it is also always an estimate because of so many variables it must encompass - that's why there are so many studies about TCO. It's an ambiguous metric.

      TCO is all that matters, TCO is all that matters, TCO is all that matters.
      • TCO isn't all that matters. Sometimes the prejudices and biases of the executives making the decisions matter a whole lot more.
      • TCO is the TOTAL cost (in cash, lost sales, employee time, overhead) of the technology.

        And as such it is totally uncalculatable, making it totally meaningless, making it totally useless except for brainwashing - in much the same way that those shampoo ads promising your hair will be 58% more silky and shiny.
        • Yes!

          Thanks for getting it. It's a totally incalculable measure, and as such, all these already biased studies are meaningless, except as marketing.

          But when you tell your boss that you run Linux because it has higher uptime, you're translating from "This makes my job easier" - aka employee speak - to "This makes production cheaper" - aka management speak, also known this week as TCO.

          We can change the TLA all we want, and MS, and Sun, and OSDL, and IBM, and anyone else playing the game will, whenever it su
        • THANK YOU.

          I am so tired of seeing these articles.

          Only the most pimple-laden geek (mostly due to a lack of experience and/or maturity) will go beyond "have you tried this or that?" these days. That pimple laden geek will either be without a job, or find himself working very hard to get out of direct end-user support if he continues this line of action.

          You know, firefox may be better than IE, and those here probably know that or have a good idea.

          For some people, they don't care, they want something famili
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Because ms have always competed on price, against novell netware and propriatory unix microsoft always was the cheap option. They offered inferior products at a cheaper price, and never even tried to pretend their products were better, they were just cheaper.
      Now their competition is still superior, as it always has been, but it's now cheaper too.. Microsoft can no longer offer a cheap crap solution, theyre offering an expensive crap solution but theyre trying to hold on to the advantage they used to have be
    • In fact, I wish Microsoft would focus on something else. It's funny, but *cost* isn't something that seems to be a strength of MS. They should focus on their strengths (like consistent interface that everyone knows, massive hardware support, number of applications available, good multimedia support, etc).

      These things are directly related to cost.

      "Cost" isn't just buying the software. Indeed, in a typical environment, buying the software is the *cheapest* part of the whole show, usually not even getting i

  • but wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by khromatikos (839805) on Monday December 13, 2004 @05:45AM (#11070951) Homepage
    Linux has a much higher cost of 0wn3rship. Windows is much cheaper to 0wn.
    • Seriosuly. ... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gopal.V (532678)
      Read Total Cost of 0wn3rship. [bsdnexus.com]

      There was a time when 0wn3rship by spam bots were not even considered a problem because everyone was on dialup anyway. More recently with the coming of broadband and lots of stupid users to the internet - that has become the major headache (ie spyware, malware and trojans are local issues, spam bots are bigger).

      It's a real cost when the ISP cuts you off or sends you a fat bandwidth bill :)

    • We've seen this before:

      Here [slashdot.org]
  • Anybody out there that managed to get the PDF and is willing to host it for a bit?
    That site is crumbling under the slashdotting.

    Since this is their second time around, you'd think they'd learned by now...

    Cooper
    --
    Your cat has once again urinated out of bounds and
    received an educational electric shock to the offending
    organ as per your instructions, mr. Jerusalem.
    - Transmetropolitan 16, House Security System -

  • Patch Day! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OMG (669971) on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:21AM (#11071044)
    Did anyone ever take into account what it costs to install a critical patch on every system in the enterprise and have to reboot each machine afterwards? I guess you need large numbers to compute the costs of such an operation in bigger corporations.

    Now, how often would you have to do that on which OS?
  • Tell that news to someone working in photoshop or dreamweaver or programming windows apps for living (something like 70% of programmers are developing for windoze now, today).

    Yeah Linux needs bigger market share and it will do good to all of us but TCO for many companies tied to an OS by definition makes no sense at all.
  • by rich42 (633659) on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:38AM (#11071077) Homepage
    I like Linux - but there's a lot of hidden support costs...

    take setting up a new website:

    "oh - there's a GUI tool for that... if you installed the right package... did you pick gnome or KDE?... X isn't starting? it might just be easier to modify the .conf file with Pico... don't have that? try vi - httpd.conf should be under /etc/httpd - unless you..."

    Any idiot (like myself) can fumble through doing this stuff on Windows.

    Security? Go to Windowsupdate.com once a month and install all the patches. I wish I had as straight forward a solution for my Linux boxes.

    don't get me wrong - I want to see open source crush microsoft - it's just there's some significant work that needs to be done on the usability / supportability front.


    • That any idiot can set up a web server on windows does not mean that the job has been done in a secure, maintainable fashion. If you're maintaining the web server and making changes from time to time, how do you know what changes were made, and when. With http.conf, it's pretty easy to keep old versions of the file, or even use a trivial source code control tool, to version it. and then you can compare old versions. Any idiot can do that on linux.

      An admin can ssh into a web server remotely.
      With Windows

    • by philippeqc (466804) on Monday December 13, 2004 @09:39AM (#11071655)
      I like Linux - but there's a lot of hidden support costs...

      A TCO is about all the cost. Installation, configuration, operation.


      "oh - there's a GUI tool for that... if you installed the right package... did you pick gnome or KDE?... X isn't starting? it might just be easier to modify the .conf file with Pico... don't have that? try vi - httpd.conf should be under /etc/httpd - unless you..."

      Yes, X can be a pain to start if it is not already configured. To release that job from the beginning users, many distributions now have hardware detection tools and configure X for you. I invite you to check most popular distributions that have been released since 1999.

      On the other hand, I'm quite curious if you ever had to deal with a MS-Windows computer that crashed during the loading of the graphic card driver/window server/window manager. On GNU/Linux you have to use one of the many editors, surf for some references and write the proper parameters to a file. On MS-Windows, my own experience is that searching for information will mostly lead you to "my graphic card is not working" kinda-post, no extra help, that the only editor is EDIT, and that you have to be very lucky for the problem to be located in a file that EDIT can open and modify without totally destroying (ie: binaries are out of the question). Most knowledgeble MS-Windows user have an answer about this. Re-install.

      Maybe its just me, but I prefer the option of 45 minutes from browsing for the information to the end of the problem, vs sitting in front of the computer for 1 hour(OS) 1 hour (Office Suite) 3 hours (archiving utility, acrobat, IM client and other favorite miscalineous utilities) watching the progress bar slowly moving.


      Any idiot (like myself) can fumble through doing this stuff on Windows.
      Any idiot (like yourself) can do EXACTLY the same in GNU/Linux. Many GNU/Linux distributions target idiots just like yourself. Just to name one, Mandrake has a full set of utilities that will allow you to click your way to the configuration of your dreams.

      And Webmin that will allow you to configure your machine from a browser.
      And you still have access to the configuration files through text editors.


      Security? Go to Windowsupdate.com once a month and install all the patches. I wish I had as straight forward a solution for my Linux boxes.

      Security? make a cron job that check the security updates every night on your computer, and install them for you. You dont even need to go to some web site. You dont even need to wait a whole month to fix a hole.

      Cron is too complex for you, again, just click your way to an updated system. Many distributions will inform you by email of every security update available, based on the software you have on your machine. Which mean you keep your OS _AND_ your applications up to date and bug free, rather than your OS and office suite.

      Again, cron is a bit old school. I'm betting is most distribution do not offer you a clickable way to tell the update system to run at regular interval, its a matters of weeks before you see it.


      don't get me wrong - I want to see open source crush microsoft - it's just there's some significant work that needs to be done on the usability / supportability front.


      I think you have listened to one too many bad opinion and are due to actually try it on your own. Go to www.distrowatch.com and get yourself a desktop distribution. I am saying desktop as you seem font of having kde/gnome and X. A desktop distribution would (Fedora/Mandrake/Suse/LInspire/many other) include hardware detection and configuration of the X server for you.

      Try it up, its not longer 1999. And next time your system decide to play a trick on you, you will have an other option than watching countless progress bar as your only fix.

      -ph
  • Size of company (Score:3, Interesting)

    by panurge (573432) on Monday December 13, 2004 @07:05AM (#11071122)
    Someone made a good point here that perhaps beneits from amplifying.

    The biggest short term win in TCO will come when the organisation is of such a size and complexity that it really only needs 1(one) committed open systems evangelist to drive through change. What slows down change in most organisations is the fact that most of the workers (and managers...) are not hugely intelligent - even in IT - and oppose anything that involves change or learning.

    If this is right, OSS will only really start to gain momentum where smaller companies which are adopters gain a competitive advantage that enables them to grow faster than the competition. Although IT is only a few percent of the business, a large saving in IT can make a considerable difference to the net profit - but it needs to be a large saving as a percentage of IT costs to make a real impact.

    This is good news for call centres and bad news for heavy industry. It would be a pity if OSS is associated in most people's minds with the modern version of cotton picking rather than high tech, but that could be the outcome.

  • by tahpot (237053)
    One of the things these studies never take into account is productivity. I was a windows user for about 8 years and my productivity had completely platue'd out. For the last 6 months I have been using slackware and suddenly my productivity is increasing at a rapid rate - much more than I'd ever be able to do on a windows box.
  • 36% TCO. BFD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tootlemonde (579170) on Monday December 13, 2004 @08:24AM (#11071311)

    TCO is a PHB metric. Managers who don't understand the role of technology in their organization view technology as a necessary evil and want to keep the cost as low as possible.

    Before looking at TCO, managers should looks at:

    • how much IT increases productivity
    • how much IT cuts costs in other parts of the company
    These metrics are notoriously hard to measure while TCO is mostly contained within the IT budget and so is easier to calculate. An astute office politician can claim some benefits just by reducing his IT costs while ignoring the effects on the rest of the organization.

    However, the big gains are outside IT. If IT offers a mere 1% increase in productivity in the organization as a whole it would dwarf any savings in IT costs. If IT isn't providing those types of benefits annually, it is doing something very wrong.

    Return on investment, not TCO, is a better measurement of value. Businesses that think they can cost-cut their way to success are generally doomed anyway.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday December 13, 2004 @08:39AM (#11071348)
    Is when they start quoting retail prices for software licenses.

    If you get past that, the inclusion of Fedora Core 2 as an OS option should stop you in your tracks.

    And if you manage to get past that, the needless use of, for example, enterprise versions of Windows 2003 Server should be the final indicator at how flawed their methods are.

  • by zerofoo (262795) on Monday December 13, 2004 @10:38AM (#11072018)
    We've looked at Linux time and time again, and we've found that it works well as database and web servers, but we can't use it for much else.

    This may change with Novell's Enterprise Server comming out in January.

    Central user management with single sign-on? It's a pain in the butt right now on Linux. How does that impact TCO?

    What about all our apps that don't run on Linux? Speech to Text stuff that always falls apart in Wine, special educational packages that aren't supported on Linux? That doesn't help the TCO analysis either.

    We've got lots of hardware that won't EVER work in linux - network scanners, copiers and printers, raid controllers, CD-burners, network fax machines...etc. This isn't really Linux's fault - it's the hardware manufacturer's fault - but the TCO problem falls squarely on "Linux". Should we pay BIG bucks to replace all that hardware so we can save a little money on the OS?

    These studies aren't very good for anything except "rallying the troops".

    Those MS TCO studies that claim you only need 2 or 3 guys to support 15,000 windows users all over the world are also good for a laugh as well.

    -ted
  • by dwheeler (321049) on Monday December 13, 2004 @02:45PM (#11074202) Homepage Journal
    For more information, see the section on TCO in "Why OSS/FS? Look at the Numbers!" [dwheeler.com]. Basically, TCO is very sensistive to the specific environment and requirements. It's clear, though, that there are many cases where OSS/FS does have a lower TCO.

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