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Novell Assents To "Windows Is Cheaper Than Linux" 351 351

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

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  • its a bank (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:07PM (#18363257) Homepage
    This is coming from a bank. They probably spent ridiculous amounts of money verifying linux is secure. They probably take microsofts word for it.
    • Re:its a bank (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:11PM (#18363377) Journal
      They probably got a ridiculous discount on Micro$oft licenses.

      Anywho, I find most all TCO calculations to be dubious and akin to damned lies.
      • by hackstraw (262471)
        Anywho, I find most all TCO calculations to be dubious and akin to damned lies.

        So true. I mean, Linux is "free", and by that I mean you get the source and all of that. The next release will be free as well. It doesn't EOL (so long as you support yourself). Migration from Linux to another UNIX is very cost effective. Migration to Windows is expensive, and migration off of Windows is expensive.

        But my ramblings and all of thest TCO ramblings are utter BS. The T in TCO is Total, which includes inception t
      • Re:its a bank (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:12PM (#18368637)
        Sorry, have to post as AC as this violates the NDA I signed in good faith... lol...

        Few outside HSBC are aware of the massive struggle that took place between HSBC and MS over the enterprise licensing agreement in 2005/2006. You need to realize that there is enterprise licensing and then there is Enterprise Licensing for a nearly 2 *trillion* dollar multinational. HSBC is that big.

        When the previous agreement expired in 2005 (and in the months leading up to the expiry), Microsoft took a pretty hard line, issuing all sorts of memos about the "new licensing structure" which of course worked out to HUGE increases in enterprise agreements (and not just for HSBC, for the whole world - remember that?). HSBC also went in hard, even going so far is to make a global "announcement" that our new global standard for server architecture would be linux-based. I remember running complete bullsh*t "pilots" of applications which were obviously purely for the benefit of our local MS/VAR boys. Now there was never any real threat of a full-on conversion but just think about the impact of such a statement from one of the world's largest technology purchasers. Those of you involved in any sort of vendor renewal will be familiar with this sort of mexican standoff.

        I wouldn't be surprised to find out that as the final hand$hake took place between MS and GroupHQ, the following exchanage took place:

          - MS guy: "Ohbytheway you really killed us with that whole switch-to-linux thing... Citigroup and GE renew in the next few years... would you mind issuing some sort of statement that downplays/refutes/minimizes your earlier linux announcements?"
          - HSBC guy: "Sure, how about 'Upon further review, TCO for linux >>> TCO for MS'?"
          - MS guy: "That'll do."

        Oh and for those who think that HSBC is "just a bank" because it isn't quite so dominant in the US, you really have no idea.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:18PM (#18363531)
      HSBC's long term TCO decision making strategies of late may be deemed... well... questionable [sfgate.com].
      • Mod AC up (Score:4, Interesting)

        by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:32PM (#18363745) Journal
        HSBC is the very same bank that is most heavily exposed to the subprime market right now, which is under a lot of stress, needless to say. When I read the summary, I was thinking, "Yeah, HSBC sure knows how to save money..."
      • by arth1 (260657)
        I'm thinking "so... the total cost of ownership to run an application server or database under Linux is higher than it is to run one out of 10,000 desktop PCs with Windows?"

        Unless the boxes are used for the same, a comparison like this is irrelevant at best.

        As for saving money by switching distros, that's probably peanuts in the overall budget. The big money usually goes to middleware and databases, and, depending on the company, long distance networking (which is likely to be a big chunk for Hong Kong
    • Re:its a bank (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phisbut (761268) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:20PM (#18363545)

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

      Also, from TFA :

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

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

  • by xtal (49134) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:07PM (#18363261)
    If all you want is a machine to look at spreadsheets on, there's nothing wrong with windows. Hell, for a lot of people it's fine - if you're behind a firewall, who cares? The computer is just a tool to get the job done.

    When you're looking at managing systems en masse, it's different, and it gets really different with servers - that's where microsoft's liscencing comes back to hurt them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176)
      except with windows I'm being forced to spend a few hundred bucks to upgrade to Vista (either now or later), plus another thousand on hardware capable of running the Vista in business context, plus maybe some retraining
    • The TCO of Using Windows can and often is lower then the TCO of using Linux. But Linux can have a lower TCO then windows too. It depends on how you use them, and what you use them for. If you are going to do work the same way as you done in the past with running application localy on your system. Then Windows is the best solution. If you are going to have mostly all web/terminal based application, Then Linux will Win. Windows wins in a distributed enviroment where people have greater atonomy over thei
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If all you want is a machine to look at spreadsheets on, there's nothing wrong with windows.

      If all you want is a machine to look at spreadsheets, Linux is an obvious choice. It is Free and free. It is more secure than Windows; it is quite unimportant why that is, it is enough that it is.

      The only reason to use Windows is if you need software only available on Windows or another proprietary platform. Windows is the best-supported OS out there in terms of available software, period. If you need some of that

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:07PM (#18363265)
    ... it must be true!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thewiz (24994) *
      Actually it should be:

      Since Microsoft AND Novell said this...

      No conflict of interest here; move along, citizens.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Why should it not be true? What part of OSS guarantees a lower cost for enterprise? The code is free and open, thats the long and short of it. If it costs more to implement using current business practices, methods, testing, support, yadda yadda compared to a commercial product, I still fail to see the problem.

      The benefits of OSS is that its free and open, not that its cheap for some bank to use compared to windows. MS may be completely right. I'm certain depending on the environment and what "ownership"
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:05PM (#18364373) Homepage Journal
      There are 3 degrees of the severity of lies:

      Lies,
      Damned Lies,
      and TCO reports

      -- Greywolf's Law of TCO
  • by yagu (721525) *

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

    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@@@yahoo...ca> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:42PM (#18365007)
      Ever look at a piece of modern art and think, "my kid could do that in five minutes?" Ever think why theater is too out in left field for you? Well there is a strong connection between modern art and Open Source.

      Open source works and is great, but lets face the facts people in the open source community are not willing to pay money for software, or even software support. They expect it for free. Look at the bottom line of Redhat vs any closed source company. Their bottom lines are massively different.

      So Novell, like the modern art community is saying and doing the things that PAYING CUSTOMERS or PAYING PATRONS expect. Modern art is not for the benefit of the general community because the general community does not buy art. Hence artists when they hear, "oh my kid can do this in five minutes" will laugh in your face because you critique as a non-paying person is completely irrelevant. Your opinion does not matter in the least. Likewise I think with Novell and Open Source growing apart, I think Novell is saying, "hey you folks are not paying the bills thus we are going to do what is best for our clients."

      I can't blame them...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)
        No, Novell is just a crass sellout.

        They aren't doing what's best for their clients. They are doing what they percieve to be best for their shareholders. In this respect they are just a mirror image of Microsoft.

        Novell doesn't really care about the product or the customer.

        As a paying customer of SLES, this alliance for the purpose of slander does squat for me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Daishiman (698845)

        Huh?

        Ever look at a piece of modern art and think, "my kid could do that in five minutes?" Ever think why theater is too out in left field for you? Well there is a strong connection between modern art and Open Source.

        That is the most nonsensical "connection" I've ever heard of.

        Open source works and is great, but lets face the facts people in the open source community are not willing to pay money for software, or even software support. They expect it for free. Look at the bottom line of Redhat vs any closed source company. Their bottom lines are massively different.

        Red Hat:
        Revenue $278.3 million USD (2006)
        Employees ~1700 (2006)
        Symantec:
        Net income $156.85 Million USD (2006)
        Employees 16,000 (2006) [1]

        Gee, comparing to a "closed source company", Red Hat seems to be doing pretty well, especially considering its small size versus behemoths like HP and or Microsoft, for whom operating systems are just one area of revenue and which have been established for far longer.

        So Novell, like the modern art community is saying and doing the things that PAYING CUSTOMERS or PAYING PATRONS expect. Modern art is not for the benefit of the general community because the general community does not buy art. Hence artists when they hear, "oh my kid can do this in five minutes" will laugh in your face because you critique as a non-paying person is completely irrelevant. Your opinion does not matter in the least. Likewise I think with Novell and Open Source growing apart, I think Novell is saying, "hey you folks are not paying the bills thus we are going to do what is best for our clients."

        Novell did nothing th

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:09PM (#18363311) Homepage Journal
    In the release, Matthew O'Neill, group head of distributed systems for HSBC Global IT operations, states that the bank's existing Linux environment is more expensive to maintain than its Windows environment. "Some will be surprised to learn that our Windows environment has a lower total cost of ownership than our current Linux environment." - they forgot to mention that the GNU/Linux environment consisted of 10,000 boxes and the Windows environment was only 3 boxes and 2 of them were down most of the time.

    Ok, I just came up with this, but it's not different than what the 'article' is saying, there are no details at all, it's all just hand-waving and no facts.
    • Well, there are also questions like "how are you using Linux?" and "How many distributions?"

      I could imagine that, for a simple network and a computer with simple needs, a well-designed Windows network might have a lower TCO than a messy hodge-podge of 7 Linux distros.

      No, contrary to what people say, Linux doesn't always necessarily have a lower TCO. TCO isn't even inherent to the technology, but it has to do with who's running the technology and how they're running it. For a large company, using an iden

  • depends on the SAs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hobo sapiens (893427) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:10PM (#18363325) Journal
    I think this has to do with the SAs. Shops running mostly windows servers will have windows-saavy SAs. I say if you have a good linux SA, the TCO will be less for linux. If you have windows SAs doing linux, then of course TCO for windows will be less.

    Where I work, we have had many more problems with our linux web servers than with our windows servers. I chalk it up to the fact that the team that manages our servers has WinTel in their group's name. Windows and Linux administration are two different skill sets. But somewhere along the line, someone decided that they'd rebadge a few windows SAs as linux SAs, which in my estimation, is a mistake.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Actually, in my own experience I have found that any NT admin that I would want to touch a server of any sort was quite capable of quickly picking up Unix and succeeding with it. Perhaps Windows just provides a haven for idiots.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hobo sapiens (893427)
        Maybe, but there are subtleties between the two OS. For example, our web server was just appearing to be drinking up memory. Forgive me if I get my facts wrong, after all I am just a web developer and not an expert SA, but I think I remember what part of our problem was: On linux, memory is handled differently. All of it is allocated but not necessarily committed. On windows, memory won't appear to be used if it is not committed. So instead of looking at memory consumption, we should have been looking
        • by Todd Knarr (15451)

          Actually it's the two things. The first one that springs to mind is that when an application unmaps pages in Linux they do not go into "free" memory. They go into the dirty-page cache and stay there until some other application really needs the memory. If the original application maps that page back in and the original copy is still in the dirty-page cache, it can be recovered without ever having to page to/from disk. Windows, by contrast, accounts for all released pages as free, essentially combining the "

    • by Goeland86 (741690) <goeland_86@@@yahoo...fr> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:20PM (#18363563)
      Exactly. Any decent linux SA will also have a higher pay as well, because it's not as common a skill as windows SA. Again, stereotyping here, but windows SAs hate the command line in general and keep their skills at "point and tick the right box, restart".
      If you count the cost of your SA's pay, then yes, I would expect the TCO of linux to be a tad higher, if you omit the cost of windows licenses on the other side. Linux/*nix SAs in general know more of the underlying OS than their windows counterparts do, it's just a fact because of how the system works. Where windows provides GUIs for all aspects of configuration, *nix provides .conf files that you can edit by hand and get exactly the configuration you want in just the same amount of time, and with Linux, you don't need to reboot, just restart the service. More efficient and faster! Not user-friendly for a granny's desktop, but for a SA, whose very job it is to make sure everything's configured right, it is.
      I haven't seen Vista, but XP and the little bit I've seen of Server 2003 all seemed very GUI based to me. There was an article about Windows finally receiving a decent command-line utility. Is Vista Pro going to get it so that SAs can actually do linux-style administration? Or is everything still going to be a mix of .ini files and registry keys to be activated using a GUI?
  • RTFA, again (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bbsguru (586178) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:10PM (#18363329) Homepage Journal
    In the article he is comparing the cost of a varied and diverse *nix mashup with a comparatively homogeneous Windows world. Sure, support a couple of versions of Windows versus 12 variants of Linux? Yep, cheaper. Fine. But the POINT is that standardizing on one Linux Will Save Money, compared to many versions, OR compared to Windows.
  • I'm torn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:11PM (#18363363)
    On the one hand, we OSS advocates can't afford to live in a dream world. If Windows is cheaper than Linux, we need to know about it, know why, and fix it. So from that angle I'm glad MicroNovell assented to it.

    But we also know that statements like this are typically used out of context, especially by the professional liars who do advertisting for a living. Somehow, when MS runs ads talking about TCO, they'll forget to mention all of the qualifications that accompany this case study, such as the fact that it had a mixed Linux environment. So from this angle, I almost wish that MicroNovell hadn't assented at all, since it's likely to be used to mislead the general public rather than make them wiser.
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:11PM (#18363371) Homepage
    If HSBC thinks that Linux has a higher TCO than Windows, then why do they even have Linux machines?

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


    • by Shisha (145964)
      It's entirely realistic to imagine that they migrated some apps from UNIX (AIX, Solaris, who cares) to Linux. It's easier to port software from UNIX to Linux (if you're lucky you just recompile). Porting to Windows could have been a major hassle.
      • Would not Cygwin be a viable solution, in that case, that is to port them to Cygwin on Windows rather than Linux? - not a rhetorical question, I am honestly asking (never used Cygwin myself).
    • you forgot: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jimstapleton (999106) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:36PM (#18363811) Journal
      • They couldn't find enough data to make an educated decision so they tried to gather it themselves
      • They found evidence that they though was convincing, so migrated, and then found out otherwise


      Those are two more valid possibilities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by radish (98371)
      Or, the Linux TCO - whilst higher than Windows - is lower than Solaris/SPARC. That's why _we_ have a Linux environment - it doesn't compete with Windows, it competes with Sun.
      • If that is so, then the question I have can be rephrased as: why is Linux competing only with Sun, i.e. why isn't Windows a possible alternative to Linux and Sun (as Microsoft would have)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rsilvergun (571051)

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


      Tuxracer.
  • We have one Windows machine here used for testing. The rest are Linux. Technically all of these Linux machines cost more than that one Windows machine. So I suppose I too could say my Windows environment costs less than my Linux environment.
  • HSBC (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:12PM (#18363407)
    ... stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

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

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      ... stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
      Hongkong and Shanghai are no longer part of the UK.
      I think that you will find that as part of getting permission to buy one of the UK's "big 4" banks, HSBC moved its HQ to the UK.
    • HSBC was founded in the 19th century to finance British trade in the Far East. Its name does not denote its ownership.
    • Smartass, HSBC is currently headquartered in the UK. Plus, HSBC ceased to stand for "Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation" LONG ago - it was just where the name *originally* came from.
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Hongkong and Shanghai are no longer part of the UK. You need to update your map (I hear Google has good maps).
      No-one said that they were. They said that HSBC is a UK-based bank, which it has been since the early-1990s.
    • HSBC - Halve the Staff, Bugger the Customers.
  • zzz (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:12PM (#18363409) Homepage Journal
    in some environments, windows makes more sense than linux

    in other environments, linux makes more sense than windows

    the truth is bland and unexciting

    linux zealots and microsoft ad execs may have more exciting things to say on the subject, but they're just deluded or lying
  • by Noexit (107629)
    The word you're looking for is "than". Dammit.
  • by l4m3z0r (799504) <kevin&uberstyle,net> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:15PM (#18363483)

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

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

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

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

    • by nuzak (959558) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:33PM (#18363747) Journal
      It has little to do with faithfulness or whatever other tortured metaphors may apply with respect to the open source community. To me, it has nothing to do with open source: I've lost faith in Novell because their "partner" has them talking down their own product. That's all I gotta say about that.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)
      Clever, and of course total bollocks. I believe it's that people want Linux to be adopted more widely, and they realise that to achieve this, companies promoting its use have to make money. The financial aspect is a means, not an end.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:20PM (#18363553)
    It's not hard to find specific cases where Windows is cheaper. The problem is when people use specific instances of cheaper TCO using linux or Windows to generalize which one is cheaper for other cases. It is easy to find specific cases where linux is the better option and others where Windows makes more sense. Finding examples however does not answer the question of which is more cost effective in general. I'm not sure there is a good way to answer that other than to assume that companies are rational enterprises and that they will gravitate over time towards to most cost effective solution. Installed base size might be the best available (albeit highly imperfect) measure if you accept the above premise. If linux is growing in market share, that might be rationally construed as evidence that companies are finding the TCO of linux to be lower. It's not the only factor of course but I think it is a reasonable inference.

    For the desktop machines in my company which was cheaper depended entirely upon how we used the machines. We ran our servers on SuSE linux but for the desktop machines we needed specific applications where the linux alternatives were sufficiently inferior as to make them not cost effective. For our server needs there was no comparison, linux was vastly more cost effective. TCO is specific to the needs of the organization and/or individuals using the product. Its going to differ on a case by case basis and we would be foolish to generalize our needs to that of the IT community at large.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:22PM (#18363593) Homepage
    Not that long ago, there was an article about the cost of 0wnership (that first letter is a zero, not an o). It basically stated that it was cheaper to take control over a Windows computer than a Linux, and that by implication, it was more expensive to provide proper security for Windows than for Linux.

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

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

  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:23PM (#18363625) Journal
    a statement.

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

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

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

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

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

    • the administration of different distros seems to be quite high

      TO:

      the administration of different distros seems to be quite different
    • The usual bugaboo in these studies is training. They usually assume no training costs for Windows vs. having to train every user on everything from scratch for Linux. This means things like assuming you'll need to train them on how to use OpenOffice before they can get any work done, even though they've been using MS Office for years and already know 80+% of what they need (and 99+% of the basic stuff like how to save files, change fonts, right-align text and the like). Basically the studies count initial s

      • On the chance you were referring to my comment, I didn't say anything about the Linux Desktop thing, only about the administration tools.

        Pretty much any desktop you can get working on Distro A you should be able to get working on Distros B-Z as well. Mileage may vary, but a good admin should be able to get that done either at install time or as a post install time.

        So just to reiterate, I wasn't complaining about that :-)

        Heck, I run my favorite "Linux" desktop envronment on my FreeBSD box... I'd run it on wi
  • Partly true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phorm (591458) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:25PM (#18363641) Journal
    As with many things, when you save money it doesn't necessarily mean you've got more "money in the bank" it just means you have more to spend on other things. Where I work we're a mixed windows/linux shop, and moving more towards the linux/FOSS route all the time.

    Does that mean money saved overall, no. What it does mean is that money that would have been spent on X (software licenses, etc), is now spend on other stuff (aging infrastructure, upgraded network, etc and lots of other things that would have otherwise stay or been delayed in upgrading). There will always be places to dump cash, and what most of these studies don't seem to incorporate into the "studies" is that dollar for dollar, the spending might be the same or more for FOSS, but the results might not be the same nor what the money was spend on.
  • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:26PM (#18363649) Homepage
    The point being?
  • The assimilation has begun. Resistance is, apparently, futile.
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:33PM (#18363759)
    It's hard to take anything novl claims about msft seriously. This seems like more bought-and-paid-for msft brown-nosing. Very similar to the all the bogus "think tanks" that msft bought, or all of silly msft sponsored astro-turfing, or all the phoney-baloney msft sponsored TCO studies, or all the msft paid analysts that gush over msft. And doesn't msft pay bloggers, and message board posters?

    Frankly, I don't see how any reasonably well informed person can believe anything positive published about msft. Msft pays for good PR in every way imaginable.
  • TCO calculations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Down_in_the_Park (721993) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:34PM (#18363781)
    Great, now we know that the TCO for a mixed Linux environment is higher than for Windows. And what does it mean?

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

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

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

    Much better than a "patch/nopatch tuesday".
  • If I am capable of installing Linux on an existing computer that is longer capable of running Windows because it is so bulky, how can it be more expensive?

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

    This is a logical fallacy at best, and deliberate mi

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      It's not just training, it's also management and staffing.

      Linux system admins cost more than Windows system admins, making no judgment about their capabilities. And it's not true that a single Linux system administrator can manage more machines than a Windows system administrator... in fact, with Microsoft's management tools, the opposite is probably true.
  • by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:39PM (#18363875)

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

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

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

    • by iPaul (559200)
      Funny, I subbed to HSBC in NY through Sun, and have pretty much the same opinion of their ability to buy/manage IT.
  • by rs232 (849320) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:42PM (#18363943)
    'In 2004, financial group HSBC launched an initiative to reduce the cost of supporting 300,000 desktop computers by 20 percent through rigorous standardization. To help achieve this goal, the company deployed Microsoft ® System Center solutions as an integral part of its new environment. Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 facilitates centralized software deployment, roaming user desktops, and the ability to track software usage to the individual user'

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

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

    How does the Windows environment have a lower TCO than Linux. Do they have keep the Linux admins in a separate part of the building. Aren't they allowed to admin the Windows boxes. Do they cost more. Do the Linux updates take longer.
  • Look at the TCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyberkahn (398201) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:45PM (#18364005) Homepage
    I have to disagree. After you purchase Windows then start adding on all of the other necessary software to run a enterprise Windows environment such as Ghost, Backup Exec, Disk keeper etc. and then tell me if it is cheaper than Linux.
  • by whorapedia.com (1070006) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:46PM (#18364031) Homepage
    Let me quote two Gartner studies:

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

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

    OSS services account for 1.2% of the IT budget, yet 20% of larger companies use OSS? So worst case, if less than 6% of the average company's software is OSS, then MS/NV are correct. If greater than 6% is OSS, then they are obviously wrong - due to OSS's relatively small market share.
  • TCO is Meaningless (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chemicalscum (525689) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:48PM (#18364065) Journal
    TCO is Meaningless. There is no accepted measure of TCO. It is not a normal accounting procedure and it appears to have been developed in the computing industry probably by Microsoft.

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

  • Computers have a higher TCO than empty boxes. Computers consume electricity, while empty boxes consume none. Computers require staffing and software in order to be useful. Empty boxes require no software or staff. While it's true that employees are unable to do any work with empty boxes, this can save companies billions of dollars a year in payroll, as they do not have to hire employees. Also, there are significant savings because it is difficult to commit accounting fraud, or other white collar crimes
  • by Technician (215283) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:54PM (#18364179)
    I have found depending on what you are trying to do, the cost and support level vary considerably between the systems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    At home and on the desktop and on some fileservers and network appliances, it's a mixed environment is the lowest TCO. My Router and my Fileserver and my Printservers are all Linux based.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

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

      An IDE to USB2 bridge with connectors for both laptop drives and full-size devices, with a power supply to power full-size stuff, is about $15. I have one sitting here to my right, currently connected to a 40GB IDE disk that I got free that I was testing (works fine, hooray.)

      You don't have to configure the drive as a second drive - what are you smoking

      • An IDE to USB2 bridge with connectors for both laptop drives and full-size devices, with a power supply to power full-size stuff, is about $15. I have one sitting here to my right, currently connected to a 40GB IDE disk that I got free that I was testing (works fine, hooray.)

        Thanks for making my point. I didn't have an adaptor. To get one is additional cost. It is true a laptop drive can be put into a USB adaptor. The additonal cost for my solution was about 20 cents for the CDR and no extra trip to the
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          I guess my argument, which I did not make clearly (my bad) is that if you don't have one of these $15 adapters you are only kidding yourself, they're cheap and indispensable. Most users wouldn't even be able to figure out how to swap the hard disk in a laptop. This doesn't really effect the TCO, because any shop that actually needs to calculate TCO has the tools to deal with situations like this. It actually takes a lot longer to take a disk out of one machine and put it in another than to take it out and p
    • Funny you mention it - I just recovered a friend's fried laptop last weekend. Installed drive in another box, used Knoppix to copy Documents and Settings to server, got a USB disk drive adaptor, repartitioned and formatted drive with FAT32 then copied everything back so he can use it as an external drive on his new laptop. Yeah, Knoppix!
  • From the article...

    HSBC claims it will achieve cost savings by reducing the number of Linux distributions it uses and by improving the interoperability of its open-source operating system deployments with Windows.\

    The true title of the article should be...

    "Closed standards raise the cost of interoperability with Windows"

    If they didn't need to converse with Windows, that cost would go away.
  • by Sfing_ter (99478) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:05PM (#18364393) Homepage Journal
    it's all the time spent by admins getting mp3s, wmvs and wmas to play for the managers; by the employees trying to figure out how to install weatherbug and webshots; how to install their favorite "free" game; and why won't mp3s play on this stupid os.... where is windows media player????
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:07PM (#18364419)
    They were paid over 400 Million dollars to get into bed with Microsoft. If I paid a whore that much money I'd expect a lot too.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:28PM (#18364763)

    I would recommend that the guys at Novell read The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. [wikipedia.org] It'll prepare them for what's to come.

  • Do they use Windows? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Himring (646324) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:30PM (#18364797) Homepage Journal
    How are they using windows? Did they not purchase the $4k DST 'patch' (yes, a patch) to fix Exchange's DST issue? Are they managing 1000s of workstations across an enterprise with something like ScriptLogic's Desktop Authority, which makes the hell of the broken Active Directory workable? There are un-foreseen costs attached. You pay one time for Windows, and then many times over for antivirus, directory services management, patch management, on and on. I honestly cannot believe Novell said this, especially when NDS was twice the directory service AD is today.

    The costs to buy everything needed to actually make a Windows network, 'work' are exponential when factoring in all of the third party pieces that are ABSOLUTELY necessary to make an distributed network function well.

  • Second Impression (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @09:57PM (#18370563) Homepage Journal
    When I First heard about the "Partnership", I was heard loudly exclaiming "Let the Whoring Begin!"

    Which caused quite a few turned heads at the office. Took a little longer than I expected, but its good to know I wasn't far off base.

    Here's a back of the envelope calculation from the electronics company I work at.

    TCO:
    New Windows Machine Hardware 650
    OS 279
    Software 5,000-10,000
    HOURS of installing and patching clicking OK, Next, Finish, Reboot, rinse, Repeat. Oh and Don't forget drivers.

    New Linux Machine Hardware 650
    Debian OS 0
    Software 0
    20 Minute install, unattended apt-get Updates.

    Software includes Electronics Layout, Office, FlowCharter, Development tools( IDE, Compilers, Programmer, UML, Documentation), Solid Modeling, Project Management, Image editing, I could go on all day.

    In my office there is a Windows 2000 Server, A WinXP Pro Right beside a Debian Development machine and another as Lamp Server.

    Administration of the two windows boxes (Not to mention the 15 others) justifies my position as MIS. Administration of the two Debian boxes can be done remotely once a year in minutes.

    I'm no big city, fancy accountant but I can say unequivocally (can you?) that OUR TCO is lower on our windows boxes than our windows boxes.

    This is in just my office. All machines in the company are now running OpenOffice, FireFox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Inkscape, GhostScript, PDF Printer. and any other needed GPL tool that is cross-platform.

    This method of transitioning to opensource is very effective. At first I got a few complaints and lots of skepticism. But quickly the bottom line starts to reflect positively and the people who matter, stop the complaining. I never again have to clean up IE related cruft and viri. We now have money in the budget to purchase Hardware instead of throwing it down the Proprietary Software Hole. When my phome intercom beeps I know it is a windows box calling for help.

    I now spend most of my time developing Embedded Linux software instead of patching and reinstalling Windows and apps and I couldn't be happier.

    Today the chief engineer asked me, "Why can't you just change it so it ignores that error?"
    My answer was "You'd think I could, I mean, It makes sense that since the error is inconsequential to the operation of the application I could just change a few lines of code and we'd be golden. If we were talking about my machine I could do exactly that, But its Windows so I cannot. It's not just hard, its illegal. Just Restart the app when it happens."
    "But, That's like 4 times a day."
    "Oh well you could just call MS and ask them to check in to it. I'm sure they would be interested in fixing it for a big customer like us with our 25 licenses. Snicker..."

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