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Linux TCO: Less Than Half The Cost of Windows 700

ggruschow writes "Linux Today reports 'The cost of running Linux is roughly 40% that of Microsoft Windows, and only 14% that of Sun Microsystem's Solaris, according to a new study which examined the actual costs of running various operating systems over three years.'"
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Linux TCO: Less Than Half The Cost of Windows

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  • first? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onemorehour ( 162028 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:39PM (#4410480)
    What a surprise... Linux today says linux is cheaper. There are many ways of calculating TCO. What makes this more credible than the next?
    • Re:first? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:43PM (#4410519) Homepage Journal
      They throw in a few eye catching facts, such as this:

      The Windows technicians, however, only managed an average of 10 machines each, while Linux or Solaris admins can generally handle several times that.

      Good enough for you?
      • Re:first? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Spamuel ( 246002 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:54PM (#4410626)
        I read that and thought it was very interesting myself, but they don't give any reasoning for it. The idea that a Linux admin can handle more machines then a Windows admin doesn't wash with me... Maybe the average Windows admin has less system administration experience then the average Linux admin? That could explain the difference I suppose.
        • Re:first? (Score:4, Informative)

          by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:58PM (#4410659) Homepage
          Totally. I am an "admin" who "manages" about 150 Windows systems these days. Of course, I'm supported by other teams of "non-admins", so even that figure doesn't clearly indicate the Windows TCO.
        • Perhaps... (Score:4, Informative)

          by ZxCv ( 6138 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:40PM (#4411031) Homepage
 is simply the fact that Windows systems just generally take more time and effort to secure. Whether it is simply because there are more patches, or that those patches just take forever to install, or that those patches create further problems that have to be addressed, I can firmly say in my 6 or 7 years of administration, the few Windows boxes I've had to manage have been a far larger administration headache than any of the Linux, FreeBSD, or even Solaris machines.
          • Re:Perhaps... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by H310iSe ( 249662 )
            I think you just made an important point - "...the few windows boxes I've had to manage..." Of course they've been a pain, you've only had to do a few, never learned the (sometimes hellishly complex and quixotic) details of how to effectively manage Windows. If you had managed a thousand Windows boxes and just a couple linux ones you'd probably feel the linux boxes were a bigger pain.

            I'm not saying Windows is easier/harder to amin, just that you need someone with equal experience admin'ing both to make a fair comparison.
        • Re:first? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Malor ( 3658 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @02:02PM (#4411228) Journal
          From real-life experience, I can assure you that this is accurate. I posted here [] in a related topic.

          Basically: scripting is everything. If you understand shell scripting and perl, you can make Unix machines dance. A real Unix wizard can nearly bring about world peace from the command line.

          Scripting in Windows is much harder. It can be done, but it's relatively alien to the system, and some complex things are unscriptable.

          Windows 2000 has improved this capability a lot. If they have been studying for three years, chances are that a lot of the machines are still 4.0. A true from-the-bottom-up 2K network is A LOT easier to administer than 4.0. One poster in the linked thread claims to be running about 200 clients and 37 2K servers all by himself. With 4.0, I don't think that would be possible. Things would break faster than you could fix them. With 2K I can just barely imagine doing it, though I bet that guy is incredibly busy.

          Linux is easier still to administer. Perl, ASCII text configuration files, and separation of services beat Kixstart and the registry hands-down.

          • I'll vouch for this. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:37PM (#4411962) Homepage Journal
            Even though I'm not a heavy scripter my story follows:

            I used NT/IIS 4.0 for several years switching to 2000/IIS 5.0 when it was available. I have a small business and primarily use my websites for testing solutions that are implemented for my clients and for e-mail. That being said I had to check my servers daily for hacks and patches and got rooted several times. After switching (sorry Apple) to Linux I've been rooted 1 time (my fault for leaving a known bug open via ftp). Going from checking daily (sometimes 3 to 4 times a day) and still getting hacked, to checking weekly (unless I notice an article here a la openSSL, etc.). My TCO is dramatically less. It has also allowed me to confidently recommend Linux solutions at my full time job.

            Time is $$$ and the less I spend trying to avoid script kiddies the more time I have to do real work and get paid.
          • Re:first? (Score:5, Informative)

            by scot4875 ( 542869 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:55PM (#4412084) Homepage
            Here at the University of Idaho, we have about 750 public NT4 client machines managed by about 5 part-time administrators (who also happen to be students). Every workstation has a complete suite of over 200 applications installed.

            The OS is installed and configured automagically via scripts, and each machine can be completely reformatted/reinstalled by pressing "N" as it reboots.

            The back-end is NetWare, with ZEN for application distribution. So no, it's not all Windows, primarily because the university has been pretty much in bed with NetWare for the last 10-15 years.

            So when you say that "complex things are unscriptable," that leads me to believe that you have no clue what you're talking about. How is it that editing text configuration files is so much easier than editing text registry patches?

            And no, this isn't a "Windows is better!" debate. I just think that if you have people running your systems who aren't morons or zealots, you can make just about anything work well.

          • Wisdom my son. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @05:11PM (#4412512) Homepage Journal
            Scripting is close to the true reason linux admin takes less effort.

            With linux the admin's education is never limited because everything is open to inspection. With windows the admin's education is limited to what M$ wants them to know. Thus severly handicapping their diagnostic abilities and their intuition.

            This effectively reduces the effect of eXPerience for the windows admin. A 5 year windows vet will likely be no smarter than a 3 year vet. However, a 5 year linux vet has every opportunity to exceed his 3 year counterpart.

        • Re:first? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by schon ( 31600 )
          The idea that a Linux admin can handle more machines then a Windows admin doesn't wash with me

          Then you've obviously never adminned both (or you're just lousy at it).

          I personally admin over two dozen Linux servers... If we needed to, I could easily double that.. or triple it (although I wouldn't have time to read /. then :o)

          16 or so of the machines I admin are squid proxies.. spread out over several thousand square kilometers.. a month ago there was a vulnerability reported in squid (not too serious - only affected unsecured boxes), and it took me about 90 minutes to patch them all, including compiling the software and testing it on our dev machine to make sure that it worked in our config (which it didn't right off the bat - some of the directives in squid.conf had changed.)

          Windows does take more to config. As Malor said in another reply, scripting is everything.
      • Warm Body Effect (Score:4, Informative)

        by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:34PM (#4410984) Homepage Journal
        The Windows technicians, however, only managed an average of 10 machines each, while Linux or Solaris admins can generally handle several times that.

        The reason for this is the warm body effect. A single Windows machine is actually easier to manage than a typical Linux or Unix (AIX in my case - I haven't used Solaris) box. However, this is due to lots of GUI tools.

        The problem with GUI tools is that they require a warm body - you have to physically sit in front of a console and type on the keyboard or move the mouse. While Windows does have scripting support which you can enable (and install decent script languages such as Python), most management tools don't provide a scriptable interface. If you are lucky, they have an API, but writing a script wrapper for a programatic API is a lot more work than simply invoking a command line interface.

        So as long as you are sitting in front of the machine, Windows shines. If there are lots of boxes in the room, Windows in a pain. If there are lots of remote boxes, Windows is a pain in the rear.

        *nix boxes, on the other hand, while frustrating on the first box while you try to locate various config files in random locations, are a true joy to manage as you expand your control with custom scripts to work for and report to you - thousands of daemons like a magician of old.

      • I was thinking about this and let's assume you have bought a new license of Redhat for each machine once a year. That would cost you $1500 (for the advanced server edition) per server. Now, compare this to Windows at $2500/server for advanced server and that's assuming you don't need more client licenses. So, even if you don't account for the "free as in beer" possibilities of linux, it's still cheaper per server. Then add to this the fact that the linux admin can run more servers and the TCO arguments for Windows become total hogwash even if you were paying redhat as much as you were paying Microsoft.
    • Re:first? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by elmegil ( 12001 )
      Someone should check their methodology and explain exactly what items went into that TCO calculation. Things like: training, support contracts, development costs (because no business gets everything they need shrinkwrapped). What's the hardware platform, x86 only? Cost of the OS is really the last thing you need to worry about (and if that were the only thing in their calculation Solaris & Linux would be at parity because you don't pay a line item for Solaris on SPARC hardware either).
      • Re:first? (Score:3, Informative)

        by N3WBI3 ( 595976 )
        Yea you could read the report youself. Its too long to post but section 3 explains the way they derive the #'s..
    • Re:first? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthon ... m ['in.' in gap]> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:57PM (#4410652) Homepage
      What a surprise... Linux today says linux is cheaper. There are many ways of calculating TCO. What makes this more credible than the next?

      The question of credibility in this case does not rely on which news service firsts posts an article. Of course Linux Today is going to be looking for more Linux articles than say Wired.

      The question of credibility in this case rests on who commissioned the study. We all complain when MS sponsered studies put MS on top. But do we point accusing fingers at one of the Windows News Sites for posting an article on the story? No. If you are going to imply lack of credibility, at least question the right people.

      Now, since the Linux Today article doesn't say, who did commission the study from the Robert Frances Group?
    • Re:first? (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by KjetilK ( 186133 )
      The study is not conducted by Linux Today, it is a study by Robert Frances Group []. That I admittedly don't know anything about, it could be a group of penguins for all I know... :-)
    • Re:first? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kwashiorkor ( 105138 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:00PM (#4410687)
      Skimming the actual PDF report linked at the bottom of the article provides a bit of detail.

      Apparently they were calculating the TCO of webservers running on Linux vs webservers running on Windows and Solaris.

      This had nothing that I could see about running app servers, file servers, databases, etc...

      Not to mention that the Windows installations used IIS and the *nix's used Apache. So it doesn't answer the question: What if Windows used Apache? Which may reveal a slightly different result (and would show that the measurement are actually about IIS vs. Apache, not Linux vs Windows).

      I'm not saying that their data or methods are crap, just that like with any stats, be careful to read the sources and methods behind collecting and collating the data. Look behind the presentation.
  • It's a good thing the source was Linux Today. That way we know we can trust the results to not be skewed in anyone's favor.
    • by HerrGlock ( 141750 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:44PM (#4410527) Homepage
      The study, by the Robert Frances Group, in Westport, Conn., looked at production deployments of Web servers running on the three operating systems at 14 Global 2000 enterprises.

      Don't think they work for Linux Today, unless Linux Today has 14 Global 2000 Enterprise businesses.

      • The report appears to be ordered and presented by IBM. Look at the link to the original pdf document. We have such a saying here: "Who's bread you eat, his song you sing."
  • The study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:41PM (#4410492)
    The study did not include the time and money it would take to teach all your employees how to use the system (lets not forget those that forget how to print stuff).
    • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:04PM (#4410723) Homepage Journal
      Or the potential cost in manpower to support a BSA audit.
    • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:20PM (#4410871)
      You mean like pressing "File" and Choosing "Print"? I've trouble remembering that ALL the time. Somehow pressing "File" and choosing "Print" is easier under Windows.

      (Administration is of course an entirely different issue).
    • Re:The study (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gallowglass ( 22346 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:41PM (#4411037)
      As someone else pointed out, this study was on Web servers and the cost of training was not as large as if you were training everyone.

      However, I agree that training costs are part of the TCO. It is raised everytime I suggest a move to Linux. I then point that while there is a cost in retraining when moving from MS to *nix, it is pretty much a one time cost. Unlike MS systems where you get a new (sic) system every 2 to 4 years. Immediate training cost may be larger but the ongoing training costs are much lower.

      As for the printing question, in my experience, the cost of printing problems plummets in a *nix network -- primarily because the printer servers don't fall over when the moon is in the third pahose or someone looks crosseyed or . . .
  • HRm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by B00yah ( 213676 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:41PM (#4410494) Homepage
    According to this article, only 27% of the Linux servers studied used purchased copies of their Distribution...So the majority of the costs are based on the server admin's cost, which averages $71,xxx a question is, where are this jobs as linux admins for $71k/ year? Who were they talking to about this, or did they just make it up?
    • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:50PM (#4410587) Homepage Journal

      So the majority of the costs are based on the server admin's cost, which averages $71,xxx a question is, where are this jobs as linux admins for $71k/ year?

      An employee's gross pay is typically less than half of what it costs to employ him or her. An employer needs to buy office space, power, lighting, air circulation, health benefits, not to mention the employer's share of the taxes (in the USA, payroll tax and Social Insecurity matching payments).

    • It goes depeer than that. Working at a large, mostly mindless corporation, there are other costs. These guys MUST have support. Without it, nothing works, the sky falls and chaos reigns - basically the worst parts of Ghostbusters.

      Soooo, we're buying support from RH for EACH LICENSE so we can run (are you ready for this?) - Apache. There is talk of running WebSphere as well (and maybe even a ~gasp~ DB), but I'll believe it when I see it.

      Further, not everyone is as good with Linux as your fellow nerdlings collected here. There could be training, certification and even outside consulting costs as well. So now you have support contracts, training and probably some consultants thrown on top, not to mention the taxes that companies pay on the employees behalf. So that $71K may translate into only about $55K - $60K, but that's a WAG (wild @ss guess).

      Now, if you don't mind, I'm going back to the mindless tedium that is my job.

  • From the article:

    Companies will typically purchase commercial versions of Linux for pilot projects, says Robert Frances Group senior research analyst Chad Robinson, and download free versions off the Web for production deployments.

    Isn't it the other way around? You want support for your production machine don't you?

    • In most cases, the bugs are worked out on the pilot, and when everything is running, they don't renew the support contract.
      And then, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
      Upgrading packages (rpm's deb's, etc) tends to be
      a no-brainer under linux. Most the time without a
    • No- it's not the other way around. This is exactly what happened w/my company.

      We decided that using Linux could help us out w/a couple things that we wanted to do- but we were short on cash to go the MS route.

      So I went to Frys Electronics and picked up RedHat. I installed it, learned how to do the stuff we wanted to do, and found out 2 things. Pretty much all the software - and support- you need are available for free.

      The community provides so much more than development.

      One project we needed was a server running SSH for transfering files over a dedicated T1 between us and a client. You don't need me to tell you that it was cake.

      Our other larger project is focused on Apache, PHP and PostgreSQL. There is great, free support out there for all those products.

      We bought the box to get started - planned to buy support but dropped those plans when we say that the open source community will provide you with tons of support.

      That may not be good enough for some big companies- but for someone in the middle and (always) strapped for cash- it is great.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:43PM (#4410524) Homepage
    I think it's more interesting to hear Ballmer acknowledging this too. []
  • Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drachemorder ( 549870 ) <brandon&christiangaming,org> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:46PM (#4410549) Homepage
    I've always thought something was wrong with those TCO studies that say MS has a lower TCO than Linux. It just seems blindingly obvious that free software would give you a much lower TCO than something that comes with massive license fees, regardless of what other factors you work into the equation - - - and I've always suspected that those other factors are mostly just handwaving and smoke and mirrors.
    • How can you come to this conclusion? If you have ten low-to-mid-experienced people in an office who have used Windows for the last 10 years (figure $100 every two years for OS upgrades per user), it costs $5000 in OS upgrades and everyone already knows how to use the software.

      Replace everything with free Linux and you get to send all ten to training courses for Linux desktop and office suite training (10 x 2day training @ $500 at least) = $10,000, and that is before paying for the time it takes to convert incoming documents from MS Office and making sure they look right in MS Office when they are outgoing.

      Bottom line: free _doesn't_ mean cheaper from an IT management perspective. If you are starting an office from scratch and basing its operation on Linux, it is probably going to be cheaper. But converting an org from Wintel to Lintel is very expensive.
    • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tet ( 2721 )
      It just seems blindingly obvious that free software would give you a much lower TCO than something that comes with massive license fees, regardless of what other factors you work into the equation

      It may seem obvious to you, but it's also wrong. Purchase price / licensing fees typically account for a very small percentage of TCO. So while free software may well have lower up front costs, that doesn't mean the the cost of administering it and keeping it secure is lower, and hence has less bearing on TCO than you might think. Of course, as it turns out, free software typically is cheaper to run anyway, but that's usually because it's running on an OS is designed to support multiple users and remote administration, rather than because of the lack of license fees...

    • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by foobar104 ( 206452 )
      Massive license fees? How do you define "massive?" A Windows server license will cost you a few thousand bucks, depending on configuration. That's a one-time charge. The guy who maintains it for you will cost you tens of thousands of dollars per year. The cost of the software license is very small in proportion to the recurring costs of owning the system. This is why it's not at all obvious that Linux-- which costs nothing to license-- should be cheaper to own that Windows.
  • Follow the money! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArthurDent ( 11309 ) <meaninglessvanit ... minus physicist> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:47PM (#4410557) Homepage Journal
    The PDF for the study is hosted on IBM's website... I'd be willing to bet that it was IBM that commissioned the study. Anybody know?

    **begin sarcasm**
    What a big suprise that would be if a study funded by IBM finds that their Linux solutions perform better than Windows and Sun!
    **end sarcasm**

    That said, it is nice to have some pro-Linux FUD out there! ;-)


    • The PDF for the study is hosted on IBM's website... I'd be willing to bet that it was IBM that commissioned the study. Anybody know?

      **begin sarcasm**
      What a big suprise that would be if a study funded by IBM finds that their Linux solutions perform better than Windows and Sun!
      **end sarcasm**

      Their numbers on Solaris are whacko.

      To establish my background (and biases),
      I've been a UNIX sysadmin for 15 years
      primarily on Sun, but including most
      other UNIX variants and a little Windows.
      I'm currently at a Sun VAR, so I have an
      idea about how to price Sun boxes and software.

      First of all, it will take about 1 CPU to
      meet their Processing Unit definition.
      When your basline comparison unit is less
      than 1 CPUs worth of effort, comparing using Sun
      enterprise class systems is ridiculous.
      They're not intended to replace a stack
      of 1U servers; they're there for the one
      application which needs 99.5% uptime or
      better and doesn't split across clusters
      of independent systems. The Sun 1U servers
      (Intel or SPARC architecture) are $1k each
      including OS, not this ridiculous $12.5K
      per CPU that they ascribe to software costs.

      My opinion: this is a sly slam on Sun made
      to look like a boost of Linux.
  • by Lamont ( 3347 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:48PM (#4410567)
    So the article says that Linux web servers are cheaper to run than Windows ones. Is anyone surprised by this? Is it actually news?

    I'm still waiting for the article to come out discussing TCO as it relates to desktops, which is where most of the money is lost in support dollars....
  • by flamingdog ( 16938 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:49PM (#4410585) Homepage
    If you could put a price on both sanity and your precious, precious soul, then I'm sure linux would come out ahead even further.
  • GUI bad, CLI good? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:50PM (#4410594) Homepage
    from the article: The Windows technicians, however, only managed an average of 10 machines each, while Linux or Solaris admins can generally handle several times that.

    I am assuming that the Linux and Solaris admins are using the CLI to manage the servers via SSH but I believe the slowest way to manage a server is through a keyboard and mouse -- pointing and clicking away. Most of the Windows servers I have managed in my career were through a GUI interface using a remote control program like PC Anywhere and Microsoft's Remote Admin software. With Linux, Solaris and now Mac OS X Server, I use SSH and a keyboard to do my work. With shell scripts and other tricks, I can blaze through server management that I would never be able to do in a GUI environment at the same speed. Even with Mac OS X Server's great GUI management tools, I prefer to fire up Terminal and remotely manage the system through a CLI -- or maybe I just long for the days of my Apple ][.

    On the other hand, with the massive numbers of zombied Windows machines probing my networks, it could be that Windows-only Admins are just plain idiots with a MCSE which accounts for the productivity gains of Linux and Solaris admins.

    • by sheldon ( 2322 )
      I'm curious...

      Considering the tools are all there, why didn't you learn how to use the CLI admin tools for Windows?

      Just kind of seems to me you shouldn't be calling people idiots when you don't know what you are doing yourself.
      • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:06PM (#4410730) Homepage
        Considering the tools are all there, why didn't you learn how to use the CLI admin tools for Windows? Just kind of seems to me you shouldn't be calling people idiots when you don't know what you are doing yourself.

        Are they built into the OS or do you have to purchase them or download them after the fact? All the Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X Server boxen I deal with have all the CLI tools built-in. I have never seen Microsoft brag about their remote CLI management.

        Also, I was calling the "Zombied Windows Server Admins" idiots not all Windows Server Admins. Reading is fundamental...

        • Are they built into the OS or do you have to purchase them or download them after the fact?

          While true you sometimes have to buy or download these tools, this doesn't mean that you can't use em. It's been a while since I messed with this stuff, but when I worked in Nix/NT operations I remember some of the command line stuff on NT and in the reskit was ok. Also there's some great stuff out there like Roth's Admin Misc perl modules which are just great (see
  • Technician Costs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by secolactico ( 519805 )
    From the article:
    The average Windows administrator in the study earned $68,500 a year, while Linux sys admins took home $71,400, and those with Solaris skills were paid $85,844. The Windows technicians, however, only managed an average of 10 machines each, while Linux or Solaris admins can generally handle several times that.
    Is this because of the OS stability or because of the technician experience? Given the fact that Windows technician are easier to find and cheaper to hire, wouldn't hiring less (but more experienced) Windows techs level the costs a bit, even if they charge more?
  • by CanadaDave ( 544515 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:51PM (#4410603) Homepage
    Windows is actually getting cheaper and cheaper...

    For example, at the University of Waterloo, you can get a Windows XP CD for free [] if you are a student. I'm sorry, but I don't know how much Waterloo paid Microsoft for this... so maybe it isn't quite free. I actually got Windows XP from them. I'm mostly a Linux user, but they sucked me in with the free CD thing. Came with a unique activation ID and everything. How soon will it be before Microsoft starts giving away Windows XP to small businesses, home users, then big businesses. They can still make their main money from Office and other things. I think they're going to have to keep cutting costs, in order to match the cost of Linux.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is that Microsoft fully realizes that Linux is a somewhat cheaper system to opearate, and this is one way that it is trying to change that. By giving it away free, they've reduced the cost of running Windows by a lot.

    • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:23PM (#4410910) Homepage Journal
      Not only can Pirates get Windows XP (with a haxxored activation ID) but they can additionally get Office XP for an additional 0 dollars and 0 cents!

      Our source was Lee T. Hacksor, a 13 yr-old who claims to have "0wn3d" XP for a little over a year now.
    • By giving it away free, they've reduced the cost of running Windows by a lot.

      Umm... maybe this is true for you. But let's face it, MS only ever gives away product as a prelude to 2 events: 1) bundling the product into the OS or Office 2) increasing market share via free product then charging that newly gained market share on the next go-around.

      Do you honestly think you're going to get Windows for free once you're in the public work force?

      On the plus side, Windows has become MUCH to operate in server environments and even on the desktop but, if the study is to be believed, it still has some room for improvement.
    • Maybe we should rank this offering with glass-beads, cotton blankets, and smallpox...they were given freely to the native americans in order to initiate trade, and that last one was just an added bonus for the manifest destiny zealots.

      The idea behind giving away a such a controlling OS isn't to lower the cost of anything, it's simply an easy move to infect the cash-strapped with a way to easily perform a "mind and movement" control endgame manuver around free operating systems. It's a noose. A digital chasity belt to keep us in line--keep us from ripping, mixing, and burning.

      Maybe they think if they can fit the young with this prophylatic DRM measure, they won't have such a hard time later when they really start tightening the screws and throwing away the keys.

    • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @02:52PM (#4411614) Journal
      At UCSD, the Microsoft Assimila... err Microsoft Student Rep essentially crashed our "Linux Setup Day" event a couple years ago and handed out free copies of Windows 2000.

      The MS student rep would give out free copies of Windows, Visual Studio, Office, etc. on campus, and I'm sure that Microsoft is giving out free copies of WinXP, Visual Studio .net, etc. right now on campus.

      The thing is that Microsoft did NOT do this sort of thing on such a wide scale until Linux grew in popularity on campus.

      MS is obviously trying very hard to keep CS students from learning to seriously develop software outside of a Microsoft Environment.
      By providing students with MS software for free, they hope to stop students from using open source development tools.

      If Windows is all programmers know, that is all they'll develop for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:53PM (#4410611)
    I noticed it mentioned a breakdown of averge times for repairing and patching Windows by Windows admins, but I am curious about the actual dollars lost when things go down and the cost to bring them back up. For example, if a web service for integrating with one of the databases goes down, then how much money is lost in transactions? (assuming that place is an online seller) How much then will it cost to bring the system back up (meaning that once it is discovered and 'fixed' how long will the systems be down, or are they asynchronous enough to just slow down while parts are repaired, allowing a gradual deployment of fixes?

    Start a timer, tell each admin they need to perform some obscure task. Now see who gets it done first, assuming their skills are the same for their respective systems. A windows person might be lightening fast because they just have to click in a couple of places. Then again, they will probably have to reboot. A Linux person might need to check the info (or man) page and pray it is well written for their part then try to implement it. However they will most likely not have to restart anything except that particular service. Solaris? Well I suppose that depends on the version.

  • Consider the source (Score:2, Interesting)

    by seldolivaw ( 179178 )
    It amuses me that everyone on Slashdot will read this report on LinuxToday and say "oh, wow, now there's proof that Linux TCO is low!" Tomorrow, if Windows magazine released a study showing the opposite, everyone would be rushing to say that the source is obviously biased. This is nice to hear, but no decision-maker worth his salt is going to take it seriously until it's reported by a respected and at least nominally impartial source.
    • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:06PM (#4410734) Homepage
      According to the article, the report was prepared by an independent research company. Linux Today carried the story because it contains positive statements made by a third party about Linux.

      Meanwhile, here on /., people seem to be saying that the report came from Linux Today, and therefore is too biased to be trusted.

      So on the one hand, you're wrong about the source of the report, just like a lot of other posters. On the other hand, you're wrong about /.'s response to the report.

      But hey, at least things are somewhat better than you expected, which is always pleasant.

  • I've been looking a bit into the group that did the study: The Robert Francis Group []. I'm having a hard time really finding much information about them. It looks like they are basically an analyst group like Gartner. I found some CNET articles, one [] involving Sun and another [] involving Microsoft. In both cases, it looks like the analyst was just there to bash the two of them.

    I'm wondering if there is a history of bias against the two companies in favor of Linux/IBM. It does look like they are general pro-Linux and GPL in their recommendations. But their bias could be based on the various studies they have done in the past. Does anyone else know anything about this group?

  • Unix/Linux TCO book (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cato ( 8296 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @12:59PM (#4410682)
    There's an interesting book at that looks at how to re-orient a whole IT department from Windows to Unix/Linux. It's mainly about using Unix, but Linux gives the same advantages, only even more so due to improved compatibility across Linuxes compared to the various Unixes, and much lower licensing costs, lower hardware costs for Intel deployments and so on. The book has some annoying errors in places, but the guts of it are very useful for costing out complete deployments of Windows vs. Unix, for small through medium to enterprise scales.

    You can download some parts of the book for free to get a flavour of what it's about. I actually bought a copy and would recommend it for anyone thinking about converting from Windows to Linux - it's only $30.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:00PM (#4410688) Journal
    Last year we decided to migrate off Windows.
    We first moved to OpenOffice. Painful, when your clients all use MS Office, but it's possible.
    Now we're moving to Mozilla-based browsers.
    All our servers (except one) went to Linux in the last year or two.
    Now we're killing the last Windows desktops, putting Lindows-OS in their place.
    Apart from the license savings, everything just runs better.
    There is a huge fear of change, and this works in Windows' favor.
    But there is no doubt that open software is better built and cheaper to run.
    Changing costs something. But there is no doubt about the TCO of Linux (and its applications) being lower.
  • It's interesting what can be done with the manipulation of data and definintions. Perhaps this survey would have been of more value had they included some of the other variations.. such as running Windows with Apache? That would have a huge impact on thier licensing and security costs.

    I also have a difficult time believing that one windows sysadmin can only handle 10 machines, while a linux admin can handle 44 in comparison. Of course this could be a reflection of the quality of the MCSE's out there that are brought into the sysadmin fold. *shrug*

    Either way... perhaps someone should do a study of a mixed environment? Find out the optimun TCO mix, not just the black & white versions of all one way or all another.
  • Fundamental Flaws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:03PM (#4410712)
    There are several fundamental flaws here, just with a few seconds review.

    First off, this report is far, far far to light on actual data. The whole report is eight printed pages. That's a summary, not a study.

    Second, they describe costs but do not ascribe them to any specific product. For example, they record costs of $1,330 for Year II and III for Windows. Later they explain this as "software assurance costs for Microsoft" products. However, how can this be the results of the collected data? This is a *new* program, and hasnt already been going on for three years. How can they have seen this data in a historical perspective if its a new licensing program? The key to their analysis is this table of costs.

    Thirdly, the study is based on a sample of 14 sites. There is no breakdown of the number of samples per case. No original data is provided.

    Fourth, after more in depth review of the document, you have to wonder whether this is a projection or a retrospective analysis. When did the period of comparion start and end? Are costs actual or projected? Why isnt the original data presented to us? Where is the rest of the analysis?

    To me this looks like someone sent out some surveys, and attempted to collate some data based on those surveys. There are some clues to me anyways that this isn't an actual study, but rather, a projection.

    A lot here seems really fishy.
  • One of the companies in the study had deployed more than 10,000 Linux nodes.

    So, Google was one of the 14 companies surveyed? Anyone else know of a company running 10,000 Linux nodes for their web serving environment?


  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:06PM (#4410739) Journal
    From the article:

    "The average Windows administrator in the study earned $68,500 a year"

    "The Windows technicians, however, only managed an average of 10 machines each"

    So, let me get this straight... they actually expect us to believe that WinAdmins make almost 70K a year to handle 10 machines? I don't know what kind of fantasy world this study was done in, but I want in!!!

    Of course, far be it from me to suggest that this portrayal of WinAdmins might be a bit off... but, for reference, I support close to 200 WinTel machines and 5 servers, and I don't make anywhere close to 70K US a year... I think I may print this article and see if I can get a raise out of it...

    Lesse... 70K per 10 boxes, 200 boxes, equals... woohoo!

  • Is the cost of the car to drive out to the bloody machine to reboot it everytime it crashes or needs work.
  • by bajan_on_ice ( 32348 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:18PM (#4410850)
    If they want to do TCO of apples to apples, maybe they should have used Sun LX-50 x86 box, instead of their Enterprise class machines. There are feature sets in that class of machine (eg domaining, redundant hardware, hotswap etc) that are just not available in an x86 box. The cost of those features greatly inflates the TCO for Solaris.

  • by blakestah ( 91866 ) <> on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:42PM (#4411047) Homepage

    Calvin Braunstein is Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research of Robert Frances Group.

    Mr. Braunstein has held a variety of management and non-management positions in IBM. ...
    During more than 25 years with IBM, Mr. Braunstein dealt primarily with the marketing and development of enterprise systems, with a specialty in highly available, high-performance, mission-critical transaction processing systems for the finance and travel industries.
  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:48PM (#4411096)
    I've worked as a Unix and Windows admin at various times. And here's the deal: A company that knows enough about IT issues to seriously consider UNIX probably hires good admins, whether they are Windows admins *or* UNIX admins. The companies that just blindly buy a bunch of Microsoft stuff to slap on the boss's old Dell machine (which is now the "server") probably don't hire good admins. Or, honestly, have any kind of cohesive idea about what they are using their PC's and the network for. Which means they will ALWAYS be dumping money into it to try to make it work, to cover up for their lack of planning. UNIX, on the other hand, isn't even CONSIDERED by shops that aren't pretty fuckin' serious about their network/workstation/applications, and they'll keep costs down, because they aren't screwing around. What I'm saying is, Windows works fine, if it does what you need it to do, and you hire people that know how to do it. But that's rarely the case with Windows shops. And it's almost *always* the case with UNIX shops.
  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:54PM (#4411157)
    i recently asked my new admin (at a new job) if i could bring in my iBook and use it.

    "No. No personal machines on the network."

    "Oh, any reason? Other than just policy?"

    "Well, they are mostly concerned with viruses and stuff, we can't control your personal computer's virus protection. But its mostly a policy thing."

    "Oh, its okay, its an iBook - running Mac OS X."

    "There are plenty of viruses out there for the Mac and Linux too, not just windows."

    "Really? Name one virus on Mac and the ssh hole doesn't count."

    Its been 3 days now. He's started calling me at home late at night, breathing heavy... mumbling something about burning down the building and his stapler...
  • Half the price... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ageless ( 10680 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @01:57PM (#4411191) Homepage
    Half the price and half as useful!

    God, poor karma.

    Seriously though folks, there is a reason Windows is expensive as it is. It's part corporate greed, but it's also part quality of product.

    I run Linux on quite a few web servers and a database server here and there and I love it for my servers. It's fast, stable and black and white. Just like I like em. I run Windows on my desktops. Recently I decided to install RedHat 7.3 just to see how things were coming on the desktop front. It was pretty smooth, until I decided I wanted to move my mouse, at which point the X installer locked up.

    Seems the X mouse drivers can't figure out a plain ol' optical mouse running through a Linksys KVM. I searched and searched to no avail. The mouse just resets over and over, every second or so.

    Screw it. Back to the server room with you! Where's my XP CD?
  • by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @02:02PM (#4411224) Homepage Journal
    OK Here is the shattered remains of this pathetic TCO. Warning STRONG language later on as I was getting very pissed at the half assed job they did. This is a rant about the TCO NOT LINUX. Keep that in mind.

    First of all this thing is 8 pages? The last 15 or so TCOs I've had to read through have been in the area of 70 to 400 pages in length. This looks like something a 10 year old would write in highschool. But I digress. Here we go:

    1 - Executive Summary
    Who are these numerous executives? (I had coffee with Elvis)

    How many is many? Many people have Aids but MOST people do not. (I eat a lot of food compared to a starving Ethiopian)

    Survey Participants? Who are they? How do I know you didn't make this shit up? Where is your work sited information? The least you could do is say Client - A, and Client - B if there was a NDA issue.

    2 - Methodology
    Ok so their WHOLE concept of this TCO factors ONLY web servers? This should be titled as TCO of LINUX WEB SERVERS. Holy Shit I'd fire these guys if they were my consulting shop.

    One or two processors in the machines? How do I know the majority of the MS or Solaris machines are not Single versus Dual on the Linux Boxes? Where is my node breakdown summary?

    "External" support hardware and software were excluded?! Holy Fuck! Ahem! I consider hardware and software compatibility pretty fucking important. The NIC performance is crucial! If I have to alter my NIC choices based on driver availability that can totally skew a cost per MB in a TCO. The difference, for example, in a web server using Intel and 3Com NICs amounted to $1500 dollars when placed into a Proliant server doing SQL after boiling the TCO numbers. BIG difference if I have to have 100-200 of those.

    All prices are based on retail!? What moron pays retail for a corporate purchase on Mid to Large sized companies!? Mother of God are these guys scamming their clients? I get a bulk discount on orders greater than 20 from 3Com. Used to level the playing field? Ahem this is a COST analysis! Enterprise discounts are not irrelevant THEY ARE CRUCIAL! Case in point if Intel gives my 20% off on an order of 2000 NIC cards and 3Com gives me 25% off and Linux won't support the 3Com card (for the sake of argument) THAT IS RELIVANT TO THE TCO!

    3 - Cost Breakdown

    Software purchase costs per processing unit? Ahem where is the implementation costs, maintenance costs, or as I like to put HOW COULD THESE DOLTS COMPLETELY IGNORE THE SYSTEM LIFE CYCLE!?

    Paragraph 3, line 4 "beyond the purchase of the software", ahem DOES LINUX INSTALLS AND CONFIGURES ITSELF!!?? FUCK DUDE I'M SWITCHING NOW! They cover this later; I'll bitch about it when I get there.

    CALs are primarily used only in Intranets unless your are running remote services like Outlook's Mail program. But authenticated services are NOT being specified on both systems, only MS. Are we running software here besides Apache and IIS comparisons? Now we have a whole separate TCO on just the application alone! God this TCO is a mess.

    Also there is no lie in the last paragraph, the new terms from MS are terrible.

    No lie here, Linux is cheaper cost wise for the software. Too bad like in automobiles labor is the major cost. Even then the data is terrible at best.

    3.2 - Hardware Cost Breakdown
    Wow Linux only beat out MS by about $1000 bucks? I'd rather pay the $1000 bucks and write that off as application compatibility, hardware compatibility, and more importantly I actually have the MAJORITY of hardware vendors writing drivers NOW for Microsoft. Don't tell me "But that is changing" TCOs are a static snapshot, "What-Ifs" are not allowed, otherwise they become Cost Projection Reports.

    Concerning their benchmark concept per processing unit how do we know we have the same data going across? Where are these number coming from? I have yet to see any concrete data. I get the results but how was the data collected? Was the test based on identical web pages? Was it base on client side or server sides scripts? WHERE IS THIS DATA COMING FROM? When I play cards and my friend says he has a full house he's gotta show me the cards. SHOW ME THE DATA!

    3.3 - Support
    Oh God I loved this part:

    "Support Costs Were Those Fees Paid To Consulting Providers or Product Vendors...." "Many administrators were taking advantage of mailing lists, free news groups, support, ..."

    Hmmm how many of those groups will mail me monthly CDs like TechNet for a fee? I wonder if that added to the cost? WE DON'T KNOW THEY STILL HAVEN'T GIVEN US ANY DATA. WE ARE SHORT ON BRENT SPENER (Did I get his name right? I'm not a Trekkie) JUST RESULTS. Did your result of 42 come from 40+2 or 21x2 or WHAT!? They say $46,360 for MS. I have been consulting 8 years and have NEVER seen an administrative expenditure like that. Show me the data! Are we looking at 1000 Linux Workstations for every 4000 NT based systems? Right there the admin costs should be x4 as much. No data, no trust. Tell me where that 46k went and then I'll listen.

    Oh how about this one,"... for the purpose of this survey administrators...."
    Ok so my NT guy that handles my SQL server, Exchange, and 4 other servers is only going to be counted for the web part. Hmmm... Wouldn't that deflate the number of Web specific servers per admin? WE DON'T KNOW! GUESS WHAT? STILL NO DATA! If the 1 Linux admin handles 10 web servers, but all he does is handle 10 web servers that is going to drastically skew results of the MS web guys all share duties on 5 other types of server which is the case.

    How about bullet #2 "... System automation tasks... had not been written yet for Linux..." Is this guy drunk?! Holy try going to one of hundreds of scripting pages for Linux you dolt!

    4 - Soft Costs
    "... Difficult to assign values to..."
    Let me think, WRONG. I can roughly estimate over 3 years what those costs are by taking fixed costs and subtracting budget expenditures for the year and I can write THE WHOLE GOD DAMN THING OFF as a soft costs and estimates. That is how you in part determine the next year's budget. The more years you factor in the better the estimate. There is a reason TCOs I read are at least 30 pages long. I accept nothing less.

    4.1 - Security
    No arguments save one, The reason Linux SEEMS more secure than MS is that is hasn't been as critical of a target. I remember some Linux admins (back when Slashdot was just starting) making the claim that Linux was IMMUNE to viruses. No, people just haven't been writing Linux based viruses. Same with hacks in general. Here is a real solid fact:
    Based on the number of attempts and system penetration MS products are 20% more likely to be hacked and infected than Linux. This is a basic arithmetic case of market share. If 60% of the targets are red and the other 40% are blue. Red is 20% more likely to be targeted than blue. It's that simple.

    4.2 Availability
    Holy this doesn't even get a page?! If I do 4 billion dollar of transaction a week this had better fucking be at least 30 pages long with in-depth up-time analysis including MTF ratings and severity analysis. This is a glaring example of RFG's TOTAL AND COMPLETE LACK OF CREDEBILITY. If I am Amazon or Barnes and Noble if my site isn't up I have no business. How they could blow over this is ... is... beyond comprehension.

    4.3 Scalability
    One word, Datacenter.

    From a cpu standpoint MS leads, note the fact they kind of gloss over this section. Damn near a page for software costs with some statistics but virtually nothing here. This fucking piece of trash looks more like a poorly disguised outsourcing bid from some half-assed Linux shop. With the advent of cheap blade servers and AMD's entry into SMP this should have been a 60 to 100 page section! What about support RAID systems, Fibre Channel links, high speed switching systems, clustering, FUCK THE LIST JUST KEEPS GOING ON AND ON AND ON....

    These people have NO FUCKING clue how to do a TCO. NONE. ZERO. ZIP. My 14 year old non-techie niece could do a better cost analysis.

    I am not going to even bother on the rest of this crap. I have only one thing to say in my summary:


    Suggestion to web sites that quote this: Give Linux a real chance to succeed Bullshit like this doesn't help.
    • Nice rant. :-)

      There's just one thing I have issues with:

      Here is a real solid fact: Based on the number of attempts and system penetration MS products are 20% more likely to be hacked and infected than Linux. This is a basic arithmetic case of market share. If 60% of the targets are red and the other 40% are blue. Red is 20% more likely to be targeted than blue. It's that simple.

      MS products might be 20% more likely to be infected than Linux just based on the rollout numbers, but experience repeatedly shows that MS products in the real world are infected much more often than that.

      Now, that 20% difference you speak of may be limited only to exploitation of bugs, but to limit your comparison only to that is the same sort of mistake you accuse the authors of the paper of. You can't just limit yourself to exploitation of bugs, you have to include exploitation of design flaws as well, and that is where Microsoft products typically fall on their face. Whether it's automatic execution of malicious code during a document preview in the explorer (or Outlook) or an install program that doesn't make you change the sa SQL server password, Microsoft has consistently shown that basic security is something of an afterthought to it. If they're changing that, then good for them! It's about time.

      But until they start actually designing their products with as much consideration of security as of useability, Linux will maintain a significant advantage over Windows in resistance to attacks.

  • Load of crap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @02:14PM (#4411310)
    Where did they get those machine to tech ratios? Maybe small businesses that only have a few machines anyway. The shops I have worked in and friends in the industry the ratio is MUCH higher anywhere from 50 to 1 and up. We were mainly Windows shop and added Unix systems to the mix as time went on. In fact our management kept showing us reports from industry groups showing 100 to 1 as a common ratio. My argument was and still is what type of systems were they? In an ISP or ecommerse site with farms of servers the ratio can be high, because a system can go down with minimal effect. I worked more on large databases, and business systems and when systems were down it affected revenue and we had to get them back on-line ASAP.

    Articles like this don't do Linux any good, when management see bogus numbers in them. This is not a an artice I would show to management to try and get Linux system integrated.
  • by jm91509 ( 161085 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @02:29PM (#4411411) Homepage

    The link at the bottom goes to

    I wonder if they would per chance be biased against solaris in anyway?

    Maybe that explains why they think people will use 6800's to run a web farm. Their hardware comparison is dell pcs and 6800's and 4800's.

  • by carminemangione ( 614691 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @03:17PM (#4411808)
    I was principal architect for Excite Clubs for 4 years. During a period of one year, we went from 100K page views to over 20M page views a day.

    We had a rather unique situation. We started the project on Windows NT 4.0 and later migrated to Win2K. During that time, we were barely able to handle 1M page views per day on the windows boxes. In addition, the average page generation time was 2 seconds. The 20 windows boxes we had in production cost approximately 17K a piece (quad compaq proliant with 1 gig of ram) and were all experiencing 80% or more CPU usage.

    The 20 boxes were managed by 1 sysadmin (6 years experience from MS consulting services) with a full time assistant. This does not count the high school students we had wandering the racks hard rebooting terminally ill boxes.

    Most admin time was spent on upgrades, boxes that would just stop working (we called it spontaneous server rot) and trying to use a host of opaque, inadequate tools to detect and eliminate bottlenecks. Build, rollout and staging tools were also a big time synch. Finally, the installation of software onto a new machine in the right order with all configuration parameters took an extradinary amount of time.

    In addition, I had one full time engineer writing noting but 'nanny' programs to monitor the program and restart the process when there were problems.

    With all this work, the system still went down daily.

    After much politicking we translated the program to JSP (straight page per page translation) and moved to solaris machines. The java middle tier ran as on solaris. The 20 compaq boxes were replaced with 16 solaris boxes. Oddly, we paid almost the same amount per box (20K versus 16K).

    Immediately, we were able to more that 5M pageviews per day with no changes to the software. In addition ,the page generation times went down to .1 seconds and the highest observable CPU load was less than 10%.

    Our sysadmins were replaced with a part time (less than 5 hours per week) solaris admin. The roll out scritps were trivial to write and maintain. We had very few upgrades/security patches.

    Most important, the host of tools provided to monitor system performance and tell exactly where bottle necks were and the truly deep understanding of the system internals by the sys admins allowed us to eliminate the remaining problems and scale to 20M pageviews per day.

    That is right. two orders of magnitude better performance for precisely the same code. And and order of magnitude less admin time.

    Those were measurable results. Here is my 'opinion' of why the differnces were so dramatic.

    I taught Win32 programming and system internals for four years. I was also chief scientist for Redmond Communications who publish a technical journal on Microsoft Software/strategies. So I am not a linux bigot.

    My observation has been, that no one truly understands the internals of a windows system. Just as I start to get a handle on the latest caching, memory management, threading issues, there is an 'upgrade' via some patch that changes many of the internals. In addition, as shown by the above threads, most windows sys admins seem to have vastly difference experience and understanding of how to configure and maintain systems.

    Unlike most nerds, I will not blame the admin, but blame the system. In the scientific community, windows, in practice, has proven to be somewhat opaque.

    Unix, on the other hand, is incredibly well documented and all source is available. Uncertain how inodes are locked and released? No problem, there are many books and references to help you. If worst comes to worst, crack open the damn code.

    This has nothing to do with open source, but more to do with the which communities evolved the techonlogy and the underlying motivations of companies hawking their wares.

    Note, this is not a good thing, or a bad thing it is only a thing.

    There were many people out there criticizing the studies accuracy. I must say I do not have a single colleague that I have spoken with that doubts its varisity from personal experience on BOTH sides of the isle. I just knew that I had to share my own experience with you. My only doubt about the story is that I would say 'order of magnitude' for production servers.

    Thank you for your time,
    Carmine Mangione
  • by skrowl ( 100307 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @04:52PM (#4412417) Homepage
    What's funny is they'll post TCO stories from LINUX TODAY, but won't post any from MICROSOFT such as this point-by-point comparison found here []. How is it FAIR to link LINUX TODAY, but not MICROSOFT? Ahh... more classic Slashdot bias (notice all of the other OS's get real icons, MS get a borg Bill Gates... very mature)

    Basically, the LINUX TODAY article is saying the TCP (Total cost to purchase) is equivalent to TCO (Total cost of ownership)... in effect saying that any positives and negatives Windows may have in the software itself has NO value. As other above have said, you can calculate TCO in many different ways. If you want to assign EVERYTHING other than software licensing a VALUE of $0... maybe this article strikes a chord with you.

    All I am saying is consider the source!
    • If) Linux Today is not to Linux as Microsoft is to Windows.

      and) Linux Today quoted the study, they didn't author it.

      and) The study included maintanence costs, not just capital outlay.

      Therefore) Quit self-moderating.
  • Figures are WAY out (Score:3, Informative)

    by ColdGrits ( 204506 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @05:16PM (#4412538)
    Qhat a surprise, their figures are based on totally bogus reasoning.

    They equate single and dual-CPU commodity x86 boxes with 24-CPU US3 servers with 100% redundancy for guaranteed uptime.

    No wonder their figures are utterly bogus.

    If you take their own calculations, factor in COMPARABLE figures across all 3 platofrms, then you get Windows as the most expensive, Linux second and Solaris woith the lowest TCO.

    But then, that would not have made for a good story, would it...
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @07:16PM (#4413290) Journal
    Computers are getting fast enough that we don't need firm-ware intregration of everything and can apply some abstraction layers/components. If we abstract the following features:

    1. Execution environment (like a run-time engine)

    2. Database

    3. File System (use #2 instead?)

    4. Networking protocols

    5. Workspace managers (desktops)

    6. Graphics and hardware interface

    behind standard paradigm-neutrual protocols, then the God-Damned OS does NOT mean diddly squat.

    I have too much existing Windows software to just chuck Windows. I don't want to depend on MS, but I don't want to start over. Thus, if you want to make MS irrelavent, then make the OS irrelavent using/making the above standards, then we don't have to marry neither Bill Gates NOR a smiling penguin.

    F the OS wars. Think beyond it people. Think abstraction and standards. Windows will shrink when standards make it so that you don't need Windows, not because Linux crashes slightly less.

    The Penguin can go fuck Clippey for all I care. You are all fighting the wrong war.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan