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Linux Business The Almighty Buck

InfoWorld on Switching to Linux 319

brentlaminack writes "The latest Infoworld is running a lengthy piece about The Real Cost of Switching to Linux, where it makes sense and where it doesn't. As one of their columnists points out, the debate has switched from "if" to "where". One of the big wins for Linux was in the area of remote administration. Specifically noted was ssh. Also of note is the shift in calculating cost from TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) as has been calculated in the past, to ROI (Return on Investment) that focuses more on what you can do with the technology to get work done."
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InfoWorld on Switching to Linux

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  • Long term benefits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:06PM (#6834579)
    Thing that I've noticed is that if a large organization gets into Linux, even if they buy it, it's theirs for the duration and all of the upgrades that they can work into it, instead of requiring either yearly site license fees or massive payouts every so many years for new versions of software to do essentially the same thing. Even paying a consulting company or services company to deploy Debian would make sense in a way, as long as the apt server were the organization's, versus a public server, so that as long as someone is maintaining the package database on the local apt server, they can keep updating the workstations.

    Large organizations usually have some form of IS department, so instead of paying them to run around and fix Windows Millennium or XP problems, pay them to keep the network deployed OS current, and fix the bulk of the problems from their desks.
  • by dj28 ( 212815 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:07PM (#6834584)
    I understand that Linux is the new darling of the tech industry, but why do reviews like this completely ignore operating systems likee FreeBSD (which out performs Linux in several serving tasks, and is in general more mature)? People who write these reviews on TCO and other stats think Linux is the only alternative to Windows servers. It gets annoying after a while.
  • TCO vs ROI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by manual_overide ( 134872 ) <> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:10PM (#6834595) Homepage Journal
    even if MS's linux myths page was correct about linux having a greater TCO, business types don't care that much about the initial cost. That's why RH can get away with charging 10K for a multiprocessor licence. Businesses will buy it if it will earn them money in the long run. Of course it really helps if there is a low TCO because that will make your ROI go up.

    the linux myths page focuses solely on TCO. Someone should set up a high profile windows myths page that focuses on ROI. It'd be funny if it were full of FUD about windows, but better if it were actually truthfull. Get the PHB's out there to tell the IT guy, "i want one of those lunix boxes on my computers"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:16PM (#6834638)
    Well we've seen a rising use of BSDs in the last few months, I think one of the reason is the rise of the usage of linux, many admins are aware of BSD but cannot use it until the management gives an ok to use some kind of ix meaning linux.
    Moving from Linux to BSD is a no brainer if you have the right hardware then.
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:16PM (#6834639) Journal
    "There were a lot of costs I didn't expect-- hidden migration costs," says Cedars-Sinai's Duncan. During the migration from NT to Linux, his staff insisted that because they had been running RAID disk mirroring and striping on NT they should buy SCSI RAID controllers for the Linux servers. "It was like $1,000 per box extra that I hadn't planned on."

    That wasn't a hidden cost. Linux could have easily handled RAID disk mirroring and striping without the special controllers.

    This was an example of the IT staff knowing they have a much larger than normal project budget and milking it for all it was worth.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:16PM (#6834641)
    I understand that Linux is the new darling of the tech industry, but why do reviews like this completely ignore operating systems likee FreeBSD (which out performs Linux in several serving tasks, and is in general more mature)?

    I'm glad you brought that up because I have a question that has been burning for a while. FreeBSD, like Linux, is an essentially free UNIX. Let's not argue licenses and the like, just look at them both as free in code and price.

    What makes Slashdot readers think Linux will take over the desktop and server markets when FreeBSD didn't?

    They are both very similar but were released at different times. PCs that ran Windows were still a few grand and so were RISC workstations. Both are free in cost and have the source publically available.

    How is the situation different now and why will Linux succeed when another solid, free, x86 based UNIX-like OS failed?
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:25PM (#6834697)
    If you're developing on it. If you're using it for regular users who need email and web and word processing, it doesn't matter what the licensing is. Your memo written in ABIWord doesn't have to contain the GPL.

    And if you're developing, there are commercial libraries available to you. There are BSD-licensed libraries too. You don't have to use Stallman's libraries, you can get them elsewhere. Hell, IBM even builds compilers, as does Intel. The entire point of GPLed stuff is for it to remain for everyone. If you don't like that, build it yourself, buy it, or find another non-GPL one.

    It's not impossible to do this. It just takes brains and research. I'd rather sink my money into that than into a mindless purchase of a product that goes "BOOM!" far too frequently and forces one into paid upgrades.
  • by KoolDude ( 614134 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:25PM (#6834700)

    IMHO, we should not worry about the managers who still don't "get it". They eat all the FUD MS/SCO/IDC is feeding them. All these managers will eventually realise their mistake when their competition adopting Linux/Open Source tools is able to offer better price for same product/service. When they start losing business, they will really "get it". Seriously, there is a change at hand here and the economics will play its part. only question is 'How soon ?'
  • by ODBOL ( 197239 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:32PM (#6834732) Homepage
    I haven't yet seen a TCO study that includes the risk of a BSA audit in a Windows shop. The TCO for running Windows should include the cost of insurance against the disruption of a BSA audit and the penalties paid for apparently unlicensed software.
  • Re: TCO vs ROI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by manual_overide ( 134872 ) <> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:35PM (#6834747) Homepage Journal
    yes, but the secretary's workstation has an almost zero ROI. getting a new pc to let the secretary surf the interweb and play solitaire is usually not top priority for managers. having servers that stay up all the time usually is. esp. if your servers ARE the business.

    like we have a product that customers run on our servers via a citrix client. If those servers go down, that's money down the drain. But if they stay up, that's money in the bank. Which is why getting a PHB to sign for a new server is much easier than getting them to sign for a new development machine for me.

    ROI is everything.
  • Stupid assumptions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bun ( 34387 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:36PM (#6834754)
    [said]Martin Taylor, Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy . "One of the issues that causes people to not take a full picture on [Linux costs] is they download something for free and they invest time to get it where they want it. They don't fully account for the time and effort it took to even get their model scenario up and running."
    Really? And you would have your customers set up an enterprise system WITHOUT evaluating it to the point where they understand it and are fully prepared to use it properly?

  • by Master Bait ( 115103 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:37PM (#6834757) Homepage Journal
    Indeed. I also wonder why they keep plugging away at the 'support' and 'training' issue. Some tech journal's articles seem to be written from a strictly corporate/academic standpoint.

    That was definitely the case at IDG in the late 80's. I then worked at a company that did some Linotronic service bureau work for IDG. Their journalists were hired based on their history as journalists, and not on IT experience.

    Now, we keep seeing articles based on IT buzzwords, rather than people's dirty hands. BSD would get mentioned in articles, but only if they bought ads to run in those magazines. If Dell decided to sell machines with a BSD preinstalled and advertised the fact or sent press releases, then it would be mentioned. Otherwise, those journalist's world is very, very small

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:51PM (#6834803)
    Well, being the 'new darling' that it is, is gets a lot of attention. It also gets a lot of support and development, however, so it's not vapourware like a lot of other "new hotness" IT developments are. Comparing it to other POSIX OSes, it's development might be younger, but its license ensures that a developer's contribution remains free to everyone until it's replaced by something better, so from a developer perspective I can understand developing for Linux over BSD.

    Linux has also, from my perspective, just felt more 'right' than BSD has. Take the default text console on FreeBSD. It just feels clunky, like it isn't handling all of the display formatting right. I've never felt that way about Linux's console. It's a small thing, and a thing that most people don't even deal with anymore, but for those of us who have worked with both locally without a GUI, it stands out. Also, for GUI itself, Linux with X has felt, again to me, to be more responsive than FreeBSD with X. Maybe I didn't do something right in FreeBSD, but with my knowledge at the time, Linux's working properly with less hassle made me a believer. Even the kernel stuff for Linux feels more geared to the person working with it, since there are multiple ways to go about defining what one wants in and not, and it feels intuitive. Granted, most advanced users only replace a kernel when it's actually necessary, it still feels better.

    I don't say that BSD is bad, but I'm just more accustomed to Linux, as a lot of people that I know are.
  • Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:52PM (#6834808) Homepage
    Linux has better hardware suppport than *BSD.

  • by foyle ( 467523 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:55PM (#6834826)
    After the MSBlaster worm and SoBig virus activity of the last few weeks, you'd think that there'd be a little more than a passing reference on page 3 of the article saying that Linux is "virtually virus-free".

    I'll bet that none of these expensive studies ever include the cost of cleaning up after the virus/worm of the week that comes with running Microsoft NT/2000/XP. Having everyone in your company having 2 or 3 days a year when their desktop/laptop/server/whatever is unavailable because of cleanup activity should have a definite negative impact on TCO or ROI.

    Yet one more reason to use Linux, *BSD or OS X.
  • by Bert Altenburg ( 699926 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:58PM (#6834844) Homepage
    I guess Mr Taylor abhors MSCE certification as well. Talking about a waste of time.
  • Re:Cost discussion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @05:08PM (#6834891)
    The trick on custom stuff, like MS-Access applications and databases, is timing. If your Access solution is getting near no longer working due to age coupled with Microsoft's abandonment of older binaries, you have incentive to rewrite something. Now, are you going to spend $500 for OS and applications per year per computer, and $2000 porting it to a newer version of Access, to keep spending $500 per per year per computer, or are you going to spend $20,000, as an example, rewriting it entirely for a new platform that you'll spend -$0- for per computer per year?

    Depending on the number of computers, in your case, 30, if you are a good little Microsoft customer and spending your $500/year, you are paying $15,000 per year, and still paying a developer to update your Access database. So, conversion, after a couple of years, could pay for itself if it's properly done. I'd guess that with 30 computers, you could probably outsource maintenance for when you need support, or on a regular schedule for updating, and not spend as much as you would with Windows. Viruses alone wouldn't be nearly so big a problem.
  • by greygent ( 523713 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @05:25PM (#6834974) Homepage
    What rubbish! Complete fucking rubbish.

    Microsoft crushes Linux in terms of remote administration:

    - Remote Desktop/Terminal Services (you don't even need a RD client, just a browser, which nearly every modern machine has, unlike ssh [yes, i know putty is just a quick download away, assuming you have rights to do that on a machine])
    - VBScript (horrid, but gets the job done most of the time)
    - WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation, do damn near anything remotely, but be sure to properly secure your network)
    - The MMC tools (ADUC, etc etc), which fully operate remotely, as well.
    - The .NET development tools, to quickly code up anything you need that can't be covered by the above.
  • by Trurl's Machine ( 651488 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @05:40PM (#6835042) Journal
    yeah, I agree, but I wasn't talking about managers, I was talking about the journos that talk about OSS.

    You are right. And this brings me a certain crazy idea. OSS advocates shound no longer preach to the IT guys. They are already convinced. To reach Mr Joe Average you have to capture the guy who writes a tech column in a newspaper Mr Average reads. He will write a column "Linux rocks", and Mr Average will agree. Now, it is quite easy to find die-hard Windows fans or die-hard Mac fans among the journalist crew, but in most newsrooms the only person likely to know that the Linux exists at all (not to mention actually use it and like it) is some poor helpdesk employee, once again called to replace the bloody toner.

    So the crazy idea is: why not create a special Linux distro as a gift for the journalist community? It could be some slimmed-down Mandrake or RedHat, capable only of doing things journalists want to do on their desktops/laptops (MS Office compatibility, good suite of Internet applications, some games; everything extremely easy to install and use). Jettison or disable everything a journalist does not need and could confuse him (excessive choice of window managers, obscure Unix services, maybe the whole CLI at all). Just send it to major tech columnists with a kind note like "guys, here is a software package that gives you everything your Wintel or iBook does, but it's also rock-solid, guaranteed virus-proof and absolutely free". Wouldn't that be a good PR move?
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @05:41PM (#6835047) Journal
    Well I can of course only speak for myself.

    Note the I. This is my experience. I am not claiming this is typical I may in fact be the exception. Anyway.

    I grew up with C64 -> MS-DOS -> Windows. When it was time for me to get into the unixes I first had to work with an AIX with all the man pages removed. Thrust me working with a unix book to figure out a badly configured server with mission critical software running on it does not endear you to a system. Fortuanly I was saved when I learned that there was a support contract for it and the people from IBM really saved my ass. Finding the bloody machine was the hardest thing in getting the man pages on it :)

    Oh perhaps I should explain that the company had lets its unix admin go and failed to hire a replacement since support should be able to handle it. In the end it was I a complete newbie who was landed with the job just because I was knowlegdable about the database on it.

    However I was not soured with IBM/AIX because of the excellent support I got, wich of course the company had to pay for but then they should have hired unix admin.

    Later on at an ISP I wanted to learn more about unixes and of course I went to ask. There were two camps. BSD's on the one hand. Linux on the other. Let me just say that the BSDers I met are the greatest bunch of selfrighteous assholes I have ever met. I needed to setup up and FTP and didn't want to use windows for it. BSDers, FTP is insecure. Linuxers, Okay you can best choose this daemon for it since it has been tested by us in an earlier project oh and here are the installation notes we took then. Guess wich answer helped me get the job done?

    Where linux people always seemed willing to help me out, as indeed the solaris and windows people, the BSD just seemed to think that unless you managed to figure out a system from scratch you suck. I have heard other people complain about this as well. Gentoo fans say they stayed away from BSD apt-get because they found the atmosphere on the forums downright hostile.

    Sure we got linux zealots but so far I never met them in real life. I learn from other linux users and nowadays sometimes manage to point a trick or two out to other users. It feels like a far better community to be in.

    To be fair I only met about a grand total of 5-6 bsders, so it could have been just them but that doesn't change the fact that 100% of all BSDers I met, all of them needed to develop some people skills. I am sure there must be helpfull or even just friendly BSD users out there. I just never met them.

    And this I think answers your question. BSD and in particular its users just never seem capable of appealing to outsiders. And the only way to grow is to get those outsiders. You scare everyone away so you don't grow so noone hears about you so you get all grumpy so even the few that do hear about you get scared away in a vicious circle.

    From your tone by the way you seem really pissed off. You say BSD is superior, but fail to give proof. You claim it is more mature but as I said the attitude given off by BSD users seem to suggest they are anything but. This too gets annoying. It is like the eternal debate on wich distro is best. Answer the best is the one you like.

    So lighten up. After all apple saw the light didn't they? Try to be a little bit more friendly to newbies who really want to learn but have to ask stupidly annoying questions at first. If you can't or don't want to deal with that then take comfort that you are running a truly secure system, despite that fact you never seem able to prove this, and that all the dweebs morons and losers gravitate to linux like the braindead zombies they are.

    In the meantime we enjoy the community of getting things done and helping each other out that for some reason grew up around linux and we welcome with open arms any who escaped from the BSD gulag and nurture them wich friendly users and a cute logo.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @05:42PM (#6835052)
    "The price gap is slowly converging, on the hand because Linux is simply costing more then it did 2 years ago..."

    Really? Where? I run Debian and Slackware at home and have absolutely no problems with costs whatsoever. At work, we have about 120 linux servers, all tweaked-out Slackware machines. We didn't pay a cent for the OS. We use them for print servers for a massive WAN, for site-based fileservers, and for routing.

    In fact, it was cheaper for us to use a Linux box with a bunch of fiber ethernet cards to handle our main network switching than it would have been for us to have purchased a router.

    There is no need to pay for Linux at all, if you have people competent enough to implement it on their own, or to find a free implementation and tweak it to make it even more suitable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @06:11PM (#6835168)
    An increasing number of Linux success stories have been appearing in the media. Microsoft can't do anything about that, so they're concentrating on a new FUD message, namely, that the switchover to Linux entails so much effort, that it would be too much trouble for most companies.

    In order to make that FUD work, Microsoft has to convince IT managers that the only way to switch to Linux is to switch the whole company at once. It's an easy enough idea to sell, given that many Windows or MS Office upgrades have had to be done all at once, in order to avoid compatibility problems.

    And we see that idea being promoted in at least one one of the linked articles. The author promotes the idea by making it a foregone conclusion throughout his article.

    A requirement for a "massive migration" would be enough to scare most IT managers away from Linux, that is, if it was true.

    But it's not true!

    For many companies, the most painless approach to introducing to Linux on the desktop is . . . start small.

    Unlike Windows XP, Linux will fit nicely into a Windows 95/98/NT environment. Using Samba, Linux can connect to the Microsoft network, and using OpenOffice, Linux users can share MS Office documents.

    Therefore, for many businesses, the best procedure for migrating to Linux will be:
    1. Obviously, do the research, and get the necessary Linux expertise.
    2. Avoid introducing Windows XP or Office XP into your network.
    3. Run a Linux pilot with just a few desktops.
    4. Assuming that the pilot goes well, migrate a few desktops at a time. Start with the easiest ones (employees who only use IE, Outlook, and Office). Ask for volunteers.
    5. As the previous step continues, it will free up Windows licenses. Not only can you stop buying new licenses, but you now have time to continue the migration at your own pace.
    6. Now you can start to worry about migrating the more difficult cases, i.e. those with specialized software needs. Maybe you can find an alternative for their needs, or develop one, or maybe those users will just have to continue on Windows for the moment.
    7. As the workload decreases for your sysadmins, find something for them to do that is more productive than reinstalling Windows.

    In other words, if you are considering Linux for your company, you don't have to plan a mass migration, and wait for TCO studies and the like.

    Instead, start today! Find someone in your company who knows Linux, and try it out. This will give you some real world experience that is worth more than ten Gartner TCO studies. And from there, you can carry on -- without the confusion and disruption of a mass migration.
  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @06:22PM (#6835221) Homepage

    I understand that Linux is the new darling of the tech industry, but why do reviews like this completely ignore operating systems likee FreeBSD (which out performs Linux in several serving tasks, and is in general more mature)?

    Numbers. Simply numbers. It's the same reason that nobody reports on any of the 100s of fringe OSs with user bases measured in the thousands. Linux has more users and therefore gets the most attention. FreeBSD had its chance to have the biggest user base but it lost to Linux. This was despite a significant headstart in the form of 386BSD. There are at least six reasons I can fathom as to why this happened.

    First, the AT&T lawsuit against Berkeley (1992) scared a number of developers away from 386BSD at a very critical time in its evolution. Why invest time into developing 386BSD if AT&T was just going to steal your hard work? And "steal" is the right word here; it really would have been theft if AT&T had won because the 386BSD developers would have lost ownership of code they'd written themselves. Developers were scared away from 386BSD and towards Linux, which was seen as being "litigation-free". The parallels with the claims made by SCO today are frightening.

    Second, the Jolitzes. They were custodians of 386BSD and Bill was notorious for being slow to accept patches (1 year of unapplied patches). The formation of FreeBSD was essentially the "Gang of Three" getting frustrated with the slow pace of 386BSD development. They combined 386BSD plus the existing "patch kit" and sold the result as a CD-ROM. This was unfortunately too little, too late. Linux had a 2 year headstart on FreeBSD by this stage. Also the splintering pissed off a number of developers who stopped contributing to both 386BSD and FreeBSD. Instead they started contributing to Linux.

    Third, the license. FreeBSD advocates say that the BSD license is "more free" than the GPL but to some people (myself included) the BSD license is offensive. Nothing stops a commercial company leeching off your hard work if you use the BSD license. BSD advocates say this isn't a problem: "you wanted it to be free and now it is". The problem is I don't really want companies getting rich off my code. I want them to contribute back with more code. The GPL enforces this. The BSD license does not. In 1991, when Linux was still very much in its infancy, it managed to get more attention from more programmers than 386BSD ever managed. This was despite Linux being technically inferior to 386BSD. The license simply appeals to certain people. If Linus had used a BSD license then I don't think Linux could have ever wrested the #1 spot away from 386BSD.

    Fourth, the Internet. Linux development began at a time when Internet access was appearing in homes. The early adopters of home-Internet access were (of course) technology enthusiasts. The percentage of potential Linux developers in this group was relatively high. This meant from the start Linux had a huge base of developers to draw upon. And isn't it more fun to contribute to a brand new project than an existing project? Linux attracted the developers simply because it wasn't finished.

    Fifth, the installers. Back in 1992 (1991?) I was using Interactive UNIX at home. The software was showing its age so I was looking to get into one of the "Free UNIX" that was floating around the Internet. I'd already used (and dismissed) Minix because it was incredibly limited. I had a choice between 386BSD and Linux. The 386BSD installer required a 40MB download, a SCSI hard drive, and required me to destroy my existing Interactive installation. The Linux distribution came on 2x 5.25" floppies, supported IDE hard disks, and could coexist with existing operating systems. It was a no-brainer. Linux won because it cared about the newbie, even back then when I admittedly needed all my UNIX experience to get the damn thing installed. The FreeBSD distro didn't come until late-1993 but by then it was too late; I'd already deleted my Intera

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:02PM (#6835379)

    What makes Slashdot readers think Linux will take over the desktop and server markets when FreeBSD didn't?

    Since Linux has already enjoyed a radically greater rate of install than FreeBSD, why do you think that question is even meaningful? I don't know why the *BSDs never caught everyone's fancies, but the fact is that they didn't. Such is life.

  • GPL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qtp ( 461286 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:08PM (#6835400) Journal
    What makes Slashdot readers think Linux will take over the desktop and server markets when FreeBSD didn't?

    Hate to say it, but it's the GPL which will enable Linux to gain in marketshare beyond what BSD has.

    The BSD License allows companies to take the work of the BSD developers, make changes, and not share those changes back with the original developers.

    You could say that BSD codebase has been adopted widely throughout the industry, but it has been through other companies adopting (read: "Embrace and Extend") BSD code into thier own propoietary products without compensating the developers or community that made that code possible.

    In this sense the BSD License is "more Free" than the GPL, but the BSD license does not ensure that that changes to the code will be Free as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:14PM (#6835412)
    There is no TCO with Windows. You don't own shit. It is licensed to you for your use. Don't forget that. You hand M$ your balls the minute you use their stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:16PM (#6835415)
    VBScript compared to perl/bash etc.? lol.

    Perl works just fine with Windows Script Host if that is your preference. Bash scripts are akin to writing batch files, ugly.

    Compared to UNIX instrumentation tools like SNMP? lol x2.

    Yes, compared to SNMP. I can query/change programs, OS settings, drivers, services, users, etc. using SQL in about 2 lines of code. You?

    MMC tools vs. UNIX remote admin ? hahaha

    The extent of your rebuttal illustrates your lack of knowledge concerning the matter at hand. But if you actually had to provide a "why" then you'd be forced to think, which is a facility we both know that you lack.

    $1000 IDE license for the above vs what you get for free in Linux?

    The compilers are free. You can get the standard editions of the IDE, which do SIGNIFICANTLY more than any piece of shit IDE available on Linux , for around $100.

    Try remote admining your Windows box from a PDA on a train on your way to work, fella.

    There are RDP clients for PDAs, fella.

    Fucking Slishtard.

  • by Dan Ost ( 415913 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:18PM (#6835425)
    Linux is the best thing to ever happen to *BSD.

    *BSD gets to benefit from all the Linux development
    (via Linux emulation if all else fails) and Linux's
    visability ensures that clueless users will choose
    it (and presumably stick with it or go back to Windows)
    while the more savy users (who are better able to
    contribute back to the community) will recognize when
    it is advantageous to use *BSD.

    Linux is a buffer that protects the *BSD community

    Think about it.
  • by mgv ( 198488 ) <Nospam@01@slash2dot.veltman@org> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:18PM (#6835663) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't that be a good PR move?
    Not if the journalist hasn't tried it, and certainly not if they have to install it themselves, and write an article bitching about how hard it is to partition disks.
    Which is where the idea of a specialized distribution comes in. You've identified one feature that any such distribution would have to have- easy installation.

    Ok, a moment of zealotry here, but ... Knoppix does most of this for you. And, it does one thing you can never get off microsoft - an OS that doesn't depend on a hard drive. I have used knoppix to save data from a capable but not technically skilled friends laptop, before reinstalling windows.

    He may not have switched over to linux yet, but he now knows what it is, and that it saved his work.
    He kept a copy of the distro "just in case" his windows boot up went down in flames again. And I was astounded to watch him take over and continue the salvage procedure - A non-destructive repartition and copying of files from the old primary partition before the inevitable destructive microsoft reinstall.

    In summary, we don't need a special distro to sway people over, just continued evolution of the current trends. Knoppix has spawned several other distro's and I expect that its level of hardware detection will become a part of the standard distro of the future.

    My 2c of speculation and comment,

  • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:19PM (#6835667) Homepage
    The real value of Linux is it allows an I.T. staff to get a job done in an organization.
    If you have an IT staff that understands it. From the article:
    "There were a lot of costs I didn't expect-- hidden migration costs," says Cedars-Sinai's Duncan. During the migration from NT to Linux, his staff insisted that because
    they had been running RAID disk mirroring and striping on NT they should buy SCSI RAID controllers for the Linux servers. "It was like $1,000 per box extra that I hadn't planned on."
    There are only two possiblilties here:
    1. They were running hardware RAID on NT, then this is a wash, and not planning on it just indicates that Duncan didn't budget correctly.
    2. They were doing it in software on NT but insisted on hardware for Linux. That would indicate they didn't understand how to to software RAID on Linux.
    Either way, there are no 'hidden' costs here, except in the sense that things are 'hidden' from an ostritch when its head is in the sand.
  • by maynard ( 3337 ) <j.maynard.gelina ... minus cat> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @09:19PM (#6835872) Journal
    They still don' t get it. Even though the article is moderately positive, any article about Linux that starts with "the Jury is in" was written by someone who does not fully understand the dynamics of Open Source. How can "the jury" be "in" on an environment that changes so rapidly as Linux does? How can you say for certain where Linux has a role and where it doesn't? A move in the right direction, but the hacks still need some educating.....
    This coming from someone who's been using Linux on the desktop since 1994, and traditional NIX before that point. But you really miss the point. These guys are evaluating Linux for very large deployments; 1000 - 10000 hosts per organization. I'm sorry, but 'the dynamics of open source', while perfectly valid from a developer's standpoint, is completely irrelevant to these IT guys. And rightly so.

    Look: Suppose you manage an infrastructure of 1000 hosts scattered across a WAN separated by several regional warehouses and a corporate epicenter. I've actually worked (in a previous job) in a situation like this, though I was by no means the CIO. When you evaluate an OS like Linux you're not concerned with what it may do tomorrow. You're concerned with what it can do today and with what deploying that solution costs under Linux compared with any other alternative. Period. You have a list of services you must provide to the organization and a budget of recurring and fixed upfront costs to provide those services. IT is a cost center for a reason - we don't generate revenue in most organizations, we're here to reduce overhead costs across the organization, and justify our existence only in our ability to reduce organizational overhead at least an order of magnitude more than we charge.

    From this perspective, these guys are completely right. They're asking "what do I get today?", "How much will it cost across the life of the platform?", and "How does this compare with any other competitive solution?".

    Now, I'm of the opinion that Linux is a great value in large corporate deployments. I don't think we'll see home adoption of Linux for many years to come, but I do think we'll see large scale adoption of Linux on the corporate desktop. The reason I think this is because Linux gets progressively cheaper the larger your deployment. The more hosts the fewer admins compared with Windows. The security headaches are easier with Linux because the security model was thought through years ago and still works. Also, the per seat licensing costs will always beat any commercial OS. Linux wins, but only if you have an infrastructure capable of supporting the OS, and then only if you're large enough to leverage these skills into a significant cost savings. Otherwise, if you're a small department or a home user you might as well run Windows. Or buy a Mac - my preferred solution. :)

  • Cost of conversion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @02:07AM (#6836743) Homepage

    When you ask about the cost of converting from Windows to Linux, there's a companion question: what's the cost of converting from Windows to the next version of Windows? Look at the licensing terms MS has now, and notice that they pretty much either force you to upgrade every 2 years or so or pay huge licensing fees when you do upgrade from an "obsolete" version. Also look at the history of cascading upgrades on Windows, where you need a new version of Word which forces an upgrade of Windows itself (the new Word won't run on older versions of the OS) which in turn forces upgrades of other software because your current versions won't run right (or at all!) on the new version of the OS. This is the dirty little secret cost the MS sales reps will never mention.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal