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Ret. World Bank CTO on Desktop Linux TCO Facts 345

comforteagle writes "W. McDonald Buck, retired CTO of World Bank, believes we need to take a more honest and frank look at the Cost Analyses it will take to put Linux on the corporate desktop. In Part I of Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth he begins with one of the most common misconceptions... that a business can buy a computer without Windows and save money in the transaction."
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Ret. World Bank CTO on Desktop Linux TCO Facts

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  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:38AM (#11581986)
    When you buy into the Microsoft platform, you are buying endless upgrades for years on end.

    When a user bought Windows 3.1, they also unwittingly bought Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, and Windows XP. This is planned obsolescense for no other reason except to keep Micorsoft shareholders happy.

    With Linux, you avoid that ridiculous problem.
    • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:51AM (#11582046) Journal
      With Linux, you avoid that ridiculous problem.

      If only 'twere true.

      The problem with Linux is that over the years things have changed and broken binray compatability. This isn't a show-stopper usually, but if you do have some closed-source software from 5 years ago that you still want to run today, you are going to find all kinds of library dependency problems.

      The thing about Linux is that most of your applications are Open Source or Free, so they get updated and recompiled incrementally as time goes on.

      I bought some Loki games for Linux a long time ago. Some of them haven't worked in years because they depend on obsolete and deprocated libraries. If I had lots of time on my hands (which I don't have nowadays) I could probably spend several days looking out old source tarballs and doing a bit of porting, but life's too short.

      Most people or businesses who buy software or computers to do a job need specific version of specific kernels with specific libraries and utilities and specific versions of applications that have been integrated, tested and certified to work together.

      Windows is very poor at this. Linux is a bit better, but if you're using Linux commercially, you're probably using RedHat Enterprise Linux (or maybe SuSE), you've payed hundreds or thousands of dollars for the software license (for the OS), you've probalby spent tens of thousands on the hardware, you have a support contract, you'll have spent thousands on the applications and you'll have trained clued-up staff to deal with it all.

      Does Red Hat garantee backwards compatability?

      Can I get Red Hat ES today and Oracle and be garanteed that in 5 years time, my Oracle that I bought will still run, unchanged (same binary), still supported etc.?

      Linux is much, much better than Windows, but no Linux company has solved this problem yet.

      • I thought your claim was interesting, so I figured I'd test it. I actually beta-tested Heroes 3 for Linux back in the day, and I liked it so much that I later bought a copy.

        Now at the time I ran RedHat, but I've since switched to Gentoo. I just restored my old Heroes3 installation from an archive of it that I had lying around.

        It works flawlessly.

        Now of course I'm not saying that this will always be the case, but obviously someone's done something right, considering the timeframe involved!

        As for running
        • Re:YMMV, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:56AM (#11582352)
          Well, you are very lucky. I can go and install games that are released and available today from places like Garage Games and they will crash or hang because of things like NPTL which did break software on a seriously large scale. There are other examples as well: currently the X compositing extension is known to break some programs, for instance. Likewise the Linux kernel sometimes has regressions, lately in the ptrace handling.
      • My loki games still work. At the most I have had to create a symlink to a certain version of SDL.
      • Can I get Red Hat ES today and Oracle and be garanteed that in 5 years time, my Oracle that I bought will still run, unchanged (same binary), still supported etc.?

        You do have a point then again are you still running the same apps from 5 years ago, and has just the OS been updated, or has those apps been updated as well?

        My work is running netware 3.1? using win 95 clients to connect. Nothing was ever upgraded. If you upgrade every 5 years or so, the OS will be included. You don't update your database

    • "Planned obsolescense" is something we deal with every time we buy a car or a vacuum cleaner. I'm not certain the Average Joe realizes this.

      Parts break down and need to be replaced but, d'oh!, that line has been discontinued. Please upgrade your [[insert item here]]. That means buy a new(ew) car or new vacuum.

      I've got an old eMachine P3 500Mhz happily running Linux and I believe this box is still capable of doing real work. Sadly, the mindset we all seem to share is that that old box is too, well, o

  • Ofcourse (Score:4, Funny)

    by n0dalus ( 807994 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:40AM (#11581992) Journal
    "The boxes with Windows are less expensive than the boxes without."

    This is common sense, they're paying us to help dispose of their rubbish.
  • by LOGINS SUC ( 713291 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:41AM (#11582002)
    Too bad this kind of analysis didn't make it into the anti-trust cases....
  • by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:42AM (#11582004) Journal
    We rely HEAVILY on vendor software...and I'm not talking about office and that crap. I'm talking about MANY different systems, almost all of which have some kind of desktop component. Guess which OS all these desktop components are made for?

    Sure, all the Linux Gurus can point to software that does the same thing...the only problem is big banks don't like writing/customizing/modifying/maintaining software. They're not in the software business. They want a vendor to do that and for most Linux desktop apps, that's not an option. They MUST have a contract with a well established vendor that can fix an application when it stops working. I wish it wasn't that way....hey I'm a programmer....but I can't blame them either.
    • What a tough world to live in. Too bad someone doesn't come up with a standardized method of moving data to accommodate any platform (XML), or provide a way for any OS to connect to a database (ODBC).

      Step outside your cubicle. Banking is not the only thing going on in the world, and it's definitely not the most difficult.

      A security-minded industry? Absolutely... But then why do you choose to rely on WINDOWS?!!

      • We use all the latest technology, XML, ODBC, etc. We still have many Unix based servers.

        But the point of the article, and my post, is about linux on the desktop and how difficult that could be to implement (in a large company). I was specifically talking about how most vendor products used in my bank (or any large bank) don't include desktop components that run on Linux. It's different when IBM comes out and says "Were moving to linux!" since they are a technology company. They have the knowledge and
        • I would agree that most industries don't look to change platforms or migrate software packages. All it would take is for the demand to exist for the supply of strongly-supported apps to be developed.

          Another thought is that with web-enablement of apps, platform independence is that much closer to being an option. And web apps have *definitely* come a long way to providing much of the functionality we have had for some time in regular apps.

          Give it a few years, and those web apps will make desktop platform i

    • Sorry to respond to my own post....

      One thing I forgot to mention... I work with many different systems in the bank. I can think of 4 systems, from different vendors, that all ran on Unix as of 5 years ago. Now, they all run on Windows Servers.
  • huhhuh????? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:42AM (#11582005) Homepage Journal
    ok.. so linux is not cheaper because windows is "free" as well.

    i think he should take a good look at his support contracts and then figure out just what's wrong with his reasoning here. that's right, his reasoning would be ok IF he was arguing about home desktopts - but he isn't, so what does the initial ten or twenty bucks mean?

    of course, maybe the final chapter will be "linux just can't compete.. because linux can't give me huge discounts if i would have said that ms sucks".

  • by Sweetshark ( 696449 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#11582012)
    A fair assessment of what they do pay is the difference between otherwise identical configurations with and without Windows. That is what I wanted to find, and so I went shopping. I thought this would be a relatively straightforward number to get. Silly me.
    It is a relatively straightforward number to get: 100 EUR. source: [] (just an example)
  • I saved $65 (Score:5, Informative)

    by gvc ( 167165 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:46AM (#11582021)
    I just bought a gray-box computer for my Dad. After all the negotiations, the vendor reduced the price by $65 when I deleted Windows XP Home from the package. A significant chunk of a $515 (CAN) box.

    The guy I brought it from was pretty impressed when I slapped in a MEPIS CD and checked out everything - RAM, CPU, Ethernet, Multimedia - in a few minutes in the storefront. I left a copy with him.
  • by haus ( 129916 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:47AM (#11582027) Homepage Journal
    He is right that if you wish to purchase a PC from a major distributor you will likely get no break for not having windows. But for a moment lets say that one where to simply buy Windows boxes and then reinstall them when they arrive.

    I know that to some, this might sound silly, but it is common practice in many medium to large business anyway. They will simply overwrite the OS that comes on the box with the version that they want configured in the manner that they want it for their IT department.

    Now lets look MS office that is installed on the image that is deployed on almost every corporate system across the country. Now if you are a company of any size you will likely get a very nice discount of the retail price, although if you are talking 1,000 PC or more, unless you wish to risk ripping of MS, the price will still add up to a pretty penny.

    Then we have things such as Exchange, which at first everyone will swear that they need because it has integrated scheduling functions, despite the fact that most corporations hardly ever use the functionality, except for one or two very annoying people who are quickly ignored by everyone else (if you are one of those people, think of that statement as humor). Here is where the price starts getting steep.

    But he does make a fair point, that when we discuss this matters it is only fair that we make an effort to be fair with ourselves and others on the subject.

    • When counting the cost of winblows, you should also include:
      -cost of Anti-Virus software (that slows the system down)
      -cost of anti-spyware solutions. Typically you need two or more cleaners to get the most common ones.
      -cost of downtime. Typical desktop PC in a business is down for most of a day many times a year.
      -cost of the forced upgrade cycle.
      -On top of that, Windows comes with NOTHING bundled. Everything costs extra. Just managing the licenses in a corporate environment is pain!

      Add to this the mu

      • Absolutely!
        The article completely skipped the "Total" in Total Cost of Ownership. I mean it was a cute write up, but the MS tax is certainly not the total cost of going with closed source. If anything, it's the least significant factor.
        The cost of the OS is nothing compared to applications. For a home user you can simply borrow them or whatever you want to call it, but in a corporate environment you need to account for everything on the machine. Using closed source even a machine that is only goin
        • could all of you be patient? I think this guy knows all of this. But this is 4 parts, and he is only doing what everyone would consider part one. small to medium sized business need to look at everything, but this is always the first step, how much do I need to spend up front to get my systems. I just hope you all read the other 3 parts just to see where he goes with it.
    • by ptbarnett ( 159784 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:02AM (#11582097)
      Then we have things such as Exchange, which at first everyone will swear that they need because it has integrated scheduling functions, despite the fact that most corporations hardly ever use the functionality, except for one or two very annoying people who are quickly ignored by everyone else (if you are one of those people, think of that statement as humor).

      I think the joke is on you.

      Every company that I've done consulting for in the past 5 years uses Outlook and Exchange for scheduling meetings among individuals. Several have set up a temporary account for me specifically for that capability.

      I haven't tried the recent version of Evolution, but until there's a reliable replacement for Outlook that works with Exchange, Linux won't even be considered in many companies.

    • >>Then we have things such as Exchange, which at first everyone will swear that they need because it has integrated scheduling functions, despite the fact that most corporations hardly ever use the functionality, except for one or two very annoying people who are quickly ignored by everyone else (if you are one of those people, think of that statement as humor). Here is where the price starts getting steep.

      I wonder how you could come to this conclusion, but must assume you haven't been around m
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The world's largest Linux migration is speeding ahead, with the German national railway announcing today it has successfully moved all of its 55,000 Lotus Notes users onto the open-source operating system. 817&e=10&u=/pcworld/20050202/tc_pcworld/119537&sid =96120756 []
  • ... after the whole series will be that Linux does not save money for an average company. This first part gives a major point why a company won't save money. Another major point, I think, will be the time spent in helping users using Linux. The average company will have employees who are used to Windows and they will thus need help to get on track using Linux regulary. This time will probably cost a company much more than the licenses for the applications needed if they ran Windows. Another point I see comi
  • Flawed Logic (Score:5, Informative)

    by scarolan ( 644274 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:57AM (#11582064) Homepage
    Mr. Buck tried to take the cost of a box without Windows installed, and compare it to a box that does have windows installed.

    What he forgot to mention is that any serious business trying to get some work done "the Microsoft way" must own a copy of MS office for each computer in their workspace. So for a small business who can't afford huge site licenses, that's going to add another $379.00 to the cost of each workstation. Even if the bundled windoze works out to only $20 a machine, you are still out $400 per worksation just to open and read your doc and xls files.

    Another consideration is that in the Windoze world, you pretty much have to have a full-blown installation for each user. Yes, I know you can do thin-clients with windows too, but there isn't an easy and inexpensive way to do this for small businesses.

    Also take into account that once a business reaches a certain size they are going to need dedicated backup servers, mail server, exchange server, etc. All this stuff costs $$$ to implement, and is usually more expensive than the linux alternative.

    We run a small business and power our entire sales and support department on LTSP-based thin-client terminals. The cost of each workstation? Well let's do the math:

    * Pentium II computers, bought from an auction, by the pallet. About $3.00 per workstation.
    * 17" CRT monitor - brand new $89.00
    * Fedora Core Linux - FREE as in freedom AND as in beer. w00t!
    * OpenOffice - Free.

    I am not going to include the cost of my time as a sysadmin, because I'm going to get paid to do my job whether the end-users are on windows or linux. I probably spend less time troubleshooting things now that we are using linux so ostensibly the cost of tech support is *less* but I don't have the empirical evidence to back it up.

    The server running LTSP has 4 gigs of memory and a Pentium 4 processor and handles up to 20 users quite nicely without even getting close to dipping into the swap file. They are all running web browser, Open Office, and Evolution pretty much all day long. I expect that this particular server could support up to 30-35 users before we saw a big performance hit. This server cost less than $2000 to configure.

    My LTSP workstations are so cheap they are nearly disposable. Oh, dropped your computer on the floor? Power supply burned out? Let me pull another one out of storage, plug it in, and off you go. Try that with your windows boxen.

    Yes, I'm aware that you can put openoffice on a windows box and use that, but why would you do that when OO, Firefox, and Evolution are available for linux?

    The only groups that I would *not* recommend this solution to would be companies that use and depend on a lot of doc and xls files that are heavily formatted and full of macros. Open Office still can't quite render all .doc files perfectly, but that is hardly the fault of the developers. They have done a great job reverse-engineering the format as best they can so that it renders well in OO.

    All in all, Linux is easier to use, and less expensive but to really find that out you have to take more into account than just the difference between an off-the-shelf computer from IBM or Dell, and the similar no-os computer.
    • Re:Flawed Logic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dustmite ( 667870 )

      Don't forget the additional cost of the requisite anti-virus system for every PC, and possibly a commercial anti-spyware solution too. Oh, and since the anti-virus slows the system down by X %, you'll need to buy all systems X% more powerful than you need.

  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#11582080)
    Funny, they are using a different url for slashdot,
    here is a link to the one where everyone shoots down
    his unqualified opinions. []

    You buy a machine it does not matter what comes on it since every single corporate environment images machines when the come in the door anyhow, so the price is still the same.

    Besides no Linux administrator worth a grain of salt is gonna install linux on anything anyhow. Everyone I know that runs real desktop installations does so using thin client.
    • funny though... his reasoning is so stupid that his getting so much negative feedback about it that i have to wonder if he's going to have balls to write that part 2.

      maybe in that he'll try to buy open office and concludes that ms office is cheaper because open office isn't even available in stores.
    • I'm curious, what exactly is a "real desktop installation"?

      I bought a couple thin clients a long time ago, 2 NCD HMX boxes for $20 for both to be exact. I sent an inquiry to NCD because they stopped providing information on that particular thin client line on their website and they wanted $200 or $300 for the linux software to support the thin clients. To this day, they are under my bed at home, waiting for some kind of use.
      • By real I mean I know of a quite a few big desktop corporate installations 200+ > desktops and every single one of them use thin client. Go take a look at neoware they make the hands down best linux thin client "no I am not from the company or do I have any interests in them". Load a redhat box turn on xdm and away you go.
  • Why branded? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by northcat ( 827059 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#11582081) Journal
    I don't understand why American (and probably European) companies buy branded PCs. Most companies and people here, in India, just buy assembled PCs which are much cheaper. I'm not sure if you use the same terminologies over there so: A branded PC is a PC by some big company like Compaq (HP) or Dell. An assembled PC is one put together by a small shop owner or a small company. Assembled PCs are usually completely customisable. [Branded PCs here cost more or less the same as in the west.] Therefore, in most situations, PCs with Linux are much cheaper than PCs with Windows.
    • The big difference is support contracts. The community college I went to a few years ago had most of their labs full of nice Dell P4s. Talking with the IT guys I found out that if any one of them goes down, the replacement part or computer will arrive next day or two depending on when the call was replaced. Plenty of small stores will offer some sort of warranty on their work but not to that extent. Being a college, Dell's supplier status might have even been determined on the state level as well

    • usually for the on-site support and included perks, fast part switching via couriers etc. they work very nice when they work. a machine breaks down.. and you need a replacement cdrom or whatever, you just call them up and tell what's broken and a courier comes over with the replacement part and you're back on running.

      of course there's zillions of places which pay for this kind of support but never use it even if something breaks..
    • Re:Why branded? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperQ ( 431 ) *
      Other people have mentioned support, and I'll add to the list:

      Quality Control.

      I've had whole labs of PCs bought from white-box vendors, and whole labs bought from Dell etc.

      We had a white-box lab of 700mhz slot-A athlon systems. after 6 months of running, we had just about every CPU fan die within a 3 week span. The machines were somewhat unstable, mostly due to poor ram compatability. When it came time to cycle the lab, we ended up having to dumpster about 1/2 of them because of problems. (the rest w
  • Thin Clients (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzbrain ( 239898 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#11582083)
    While the writer is making a fair point, one counter-argument is that a Linux corporate desktop installation would quite likely use thin clients like they did in Largo [] in order to make the system easier to manage for system administrators.
  • Very true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xerp ( 768138 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:15AM (#11582164) Journal
    Unfortunately, the article is very true.

    It can be difficult to get pre-installed Linux desktop.

    Servers, though, a totally different matter. Here you can make really large savings. Especially when you consider that you don't need all those CALs. Compare a Windows Server 2003 running Windows Terminal Server and having 20 Windows XP desktops connecting to it, to a completely Linux Desktop OS and Linux Server OS solution, and you're biggest saving is in the server area. Heck, according to this article the Linux Server / Windows Desktop would be the cheapest solution!
  • W. McDonald Buck? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pangur ( 95072 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:17AM (#11582175)
    W. McDonald Buck sounded like a made up name to me. How about G. Penny Cash, or Exxon Starbucks? W. McDonald Buck as a CTO of World Bank? If you google for that name, you don't find a mention of that name anywhere except at a university. If you search on, that name doesn't come up there either.

    I think you all have been hacked, because the article tells you what you wanted to talk about.

    Looking at and searching for CTO, I haven't found a reference to a CTO for themselves, only references to CTO's elsewhere. I don't beleive they even have a CTO, honestly.

    Just sayin'.
    • Re:W. McDonald Buck? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aim Here ( 765712 )
      Here's some corroborating evidence. . Reports/rep ort5.html

      This is a William Mcdonald Buck talking to the United Nations Information Systems Coordinating Committee on behalf of the IBRD, which is one of the main divisions of the World Bank.

      There's also a William Mcdonald Buck who had difficulty booting his 2.5 kernel on the LKML (but wasn't subscribed) and a William Mcdonald Buck who's apparently done some sort of instructing at the CS department of George Mason Univer
    • Re:W. McDonald Buck? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ggvaidya ( 747058 )
      Yeah, the first thought I had was "McDonald Buck"? Are they serious?

      Turns out there is a McDonald Buck, who does know something [] about Linux. As parent says, repeated searching on (or gets scratch.

      For the curious, his e-mail address comes from [], which he owns []. His website is however completely locked out using server-side authentication.

      Hey, it's a boring Saturday night :).
    • Re:W. McDonald Buck? (Score:3, Informative)

      by vyrus128 ( 747164 )
      Check out here []. It shows him as the World Bank (IBRD) representative to the UN Information Systems Coordination Committee. So afaict he is what they say he is.
  • The HR cost... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by classzero ( 321541 )
    If you buy all Linux systems then you will have to train your employees on linux. Just about everybody who knows how to turn a computer on knows Windows. Not to mention getting administrators with a more rare skillset is usually more expensive. I haven't checked the salaries Linux admins command but I know MCSEs are a dime a dozen. Even if they make the same you'd have to at the very least hire trainers for every single department that will be using linux.

    Hey, if you can sell the idea to the bean count
  • by krygny ( 473134 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:19AM (#11582182)
    In most organizations, the most expensive aspect of a F/OSS migration is resistance to change:


    People grow up with these programs. They devote time and personal resources becoming proficient with them. They don't want that background to become obviated. They don't want to start over. We who work in technology are just the opposite by our very nature. We like change. We like the challenge and adventure of learning new (and better) things. That nature is one of the things that drove is into a technical field.

    I personally think the only practical migration is to first migrate to F/OSS apps on Windows, gradually. Then, migrate all those apps to Linux. So that, to the user, Linux is just another application migration.
  • At one time, didn't MS's contracts with the big PC builders (Dell, Gateway, IBM, etc.) include the requirement that every box the builders sold had to include Windows, whether the customer wanted it or not? Did the Antitrust "settlement" change that?

  • I mean, it's all about demand. If more corporations start demaning "Linux ready" prebuilds, or maybe even boxes with linux pre-installed it will quickly become a non-issue.

    With that said, I don't really see Linux becoming all that big on the desktop. Because most of the office users won't start using it at home, simply because 8/10 users plays with their computers in a very different way of what the more geeky types does. Me for example, I only use my computer to code, write rapports with latex, maple and
  • This separation makes it pretty hard to compare: you have to drill all the way down into the regular systems from the top, and configure. To compare you have to back all the way out, and drill in again into the N systems. I'm sure the difficulty in comparing the prices is just an accident, of course. I did this a few times, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, because the systems without Windows kept coming out more expensive. Eventually I stopped trying to remember, and carefully wrote out an exac

  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:34AM (#11582257) Journal
    He's relying on professional/vendor/direct sales services to pass the savings onto him, instead of using his internal talent to utilize Linux in a way that leverages huge savings.

    Any IT worker with half a brain knows that you can deal with your primary reseller. I can get really good HP business desktops sans Windows XP or a Windows XP license for about $500 (dx2000's fully loaded, $400 not). That should be the starting point of pricing for the desktop itself. This guy is spending too much money any way you look at it. Has he never heard of a reseller?

    Next you look at the cost of licensing. If you want Microsoft's "Assurance", or whatever they call it these days (in which you can upgrade without fee the next time around), a company my size would have to spend about $300,000. The other option is buy each individual XP license at $176 a pop. Neither of these options include any kind of support. Going with Linux, lets say Novell's Desktop Linux (Suse 9.2 Pro with the LDAP client preinstalled and a shiny Gnome configuration), I'm looking at $80 a license. This includes a little bit of support, and an active community on Novell's official forums.

    Anyways, from here you have to figure out how to get around the Microsoft Office lock-in, and decide whether you want to go with Citrix or Codeweavers. But that's an entirely different discussion.

  • They aren't just going to go the Dell website, as M.Buck did, look at the range and buy a PC here and s PC there.
    No, they will contact their Dell/IBM/HP sales representative, tell them what their needs are, and if they want Linux instead of Windows, they will get it. IBM have a Linux 'client for ebusiness' that is made to run on their PC hardware. (And if he really wants just one workstation, he forgot to have a look at the Intellistation range). If they want no preload so they can install their own Linux i
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:03AM (#11582386) Homepage
    The idea of buying a Windows box and installing a new OS over the top really bothers me because Redmond is getting a tax on every PC that goes out the door, even Linux boxes. That has to keep monkey boy up nights laughing.

    But when I negotiate for big customers they're putting our gold disk image on our machines. We pay for our site licenses through MSFT, not the PC vendor. And we have a disk image for some servers that's not Winblows and we're not paying MSFT for those. We spec the components and configuation. The only company left out of that loop on some of the servers is MSFT. Our unit machine cost doesn't change.

    For a real TCO study the author isn't going to be buying machines retail. But he still has a point. Most companies aren't going to be buying enough machines to be able to supply the image like we do. Interesting. I build my own machines at home so I had no idea you couldn't buy a machine without Windows from the big players.

    As long as MSFT can keep a grip on that pipeline and make it a huge pain in the ass for someone running Linux to get a rebate for the Windows they don't use, then that sort of anwsers that thread yesterday about why when Windows sucks so bad does it stay so popular. Consumers don't have enough choices.

  • Memories... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:38PM (#11582977)
    Wow, that brings back memories of a lifetime ago. About 18 years ago I worked a few levels under Buck in the telecommunications division at the World Bank.

    I have to say, the World Bank is not your model of intelligent spending when it comes to this kind of stuff, though. I don't think he was CTO at the time I was there, though he may have been.

    You have to understand, the World Bank operates much like a government. Everything is very political, much more than most offices. Advances happen more from a buddy network than from actual accomplishment and the quality of one's work is seldom appreciated as much as the quantity.

    For example, if you're a in charge of making loans, the volume of loans you make, and not the security of those loans, is what gets you noticed. Everything in the WB operates that way (or it did when I was there).

    Money is pissed away in almost every way. For example, a number of years after working there the first time, I was hired as a contractor to write a very basic time tracking package to keep track of billable ours by employees (departments bill each other for various services provided). They spent about $40,000 for me to write this fairly basic software. Instead, they could have spent a few hundred dollars and bought a much more feature rich shrink-wrapped package. My software, while customized, was largely a matter of customized look and not customized features.

    Anyway, I'll have to take any spending advice coming out the World Bank with a brick of salt.
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:49PM (#11583988) Homepage
    Okay, you can't buy a PC without Windows, at least not from one of the big-name vendors. So if you wanted to run Linux you would need to wipe the hard disk and reinstall from scratch.

    But isn't that what most big companies do anyway? Even if you run Windows, you never want the stock installation that Dell put on there. You reinstall the machine with the corporate standard version of Windows (if your IT people have any clue, this will be fully automated).

    So I don't see that inability to get Linux preinstalled is a big deal. The main reason to buy a machine which comes with Linux is as a guarantee that all the components have Linux drivers - but you can check that separately.
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:08PM (#11585504) Homepage
    ...piles and piles of OSS deployments that have saved companies millions, and about which they've written (just search Slashdot for the papers/articles).

    Seems like this has been happening to OSS from the beginning of time.

    OSS User: "I love OSS. It works for me."
    Anti-OSS: "No you don't. You just think you love OSS, and you just think it works for you. In reality, you're wasting all of your time fiddling and nothing on your desktop works at all!"

    OSS Business: "I saved big money with OSS. My books are balanced! Woohoo!"
    Anti-OSS: "No you didn't. You just think you saved money because the numbers in your ledger tell you you did. In reality, it's not possible to save money with OSS, so you must have lost somewhere."

    As far as I'm concerned, if you think you're very happy with a product, and your bankbook numbers tell you that you're saving money, then who cares what's "really" happening in the underlying "reality" of the OSS-doesn't-work-at-all universe?

Loose bits sink chips.