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The Truth About Linux and Windows 594

petrus4 writes "Groklaw has an update on the Laura DiDio saga. Apparently, her complaints about "Linux extremists" notwithstanding, cooler heads than the usual suspects are asking questions about her research. A very interesting read, and one which will hopefully encourage corporate readers to regard the Yankee Group's findings with the requisite metric ton of salt in the future."
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The Truth About Linux and Windows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:15PM (#12338902)
    ...what can I do about it.

    They even subscribe to some Enderle research because they see him "well connected" to important companies like microsoft.

    I can't understand how being a paid shill _incresease_ their credibility with management; but somehow it does. MBA's. go figure.

  • But to get caught up in "OS 1 is better than OS 2" debates is pure silliness, especially when you can run both easily.

    Yes, but OS/2 might become open-source! []
  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:23PM (#12338992)
    Since almost all wireless routers and firewalls (and many other embedded devices including digital projectors and printers) out there are already running Linux, and the vendors of these devices usually don't bother to point out to the customer what OS is it using, I'd say that many small business are already using Linux and don't even know it!
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:26PM (#12339017)
    2. the exact same situation exists with Windows, billions of dollars of damage has been done by worms, trojans, viruses, etc. in the last four years due to failure to keep current with Windows patches to known problems

    3. What happens when the expanding markets of India and China grow a new customer base that is bigger than all existing computer users at present, and they choose not to use Windows in those systems?
  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:28PM (#12339043)
    ... that this is a pissing contest, and it has nothing to do with the real issue. The core issue is that Linux is compatable with the information age, because it treats the unrestricted ability to copy and manipulate itself over the internet like a benefit. Windows is not, becuase it trys to treat information like "intellectual property" and sees the unrestricted ability to copy and manipulate information over the internet as a threat and "piracy". They (MS) have simply held themselves accountable to a paradigm that has no place in the information age, and they're trying to shift the argument to issues like "tco", and "features", and "hidded costs" to avoid it. In the long term, this is all totally irrelavent as to who wins. It doesn't matter what's Linux's flaws are - they will be remedied by market forces sooner or later.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:31PM (#12339076)
    For many of us, there is no need to deploy a Linux server to know whether or not it's cheaper. All of our Windows support is done in house. Just to get a Linux box up and working would require hiring an outside consultant, which right there, adds a massive cost. It's like saying that a person who says that they can't afford a Ferrari is irrelevant since they've never bought one.
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:32PM (#12339087) Homepage
    I built a small office server for a company.

    Spare Dell 400 mhz - 50$
    mandrake -$
    mysql - $

    The office unknown to me had bought this very expensive win 2004 dell server (there network/computer consulting co told them they needed it to host my appliation). It was over 2000$. They didn't need it and the company couldn't install apache/mysql/php (Who do I call for support?).

    I installed the linux and everything in about 4 hours. Linux installs have gotten much much better. Scary easy.

    Basically the linux server has been chugging away for over a year with no problems. hardly maintenance. Nothing (Its behind a firewall). The windows server has had all sorts of networking issuse that keeps a tech visiting the office once a week.(granted its doing more but still).

    Which is cheaper again???
  • Re:Linux extremist? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cougem ( 734635 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:36PM (#12339129)
    I disagree very strongly. My main operating system is Windows, which I operate on my University desktop. But, due to restrictions at my collate at my Uni, I can't use bittorrent or other peer2peer programs.

    I have therefore got my old P2 350 running at home, and via SSH, bittorrent all my wanted TV shows to that, before FTPing it to my Uni box.

    I'm a linux extremist? No, it just gets the job done.
  • by raider_red ( 156642 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:38PM (#12339152) Journal
    Okay, here's a novel thought to settle the argument: Windows is better for some applications, and Linux is better for others. If I want to set up a desktop that's easy to use for those without engineering degrees, I'll probably recommend Windows. If I want to run a data center which requires high flexibility, fast file access, and reliable, reduntant storage, I'll use Linux, or possibly Solaris. And finally if I want to deploy a large number of engineering workstations, I'll go with Linux.
  • Re:The truth is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:39PM (#12339167) Homepage Journal
    Linux still isn't ready for prime time zero hassle common user usage.

    In contrast to what?

    My IT department can't explain why the suspend option disappeared on my whiz-bang XP notebook. I only wish there was some config file I could tweak to bring it back.

    I'm not saying Linux is perfect, but it seems you're implying that Windows is "zero hassle", which it clearly isn't.

    Linux is being adopted and the rise in compromised roots is testament to this.

    Compromised roots, huh? It's cool that you've drunk the Windows Kool-aid and all, but if you are going to pretend to be neutral, you can't reveal your ignorance about one side.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:48PM (#12339252)
    The real truth is that you're pretty incoherent, here. Let's see:

    It doesn't matter what's Linux's flaws are - they will be remedied by market forces sooner or later.

    Great! Glad to know that you understand the power of the market to shape things. Say, um, why wouldn't you think that Windows, which is produced by a completely market-oriented company, would be shaped by the same influences? If people won't buy it, Microsoft will change it. As they have, and continue to do, in response to what people need, have learned to use, and so on. Just like Apple has. They each have a different audience, a different legacy, etc., but the market is exactly what is driving all of this, Linux, Windows - all of them.

    Windows is not, becuase it trys to treat information like "intellectual property" and sees the unrestricted ability to copy and manipulate information over the internet as a threat and "piracy".

    If, by "information" you mean songs that some people want to hear, by artists they say they like (just not well enough to pay them for their work), perhaps. Or movies that you want to see, but just not badly enough to actually pay the price for. But I'm sitting here right now using XP, connected to the internet, freely exchanging this information with you. Now, how is it exactly that Microsoft is restricting me? Of course, we're not freely exchanging this information, because the folks a slashdot have to pay for this conversation.

    Speaking of free, please point me to where your personal financial data is, and any and all academic papers you've ever written, and any sensitive information used by the members of your family or any friends that are in business in any way. I'm sure they'll agree with you that information should be free and unrestricted, and will help you serve it all up. Maybe you've got a friend or family member that makes wine, or runs a restaurant, or has spent a lifetime developing a way to do something difficult? I'll help you out with some web hosting where you can put up all of their inside information they use to run their businesses or create their artwork. Hopefully you've got a family member that's almost done with a great novel, biography, or excellent article for an industry journal of some sort (which, of course, they would have written on a Linux machine - goes without saying). Please have them forward a copy of that manuscript so that we can get together and post it online for free, and that way that writer doesn't have to get his or her hands all dirty with making an actual living or anything by getting income from their work. I'm sure they want nothing to do with "market forces," though you're sure those will still have an important role in fixing anything in Linux that needs a little attention.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Monday April 25, 2005 @02:56PM (#12339336)
    Speaking as a person who has installed many differnt distributions of Linux and has been using Linux for 11 years. I would agree with the Grand Parent. It is not just about installing the packages it is configurating them to do what you need them to do. To a group of people who think in terms of Microsoft and have them start working in Linux is a bigger push. Concepts like mounting drives, Finding the print driver for one of the many possible print servers, best ways to share files, Samba or NFS?, Dealing with RWX RWX RWX based permissions, and groups, writtig shell scripts, the CronTab, Finding drivers and worse installing them, knowing where the logs are and how to read them. Working with Linux is much differnt then working on windows. I am not saying one is harder then the other but just that they are differnt way of thinking about solving problems and to switch a group of people from one OS to an other will be at best problematic.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:00PM (#12339372)
    I understand what you're saying, but your analogy is flawed, nonetheless.

    The difference is like purchasing a Fiat as opposed to being given a Ferrari.

    Now, I've never owned a Ferrari, but I have owned an equivelent Maserati as well as several Fiats, so I can appreciate the difference that cost of operation alone can entail.

    But here's the thing, if you can already do your own Fiat repair and maintenance in house you already have most of the skills and physical plant needed to maintain a Ferrari in house. Yes, you'll need a bit of training, but can acquire that bit by bit as you need it, while you keep your Fiat fleet running alongside until you're up to speed on Ferraris.

    But here's the other thing, your Ferrari parts and much tecnical information is going to be available just as freely as your Ferrari was . . .

    But the Fiat stuff is going to continue to cost you. . .through the nose.

    Yes, as well as a being a Maserati owner I have also converted a business from a Windows only shop to a Linux only shop.

    We handled everything in house because the very first time we called MS for support they told us, "Ummmmm, have you tried reinstalling?"

    So what the fuck good is their "support" anyway? We learned to do things ourselves, and when we started to wonder what the fuck good MS was in general we learned to do things with Linux ourselves as well.

    You can too. For God's sake man, go read a book or something. (Unless, for some reason, you really want to give me $500/hr to read the book for you, I've got my eye on a bench built violin. I'll take your money, but, believe it or not, I'd really rather spend my time learning a Bach violin partita on my cheap Chinese fiddle)

    When you do you'll find you've plugged into a source of free Ferraris for everybody, forever.

  • Great Article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eradicator2k3 ( 670371 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:03PM (#12339408)
    Whilst reading all the replies to Mr. Hamm's blog, I ran across one respondent who said he's used Linux the past two years and hadn't found a need to use Windows.

    I have a dual-boot XP/Gentoo box. I love Gentoo (and Linux in general) to death. Why do I persist in keeping XP on my box? For the games. I am a games fiend to the point that only XP can feed the passion. Do I keep any critical information on the XP side? Hell, no! I use XP for games, nothing more. Linux is what I use when I need to get work done.

    That having been said, I remember someone from the Microsoft camp (Ballmer?) claiming that "Linux is a toy." Well, MS if I only use XP for games, which OS do you think is more deserving of being called "a toy?" Although, I'm sure Yankee Group and her collection of didiots could put a different spin on it.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:04PM (#12339420)
    WIsh I could help you out with that one. Every *nix consultant I looked at started at $50/hour. That makes *nix expensive for our business, considering that they'd also have to write applications that don't exist on the *nix platform, too.
  • Re:TCO Laugher (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tehcrazybob ( 850194 ) <ben.geek@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:49PM (#12339883)
    Well, if you're doing REAL image editing work you'll be using Photoshop anyway but for throwing something together for a presentation, Gimp will work.

    Why does everyone demean The GIMP in this way? I have never found it lacking in power. Granted, sometimes it's a bit hard to find the option you want, nested as it is three context menus deep. Please name one thing that you can do in Photoshop that those of us who know how to use The GIMP can't do in it.
  • by al912912 ( 835343 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @03:59PM (#12339992)
    She reported that SCO's claims seemed justified. She told me: "It appeared to be a direct cut and paste right down to the developers' notes."

    I do notes before programming anytime (doodles might be a more accurate word), and will write down flowcharts and algorithms for anything bigger than a script. But I do all of them in some piece of paper with a pencil, and paste it in front of me when I'm programming. WTF are "developer's notes", and how would SCO get the hold of the notes of some programmer who worked on Unix 20 years ago in a small office cubicle, or the ones of another one who worked on Linux in some dorm room 10 years ago?

    Would "developer's notes" mean, by any chance, the same thing as source code for this woman?

    I must say it is really an important difference, for the notes are more personal and, if they are similar, then the posibility of copyright infringement is way bigger than if the source code is similar. Specially when you are talking about POSIX compliant systems (same interfaces) that follow standard algorithms.
  • by matt me ( 850665 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:07PM (#12340070)
    this is a 'trashcan' computer as you'd probably call it across the atlantic. made from 2-5 year old components, that windows users had decided were too slow for them, i put fc3 on it, which runs non-3d applications well at a more than satisfactory speed.

    the 20 quid was for a cd-drive and an MS optical 5 button mouse. hey - they make ok hardware :p
  • by Sporkinum ( 655143 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:13PM (#12340118)
    All I need to know is that Yankme Group are the ones that were pumping MCI/Worldcom when I was an employee. I lost a lot of my 401k based on their bullshit and my naivete'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:33PM (#12340331)
    Quit whinging. DiDio is doing you a favor.

    All the MBAs are looking around at each other waiting to hear a sensational Linux success story. But they are particular. Novell saving millions by switching means nothing. Novell's quarterly earnings coincidentally exceeding expectations-- now that would carry weight.

    Aha, you say, so they ARE all idiots. No, they're not. For them, the right time to switch is at the exact same moment the competition does. At any other time, change would meet with disapproval. Perception of their company would deteriorate, translating into stock fluctuation, a serious matter

    So how is Didio doing you a favor? As soon as that magic moment occurs and every MBA decides it is time to switch, your company officers will try to minimize risk through enacting policies regarding the company rollout of Linux. Face it, you could care less that there is a penguin on your desktop, you just like the freedom it represents. Kiss that freedom goodbye when upper management co-opts your dream by forcing you to use your least-favorite distro and regulating which apps will and will not get installed. Goodbye grep, hello Outlook For Linux. Sound far fetched? It's already happening where I work.
  • by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:35PM (#12340370) Homepage
    Show me one financial package equivalent to Quickbooks Premier that runs on Linux....

    You have an excellent point, there is a significant shortage of commercial business applications for the Linux platform. Personally, if I could purchase a copy of Quickbooks for Linux as cheaply as I can Quickbooks for Windows I would do it in a heartbeat.

    OTOH, it is a sad thing when the only real advantage of a particular operating system is the third party applications that are available for it. 'Sure, Windows is expensive, less secure, prone to viruses and spyware, slow and unstable, but hey, It will run Quickbooks.'

    Amazingly enough, Linux does have many applications available that can save many office environments money (gimp, gnumeric, OpenOffice, abiword) as well as backend server type functionality that can be used with Windows (samba, apache, sendmail, qmail, postfix) not to mention all of the web apps (intranets, monitors, ldap, etc..) that can be run on apache.

    If Linux fits in your business now, great, if not, contact your vendor (Intuit) and request a Linux version. They will never come out with one if no one asks for it.
  • by SnuffySmith ( 780790 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:53PM (#12341336)
    Noting that 27% of the Info-tech surveyed businesses were currently using Linux, Groklaw suggest that instead of
    Linux fails in small business market
    VNunet could just as easily have used the headline
    Nearly One-Third of All Small and Medium Sized Businesses Have Already Switched to Linux
    But using isn't the same as switching. According to the referenced Joe Barr piece [], the questions Info-tech asked aren't even available; and none of these articles explains what constitutes use.
  • by kintin ( 840632 ) on Monday April 25, 2005 @07:53PM (#12342674)
    That is absolute nonsense, and furthermore, I can tell you that people with your attitude are the bane of the Help Desk world. Mounting drives is really easy (you add the applet to the taskbar in GNOME... which autodetects it for you anyway). Sharing drives (of course, you don't want to do that, right? You mean sharing individual folders.)? GNOME-SYSTEM-TOOLS fixes this right up for you. Permissions? Seriously, it's not that hard. R is Read. W is Write. X is eXecute. First group is owner, second group is group, last group is everyone else. That's way easier than MS permissions (Modify? "Full" Control? Group Policy? The Fuck?). And when was the last time that Desktop usage forced you to work with shell scripts, or cron, or drivers? And don't even try and cop out with that printing nonsense, printing sucks no matter which platform you're using (except... MAYBE OS X... if your printer is supported). I mean, try printing anything in XP without a real printer driver. Guess what CUPS does?

    Imagine this: "Hey everyone, it's your boss, Charlie. I'm sure you've noticed that your computers look a little strange; that's because we've removed Windows and installed Linux. Yes, overnight. Please, nobody panic. For the next 8 hours, we're not going to do any work. Instead, we're going to take the time to learn the Linux equivalents to the Windows apps you're so... fond of. First, THE INTERNET... better known as a Web Browser. It works the same, no worries. Second, WORD... or It also works the same. Thirdly, OUTLOOK (which I'm sure you'll all miss)... which is Evolution here in Linux. And I'm sure you see this coming, it also works the same. Oh... and Instant Messaging, which is GAIM on this side of the fence. Wait... I believe it also works the same."

    Maybe this attitude comes from working Help Desk too long, but I'm tired of stupid questions. Really, if you can't take 5 minutes to click around in the menu options (which is what I do... because I frequently have no idea what people are talking about) then you need to take a day and find your brain. I mean, you're worried about TCO? Try the THINKING option, and I guarantee you can kill off 90% of your Support Staff. Why do I suggest it? Because despite the fact that it would cost me my job, I know it's never going to happen.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982