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OSS in One-Fifth of Japanese Businesses 99

WillAffleck writes "According to a recent Infoworld article, one-fifth of all Japanese businesses now use Open Source operating systems. From the article: 'By contrast, 33 percent of U.S. companies have adopted open-source operating systems in at least some of their servers, MIC said. Among the companies polled by the MIC, 66 percent said open-source operating systems have low initial costs, while 47.8 percent said the software has low operating costs '"
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OSS in One-Fifth of Japanese Businesses

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  • So in other words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:24PM (#12987308)
    Japan is behind the U.S. in OSS adoption? Or is the Japan 21 percent figure "exclusively use" and the America 33 percent figure "partially use"? This article is somewhat confusing.
    • at least some of their servers is confusing.

      But since the article is trying to make a contrast and a comment on a growing trend, it seems to make a lot more sense if you read it as Japan being behind the US.

    • Re:So in other words (Score:2, Informative)

      by VHerring ( 892379 )
      The topic summary given is a bit misleading. From the article:

      "The use of open-source operating systems in enterprise servers is growing in Japan"


      "So far, 21 percent of Japanese companies have already introduced open-source operating systems including Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD systems"


      "Open-source operating systems are used with much less frequency in applications for financial, payment, distribution and customer service applications, the report said."

      It seems to me that the article i

  • "low initial costs" = free is cheaper than M$
    • Re:free oss? (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Support costs money.

      Until OSS nuts realise that, they are just ranting.
      • Re:free oss? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Canadian_Daemon ( 642176 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:31PM (#12987399)
        Support costs money.
        Indeed it does. Until MS nuts realize that MS products need support as well, this arguement is not valid.
        • Re:free oss? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Feynman ( 170746 )
          Maybe both sides should stop throwing around generalizations and anecdotal evidence and find an impartial, quantitative comparison of support costs for the two operating systems when performing similar tasks.
          • I can do you one better on that-- use the tool that is right for the job. If your company relies on server software that runs only on windows, guess what-- your server should probably be running windows. If the software you use runs better on linux than on windows, use linux.
            • Better yet, be smart enough to choose software that works on both platforms from the beginning on, giving you much less trouble should you decide to switch later on (for whatever reason).
          • Gee I wonder why nobdy has done this yet!

            Impartial is almost impossible to find in IT.
          • Re:free oss? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by chris_mahan ( 256577 )
            I'm sick and tired of "My os is cheaper than your os because yadda yadda yadda"

            It's all about opportunity cost: What do you give up by running this OS?

            The business might save $120M a year by switching to Linux from IBM, but if that translates into $1B loss of profits in three years, then Linux was not the right choice.

            Likewise if a business spends $10M/year on windows systems and nets $100M/year in profits, and they could spend $12M/year on Linux (better admins, yadda^3) but generate $400M in net earning
          • It'll depend on the shop.

            Here OSS costs less. Mostly cause I'm here and can build OpenBSD and/or Debian boxes to do just about any job I need them to do and they just sit there and do their job. Contrast this with the attempts at doing anything with Checkpoint/Cisco that always seems to devolve into support calls.

            Clearly it's going to depend on the skillset of your people but I can almost promise that in the year of our lord 2000 and 5 that almost any IT shop is going to have at least one geek who already
          • Who comissions the study? If it's an OSS advocate, then the study will say that OSS is cheaper. If it's MS that comissions the study, then the study will say that MS is cheaper.
        • Re:free oss? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by minus_273 ( 174041 )
          There is another way to look at it. I am sure there are more MCSEs out there than linux admins because of the way they are churned out. The MCSEs may know nothing, but they are probably good enough to do some basic point and click with the GUI. Keeping that in mind a linux admin who is probably far more competent is more expensive.
        • i wasn't aware that anyone was claiming microsoft products were free
      • Ah, but training and quality products can shift the operating point of the system towards the company.
        As the baby eventually gives up the bottle, so the workforce can wean itself from the help desk.
        Unless we're talking about one of those bottom-feeder outfits that just wants to bring in entry-level fodder, chew them up, and spit them in the direction of better companies.
    • The "cost" is varied based on what kinda shop you run.

      An all windows shop is probally going to have some issues integrating linux and open source into their daily routine, especially if the admins don't have some experience with it.

      A unix shop can integrate and probally has integrated some open source solutions for years, even moving to linux from unix is trivial.

      The expense of opensource/linux/*bsd can really be mostly determined by the quality of your administration staff and programming staff dependin
  • Uhoh (Score:5, Funny)

    by THEUBERGEEK ( 891151 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:24PM (#12987316) Homepage
    Time to impose sanctions, we cant have Microsoft being run out of foreign markets, it is unfair competition.
    Opps I am sorry, I had a momentary bout of insanity there
  • This is the year 2005. Do Slashdotters really care about 20% of Japanese business using Linux? These would have have been impressive numbers in 1999.

    Who cares if it's less than what the US has? Maybe if the numbers were *higher* than the US then I'd be interested. "Look, foreign companies are adopting Linux faster than American companies."

    That's not the case. Move along.
    • This is the year 2005. Do Slashdotters really care about 20% of Japanese business using Linux? These would have have been impressive numbers in 1999.

      Yes, but there was nowhere near 20% of Japanese companies using it in '99.

      Face it, a lot of people on Slashdot are interested in seeing how much adoption of Linux and other things are out there. If for nothing else than to refute some of the TCO studies paid for by/about Microsoft.
  • BSD is really big in Japan. Good to see lots of open-source interest there.
  • 66 percent said open-source operating systems have low initial costs

    I can understand OSS having potentially high operating costs from failures and training, but how can you justify high initial costs for something that is free?
    • by rabbit994 ( 686936 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:30PM (#12987374)
      Training, new techs who understand linux, firing all the MCSA who can't cope with the new OS. Conversion of existing programs or switching to linux compatible ones. All those cost money (well except firing the MCSA monkeys) which might explain the high initial costs.
    • It costs money to convert existing systems
    • i suppose if you count training as an initial cost, and you buy RedHat enterprise edition and you have to hire experienced admins, then the initial cost isn't 0.
    • I can understand OSS having potentially high operating costs from failures and training, but how can you justify high initial costs for something that is free?

      You can't unless you have cash to burn. Every time I look at it, I'm ahead by less than 5% with Linux over Windows and that is totally outweighed in my book by the need for productivity being held up by dependency Hell, needs to modify source and rebuild, endless configuration that requires pounding a keyboard to dust faster than a data entry clerk
      • [it] is totally outweighed in my book by the need for productivity being held up by dependency Hell, needs to modify source and rebuild, endless configuration that requires pounding a keyboard to dust faster than a data entry clerk, etc.

        I don't know where you're drawing your conclusions from. It takes me just as long to configure Windows Server out of the box as a network server as it does Linux. The gains for Linux are greater, because configuration information is more portable than in Windows (it requ

    • I can understand OSS having potentially high operating costs from failures and training, but how can you justify high initial costs for something that is free?

      When you have a bunch of people in your IT department who are used to clicking on the start button to get anywhere, it's actually going to cost something to retrain them or to hire people who actually have some technical intuition.

      Additionally, remember that just because it's open-source doesn't mean it's free of cost. Red Hat's enterprise-lev
    • Software costs only account for a small percentage of "initial" costs.

      At some point, when your organization becomes larger than a single linux server handling all tasks, you might consider investing in infrastrucutre. Some components that you would probably include:

      1. nim server (makes installs on new systems less painful)
      2. mame service (Likely LDAP)
      3. name service (replicas)
      4. print server of some variety (maybe cups)
      5. DMZ, screened network, etc.
      6. web server / secure ftp server, etc.
      7. Add specialized
  • Almost 50% said the operating cost is low, while 66% said the initial cost is low. It's surprising that Microsoft's "open source has a more expensive TCO than Windows" obviously hasn't taken a firm hold... those numbers are fairly encouraging.
  • Servers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:27PM (#12987343)
    not desktops... so this could be as little as 1 machine per business...

    someone slap the editors with a cluestick please...

    • And by the benchmark mentioned by the editors, the numbers probably should be much higher. I think you'll find at least one OSS server in every medium to large US business. (Think internal FTP servers or workgroup intranet servers.)
    • not desktops... so this could be as little as 1 machine per business...

      enterprise servers...web-based mention of how many companies participated in the survey, their size, or business.

    • not desktops... so this could be as little as 1 machine per business...

      someone slap the editors with a cluestick please...

      Why? What's inaccurate about the article? It doesn't say anything about what percentage of the computers in those companies run Linux, does it? If you were making assumptions then that isn't the editors' fault. The persons who modded you "insightful" are the ones who should be slapped with a cluestick...

  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:27PM (#12987352) Journal
    In recent reports unprotected Windows boxes can have open source software* installed on them in less than 12 minutes.

    * - Many viruses are open source either by design (VBS) or through reverse engineering.
    • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:42PM (#12987497)
      You mean... viruses are not protected by copyright laws?!?
      • Hmm..
        1. Write virus
        2. Copyright virus
        3. Send it into the wild
        4. Virus propogates
        5. Sue everybody for distributing my copyrighted works!
        6. Profit!
      • You mean... viruses are not protected by copyright laws?!?

        Well, they aren't written by the RIAA, MPAA, BSA or Microsoft, are they ? The virus writers aren't buying laws from US or EU government, are they ? So why would the viruses be protected by copyright ?

      • Dear Mr $Locke2005$,

        It has come to our attention that your computer system with IP address has been participating in illegal Peer to Peer network activity. We have witnessed this internet host participating in the unlawful distribution of "W32.Mydoom.CF@MM", which is protected under international copyright law by our client, Mr l3et hax0-r of Plumbeckistan.

        We therefore demand that you immediately cease distribution of this copyright software and provide a list of all IP addresses to which it h
    • Your post suggests another variation

      1) Write VBS virus that installs peanut linux
      2) Make amazingly large zombie server farm
      3) ???
      4) Profit

      Probably not as easy as Depenguinator [], but still entertaining.
  • 66 percent said open-source operating systems have low initial costs, while 47.8 percent said the software has low operating costs

    I'm curious what percentage said both initial costs and operating costs were low... I think putting companies into only one category leaves out a lot of information.
  • by Ta Pere * ( 882182 ) <> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:36PM (#12987441)
    The Japanese Government is helping OSS development too, and the m17n [] library funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan [] is probably, IMO the most exciting thing to come out of the whole process.

    The m17n library allow you to view and type complex text languages like Indic, Arabic, Hebrew and other languages. While this is possible by using QT3.2+ & GTK2.0+pango, this restricted one to just 2 toolkits and to two heavyweight desktops(XFCE4 is the exception though). The library [] is also a good compromise between a toolkit dependent solution like pango/QT3.2 and Server based solutions like the doomed Indix and STSF.

    The screenshots here [] show firefox and magicpoint, applications that use different toolkits displaying multilinugal texts. I have even seen but not used windowmaker rpms compiled with m17n support.

    A very practical example would be something like Damn Small Linux, which is a pretty lightweight live CD in both disk size (~50 MB) and Memory usage (runs on 64 MB RAM). This was ideal for a school near my place that wanted to use it as a teaching resource but wanted it in their native language. I finally am settling for XFCE4 and GTK2 applications like OO.o, Firefox.

    The keyboard solutions were too rudimentary, in the case of xkb for phonetic keymaps for indian languages or too buggy and complex, in the case of IIIMF. M17n was a joy to use from day one and rpms for Mandrake 10.1 & debs for Ubuntu/Debian unstable are available.

    • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:16PM (#12990784)
      I work in a Japanese government-established technology incubator and we're pushing OSS as hard as possible. Heck, I got two weeks off of my normal development schedule to contribute to an OSS *game*, for God's sakes. Especially outside of Tokyo (in the vast chunk of the Japanese economy that the rest of the world doesn't hear about), OSS is taking off like a rocket -- we've had a lot of consultations with itty-bitty businesses about "Say, do you have any of that free software stuff that does ?" They're pretty happy when it actually works.

      The reason American OSS geeks should be happy Japanese OSS is starting to take off (despite the barriers like language and etc -- keep in mind that Windows took a while to hit 20% penetration here, too, because like half of the Linux distributions it didn't ship with a way to natively input Japanese text) is that Japan exports technical knowhow like crazy. Our last OSS conference had delegates from governments in about six countries (Phillipines, India, etc) who we were telling "Hey, you can save yourself a heck of a lot of money and you'll never have government continuity threatened by loss of a key vendor ever again... Did we mention you save a lot of money?" Obviously, countries take their cues from US usage too, but as the biggest foreign aid donor in the world when the Japanese government says "Hey, we'd appreciate if you economized on our technology funds we're giving you -- here are some ideas on how", people tend to listen.

  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by ill_conditioned ( 529750 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:38PM (#12987457)
    One-Fifth of Giant Robots run OSS!
    • One-Fifth of Giant Robots run OSS!

      Only the ones being piloted by teens with big eyes.

      The rest are dubbed into English with the wrong accents for their characters.
    • One-Fifth of Giant Robots run OSS!

      Note: if you're planning to run your giant robot on Linux, be sure to select a strong password for the root account. Preferably something not a dictionary word, and for the love of God make it longer than two letters. Otherwise Ritsuko's gonna pwnz j00.

  • Or at least that's the initial impression without doing the numbers. Reminds me of an old Dilbert:

    Secretary: I can't believe it.
    Boss: What?
    Secretary: 40% of all sick days are on Monday and Friday.
    Boss: What!?! Do they think they can really get away with that?
    Secretary: No, they can do math.
    • Actually, as I stated in the post - and as detailed in the linked news - Japan is behind the US in adoption of open source OS and software by business.

      Now, perhaps they're ahead of us on the residential adoption - I couldn't say.
      • You said Japan is behind, but without using the word behind. So one has to compare 1/5 with 33%. Should take an average person 1 second, the average dothead maybe 20 seconds (first 15 are used to post a comment), and we've given up hope on Dilbert's boss.
        • You said Japan is behind, but without using the word behind.

          In my submission I said Japan has 21 percent and the US has 33 percent.

          Maybe in your world 33 percent is not obviously much more than 21 percent, but in mine it's fairly explicit.
          • In my submission I said Japan has 21 percent and the US has 33 percent.

            I trust everyone noticed that the original posting was a joke and aren't getting all bent out of shape because they thought it was serious. That said, the part of your posting that made it to the front page said 1/5, 33%, 66%, and 47.8%. The article itself said 21%, but the joke was about the pointy haired bosses thinking that 1/5 is bigger than 33%. Alas, it's lost all humor now. Time to go find someone with bad morale and flog th
  • by 0olong ( 876791 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:56PM (#12987625)
    It probably has something to do with Linux distros still not providing a very smooth Japanese localization.
    • That is not true; Linux has very good Japanese language support, to begin with Turbolinux but also Debian and other distros.
      • I get called away from development about three to five times a day for a "Hey, where is the button I need?" consultation, and the R&D group has a "translations of common error messages" list on one of the whiteboards in their office. Don't even get me started about the input method editor -- MS's default one is generally seen as pretty suboptimal around the office, and most of the geeks use a closed-source one from a Japanese company, but every OS one I ever saw is abysmal. You type in "Nagoya", a w
  • by ehaggis ( 879721 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @03:21PM (#12987889) Homepage Journal
    Open Source Software is more than Operating Systems. What about companies (in the US and Japan) using MySql, Apache, Ethereal, etc...) Linux, BSD et al.. are great for companies to adopt, but the reality is the greatest infiltration of OSS will come from applications which can run on Windows.
  • Bad article!!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ilbrec ( 170056 )
    The original article is INCREDIBLY MISLEADING! In fact, it makes me wonder if Paul Kallender knew what he was writing about.
    Here is the bottom of it. 21.0 % of Japanese business currently use OSS for server, 7.6 % of Japanese business is planning to introduce OSS for server, 14.6 % of Japanese business is considering to introduce OSS for server. In the same white paper, they have the figures for USA and South Korea. According to the white paper, the figure in the US is 33.0 % currently use OSS server, 5.7
    • I thought something was wrong when I saw the headline, as I never saw any OSS machines around when I used to work in Japan. In fact, everywhere I saw, I only saw Windows machines (not even Mac back in 2002).

      As we all know, all Linux machines have giant neon signs on them, so they can be clearly identified, and servers are always conveniently located in the middle of reception areas, just to satisfy the needs of the curious OS geeks.


      So, you don't like the article. So, as I stated in my summary, Japa
  • by speculatrix ( 678524 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @05:35PM (#12989014)

    I've heard it from a reliable commentator that the Sharp Zaurus is the most popular PDA in Japan...

    My own guess is probably due to the fact it comes with built-in Japanese-English dictionary/translation software (I don't speak Jp so I can't tell you anything about it, I blatted over my Japanese ROM with the Cacko distribution within hours of receiving it).

    The interesting thing is that the latest Zaurus, the SL-C3100 [], the successor to the C3000 (which was the first ever PDA with a built-in hard drive), is marked as FCC approved. Hopefully Sharp will bring the Zaurus back to the North American market sooner than later, to make up for pulling the much missed 6000L model (which they initially rebutted [] but later turned out to be effectively true when they disappeared from retail sellers like amazon []).

  • Its a survey conducted on the web, if you've had Stats 101 you know its not reliable. Want a non-quantifiable demonstration of how big OSS is at the moment? Here is the front page of the Nikkei (Japanese equivalent of Wall Street Journal) Technology Section. You don't even have to read Japanese to pick out the OSS stuff. []

    They also have a site dedicated completely to OSS. []

    In other news, there was a thirty-minute report on OSS on the news after Bill Gates' Japan trip earl

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