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Windows Operating Systems Software Linux

A New Look at Linux vs. Windows TCO 390

An anonymous reader writes "Laura DiDio, research fellow at the Yankee Group, published a column this morning in which she discusses key findings from a new survey on the total cost of ownership of Windows vs. Linux. DiDio often is written off by the Linux camp as being pro-Microsoft, but she offers excellent, neutral advice for any IT department considering a fundamental systems switch: 'If you do not know what is on your network, if you cannot at least estimate the hourly, monthly or yearly cost of downtime, if you do not know how long it takes to recover from a security outage, if you cannot answer questions about the extent of your company's license compliance, then you cannot truly evaluate whether Linux, Windows or Unix is right for your business. Chances are, if you cannot answer most or all of those questions, it does not matter what operating system you have because ignorance of the core TCO tenets means that your business is not getting the most out of its networks.' "
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A New Look at Linux vs. Windows TCO

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  • Well, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:13AM (#13337555) Homepage Journal
    "but she offers excellent, neutral advice"

    The person who wrote this has not been reading her other work. Neutral isnt even on the map.
    • Re:Well, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by silentbozo ( 542534 )
      Yes, I was about to say, isn't she the "analyst" who was pimping for SCO for a while, before they got too hot to handle?
      • Re:Well, no. (Score:5, Informative)

        by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:18AM (#13337567) Journal
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_DiDio [wikipedia.org]

        That says it all.
        • Re:Well, no. (Score:2, Insightful)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_DiDio

          Not only is that article highly POV, but I question this person's encyclopedic importance.
          • Re:Well, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:01AM (#13338172)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_DiDio [wikipedia.org]

            Not only is that article highly POV, but I question this person's encyclopedic importance.

            I question the importance of encyclopedic importance as a criterion of inclusion of articles in online encyclopedias.

            In a traditional dead-tree encyclopedia there are limits to the amount of information that the book can contain, which are imposed by the mass and space needed to store each additional letter. This means that a traditional encyclopedia needs to limit the articles it contains into the most important ones - after all, if it includes an unimportant article, it must drop an important one to make room for it.

            An online encyclopedia, on the other hand, has no (practical) limitations. You never need to delete an article to make room for another one. Yes, digital storage space has practical limits, but those are so ridicilously high compared to a dead-tree encyclopedia that they are practically nonexistent. The only constraint is the search system, and that has shown itself perfectly capable of handling the current volume of articles. Therefore, as long as the article is factually correct (which I don't know if this article is, since I don't know anything about this person), adding it will never decrease the usability of an online encyclopedia, and will very likely increase it.

        • Re:Well, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:00AM (#13337696)
          From wiki:
          but you can't take that idea of free and open and put it into a capitalist system and maintain it as though it is some kind of hippie commune or ashram, because if you can do it like that, at that point I'm like, 'Pass the hookah please!'"

          and
          But if Linux is really to take its place alongside Windows... then the vendors in this space cannot act like a bunch of hippies in a '60s commune or ashram. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

                So basically:

          1) This can't happen because of what I feel about it; and

          2) What I see is happening shouldn't happen because: I think it shouldn't.

                This gal seems to have a lot of distortions there. There's nothing wrong with having an opinion and a firm belief. The problem comes when you try to justify your belief based on flawed logic, then use your position as a reporter to try to convince others that your belief is correct. It becomes preaching rather than reporting.

                On the other hand, can we take the fact that the current article is rather ambiguous as a changing belief on her part?
          • Re:Well, no. (Score:3, Informative)

            DiDiot isn't a reporter -- she's an analyst with the Giga Group, which used to be Forrester Research. So she's got a significantly more influence than just a reporter. People (PHBs mostly) listen to her and make decisions about whether or not buy or use a particular technology. Some companies have stayed away from Linux based on DiDiot's comments.
          • Re:Well, no. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SoloFlyer2 ( 872483 )
            I think it was summed up best by Noel on Linux Today:

            "[Laura DiDio] has no clue about writing code. Not a single bit at all... For goodness sake this person has only a B.A. in communication degree. She writes magazine articles not code..."

            That one line sums up Laura DiDio perfectly, she doesnt have any qualifications in IT, she should go do what she has the training and abilities to do... Write reports on supernatural occurances and alien abductions for supermarket tabloids...
        • I can't believe she compared SCO to the Red Sox.

          She truly is a terrible person.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:29AM (#13337606)
        Criticism of a previous Didio study related to Linux TCO... [businessweek.com]

        Laura Didio whines that slashdot does not like her... [slashdot.org]

        Quote from wikipedia by Didio: "The thing about Linux is, you can talk about a free, open operating system all you want, but you can't take that idea of free and open and put it into a capitalist system and maintain it as though it is some kind of hippie commune or ashram, because if you can do it like that, at that point I'm like, 'Pass the hookah please!'". And on another occasion she followed up: "I'm all for open source, and competition serves everyone's interest. But if Linux is really to take its place alongside Windows... then the vendors in this space cannot act like a bunch of hippies in a '60s commune or ashram. There really is no such thing as a free lunch." ... does this sound professional to you?

        Collection of Laura Didio quotes, compiled by Groklaw, on the subject of Didio insisting that she'd seen the linux-sco code comparison and it contained clearly copied code. [groklaw.net] This was posted, mind you, on the day that the judge ordered SCO to either provide the evidence linux contained copied sco code or drop those accusations from their lawsuit, and SCO resonded by dropping those accusations. In other words, the evidence never existed. There was never any copied code and SCO has as good as admitted so in court by their refusal to specify what the copied code was when the court ordered them to.

        Laura Didio has made it clear she is not someone worth giving the slightest bit of attention or media press to. She has in the past shown a complete lack of any idea of rigor in compiling or presenting a study, as well as a willingness to both mislead and outright lie. This is not someone who knows how to do journalism, or how to do an informed study. This is someone who knows how to do one thing and one thing only, and that is shill for Microsoft when Microsoft pays them to. Right now she is shilling for Microsoft. Microsoft press releases released from Microsoft itself may occasionally contain good points or true statements, such as "Microsoft is a company located in Redmond". However, even when this is the case they don't get printed on the front page. Why should Microsoft press releases released through the front of Didio be treated any different?
      • She was rather too credulous about Darl McBride's initial claims about code copying, and the examples shown at SCOForum in 2003 that were pretty conclusively shot down soon after.

        I think she was duped like a lot of the trade press and hopefully she learned her lesson.

        There's been a lot of febrile speculation about her motives, but most of it is unsubstantiated or just plain malicious. She's written some interesting stuff about linux which doen't back up the idea that she's Yet Another astroturfer for SCO or
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Neutral isnt even on the map

      Unlike, of course, most of the people who post here...
      • Re:Well, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:05AM (#13337918) Homepage Journal
        Neutral isnt even on the map


        Unlike, of course, most of the people who post here...
        You get a lot of strange comments on Slashdot. But posting something by DiDio on the front page is the equivalent of posting a press release from the GNAA, stamping it with a +5, troll, and calling it news.

        It just shows that the editors have given up this site a long time ago.
      • Well, at least we don't call ourselves senior analysts for /. Research.

        Actually, we could try that some time. Noone's gonna take advise from "some dude on /." but from an "Excellent Karma Advisor" with "the Taco Group". You can get the most ridiculous things on the front pages if you put an "XYZ Group" somewhere. Just ask Rob Enderle.

    • Re:Well, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:56AM (#13337685) Homepage Journal
      The person who wrote this has not been reading her other work. Neutral isnt even on the map.

      I notice the article was submitted by "an anonymous reader".

      Maybe the person who wrote this has been writing her previous work.


      • "Maybe the person who wrote this has been writing her previous work."

        No doubt. Seems to me "an anonymous reader" is either DiDio or her agent trying to jack up the hits related to her "study" in order to show future editors why publishing her tripe is profitable and worthwhile for them.

        I say avoid the linked article like the plague.

    • Hell, no. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by andr0meda ( 167375 )

      "Rival vendors improve the inherent performance, reliability, security and scalability of their core offerings."

      She says it like she`s citing the weather information in North Alaska.

      I haven`t seen proof of security, I see only headlines of new virusses being written because of security issues.

      I haven`t see any of that performance increase either. My XP system`s performance is completely gone after only 4 months of operation, where my old w2k system at least pulled through for the last 3 years without much p
    • "Neutral isnt even on the map."

      I would say even 'advice' isn't in the article. The so-called TCO study contains a lot of recycled FUD couched in nice-sounding words. It also leads to the mistaken impression that it is possible to assess the cost of a Windows box, network or server.. with any degree of accuracy.

      Half the article talks about Linux desktops and the rest aims to spread the FUD about Linux based servers. Where is the advice in this article?

  • Um, yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:15AM (#13337561)
    DiDio often is written off by the Linux camp as being pro-Microsoft

    Um, well, yes, with good reason. When someone performs public relations work for a large corporation on a long-term basis, one then needs to recognize that further publications by this person should be recognized to certainly be further public relations work for the same corporation. As a side note, one might also consider any TCO studies published by Red Hat Corporation to be somewhat biased.
    • Re:Um, yeah (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DenDave ( 700621 )
      I beleive the terms she uses to describe linux users and contributors are "hippie communists".

      I am very surprised to learn from Ms. DilDO that RedHat, Novell and IBM are bastions of pot smoking longhaired beatniks....

      Why is this even posted on slashdot? Did we miss a post? "Slashdot bought out by Microsoft in a historical deal totalling XXXXbillion$"

    • It smacks of trying to hard and comes off like a college undergrad doing philosophy or sociology.

      Of course, I realize the irony of attacking someone writing style coming from a slashdot user, let alone myself. However, I cannot read this while visualizing the type self affirmed 'intellectuals' who write with their tongue lolling around.

      How did she get such a wide distribution and voice? Now I realize. Anyone can bet published if they really want to, just write a fairly well written piece, and you are magica
  • If you don't know what is on your network, the chances are someone else handles your network admin. Therefore you should look at how much it costs to employ or pay for that persons services. Generally Windows servers need more attention.
    • Re:Ignorance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:22AM (#13337577)
      If you don't know what is on your network, the chances are someone else handles your network admin. Therefore you should look at how much it costs to employ or pay for that persons services.

      100% correct.

      Generally Windows servers need more attention.

      100% back of the envelope, likely wishful thinking, unsubstantiated guess.

      • YMMV?? TCO is imho very dependant on usage. If we are talking about 500 webservers the answer is simple, Linux -hands down- , if we are talking about application servers and network security, I am in my experience inclined to argue for Linux as well but I can appreciate that for an organisation with an existing windows infrastructure the migration costs could be significant. Of course these rational and salient arguments and hence off-topic for miss DilDo...
      • Back of Envelope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by soloport ( 312487 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:10AM (#13337942) Homepage
        Ok, here's the back of my envelope:
        1) Everywhere I've worked, the Windows admins outnumber the Unix admins, at least 2:1, per managed machine.

        2) The Windows admins seem to work in a half-frenzied state, much of the time, while the Unix admins try to look busy, much of the time.

        3) Windows admins are hard-working, loyal, dutiful, do-as-you-say-Sir types, whereas Unix admins are chronically lazy -- and lazy like a fox.

        4) Windows admins are excellent at solving "hit the box with open hand, right here, and it will go" problems, or "magical" solutions, but are narrowly focused on the Windows world (there are so many incantations to learn, I guess), whereas Unix admins can typically solve most problems on Windows PCs and can also manage Cisco, Macintosh, Sun, IBM, DEC, BSD PC or Linux PC, etc. (i.e. platforms that usually "just work" and are designed well, not just marketed well)

        Seeing that salaries, in most organizations, grossly outweigh hardware and software costs, per year, I think I can safely toss out nearly all TCO studies and just "hire smart". I'll let my people decide what works, not a TCO study, thank you.
        • Re:Back of Envelope (Score:4, Informative)

          by jrexilius ( 520067 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:46AM (#13338091) Homepage
          As a support for the parent a capital markets (financial trading) bank I worked in had 144 unix servers and desktops (yes desktops) and close to 250 windows servers and desktops. there were 5 unix admins and 1 manager and 15 windows admins and 5 managers. the unix stuff was what pushed all the real money and rarely had outages, and the admins worked 8:30 to 4:30 on the dot if that. Windows guys were so overworked that it was hard to get them to make improvements..

          every other place I have worked, if it had windows which wasn't many, was the same.

          every place I worked, when millions of dollars were on the line it was *nix.
      • Re:Ignorance (Score:4, Informative)

        by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:20AM (#13338295) Homepage
        100% back of the envelope, likely wishful thinking, unsubstantiated guess.

        Perhaps, but it's in line with my experience. For me it's a bit simpler, just go through and count the trouble tickets. Systems hosted on Windows machines get twice as many complaints about outtages or down time than the sites running on a LAMP platform. If I'm going to get woken up in the middle of the night, it's almost always a Windows box.

        Sure you can argue it's the application or the coding skill and it doesn't take into account the popularity and traffic of the application, but that would seem to even out across 30 or 40 apps.

        At least across the companies I work with, the Windows servers need more attention. And they need to be rebooted more often, rebuilt from scratch more often and they will slow down over time. I'm not sure how you can label my observation wishful thinking. It is what it is. I run Linux at home and my personal web sites on LAMP servers because I don't have to dork with them as much.

        I wonder when the last time Didiot actually had any hands on experience with server? Armchair quarterbacks aren't limited to Sunday afternoons.

    • Re:Ignorance (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Generally Windows servers need more attention.
      In some cases their support costs look lower than they are - a lot of places rightly use the *nix admins as extra staff when a crisis happens. In one place I was employed to set up linux machines and spent 95% of my time supporting a poorly set up (can't blame it on Microsoft) collection of windows machines.
      • Re:Ignorance (Score:3, Interesting)

        In some cases their support costs look lower than they are ...

        Here is an example of that, a unix guy spending hours cleaning up after M$.

        A friend of mine hired a linux guy to handle machines for several sites. About 100% of his time spent doing any kind of technical work (maintenance or repair) is spent on repairing the MS-Windows machines, which another group is actually contracted to maintain and repair. However, if he doesn't do it, then it doesn't get done. The linux machines, fortunately outnum

    • Re:Ignorance (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ajs318 ( 655362 )

      Generally Windows servers need more attention

      Yes, but the most common form of "attention" a Windows server requires is for someone to hike the power lead out, wait thirty seconds, shove it back in again and press the "on" button. You probably could even train an animal to do that. {Any anecdotal evidence ..... "meet Rusty, the four-legged MCSE" sort of thing ..... is welcome .....}

      Unix {including Linux} only ever stops working for a Good Reason; so Unix sysadmins actually have to do hard work rea

      • And that's a major thing I love about *NIX and hate about Windows...

        Deterministic failures.

        If something breaks in *NIX, chances are its not a fluke, will break again reliably, and it is obvious where to look for a log message to see what happened. If it is intermittent, it may be hardware related, and the error messages will still be helpful in providing a clue to that effect.
  • "Key findings"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by altgrr ( 593057 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:23AM (#13337585)
    There were no real "key findings" in the article. Is it really worthy of Slashdot to mention a survey whose outcome was "well, it depends"? Never mind that, was it really worth writing the original article?

    Either the author had nothing better to write about, or they felt like inflating their ego a little by assuming that people in business are pretty thick and need to be told the blindingly obvious.
    • ...assuming that people in business are pretty thick and need to be told the blindingly obvious.

      Bingo! We have a winner! Of course, not every business is like this, but a fair number of them are. It may be that they've grown too quickly and have not been able to obtain or keep the necessary expertise in house. Nevertheless, sometimes these places really do need to be told how to run their IT systems.
    • Re:"Key findings"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:12AM (#13337734) Homepage
      "well, it depends" is usually the most truthful answer - no matter what the question is. If it is accompanied by a good explanation on WHAT "it" depends, it is usually also the most useful answer.

      Obviously, it is not the most simple answer. Unfortunately, most people prefer simple but misleading (or downright wrong) answers to correct ones.
      • I think we agree - I'd have had no problem with a well-justified, carefully-explained "well, it depends on this, this and this". To just say "well, it depends" is lazy and unhelpful.

        Of course, it could be an undercover Microsoft advertisement too, seeing as they're always banging on about providing lower TCO. Perhaps they're just hoping that managers will see an "independent" article as giving credibility to their claims... whoops, must keep control of my cynicism gland ;)
    • I would go further than that. The author seems to imply that it's very easy to calculate the TCO of a Windows box, network or server. Far from the truth. It's difficult to factor in Subscription (Dis)Advantage, countless patches, network bandwidth costs for patching, separate servers for logon, mail, proxy, file etc.

      At the end of the article, the conclusion is "Buying software without analysing all this is like buying blind"... atleast with Linux on the servers, the cost of the decision is negligible. With
    • Either the author had nothing better to write about, or they felt like inflating their ego a little by assuming that people in business are pretty thick and need to be told the blindingly obvious.

      Well business people are sometimes pretty thick, for example for a company that would be better off with Linux. But the PHB uses Windows and had a bad experience with Unix 20 years ago. The idea of him switching to Linux is just outrageous, because in his mind he is still thinking of all the expenses of using a
    • Re:"Key findings"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Magada ( 741361 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:44AM (#13337833) Journal
      Ahem. The article is actually a shameless plug for DD's employer, the Yankee group, which offers IT consultancy 'n stuff. No more, no less.
    • Is it really worthy of Slashdot to mention a survey whose outcome was "well, it depends"?

      I'm as sick of Yankee Group hype as much as anyone else, but to be fair to Slashdot I feel that in this one case it was worth mentioning: Laura DiDio has a history of making clue-free statements about Free Software; in this article she appears to have clued-up. That in itself was worth reporting[1].

      ...but aye, apart from that this is more of the same from a shill working for a shill-firm.

      [1] Though strangely I don'

  • by saigon_from_europe ( 741782 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:30AM (#13337610)
    Chances are, ... because ignorance of the core TCO tenets means that your business is not getting the most out of its networks.
    Why are people obsessed with measuring everything? Why does she believes that if something is unknown that it is suboptimal by default.

    For example: we have 3 servers (all Windows) in my company. Do we use them optimally? Probably, since we cannot replace them with any other software (to my great sorrow). Do we know how much each server costs us? No, and we will never be able to calculate that. Niether we care, as long as they do their job.

    Why should I measure something which is hardly measurable just to be able to say that I use something in right way?

    This is typical article where highly payed "analysts" try to spit obvious things in order to sound smart. As usual, they spit crap, but being so "well" informed about the subject, they even don't notice that.
    • "For example: we have 3 servers (all Windows) in my company. Do we use them optimally? Probably, since we cannot replace them with any other software (to my great sorrow). Do we know how much each server costs us? No, and we will never be able to calculate that. Niether we care, as long as they do their job."

      To be honest, I don't think you're in a position to really judge. 3 Windows servers (you don't mention how many of other OSes) implies a relatively small company.

      Try working at a company with revenues
    • Why should I measure something which is hardly measurable just to be able to say that I use something in right way?

      We read the article, which roughly paraphrases to "There is scary doubt", and the first thing that comes to our mind is to measure and analyze to remove the doubt. We are technologists. The article is not indended for us. A manager reads this, and the first thing that comes to their mind is bringing in outside consultants to assuage the fear.

      Now, who does Didio work for again?
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:33AM (#13337620)
    Ms DiDio's report [microsoft.com] has been here [microsoft.com] since November 2004.
  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:34AM (#13337624)
    I am one of those the author referred to who does not rate Laura DiDio's writing highly. Her latest article has no material I really take objection to. Actually, the latest article has no material. What does she say: a Yankee study revealed that no good data on the relative TCO of Windows and Linux servers was available; the TCO will vary from organisation to organisation; without knowing the TCO, it is hard to make an informed decision.

    Has anyone succeeded in resolving their problem of which OS to use based on this insightful article?

    • "Has anyone succeeded in resolving their problem of which OS to use based on this insightful article?"

      Sure.
      If I understand this outstanding article correctly it all boils down to word.
    • In order to work out the best OS for you, you need to look at the details of your organisation instead of blindly believing articles by the Yankee group to find out what's the 'no-one ever got fired for buying...' option.

      I say that's good advice.
    • I wonder how Kees Agelink was able to extract some average TCO numbers from the Gartner database for organisations using Windows vs. organisations using Linux and present us his findings at the may 27, 2004 NLUUG conference, while Didio seems unable to do a similar database lookup. Didio is the bigger TCO expert, isn't she.

      A summary of Kees's results for the curious: Linux is a few 100 dollars/PC/yr cheaper than Windows. It will take more than a year to recover the cost of migrating away from Windows to Li

    • They just babble and recite what they heard recently. Linux/OSS is slowly closing in on critical mass and standard procedure - just like everybody in IT predicted. Pupblic opinions adjust accordingly and the press releases articles that say: "Yeah, well, that TCO stuff we told you last year could be wrong because you can't do good TCO prediction without good data. [fill in appropriate external source here]"
      No, really? Wouldaya thunk!
      In two years we'll have the same people writing about how Linux desktops ki
    • Actually, this could be a useful article - any pointy-haired boss who's banging on about TCO of Windows being lower than any other OS can be shown this article, which clearly states that you can't know if you don't have the measurements... :)
    • Her article translates to....

      "you can say absolutely nothing about that which you know nothing about"

      This is NOT the equivelant of some sage wizdom from the Delphi Oracle...
    • What does she say: a Yankee study revealed that no good data on the relative TCO of Windows and Linux servers was available; the TCO will vary from organisation to organisation; without knowing the TCO, it is hard to make an informed decision.

      What she doesn't say: "We started out to do a pseudo-objective TCO study backed completely by MS. When we saw the results, even I couldn't spin them pro-MS. Therefore, to satisfy our contract deliverable to MS, we wrote some inane crap suggesting that TCO is so high

  • At first (Score:4, Funny)

    by HateBreeder ( 656491 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:35AM (#13337626)
    I wasn't sure why Dido was reviewing linux...
    I mean, she sings so well, why the sudden career change?
    • I mean, she sings so well, why the sudden career change?

      Because her publisher started using "copy protection" technology on her second album, meaning that I can't play it in my car CD player because it's not a real CD? It therefore became the first not-quite-CD I ever took back to the shop for a refund.

      Sorry, it's off-topic, but you did ask.

  • In related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zlogic ( 892404 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:36AM (#13337629)
    Zotob Worm Hits CNN and Goes Global [slashdot.org]
    Windows 2000 machines are infected. Linux and Unix aren't.
    I clearly see what that woman means.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In other related news, Windows 2000 is a six year old OS. Current versions are unaffected.
      • In further unrelated news, Windows 2000 is still supported by Microsoft. And further, Unix is more than 30 years old. Linux is more than a decade old. And further yet, upgrading desktops from Win98 to WinXP hasn't resulted in any great benefit to the end users - worse, it calls for needless upgrade in the hardware resources.

        I can go on and on...
  • but she offers excellent, neutral advice for any IT department considering a fundamental systems switch

    Since when does a statement like "If you can't properly account for your network, you can't discuss how much it's costing you" become "excellent" advice? That's just common sense. You can't make intelligent decisions on ANY business cost without having some metrics on what your environment looks like. This is true of routers and servers, and it's also true of paper clips and donuts.

    Have standards have s
  • Well, D'uh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anno1602 ( 320047 )
    TFA makes two main points:
    1. Without adequate knowledge about your IT costs, you cannot make informed decisions about lowering your IT costs.
    2. What OS (or combination thereof) is right for you depends on what you use it for.
    3. Thank you, Miss Didio, for these valuable insights.
  • by mrRay720 ( 874710 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:40AM (#13337642)
    Seriously, anyone who doesn't even have a clue how much their systems are costing them are only ever going to make it worse - and more expensive - by randomly moving to another platform because someone's friend told them it was free. Anyone making such kneejerk reactions without the figures also has a high probability of being a moron that makes anything they touch turn to sh*t anyway, making it doubly worse.

    In essence - if you don't even know what you're doing with what you have, don't make it worse by changing it to something else that's so different.

    I don't know if MS should be pointing this out in their marketing though - one one hand it's inherently true and a great way for them to fight the leaks to OSS - but it's also pointing out to the majority of customers that they're stupid.
    • If it's such a vital point to "have a clue how much their systems are costing" it's very difficult to put a figure on the costing in a Windows network as well. When you factor in the cost of anti-virus, the CPU and RAM resources needed to serve mails, files etc.; the lack of decent tools and scripts that can be run by the systems administrator in any decent network of over 50 systems etc. etc.... it soon becomes clear TCO isn't what we read in the mags.

      Having managed a network of over 300 systems for 4 year
      • Huh? I was never arguing the relative merits of Windows vs Linux.

        I was saying that if you won't even manage what you have at the moment properly, a half baked migration will just probably cause more problems & costs than expected, and it will end up being more expensive. Anyone so imcompetent as to not even have an idea of their system costs is also probably the kind of person to hand their existing admins a "Linux for dummies" book between them instead of properly cross training.

        Stop assuming that ever
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:42AM (#13337645) Journal
    Here's what she said a while ago... "But if Linux is really to take its place alongside Windows... then the vendors in this space cannot act like a bunch of hippies in a '60s commune or ashram"

    And now... "Neither server system will consume the other. Both will coexist..."

    Is it her point that Microsoft has in recent days started acting like a bunch of hippies in an ashram?

    Or she has acknowledged that Linux is not about free lunch or beer, but true freedom for the customer, and hence compatible with capitalism?

    Looks like after her FUD in the SCO affair fell flat, she's presnting more scientific FUD in doing a TCO comparison... why should she choose to study the methods of hippies, outcasts ans communists?
    -
  • Neutral? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polysylabic psudonym ( 820466 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:42AM (#13337647) Journal
    That doesn't sound neutral to me, it sounds more like:
    "We know that you, and everyone else on the planet, can see that Linux is cheaper so I'll try to convince you that you don't know enough to judge the TCO in the hope that you'll then take the easy option of sticking with M$"
  • Was there a point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ddx Christ ( 907967 )

    Was there a specific point to that article? It seems she tried to avoid any nitty-gritty details after her attempt at building a point that Windows isn't threatened by Linux, and vice versa. After that opening I expected something with more depth.

    Instead, she threw in mindless details of the very obvious and took on a condescending tone toward businesses in general; of course, she did toss in random facts and figures that stuck with the general theme. To be honest, it looks more like a rant with ramblings

  • TC0 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Gherald ( 682277 )
    > A New Look at Linux vs. Windows TCO

    I liked The 0ld Look [bsdnexus.com] better :)
  • McAfee virus scan update on Win 2K server. Requested a reboot. Dammaged System file and Windows won't boot. Known problem in MS's knowledge base; looks like McAfee's fault.

    Remote administration, project files, print server, ... gone.

    I could have fixed it, but didn't as I'm on other projects my boss would have my head if any of those slipped. Instead, it was (and still is) down and won't be repaired till sometime today when the admin (who I've been coaching -- while restraining the impulse to yell a

  • by OwlWhacker ( 758974 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:58AM (#13337690) Homepage Journal
    The biggest threat to Linux is not Microsoft, but rather integration and interoperability issues among various Linux distributions and their applications.

    Yes, this is an issue that needs to be resolved; but, to say that this is the 'biggest' threat is completely over-the-top.

    I would say that the biggest threat to Linux is integration and interoperability between Microsoft and Linux/Open Source solutions.

    Linux distributions don't use proprietary file formats, APIs and protocols. Microsoft can easily integrate with Open Source software. But if you're developing Open Source software that needs to integrate with Microsoft software, be prepared to pay up.

    Competition creates a win-win situation for everyone.

    So, why doesn't Microsoft make its file formats, APIs and protocols open and free (as in beer)?

    Why is Microsoft constantly in trouble for anti-competitive practices? The only conclusion I can sensibly come to is that Microsoft doesn't like competition.
  • by Kefaa ( 76147 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:01AM (#13337699)
    Regardless of what the original poster thought, she does not supply neutral advice. If anything, what I see here is an attempt to appear neutral, but throwing in veiled threats.

    Windows commands 65 to 70 percent of the server operating system market, while the Linux share stands at 15 to 20 percent
    What market? What segments? What percentage of computing power? When you say MS runs 65% of the market you imply (and this is where Laura also gets here reputation) that everything else is a marginalized entity.

    The high-level findings show that there is no universal clear-cut TCO basis to compel the corporate masses to do a wholesale switch from Windows to Linux
    Gee, one machine, operating system, language, et. el. does not meet all needs. And this was insight? To whom? If anything this should be more concerning to MS, but it is also a plug for MS (as the owners of the market). But she follows it up with:
    The majority of wholesale defections to Linux continues to come at the expense of midrange Unix installations...

    The we see her drive home the MS competes with its own products (because they are just so good you need not upgrade), while Linux competes with its poorly defined systems, lack of support and array of distributions.
    But, contrary to what the headlines would have us believe, the biggest threat to Microsoft's continued dominance, at present, is not Linux. It is older versions of Windows. The biggest threat to Linux is not Microsoft, but rather integration and interoperability issues among the various Linux and open-source distributions and applications. The lack of enterprise-level application support and documentation for the aforementioned software packages also is an issue.

    Sorry but this is typical DiDio, with some enhanced editing to ensure it give the appearance of being unbiased. But she hit all the MS talking points.

  • Well, it's nice to see someone rant at the wide number of incompetent decision-makers out there. I wish there were more details as to what some companies purchasing decisions were, and the circumstance were surrounding them, so that we could all go out and ridicule them.

    The nice part is that DiDio is basically pointing out that most companies can't make a TCO argument since they lack that basic element (i.e. a clue). Hence, she's someone poking in Microsoft's eye regarding all these TCO reports.

    The realit

  • If you do not know what is on your network, if you cannot at least estimate the hourly, monthly or yearly cost of downtime, if you do not know how long it takes to recover from a security outage, if you cannot answer questions about the extent of your company's license compliance, then you cannot truly evaluate whether Linux, Windows or Unix is right for your business.

    I think a strong case can be made that if your organization does not know these things about your own systems then chances are that you reall
  • Idiots can learn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chickenrob ( 696532 )
    When I switched to Linux on my desktop, I was forced to learn quite a bit more then I knew about my OS. Someone who switches to Linux because their frind told them it was better is in for a similar experience, and could end up saving his company untold fortunes by getting educated about his/her OS.
  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:19AM (#13337759) Homepage Journal
    The biggest threat to Linux is not Microsoft, but rather integration and interoperability issues among various Linux distributions and their applications.

    What a moron. Windows is not the biggest threat to Linux. That I can agree with. Windows is the best reason to switch to Linux. Microsoft isn't a threat, obvious patents filed by Microsoft are the threat. Sure, the patents are bogus, but it takes lots of money to fight off the hydra.

    I took the quote from someone else's posting. I refuse to give a hit to a site publishing her trash.

  • by taj ( 32429 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:21AM (#13337770) Homepage


    Didio is still the same old 'analyst.' Right there giving the Microsoft sales pitch with the same Microsoft paid for 'research.' This just represents a shift at Microsoft not with Didio.

    It is nice to see Microsoft is realizing the Get The Facts campaign failed and they are regrouping as Linux continues to advance.

    Linux is making big moves in the large companies and governments. The folks that do do their own TCO. Microsoft is just trying to infuse FUD here. "Did you do your own TCO?" "Are you sure Linux will save you money?" This is aimed at fighting the coattails that the big Linux wins will be bringing out of Microsoft's market.

    Microsoft lost the debate (TCO) because it was an impossible ground to defend. Now they are trying to appeal to charging cattle.
  • Then you have bad admins. A (good) network or system administrator has to know at all times what is on the network and investigate where the bottlenecks and other problems are. If you do not know that, then you are indeed in big trouble (or you have Windows administrators which do indeed not know what is running on their Wintendo). Then you should not consider what systems you are going to switch to, you have to consider what people you are going to switch to.
  • TCO... HA HA HA HA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:35AM (#13337812) Homepage
    Look, TCO is sales device that has gone amuck. Back in the 60s the mainframe guys came up with TCO to justify the purchase of more expensive iron against lest expensive systems by bundling the kitchen sink and some intangible, "soft" numbers with actual prices. TCO had all but dissappeared by the early 90s when Gartner suddenly came out with the now famous TCO report that applied the old TCO concept to newer computers. Sales people everywhere rejoiced because you could easily:

    Bundle software, hardware, networking and professional services and compare that against existing infrastructure and the IT departments salaries.

    Include whole cloth fabricated numbers such as "downtime costs" "lost productivity costs" and so on that existing systems have that superwhamadyne new systems don't have.

    IT executives liked TCO because the CFO like numbers. Salespeople liked TCO because they had underutilized MS Excel chops and could create pretty convincing slides with cost comparisons. CEOs liked TCO because they like bar graphs.

    Finally, the IT media which really could be rebranded as "PR Newswire for Dummies, Technology Edition" liked TCO because their articles took on an air of gravitas that they never had before.
  • by panurge ( 573432 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:38AM (#13337815)
    Strangely perhaps, I don't necessarily buy into the concept that if you do not know where you are, you need to find out in depth before you move. Yes, I'm biased: I work for a consultancy that advises people on business change, but we are solution neutral. We have spent endless hours of philosophical debate on the measure versus fix issue, and at the moment the fixers are ahead on points.

    If you do not know where you are, just consider the cost of finding out. If your solutions have grown all over the place, it can be ridiculously expensive to do the analysis in order to find out how much they are costing. The analysis you need to do, is what solutions do you need? Once you know that, you can do some sums.

    Often the analysis needed is a high level overview. If you have lots of users in similar environments all using home crafted spreadsheets - chances are you need to replace it all with some properly organised reporting from a database. Especially if you have reason to suspect that you have only 1 original copy of Office for a hundred users. If you have lots of users endlessly copying documents - chances are you need to document management system, a central repository, perhaps an internal print shop. If you have offices full of inkjet printers, you will save big money in consumables and reports by a proper deployment of laser printers. If you have loads of deskbound light email users all using Exchange server and Outlook - you are wasting an expensive resource because you could put them all on a low overhead server and Thunderbird.

    Once you know your needs you can do some planning - which may be to stick with the Windows you know and love and clean up the shit. But it might be that when you expose what people actually need to do, and how they need to cooperate and share data, you would be better off building on a Linux platform.

    Summary of that ramble: You do the TCO on where you need to get to, not on where you are today. Because it is practically guaranteed that you are wasting money today; you just need to find out where, in fairly broad brush terms.

    I guess that analysis is why I could never have worked for McKinsey and other obsessional bean counters. But ask yourself; if you suspect you are knee deep in shit, is it better to analyse the composition of the shit or to look for a ladder?

  • Only the dumbest manager would say "Oh, which platform has the lowest TCO? - we'll buy that exclusively"... because a opereating system in of itself simply does NOT HAVE A TCO!

    The TCO comes in EXCLUSIVELY at the application level. You should make TCO calculations at the Application level ONLY.

    What is the TCO to run PeopleSoft on Windows versus PeopleSoft on Solaris? That's a GREAT question, and it's highly dependent on the application and the organization it's going into.

    What's the TCO of Windows versus L
    • by pointbeing ( 701902 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:56AM (#13338141)
      Only the dumbest manager would say "Oh, which platform has the lowest TCO? - we'll buy that exclusively"... because a opereating system in of itself simply does NOT HAVE A TCO!...

      I'm afraid this is incorrect - OS have acquisition costs and maintenance costs. The person who applies an OS patch most likely doesn't work for free.

      One thing they teach you in Management 101 is that if you can't measure it you can't manage it. The argument that Linux acquisition costs less than Windows is essentially a moot point, since the biggest single cost in IT is personnel, not hardware or software.

      Salarywise I think a good Windows admin should command about as much as a good Linux or Unix admin, unfortunately the majority of Windows admins I've seen can't even spell enterprise, much less act as part of one.

      TCO is high because companies choose to trade skillz for salaries - and rather than hire a good Windows admin for $80-$80k a year or so, they go for the $45k inexperienced MCSE who's only demonstrated that he passes tests well. God help them when the $45k MCSE costs them a couple hundred thousand bucks in downtime because he couldn't figure out how to fix a problem.

      Friend of mine works for a major processed food producer and told me yesterday that all their Windows 2000 machines and some of the older Windows XP machines got hammered by Zotob yesterday.

      I told him that the patch to fix that vulnerability was released a week ago and there was an MS security bulletin on the thing - and that any admin worth paying knows that in this day and age, once the vulnerability is made public the worm won't be more than a couple days behind. Anyway, the company he works for apparently didn't think it was real important to patch the machines and Zotob took their entire production line down - costing them a couple million bucks, I guess.

      First thing I'd do is ask the CIO why the machines weren't patched and then ask for his resignation - but I would give him the opportunity to fire a couple of middle managers berfore I kicked him out the door.

      TCO? The main cost is and always will be good people.

  • "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."
  • Without trying to sound cynical, the reason she didn't recommend one solution over another was because no-one was paying for the research.

    Had Microsoft funded this survey, I'm sure the statement "then you cannot truly evaluate whether Linux, Windows or Unix is right for your business" would have read "then Windows is right for your business".

  • The excessive use of I and me make this an opinionated blog which doesn't lend credibility to her argument or 'findings'. In short, this is basically a troll.

    And nothing breaks up usability than interpersing links with iconic meta-data about their meaning.

    OOoooh a shopping basket next to the dell logo, give me a break.

    There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all operating system that is right for every scenario in every environment

    Well, if there is no one-size-fits-all than I do not assume one could be ri
    • She has covered operating systems and related security issues for 18 years as an analyst

      18 frikking years?

      In mid-late 1987 the security concerns were viruses on copied Amiga games. I think someone is polishing their resume a bit.

      Windows 3 wasn't even out.
  • DiDio often is written off by the Linux camp as being pro-Microsoft,

    Uh, no. She's widely regarded by everyone [slashdot.org] as being a mindless Microsoft shill [slashdot.org].

    She isn't just a TCO shell game drumbeater, she is actively and demonstrably anti-Linux. An article from her has about as much credibility as Baghdad Bob.

Mathematics deals exclusively with the relations of concepts to each other without consideration of their relation to experience. -- Albert Einstein

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