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Posted Feb 04, 2005

Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth

by W. McDonald Buck

W. McDonald Buck, retired CTO of World Bank, believes we need to take a more honest and frank look at the Cost Analyses it will take to put Linux on the corporate desktop. He thinks we may be fooling ourselves now. In this four-part essay he will address the real-world scenarios from small business to the the hard and soft costs that big-business CTOs look at when considering the corporate Linux desktop and what we need to know about making it a successful decision.

Part I: Desktops Without Windows – Financially Harder Than You Think

I'm a Linux devotee. I'm offended by the rigged analyses that Microsoft has purchased in its "Get the Facts" campaign. But I think it is important that the open source community demonstrate fairly that open source software presents a better cost/benefit case than Windows. This case is not helped by resorting to the same kind of trickery and distortion of which Microsoft is guilty. I don't like to see obviously skewed analysis on Linux's behalf any more than I like to see it on Microsoft's behalf. No that's wrong. I have a greater dislike of pro-Linux trickery, because I expect better of us. Without an honest and frank appraisal we don't really know where we are. Better to know where we are, even if parts of the truth aren't always palatable.

So I set out to review some of the TCO analyses I had seen on the net. To begin, I wanted to get a realistic assessment of how much one could save on a Windows-free computer purchase. It's at least erroneous, and probably intentional distortion, to use the Windows shelf price of $299 in a TCO analysis. Nobody pays $299 to get Windows with a computer. A fair assessment of what they do pay is the difference between otherwise identical configurations with and without Windows. That is what I wanted to find, and so I went shopping. I thought this would be a relatively straightforward number to get. Silly me.

When I went to IBM's website I couldn't find an option on their desktops to enable me to buy Linux (or anything other than Windows). After diligent searching I simply couldn't figure out where IBM had hidden it. So I called their toll free number for help. This is IBM – you know, the company that has invested more in Linux than any other company? The company who says "the future is Open". That IBM. The sales rep explained that IBM does not sell desktop computers without Windows. I thought at first I was just getting the run-around, that the guy didn't know what he was talking about and just wanted to get rid of me. But he explained that I was not the first caller to ask for this, that he gets these calls from time to time, and he has, he says, checked it out thoroughly. There is no option to buy a desktop without Windows. In fairness, maybe this is part of the reason IBM sold the PC business.

Then I went to Dell's website. I had had some experience there a couple years ago, and had a memory that their configurator would allow me to pick operating systems. I was right, there was an operating system selection combo box which offered the choice of Windows XP Home or Professional. Where is Linux? It took me a while to figure out, but at least they sell such systems. Dell has invented a whole new series of systems, "the N series", which have pretty much the same features available but come with no Windows. This separation makes it pretty hard to compare: you have to drill all the way down into the regular systems from the top, and configure. To compare you have to back all the way out, and drill in again into the N systems. I'm sure the difficulty in comparing the prices is just an accident, of course. I did this a few times, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, because the systems without Windows kept coming out more expensive. Eventually I stopped trying to remember, and carefully wrote out an exact configuration, one that was simple, and that I knew was available in both places. PIV 3.0G 800FSB, 512M/400 2Dimms, 80G 7200, 48xCD, built in sound, video & net, basic KB/M, no speakers.

The boxes with Windows are less expensive than the boxes without.

Did you go back and read that sentence again?

I tried a lot of configurations. I was looking at the Optiplex line, including the SX and GX 280, and the 170L, and I found a few where the Windows option costs $10-$20 more. Just a few. Mostly the Windows boxes cost up to $230 less when you factor in the big "instant discounts" which are available only on the Windows boxes. I called their toll free number too, and another polite fellow explained to me that they have this assembly line, and they are all set up to install Windows, and an out-of-the-mainstream order without Windows is hard to deal with.

At HP I had somewhat more success. I was looking at the HP Compaq DC5000 and DC7000 configurations which they claim are business computers. They are sold with and without Windows. They even show them almost side by side – though never exactly the same configuration, but they can be configured with the same cpu, memory, etc. Here a bit more sanity prevails – the boxes with Windows cost more than those without, usually by $60-$80, sometimes as much as $130. Of course, my joy was spoiled when I realized that every HP box of my chosen configuration which I costed without Windows was $100 to $150 more expensive than the Dell boxes with Windows.

For fun I also tried some other places, but I didn't look quite so hard and the vendors might have successfully hidden things from me. At Gateway and Sony I couldn't find a non-Windows option. At CompUSA they don't sell name brands without Windows, but they do have exactly one configuration of one brand I never heard of that comes with Linux.

This was not an exhaustive and thorough exercise of checking and documenting every configuration. Nor did I spend time analyzing the differences between the boxes – how many slots, how big a power supply, etc. Could be someone will point out that the HP and Dell boxes were apples and oranges in some way. Maybe.

It looks to me, however, like the Microsoft monopoly has such a stranglehold on the tier 1 manufacturers that it is now not possible for a corporate shopper to save money by avoiding Windows unless they are prepared to go outside the first tier (which brings another whole set of buying issues in organizations with strong procurement rules), or unless the size of the deal is large enough to merit special treatment. Of course, if you want a computer without Windows they are easy to find on the net. That is actually how I bought my last one without Windows, of course. Small businesses may buy computers this way if they have or hire somebody tech savvy to help them, but I don't think this is how your average homeowner buys, and I know it isn't how large companies buy.

In Part II: The Hard Truth about Linux on the Desktop – The Hard Costs I'm going to continue my attempt at a more accurate TCO analysis for the desktop, reflecting the hard truth that saving money on the Windows license isn't going to be the big money saver that some analyses have assumed.

Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth is a four part essay: [Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV]


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Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 3, Interesting)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 01:41 PM
Consider the longevity of the computer once it is bought and the money that may be saved by not upgrading as frequently. i've heard of companies upgrading solely to use the latest windows and ms office.

there's also licences associated with additional applications used that, although some are not as good as windows, will be "good enough" to warrant using.

the points made about the stranglehold windows has with oems selling pre-installed operating systems is also an interesting one. maybe deals like the one lindows made with a harddisk manufacturer might help alleviate this. oem gets harddisks with linux and "optionally" pre-installs windows, or similar. a point made elsewhere is also that the "big" oems will be the last ones to change and, if we are honest, linux still has a long way to go and it might not be as fast a change as some suggest.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 5, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 01:56 PM
It is much easier to see the difference on a server where the market is more mature. Just check out Dell.

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=04&kc=6W300&l=en&oc=sc420&s=bsd

No Operating System [free]
Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition 32-bit [add $799]
Windows 2003 Small Business Server, Premium Edition [add $1,299]
Windows 2003 Small Business Server, Standard Edition [add $499]
Red Hat Linux ES 3.0, 1 Year Red Hat Network Subscription [add $349]
Red Hat Linux ES 3.0, 3 Year Red Hat Network Subscription [add $999]

Nobody says you have have to buy a service contract from Redhat. The software is free to download from their website.

With Redhat you are buying a service contract, not software. I know of one company that doesn't understand this and pays RH close to $1M a year and virtually never calls them. For $1M a year they should dress in penguin suits and stand in the parking lot waiting for problems.

The real problem with Microsoft is that you pay once for the product and then over and over again for service. Plus their service is awful. Call one of their tech support lines and see if they can answer anything but the most basic questions. Linux lets you split the software from the service.

Jon Smirl


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 02:55 PM
I think you had a "more expensive" in there where there should have been a "less expensive". I think I would just try and come up with an average among all the places you tried. It may come out dead even price-wise, or maybe even be a little less expensive to do M$. But that only underlines where the real price difference lies: with the pre-installed Linux what, exactly, are you getting in terms of software vs M$? It's those add-on software packages that are likely going to make th big difference. I'm ready to believe that Windows is virtually free to the OEM's. But it free because it creates a huge market for all the stuff you need to use a computer for that go beyond the operating system. I think those add-ons have to be figured into the overall cost. So, be sure when you talk to them that you knwo what extra apps the Linux distros you're looking at contain. Do they have OpenOffice? Then you'll need to order your Windows PC with M$Office installed, or with a boxed set or CD along with the machine.


Another Important Point (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 03:24 PM

It's not Apple's to Oranges regardless and one reason for that is that the benefits of Linux deployments are far better served as diskless workstations.... Not necessarilly thin-clients per se, but more like LTSP or other net-booting options where dynamic configurability and total organizational integration is possible through X, Terminal Services, LDAP, and SAN. Unlike traditional thin-clients, systems of diskless workstations such as LTSP allow for a pick of what to run locally and what to run on the server(s).....And network bandwidth is generally less than the spikes that can occur from traditional PC deployments with file shares and the like.

For example: You start you terminal--it boots faster because you can receive data from a RAID array over the network faster than from a single hard disk. Next, your home directory is in the SAN, your email client and office applications run locally while your file browser and various less critical or high power-consuming applications run on the server.. Windows applications also run remotely on powerful Windows terminal servers. If the network goes down, no data is lost and all your critical apps work again as soon as it comes back up. If you need more power, you have it. If your terminal goes bad on you--which is unlikely because it's all solid state electronics with no moving parts--then you only need unplug and plug in another one from the supply cabinet. You can also access your desktop from anyone's desk....... And KDE's desktop sharing can enable help desk support to see and assist, on screen, with using software while talking to you remotely....even on the Windows applications (because it's running via rdesktop under X).

Overall, the network provides more power when/where needed, greater software selections, centralized and highly integrated administration, and far less expense in hardware, licensing, and administration/support.

This system is highly reliable, maintainable, versatile, and takes far less time/expense to administer.

Matthew


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 03:33 PM
That Microsoft charges more than Linux is quite obvious. If you take a look at the problem from another direction, Linux has (according to IDC) about 3% of the desktop market, just slightly more than Apple, as of this year. If you look at profit (Microsoft's. quarterly reports), they made about 3 billion US dollars in the last quarter. 3% of 3 Billion is 90 Million. I don't think that all of the Linux companies together made 90 million US in the last qurater (although I might be wrong, but the best RedHat has done is about 30 Million per qurater --not stunning, but clearly they are in a more competitive, price-sensative, customer-oriented market). I know that you can download Linux off the Internet (for the cost of the download), and have everyone in the company using the same copy (without any legal problems whatsoever, nor with any licence fees). If you want service from Linux based companies, usually you have to pay for it (which is how they make their money). You can cherry pick too, using the freely downloadable version of RedHat for example, and getting service from HP or IBM or CA or whoever offers the best deal at the time. I know that to bypass Microsoft fees, HP sold computers (in bulk) to China with FreeDos installed (they didn't install Linux as FreeDos is much smaller/faster to install, and HP doesn't get angry letters from Microsoft).


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Interesting)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 04:57 PM
Yes it is true that the tier 1 vendors make it hard (if not more expensive) to buy their hardware without windows, and I really hate this personally.

however in a TCO analysis this really doesn't matter much.

the cost of Windows isn't in the desktop licenses, it's in the server licenses, the server software, the cost of Anti Virus software (and other anti-Malware software, not to mention the cost of cleanup when this software doesn't catch the latest bug before it infects you), the difficulty in remotely administering servers (and the lower admin to server ratio required)

add to this the microsoft 'critical patch' treadmill and the forced upgrades ('Joe just got a new laptop with an upgraded version of Visio, now everyone else needs to upgrade to read the documents he sends out') and the TCO numbers look really bad for Windows.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 05:54 PM
I work in a small mixed shop (Some Windows some Linux) - a while back we purchase some HPs - 2 of the 6 had problems - yes HP fixed them but the failures still caused loses for us - before that we had purchased 9 Dells - one of which needed warranty repair and another failed two months out of warranty - again both cost us lost production - also most of the so called high end suppliers now offer stuff so proprietary that mixing old parts is not possible in fact usually even the Windows cannot be ported to another mother board. We now build our own - it may not be "cheaper" in up front costs - but - I know that we are getting good quality parts through and they are fully interchangeable and easily upgradeable and repairable at reasonable costs. With Linux I have pulled a drive out of a dead computer and put it into another box with a totally different mother board and had it up and running ready to use in minutes – 1 hour from CPU failure to having the user back up and running on “his system? just like he remembered it. Now that is some real cost savings from my point of view. Remember the article started out saying that it was looking at TCO not first purchase price.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 2, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 04, 2005 - 07:14 PM
My local IBM rep told me that if I ordered 500+ computers I could have whatever O/S I wanted that includes no O/S.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 02:13 AM

I've bought Linux on Dell desktop hardware. You have to purchase the "business" line (eg, Optiplex rather than Dimension). Dell tests the operation of these PCs against Red Hat Enterprise Linux and documents the results and work-arounds (noting that this is not as good as a design process which optimises for operation on both Windows and Linux, something that now happens with Dell's PowerEdge server line). You then specify a "factory loaded image" of RHEL (or anthing else for that matter).

Even Windows shops tend to use the "factory loaded image" option as it is a cheap way of getting your corporation's standard operating environment software loaded.

Only small business buys off the website in the fashion described in the article (compare www.dell.com and premier.dell.com), so the article title "corporate desktop Linux" is somewhat misleading.

Having written the above, Linux does have real issues showing itself to be better value for money than Windows. At lot of this is down the the quality of the distributors. I've never had a software company knock back a $5m order before, but two top-tier Linux distributors were so uninterested that they couldn't even get a rep to return my calls. At least Sun and Microsoft do that.

I'm also deeply unimpressed with the service offerings. Take RHEL, it costs more than Cisco IOS maintenance. Now let's compare the quality of the Cisco TAC versus the quality of Red Hat support: RH doesn't do 24x7 worldwide; RH won't have a person answer a P1 fault; RH don't assign an engineer to large customer accounts; RH support is "listed event" support, if you are outside of this then they can reject your request for help (compared to Cisco which takes ownership come hell or high water). All of this, and yet Cisco support the hardware too!

To my mind the real advantage of Linux is that it allows customisation. You can go stupid with this. But reasonably used it is very powerful (such as being able to use yum and cfengine to maintain thousands of desktoops). Linux also plays nicely with others, which brings less disruptive change like Active Directory (for example, a NIS+ to LDAP change can be pretty painless).

The other real issue with Linux is that the user interface is in a constant state of flux. That brings high training prices. Remember, half of our emplyees are below average, so you can't expect them just to cope.



Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 2, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 04:00 AM
Good story, looking forward to part two.

Here in Australia theres a store (they have a couple locations) where you can use their 'sytem builder' to configure a computer with windows or Red Hat Linux.
link here: http://www.adelong.com.au/ (site has frames, can deep link)
the price for RH is $37 AU and for XP Home it's $171 AU. Its a large difference, but this isn't a teir 1 provider like you are talking about. I know it's hard to find a computer thats not preinstalled with windows, it reminds me of the rally a couple years ago when people tried to get reimbersed for the OEM copy of windows on their machines.
thanks for writing the article.

EduSlice.com - It may help with school and stuff... kinda- I was hoping.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0, Redundant)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 04:38 AM
Dell Dimension "n" series in Dell/Small Business Check out the "n" series in the Dell Dimension PC's. The "n" series are the OS-less PC's that come with FreeDOS pre-loaded (so that Dell can check all functionality). I use one (right now!) with FC3. In all fairness I paid about $30 less for a 2400n as compared to a regular 2400 last year.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:34 AM
Hi, I Have a question for the author in regards to this. It is my understanding that for a corporation the cost of the license that comes with a configuration from Dell or IBM is for personal use only and therefore any business is going to have to cough up to Microsoft a second time anyway for these licenses. I don't purchase these directly for my organization, but I know this comes to a lot of money.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:48 AM
While I agree that a pragmatic approach to calculating TCO makes the analysis feel more real and applicable, I'm wondering if the comparison included the Windows equivalents to the major programs that ship with most desktop Linux distributions. A Windows computer will need to be configured with Microsoft Office at a minimum to match OpenOffice.org, and perhaps CD-burning software to match K3b, as an example. Although Office costs about $500 retail, we all know that few actually pay that amount, similar to how no one pays $299 for Windows, so I'm wondering if that levels the playing field in terms of price differences. If so, then a ramped-up Linux assembly line at Dell could potentially deliver a lower cost, though I suspect it wouldn't cost significantly less.

Purchase price alone isn't always the largest thing in a TCO as ongoing maintenance, both vendor-based and personnel-based, should be factored in. Even Microsoft emphasizes that. One of the largest examples I can think of is Anti-Virus software and the yearly maintenance of that for each computer. Many Linux distributions also have annual support options, and the cost of those can be factored in, though, as many know, not all companies actually buy support contracts for PCs, but some programs like Anti-Virus are essential on a Windows system. Depending on the company's needs, a Wine license may also need to be factored into Linux, but this heavily depends on whether or not that company needs it. Perhaps we need a web site that can calculate a company's TCO given a set of variables and needs to inform them which OS will likely give them more value for less money, which can very well be Windows for some organizations (though, hopefully Linux more often than not :-).


Corporate Desktop Linux - it wont happen, get real!! (Score: 1, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:51 AM
First off, you can buy a generic PC with no OS. If people would support their local computer stores and stop buying cheap, crappy Dells then they would go home with a better product.

Who says that you can not have Linux installed on a computer you take home from any computer store? If I purchase a copy of Red Hat and want it installed on a computer I'm buying from a store, I will ask them to install it on a new partition and the computer will be dual-bootable.

Red Hat costs 39 dollars for a shrink-wrapped version. At least I have some say over what I want to use rather then put up with a lousey OS I would normally want in the first place.

I can install Linux on a Mac instead of using MAC OS X, that is my choice.

So your argument is not cogent. the only problem is the public's lack of education or using their brains and realizing their freedom of choice.

Linux will not be embraced by everyone and it wont see its way onto every desktop. the only solution is for someone to produce an OS that is a clone of Windows and not an emulator.

I would buy a product that can perform like Linux or MAC OS X, is inexpensive and will run my Windows applications natively.

otherwise, linux is dead in the pan.



Joel Philip
http://www.learnoss.com


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 06:17 AM
Dell is likely the lowest cost vendor, and it doesn't surprise me that a single special order (without OS) computer is higher cost. But what about buying in quantity? Organizations migrating to Linux would probably be buying dozens, if not hundreds of identical machines. Or replacing an OS than Microsoft has sunset (Windows NT or 98) without buying new hardware.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 06:18 AM
I think what you really want to know is "how much is a windows configuration really adding to the price"

I used to work at a computer store where we assembled computers. He could have called any such store and asked "Hey I'm trying to determine the cost savings between buying a computer with windows and the same hardware without windows. Could you give me an idea of how much an OEM windows license, both professional and personal, costs?". I think $60-$80 is a good estimte to how much it costs the OEMs.

Anther matter is the office suite. I would imageine the full office pro would run about $200 oem. So saying that using linux and open office will cost you $260 less is pretty accurate in that regard.

Now of course if you are only going to purchase a single system it's going to cost dell or whoever more to make what is essentially a custom system. Now if you are a corporation (the article is about corporate desktop linux), you should call up dell and say I want 1500 machines and I don't want an operating system. At this point things will add up. The machines come in and your IT folks spend a week or so installing the machines. This includes booting the machine up and doing a 30 minute network install of linux and the applications you need on the machines.

But what about the added cost of installing linux on 1500 machines? Well you just saved $390k ($260x1500) in licensing costs which wont have to be paid again in 3 years or when ever your MS subscription would run out. Then add in the fact it takes fewer people to manage 1500 linux machines than it would the same number of windows machines. Also consider the dearth of viri, spyware, etc. (remeber we're talking about total cost of ownership).

There is so much more to it than getting dell to give you a discount on a single
machine.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 06:32 AM
Another issue commonly overlooked is parts quality. I work in a large educational
institution which has a "special" relationship with Dell. We have had no end of problems with parts failing in the PCs purchased from Dell. Will you factor in this cost problem? On the other hand I bought several quality PCs from Los Alamos Computers with Linux installed. I have had very few problems with these boxes as they carefully select quality parts. If you go to this vendors page they quote Windows XP at $180 above Debian or Ubuntu which both work fine. So to summarize:

Many "Tier 1" are able to sell cheap PCs because they use inferior parts. If you buy quality products from a Tier 2 seller you will see the $200 difference in OS because these sellers do not get the M$ kickback.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Interesting)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 06:43 AM
I'm not so sure that this is a valid argument against Linux on the corporate desktop. I have yet to work in an true enterprise-level IT group that allowed new PCs out "in the wild" with an as-shipped OS on the hard drive. Without exception new PCs get wiped and reinstalled with a preconfigured system image and applications because the cost of the time involved in hand-configuring and securing 500 new PCs is prohibitive. Of course, this requires that the enterprise have its own site license for Windows and the company's standard applications, which adds another layer of cost on top of what used to be referred to as the "Microsoft tax."

My solution for this would be ditch the site licenses, saving a few 10s of kbucks, and wipe the box with a preconfigured image of your favorite Linux distro, set the hostname and IP address (unless your enterprise uses DHCP) and send the box out the door. If your image is kept up-to-date, you don't even need to run patches on each box.

Just my US$0.02


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 06:55 AM

As someone else pointed out, Dell's server config page has a "no OS" choice, so you can see exactly what they want to charge for RH or Windows.  Hot deals sites like Slickdeals.net often show Dell's end-of-quarter deals o­n systems like the 400SC and SC420 that are quite comparable to the system specs you listed.  How cheap without OS?  As low as $249.  Deals in November and December were at $289 for 2.8 Ghz systems, plus tax, free shipping, year warranty.  Just enter "400sc" or "sc420" or "4700" in the "Search / News Archive" o­n the left. 
These are sometimes "after rebate" deals, max-5-per-person, but I've never had them lose a rebate, and the check gets here in 6-8 weeks. 
That's not the end of their goofy pricing, though. They'll charge $30 to install a floppy o­n a system o­n the main config page, but if you leave it out and call back later to order it, it's $21 shipped.



Does Mr. Buck really exist (Score: 3, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 07:03 AM
How come no one can find any information on this mysterious retired CTO of world bank. I find it hard to believe that a bank CTO would not show up in a google search. It looks fairly obious to me that this is likely a click bait article.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 07:10 AM
Interesting. It is indeed true that for large corporations, that buy in bulk, Linux might not turn out to be much cheaper than Windows. This issue however addresses only the procurement stage. I'd like to read all the four parts before I comment.

Good luck.!


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0, Troll)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:08 AM
Has evidence like the one elicitated above by W. McDonald Buck be brought forward in the Microsoft anti-trust case?

From what I have seen in the mainstream IT media, the anti-monopoly case has been focusing on (1) OS market monopoly, (2) bundling software with the OS (IE and MediaPlayer), but here a completely new aspect is raised: OS + hardware monopoly, i.e. you either CANNOT buy hardware without paying for a particular software AT ALL or you get FINANCIALLY PENALIZED for it.

Somebody go tell the lawyers.

Regards,
Jochen Leidner


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:14 AM
This article is totally off base. Believe it or not, most home systems are actually white box and not name brand, if you group all of us local shops together. There is a very real price difference. Windows XP PRO OEM costs 148.00. WIndows XP Home costs 98. If you buy a system from our shop it's priced with no OS, we'll load your valid copy or sell you one or load linux for you. So you will save 100 or 150 depending on which version of windows you were gunning for, regardless of hardware.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:43 AM
Another item you didn't figure in your analysis: Technical Support. Almost all of these vendors won't give you _any_ technical support if you tell them you are running anything other than Win2K or WinXP. Got a bad keyboard, it's obviously your keyboard driver and not a hardware problem; got snow on your display, this is clearly a problem with your Linux configuration. In every case you _have_ to have a dual-boot computer if only to reboot to follow the technical support monkey scripts.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:49 AM
There is one that that could actually cause systems with Linux on it to be cheaper than the Windows alternatives - Windows site licenses. When you purchase a windows site license with support, you pay X dollars to be able to support up to Y desktops. The size of the contract will vary. Generally the company will have their own custom installation with their own custom packages automatically included.

The problem with this is that you now have a license to install windows on all these machines, but you need to purchase the hardware, which as you've already pointed out is quite difficult to buy without windows included. So in effect you end up buying windows twice for each machine.

You can argue that the site license is really just a support contract, which means that you shift the cost to a different part of the TCO, but the cost is still there.


Microsoft tax applies even if you go with Windows (Score: 1, Interesting)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:52 AM
If you're looking at a larger oranization, it is quite likely that they are covering all machines through a volume license deal already, and that usually includes the operating system as well as application software. So they too are paying the "Microsoft tax" when buying a Windows license with the machine.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 10:13 AM
I don't understand why enterprise is so stuck on buying brand name comptures. I realize DELL, HO etc offer "support". But really how often is that support conveinent or easy. If hardware fails someone onsite still needs to be able to diagnose the problem.

With components so cheap, it just does not make sense to me at least on the desktop level. If a users harddrive fails install a new drive. If the sound / video go, replace the in expensive all-in-one motherboard.

More often than not, even with super cheap computers it is not the hardware that borks, it is Windows getting owned. In which case a quick restore from a ghost image should solve the problem.

I mean from about $300 you can get 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD, MB w/ sound and video, and a decent CPU. None of the compentents costs more than $75 dollars. To replace any one of those components takes about 10minutes tops. With the exception of the harddrive, which takes a little more time to restore the software. But even then, if a good company wide bare-metal restore image has been created, this should take virtually no time.

This is how I run my hosting company. Dirt cheap boxes, and a good baremetal restore. If a server or any component dies it is 30 minutes tops to be back in business. I do this on critical machines too that demand 100% uptime. On the web it is a bit easier, because I can have multiple machines doing the same thing. On the desktop, 30 minutes of down time seems pretty acceptible.

The only down side is there has to be a few components kept on hand. But given the inexpensize nature and small size of the components we are talking about a small closet would certainly do. For good measure I'd keep around a few Power Supplies and fans. But I know organizations stock pile large amounts of laser printer toner, which usually costs more than any one of those components mentioned. So the financial burden of having a few parts around is negligible.

I realize also that companies at one point used to do this strategy before DELL and the other big guys came out with cheap boxes. But the times have changed. The integrated components, have made generic PCs so simple. There is no need whatsoever to pay for support. If its broke replace it. If the software is screwed up, nuke it. I guarantee there will be more problems with Windows, than with the machines.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 10:28 AM
While this is interesting, it doesn't reflect real-world corporate IT purchasing.

If you're buying many desktops (say, 100+) you don't pay list price, never use the web site to generate quotes and everything is negotiable.

If you went to Dell, HP and IBM and said "I want x number of machines that meet at least these minimum requirements and come with Linux" you would get a better idea of what it would cost. Chances are, though, the savings will be minimal - the OEMs only pay $27 or so per copy of Windows they install. If they discount beyond that it's coming straight out of their margin.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 10:28 AM
There are simply not enough specialist banking apps, on non MS platforms
I work for a Swiss bank with 300 users who locally all using Windows desktops, and a mix of back end hardware MS/UNIX/AS400. We have 150 apps running and are currently expanding to offices in China, HK, and Singapore. We reviewed the use of UNIX terminals/VMWare/MS vs MS Terminal Server for the serving of about 12 apps to the Asia based users, since there was no way to support their desktops.
In the end we had to use a pure MS solution since there just aren't the number of specialist banking applications written for the Linux/Unix platforms, so we are basically stuck with the MS OS.

Traders make money so give them the tools they want... without stupid restrictions
Secondly, the CEO and head Bankers i.e. decision makers care more about satisfying the needs of their traders and analysts by allowing the installation of complicated and expensive fat client exotic applications (all Windows based) than on the higher principles of rolling out Linux.... because traders and analysts create bottom line revenue.
An evangelistic sysadmin will never get the better of our a suit+Powerpoint in a boardroom, unless he has a better way of GENERATING revenue.

Linux version churn is killing Corporate deployment, whether desktop or back-end
Linux public support for bug fixes can be superb, but rate of "version churn" for any distro is killing any semblence of stability for a Corporate environment.
We typically change OS and "Office" software of any system every four to five years, apply major service packs or updates twice per year, and change the entire infrastructure, every seven years
If Linux versions can have a release cycle like say Solaris, or the Windows Desktop, then we would consider it.
Otherwise we will wait and hope for a shift from Linux to OpenSolaris.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 10:41 AM
Interesting analysis - there has long been a surprising amount of 'secrecy' as to exactly how much PC Vendors pay Microsoft for their Windows Licenses. I suspect that you may cover this later, but it is probably worth taking into account a couple of other issues:

1. The more OSS software you use, the more you are likely to save - the corporate desktop is not just the OS, but also includes the Office Suite, Anti-Virus, email, etc. You might have more joy pricing computers with and without MS Office.

2. TCO studies also need to take into account running costs (including support) and longevity - it would be interesting to find out whether or not Linux computers are used for longer or not.

mrBen


Microsoft OEM windows discount (Score: 1, Informative)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 11:41 AM
I think what you are seeing is the effect of the MS "OEM windows discount", whereby OEM's have to pay *much* more for *every* copy of Windows they install if they sell more than a certain percentage (about 5-10%) of machines without Windows installed. Microsoft calls this a discount - which can be up to 40% off the cost they pay for installing windows - for staying true to the MS line, but it has now turned into a tax of sorts. Even advertising such confugurations costs the OEM's dearly - if they don't say the "recommend" windows in their ads/brochures, they could lose that valuable discount on *all* copies they install.

The cost/benefits exercise just doesn't add up for them - they end up subsidising the minority non-windows (i.e. linux) lines by having to pay much more for windows on their majority lines. It just doesn't add up for them to either advertise or supply too many linux machines at the expense of windows machines.

Apparently this is legal, too. This is one of the benefits of being a monopoly - you get to make up the rules, and no-one can argue with you if they're unfair.

-cybervegan


Hmmm... not in my experience (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 12:08 PM
Hello

I just bought a new computer for the members of my family that can't just use Linux because of constraints from their work (scientific applications that they need for their work and that aren't available for Linux). All that follows is in CAN$.

Computer (bought in pieces, because I like a lot to put together my computers): AMD64 3000+, MSI NEO2 motherboard, 512M DDR RAM, 120G SATA HDD, DVD+/-RW, silent Antec case. All this for 1151$.

I also bought licences for ms winxp pro and ms office 2003 and the bill hiked up with another 670CAN$ (219$ for winxp pro oem and 359 CAN$ for ms office small business oem).

And of course, putting together (physically) the machine took 30 minutes. Installing suse linux 9.2 on a partition took another 30 minutes, including security updates.

Installing windows and office on the other partition is a still ongoing adventure, after three days, with a two installs sequence, because putting the SP2 on winxp and then the sp1 on the ms office simply broke down the installation; with needs for anti-spyware and and anti-virus (that simply eats my time and processor power most of the time). Not to say that I needed to go get firefox and thunderbird separately from the internet in order to become mildly function. And have to mention that I needed to pay 100$ for DVD writing software too. All this money and time just bring the windows installation to the half of the functionality of the free linux installation.

Now to speak about TCO, doing the comparison on the same machine:
* Linux install: 30 minutes, 0$, huge selection of fully functional software for development, multimedia and all-round internet connectivity
* Windows install: 3 days (so far), more than 800$, only half (or even less) of the functionality I need.

To me personally, Linux won the fight 10 years ago (when I started using it exclusively for my own needs). Too bad that my family's needs, as dictated by the exterior world (and driven mostly by monopoly practice on behalf or microsoft) force me to shell out loads of money for utter garbage.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 01:16 PM
Many of the comments to this article have mentioned that most corporations will still need to install application after they purchase the machines, and that this must be factored into the TCO. They go on to say that an accurate comparison would be the cost of Linux + OpenOffice.org versus the cost of Windows + Microsoft Office.

This is a mistake.

OpenOffice.org is available for Windows as well as Linux. So if OpenOffice.org is an acceptable solution for a corporation, the valid comparison is Linux + OpenOffice.org versus Windows + OpenOffice.org. Otherwise you have to consider Linux + Crossover Office + Microsoft Office versus Windows + Microsoft Office.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 02:44 PM
Is it enough to get Windows to work with a PC or laptop ? No matters if your at home or working in your small company, you need Office, antivirus software and some sole other stuff that maybe costs nothing, but, Office and the antivirs has some cost added to the evaluation.
Also, this is a kind a of "home" evaluation because the author just searched through Internet selling options, but, in general, companies buying PCs or laptop have to deal with partners of the vendors. For example, it's an unusual situation to buy 500 PCs through the web.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 03:03 PM
Well, mister McDonald,
It seems to me that your opinion about the fact that the license cost is not the foundamental piece on the TCO is very serius and I agree with you that thera are more important fact that we net to raise up.
BUT
The argument that you use (a windows computer costs less than a computer without windows) is not the right argument.
And you have not said anywere that in your requirements you are searching a computer with a preinstalled linux distro.
So I can freely assume that this is not an issue in your search.
Starting from this assumption whi not to buy a "windows computer" (if this cost less) an then put the win os in the trash can?
And then install linux?
The result is that a Linux computer costs exactly as a windows computer (assuming that you are not interested in the "preinstalled" distro).

I Agre.. there is no advantage but there is also not a disadvantage.
Then start from here your calculation for the TCO, because if you start with the consideration that a windows computer start with less costs that a computer without windows you are starting from a wrong assumption, given your requirements.

Regards


am i the only one to buy a dell and delete windows? (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 03:08 PM
Seems pretty simple, if the Dell Windows computer is the cost effective solution, then buy if for the hardware - then erase it and install linux - immediately.

(I actually have a matched pair of Dell 4600 computers, one with windows and one with (currently) Ubuntu.)


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 03:17 PM
It is true that Dell does not sell any computers without an operating system ;-).

However, Dell does sell a couple of models with a FreeDOS CD-ROM in the shipping box; you must install it yourself, or install the OS of your choice. On their web page, near the top, is a search facility. Select "Systems" in the drop-down box and type FreeDOS in the text box, and click search. The search returned three choices for me (YMMV). The cheapest at $319 US included 2.4 GHz Celeron, 40 GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, audio and video on the motherboard and 128 MB "shared" memory. And, of course, a FreeDOS CD.

This appeared to be cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell system with Windows, which was $349.

I've tried a couple of Linux systems (SuSE and Ubuntu) on it and I found I had to add more memory to get things like Open Office or Eclipse to open and to respond reasonably quickly. The other systems were more expensive, and offered more performance. But the "easiest" way, relatively speaking, to find them was to know to look for "FreeDOS" on their web site.


Thin client, thin client, thin client (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 03:32 PM
Thin client.

It can't be said enough.

Either no disk at all, or just enough to boot up and run Xwindows. The user never logs onto the machine on his desk, he logs onto a server and uses what's on his desk as a screen, keyboard, and mouse. Lower costs for the machine at the desk, which is what this article is about, and lower adminstrative costs overall.

If you try to use Linux exactly the way you use MS Windows you make things more expensive. Anybody recall the Lexmark word processors from the early 80's that had a big knob on the side of the screen so the user could scroll the screen in the same fashion they used to "scroll" paper in a typewriter when turning the knob attached to the platen?


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 03:40 PM
Nobody really uses the preinstalled windows on a PC in the big/medium corporate locations, they restage them with a customized version with thier apps on it. Its not uncommon to have to stage the OS, a service pack, configure the security options on sp2, apply a bunch of hot fixes. Then install MS office, apply the sp, then the fixes. Rinse and repeat with whatever else you install. Dont forget the antivirus part has to be placed on the box in a clean network enviroment before your done. Reapplying patches on a large organization and keeping the virus scanner up to date is a full time business for a lot of companies. Failures to do this in a timely manner, are marked with large outages from virus/worms ripping thru the network. Restaging servers/PC, restoring lost data, blocking router ports, and other general havoc. How does one compute TCO on a virus taking everything out and then having to fix it all(firefighting), then having to buy yet another product to help it from happening again? Or the tracking down of a trojan that is trying to replicate itself thru smtp/mail, and fixing it.


Homeowners take the out of box version shipped with the vendor version. They take it home, try to get connected to the Update service on thier cable modem/DSL, and update the virus software. Many time, they are infected within seconds, long before these patches are really in place. Many times they will attempt to disable the antivirus first. Its a real mess, I recently fixed a computer for a friend that had 31 different trojans on it, all the while norton appeared to be updating but not quite working.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 04:00 PM
In a corporation that's a Windows shop, o­ne buys the box with an OEM Windows OS, and most usually the corporation signs up a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for a number of seats. Note that the MS EA does not cover the base OS, but it allows o­ne to install patches and upgrade during the EA covered period, so if the box is refreshed, a new base OS has to be bought.
One can postulate that the cost of the base machine with an OS whether Linux or Windows is the same because the market (especially Tier 1 vendors) have distorted it in Microsoft's favour, and that has to be taken into account in the TCO calculation. However, it is the EA license cost that will mostly tip the business case into Linux's favour.
One point Linux advocates have to concede is that there are far more Windows literate administrator out there and so the resourcing costs of a Linux support team is much higher, e.g. in a team of 6 admins with 2 Linux and 4 Windows guys, you can't run a 24x7 support o­n Linux but you can o­n Windows.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 04:02 PM
At Dell (and probably all the Tier 1/2 desktop vendors) the base SKU for the model includes MS Windows. So even a PC purchase with Windows, still has windows included. It is a pain to have this changed. I believe that MAJOR customers (like Microsoft) can order with a different SKU that doesn't include the cost of Windows.



Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:08 PM
Don't buy from Tier 1 manufacturers. You are much better off having one of your consulting firms build your boxes from scratch. That way you will know you have first rate parts, and they will be easy to repair because none of the parts are proprietary. It will cost maybe %5 more per box, but save you tons of money in the long term. Plus you can have them install your customized image of Linux while they are at it, which you are going to have to do, anyway.

You know, all the Tier 1 manufacturers together are only about 30% of the market. If they were so hot, their share would be much higher. Part of the reason it is so low is that so many smart organization build their own computers, or order them from reliable white box companies.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:36 PM
I just recently had to set up a huge new Linux lab at NCSU in North
Carolina. (200+ computers) Dell offers Linux on their desktop systems.
Just not on the Optiplex or the Dimension lines. You have to buy their
Precision workstations. (RHEL also Works on the optiplex GX270 fine
even though its "not supported" ;)

I think this makes sense since the Precision models are the only
ones you can get Nvida graphics cards with. Dell has Linux support
for Red Hat. I guess they need to do a better job on letting
people know that on their web site though...


GET A REFUND ACCORDING TO THE EULA! (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 05:47 PM

The Microsoft EULA entitles you to get a refund of the cost of the software (Windows) from the manufacturer that sold you the hardware, if you do not accept the EULA and do not run the software.

Find out from the different manufacturers what kind of refund you get - most will try to tell you that Windows is only worth $10, though will be reluctant to sell you Windows at that price separately :-)

You can find out more here:

http://www.computeruser.com/newstoday/99/01/26/news4.html

http://linuxjournal.com/article/7040

http://www.talkroot.com/archivee/index.php/t-17_Getting_a_Windows_Refund?.html

http://www.netcraft.com.au/geoffrey/toshiba.html

That oughta net you the value of Windows with the hardware :-)

Harry


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 1, Insightful)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 07:02 PM
Who is this guy really? Why can't I find a previous reference to a W. McDonald Buck as CTO of the World Bank? pro-Linux FUD is NOT a good move, guys!


He Who Controls the Bootloader (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 08:48 PM
Let's try this this without the clickable link,

http://birdhouse.org/beos/byte/30-bootloader/ ,

even though Tim O'Reilly himself has a page devoted to BeOS and Scot Hacker's demise,

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/627 .

Dan M


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 09:41 PM
Why is this supposedly reputable person looking at web based programs for procurement costs? For any large purchase, tier 1 vendors send out sales representatives for contract negotiations. You'll have to see then, the price difference that the representatives add/subtract for the same hardware when choosing linux. That'll give costs that are closer to what corporations pay for the linux factor. Truth is, you are also going to need to factor in the costs for helpdesks depending on which Linux distrobution. Novell/Suse Linux versus Redhat (Tier 1 Linux Distrobutions). Just from personal experience Novell is better suited for the desktop, and has much better central management. What I am really saying is that Redhat has virtually non-existent central management. This factor will impact the TCO of linux.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 05, 2005 - 09:53 PM
A long time ago, in a State far away from me, a man bought a Dell computer with Windows. When he turned it on, he decided not to agree with the terms of the user license, and set about trying to get a refund.

He eventually sued Dell in small claims court, and won an amount equal to the retail price of the version of Windows installed on his PC.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 06, 2005 - 12:16 AM
The ironic situation that you discovered on Dell's website has been true for a number of years. I worked there for 6 years. It used to be (and may still be ) that you could not buy a Dimension system without Windows on it. The Optiplex line, which is marketed toward business and government, is available with no OS ( the N-Series) but is usually more expensive in this config than with Windows. The N Series came with a DOS diskette. This and the higher price are the result of contracts Dell has with Microsoft.
It is possible to buy Servers with no OS or Linux (RedHat) and it was and may still be possible to buy Precision workstation with Redhat. Servers with no OS are less expensive than those with Windows but the situation for desktops is a little skewed.



Walmart, Lindows, Linspire (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 07, 2005 - 05:05 AM
Take a look at walmart.com I bought a system there a couple of years ago with no OS. Now I understand they offer Linspire (formerly Lindows) pre-installed.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 07, 2005 - 09:32 AM
A few thoughts that come to mind

Cost to buy Linux vs. Windows pre-installed, why shouldn't there be a difference?

Yes, in theory Linux is FREE ($, pounds, Euros, etc.) and Windows costs ($). However, for a company to install Linux on a system, and, presumably warrant that it will work with the computer's hardware will require a technician's time and that time is money. Linux isn't exactly the easiest of things to get running properly so you do need a properly qualified and experienced "hacker" to set up the system for Linux to work COMPLETELY out of the box.

On the other hand, Windows comes with a well defined hardware support list towards which the manufacturers will build AND TEST, and merely requires an automated system that writes the particular version/configuration of Windows to disk. Yes, there's a licence for Windows but you don't have to pay a technician for an in-house solution for only a few boxes.


Premium charged for Linux

Companies will no doubt see Linux users as a bit of a cash cow. Someone buying Linux pre-installed isn't messing around. They have an agenda and/or reason for wanting Linux, and, ironically, chances are they will be willing to pay a premium (above Windows pre-installed) to meet their needs. Volume = profits. Thus, on lower volume sales they have to recoup investments through higher pricing.

P.S. If you'd like to see premium pricing in effect, check out Terrasoft Solutions. They're an Apple-authorised value added reseller of Apple branded laptops, desktops and servers that installs their own Fedora-derived flavour of Linux. Their hardware is more expensive than that provided by Apple but they seem to have a thriving business.


Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I don't imagine too many will see this post this far down the page ;-).

Sincerely, Eric D. (e-m-a-i-l hideme666 at hotmail dot com)


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 07, 2005 - 11:21 AM
I was amused by Mr. Bucks experience trying to buy a IBM PC with Linux.
Does anyone remember the OS/2 - Windows war? IBM vs Mircosoft?
Years ago I worked in a pure IBM shop. Everything we had was IBM, so we used OS/2. When we got our new PCs, we had to format the drives and reload them with OS/2, because IBM didn't sell PCs without Windows!!!
The Windows monopoly isn't maintained by Microsoft, it is maintained by the rest of the business world.


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 10, 2005 - 01:16 AM
Invoice price is academic. The true cost is buried in the lifecycle -- not the OS per se -- of the machine. Between 1992-2000 DOS and then Windows machines at the World Bank were being bought and prematurely depreciated and retired every two-years. The cost per box with Microsoft OS was just part of the far larger human cost managing the process, not to mention troubleshooting and support. Even after Y2K, the cycle continues at the World Bank -- and across the business world -- perhaps at a slightly lessened pace. Dell and Microsoft, in consort with the buyers responsible for IT standards and purchasing in institutions and enterprises like the World Bank have a huge mutual, vested interest in preserving the lucrative budgets and contracts that these short lifecycles ensure (budget equals jobs and pensions). All parties have guarded this status quo and will continue to do so until something more lucrative comes along.

A low invoice cost per machine based on Linux, even if readily available cannot break the Microsoft hegemony in the foreseeable future, and even with a generous 3 - 4 year lifecycle doubt it would compare even with my business's tried and true Mac OS X environment with its 5-7 year cycle (yes, we have a core of G3 iMacs on OS X.3 as mainstream desktops with expected phase-out in 2007).

Of course a wild card in the platform status quo could well be the wide ranging and costly security vulnerabilities of Windows, or simply the fact that Microsoft is an unpleasant vendor and business partner.

-- Malcolm Ross, Annandale VA mross@keydistribution.com


Re: Part I: Corporate Desktop Linux - The Hard Truth (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2005 - 11:05 AM
Medium-to-large companies often don't purchase their PCs the same way you did. They find the model they want, and buy dozens or hundreds of them. It is common for these companies to send a disk image to Dell/HP/whoever of the way that you want the PCs build, and that's how they are shipped to you.

At the same time, the company often purchases a bulk license agreement with Microsoft, and doesn't pay the OEM for the license at all. These licenses typically have to be renewed yearly.

A Linux desktop saves you not only from the initial license cost, but also from the renewal cost.




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