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2/14/2006
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Study: Linux Cheaper, Easier Than Windows

Stung by Microsoft's charges that the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Linux was higher than Windows, open source software interests sought this week to refute the charges in a survey of IT organizations that lists various developments--many of them new--in which Linux undercuts Windows in price and management complexity.

While Microsoft has been criticized for being lax in its security provisioning, the software colossus has moved aggressively in recent months to fix the problem. Indeed, since its initial criticism of open source software -- Microsoft's CEO once called open source software "a cancer" -- Microsoft has mellowed on the subject, hiring open source experts and working with mixed software installations.

Dennis said the EMS study found that enterprises with both Linux and Windows reported that 88 percent of them spent less effort in managing and supporting Linux while 97 percent said, worst case, it took the same amount of time to manage installations with both operating systems.

As for problem resolution, more than 60 percent of the IT installation personnel interviewed said they diagnose and repair problems in Linux environments in less than 30 minutes -- eight times faster than the industry average.

Dennis said FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) attacks on open source software have been particularly effective on the SMB market. He added that larger data center administrators are better able to sort through software issues. "Microsoft never did own the enterprise data center," he said. "IBM, HP, and Sun could make a better claim there."

"But Microsoft is very much the 800-pound gorilla in the SME market. The SME market is particularly vulnerable because they're usually more risk averse and they have less experience with Linux."

The EMA report indicated that Windows more than held its own versus Linux in some areas. Storage management issues for both operating systems were essentially the same for both, and salaries for administrators with combined Windows and Linux experience were similar.

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