August 30, 2004 12:24 PM PDT

Switching to Linux picks up steam

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About a third of businesses plan to migrate at least some Windows machines to Linux, according to a recent survey, but adoption will continue to be both slow and cautious, as companies evaluate a maze of economic factors.

In a report on total cost of ownership for the Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows operating systems, research company The Yankee Group found that only 4 percent of businesses planned to migrate Unix servers to Linux within the next two years. A total of 11 percent intended to move Windows servers to Linux, while 21 percent proposed to add Linux servers to a predominantly Windows environment.

On the desktop, 36 percent of businesses expected to have a few Linux PCs in their business, but only 5 percent planned a total migration to Linux. A majority--57 percent--planned no changes for Windows on the desktop.

The report cites a number of factors for corporate caution in moving to Linux, most notably the increasingly complex calculations required to determine whether such moves are cost-effective.

"All of the firms would like to reduce the amount of up-front capital expenditure dollars they spend on expensive Windows and Unix software licenses," the report found. "However, they also recognize that in certain instances, a wholesale or significant switch to Linux might reduce up-front costs but result in higher overall costs."

Factors to consider in such a cost analysis range from interoperability with existing applications to the relative scarcity of trained Linux support personnel. "The establishments that have or are seriously considering Linux bemoaned the present dearth and high cost of skilled Linux administrators, even as they praised the open-source operating system's ease of use," the report stated.

Such concerns may loom larger if a company is governed by a central IT strategy, which would discourage a piecemeal approach to technology adoption, Yankee analyst Dana Gardner said.

"The position companies need to look at is whether there's a tactical or strategic role for Linux and open source," Gardner said. "They're looking at what would be a strategic platform that's fully integrated and supported."

The report found that even businesses that were relatively satisfied with Windows are making some use of Linux, however--as a bargaining chip in negotiating with Microsoft on further purchases. "We have no intention of switching to Linux," an unnamed MIS manager is quoted as saying in the report, "but we do find it useful as a stone to throw at Microsoft."

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ridiculous
this article makes it sound like linux is nothing more to major corporations than a barganing chip with microsoft to get lower prices. what a load of crock. these companies should be switching to linux, if they were smart would have started transitioning awhile ago, both on the server side and the desktop. it may be expensive to switch if you're already tangled into a microsoft mess, but the long term cost savings are enormous. paying microsoft inflated fees vs downloading your software from the internet and customizing it in-house? you can "get the facts", the real facts, by just using your common sense.
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux not for everyone
I personally would advised banks, and pentagon type corporations to stay clear from open source OS's. Too dangerous for future terrorist attacks and computer hy-jacking.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Link Flag
ridiculous
this article makes it sound like linux is nothing more to major corporations than a barganing chip with microsoft to get lower prices. what a load of crock. these companies should be switching to linux, if they were smart would have started transitioning awhile ago, both on the server side and the desktop. it may be expensive to switch if you're already tangled into a microsoft mess, but the long term cost savings are enormous. paying microsoft inflated fees vs downloading your software from the internet and customizing it in-house? you can "get the facts", the real facts, by just using your common sense.
Posted by (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux not for everyone
I personally would advised banks, and pentagon type corporations to stay clear from open source OS's. Too dangerous for future terrorist attacks and computer hy-jacking.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Link Flag
The users need a packaged product, not a jigsaw puzzle
It seems like you boys in the world of Tech need to be spanked back into reality by us end users on every one of these little issues, so I feel a duty to state the obvious to the Linux true believers: the vast majority of end-users, be they small businesses, schools, colleges, or individuals, do not have the capability to customize the OS and need a reliable packaged product. Don't be wagging your finger at businesses for using Linux mainly as a bargaining chip; instead consider yourself lucky they are even willing to waste any time on it at all. The fantasy model of the programmers, that businesses and governments are willing and able to pay for competent technicians to customize do-it-yourself ware, doesn't fit the real world options these institutions live with. Until a Linux-based packaged product shows up preinstalled and ready to go in desktop PC's, and satisfies the public need for unity, simplicity, and compatibility, expect Linux market position to go...nowhere...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lucky?
I don't really agree with your point of view and here is why.

First, I don't know why you would say lucky to be looking at Linux. I actually sell Linux based solutions to small and mid sized companies and so far but one client has complained about Linux. I've seen my own business grow largely in the last couple of years. You say that's not true and I say: not everyone needs customized apps.

Many businesses only need things like email and a web browser. Others need a web site with some set of features but be it Windows or Linux they don't create it themselves but rather hire someone to do it for them so I don't see how a prepackaged Linux solution would help them out. Maybe you are talking about ERP or CRM solutions in which case I can only say: so? This solutions still need customization be it Windows, Solaris or your OS of choice. If you don't have in-house people to help you out you need to pay for outside help or learn it yourself.

Secondly, I think you haven't been reading tech sites lately. HP just released an out-of-the-box working Linux laptop. Dell has some hardware. I've installed Linux distros (FC2 particularly) on Compaq and IBM laptops, on HP, Dell and even no-name PC's without having to do ANY changes or fiddle with kernel or other things.

Whether you or I like it or not Linux is winning ground on many fronts. It is a mistake to just deny it and say the world is flat and burn all those who say otherwise. The best approach is to analyze when Linux/Windows/MacOS/Your OS makes sense and when it doesn't.

I do agree that Linux has a long way to go in many aspects but hey when the majority of the COTS are made Windows only it's not precisely an easy task porting things to Linux.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
here we go again
Perhaps you are the one in need of a spanking, sir. Heard of Red Hat, Novell, or maybe IBM? These companies are more than happy and able to take your business to the next level with better products and service than the fat-bellied Microsoft could hope to do, at a fraction of the price. And yes, these are Linux (and open source in general) solutions.

Phooey to Microsoft. Phooey to them and their employees for engaging in anti-trust activities and phooey to them for doing so well at locking their customers into proprietary, expensive, and second-rate software solutions. Phooey to them for using their monopoly to artificially super-inflate their profit margins.

Yes, I am a techie turned business-man. I'm nearly done with my Bachelors in Business as we speak, and will be working towards my MBA next. Beware my breed, because there are many of us, and we are the future of business. We don't believe in the "solutions" of the past, and we have bright ideas on how to drive down technology costs and drive up profits. The companies that you have created will be unable to compete technologically because you will be locked into one solution that is clunky and slow, while we have the freedom to change and innovate at any time. Be wise; free yourself while you still have the chance.

And don't dis the geek. We have much more power than you think to determine where technology is going, and most of us prefer open source solutions to proprietary ones. After all, it is us that creates the technology.
Posted by (54 comments )
Link Flag
The users need a packaged product, not a jigsaw puzzle
It seems like you boys in the world of Tech need to be spanked back into reality by us end users on every one of these little issues, so I feel a duty to state the obvious to the Linux true believers: the vast majority of end-users, be they small businesses, schools, colleges, or individuals, do not have the capability to customize the OS and need a reliable packaged product. Don't be wagging your finger at businesses for using Linux mainly as a bargaining chip; instead consider yourself lucky they are even willing to waste any time on it at all. The fantasy model of the programmers, that businesses and governments are willing and able to pay for competent technicians to customize do-it-yourself ware, doesn't fit the real world options these institutions live with. Until a Linux-based packaged product shows up preinstalled and ready to go in desktop PC's, and satisfies the public need for unity, simplicity, and compatibility, expect Linux market position to go...nowhere...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lucky?
I don't really agree with your point of view and here is why.

First, I don't know why you would say lucky to be looking at Linux. I actually sell Linux based solutions to small and mid sized companies and so far but one client has complained about Linux. I've seen my own business grow largely in the last couple of years. You say that's not true and I say: not everyone needs customized apps.

Many businesses only need things like email and a web browser. Others need a web site with some set of features but be it Windows or Linux they don't create it themselves but rather hire someone to do it for them so I don't see how a prepackaged Linux solution would help them out. Maybe you are talking about ERP or CRM solutions in which case I can only say: so? This solutions still need customization be it Windows, Solaris or your OS of choice. If you don't have in-house people to help you out you need to pay for outside help or learn it yourself.

Secondly, I think you haven't been reading tech sites lately. HP just released an out-of-the-box working Linux laptop. Dell has some hardware. I've installed Linux distros (FC2 particularly) on Compaq and IBM laptops, on HP, Dell and even no-name PC's without having to do ANY changes or fiddle with kernel or other things.

Whether you or I like it or not Linux is winning ground on many fronts. It is a mistake to just deny it and say the world is flat and burn all those who say otherwise. The best approach is to analyze when Linux/Windows/MacOS/Your OS makes sense and when it doesn't.

I do agree that Linux has a long way to go in many aspects but hey when the majority of the COTS are made Windows only it's not precisely an easy task porting things to Linux.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
here we go again
Perhaps you are the one in need of a spanking, sir. Heard of Red Hat, Novell, or maybe IBM? These companies are more than happy and able to take your business to the next level with better products and service than the fat-bellied Microsoft could hope to do, at a fraction of the price. And yes, these are Linux (and open source in general) solutions.

Phooey to Microsoft. Phooey to them and their employees for engaging in anti-trust activities and phooey to them for doing so well at locking their customers into proprietary, expensive, and second-rate software solutions. Phooey to them for using their monopoly to artificially super-inflate their profit margins.

Yes, I am a techie turned business-man. I'm nearly done with my Bachelors in Business as we speak, and will be working towards my MBA next. Beware my breed, because there are many of us, and we are the future of business. We don't believe in the "solutions" of the past, and we have bright ideas on how to drive down technology costs and drive up profits. The companies that you have created will be unable to compete technologically because you will be locked into one solution that is clunky and slow, while we have the freedom to change and innovate at any time. Be wise; free yourself while you still have the chance.

And don't dis the geek. We have much more power than you think to determine where technology is going, and most of us prefer open source solutions to proprietary ones. After all, it is us that creates the technology.
Posted by (54 comments )
Link Flag
Try it you might like it.
I just installed Xandros 2.01 on a 400MHz Celeron box at home and couldn't believe how easy and fast it was to set up and use. It was recognized instantly by my router, peer-to-peer network, and shared devices. Compatible with my existing printer when a Mac iBook with OSX wasn't. Feels like windows with no security threats. OpenOffice works great. Now if all the major software vendors would distribute ported applications, we would have a real alternative to windows on our hands.

Get on the ball application developers. Give us a choice.
Posted by DAL (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try it you might like it.
I just installed Xandros 2.01 on a 400MHz Celeron box at home and couldn't believe how easy and fast it was to set up and use. It was recognized instantly by my router, peer-to-peer network, and shared devices. Compatible with my existing printer when a Mac iBook with OSX wasn't. Feels like windows with no security threats. OpenOffice works great. Now if all the major software vendors would distribute ported applications, we would have a real alternative to windows on our hands.

Get on the ball application developers. Give us a choice.
Posted by DAL (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The window of opportunity is opening.....
...for Linux in the business environment at all levels. The OS is, arguably, ready for prime time. The question remains: Can the open source movement now develop a sound business model that will address a meaningful reduction in total cost of ownership -- not just an inexpensive entry.

Microsoft has predictably painted itself into a corner, but the enterprise will most likely choose to deal with the devil they know rather than roll the dice.

The open source movement must develop and employ a strategy for the long view. That's what we're talking about with regard to skill sets and, more importantly, the product's ability to play well with others as enterprise scales up and demands more from its implementation.

Microsoft used a well-oiled marketing machine to manage its smoke and mirrors. What will the Linux community do differently to provide developers with the incentive to adequately tackle these issues? When the momentum is in place, the skills will follow.
Posted by djugan (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
inexpensive entry
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mitsubishi_eclipse_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mitsubishi_eclipse_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by George Cole (314 comments )
Link Flag
The window of opportunity is opening.....
...for Linux in the business environment at all levels. The OS is, arguably, ready for prime time. The question remains: Can the open source movement now develop a sound business model that will address a meaningful reduction in total cost of ownership -- not just an inexpensive entry.

Microsoft has predictably painted itself into a corner, but the enterprise will most likely choose to deal with the devil they know rather than roll the dice.

The open source movement must develop and employ a strategy for the long view. That's what we're talking about with regard to skill sets and, more importantly, the product's ability to play well with others as enterprise scales up and demands more from its implementation.

Microsoft used a well-oiled marketing machine to manage its smoke and mirrors. What will the Linux community do differently to provide developers with the incentive to adequately tackle these issues? When the momentum is in place, the skills will follow.
Posted by djugan (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
inexpensive entry
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mitsubishi_eclipse_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mitsubishi_eclipse_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by George Cole (314 comments )
Link Flag
The problem is Microsoft is becoming very unreliable. It is very intrusive and slow by using tiltbits and other schemes to bow to the RIAA rather than customers. Security updates allow viruses to get into your computer without any control. There is no security with Microsoft because they obviously bow to other interests. It is bedoming a very untrustworthy company. Linux servers are much faster and efficient, simply because the computer is not trying to assume too much control and second guess your everymove and treat you like a criminal, and you can actually know what is going on behind the scenes, or at least your IT guy will. That is much better protection than having a lot of unknowns. Businesses don't know understand how vulnerable they are. Your information is not secure if you use Microsoft products. They are constantly checking your machine and reading stuff they shouldn't be. There is no legistlation to prevent it thanks to the Patriot Act. There is no privacy at all because they could be doing and reading anything. A linux system set up by a few good IT guys will beat Microsoft any day. You let the fox into the henhouse with these guys. If Microsoft was at least decently efficient out of the box it would be better, but they've even screwed that up. It is just bad upon bad. I don't know who is making the decision on top there, but they must be braindead to customers needs and concerns of privacy, but more likely it is just bare bones contempt.
Posted by k123m (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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