Monday, April 04, 2005

The 2005 Linux vs. Windows TCO Bombshell

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a key consideration in the selection of application software, computing platforms and other components of enterprise computing architecture. So when a controversial annual Linux vs. Windows TCO survey is released by a prominent industry analyst, it is bound to create near violent worldwide discord between the warring OS camps.

The report by Laura DiDio of the Yankee Group is scheduled for announcement to the press today.

From my understanding of the TCO survey's Executive Summary (thanks to the electronic newsletter, W2Knews), it is full of surprises and bad news that will likely enrage the Linux and Open Source community. Here are some of the key points in the W2Knews article -- including a few findings that really shocked me:
  • "An overwhelming 88% of corporations report that Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Server 2003 operating system provides equal to or better performance and reliability than Linux in comparable usage scenarios."
  • Users rated security of Linux and Windows servers nearly equal.
  • There is no universal clear-cut TCO basis to compel the corporate masses to do a wholesale switch from Windows to Linux.
  • Patch management woes lessen for Windows, but are on the rise for Linux.
  • Approximately 20% of businesses will purchase outside indemnification for potential copyright infringement lawsuits.
  • The Linux market is beginning to experience "forking" or fragmentation among the various distributions and customized code which could result in major management woes.
I think that the last three findings are valid concerns for companies using Linux/Open Source systems and software. I don't have any facts about the magnitude of the related problems, but they should be addressed and minimized to prevent operating costs from spiraling upward and to lower barriers to Linux/Open Source adoption.

However, I really question the validity of the first three findings. In fact, if the performance and reliability findings were reversed, I would not be very surprised. Perhaps the survey participants were not representative of the entire corporate and IT management population.

Until I read this study, I do not feel comfortable speculating further about its controversial findings. However, I will investigate other TCO assessment reports.

TCO trends and data are too important to doubt.


At 8:58 AM, Ken said...


Let's say it in a few words: The report is made by Laura Didio. If you do a google search for that name, you'll find a lot of doubtful info about her "independent" position in those cases. She has been in troubled waters because of her off-center positions more than once.

Sadly, like in politics, anything that comes from her is usually taken with a grain of salt by many, many CIOs

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous said...


At 11:19 PM, Anonymous said...

Well, it seems not everyone agrees, but it's ok since this is an independent, non-bent towards linux nor microsoft site, right?

TC0 is a rather complex thing, that's for sure.

At 3:04 PM, ThePete said...

Based on internet traffic:

Windows users: 93%
linux: rounded up to 4%

the numbers speek. if it was more cost effective, and made more money, Linux would be number 1. but its not. thats just the way it is.

but much like the democratic Left, no one who fights for the man, will ever be believed.. no matter how many facts you have to shear away opinion.

At 5:44 AM, Anonymous said...


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