Linux costs more than Windows - that is the conclusion of the latest survey into the two operating systems, according to The Yankee Group.
You're entitled to feel more than a little sceptical when Microsoft commissions research that concludes Windows is better than the open-source OS from a total cost of ownership (TCO) perspective. Indeed, there has been a steady stream of these over the years from major research houses, always with questionable intrinsic assumptions.
The report was commissioned independently.
After researching IT managers and executives globally, analyst and author Laura DiDio says: "Corporate customers report Linux does indeed provide businesses with excellent performance, reliability, ease of use and security." However, she says, "hype notwithstanding, Linux' technical merits while first-rate, are equivalent but not superior to Unix and Windows Server 2003."
She says: "There's a clear bifurcation between the high and low ends of the market - everyone has a Linux strategy... even if it is just to use Linux as a stone to throw at Microsoft."
Many companies are looking at their OS strategies in the light of the rise of Linux, according to the report, but most will stick with Redmond for the time being. Just four percent of Unix and 11 percent of Windows businesses are to replace existing systems with Linux, said the report, and fewer than five percent said they would switch desktops to Linux from Windows.
Companies are well aware that, though Linux is free or almost free to acquire, running costs are high, whether enterprises roll their own support or pay the "hefty premiums for must-have items like technical service and support, product warranties and licensing indemnification", according to the study.
Other points made by the study show:
- Those who like Linux like it not because it's free but because it's more reliable (30 per cent), it's more secure (31 per cent) and because they fear being locked into an all-Microsoft environment (29 per cent).
- Most large enterprises will not install Linux as a front-line OS because it costs from 25 to 50 per cent more in technology support specialists than Windows.
- Over the next two years, enterprises will spend as much securing their Linux systems as they do now on their Windows systems.
- Most said they would migrate "a portion" of their Windows servers to Linux for specialised applications.
- Most switchers to Linux are coming not from Windows but from other flavours of Unix.