While reading about Linux, randomly over the Internet cloud, I came across a news about a UK company specializing in tool and equipment hiring – Speedy Hire, which expects that switching from Linux to Windows will lead to a total savings of Â£1 million over five years (i.e. almost $A2.3 million). Microsoft has also published in a case study stating that Speedy Hire has junked the Linux and OpenOffice based systems running in its depots in favor of Windows and Microsoft Office. They found that personal computers were cheaper that required Windows XP Embedded OS using Citrix than the ones which required running Linux. But there still lies confusion when we talk of the hardware costs. You cannot save money by switching on Windows; unless you are running on very specialized software and hardware. It is comprehensible that standardizing on one system will bring vast cost savings.
So what can be the other possible areas where the company can make big savings? Speedy Hire expects to make it in support costs. It found the support cost of Linux to be expensive. The infrastructure manager James Fleming mentioned that they didn’t have enough good internal support resources and getting the support outsourced was expensive. In my opinion, would hiring a Red Hat Certified Engineer be costlier than hiring a Microsoft expert?
The other major question that was raised is the lack of automatic updates and security patches for the open source software. I, strongly believe in the fact that most of the major players have in-house Linux experience these days. Apart from this, it is not difficult to get consulting from major distributions like Red Hat, Ubuntu (canonical), etc. This of course is an internal matter of the management team as almost all the Linux companies offer a centralized management system. It might be that the company didn’t get a chance to gain suggestions from the key people who could have given better insights. This is not a failure of Linux, but lack of their internal management.
According to them, Microsoft solution has a competitive advantage as it costs less and is easier to maintain. The open source solution is more expensive as it requires more staff to maintain its functionality when compared to the solely Microsoft based solutions, which is integrated seamless solution from content creation to the user who’s viewing the content online.
Vis-Ã -vis, most Linux users get free support (community based), free upgrades, free bug fixes, free documentation and the top of all, free OS. They even need not pay a huge amount for enterprise Linux solutions or most of its accompanying software. The license for use is free of charge for Linux, i.e. you pay only for the installation costs and the enterprise support, while the software licensing costs of Windows was higher.
To sum up a few points, listed below are the key advantages and disadvantages of Linux over Windows:
- Better immunity to viruses and Spywares.
- Free upgrades.
- Open Source
- Perfect for multiple users – 100% FREE
- Unlike Windows!
- Fairly advanced installation when it comes to servers and distro like Gentoo.
- Preferred by experienced people. Though noobs have started to use Linux vividly.
For a common man, the transformation from Linux to Windows would be a difficult decision because the knowledge workers would feel that the applications which are relied upon are so entrenched in Windows. Agreed, that Linux deployment requires utmost planning, but the usage of Windows has actually a never ending set of issues.
The cue here is to sell to those organizations which are excited about the usage of Linux in their organizations and have a lesser number of people who know how to work on Linux. There in lies a scope to develop a niche set of users and developers.
I am anxious to know how the company actually saves money and can meet the targets.