Linux not a low-cost alternative to Windows

6 Apr 2004

About 90pc of 300 large companies worldwide have said that a significant or total switch from Windows to Linux would be prohibitively expensive, extremely complex and time consuming, and would not provide any tangible business gains for the organisation, according to a new survey by Yankee Group.

The survey further found that although Linux’s momentum is undeniable, the open source operating system will not dethrone Microsoft Windows as the leading server vendor in the next 2 years. And Linux desktops are not expected to make a perceptible dent in Windows’ 94pc market share between now and 2006.

The Yankee Group surveyed 1,000 IT administrators and C-level executives worldwide. Corporate customers reported that Linux provides businesses with excellent performance, reliability, ease of use and security. Hype notwithstanding, Linux’s technical merits, while first-rate, are equivalent but not superior to Unix and Windows Server 2003, according to the survey respondents.

“In large enterprises, a significant Linux deployment or total switch from Windows to Linux would be three to four times more expensive and take three times as long to deploy as an upgrade from one version of Windows to newer Windows releases,” says Laura DiDio, Yankee Group Application Infrastructure and Software Platforms senior analyst.

“The instances where Linux imparts measurably improved total cost of ownership (TCO) compared with Unix and Windows are in small firms with customised vertical applications or new, greenfield networking situations,” DiDio said.

By John Kennedy