Feeds

Desktop Linux vs. Windows - don't get emotional

You said it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Reg Reader Studies You've seen the raw figures behind Quocirca's look at why companies choose Windows over Linux or vice versa. Now, you're ready for the rationale - the real decision-making meat and potatoes that push a company toward or away from Linux.

Quocirca, working off responses from thousands of Register readers, discovered a couple things you might already suspect. Companies often consider moving away from Microsoft's Windows operating systems because of security concerns, issues with Windows stability and complex licensing agreements.

Thanks to a free response section in the survey, customers were able to be very candid about these troubles.

“Windows works great, as long as it isn’t connected to the Internet," wrote one reader.

"Anti-virus, firewall, and spyware programs, each needing separate licensing and yearly upgrades/purchases, make maintaining Microsoft powered systems a neverending drain on IT labour and cash," wrote another.

"Microsoft licensing is a nightmare! We use MS partner versions of XP on all systems, and it gets really complicated," wrote another.

Despite all these well-publicized objections to Windows, Quocirca discovered something not all that surprising - many customers are still loath to leave Microsoft. These customers said they're scared to move because of what they see as a lack of compatible open source software, user resistance to change, high training costs, high costs of porting bespoke applications and a dependence on Microsoft's Active Directory. Microsoft is the obvious standard on the desktop. This makes any obstacle a reason to cancel an open source move.

Where does this leave us?

"Perhaps the first and most important tip is to recognise that the question of Windows versus Desktop Linux does not necessarily have to be an 'all or nothing' one," Quocirca urged.

The move to Linux should not be an emotional one. Business executives don't respond to the "Microsoft is evil" approach with the same vigor college kids reading Slashdot while having their morning coffee.

IT staffers need to present a strong business case as to how a move to the Linux desktop can save money. This doesn't need to be a huge, sweeping shift at the company. It could be for a single group or department that can benefit from Linux from both a technology and cost standpoint. This means making sure the department's applications are available in the open source world, and it means a lot of compatibility testing ahead of the move.

"Make sure that all important components sourced externally are fully supported and acquired under a robust maintenance and support agreement," Quocirca said. "This will typically mean sourcing Linux and other Open Source components from a recognised supplier rather than working with free distributions downloaded from the Web."

The upshot of all this is that there isn't a simple answer. In the full study, Quocirca presents a few scenarios where readers said moving to Linux makes sense and many where it doesn't. The 20-page document has some solid balance for one of the IT world's more controversial subjects. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to all the readers who participated in this survey. You can sign up as a permanent member of our Reg Reader Panel whereby your brains are occasionally picked on a range of important topics. ®

Related stories

Extend your Unix skills
Linux versus XP on the desktop: Reg readers speak
Where, oh where, is my Windows firewall?
Debian drops mainframe, Sparc development

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.