Windows 2000 represents a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than Linux over a five-year period, according to research from IDC.
The Microsoft-sponsored paper, Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing: an Assessment of Business Value in Selected Workloads, concluded that Windows 2000 gave better value in four out of five selected categories.
It was the result of telephone interviews with 104 US companies, most of which had Windows 2000/NT, Linux and Unix.
The report found Linux staff costs to be as much as 30 per cent higher than Windows. The weighting the report gave to staff costs tipped the balance in favour of Windows. Without the staff costs, Linux scored better in most categories.
"The study shows very clearly that up-front costs, including hardware or software, are not the most significant items contributing to the five-year TCO value," said Al Gillen, an IDC analyst.
"How long does it take to surpass the cost of software when you have a highly paid staff member managing the system? That staff member cost is there regardless of the original software and hardware costs."
The paper also warned the Linux community to fight against the kind of fragmentation that undermined Unix two decades ago. Speaking at the Linux forum in Boston last week, Matthew Szulik, chief executive of Red Hat, said he hoped UnitedLinux and Red Hat do not divide the Linux community.
He said there is room for more than one leading Linux distribution in the non-proprietary software market.
"More competition is good," Szulik said, slamming Microsoft in the next breath. "We have seen what happened over the past 23 years when there is [no competition]."
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