The “Linux vs Windows” debate generally revolves around the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) issue. Decision-makers rely heavily on their assessment of TCO—which includes hardware, software, installation, maintenance and business process costs—when making IT purchases. Fresh fuel has now been added to the debate of which software system to choose, following a Frost & Sullivan study which indicates that high-priced Windows has a lower TCO than the “free” Linux. The problem of course is that this is a Microsoft-commissioned study. As it happens, in an independent study earlier this year of over 200 Linux enterprises, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) argued the opposite. Sophisticated management tools, the research argued, allow Linux management to be fast, effective and inexpensive, with far lower acquisition costs.
It is important to understand the dynamics of different segments of the market. The fact is that Linux on the desktop (with a mere 5 per cent share) has never been a serious competitor to the Windows OS (operating system) that has a market share of over 80 per cent the world over and in India.
It’s on the server side (read enterprises) that Linux is no underdog.