When an organization decides to invest in an operating system, there are many considerations to take into account. Cost-benefit analysis would play a large part in making such a decision. Market share could also play a part. A company, whose products are more readily available and supported, might seem like a more solid platform to go with. On the, other hand, market share is not all telling, and in some cases can hide the best kept Information Technology secrets. Another item an organization will take into account when making these decisions would be hardware requirements. Understanding exactly what will be required to run the operating system is absolutely necessary to make an informed decision. Other items to consider might include file systems supported, file processing, and backup capabilities. Programming and application software availability is another important feature that would play a role in such a decision.
This paper will discuss how the Windows XP and Linux/UNIX operating systems perform in terms of cost and market share. This paper will compare and contrast the two operating systems in the file processing, programming capabilities, user interface, and application software availability. The differences between the Windows XP and Linux/UNIX will be outlined, comparing and contrasting the two operating systems. The team will draw our conclusions from examination of a sample case where a decision is required between a Windows or Linux/UNIX architecture for a 500 person system. Cost
Determining costs in the world of Unix/Linux with its mixture of proprietary and open source applications can be difficult. This is especially true when compared to Windows XP, which is so widely distributed. In the end the cost is primarily in the service, rather than in the product, and comparisons need to take long-term issues of maintenance and support into account. In real situations, the makeup of total cost of ownership is unique, depending upon an extremely wide variety of factors, which include: Overall size of networks or systems in comparison.
Processor type, cost, and configuration.
Upgrade policy (and logic).
Cost of administrators for the various environments (including local hiring costs and continuing training requirements). Number of systems per administrator, and other tasks that an administrator can perform. Efficiency of operation.
User training costs.
Software installation and configuration costs, including license and certification. Excess costs added by license (Microsoft's new licensing scheme demands a license for every processor THAT COULD RUN WINDOWS, which would also include most Linux units, as well). Software maintenance costs.
Software upgrade costs.
General support costs.
One total cost of ownership comparison study was undertaken by the Robert Frances Group in July of 2002 using real-world conditions. The study compared Linux, Solaris, and Windows. In comparing Linux and Windows, it tended to verify the consensus over the past several years that Windows is about twice as expensive as Linux in total cost of ownership (Dooley, 2004, p.17). Another 2002 survey, by Cybersource, compared Linux and Windows in a 250 workstation network, finding that while salaries for staff running Linux are higher per annum ($376,000) compared to Microsoft ($345,000), the cost is more than offset by Microsoft licensing costs, at $282,973.50 against Linux' $879.95. The study assumed a three-year period. Linux also achieved savings through reduced downtime and improved performance. Results are given in Table 1 (Dooley, 2004, p.21). Table 1. Linux and Open Source vs. Microsoft Comparison
Savings by using Linux
Savings Percentage Existing Hardware and Infrastructure used
34.26% New Hardware and Infrastructure Purchased
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