decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 04:42 AM EDT

News from the UK about a major retailer switching to Linux on a mainframe for customer service. And a survey in Australia indicates a low level of fear of SCO. Ms. DiDio is still huffing and puffing, spinning her "independent" survey on TCO, but it's running out of gas. A word on EV1 from a competitor who is picking up a lot of customers. And finally, Microsoft is facing a midlife crisis, according to, if you can believe it, BusinessWeek Online. All in all, a nice start to the day.

First, from the UK, retailer John Lewis has switched its core customer service operations to Linux, on a mainframe:

"John Lewis has become one of the first UK blue-chip organisations to deploy Linux on a strategic business application.

"The retailer used the quiet period over the Easter weekend to install in-house Linux customer service software, based on IBM's Websphere application server on a new eSeries mainframe.

"Originally developed for Windows, the application is being migrated to Linux running on the mainframe because of concerns that Windows could not cope with the growing number of transactions, said John Keeling director of computer services at John Lewis. He described the Linux application as 'strategic'.

"The deployment is part of a wider project to upgrade John Lewis' mainframe to support expansion as the partnership takes on board the 19 Safeway stores it purchased from supermarket chain Morrisons last month."

And then a survey from Australia indicates CIOs there aren't buying SCO's story. Instead of fear, many of them are feeling a great deal of "enmity" towards SCO. Plans to go Linux are going forward:

"SCO'S pursuit of legal claims over code belonging to the Linux operating system has had no effect on plans by Australian chief information officers to deploy the software.

"According to an S2 Intelligence study carried out from August to December, many IT decision-makers felt a great deal of "enmity" towards SCO as a result of its actions. . . .

" Survey participants were unequivocal in saying their main motivation for using open source was economic. Vendor dependence and lock-in were key drivers.

"'Open-source alternatives to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office are seen as specific mechanisms for reducing dependency,' the report says. 'Even if the actual level of dependency is not reduced, Linux and OpenOffice/StarOffice are widely seen as mechanisms to reduce the negative effects of dependency.'

"Reduced administration was also seen as a by-product of an open-source deployment. This was as a result of the simple licensing requirements compared with proprietary software products and not having to audit software or keep records."

I wonder if Laura DiDio factored in the cost of having to audit software and keep records when figuring the TCO?

Sure she did.

The DiDio survey is still being spun, but some important details are starting to be noticed. In the BusinessWeek article, "Experts disagree on Linux cost benefits", some contrary information actually sees the light of day, if you read with discernment all the way to the end of the article. There, finally they mention Sunbelt being a partner of MS, although in the same sentence as the phrase, "independent survey", so the implications maybe haven't fully sunk in. Still, I find it very significant that they mention it at all, because when the survey was first released, it was spun as the first truly independent study. Now, thanks to some Yahoo warriors, they can't say that any more without at least a footnote or parenthetical notation that Microsoft is in this picture. The Sunbelt-Microsoft connection wasn't dug up by the mainstream media. They don't have the time. But they do at least acknowledge the fact, if not its full implications, once it is handed to them on a platter. That is progress. Really.

Here's the final part of the "heroic" effort to make it seem Linux costs more than Windows:

"'We think people are looking at TCO in a more balanced way now,' says Martin Taylor, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft and leader of the company's 'Get the Facts' campaign on Unix and Linux. 'For the most part, customers would concede the TCO discussion to Linux.'

"Users and analyst [sic] agree there are merits to the hype.

"A recent independent study by The Yankee Group and Sunbelt Software Inc. (which is a Microsoft partner) shows Linux won't necessarily provide cost savings and indeed could cost more depending on the details of the rollout.

"'When it comes to Linux, you don't get what you don't pay for,' says Laura DiDio of The Yankee Group, author of the forthcoming Web-based survey of 1,000 IT administrators and corporate executives. Among other conclusions the survey reached was that a majority of corporations with 5,000-plus end users say Linux requires from 25 percent to 40 percent more full-time support specialists than Windows or Unix, and that skilled Linux administrators in large urban areas command a 20 percent to 30 percent greater premium than their Windows and Unix counterparts.

"But DiDio says the big issue for businesses revolves around Linux vendors' restricted indemnity clause for products, which protect against damage, outages and legal disputes such as The SCO Group Inc.'s claim against IBM."

As you see, DiDio never runs out of steam, but the parenthetical partner info is like a pimple on the nose of her survey. And as for the indemnification nonsense, I think free is not a viable TCO factor, and yes, you can get indemnification from SCO for free, depending on certain factors. What I suspect happened is, SCO planned this spin from the beginning. First, they'd publicly call on IBM to provide indemnification, which they did, like frogs in a pond. The plan, I believe, was to say Linux costs more than Microsoft/SCO. The problem is, IBM didn't budge; HP offered indemnification for free; others, like OSDL, offered money for legal fees, and so forth. It ruined the plan, but it was all they had. So they went forward with a survey and DiDio reports, as if it were so, that indemnification makes Linux cost more. And it almost worked, if it hadn't been for those pesky Yahoo guys.

There is also an interview with Peter Pathos, President of The Planet, by Netcraft, who comments on the EV1-SCO story:

"Q. EV1Servers, one of your chief competitors in the dedicated server sector, recently signed an intellectual property license with SCO regarding its Linux servers. What is The Planet's position on the merits of SCO's intellectual property license? What kind of feedback are you hearing from customers regarding recent news developments in the SCO matter?

"A. There is obviously a very negative tone surrounding the recent license agreement between SCO and EV1. Robert Marsh and EV1 have been very successful since their inception, and I am certain this was a solid business decision for Robert. Currently, The Planet legal team is reviewing all information regarding the SCO lawsuits and alleged claims of infringement. At this time, The Planet has not entered into an agreement with SCO and does not support the legal stance of SCO. We believe SCO is alienating the open source community along with current and future potential customers."

The article says that in the last two months, more than 37,000 hostnames have moved to The Planet from other hosting companies.

And Microsoft is facing a midlife crisis, according to BusinessWeek Online, and it faces its biggest crisis in its history, thanks in part to Linux:

"Microsoft just isn't the phenom it used to be. After 29 years, the software giant is starting to look like a star athlete who's past his prime. Growth is tepid. Expansion is stymied. Bureaucracy is a concern. And a company that used to be so intimidating it attracted antitrust suits on two continents seems, well, vulnerable.

"The threats it faces are among the most serious in Microsoft's history. For starters, there's Linux, the software dubbed "open source" because the code is shared freely by developers around the world. With grass-roots and government support from Finland to China, Linux has become so popular that it's challenging Microsoft's core business as no rival ever has. . . .

"The question now is whether Microsoft is losing the dynamism it needs to retain that leadership. Is mighty Microsoft becoming IBM in the 1980s -- profitable but lumbering? Big but irrelevant? A giant but toothless? 'They are already less relevant now than they were 10 years ago,' says Michael A. Cusamano, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management and co-author of Microsoft's Secrets, a book on the company's success. . . .

"Linux poses the biggest threat to Microsoft since the Web burst on the scene in the mid-'90s. The 13-year-old operating system is attractive to tech companies and corporations alike because it gives them a viable alternative to Microsoft's products that they can modify at will. Also, since Linux computers run on the same processors as Windows and the software is available for free, for the first time Microsoft is confronted with competition that is cheaper to buy. Until now, Linux' momentum has come primarily at the expense of the Unix software in server computers.

"But corporations increasingly are adopting Linux as a viable option to Windows. . . . In a recent survey of corporate tech purchasers by Merrill Lynch & Co., 48% said they plan to boost their use of open-source software this year, and 34% of that subgroup are targeting applications that traditionally ran on Windows."

Where I am, I look out my window, I see it's raining. But when I look at my monitor, it looks like the start to a very pleasant new day.


  


UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS | 262 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here Pls.
Authored by: PJ on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:13 AM EDT
Pls. put corrections here, so I can find them quickly. There may be more than
usual, because I'm not set up on DSL today, and what a struggle doing this on a
(gasp) Windows box on dialup!

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:29 AM EDT
May I just say that the comment about Linux staff costing so much more than MS
staff may not have the affect that the FUD masters would like.
(speaking as a IT professional) ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

URLs etc.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:30 AM EDT
Add them here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Source software auditing
Authored by: lwoggardner on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:42 AM EDT
Just picking up on the suggestion from the article that you don't need to
control and audit open source software usage.

Certainly the auditing requirements under FOSS licencing are much less onerous
than most proprietary licences and this is the general point being made.

However, under the GPL there are restrictions on distribution for instance.

We've had some situations where some bright spark has decided there are
financial reasons to sell off our IT systems to a third party, an idea that
no-one would ever have considered when the systems were put together.

If this system is using some GPL software somewhere, then perhaps the GPL
conditions need to be considered as part of this deal.

If you don't know the GPL software is in there, you can't even have the
discussion and potentially you can end up in a very messy situation.

Not knowing who is running what software, FOSS or otherwise is a recipe for
trouble.

Grant.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft is facing a midlife crisis - this idea will help push them into a retirement "home"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:43 AM EDT
Microsoft is facing a midlife crisis - this idea will give them a few more gray
hairs.

Idea: Hunt down when Microsoft is holding a "road show" tour in your
area. They do this often and invite their users to one kind of meeting
(promotional by marketing)! They invite their Developer network in to another
type of meeting (promotional by marketing with a guest technical speaker, of
sorts)... AND they have a group now setting up .NET user groups for
PROGRAMERS.

The big idea is to go to these meeting and plaster the windows of cars with
LINUX FYI flyers AND hand out knoppix, or Gnoppix, or Devil LINUX, or other LIVE
CDs to those who are going in the door. It's freedom of speech, remember. They
can't put you in jail for this type of activity!

Be a Linux activist. Become active by educating the Microsoft user, no matter
where they meet. Just giving out these Live CDs to just one, or two, Microsoft
user(s) per week, if done by us all (chain letter style), will convert how many
by the end of six months!

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Sued in South Korea
Authored by: tuxi on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:46 AM EDT
According to many sources, including the International Herald Tribune, Daum Communications has sued MS over the integration of their IM client into Windows.

I guess you can now say MS sued as a monoply on three continents ;-).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Somewhat OT, but.....
Authored by: kberrien on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:46 AM EDT
A bit OT, but as we're looking at a larger picture in this story:

Anyone notice...

SCO FUD machine in full gear - "we have sued end uers".
- insert release of MS connection - Baystar: "MS told us to talk to
SCO"

SCO FUD almost totally ceases! Is it me, or was SCO expecting support ($$?) to
continue from MS, and when that was cut... tight lips, lets stay back for a
bit?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • but..... - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 02:13 PM EDT
Counter TCO FUD with our FACTS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:46 AM EDT
Check out this TCO tool for comparing the 5-year costs of Windows v. Linux.

http://www.penguinpros.com/Tools/tools_index.html

This model shows TCO is at least 50% less with Linux!

It is licensed under Creative Commons and is free for all to use. Even for commercial use. Enjoy.

They are working on a server edition coming soon.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:47 AM EDT
It's an interesting story but it's the kind of story that Slashdot, Newsforge, etc exist to cover.

Groklaw has always been clearly different from the other Open Source news websites because it gave facts and informed comment about legal matters. Please keep this focus. It is valuable, and it would be a loss to the community if Groklaw turned into just another Slashdot / Newsforge / etc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Studies in general
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 08:51 AM EDT
Maybe these studies would hold more weight if people with actual IT credentials
presented them with maybe some bullet points on just what they beleive TCO
actually means. Wouldn't TCO include things like your email system was down for
three days while your entire IT staff did the virus/worm dance and a bunch of
your employees had to work overtime since they had to communicate via long
distance with employees on the other side of the world? These are true stories
every large employer has. I think some of these intangibles including lost
productivity of using Office and Windows ought to be calculated and made public.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: gsarnold on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:00 AM EDT

PJ, you rock. Especially this little nugget:

The Sunbelt-Microsoft connection wasn't dug up by the mainstream media. They don't have the time.

Missing from the writing of all of the analysts and pundits is this simple realization: we aren't consumers any more, we're participants, and we aren't just going to sit around and let you keep shoveling garbage at us because our we don't have an alternative. Nowadays we have this newfangled universally accessible communication channel where actual thinking and creativity are honored. Just look at homestarrunner.com and tell me that isn't better and more entertaining than 99% of the shows on TV that don't end in "impsons". The truth is that Microsoft, the RIAA, the MPAA and TV broadcasters *ARE* in trouble *BECAUSE* they've been ignoring talent and focusing on the wrong things.

So, it's our job to do their job now? Fine. Good riddance. Let them smolder on the ashpile of history. It's time to thin the herd anyway. They have forgotten how to do it at all, let alone doing it well, and they are getting back what they've sown. We're gonna be juuuuust fiiiine with or without them.

What could be more encouraging!

---
-------------------
None yet.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: groovemaneuver on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:05 AM EDT

I love how these articles always mention how much more Linux admins cost. While I know that cost != worth, there's still that subtle suggestion that Linux/Unix admins are "worth" more.

So the way I see it, Microsoft themselves are saying, "Microsoft admins aren't as valueable or worthy of high pay as Linux and Unix admins". Way to go Microsoft! Demoralize your own believers.

I like how they conveniently avoid mentioning studies like those that IBM have conducted [PDF] showing that Linux & Unix admins can typically care for a much higher number of servers per admin, making the salary argument moot after only 10 servers. I don't know about you folks, but for myself, I can't imagine any "enterprise" having less than 10 servers.

---
----------------------
Chris Stark
Musician & Linux User

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services on Linux
Authored by: bb5ch39t on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:10 AM EDT
In this same vein, there was a recent posting on the Linux on zSeries (IBM
Mainframe) mailing list. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Child
Welfare Division, converted from HP-UX (HP UNIX) to Linux. It took two years.
Some of the comments relayed by the poster were:

<quote>
On April 12, 2004, the first users began logging in (much sweating and worrying
on the part of certain sysadmins). In first six hours, we have received
comments such as "... 'it is flying' and another was 'they must have put
another rat on the wheel'. It is nice to see smiles!" and "Mondays
have always been the slowest of the days I've noticed in the past, but today it
is really nice. The slowest transaction seems to be when you first sign on to
KIDS, but after that it is 'smooth sailing.' Thanks!"
</quote>

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:27 AM EDT
Linux requires from 25 percent to 40 percent more full-time support specialists than Windows or Unix,

I can see where this statement could come from, if it were only Windows (and not including Unix) misleading as it is. Just before I retired, I was contracting to a large telecom, to admin a number of Compaq boxes running True 64 Unix.

We had about 20-30 Compaq boxes and quite a few Sun boxes running various telecom applications. And we had about 15-20 Windows 2000 PCs on desktops, which some of us converted to Linux (some stayed on Windows -- some dual booted), all running an X-Windows application for access to our various Unix machines.

We had about 15 sys admins for Unix and one sys admin for Windows. Sounds bad, doesn't it.

But the Windows guy was busy all day long trying to keep the PCs going (especially the Windows server that connected them and did email/print). Those of us in Unix were busy all day, too, plus having periodic on-call duty, to provide someone available around the clock.

Now it really sounds bad. But, the Unix boxes rarely died (and it was usually hardware when they did), and had many times the computing power of the PCs. And they ran all the telecom applications, which were normally the problems we were working on. Other than updates (once a year, or so, plus an occasional minor patch) and hardware problems, we spent more than 95% of our time on the in-house telecom applications. Without those, we could have cut our Unix admin staff drastically. And the Windows PCs didn't have any real time telecom apps to cause problems, nor did they need 24/7 availability.

Keep in mind that there is no way that even a hundred Windows PCs could have replaced what a couple of our Unix boxes did, and there was no way they could have tied in to the remote backups (in a data center half way across the country), which were necessary for both application backup and system backup.

Another factor that chewed up the time of the Unix admins was planning for the future, working with the folks that built the on-line applications to determine what expansion was needed (people, machines, bandwidth, etc.) for their future developments -- we actually had a project manager (not a Unix type) who chewed up a fair chunk of our time with planning for the future (at least 10-15% of our time). The Windows guy wasn't in on this, either.

I could go on, but the point is that sys admin count for Unix/Linux versus sys admin count for Windows PCs can be extremely misleading, if you don't also include what each of those people are doing, and what is being worked on. For FUD purposes, this works in Windows' favor.


Larry N.

Figures don't lie, but liars DO figure.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux requires from 25 percent to 40 percent more full-time support specialists than Windows?
Authored by: ricerocket on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:37 AM EDT
I'd like to know the background of these admins. This is pure hogwash. I
administer Linux and Windows machines.

If your a Windows admin, just learning linux, then yes, it's going to take time
to learn new skills, and that is the only place I can see this as using
"more resources"

Once you have equal skills in either, there is no comparison. *everything* is
quicker and easier in Linux. Given the same IT Scenario, and admins of equal
skill on each platform, I can see no way that the Windows administration uses
fewer resources.

I can do patch management, complex updates, server builds, and troubleshooting
far faster on the Linux machines. There are typically no reboots. Read that
again. *no Reboots* on linux machines. Services can be updated, then simply
restarted. Kernel upgrades require reboots, and that's about it.

IIS stopped responding to "Control Request". Gotta reboot. Oh, you
can use a freely available PID "Kill" on Windows, sure, darn, that's
not working either. I wonder what this error means? Oh, just reboot the thing,
that fixes 80% of Windows Errors. In the meantime, I could have restarted a
fleet of Linux webserves remotely with DSH over SSH, or even just ssh'ing to
each box.

I don't bash Windows out of hand, because I have used it and do use it, but
there really is no comparison given the same skillset on either platfrom.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - Another way to look at groklaw
Authored by: blacklight on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:41 AM EDT
I was inspired by windley's short piece on the "Goddess of Social
Networking" at http://www.windley.com :

The groklaw community is a social network whose focus was originally created by
a single convergence event: SCOG's antics. And it is this focus that gave it its
life.

SCOG is not going to be around forever, so we should be looking around for
another convergence event: (1) the most likely candidate at the moment seems to
be Microsoft's original war against Open Source, which is currently punctuated
by as yet hesitant and somwhat bumbling efforts to find some formula for
coexistence; (2) I personally prefer the European fight against software patents
as the convergence event of choice, which we Americans could piggy-back on in
our effort to seriously reform our software patent award system.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - Another way lo look at the SCOG dispute
Authored by: blacklight on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:49 AM EDT
The devil is in the details, i.e. our analysis, while hell is in the lack of
them, i.e. SCOG's broad allegations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

could cost analysis be open sourced?
Authored by: chrism on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 09:50 AM EDT
I wonder if we might not turn the heat up on the DiDios of the world in the same
way that Linux turned up the heat on SCO Unix and Windows (and apache turned up
the heat on IIS). By solving its customer's problems for free better than the
closed, proprietary, non-free solution does.

Businesses want to be able to analyze the cost implications of software and
hardware decisions (among others). It is not easy to analyze such cost
implications. You can make educated guesses, but you can never be sure you
haven't made a mistake by starting out with the wrong simplifying assumptions.
So after you make your guess (and do analysis to support your guess), you try it
and see what happens. In some cases, you make more money than you lose. In
others, you lose more than you make, but you figure that out quickly enough to
fix your mistakes. In still others, you go out of business if your decision was
bad enough. Sometimes the mistake was bad judgement on your part: you should
have known better. Sometimes no one is at fault. Some problems are just so
hard that the only was to find out what works is to try ideas at random until
something works. Every field of human endeavor has some mix of these problem
types at work in it.

I think there is a strong analogy here to software development. Consider a
program like apache or the linux kernel. Their designs have changed over the
years in a similar process. The designers make educated guesses as to what will
work best in certain situations. They back that up with some sort of analysis.
They make a choice and try it out (by developing a patch, say). Competing
designers try different things. There is a bake off to see who wins (just as
businesses compete with each other in the marketplace). The winning design
concept gets incorporated for a time until someone comes up with something
better.

So, I am thinking of a web site that collects cost analyses of IT decisions.
Both data and analysis method. I am thinking along the lines of how
wikipedia.org collects encyclopedia articles. Who would have imagined that an
open content, encyclopedia consisting of user written articles could have
achieved the writing of so many high quality articles in such a short time. It
started in 2001-01 and currently has 245000 articles in the english section, and
350000 articles in all versions.

The problems of analyzing cost decisions are so hard and so wide spread, I could
see how a lot of people would have a lot to say about it and might write up
their thoughts for the sheer intellectual challenge of it. To say nothing of
the potential benefits of other people spotting flaws in your analysis and
letting you know what they are so you can fix them.

For the record, cost analysis is a lot of what I do at my job, even though I am
an electrical engineer and not a finance person. We operate a satellite mobile
data network and several times a year I make a guess at how many channels we
will need to reserve for each month into the future for the next so many years,
making various assumptions on how many customers we will sign up. I do a lot of
statistics and data analysis in the R language (www.r-project.org), another huge
feather in the cap of the open source movement.

Hmmm. Perhaps I should put my money where my mouth is? Wow. That's going to
be some work. I don't suppose there are any other programmer / engineer types
reading this that do a lot of cost analysis and would care to comment?

Chris Marshall

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: John Lewis Partnership is not really a "capitalist" business
Authored by: Jack Hughes on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:23 AM EDT
The company has been around for some considerable time (75 - 100 years or so). What is interesting about it is that it is not a normal "capitalist" business - or even a "co-operative".

The company does not have shareholders - but rather "members". Employees are members - so have direct representation on the board.

For this reason, in tends to be run on very ethnical lines, and, more strangely, won't open on Sundays - because the employees don't want it to. And they tend to have other days off.

The company doesn't aim to "maximise profits" - rather enough to be able to invest to remain competitive, and pay employees a reasonable salary.

They are a very well established company in the UK - running department stores and supermarkets - one of the leading high street brands.

It's worth visiting the main site at http://www.john-lewis-partnershi p.co.uk/ and reading about it if you are at all interested in different ways of doing business.

John Lewis, the founder, was a bit of a visionary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More FUD in Germany
Authored by: js on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:25 AM EDT
The German weekly magazine DER SPIEGEL has a new story about SCO's litigation campaign:

Milliardenpoker: Linux-Jäger SCO geht auf's Ganze

The article basically repeats all the nonsense from SCO ever heard. It has many quotations from Gregory Blepp. They way it is written one might conclude that its author, Holger Dambeck, has seen printouts with lots of Linux code lines copied from Unix. Although the article breifly describes the risks SCO is facing headline and tone suggest that they have a strong position.

This is another case of global acting companies circumventing national legislation from abroad. I wonder what Univention is doing with respect to their preliminary injunction gained against SCO Germany.

— js

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: theApprentice on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:37 AM EDT
Where I am, I look out my window, I see it's raining. But when I look at my monitor, it looks like the start to a very pleasant new day.

If an employer about the SCO lawsuit I'd like to point him/her at groklaw for "the facts". Statements like the above are bound to lessen the impact of the information on this website. Remember the adage

Unwavering belief is a sure sign you're missing something

So... PJ, who is your audience? Preaching to the converted will alienate the people who really need to understand your message. I like to follow groklaw, and there's a lot of good information on it, however, statements like the above will make businessmen believe that you are the one missing something. Rightly or wrongly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Midlife Crisis - Another Lock-In?
Authored by: ralevin on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:38 AM EDT
This idea popped into my head during the weekend and since this is a pretty
broad topic I'll run it up this flagpole.

Two things I wonder if they are linked: MS and Sun settle in a deal to share
patents. And (as mentioned in other topics) MS is making moves to use patents to
prevent anyone else from being able to read MS Office files (with the propietary
XML format). To me this brings up the possibility of of a future StarOffice that
can read and write to Office, while OpenOffice (and everything else) can't. This
(they hope) effectively maintains the monopoly/lock-in Office enjoys (along with
the ever rising prices) while allowing them to point to another product and say
"we have competition, we're not a monopoly." Sun (never really
committed to Open Source) thinks it gets a chance to compete. To me it seems
very similar to the cash infusions they made in Apple and WordPerfect (if my
aging memory is correct) a few years ago.

Does this seem plausible or am I missing something?

What screws it up (assuming the patent office and courts go along) is all those
users who don't upgrade. I recall the uproar when they took out an old
"save as" format a few versions ago (replacing it with RTF without
telling anyone) and discovered lots of places didn't do 100% upgrades. As long
as the old formats that other programs can read are still available there is an
escape route. Logically, MS needs to close that route.

I'm sure people will tell me what I've got wrong here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Laura gets it right, in a way...
Authored by: pogson on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:45 AM EDT
"'When it comes to Linux, you don't get what you don't pay for,' says Laura DiDio of The Yankee Group, author of the forthcoming Web-based survey of 1,000 IT administrators and corporate executives. Among other conclusions the survey reached was that a majority of corporations with 5,000-plus end users say Linux requires from 25 percent to 40 percent more full-time support specialists than Windows or Unix, and that skilled Linux administrators in large urban areas command a 20 percent to 30 percent greater premium than their Windows and Unix counterparts.
I agree with two out of three points in this paragraph:
  • Of course, I don't pay to have my computer phone home, delay installation for decryption, give myself a typing test as I enter product codes, see a perfectly wonderful piece of hardware freeze while running faulty OS's, be unable to run the software on my computer with my data, pay out billions to smooth over illegality in the market place, or be part of a monopoly repeatedly beating down the opposition instead of producing great software. I do invest a lot of time and energy into spreading the good news of Linux and for that I am rewarded with wonderfully reliable systems and the knowledge that in the future many more people will share my joy.
  • BZZZT! Wrong, Laura, because Linux is a modular, more functional and reliable system, it requires fewer people to administer. If it weren't for Ghosting and rewriting the hard drive on re-boot, my school would need two full time techies for that other OS. The Linux software in the lab has not needed any human contact other than creating accounts in five months. People actually get to make use of the system 24/7. People do get what they want in Linux and do not get what they do not want.
  • Correct. Linux admins are the Maytag repairmen of IT. They can install and configure a hundred desktops before coffee and do little except create and destroy accounts, replace failed hardware, and monitor backups the rest of the month. They can actually keep up with upgrades. They can easily handle hundreds of accounts if they know what they are doing and because they do more, it is still cheaper to pay them a premium for having a much more reliable system.

---
http://www.skyweb.ca/~alicia/ , my homepage, an eclectic survey of topics: berries, mushrooms, teaching in N. Canada, Linux, firearms and hunting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linuxworld vs. Linuxinsider
Authored by: cab15625 on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 10:51 AM EDT
PJ said...
"...LinuxWorld, where all the anti-Linux articles seem to find a welcome."
Actually, I find LinuxInsider (http://www.linuxinsider.com) to be more antagonistic towards Linux. For one thing, I don't think I've seen more Enderle articles published anywhere else.
Cheers!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's Next Move
Authored by: Greg on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 11:25 AM EDT
PJ,

Yes a time to celebrate!

But also a time to ask your self this...

What would you do if you were Microsoft?

This is a VERY important question for you.

You now know enough to understand the overall
strategic and tactical implications of
the moves M$ is making.

Some of the strategies are not working
for M$ at this time.

What are the M$ options?
Always legal in nature.

How can they slow this train called Lunix?

What is your guess?

Here is mine:
1) Attack one App. mechanism that is not fully Open Source.
(eg. Java)
2) Intergrate Linux into Windows
3) Continue to FUD to delay for Longhorn Release
4) Experiment with Open Source on their own terms

And if you see the news all of these things are
occuring. Including news that IBM wanted Java
to go open source.

Hint Hint: The back room negotiations between Sun and IBM
and Sun and Microsoft.
(Microsoft Won that battle.)

What is the agreement between MS and Sun?
I do not have a copy or fully understand
what the argreement was.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks
Greg

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oxymoron:
Authored by: wvhillbilly on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Independent survey by a microsoft partner.

---
What goes around comes around, and it grows as it goes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Joke of the Day
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 11:34 AM EDT
'When it comes to Linux, you don't get what you don't pay for,' says Laura
DiDio. Huh?

So my cdrom/download was empty?

I've been thinking about how to get Ms. DiDio to say what 'indemnification'
proprietery sofware provides that Linux suppliers don't. Does anyone know what
she's referring to in this 'indemnification' blather?

[ Reply to This | # ]

I Must Have Missed The Memo...
Authored by: Carlo Graziani on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 11:35 AM EDT
There is also an interview with Peter Pathos, President of The Planet...

I didn't realize we had a Planetary President. Was he appointed by the World Court?

(Sorry, I just got a giggle out of that line...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

No time to verify basic facts? Like Sunbelt/MS?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 11:44 AM EDT
'The Sunbelt-Microsoft connection wasn't dug up by the mainstream media. They
don't have the time."

I dug up that little nugget in about 3 seconds. Here's how:

1. go to google.com
2. search for "sunbelt software"
3. the very first hit says "Windows NT/2000/XP Best-of-Breed Tools &
Utilities with Mainframe ...
Over 70 different Windows 2000/NT tools and Utilities to Enhance your Business
Networks from Sunbelt Software and Home to the W2Knews and WinXPnews
Newsletters. "

Clicking on the link takes another few seconds. You can't read more than five
words without seeing Windows trumpeted and lauded to the skies. Like the banner
at the top of the home page: "Sunbelt Software is the World's #1 Windows
NT/2K/XP Tools Provider"

Alleged "journalists" can byte me. :)

--
Carla Schroder

[ Reply to This | # ]

Windows box on dialup
Authored by: darkonc on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:15 PM EDT
Ouch .. Double whammy.

My condolences. Get better soon.
(I hope it's because you're on vacation time, or something equally pleasent)

---
Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and
bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

Cost analysis.
Authored by: tintak on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:22 PM EDT
One would have to be very careful of the sources of data. It would be very
tempting for the closed source element to try to skew the figures by feeding in
false data.

I would think that a company like M$ has carried out what you are proposing, and
does have accurate figures. These would be kept secret for obvious reasons.
However by 'massageing' this data they could see what has the greatest negative
effect on the results from the FLOSS point of view. This would allow them to
target their misinformation campaign.

What I am trying to say is that the Open Source community is used to honest
co-operation on projects, and this is likely to be missing from the project you
have outlined.

It does seem a good idea though.

---
'it is literally impossible' for SCO to itself provide
direct proof' Mark J. Heise 02/06/04

[ Reply to This | # ]

EV1 customers
Authored by: dhall on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:24 PM EDT
We recently switched over from EV1 to ServerMatrix. The cost was cheaper, the
service appears better (we're offered more bandwidth per month). To be honest,
we never even thought shop around, since we've been satisfied customers since
2002, but the recent SCO issue kinda forced our hand.

We recently did the flipover this past Easter Sunday.

EV1 does take a page out of SCO's playbook. No prorated refunds, whatsoever.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • EV1 customers - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 03:50 PM EDT
The orphan plea.
Authored by: bruce_s on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:30 PM EDT
It appears that Microsoft may start using the orphan plea for leniency (The accused is now an orphan after murdering its parents), from the last set of quotes.

"Microsoft just isn't the phenom it used to be. After 29 years, the software giant is starting to look like a star athlete who's past his prime. Growth is tepid. Expansion is stymied. Bureaucracy is a concern. And a company that used to be so intimidating it attracted antitrust suits on two continents seems, well, vulnerable."

"...But corporations increasingly are adopting Linux as a viable option to Windows. . . . In a recent survey of corporate tech purchasers by Merrill Lynch & Co., 48% said they plan to boost their use of open-source software this year, and 34% of that subgroup are targeting applications that traditionally ran on Windows."

Now the press will start to spin Linux as a creditable threat, and there is some "trouble" with MicroSoft, there will be less pressure for Antitrust cases against them.

Bruce S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:31 PM EDT
This John Lewis thing should be seen as a major monkey wrench in the Windows is
cheaper FUD... They went from windows (i. e) IA32 to mainframe. Except in
very special cases where the issue is IO bandwidth to disk, mainframe hardware
is 20+x as expensive for comparable capacity. So evidently JL decided it was
"cheaper" to pay an astronomical premium on hardware to consolidate
all their servers and services in one box (and as a former mainframer, I can
vouch that this really can make sense ... you get rid of a dozen or so MCSE's
and replace them with 2-3 competant mainframe guys -- I saw it go the other way
in the early 90's and laughed through my tears as every department and office
had to hire somebody technically proficient in win to watch their machines ...
of course this became buried in departmental overhead while the corp "saved
money" by cutting MIS budgets).

-- TWZ

[ Reply to This | # ]

Watch for April 19, April 30, and May 11
Authored by: Thomas Frayne on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:47 PM EDT
I have been predicting for more than a week that the Novell rulings would be
made in about a month, that the information that the April 19 response would
provide IBM the information needed to decide the core issue, that this
information would be public soon thereafter, that the SCOG case would be
dismissed with prejudice and a summary judgment of all IBM's counterclaims
related to the Redhat case in favor of IBM would be granted within 2 1/2
months.

May 11 looks like the date for Novell, but IBM has 2 dates, April 19 and
sometime before April 30. Sometime during that period, SCOX will fall off the
cliff.

[ Reply to This | # ]

FUD and Trolling here, pls
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 01:11 PM EDT
Please record FUD and trolls here for easy reference. Thanks.

(Yes, this is a joke; how I wish it were this easy to segment!)

[ Reply to This | # ]

the City of Largo has chosen Linux, saves $1 million per year
Authored by: edumarest on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 01:35 PM EDT
April 5, 2002, ZDNET had this article:
http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0,14179,2860180,00.html

and a Google for 'linux florida largo' will bring up many articles regarding the
City of Largo, Florida, changing to Linux. It was highly successful to say the
least.

A quote from the article: "Richards estimates that using Linux saves the
city at least $1 million a year in hardware, software licensing, maintenance,
and staff costs."

The city is not afraid to publish its cost savings; rather, this shows that the
managers are doing their job.

---
...if you cannot measure it then you cannot troubleshoot it, you can only
guess...
SuSE 9.0 on hp pavilion ze 4560us

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Retailer John Lewis Goes Linux on a Mainframe, No Fear in AU, and an Aging MS
Authored by: Yobgod on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 01:41 PM EDT
"Among other conclusions the survey reached was that a majority of
corporations with 5,000-plus end users say Linux requires from 25 percent to 40
percent more full-time support specialists than Windows or Unix, and that
skilled Linux administrators in large urban areas command a 20 percent to 30
percent greater premium than their Windows and Unix counterparts."

I have a few bones to pick with these 'conclusions'.

First, all of the IT staffing guidelines I've ever seen (and can still find) all
agree that a system where the OS and configuration can be protected from the
users (like Linux or UNIX systems) requires roughly 1/3 the man-hours of support
than a system that does not do this (like Windows). In addition, it's my
personal experience from running heterogeneous computing environments that
Windows-based systems require significantly more hands-on maintainance that
systems that can be updated remotely in a secure fashion.

Secondly, I find their claims that Linux admins cost significantly more than
Windows -and UNIX- admins reasonably untenable... there is a significant
skillset overlap between UNIX and Linux admins, and many of them are, or can be,
both. The most important determinant of IT salary in recent years has been
years of experience... relatively irregardless of what systems that experience
was specific to.

Perhaps it is true that you can get away with a less experienced (and less
expensive) set of admins for a Windows installation, but if you want a
-properly- maintained installation you're going to be much better off with at
least a couple of intelligent, experienced admins. Once you have them, they'll
usually be capable of dealing with your Linux without much trouble.

To put it another way, perhaps what their survey has really discovered is that
most 'skilled' admins (the ones who would command a higher salary), have some
linux experience. (It's currently the most interesting OS to work with, so it
would naturally attract brighter admins...)

Here's some reference material, we didn't break salary down explicitly by
primary OS responsibility, but that's more because it's not a relevant metric
than an oversight.

http://sageweb.sage.org/jobs/salary_survey/

I don't like people making blanket statements about my beloved profession.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More on MS, from Robert X. Cringely
Authored by: Erbo on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 01:48 PM EDT
Cringely's latest column, The Once And Future King: Now the Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide, offers another view of Microsoft and why they need all that cash:
The truth is that Microsoft is positioning itself to take on Linux on Linux's turf if that's required. Bill Gates has been quite clear that his company's need for huge cash reserves is to keep it going for up to five years in the face of ZERO sales. So Microsoft could match Open Source pricing without the Open Source and while [the technical community] might not be swayed, everyone else (the other 98 percent of the market) would be.
Sure, they could match FOSS pricing, and even keep it up for a few years. But could they match FOSS quality? They sure ain't gonna match FOSS' freedom...and that freedom is a key element of quality.

Cringely isn't all doom and gloom; he predicts that something new will pop up that Microsoft chooses to ignore, and this will flank Microsoft before they can react. "Maybe this last stage has to do with Open Source," he says, "but probably not." I wouldn't be too sure about that, though.

---
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Groklaw e.g. in Linux Migration
Authored by: Loki on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 02:34 PM EDT
In Tom's Hardware guide - a tutorial explaining how to migrate to Linux, Groklaw
is the website used in the screen capture wrt Internet Browsing:

http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/20040412/wintolinux-04.html

You're famous, PJ ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux Sys Admins command higher salaries!
Authored by: javajedi on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 02:58 PM EDT
Disclaimer: I am not now, never have been and never will be a Windows sys Admin (other than for friends and family during worm/virus disasters but gradually my friends and family are moving to Linux as the solution to such problems).

I am, however, trying to place myself in the mindset of a Windows Admin reading this study... Hmmm... As a Windows admin I have to deal with worms, security holes, viruses, clueless users, security patches and updates that cause system software to stop working and a whole slew of other unique problems. It would appear that if I learn to Admin Linux/Unix, I will have far fewer such problems to deal with AND I get to make a higher salary!

Is it just me or can you picture droves of Windows System Admins signing up for Linux classes at their local university? :)

---
The Matrix is real... but i'm only visiting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Embedded Analysts
Authored by: m_si_M on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 05:41 PM EDT
Has the term 'embedded analysts' already been mentioned here to describe DiDio
and accomplices?

---
C.S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Still spinning...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 06:19 PM EDT

``The DiDio survey is still being spun, but some important details are starting to be noticed. In the BusinessWeek article, "Experts disagree on Linux cost benefits", some contrary information actually sees the light of day, if you read with discernment all the way to the end ofthe article.''

Take a look at InfoWorld magazine (at least in the dead tree edition) from 04/12, p. 15. The story on the Sun/Microsoft nuptuals is accompanied by a little side bar entitled "Fact". It goes on to say that 90 percent of large enterprises think that a total switch from Windows to Linux would be ``prohibitively expensive''. Also, ``benefits of such a move include improved performance, reliability, and tighter security, but the switch would be too complex and time-consuming to provide tangible business benefits.'' These results come from -- as though you couldn't already guess -- The Yankee Group.

I'm wondering if someone were to sit this study down on the table next to a Microsoft brochure for the next release of their operating system that they wouldn't find ``improved performance, reliability, and tighter security'' touted as reasons for upgrading and that provide tangible business benefits. All three of those qualities, IMHO, provide business benefits. Better performance? Higher productivity. Better reliability? Less downtime, less lost work, reduced employee idle time. Tighter security? Less downtime due to viruses and worms, higher productivity, lower cost (no need to introduce an expensive anti-virus infrastructure).

If you're going to disrupt the organization to do a Windows upgrade why not go the extra mile and toss it out and get all three of those qualities -- and really get them as opposed to merely being promised you'll get them -- by replacing Windows with Linux. Of course, one cannot do this all at once; it'd have to be phased in. Otherwise it would, indeed, be prohibitively expensive what with hiring all the people involved to accomplish such a big swap.

As usual, Laura doesn't know what she's talking about. But I was disappointed to see InfoWorld title that sidebar with ``Fact''. Very disappointed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

TCO in the BIG Corporate world
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 14 2004 @ 11:47 AM EDT
I am responsible for the server infrastructure of a large ($6Bil) division of a
larger ($35+Bil) corporation. We have almost 800 Windoze servers, 9000
desktops, and another 600 or so *ix servers, supporting a 7x24x365 operation.

The upgrade to W2000 is costing $14 mil just for our stuff here, I don't even
know what the total corporate hit is.

I have 3 full time people just doing security and patch management on WIN.

Needless to say, the corp is evaluating Linux, not so much to replace WIN, but
to replace the myriad flavors of *ix running on proprietary hardware. So SUN
has lots of reasons to be scared of Linux, since one of our projects is
evaluating replacing very large expensive SUN big iron with racks of Lintel
boxes for about 1/10th the price.

Some of us think that Java on Lintel is the way to go, since corporations need
software with a lifespan of 20+ years, not until Billy G's next cashflow upgrade
is needed. As you can imagine, in a large corporation, there are some in the
hierarchy who manage by airline magazine, some who drink the .NET coolaid, and
some who take the engineering approach and the long term view. Life is
messy...and big corporations have a lot of inertia to overcome. If you have
never lived in an environment with 50,000+ desktops, and 10,000+ servers, you
can't begin to wrap your head around what a complex KNOTBALL that is to deal
with.

Preliminary figures show Linux is a winner. Corporations need stability, not a
massive disruption every 3-5 years. As soon as we finish the W2000 process, we
need to start all over with Server2003 and then Longhorn...

Our shareholders have better things for us to do with that money....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )