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From: chill at herber-hill.com (Charles E. Hill)
Subject: Fw: Red Hat Linux end-of-life update andtransition planning

> Now when your boss asks you for justification on using Linux instead of
> M$ crap, what's your new response going to be?  Gartner's going to make
> a fortune on figuring all this out for those that can only make
> decisions from listening to them.
>
1. Full Disclosure -- like this list.  I can see *exactly* what is fixed and 
what the flaws are.  I'm not always qualified to understand everything, but 
sometimes I am and it can help me better my programming skills.

2. Customization.  Many packages I use don't do exactly what I want, so I've 
made several internal modifications.  I've fixed a few bugs (and submitted 
them back) and added custom features (submitted back as appropriate).  As a 
result of all this, I can't just upgrade some software when bug fixes or 
security updates come out.  I *need* the source to run diff against to see 
what was changed and then integrate the changes.

None of this would be possible with closed source software.  The OSS gives 
*me* the control to tweak things to work just the right way.  I've yet to get 
any complicated software that works *exactly* how I need it to out of the 
box.  Frequently I have two packages because 1 does X and the other does Y.

The solutions I provide to my customers are tailored to exactly what they 
need.  Sometimes, that is closed source software, but almost always it means 
Linux/OSS.

3. Cost.  Training costs are the same with MS and Linux.  I've had more 
complaints from people switching from Win98/2000 to WinXP than from Windows 
to Linux.  The interface was so different, and things were moved around it 
got them lost.  WinXP was better for *new* users, but a bitch if you were 
used to things the way they were.  No, they are not noticably more productive 
after learning the WinXP way.

Support contract costs are about the same with both solutions.  I can get a 
contract from IBM, HP, SuSE or Red Hat for the about the same as I can 
Microsoft.  My main bitch with Red Hat was there was no per-incident support 
method.  I always used that with MS and saved a ton of money.

Hardware costs are about the same, because Windows & Linux run on the same 
hardware.  However, you do have the option of installing Linux on the old 
Macs and using them as things like DHCP servers, office-wide caching DNS 
servers, etc.  You can also use the hardware longer with Linux -- try running 
a DNS server under headless-NT on a 486 and see where it gets you.

A 486DX-75 firewall worked great for an office I set up -- 75 users.  It ran 
off of a floppy drive -- no hard drive, keyboard or mouse.

A good administrator is a good administrator and can handle updating and 
supporting the machines regardless of Windows/Linux.  However, it takes less 
Linux machines to support the same number of users than Windows machines.

All that taken into consideration, initial software costs are a big factor.  
If I don't need client-access licenses, or can minimize the CAL cost, that is 
a big benefit.  If I can buy one copy of RHEL-ES and install it on 6 servers 
(not buying support from RH), that blows the doors off the costs of 4 Win2K3 
licenses plus CALs.

-- 
Charles E. Hill
Technical Director
Herber-Hill LLC
http://www.herber-hill.com/


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