NT versus Linux


From: Stephen Edwards <r a k m o u n t @primenet.remove.com>
Subject: ATTN: Consultants -- WindowsNT vs. Linux:  A Cost Analysis
Date: 7 Mar 1998 02:30:02 -0700

Something perplexes me... WindowsNT advocates are always talking about how
much more UNIX costs in comparison to WindowsNT.  While I'll agree,
commercial UNIXen and applications are quite expensive, I cannot help but
to be astonished by the costs associated with WindowsNT.  Compared to the
costs of setting up, and maintaining freeware UNIX based networks,
Microsoft is most surely bilking the common businessman, in this author's

This is the software I would have to purchase in order set up a
basic, useable WindowsNT based office network for 100 users.  In this
scenario, I am going to hang all 100 clients off of an NT server box.  We
won't go into detail about the hardware we need.  I have also left off the
costs of applications, because that sort of need is too variable to
consider in this analysis.  These prices are the suggested retail prices
listed on Microsoft's own web site.

Product Description	Qty	  $/item	Subtotal cost
-------------------	---	--------	-------------
Microsoft WindowsNT
Server v4.0 Standard
Edition	w/ 25 client
licenses		001	 1619.00	      1619.00

1 Extra WindowsNT
Server client
license			090	   39.95	      3595.50 

Microsoft WindowsNT
Workstation v4.0	100	  319.00	     31900.00

IIS FTP Server		001	    0.00	         0.00

Site Server Web
site server		001	 1499.00	      1499.00

Microsoft Exchange
v5.5 E-mail server
w/ 25 client licenses	001	 2129.00	      2129.00

5 Microsoft Exchange
client licenses		015	  369.00	      5535.00

Microsoft Proxy
Server			001	  999.00	       999.00

Microsoft SQL
Server w/ 25
client licenses		001	 3999.00	      3999.00

5 Microsoft SQL
client licenses		015	11085.00	     11085.00
Total cost for my office network w/100 clients:       $62,360.00

While this total cost does seem relatively cheaper than say,
Sun's, or SCO's pricing, the customer ends up paying large
sums of money for technical support.  Sun also seems to have
a much more flexible support policy than Microsoft does.

Pay Per Incident		$   195.00 per one incident
Priority Annual Support		$  1695.00 per ten incidents
Priority Plus			$20,000.00 per 100 incidents
Priority Consult Line		$   195.00 per hour

Keep in mind, that these are just initial startup costs.  There will also
be costs associated with employee time spent setting up the software,
which under WindowsNT, is quite lengthy, and tedious, thanks to "setup
wizards".  Even if a corporation spends less on Microsoft than it would
on a set of comparable commercial UNIX offerings, freeware still has a
clear advantage.

Now... let's say I want to install a freeware UNIX based network on the
exact same hardware.

Product Description     Qty       $/item        Subtotal cost
-------------------     ---     --------        -------------
Linux Kernel 2.0.33
for the server (any
freeware *BSD variant
could also be used
here)			001	    0.00		 0.00

Client licenses		inf*	    0.00		 0.00

Linux for the
client boxen		100	    0.00		 0.00

Built-in FTP
serving capabilities	001	    0.00		 0.00

Apache Web Server	001	    0.00		 0.00

POP3 Mail Server	001	    0.00		 0.00

Mail Server client
licenses		inf	    0.00		 0.00

Built in proxy
services		001	    0.00		 0.00

Just Logic SQLweb	001	  219.00	       219.00		

Just Logic SQLweb
client licenses		100	    0.00		 0.00
Total cost for my office network w/ 100 clients:      $219.00

* inf denotes an 'infinite' number allowed

And that cost is for the commercial offering alone.  As for
technical support, well... here is some information taken
from http://www.ssc.com.
                        Thursday, February 12, 1998

      InfoWorld announces Linux as winner in two 1997 "Best of" Awards

      InfoWorld recently announced their Best Of awards. Linux was not
     just awarded once, but twice! Red Hat Software was the recepient of
        the InfoWorld 1997 Product Of The Year award for their Linux
        distribution. The Linux user community won the award for Best
                             Technical Support.
Linux is also steadily showing up in Hollywood.  It has been used to aid
in batch processing data for movies such as "Dante's Peak", and the highly
acclaimed "Titanic".  Many corporations are betting their enterprises on

So, in conclusion, all I can see freeware doing, is improving steadily,
and giving anyone and everyone everything for nothing.  Whereas, all I can
see Microsoft doing is charging more, and more for products that perform
substandardly anyhow.  So, now tell me who has a cost advantage...

Please feel free to redistribute this article freely, in print, or in
electronic form.
Stephen S. Edwards II -- Support GNU... run UNIX... be happy.
http://www.primenet.com/~rakmount -- r a k m o u n t @primenet.remove.com


Copyright © 1998 Stephen S. Edwards II

Updated March 28, 1998