February 24, 2005
Part III: The Hard Truth About Linux on the Desktop – Soft Costs
The past two articles [Part I | Part II of IV] discussed the hard dollar cost savings from switching desktops to Linux, particularly business desktops. Linux has no license fee while a Windows license nominally costs a bundle. This has to be a cost advantage if the cost of Windows licenses can be saved. Obviously this isn't the case with existing equipment, but even for new equipment, saving a lot of hard money by switching the operating system is not as big an instant winner as switching the servers and the applications. Still, we calculated that a company with 250 seats could save almost $115,000 over 3 years that was directly attributable to a switch to Linux. If this is free money, a company would be foolish not to grab it, even if there weren't additional benefits to Linux (such as better security and stability). But before switching from the cost side, we need to explore whether, from the point of view of the corporate CIO, there are additional costs – hard or soft – from a switch to Linux.