Another survey rates Microsoft cheaper than Linux

A report by Gartner says Linux is only cheaper if migrating from an older version of the Microsoft desktop operating system

Only Microsoft users on older versions of its desktop operating systems are likely to get any benefit from migrating to Linux, according to a new report by Gartner.

The report said the operating system and PC represent less than a third of the total cost of ownership and that migration should only be considered in a few situations. Michael Silver, VP and research director at Gartner, said in a statement that other costs such as labour, training and external services should be taken into account.

He said organisations should compare the costs and savings of a move to Linux with the cost and savings to upgrade to a newer version of Windows as the total cost of ownership will vary depending on which version of Windows is being considered, according to Gartner.

"Enterprises running Windows 95 will likely see more benefits by a move to Linux than will enterprises using Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Windows 2000 and Windows XP include more modern technology than Window 95 and are generally more stable and incur lower costs," said Silver.

Gartner revealed that while Linux has had success in the server market reducing costs, the same savings cannot be achieved on the desktop.

David Smith, VP and Gartner fellow, said in a statement: "Many servers are dedicated to running a single application; in many cases, it has been relatively easy for enterprises to replace specific servers, such as a web server, and implement Linux."

But the environment for Linux on the desktop is significantly different, he said.

"For those users, migration costs will be very high because all Windows applications must be replaced or rewritten," said Smith.

The report comes in the same week that a Microsoft-sponsored survey of just 12 companies claimed firms could save up to 28 per cent by developing certain programs with Windows rather than Linux.

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