Linux provider Cybersource's study comes after a wave of similar "independent" studies that have been commissioned by Microsoft or its partners and indicate that proprietary software is cheaper than open-source solutions. Microsoft has been actively marketing the results of these studies as part of its 'Get The Facts' campaign.
Con Zymaris, Cybersource's chief executive, said that although the company is identified as a Linux solution provider, it has "made a great effort to prepare a balanced and open analysis".
"The prices used for the study, along with research methodology, vendor specifications, cost calculator tabulations and final results are all included, so that these results can be verified by others. Which is more than we can say for any of the TCO reports that Microsoft touts in its current carpet-bombing anti-Linux advertising campaign," said Zymaris.
According to the latest study, entitled Linux vs Windows TCO Comparison: The Final Numbers Are In, for a company with 250 users, Linux solutions will cost between 27 percent and 36 percent less than Microsoft's products over a three-year period.
The numbers are based on hardware, software, networking, staffing, consultancy fees, Internet access, desktop productivity applications, training and miscellaneous system costs. In its updated report, which was first published in April 2002, Cybersource has also included a comparison with paid-for solutions from Red Hat.
In an effort to gain further credibility, Cybersource says it gave Microsoft a 'head start' by ignoring the costs of dealing with viruses and any costs associated with downtime resulting from reboots and crashes. Additionally, the company said it has tripled the budget for external Linux consultants because one of Microsoft's arguments is that open source requires an "increased reliance" on them.
Zymaris said that organisations and many governments are investigating the Linux option and it hopes the study will make the decision easier.
"The final numbers are startling. We've given Microsoft every head-start possible but Linux's cost advantage is simply too great for most organisations to ignore," concluded Zymaris.