Novell: Vista will drive users to Linux

Novell: Vista will drive users to Linux

Summary: Jack Messman claims the tipping point for desktop Linux will come at the end of next year when companies are confronted by the cost of moving to Windows Vista


The high costs of migrating from Windows XP to Windows Vista will be the catalyst that encourages more companies to seriously consider moving to desktop Linux, according to open source and networking company Novell on Monday.

Speaking at Brainshare, the company's annual European user conference in Barcelona, Novell chief executive Jack Messman claimed that the costs of moving desktops to the next version of Windows will be significantly higher than migrating to desktop Linux.

"The cost of migrating to Windows XP to Vista will be higher than the cost of migrating to Linux and that will push migrations to Linux," Messman said.

Novell says that it is making real gains on the desktop in Europe currently and that many organisations are choosing its Linux Desktop product especially in vertical industries that require locked-down clients with limited functionality.

"Instead of a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, Novell Desktop can be customized to provide the right fit across different workstations in the enterprise," said David Patrick, general manager of open source platforms for Novell. "So businesses finally have a secure and cost-effective alternative to Windows that serves the customer's return on investment rather than a vendor's proprietary licensing program."

Messman added that moving to desktop Linux has functionality benefits as well as cost benefits. He claimed that the fact that Novell's desktop Linux offering has less functionality than Microsoft Office is actually a positive rather than a negative thing.

Messman claimed that certain features of Office allowed employees to waste time at work by making it easy for them to browse non-work related sites. "Do you really want to pay for all the excess functionality in Windows that distracts your employees and reduces their productivity?"

The City of Munich announced last week that it has delayed its migration to Linux on the desktop until 2006, a year later than planned and three years after it decided to migrate to Linux. Commenting on this news, Novell European general manager Volker Smid said he believed the setback would not be permanent. "I am more than convinced that these guys will achieve their aim no matter what, and proud that they have decided to go with Novell for the server element of the migration," said Smid.

Recent migrations to Novell's desktop Linux package include SEB Eesti UHispank, the largest bank in Estonia, which is using Novell's SuSE Linux for bank teller workstations.

The municipality of Baerum in Norway is migrating 40 schools from Windows to to Linux too. According to IT manager Siri Opheim, a pilot scheme yielded good results and full migration is expected to begin at the end of 2005. "While we don't expect to move every user in our enterprise to Linux desktops, we believe we can achieve real savings by starting to move users in education," he said.

Schools can save a considerable amount of money by switching from proprietary software to open source software, according to a report released in May by the British Educational Communications and Technology Association. The report found that primary schools could cut computer costs by nearly half if they stopped buying, operating and supporting products from proprietary software vendors such as Microsoft.

According to a recent report from Windows IT Pro,  Windows Vista is due to ship on 7 December 2006. However Microsoft has refused to confirm or deny the reports and continues to claim simply that Windows Vista will ship in the second half of next year.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Not to mention the recent claims by Nigel Page at Microsoft about the insane hardware requirements for Windows Vista (256 MB graphics cards will be "a happy medium" but the benefits of having more will be apparent; SATA II; fair-use-denying displays in order to see high-definition content; 2 GB of DDR3 RAM for a 64-bit CPU).
  • Wishful thinking. Microsoft have been very good at training their followers to upgrade without asking questions about return of investment or if the new system actually fills any business needs not covered by the old version.

    There is very little that can be done in XP that couldn't be done in win2k, or even NT4. Yet almost half of all businesses have upgraded to XP and among home users the figure is even higher as they tend to use whatever OS that comes with the box without any IT infrastructure considerations.

    If peopel weres smart they wouldn't upgrade to Vista, or to Linux, they would stay with what they have. If you are going to migrate to a significantly different system like what we hope Vista will be or to Linux it will cost a lot ofmoney. And if Vista isn't that significantly different it will probably not make that much difference and the cost of deploying it will outweigh the benefits.

    That doesn't mean that Linux or, for that matter, Vista is bad systems, just that there is really no reason to switch if you allready have an install user base.
  • The penguin is a fake. Because a new version
    has to be made: Fake, Fake,Fake. WINdows will always win because it contains magic and
    mystery! For example 1+1 does not always add on to 2 but for Linus it does, fool you in the base 2, 1+1 equals 0 and that is why computers work and the best math will never
    amount to a penguin.
  • Why does Novell know this? Because the same thing happened to them. The high cost of Novell drove businesses to the low cost solution of Windows back in the day. Thus the cycle continues...
  • "SEB Eesti UHispank" is certanly not "the largest" bank in Estonia, but by far the second.

    Hansapank is first, by having over 50% of market share, SEB Eesti
  • God! I hope so. My personal migration has already begun. My favorite? SUSE!
  • Most likely decision makers that don't recognize Vista (and all Windows versions before that) for what it is: a package deal, will fall for the trap of choosing the least costing "solution" each time they stumble against a problem. Thus in the end paying plenty times more overall then what it would have cost if they did it right the first or second time.

    So people are best advised to take a long term wait and see approach and see how well the early adopters are doing by means of truly independant reports.

    As things are chances are that most will have to make the most of what they have anyway. Budget wise.