Leader: Microsoft and OSDL - a missed opportunity?

Research could have helped IT users decide

Research could have helped IT users decide

Microsoft has received a cool response from the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) over its offer to jointly sponsor research into total cost of ownership of Windows versus Linux.

Of course, the suggestion of joint research doesn't mean that Microsoft is beginning to warm to open source.

Instead it is perhaps more likely a reflection that the software giant feels it has lost the moral high ground to the Linux camp, and by holding out this olive branch is seeking to regain it.

And it's understandable that OSDL - home of Linus Torvalds - would be a little cautious about getting involved with anything Microsoft suggests.

As OSDL boss Stuart Cohen told silicon.com, if the research went ahead, Microsoft could surely find in the results reasons why companies shouldn't adopt open source - and then spend millions to make sure everybody knew about it.

And of course, the marketing muscle that Microsoft can bring to bear is much greater than the OSDL or any Linux vendor could ever hope to muster.

In any case, it's probably impossible to come down with a final once-and-for-all answer as to whether Linux or Windows offers better total cost of ownership for every company.

But as it is one of the biggest decisions that many IT departments are trying to make at the moment, any new information would be welcome.

So while it's understandable that OSDL wanted to pass on this particular offer, some may see this as a missed opportunity.

The biggest victims of all this are the users - because they are left without the proper tools to help them choose the right operating system for their needs.