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  • TCO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ovid (2709) on 2003.12.03 14:49 (#26270) Homepage Journal

    Interesting quote listed in the article:

    People are voting with their hearts, not their heads. The total cost of ownership of open source is open to question. It is a bit like the move from mainframe to server-based computing: it may cost less to buy, but in the long-term, it may cost more to manage and maintain.

    This is the bugaboo that open-source software has to overcome, but it frequently succeeds. From personal experience, I can tell you that I would much rather administer Apache than IIS. IIS has this annoying habit of "binding" functionality in such a way that changing one setting can silently reset others. No such problem with Apache.

    That illustrates why I think the TCO argument is flawed: these products will get cheaper to manage and maintain when enough people use them and they have a chance to mature. If people refuse to take risks because something is unknown, it will probably remain unknown and immature. Windows wouldn't be so easy to use if no one had used it.

    • The "cheaper to manage and maintain" argument is a bad one. I hate to use the IIS vs Apache example, but I will. You could argue IIS is cheaper to manage because it has a pretty GUI that an unskilled (and thus lower salaried) person could figure out, with Apache you need to hire somebody that knows what they're doing (though they could manage more servers). This ignores the amount of money that you lose when your network goes down when the next Code Red/Nimda/etc hits.
      • That is a bit simplistic though. I have seen a lot of IIS installations. They take a couple hundred Dell rack-mountables to keep everything moving. I think the numbers would come out very different in a full computation.