Windows Patching: Cheaper
than Open Source?

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-05-20 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: And if you believe that, Microsoft has a nice bridge in Brooklyn it would like to sell you.

Im really getting tired of bought and paid for "independent" studies showing how much more wonderful Windows is than Linux. Who do they think theyre kidding? Does anyone actually believe what it says in the latest Microsoft-sponsored study, "The Total Cost of Security Patch Management," that patching Windows and its applications is cheaper than patching Linux and open-source programs? Lets take a look under the executive summary of this report, shall we?
First, Wipro, which conducted the study, is a global solutions integrator with a strategic relationship with Microsoft. Indeed, part of what Wipro does is build "financial models and ROI (Return on Investment) calculators for Microsoft product deployments."
Its bad enough when Microsoft pays analyst companies like Forrester to produce reports that praises Microsoft, but these Wipro guys arent even analysts. Theyre salesmen for Microsoft. Read more here about the report from Forrester Research finding it cheaper to build enterprise applications cheaper with Windows than with open source. Nevertheless, these analysts conclude from their survey of 90 companies that even though Windows systems require more patching, its easier and cheaper to patch Windows than it is to patch open-source software.
Really? I have twenty-four systems in-house and theyre equally divided between Windows and Linux systems. I use automated tools to update both of them. I see very, very little difference between them in upgrading either one. On the Windows side, I use Microsofts System Management Server and SUS (Software Update Services) and Shavlik NetChk Patch. For the Linux boxes, I use SuSE YAST, a late beta of ZENworks for Linux 7, Red Hat Network and Ximian Red Carpet Server. Click here to read more about ZENworks 7 Linux Management. The only reason I use so many programs is that Im in the business of testing technology to a fare-thee-well. If I were just running a business, Id use the Shavlik program and ZENworks. If I wanted to, I could also use such basic Linux programs as Apt-get and Cron to make scripts to automatically update my systems. Net cost: $0. But, heres the truth of the matter: Simply patching either operating system is trivial if you know what youre doing. Period. Concluding from the data in this report that it somehow takes up significantly more time, money or resources to update Linux systems is science fiction. If I want sci-fi, Ill go see "Revenge of the Sith" this weekend. Next Page: What the analysts arent telling you about Windows vs. Linux.



 
 
 
 
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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