Red Hat Responds
Lee Day, a Red Hat Inc. spokeswoman, said the company is spending a lot more time working with the analyst community to make sure it understands what Red Hat is doing. Red Hat is also facilitating communications between customers to make sure that they can talk to one another about their experiences, she said. "We are ramping up our analyst activities and will continue to do so. But there are also a lot of independent research reports like one from International Data Corp., which found that the return on investment for Linux is 504 percent over the next three years. Thats not research we funded, and those studies are also important," she said.Microsofts tools also simplify development of applications like those profiled in the study when compared with the J2EE/Linux products. This simplification translated into lower labor costs for development, he said. Rymer also noted that each of the models is based on an application scenario that was common among the interviewees. Both are portal applications. Both composites assume the same application development scenarios to allow for comparability. The report presents both the financial and the non-financial factors evident in choices made between Linux/J2EE and the Microsoft platform by the interviewees, he said. "It is only when the low prices of Linux are put into a larger IT context that their true impact on IT costs becomes evident," Rymer said. "In a head-to-head comparison, the list price for Red Hat 9 [the Linux version chosen for this study] is lower than the price of Microsoft Windows Server 2003. "However, the key cost factor in the studys Linux cases was the J2EE environment, not the operating system. Although the cost of Linux is low, the impact of that lower cost on the overall cost economics of an application development project is small. "The full development and deployment environment and the labor associated with the development project are the biggest costs. Comparisons of individual elements within the stack of software products required to build and deploy a complete application tell only part of the story and can be misleading," Rymer said. Next page: Why Firms Are Adopting Linux.
Rymer said that based on the study findings, the primary sources of Microsofts cost advantages are that the J2EE application server and Unix-based database software used in the Linux development and deployment stack drive up product costs and development complexity relative to the comparable Microsoft products.