Get The FUD's Linux & Open-Source Center Editor Steven Vaughan-Nichols thinks that Microsoft's new anti-Linux "Get the Facts" ad campaign would be better titled, "Get the FUD."

Microsoft is calling its new anti-Linux ad campaign "Get the Facts," but I call it "Get the FUD."

At the heart of the campaign is a new Microsoft web site that provides you with the "industry case studies, business analysts reports, and test lab results" to make an intelligent decision between Microsofts operating systems and Linux. Yeah. Right. And, Im Bill Gates.

If you go to the site, the first report up is a 2002 vintage IDC report, which was sponsored by Microsoft, comparing total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows 2000 to Linux. IDC found that W2K beat out Linux in four out of five common enterprise tasks. This was because "The cost advantages are driven primarily by Windows significantly lower costs for IT staffing, generally the largest single component of IT costs."

I have no argument with that … in 2002 for Windows 2000. Too bad for Microsoft that its 2004. There are a lot more Linux technicians and administrators now than there were then, and now, Microsoft wants you to buy Server 2003, not W2K. Do the exact same study today and I suspect youll find Linux ahead of the game in IT staff costs.

There are far more experienced Linux IT staffers today than in 2002, and Linuxs network administration tools have gotten much better. As the IDC crew noted in the report, "Mature computing platforms have an advantage in cost measurements." Today, Linux administrators have the edge over Server 2003 administrators in experience and maturity.

But, wait theres more. IDCs analysts also wrote that the "TCO advantage is not always, in and of itself, a compelling reason to initiate a move from one platform to the other. IDC notes that evaluating such a move would require a return on investment (ROI) justification as well as a compelling TCO metric." IDC concludes, "when the TCO values that are associated with each of the compared platforms are relatively close, as is the case in our comparison of Linux and Windows 2000. Therefore, where platforms are currently in use within an organization, continued use of those platforms often makes a great deal of economic sense."

In short, IDC concluded that while W2K was cheaper in TCO terms, it still wasnt so significantly cheaper.

That was then. This is now.

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