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Munich's multiyear migration to Linux has been nothing if not an ongoing saga over the past decade or so, beset as it has been by stops, starts, and various twists and turns. The story appeared to have a happy ending in November when Munich reported that using Linux had already saved it more than 10 million euros, but last week Microsoft spoke up with a different tale. Munich reportedly would have saved more than 40 million euros if it had stuck with Windows and Office 2003 rather than switching to its LiMux distribution with OpenOffice.
Hairyfeet's claim that enterprises would have to rewrite *all* of their custom software to move to Linux is clearly a worst-case rather than typical scenario.
My current employer moved hundreds of desktops to Linux, including several million lines of custom apps, with very little rework - because those apps were written in Java, Python and Perl.
Only teams foolish enough to develop their custom apps in Microsoft-proprietary technologies are stuck on the burning platform (so to speak). The rest of us are free to optimize for best ROI - which this year, in our case, was Linux.
Because as somebody that has supported SMBs for years and did corporate for quite awhile before that I can tell you that your company? NOT in any way shape or form the norm.
What is the norm is usually this Frankenstein's monster mix of in house and solutions to various problems written by all these different companies and let me tell you if you think MSFT's formats are bad? Then you haven't been down in the trenches much because their formats are like an open book compared to some of the stuff I've seen.
At the end of the day it ALL comes down to the simple fact that the cost of the OS means practically nothing to most businesses, when you look at all the other costs the price of Windows and Office don't even make it into the top 30 of most budgets. What DOES end up costing a mint is getting all the data out of the funky formats and paying somebody to rewrite all the software from scratch or having to hire somebody to write replacements for all the software that a business uses that does NOT exist on Linux.
Ms. Noyes left that part of our conversation out which better illustrates why FOSS doesn't work for most businesses. if your business depends on Photoshop then Gimp will NOT work as a substitute, if you run your business on Quickbooks then GnuCash will NOT cut the mustard, and what of all that specialty software like medical transcription and billing that is designed to be HIPPA compliant? Doesn't exist at all on Linux, warehouse inventory management and the software for writing sermons and the program required to process credit cards for insurance companies, we are talking about BILLIONS of dollars in highly specialized that simply DOES NOT EXIST in Linux and the cost of having it written instead of just buying COTS is just not worth it just so you don't have to buy Windows.
So I'm sorry but when you look at Linux and the kinds of programs it has its quite clear that Linux is a Programmer's OS, if you are NOT a programmer or your business isn't built around programming? Well then Linux just isn't for you. Why do you think there is a billion text editors but no medical transcription software?
I wonder how old your corporate experience really is. I have over 30 years, and while I wouldn't pretend to speak for "most businesses" as you do, my experience is almost certainly broader.
Have you ever wondered why Java is such a popular language in the corporate world? Think!
Ms. Noyes probably left out your tired old schoolyard taunt of Photoshop rulez, Gimp droolz because it's beside the point, as is your grim determination to turn the discussion back to the old "cost of the OS" canard.
Corporations turn to Linux in vertical markets where custom software is key, where actual security matters, where hard real-time drives the bottom line, and where scalability and flexibility is as important as time to market.
Windows won't vanish any faster than Cobol, but it has certainly achieved the same unenviable reputation for being yesterday's technology. The die is cast, and the fading desktop and Office monopolies are all that Microsoft has left.
It depends on the SIZE of the corp, if you are talking a place with over say 4000 seats, your Fords and Amways and other supermegacorps? Then YES they do have their own servers and most of the apps are client/server and as you say a lot of it is platform agnostic.
But for every corp that is 4000+ seats you have a thousand companies that are 750 seats or less and it is THOSE places where I have my experience. When you are talking SMB they just don't have their own programming teams, they are buying COTS or having something made for them and most of that is NOT FOSS.
Again if your company makes its living with Photoshop there is nothing in FOSS that will replace it, same with Quicken/Quickbooks and the bazillion custom made small apps. Hell I have a company that I had to set up XP Mode in Win 7 because the company requires an IE 6 Intranet app to process applications. And there are a billion little programs just like that that for better or worse require Windows to do their work.
Of course this is a double edged sword for MSFT, as these companies won't be able to use WinRT anymore than they can use Linux, too much requires X86 Windows for them to just switch to ARM and go anywhere.