Linux no good for a corporation? Pros and Cons - Linux

This is a discussion on Linux no good for a corporation? Pros and Cons - Linux ; A debate from 2005 but still timely. Seems the OP has the better argument. RL Free Software in Reality Isn't FreePosted by VISITOR on Jan 14, 2005 10:32 AM LXer; By Subhasish Ghosh Mail this story Print this story Software, ...

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  1. Linux no good for a corporation? Pros and Cons

    A debate from 2005 but still timely. Seems the OP has the better


    Free Software in Reality Isn't FreePosted by VISITOR on Jan 14, 2005
    10:32 AM
    LXer; By Subhasish Ghosh Mail this story
    Print this story

    Software, whether application software like gcc or system software
    like Linux which are part of the Free Software Foundation attract
    masses by their appeal of being free. In reality, this in-born-nature
    of FSF software of being free (in the sense of freedom of speech and
    not free beer) is not so clear and cogent to a common man. More
    significantly, if one takes an in-depth look into the Linux world,
    things seem to go the other way.

    [Editor's Note: See Paul Ferris' editorial in response to this.]

    Linux when first appeared though did manage to make quite a good name
    for it, however failed to live-up to its reputation in the years to
    follow. It was to spell the doomsday for commercial UNIXes of the
    likes of Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and IRIX operating systems. But since its
    inception in 1991, things have hardly changed in the corporate
    scenario. Sun Microsystems Inc. is still the UNIX industry leader with
    around 34% of the UNIX market share (closely followed by IBM in the
    second-place) with Sun Solaris being the most widely used commercial
    UNIX. So, what went wrong with Linux? Stable kernels appearing late,
    innumerable number of useless rewrites of kernel code in a few years,
    unavailability of proper marketing sources and failure to fulfill the
    predictions of the community has not only slowed down the number of
    users in the recent times, but has led to a more serious and deeper
    thinking about Linux's future in the recent years to follow.

    Linux was initially designed to run on the Intel 32-bit platform.
    Though it has been ported to a larger number of hardware bases later,
    it still lacks the efficiency of NetBSD when it comes to free
    portability. But the main trick in using Linux or any other free
    system-level software lies not in its technical features and advances.
    It lies in its commercial usage capability. The most important
    question in the corporate world is "who is to support the systems
    which run Linux or any other free system-level software?" Take a look
    at the Wall Street and here's a snapshot. Though industry-leaders (in
    the Linux arena) Red Hat looks quite steady with stocks rated less
    than a 6.0 US dollar value, other Linux-distributing firms have less
    than 1.0 US dollar value. So, what's wrong with Linux and other free
    software when it comes to NASDAQ? Why aren't the corporate still
    embracing Linux freely and openly as when compared to proprietary
    hardware and software vendors like IBM, Sun and Microsoft?

    Linux (also FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD) lags from commercial software
    like Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Sun
    Solaris, IBM-AIX and others when it comes to supporting the installed
    bases. Linux (and the community as a whole) provides no guarantee of
    support and maintenance to its users whatsoever. Once installed, who
    is in charge of proper configuration of these systems? Even once when
    properly configured, who is there to maintain and support these
    systems 24/7 around the year? Corporate managers investing their
    company resources while purchasing type of system-level software,
    application-level software and the bare hardware ought to think about
    the type of investment he is choosing to make rather than the often
    more lucrative amount of investment. Purchasing commercial hardware
    that runs commercial software is the best choice available. A firm
    choosing to purchase 5 Sun UltraSPARC stations is better off than
    purchasing 5 workstations powered by the Intel Pentium 4
    microprocessor. Though the initial investment while buying the 5
    UltraSPARC's is pretty high, but the picture becomes clear when we
    consider the whole scenario. Sun SOLARIS 9 running on these systems,
    with Sun ONE web server software configured is an ideal system.
    Support and maintenance can be assured by hiring a qualified Sun
    Certified SOLARIS Systems/Network Administrator. Thus, though the one
    time cost is high, but by purchasing commercial hardware running
    commercial software the long-term cost is stabilized and can be
    closely monitored. Moreover, regular patches, fixes and upgrades to
    all software from Sun can be monitored and applied as when required.

    On the other hand, Linux running on Intel Pentium 4 systems guarantee
    no support, no proper functioning of the software as well as hardware,
    no regular fixes, patches and upgrades to the system-level software,
    no maintenance of the application-level software and more
    significantly though the one-time cost while purchasing hardware and
    software may appear low, the long-term investment grows incredibly as
    time passes. Supporting Linux can be achieved by hiring qualified
    professionals well versed in all skills related to Linux.
    Unfortunately, certifications available are numerous and chaos still
    reigns supreme. A Red Hat Linux Certified Engineer (RHCE) well
    qualified in Red Hat Linux server administration would be pretty
    useless in a corporate environment which consists of 100 Pentium 4
    workstations running TurboLinux. Linux distributions are numerous and
    so are the numbers of certifications available in the market. Even
    hiring professionals for the task can be a real challenge for the
    corporate manager. Support and maintenance can be a real pain-in-the-
    ass under such circumstances with a constant fear of losing acute
    company information, trade-secrets and invaluable client information
    always at the back of the mind.

    Big commercial systems dealing with terabytes of information or
    million dollar investments ought to put support, maintenance and
    stability of their currently-running systems first to anything else.
    What happens if something breaks? Another region of space where almost
    all free system-level software including Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and
    others freak out is upgradeability. Nicely put, hardware systems
    running free software are not easily upgradeable, and even if they
    are, are not upgradeable to a great extent. Linux performs the worst
    in this case. FreeBSD on Intel platform though is horizontally
    upgradeable to some extent, but miserably fails (like Linux) when
    vertical upgradeability is considered. Commercial systems perform
    totally different, on the other hand. Sun SPARC and UltraSPARC systems
    are both horizontally as well as vertically upgradeable to a great
    extent. Thus, while upgrading such already existing commercial systems
    running commercial software, the amount of investment required is less
    and the productive output achieved is more.

    Thus, though Linux itself if freely available, many other aspects
    related to it are not free, and worse, pretty expensive and useless
    when compared to commercial systems. Linux may help corporate managers
    lowering down the one-time investment in hardware and software
    initially, but long-term investments get adversely affected thereby
    leading to a state of misuse of company resources, and more
    importantly support and maintenance of systems running such free
    software is never guaranteed, even if guaranteed by some firm, is
    usually of low quality and service. Corporate systems that prioritize
    safety and long-term investment costs to initially low one-time
    investments must stick to choosing commercial hardware systems running
    commercially certified software.
    About the Author

    Subhasish Ghosh, currently a final-year student of Informatics and
    Computer Science Engineering at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute
    (Technical University) tinkers with Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD
    and Sun Solaris operating systems. He has MCP, MCSD and MCSE
    certifications; currently preparing for Sun SOLARIS Systems
    Administrator Certification. For enquiries, comments and questions,
    send e-mail at:

    Free Software; Closest to FreedomPosted by PaulFerris on Jan 14, 2005
    12:48 PM; By Paul (FeriCyde) Ferris Mail this story
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    This is a response to Subhasish Ghosh's editorial entitled "Free
    Software in Reality Isn't Free". If I come across as kind of harsh
    here, I apologize. I know Solaris and and SunONE rather well, so this
    is familiar territory. Some of the concepts in Ghosh's editorial were
    quite baffling to me, so this editorial in fact raises more questions
    than it may answer. Such is discourse in the digital age
    -- FeriCyde

    by Paul Ferris, LXer contributor.

    GNU/Linux, when it first appeared in 1991, didn't even make a dent in
    the outside world -- in fact, no one in the mainstream press hardly
    knew of its existence until about 1996 or 1997. I should know, I was
    among the first to report about it. It has "clawed" its way to the
    position it is at today. There has been no dip in popularity, except
    for a business perception around the 2001 crash, when (momentarily)
    some wall-street types (with understandable good reason) lumped Linux
    companies into the same boat with dot-coms.

    You put out a statement in your article: "So, what went wrong with
    Linux?". Where does this come from? What market indicator are you
    pointing at that supposes, even remotely, that "something is going
    wrong or has gone wrong with Linux."

    The predictions of the community? Come on! Compare the "predictions of
    the community" with all of the hype that Scott McNeally spouts anytime
    he gets in front of the press. As for the kernel appearing "late",
    kernels appear when they appear. The ones that are in place now are
    pretty good. Good enough for most enterprise operations, as a matter
    of fact.

    As for the portability -- nothing beats Net-BSD for portability.
    Nothing. To which I would add "So?" We were talking about enterprise-
    class stuff after all weren't we? I hardly know anyone in enterprise
    class operations that's spending time attempting to compile kernels
    for exotic hardware so they can bring up web or application services.
    I don't see the point, in other words, you're trying to make about
    portability. I do see that GNU/Linux works pretty darn well on a host
    of platforms -- Motorola, AMD, Intel, IBM mainframes, embedded
    processors -- far more than Solaris (2 -- Intel, partially supported,
    and Sparc).

    As for your "most important question" for corporate America, and
    support. How about IBM or HP? What about RedHat? What about Novell? at
    least you have a choice. Compare that to support for Solaris (from one
    vendor), or Windows (from one vendor). Your arguments about the stock
    price of Linux companies don't hold water in the support arena, and
    yes, I'm talking from experience at enterprise-class companies that
    are using, today, right now, Linux.

    While high, high end benchmark data may not be achievable with an off
    the box Intel server, medium range servers are easily, bang for the
    buck, flattened squarely. In other words, Linux on the commodity Intel
    hardware of today has a price point that's extremely hard to beat. Sun
    knows this. I'm sure it keeps the up late at night, wondering what
    they're going to do to be relevant tomorrow.

    Corporate America, in other words, is embracing Linux. Speaking to
    your rambling tirade about SunONE (you have the name wrong, by the
    way, they renamed it last year to Sun Java something something -- I
    can't keep track). I'd like to personally explain my experiences with
    iPlanet, excuse me SunONE, or whatever it's called this minute. The
    software has it's place, but the support from Sun, from my experience,
    is abysmal. I honestly haven't had worse experiences in enterprise
    settings than Suns' support for iPlanet.

    Linux maps to Solaris, Apache maps to iPlanet and the rest is self-
    explanatory -- my experience talking here. I'd rather have Apache any
    day than iPlanet (or whatever you're going to call SunONE). My
    experience has also been that Solaris admins have very little trouble
    transitioning to Linux. iPlanet does run on Linux, but why you'd want
    to use it will likely depend upon your application. Will that
    application run on Apache? If so, again, in my humble opinion, you'd
    be out of your mind to use iPlanet instead. iPlanet locks you to
    Solaris -- yes, you can run it at some incredible license fee on HP-
    UX, AIX, Linux and Lord knows what else -- but why? To get Suns'
    support for it?

    Where does this statement have any backing in reality:
    On the other hand, Linux running on Intel Pentium 4 systems guarantee
    no support, no proper functioning of the software as well as hardware,
    no regular fixes, patches and upgrades to the system-level
    Did I hallucinate the two different vendors I've had exposure to so
    far? Were their patches to the operating system another figment of my
    imagination? Let me speak from my experience with iPlanet -- the
    patches appeared somewhat regularly, and the product was end-of lifed.
    The organization I belonged to then had to make a decision to upgrade
    to the next release, which was an enormous pain in the rear. Had they
    been using either Apache code base, both lines would still be
    supported by the community or the vendors -- and patched just fine.
    Your augment holds no water -- reality is actually working against you

    As for your description of a corporation relying upon RedHat engineers
    and TurboLinux, what's your point? Corporations hire and train (and re-
    train) people all the time. If the corporate standard is one flavor of
    Linux, getting someone who is fully trained (or even partially
    experienced) with another Linux distribution is a painless
    proposition. This is from my experience -- very little differences
    exist between distributions. Oh, you can make mountains out of mole-
    hills here, but the real differences come when you take someone with a
    Windows mind-set and put them in a Unix/Linux world. There you have
    some problems.

    Things to clarify please:
    Losing company trade-secrets -- this is an issue with any IT shop.
    What does it have to do with Open Source? Clarify please.
    Are you talking about scalability instead of upgrade-ability? It looks
    like it, but I'm not really sure...
    When you talk about the "Free-ness" of Linux, you appear to be
    comparing it mostly to Solaris. What makes you think Solaris is going
    to be more "Free" in this context? What does locking my operating
    systems down to one vendor have to do with Freedom? Is this what you
    mean? Please clarify...
    Your words here: "pretty expensive and useless" are harsh. You've
    posted them to LXer (A Linux forum and a community site). I find your
    words self descriptive, in other words, but I'll reserve my final
    judgment for your clarifications on the issues raised.

    Best of luck!
    --Paul Ferris
    Paul Ferris is a Linux professional with over 5 years of Linux
    experience in enterprise-class environments. His opinions are his, and
    his alone.

  2. Re: Linux no good for a corporation? Pros and Cons

    On Tue, 11 Dec 2007 13:20:06 -0800, raylopez99 wrote:

    > A debate from 2005 but still timely.

    Been there done that.


  3. Re: Linux no good for a corporation? Pros and Cons

    On Dec 11, 1:43 pm, Robin T Cox wrote:
    > On Tue, 11 Dec 2007 13:20:06 -0800, raylopez99 wrote:
    > > A debate from 2005 but still timely.

    > Been there done that.
    > Next.

    And what was your cornclusion azz hoe Robin sux Cox?


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