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Linux Vs. Windows Xp: A Small Business Deployment Cost Analysis.

1375 words - 6 pages

Introduction.The purpose of this paper is to present the financial and business advantages of using Linux, an open source operating system vs. Windows XP, a Microsoft closed source operating system, on small business' desktop computers. It is my recommendation that it can be cost effective for a small business to use Linux as its operating system of choice. In the course of my study I considered the following factors:-Cost-Performance-Reliability-Scalability-Usability-SecurityLinux is the second most sold(9) and the fastest growing server operating system today.(1) Among those switching to Linux are; Boeing's Research and Development division; Speedera; 1 government offices of Jefferson County, CO; the city of Steamboat Springs, CO; (4) and the New York Stock Exchange.(7) Additionally, governments of several countries are making the change from Microsoft to the less expensive Linux. Germany, for example, in order to cut costs and improve security, has contracted with IBM to provide computer systems based on Linux.(5)Because Linux is open-source, its code has been heavily scrutinized. Because of this, bugs are found and fixed much faster than with commercial operating systems(8) and upgrades are released more frequently.(11) This has lead to a less expensive, more reliable, better performing, and more secure operating system with a wide range of suppliers and technical support options. Open-source also means that it can be tailored to meet a small business' individual needs.(9)Cost.While open-source does not mean that Linux is absolutely free, it does mean that it is much less expensive. Commercial distributions of Linux can be purchased along with a support agreement.(6) Red Hat, for example, is a Linux supplier that charges a fairly high price for support.(9) Set up cost is normally the biggest expense due to the learning curve with an unfamiliar operating system.(6) However, with the proper pre-preparation and user training before rolling out a new operating system, the learning curve should be manageable and an expensive support agreement should not be necessary. If outside support does become necessary, another option would be to use Red Hat on a small business' critical servers only and use another distribution for other systems.A review of 52 Sellers of Microsoft Windows XP Pro found the lowest price to be $118.00 per copy. In addition, each time the operating system is installed on a computer system the user must pay a licensing fee. In comparison, a review of 22 sellers of Red Hat Linux (9) Professional found the lowest supported copy to sell at just $89.00. This copy can be installed on as many desktop units as needed with no additional licensing fees. This could add up to sizable savings. In a company with just ten user stations the company could be looking at a saving $1000.00 or more.Perhaps the biggest cost saving will come in the future. Because Linux is more reliable, maintenance costs are lower, (11) and the next time...

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