IBM rattles Windows

New Linux survey points to cost savings with OpenSource.

IBM has ratcheted up the long-running fight between Windows and Linux another notch, launching a report that claims Linux is 40% cheaper than Microsoft's operating system.

The IBM-sponsored study from the Robert Frances Group found it cost £40,149 to buy, implement and run an application server on Linux for three years compared to £67,559 for Windows. Sun Solaris cost 54% more than Linux.

The lack of a licensing fee with Linux is cited as a major factor behind these cost savings, as is the easy crossover between Unix and Linux skills which, says the report, will also play a huge part in lowering cost of ownership, as well as lower support and maintenance, says IBM.

But plans by Microsoft and some Unix vendors to lower licensing fees will erode these cost savings. As Linux users begin to buy the usual support and management tools and other features that accompany proprietary operating systems, the gap will close even further.

This is the latest spat in a long-running debate between the Microsoft Windows camp on one side and Linux on the other.

IBM's report, TCO for Application Servers: Comparing Linux with Windows and Solaris follows a two-year "Get the facts" campaign from Microsoft, which has continually whittled away at the claimed benefits of Linux.

Backing its Linux claims even further is another IBM-sponsored study by research firm Pund-IT, whose report, "Beyond TCO - The Unanticipated Second Stage Benefits of Linux", outlines yet further benefits. Linux will reduce hardware upgrade costs, attract new IT people interested in open source and consolidate server workloads, it suggests.

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