9X, More Or Less

Would you pay 9 times more for computing or 9 times less? I lived in Winnipeg too long to pass that one over. Businesses, too, who like to be frugal, will want to pay 9 times less for computing. Businesses in strong competition will want to pay 9 times less to gain an advantage.

I have seen many examples on the desktop of gaining a 2 times advantage being enough to convince schools to switch to GUN/Linux from that other OS. Now Google offers notebooks with 9 times lower cost of ownership running ChromeOS and gives businesses a fixed charge for the budget. That will be hard to pass up for any business or any business with tasks that can be done by a thin client like ChromeOS.

“According to Rajen Sheth, group product manager for Chrome for Business, a Chromebook will cost you $336 a year per user. A 2008 Gartner study, done on behalf of Citrix, showed a total cost of ownership of $2,845 a year for a PC. Even if you take out “fuzzy” numbers for training and the like, you still end up with an annual TCO of about $1,722. Advantage: Chromebooks.”

see ComputerWorld – Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Is the Windows business dying?

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to 9X, More Or Less

  1. oe says:

    Consistency is why I “s-canned” MSOffice for OpenOffice, I got fed up with drifting file formats where the older version can open the newer version’s defualt format. Plus replacing textual menus with that horrid Ribbon…..

  2. Contrarian says:

    I know that companies are serious about having a consistency in their operations and that means that they have to have someone “taking care” of their computer equipment. I am suspicious of any rule of thumb such as “3% of cash-flow” as you mention or $2845 per PC as claimed to have been noted by Gardner. IT expenses are controllable and can be determined on a cost and result analysis the same as any other business expense. The need will vary with the individual business and with that business’ own circumstances.

    The ComputerWorld blogger suggests that the Gardner numbers are trumped by the lower numbers claimed by the Google manager. That is a little suspect, given the self-serving nature of the claims. As I said above, if a business sees fit to hire an IT manager/administrator to guarantee that its employees use their computers in a consistent manner, that need is not going to go away if the computers run Linux or run Windows. The conventional wisdom is that Windows is “easier to use” than Linux and whether that is true or not today, it is unlikely that costs for Linux are zero. The best guess is that they would be roughtly equal and that the cost of ownership analysis presented is totally fictitious.

  3. Contrarian wrote, “I don’t see where that is any less if the business gives Linux computers to their employees rather than Windows computers.”

    I don’t quite understand why businesses like to pay a ton of money for IT but many think they are getting junk if they don’t overpay for it. I have seen many figures that support the idea that business should spend about 3% of cash-flow on IT, an astronomical sum even for small businesses. The bureaucracy in some businesses wants the cost of everything determined at budget-time, so businesses love leasing (has tax advantages too) and they love support contracts. They will pay someone $1000+ per year per PC to keep the IT running for the business. Businesses are not usually in the business of IT so this makes sense to them. They don’t care so much about the cost as long as the IT keeps working.

    I have worked in places that spent tons of money on IT and got much less performance/reliability than some of the tiny operations I have run. Some people just don’t care about efficiency or price or performance as long as it keeps running. When it fails to run, they throw more money at the problem to make it go away, like buying a whole new set of PCs or leasing a new set.

    In businesses this may well be the case with GNU/Linux. That’s how RedHat makes $1000 or so per server per annum. The advantages of using GNU/Linux for IT go far beyond licensing costs. Downtime is less so there are 3-5 times fewer “service tickets”. Places that left that other OS find they can do with many fewer IT guys (especially switching to thin clients). I know one school division that went from 300 PCs running that other OS to 1400 Solaris thin clients without adding staff. They actually found better ways to deploy the staff they had to do planning and training rather than hand-holding the OS. Where I have worked with little or no technical support, schools went from 50% availability of PCs to ~100% with nothing changed but the OS. One gets the same sorts of advantages for desktops that one gets for servers. Typically I see servers running GNU/Linux giving the same performance as three servers running that other OS. GNU/Linux servers need far fewer re-re-reboots etc.

  4. Contrarian says:

    I cast a jaded eye at these sorts of figures myself. Years ago, Microsoft published a lot of stories about how a company was better off paying for Windows than getting Linux for free and everyone in the Linux camp sneered. Now they see the shoe on the other foot and embrace the same sort of hand waving nonsense.

    As an individual, I can go on the internet and buy this Dell laptop that I am using from the refurb dealer for $449, which is what I did. Now I own it and if it doesn’t break in the next couple of years, that is all it will have cost me. If I leased a Chrome Book for 2 years, it will have cost me $672, using the numbers above, and I don’t see how that is less, regardless of what Gartner might claim about how much my laptop actually cost me.

    If someone is running a business and they have to pay someone a bunch of money to take care of the computers that are being used in that business and that comes to $2845 or even $1722 each, I cannot say that is not the case, but I don’t see where that is any less if the business gives Linux computers to their employees rather than Windows computers.

    When I look at the promotions that are being reference here and elsewhere, all I see is that Samsung wants me to rent a Linux netbook for more money than it takes to buy one with Windows so that I can rent my software from Google over the network. That may make sense to some people, but not to me.

    I have the home version of office on this machine and I will have to pay $120 if I want to buy the real one from Microsoft although I can put it on 5 computers. I could just as easily click on the Open Office install along with Google Chrome browser, I understand, and get the same thing, even with Windows OS being used.

    I still have my $39 (on sale) copy of Quicken that I got 5 years ago and have used on three different computers now to do my banking and keep track of my stock and such. I don’t need the new one, the old one works just fine.

    Everything else that I use came with the laptop although I use the Microsoft anti-virus that is free instead of the McAfee trial that came from Dell.

    I think these total cost of ownership claims are mostly baloney no matter whether it is Microsoft or Google blowing the smoke.

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