Users and resellers that leap aboard the Linux bandwagon won't slash IT costs just because the open source software comes free, experts warned yesterday.
Speaking at the Comdex Linux Business conference, software pricing consultant Jim Geisman said while there were many reasons for moving to an open source operating system such as Linux, but a huge cost saving was unlikely to be one of them.
"Getting into the Linux business right now is not going to be a windfall. It's just going to be hard work. Sorry. No free lunch," said Geisman, who is president of IT consultant Marketshare.
"How much can you actually squeeze from software license costs? Can you take away all 25 per cent spent on software in any IT budget by getting Linux free? No. You might knock off a percentage point or two which isn't chickenfeed, but is not going to have a big impact," he explained.
Getting and keeping the right expertise in particular software is likely to have a greater impact on cost that getting the software free, said Geisman. People costs make up more than 50 per cent of a typical IT budget, he said. Minimising downtime helps keep down these people costs and wasted resources, so should be the prime consideration when looking at using Linux, rather than the low purchase cost of the software.
Concentrating on making the most of the potential reliability characteristics of Linux are likely to prove more financially profitable than the purchase cost, he concluded.
The cost of switching from existing applications were also a major factor in looking at open source implementations, something that would be particularly prohibitive in the desktop environment for many organisations, he noted.
Don Rosenberg, business development director for software licensing consultancy Stromian Technologies, said resellers and software development companies faced the same challenge from Linux, on which margins on system sales could be even lower than usual even though the base software cost virtually nothing.
P>Resellers should charge on the basis of benefit to the customer, not on the cost of the software. Premium prices could be charged for high reliability features, training services and customisation work on the software to provide and integrate complete systems, he said.
Resellers should steer clear of the desktop arena as well warned Rosenberg, as the support costs for a large number of undereducated end users can be high.
Even Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, speaking at the Monday night keynote, admitted that Linux was not going to break into the desktop market anytime soon.
"The desktop - that is the hardest market to enter by far but but clearly the most strategically important area, because it's the thing people see every day...Will Linux ever be there? I used to say ask me in two or three years' time, and that's still my answer," he said.
Ceres, located in the asteroid belt, has a carbonaceous-rich upper crust, SwRI study claims
The spacecraft found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, known as hydroxyls, embedded in the rocky surface of the asteroid
The skeleton was unearthed more than 20 years ago in South Africa
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth