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Linux going big time and prime time against Windows, UNIX (WSJ)

Linux is going into mainstream, data center applications within the enterprise, much to UNIX's and Windows' chagrin, as the WSJ reports.

At least Microsoft is back to normal. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Bill Hilf takes a familiar (if a bit worn and tired) swipe at Linux in the enterprise:

In the enterprise, it's not enough just to be a cheap operating system. You need to have applications for it, and it needs to be highly supported.

Fortunately for Bill, he need not worry. Linux comes with superior support to Microsoft's because, oddly enough, the business model around Linux is predicated on support, not licenses, so Linux vendors like Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical/Ubuntu can't get by on marketing and sales sleight of hand. It's really Microsoft that needs to answer Bill's critique, not Linux. Linux also has applications in multitudes and, despite all that, still delivers significantly more value than Microsoft's Windows operating system.

But you don't have to believe me. It's the customer who consistently delivers this message. CIOs rank Microsoft a distant #6 to Red Hat (#1) and Novell (#5) in terms of value, according to CIO Insight's annual report. Truth really stinks, at least if you're Microsoft.

Still not convinced? The WSJ also highlighted these two customers who moved to Linux, and the benefits associated with the move:

Earth Tech, an engineering and consulting company specializing in water, environmental cleanup, transportation and facilities industries, opted to run the software on Dell Inc. servers running Linux. While Mr. Walsh declined to reveal dollar figures, he estimated that lower hardware and maintenance costs associated with the move reduced the cost to run his so-called enterprise resource, or ERP, systems by half -- money Earth Tech is using for a second data center to act as a back-up if operations at its first center are interrupted.

"I have run Solaris for years. I like Sun," Mr. Walsh says. He adds, "Linux is significantly more cost-efficient."

Or try this one:

In early 2006 [Palm Beach Community College] moved its ERP system, which runs on an IBM mainframe, to Linux from the mainframe's operating system.

Mr. Parziale [CIO] says the shift, aided by specialized services from IBM, reduced the college's monthly costs of running the ERP system to $2,000 from $30,000, in part because it no longer pays the license fee associated with the mainframe operating system.

"The savings were considerable for the college," says Mr. Parziale. "It's going well. Linux runs great."

So, costs much less, runs fantastic, and has the applications (Oracle, SAP, etc.) that customers demand. What's not to love, Bill?

Well, except real competition. That's unfortunate. Sorry. Just try to deliver better performance at a superior price and you should do just fine. Oh, and try to do it without locking in your customers. They'll appreciate that. I hear that it's a new, winning strategy. :-)