In response to the August 16 Perspectives column by Charles Cooper, "Can Linux duck the Redmond death ray?":
I read your comments about Linux regularly, and I enjoy them but I am not buying the message. I have tried almost every Linux distribution there is--along with the Apple and Microsoft OSes. Microsoft makes a big thing about the overall cost of ownership, and I think they have a good point. Let's look over a few of the "facts."
Linux operating systems software generally costs less than Apple or Microsoft operating systems software. This is true, but try and get support. With SUSE, I ended up making numerous long-distance calls to Germany. Mandrake wants to do everything by e-mail, and Red Hat wants to charge us hundreds of dollars for an incident of support.
When I have a problem, I want it solved now. I don't want to rummage through "knowledge bases," wait for nonexistent callbacks and e-mail inquiries.
I think the whole Linux argument is one big con job. Because of the open-source issue, it's hard to make money up front from the software sale, so they really hit you in the support area. The Linux folks try to get you to believe that there is a free lunch, but it's not true!
I am tired of hearing about restricted support hours, support on Tuesdays and Thursdays, paying for support via e-mail (give me a break!), or phone calls that go unanswered. When I have a Windows OS problem I call in and pay them the money via my credit card (and for the home "stuff" the fee is quite nominal). They are tenacious about getting an incident satisfactorily closed and I can call them seven days a week now.
I am not a Microsoft apologist, and Apple support is not too bad (although somewhat arrogant), but the big difference is that when I call Microsoft, someone answers the phone. Our Linux friends better fix this nagging support issue first or all the talk about improved GUI's (graphical user interfaces), hardware compatibility and other relative fluff is meaningless.