Re: Windows vulnerability vs Linux vulnerability [Re: Would a firewall prevent Sasser worm?]

From: Nigel Wade (
Date: 05/10/04

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 14:16:23 +0100

Leythos wrote:
> In article <c7f3h1$>, "Jörn W. Janneck"
> <jwjanneck at yahoo dot com> says...
>>since, surely, nobody in their right mind wants to spend that amount of
>>money for something that they could replace for free, now would they. (on
>>amazon: xp pro 179 to 269 + office 124 to 419 + outlook 86 + nav 59 +
>>quickbooks 139 to 289 = 587 to 1122, and that's USD) but i am sure that
>>there is some feature in, what was it, quickbooks, that is not in gnucash,
>>and that just happens to be absolutely essential to this "mother-in-law."
>>and if it's just the ability to read quickbook files.
> Well, lets take a look at this - since we're talking about people that
> are doing it on their own, we're talking about people that must know
> enough to purchase OEM copies instead of retail. Heck, if they know
> enough to find/download/install Mandrake and Open Office and then find
> GNUCash and install/import they know enough to get OEM.
> Windows XP Prof OEM: $140
> Office 2003 SBE (Access, Word, Excel, Publisher, Outlook) $241
> Total cost $381

You haven't included the time it's taken her to go out and buy Windows and
Office. Lets assume it's an online purchase as local shops probably won't
have OEM versions for sale (also, as she's not buying any hardware with
Windows/Office to justify the OEM license, the OEM license is not valid; we
really ought to include the fine for running unlicensed software if we want
a true comparison). So that's (being generous) 2 days lost productivity at
$25/hour = $400.

Time to install Windows:
1 hour

Time to install all necessary drivers (including reboots) and configure
basic networking etc.
1 hour - and your system is now completely vulnerable unless you add the
cost, and time, to install a firewall and anti-virus software. You should
also download all the MS critical updates (about 3-4 hours on a broadband
connection IIRC).

Time to install Office
30 mins

> Open Source:
> Time to find Mandrake 10 Beta 15 minutes
> Time to download - 2 streams 4 hours each - 8 hours total 3 ISO images
> Burn to CD - 4 minutes each
> Wipe computer you just downloaded from - 15 minutes

zero, it gets overwritten during the install if you require.

> Install Mandrake 10 - Guessing 1 hours for first time?

Fedora takes abount 30 mins if you know what you are doing, I'd guess
Mandrake to be the same. So, for a first install it's about the right ball
park. Thats to install a fully loaded system, Office, full development etc.
  networking up and running. Considerably less than the time it takes for a
novice user to install Windows (why isn't my USB port working? What
motherboard drivers?).

> Install Open Office - Guessing 15 minutes first time?

Included in the above.

> Get Travan 40 tape drive working - 2 hours

Why? You've not included the time it takes to get it working in the Windows
setup? I would expect Linux to detect and use it without any problem,
although I've never used a Travan.

> Restore backup of data - nope, used Tapeware for backup

Again, you have not included this in the costing for Windows install.
And if you don't even know what you used for backup, what hope is there for
you? Besides, there's no need to restore the data, Linux will quite happily
read it from the Windows partition.

> Find Tapeware for nix - download it
> Figure out how to install it - 30 minutes
> Restore backup of data - Yea, (no time since it would be the same on a
> Windows box)
> Find GNUCash - 15 minutes
> Install GNUCash - 15 minutes

It's likely on the CDs, and would be installed with everything else if you
wanted it.

> Restore QuickBooks backup file - not sure if we could
> Relearn office tasks - about 30 minutes over the week.
> TOTAL TIME 14 hours, 6 hours if we don't count downloads
> Pay rate $25/hr * 14 hours = $350 base cost
> Pay rate $25/hr * 6 hours = $150 base cost
> So, if we account for all of her time to download and setup Mandrake 10
> and Open Office it's about a wash, even if we don't count the time she
> takes to be around to monitor the FTP, Mandrake/Office solution is only
> half as cheap as the MS solution.
> In reality, the Mandrake / Open Office solution is going to cost her
> much more in relearning time over the next 6 to 8 months as she learns
> more about it and tries to do the same things she did on Windows base.
> Once you look at the cost, it's not much difference, it's about comfort
> and ease of use, and for someone that already knows the Windows base
> it's not worth the effort.

As with all "comparisons" I've seen of Windows vs. Linux "true" costs,
you've managed to conveniently ignore the true costs of Windows.

Nigel Wade, System Administrator, Space Plasma Physics Group,
             University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
E-mail :
Phone :     +44 (0)116 2523548, Fax : +44 (0)116 2523555

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