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September 7, 2006

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 undercuts Vista hard

by @ 2:19 pm. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE News

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is my hero. He does some really great pieces. I tend to agree with him a very large part of the time. Which makes sense, because we are both right. 🙂

In his latest bit, he compares the Vista trainwreck to the better SLED 10 alternative.

Excerpt:

“So, bottom line time, it will cost you $724 per PC to upgrade to Vista. Or, you could pay $170 per PC to get SLED. That’s a savings of $554 per user desktop.

“Now, you could argue that you can do better with Vista pricing than that, and the like. I won’t argue with you. You can also drop the software costs of everything on the Linux side to zero. How? By firing your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Software Engineer) IT staffer and replacing him with a NLCE (Novell Certified Linux Engineer) professional and switching over to openSUSE 10.1 and using purely open-source solutions. When it comes to software and IT costs, there are almost endless variables. One thing, though, is certain: the upfront costs of a Linux desktop are far lower than Vista’s price-tag.”

Check out the entire article here.

5 Responses to “SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 undercuts Vista hard”

  1. Viktor Says:

    Firing your MCSE is a bit harsh – why not send him to get some RHCE or NLCE certification, that would be a worthwhile investment.

  2. Kumar Says:

    This response to your article, Mr. Morris is partly non-sequitor, since I don’t defend Vista. But yours was the prominent blog on SuSE Linux that Google threw up. If you think that this rant of mine is better placed elsewhere, I would appreciate your taking the liberty of doing so. I apologize if my asperity shows through in the following lines.

    I noticed this MS bashing that is endemic to the Linux crowd. While I subscribe to neither religion, I won’t be converting to Linux anytime soon. Perhaps you might want to read my story. However, MS does do certain things extremely well that the Linux/Open-software/anti-MS crowd does extremely badly and has no intention of correcting, seemingly.

    I have an old box (550 MHz Pentium) at home, and wanted to get rid of NT and install Linux. I bought it the Friday before last from my retailer. I returned seven days later (and that is only because I did not do anything with it till the next Friday). My retailer made an exception and accepted the opened software and gave me store credit – I will certainly patronize this retailer again!

    Now, for the details.

    If you guys want to promote Linux/SuSE/whatever, you must understand this: If I get it for free, as a user, I am willing to go to some lengths to make it work. If I am paying for it, and especially if the box says something about support for x days from the date of purchase, I expect to dial a number and have someone on the other side. It seems that Novell has great difficulty in grasping that concept. Of course, my experience is only one sample point, but to me, it is the only one that matters.

    Now guys, I am new to Linux, but I have been working with various flavors of unix on and off for about fourteen years now. I do know my way around a unix system, prefer one shell over others, have written programs in C, Awk, Sed and Perl, and all but done systems programming or written device drivers. That apart, I have written an entire application in .NET (Windows Forms), so I do know a bit of “the other side” too – not just Microsoft, but engineering the user experience as well.

    There are certain things though, that I have no clue on, but when I am paying for those, have no intention of wading through a lot of slush to figure out. In this case, it happens to be wireless networking. My wireless card, specifically installed because I wanted to use Linux, by my local computer man, did not work. He demonstrated that it was not the hardware – it was simply that SuSE Linux could not use the wireless card. He suggested that I check with the maker (i.e. Novell), buy the card they support (or whatever is compatible with Linux) and use it.

    By this time I had already blown the better part of the day I had taken off. And then I learned that I could not contact Novell support because it was too late.

    I tried again last Friday, because this was the only day I could take off in a while. My intent was to get the card they support, and simply go buy it at the retailer. It took me an eternity to get to a human voice – and only after I was forced to part with personal information that I had no intention of sharing with Novell, until I got my system truly working and I really became their user/customer. And that human voice curtly told me that they don’t support wireless cards, and that I should go to xxxx website. Of course, that was not the only item in the conversation – he asked me to hurry up since there were other customers on the line (queue). When I asked him for his name and ID, he made one up (Rob, “500 001”, he said). For those of you who are anti-outsourcing-to-India, I learned that he was not in India; he was in Europe, so don’t blame this one on India – Dell’s guys in India, I have found to be incompetent, but at least they are not curt; they are polite to a fault, in fact.

    Anyway, at this point, I lost it and went to return this software, to my obliging retailer. I had not even taken care to save the receipt, since I had had no intention of returning the SuSE Linux. Now, that money is not a big deal for me, but the thought that I spent it on *this* would grate me no end. My retailer gave me store credit. I think they are just going to throw away that Linux instead of giving it back to Novell. Too bad. I want Novell to return the money.

    Fortunately, I had all my NT disks from the computer manufacturer (Dell), so I managed to get NT back late last night. And ended up watching a rerun of the orignal Star Trek on TV, so the evening was not a total loss.

    But the story has a happy ending. My intent in installing Linux was partly to understand the notion of the OS from scratch. I learned that there is a much better tool for that: Minix. So, I got Tanenbaum’s book. So, thanks to the folks at SuSE, I might end up reading the C code of a kernel, and doing some kernel and assembly programming as well – all for fun.

    4K lines of *elaborately commented* microkernel C should be relatively easy to read, and the debate between Torvalds and Tanenbaum sounds interesting. I already learned that monolithic kernels (Windows *and* Linux) aren’t all they are cracked up to be, and that the microkernel could be a much superior alternative since it enshrines reliability – sure, the IPC can be a pain, but with hardware speeds accelerating as they are, I will consider taking the performance “hit” any day. In any case, with Java that runs like treacle being as ubiquitous as it is, and being treated as reverentially as it is, picking on the microkernel for sacrificing a bit of speed simply does not get my vote. Of course, if I need to learn that the above is wrong thinking, I don’t mind learning that the hard way.

    If I ever “do” Linux, I might just end up downloading one from the Web. *If*, that is.

    – Disgusted ex-SuSE user.

    PS: If you folk want to battle the guys at Redmond, you have a long way to go. Taking rants like mine seriously would be a good start.

    PPS: to be sure, I have had issues with Dell and Microsoft phone support too; I once called Dell about MSMQ’s not being available, and none of them even understood what on earth it was (MSMQ = Microsoft Message Queue). MS passed the buck back to Dell. But then, it was really easy to make it work by myself. The point is that their stuff works right off the box in 3-sigma of the cases or better, so they can afford to have lousy support. You, i.e. the Linux ecosystem, can’t. At least not yet.

  3. Kumar Says:

    On my earlier post, there is a correction. The reinstallation of my NT happened that night itself. I had written this post the next day i.e. Saturday, but decided to sleep on it and post it around only if I felt that way after a week. I corrected for the day references, but evidently left one out. BTW, removal of the SuSE Linux was a chore too – I finally did a rm -rf * as root, and it still had some Calderon stuff (??) left. I just installed NT over all that and all was well.

  4. michaaa Says:

    And it will become a great success!
    It will always be a mystery to me why people think:
    “It’s expensive, it must be worth it!”

    Let them rot on Windows (very free: W.Churchill)

    cheers Michael

  5. Scott Morris Says:

    Kumar,
    Thanks for taking some time to share. It’s quite apparent that you had a bad experience. Thanks for taking the time to share your disgust in a way that clearly conveys your sentiment without resorting to less mature forms of expression. I get a lot of those. Anyway, I think that you are probably right. The Linux folks should really take stuff like this as constructive feedback on where they can improve the Linux movement. I think that general support for Linux has a great distance to go before it is truly useful to a non-user. As a hard-core Linux guy, one can find his own answers to technical issues. For a regular old grandma or Internet/email user, technical support is presently almost non-existent or unacceptable. I’m not even sure who we’d hold responsible for Linux support in general. I hear RedHat’s support is pretty good. Other than that, Linux is an open source OS. No one supports it. The fact, though, that you actually *BOUGHT* the platform, and the vendor was unable or unwilling to provide a solution *PROVES* that the resources for good technical support for Linux just simply are not available. It is simply not practical to provide such support, yet. You are absolutely right. We need better support resources for Linux. Man, if you wanted to start a company where there is a *TON* of demand and almost *NO* supply, technical support for Linux would be a *SPECTACULAR* place to start. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I can whole-heartedly see your viewpoint. Have a good one.

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