Sunday, 23 August 2009

The Sad Linux Facts

This year marks my 10th year as a Linux user. In 1999 I purchased my first Red Hat Linux Server for a small IT company I owned at the time. Back then web designer could work all day on Macs and FTP their finished worked to Unix Servers, I had worked on remote Unix boxes for years and the evolution to Linux seemed natural.

Over the past 4 years my own use of Linux has increased. I have built machines with several distros including Puppy, Damn Small, Linux, Open Solaris, Suse, Fedoria, Debian, Knopic and of course Ubuntu.

So I guess you could call me a fan of Linux. Fan enough to be able to tell you: its not going to knock Microsoft off its dominate position in business IT.

The reason for this is the way Microsoft allows business decision makers to anticipate the rate of technical change. Most people in IT only seem to understand half the story. Technology offers the opportunity to increase productivity of workers giving firms larger profit margins for the same price.

But technology is expensive and risky. In the late 1990s many firms found they could have no confidence in their IT projects. Money spent on IT more likely than not never gave a return.

The great danger with IT is not too little progress, but rapid confusing progress that no one really fully understands. Open Source actually contains more risk than the costs of purchasing the software.

The entire problem with the Open Source world view is that it opens a massive hot house of evolution of technology. You can suddenly have thousands of companies around the world making enhancements to bring to market. Changes can happen far more rapidly and farm more specialised, and that is the problem: business decision makers can't anticipate what the technology landscape will look like over say 5 to 10 years.

Microsoft is NOT about technology. EVERYTHING Microsoft sells can be purchased either from a premium shop at better quality or just downloaded as open source. So why is Microsoft presence increasing rather than decreasing?

Because Microsoft brings a level of order to the progress of the IT industry allowing firms to be where they want to be: not on the bleeding edge.

Lets face the facts: business people don't trust IT geeks. IT geeks for the most part hold the profit motive in contempt. The geek gap will never be resolved. Microsoft allows the business people a chance to understand how technology will evolve and be used. So you can tell your geeks to put in a Microsoft system.