[clug] Enterprise Linux use

Robert Brockway robert at timetraveller.org
Mon Oct 11 09:32:02 MDT 2010

On Mon, 11 Oct 2010, David Cottrill wrote:

> I work on AIX p595 hardware for the government. I can't convince anyone to
> look at Linux, or open source seriously because of a few points, which I
> would like some suggestions on.

Hi David.  Wow, in 2010 few large organisations aren't taking OSS 

> 1. OSS vendor support will point the finger at hardware and hardware vendor
> support will point the finger at OSS when we have a problem.

Several hardware vendors now offer one or more Linux distributions and 
certify the hardware as working with specific versions of specific 

You mentioned AIX... IBM will supply hardware and install Linux on it for 
you (for the right price) so they don't even need to leave their IBM 
confort zone :)

> 2. It doesn't boot from SAN. ( well it does on a p595 - thank IBM for that)

I've never tried to boot from a SAN - in all cases I've had local disks 
for the OS.  Having said that a quick Google search suggests some people 
have done it so maybe you are just experiencing a plain old bug.

> 3. It is less efficient than a hardware specific OS

I'll interpret this to mean 'performance efficiency'...

The developers of a portable OS can abstract away h/w specific components 
and be just as performance efficient as any other OS, in general.

Of course this is a huge topic and there may be cases where abstracting 
away the h/w differences is problematic.

Besides, performance efficiency isn't everything.  Being able to recompile 
applications on another platform with little problem is 'human time' 
efficient.  Human time is a major cost in running computer systems.

> 4. It is less stable than a paid (Unix) OS

I assume they mean the paid OS is closed source.

There is plenty of evidence to support the position that keeping the 
source code secret doesn't help security or stability.

A study a few years ago found that 70% of code being added to the Linux 
kernel is recent years was done so by people who are paid to do it.  The 
precentage has been going up over time and may even be higher now.

> 5. OSS sales staff can't compete with predatory pricing from the hardware
> vendors.

Wouldn't this be putting the cart before the horse?

Let vendors of both open and closed software provide proposals and then 
evaluate them based on their merits.  Of course this procedure is only as 
good as the evaluation criteria they use.

In any case many of the hardware vendors sell Linux as an option these 

> 6. Can't get certified, experienced staff. Not so much OS as programming
> environments such as a 'PHP solutions architect' or similar title that the
> Websphere world seems thick with

Ok now they're being silly :)

PHP and other ceritifications do exist.  IMHO most certifications fail to 
show really deep knowledge anyway (there are arguably exceptions).

Seriously the last few points seem to hark from the 1990s.  When I hear 
points like that made today I tend to assume the people are using them to 
support their existing biases.

Humans are very good as ignoring objective logic or evidence that 
contradicts their biases.  A recent study I read about suggests that many 
humans actually come to believe their biases more strongly when presented 
with evidence that contradicts it.

Anyway good luck introducting OSS to your environment.



Email: robert at timetraveller.org		Linux counter ID #16440
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