CMP Media's CRN Test Center Says Linux Accomplishes Microsoft Windows Tasks at 93 Percent Software Cost Savings

Nov 30, 1999

CRN, CMP Media's news weekly for builders of technology solutions, features a cover story in its Dec. 3 issue in which its CRN Test Center put together a Microsoft Windows-free network with a Linux server and five workstations at a 93 percent software cost savings to a comparable Windows solution.

The Test Center reached the following conclusion: Linux and associated Linux applications can accomplish many of the same tasks as the Wintel standard at a much lower initial cost -- in this case, for 93 percent less than the software cost of a similar Windows-based network -- and without many of the licensing hassles presented by traditional software platforms. The total software cost for the Linux based solution was $317 vs. $4,688 for the Windows network solution.

The Test Center's "non-Windows" network included Linux distributions from Red Hat, Mandrake and Caldera for the desktop and server implementations. To reflect the mishmash of equipment usually found in a small-business environment, the Test Center used a menagerie of hardware to gauge various Linux configurations.

This included computers ranging from older Intel Pentium II-based systems to systems based on the latest Intel and Advanced Micro Devices processors as well as storage devices, such as SCSI and IDE hard drives and CD-ROM and DVD drives.

Broadband Internet connectivity was supplied via a cable modem linked directly to a Linux-based server or shared via a Linksys broadband router. Test Center engineers found the installation of the various Linux distributions surprisingly easy. Caldera, Mandrake and Red Hat have gone to great lengths to simplify the process, and their products generally had no problems identifying the hardware and successfully installing Linux on any of the test systems.

Although Linux's corporate inroads have primarily been on the server front and questions remain about the profitability of a Linux-powered desktop, a select few solution providers are already closing deals and reaping rewards from selling Linux-based solutions.

"For most business uses, Linux desktops and available applications can perform the tasks people need, reliably and efficiently," said Evan Liebovitch, a partner at Starnix, a Linux-centric VAR based in Toronto.

About CRN and the CRN Test Center

CRN is the nation's leading trade newsweekly that provides breaking industry news and analysis for solution providers, integrators and e-businesses driving the economy. It is the most trusted source of news for 117,500 channel professionals. A media leader in the high-tech industry, CRN provides the most comprehensive suite of online resources:, the site where industry news breaks first; CRN Direct, a daily newspaper that brings personalized news to solution providers' desktops; and CRN News Radio, a daily news broadcast covering the solution provider channel and the industry

The CRN Test Center is the technology-evaluation department of CRN, providing unbiased product, technology and channel-program analysis specifically targeted at solution providers. The CRN Test Center produces single-product reviews, technology news, technology demonstrations at tradeshows, and product roundups featuring channel-program evaluations. Top products receive the coveted "Editor's Choice" or "Recommended" designations

CMP Media LLC ( is a leading high-tech media company providing essential information and marketing services to the entire technology spectrum -- the builders, sellers and users of technology worldwide. Capitalizing on its editorial strength, CMP is uniquely positioned to offer marketers comprehensive, integrated media solutions tailored to meet their individual needs. Its diverse products and services include newspapers, magazines, Internet products, research, direct marketing services, education and training, trade shows and conferences, custom publishing, testing and consulting.


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