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Users Ponder Linux Tradeoffs

NEW YORK -- Think you're going to save gobs of money by opting for Linux over other operating systems?

You may be in for a rude awakening, according to some financial services IT managers, who cited skill shortages and integration challenges aplenty.

"I think that the whole financial aspect of open source might be a little bit frothy and over-hyped," said Jeremy Lehman, chief software architect for global equities at Citigroup during a panel discussion this morning at an event in Manhattan. "I don't believe that TCO is actually a primary driver for open source," he explained, adding that the list price for some Linux products can be more expensive than Microsoft Windows.

A number of vendors, including Novell and Red Hat, offer commercial versions of the open source Linux operating system, which has traditionally been perceived as cheaper than Windows, IBM's AIX, and Sun's Solaris offerings. (See Virtualization Looms Large at LinuxWorld, Energy Firms Clamor for Clusters, LSU Raises Storage Bar, HP Dons Red Hat , and IDC Sees Growth in Linux, Blade Servers.)

Lehman, who did not reveal which Linux product he uses, admitted that open source has hindered attempts to virtualize Citigroup's global systems. "It actually makes it tougher to deploy things," he said, highlighting the fact that, outside the U.S, Linux is much less prevalent. "It's a lot tougher to gain acceptance of a Linux system, in say, Korea, compared to Windows," he added.

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