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Where To Place Your OS Bets

The quest for an alternative to the Windows platform has driven many to experiment with the various operating systems out there. Several types exist, from Unix to FreeBSD to Linux—which itself comes in so many flavors that it can complicate selecting which way to go.

When making such a selection, solution providers first must determine whether their customers' desire to use an alternative OS falls under the "anything but Microsoft" realm, or whether there is a legitimate need to select something other than Windows.

FRANK J. OHLHORST
Can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

So what are legitimate needs? Most alternative-OS pushers tout cost as a primary factor, but according to various research firms, that argument could go either way, and the water gets even murkier when intangibles such as training, support and documentation are
factored in.

>>  Solution providers need to understand
what OS alternatives mean to their markets.
 

In some cases, a proper cost analysis can prove to be as expensive as the proposed savings.

The real reason for going with an alternative OS should be driven by the solution provider, who has the expertise to leverage what an OS has to offer.
Vertical-market applications or specialized needs are the primary factors in selecting alternatives, but they mean nothing unless someone is advocating alternatives.

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