Computer Industry Numbers

Commodore 8296 Personal Computer
Commodore 8296 Personal Computer

There’s some interesting numbers coming out of the computer industry. Let’s take a look at them.

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NSA Spying Scandal – An Analysis

NSA Logo
NSA Logo

Like a lot of people, I’ve been following the NSA Spying Scandal closely. In fact, I’ve been following it for several years, since before I first ran into Barrett Brown. Seriously. The leaks about go back a long way, and most writers appear to have missed the implications.

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The Charge of the Tablet Brigade

With apologies to Alfred Lord Tenneyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Shops
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward the Tablet Brigade!
Charge for the consumers!" he said.
Into the valley of Shops
Rode the six hundred.

Let’s talk about tablets.

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Microsoft Windows – Disaster Movie At Eleven!

My friend and sometime sparring partner, Goblin, has a good article on the latest disaster to hit Microsoft Windows titled ‘Windows under attack on two fronts? Even more problems ahead?‘, in which he covers the issues with his usual verve. Me, I’m going to go at it from a different direction.

A while back I told lawyer Barry Sookman that the smartest thing his law practise could do would be to dump Windows. I explained in technical terms why he should do so, and he didn’t understand. This is not a criticism of Barry. Barry’s a lawyer, not a Geek. He doesn’t have the technical background to understand the issues. In this case, I’m the one deserving of the criticism, I knew that Barry wasn’t a Geek, and should have tried to explain to him in terms that he would understand. So let’s take a try at doing that, focusing on the economic issues.

Assume an office with a staff of one hundred computer users, using Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office. A minimum of three servers will be needed, one for mail, one for file and printer service, and an SQL server for accounting. This is a first time setup.

Computer Workstation including keyboard, mouse, operating system, productivity suite, etc. $1100.00 with Windows 7 Professional, and Microsoft Office Professional 2007, and a two year anti-virus subscription included. But wait – we’ve only talked about workstations, what about the servers?

100 Workstations at $1100.00 each – $110,000.00

File and Print Server – $5700.00

SQL (Accounting) Server – $6900.00

Exchange (Mail) Server – $10080.00

Battery Backup Power Supply (for servers) – $1000.00

Total Cost – $133,680.00

Without discounts the total using the Microsoft solution would be $133,680.00. This is a lot of cash, and no doubt you’d be able to negotiate some sort of discount (if you couldn’t with one vendor, another would be glad to get your business).

What happens if instead of Windows 7 we install a free as in beer version of Linux with either Open Office or KOffice? The price drops to $570.00, which is a $530.00 saving per computer, or a $53,000.00 saving for the entire company. And then there’s the servers. Because of the way that Windows works you need three. With Linux you only need one. Again, we’ll go with the free as in beer version, and your server will cost you about $2,000.00. Let’s total that up:

100 Workstations at $530.00 each – $53,000.00

File, Print, SQL, Mail, and Web Server – $2,000.00

Battery Backup Power Supply (for server) – $1000.00

Total Cost – $56,000.00

Total Saving – $77,680.00

That’s a lot of cash. Oh, you are going to need to hire a geek to install everything, but you were going to have to do that anyway. It might take him a bit longer, and assuming that he charges $100.00 per hour, you could afford to have him bill an extra 775 hours before you’d be loosing money. 775 hours. That’s nearly half a year assuming 40 hour weeks…

And it actually gets worse. I assumed that you could get by with the cheapest possible servers, and with one hundred users, that would be pretty unlikely. The hardware costs for those three Windows servers probably should be about $3000.00 per server higher, and that assumes that you can get by with only three servers – depending upon your operation you might need two or three times as many, and additional Backup Power Supplies. The hardware cost for the single Linux server should probably be about $10,000.00 which is still far less expensive.

The point of course is that spending money on a Windows solution is an inefficient use of funds. Do you want to be the person reporting to your board of directors that you’ve wasted that much money?

Wayne Borean

Thursday April 22, 2010

Lincoln Spector asks 'Why Can't the Law Get the Crooks?'

Poor Link. He’s just not thinking straight. Rather than asking Why Can’t the Law Get the Crooks? he should be asking, why did Microsoft build a house with large Windows that will not lock?

Because that is what they’ve done. If you had a house, and you didn’t lock the doors, and you get robbed, well you failed to take reasonable precautions. In the case of computer operating systems, you don’t even have the choice of locking your Windows. Due to Microsoft’s incompetence, Windows is wide open to any crook who tries to access it.

Oh, it can be protected. There are certain simple things you can do, like never use Internet Exploder, Outlook or Outlook Express, and Microsoft Office. Add a firewall, and a half decent anti-virus, and you are reasonably safe. Microsoft’s auto-update is problematical. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s a disaster (and your computer stops working).

Or you could run a properly designed operating system like Gnu/Linux or OSX, and not have to worry.

The sane answer is to avoid Windows.