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Mar 15, 2000, 01:26 (25 Talkback[s])

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"Internet startup needed to develop its event-planning services site quickly and cost-effectively. Because Linux is free, it was the company's initial choice of platform. After five months of work, development was falling behind schedule in part because developers found themselves building infrastructure rather than creating the functionality that could add value to the Web site. decided to launch a parallel development effort on the Microsoft® Windows® DNA platform. In just a few months, the Windows DNA work had caught up to that of its Linux counterpart. In addition to increased developer productivity, Windows DNA offered the company greater integration and scalability, as well as a range of third-party tools and applications to work with. In the end, the total cost of ownership of the Windows DNA platform turned out to be much lower than that of Linux and was able to meet its goal of being the first of its kind on the Web...."

"For a variety of reasons, did not start out using Windows DNA as its development platform. With limited capital, company management decided to adopt the Linux platform in an attempt to minimize development costs. Linux was free, and the company wanted to leverage its developers' experience with UNIX. After five months of development, the fledgling company began to question whether the Linux platform was up to the job as development efforts fell behind schedule. "The Linux tools are essentially free if you can support them," says Ray Thackeray, co-founder and vice president of sales and product management. "We have literally hundreds of servers both in development and for the staging and production Web site, and we thought we could save a vast amount of money on operating system licenses. But we ran into all sorts of problems with Linux...."

"Best of all, the basic service provides is free, which is one reason it was essential to keep development costs down. And the Windows DNA tools allowed the company to do exactly that. In the end, the total cost of ownership of the Windows DNA platform turned out to be lower than for the "free" Linux software. All told, Windows DNA saved significant development costs in its critical startup phase, where less capital spent early meant higher valuation in the subsequent round of venture-capital financing. "Part of the draw with all this Linux stuff is that it's free," notes Nguyen. "But we discovered that free comes at a price."

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