"The virtues of Linux are well known: It's free, open source and
pretty cool, especially if it's running in a bunch of high-volume
locations, like a chain of retail stores. Issues of support and
reliability have been addressed to some degree as well. For
example, over the summer, Oracle ported its database engine and
apps to Red Hat's Linux distribution and announced that it would
offer enterprise-level operating system support, thus joining
Veritas, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell on the Linux bandwagon. Even
Linux's performance is starting to look good.
"But despite these advances, it's still unclear whether going
with Linux (your CFO's interest in anything free notwithstanding)
can save you money inside the data center.
"Brian Richardson, program director at Meta Group, says that
while Linux has moved from 'bleeding-edge' to 'early-adopter'
status, multiprocessor CPU deployments are rare..."