"Microsoft's 'Get the Facts' advertising campaign makes the
claim that Windows offers a lower total cost of ownership (TCO)
than Linux, and backs it up with reports from well-known analysts.
But Linux advocates claim that the TCO of Linux is lower, and some
other studies back them up. It's time to clear up the
"In this series of articles, we examine these analyst reports in
detail, separating the truth from the hype. But first, a little
background is in order.
"Let's start with the basics of TCO, since most of the studies
measure it. When we talk about measuring the total cost of
ownership, it is important to understand what that measurement will
actually tell us. TCO is defined as t he total cost of a particular
item over its useful life. It includes the cost of acquisition,
maintenance, support, and disposal. In short, it includes
everything you will ever spend on the item, and is useful for
understanding future costs that may not be apparent at the time of
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