"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 industry
analyst firms. But Linux advocates claim that the TCO of Linux is
lower, and some other studies back them up. How can you separate
the fact from the fiction? In Part 2 of this series, I'll offer
tips on how to read a study and make up your own mind about its
relevance. Next month, in Part 3, I'll analyze specific studies
referenced by Microsoft in their 'Get the Facts' campaign.
"Various studies on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows
versus Linux have arrived at vastly different conclusions. How is
this possible? The short answer is that if you are abstract enough
with your goals and methodology, are selective with the costs that
you include, and ask the right questions, then you can arrive at
any conclusion you want.
"Here are some of the things you need to consider as you read a