There have been a couple of stories out in the media, and a slashdot posting, critical of Novell for “assenting” to language in our joint press release with Microsoft on HSBC indicating that Windows TCO is lower than Linux TCO. To suggest we “assent” to this idea is completely misleading. Novell has always maintained that Linux is a lower cost platform than Windows. I sat in on several press interviews (here’s one) that Matthew O’Neill of HSBC gave about the announcement. As he explained it, HSBC did a benchmark assessment of their internal IT environment. In the course of that assessment, they concluded it was costing them more to run their varied Linux environment than their Windows environment. Their Linux environment included many different builds (some 50 or so) of different Linux distributions. That created challenges in terms of systems management, application compatibility, life cycle management, etc. This was costing them money. By standardizing on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, they expect to lower the TCO of their Linux environment.
This isn’t a blanket statement that Windows TCO is cheaper than Linux TCO. Novell wouldn’t associate itself with a statement like that.