Who’s on first?

Anyone who reads Advisorbits regularlly will know that in the years I have been writing it, I have gone from positive personal and business opinion of RedHat Linux to actively seeking a Linux alternative to deploy across my business. Personal feelings aside, I disagree with a model that has end users directly paying for security and bug related upgrades to licensed products.
One of the features RedHat touts in their new scheme is platform lifecycle stability. In other words, if you buy their enterprise product today, you are assured that RedHat will support that product in 5 years. (To the extent that you are assured RedHat will still exist in 5 years.)
Microsoft recently announced their platform lifecycle stability plan has been upgraded, now you can get support for most of their products for up to 10 years after the operating system is released. Windows NT 4 is notably not in the list of supported products because of problems with the architecture.
Well, for small businesses like mine and those of most of my clients, neither of these facts amounts to a hill of beans.
Most companies upgrade their operating systems when they upgrade thier platform. Very few companies go to the cost of upgrading an operating system on an old platform. They buy computers with an operating system and replace the computers after the warrentee runs out and the computer gets “slow”. There may be exceptions to this when the platform is particularly expensive, or was purchased at the end of the OS product’s life cycle.
When you compare the operating systems available for your next computer, make sure the operatng system isn’t about to be obsolete. Make sure it will be supported for the life of the computer.
But more importantly, make sure the OS does what you need it to do it the larger picture of your business. And be sure to include administration and maintenance costs in this calculation! These factors are likely to be more important than what your computer will run in ten years.

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