In these difficult times, having a computer-related job is a precious commodity. Those that have managed to keep their jobs should be thankful but also concerned that it be lost in the name of offset income generated by its removal or transfer. osViews editorial contributor Doug Chick believes that one of the most valuable, yet underused tools within the computer professional’s arsenal, is the advocacy of Linux on the desktop at your place of business as opposed to an expensive solution provided by Microsoft.
Can Linux Save IT Jobs?
Submitted by Kelly McNeill 2004-01-19 Linux 43 Comments
good article and point of views.. but nothin new to me.. i’ve actually been thinking a lot about it recently. I dont work in IT yet(still studying) but i would love to help installing and maintaining linux desktops on companies or homes.
I am just not sure if the average joe user is ready for it :/
Linux offers more to the IT professional because now that there are large IT businesses supporting Linux (IBM, Novell, RH), there is a Linux product solution, however what Linux also brings to the table is the ability to innovate, because it is a much more stable enviornment, being both open source and not being dictated by a monopoly. Linux allows unheard of things like ‘computer science’ to play a role in software development.
No offense but it seems as another MCSE guys who is looking to keep his/er job by installing Linux. This really would not be a problem if he/she had actual skills other than click click. Hope he has better luck than other MCSE guys.
BTW there is no such thing as an ‘average user’.
“Linux offers more to the IT professional because now that there are large IT businesses supporting Linux (IBM, Novell, RH), there is a Linux product solution, however what Linux also brings to the table is the ability to innovate, because it is a much more stable enviornment, being both open source and not being dictated by a monopoly. Linux allows unheard of things like ‘computer science’ to play a role in software development. ”
What exactly is this Linux innovation? How exactly does Linux allow Computer Science to play a role in software developement that Windows does not?
Don’t bother, ITAT (it’s just another troll).
How exactly does Linux allow Computer Science to play a role in software developement that Windows does not?
Linux operating systems have lower usability are more low level so they need higher educated admins and programmers.
would not be a problem if he/she had actual skills other than click click.
Rest assured that Windows set up is not just click, click. Even if it was, when you click on Windows tools it works has you expect it to.
(You don’t waste time ! – a precious asset in bussiness with workers sharing day-to-day information – like in banking and insurance networks were downtime means losing customers and worker manpower).
IBM clones (Compaq, Dell, Gateway) with Windows operating system is what made Microsoft its fortune and also made the desktop computer affordable for the individual. Linux Clones will make the PC affordable again for corporate America and will afford them to keep their American IT staff.
Thank God there were this clones. But the same will not happen with Linux untill 2010 !
Because there no desktop, no XFree and drivers (for the so different bussiness desktops), no installation routine for applications (ala Install Shield), no … no … no … no nothing.
There no Return of clone wars.
Wouldn’t needing more admin/geek types equal a higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? The cost of a windows license pales in comparison to the cost of adding 1 more administrator. Besides, corporations don’t download and install Linux ISOs, they buy boxes sets that are no less expensive than windows.
And one more thing: how much would it cost to train the final user to work with Linux applications when they learned to be productive with the Windows desktop and Office applications ?
Answer: More than paying Microsoft the Licenses required. Unless bussiness started using the Crossover plugins.
The whole idea is to hire someone to run the damn network, pay them Burger King wages and move on to something else. All corporations consider their IT department a required evil. Spending money on wages is a bad thing for any budget.
Everyone wants networks to evolve into something that never crashes or needs attention and maintance.
For the sake of everyone working in IT, that day better never actually arrive. The last career in the world I would encourage a seventeen year old to pursue is anything dealing with network admin, regardless of the operating system. The glory days of this stuff are behind us…..
“Linux operating systems have lower usability are more low level so they need higher educated admins and programmers”
Administrating a linux box has just about nothing to do with computer science. Linux programming requires a higher level of education than a Windows programmer? Rubbish, but I will ask you anyway: How so?
I work for a large IT company (130,000+ employees).
The cost to convert all of those employees would be enormous.
The solution developers such as myself are fluent in the UNIX world and could handle the switch no problem, but the admin staff would just keel over. So would the bottom line, which would ultimately end up with more job losses.
“Everyone wants networks to evolve into something that never crashes or needs attention and maintance. ”
If this ever happens, the rich will be the ultimate losers. Just as a laid-off simple man will turn to crime and rob the local convenience store rather than starve, I would imagine so would the computer nerd. I can guarantee that all the smart nerdy people who can’t get a job will hack the hell out of the corporate networks and really give it to them. Also, the employed network admins will either be too stupid to do anything about it or too indifferent because they are being paid Burger King wages.
Decent article at the time i was a NT admin i saw this coming along way off. NT admins were a dime a dozen even those with MCSE. Thats why when i had the first opportunity to switch to UNIX i took it. Funny thing was i was a senior NT admin with a 5 person team and still got an almost 20% pay increase coming in as a mid level Unix SA. That decision is the only reason i am in the IT field now and not working at 7-elven behind the counter.
I don’t feel pushing linux is the way to keep your job. I am an advocate of the best tool for the task at hand be it Linux, UNIX, Windows or whatever based on what the company wants/business needs. It is the responsibilty of every IT employee to educated themselves in all the options and tools available to provide options to their employers to make the company more profitable. One reason i have no use for <insert OS/Database here> bigots and try not to be one myself.
On a personal note. I think getting more certifications and education(something that a lack of is killing me in the job market) to make yourself more marketable to a company. Than the common read a book got MCSE NT administrator which there are thousands of.
Wouldn’t needing more admin/geek types equal a higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? The cost of a windows license pales in comparison to the cost of adding 1 more administrator.
Good question! Some of us has actually realized this and question this over and over. This is also the reason why IBM embrace linux… they say “hey, it’s for free, but we’ll charge you 50% more hours but that you won’t see becuase it’s hidden in a quotation just showing how much we charge/hour”.
This whole thing is about power and money as everything else. IBM wanna squeeze you out of money, and the zealots wanna make themselves the key asset in the company again by making things more tricky than before….
IMO Linux is about the worst investment you can do for any essential servers you have…
I can see where this guy is going but large corporations are large corporations. If forcing some guy in bombay to work 12 hours a day instead of 11 1/2 hours days will make them more money then they will go with that.
A migration to linux won’t save jobs because corporate customers will still outsource as will software, hardware vendors and anyone else who can. Linux might provide more saving to them on top of exploiting some dude in india or china.
If you want to save jobs then you need to support small businesses which are unlikely to outsource. you might also think about supporting a candidate who will tackle health care. Health care benefits make US workers cost about $6-10K more than salary alone.
Linux, really the open source model, is promising as a means to injure corporations i do agree with that.
It occured to me that we have a lot of brilliant minds working on maintaining IT infrastructures. Say what you will about hype and “utility computing” but at some point software is going to automate most if not all of the tasks we’re currently doing as IT admins. I went and got a business degree because I saw this coming the irony is that my job hasn’t been outsorced yet. A lot of us like IT because it is challenging not because it’s fun to play with 1s and 0s all day. A lot of the things we learn when writing software and mainaining complex systems can be applied to other, more productive tasks.
If some underground group of genius coders released the IT bot tomorrow and rendered us all unemployed we would be able to find new jobs, we may even like them. That’s not such a far fetched idea, remember when all the “experts” said that computers could never win at chess vs. humans?
The good IT admins write software to automate most of their daily tasks, the really good ones could automate themselves out of jobs if they’re not careful.
“The cost to convert all of those employees would be enormous.”
Hear this kind of thing all the time. Honestly now, how hard is it? These are professional office workers and such, right, not children? Linux apps are not that complicated to run, not all that different than Windows apps. So what’s the big deal??
Now some of your are going to try and quantify the time it takes for the worker to learn it, etc. but seriously how much can you really figure out the cost for? Is it any worse than all the time employees spend sending personal emails, taking personal phone calls, or even logging in to internet bulletin boards from work?
Hear this kind of thing all the time. Honestly now, how hard is it? These are professional office workers and such, right, not children? Linux apps are not that complicated to run, not all that different than Windows apps. So what’s the big deal??
So if it’s simply a copy of the Windows apps (which I admit it usually is) why not use the real thing? Besides, after working with some of these Windows apps and then seeing ther Nix equivalents you quite soon start to wonder why things work less good… (Impress VS Powerpoint is a perfect example of this)
Linux offers more to the IT professional because now that there are large IT businesses supporting Linux (IBM, Novell, RH), there is a Linux product solution, however what Linux also brings to the table is the ability to innovate, because it is a much more stable enviornment, being both open source and not being dictated by a monopoly.
Say what ? Linux would have to be one of the most unstable OS environments available. Which X11 toolkit this week ? Which X11 extension is in fad at the moment ? Will our binary hardware drivers work with the latest kernel revision ? Which GUI should we target with our software ? Which distribution(s) should we supportw ith our software ? Which distribution(s) should we install on our servers to ensure future support ? Where does this distro keeps its configuration files ? Its startup scripts ?
There’s more fragmentation, inconsistency, incompatibility and differences in a 2 – 3 year snapshot of the Linux market (even if you limit yourself to, say, the top 5 distros) than there is in the last decade (even back 15 years) in the Windows world.
Hear this kind of thing all the time. Honestly now, how hard is it?
* You need to evaluate and settle on a single, well supported Linux distro (which effectively limits you to Redhat or SuSe).
* You need to find equivalent functionality software (and probably rewrite/reimplement any custom in-house tools).
* You need to run a pilot program to guarantee that equivalent functionality and compatibility with the existing environment (because when the change comes, it will be phased, not overnight).
* You need to draw up a migration strategy/plan, allowing for both a temporary rollback and sufficient testing as each section is migrated. Sufficient testing, by the way, is not five minutes og pinging all the important servers and making sure the user can login.
* You need to retrain all helpdesk/support staff in the new software (or give them significant lead time to learn the ins and outs of the new system on their own). That’s while they’re performing their regular day to day duties.
* You have to retrain staff (or allow for a period of significantly reduced productivity as they learn the new system). Again, while they’re performing their regular day to day duties.
* You probably have to hire extra IT staff during the migration period to handle the now twice-as-complex environment. Probably also regular staff to make up for the lost productivity.
Platform migration is a *massive* and *expensive* task. Heck, we’ve only got a few hundred employees and a couple of custom apps – and just thinking about it makes my head hurt. Despite the common propaganda from the OSS camp, it’s not just as easy as walking round the office on a Sunday popping Knoppix CDs into everyone’s PC.
Now some of your are going to try and quantify the time it takes for the worker to learn it, etc. but seriously how much can you really figure out the cost for?
Take however much employees cost for their time, double that number, and that’s probably a *bare minimum* cost as they learn the new system during the transition period (and that’s only in terms of lost productivity and business).
Is it any worse than all the time employees spend sending personal emails, taking personal phone calls, or even logging in to internet bulletin boards from work?
Of course, because that’s the stuff they’ll be doing *regardless*.
Well, read some facts here. This is what IBM is doing to the IT jobs in the United States. So all you Linux experts thinking the jobs are going to be there for you, read this and have ‘open’ eyes.
Everyone needs to read the link, IBM is offshoring around 40,000 by the year 2005.
networks to evolve into something that never crashes or needs attention and maintance.
For the sake of everyone working in IT, that day better never actually arrive.
That seems to be the (relatively) distant future.
Altough today one has script language tools and other routine based tasks (specific software – backup, item stocking, …) there is always either a need to start something different (development from scratch) or a need to implement an improvement to save time or to give more efficiency.
This is almost the only job where, in the future, bussiness will need real System Admninistrator (first steps for implementation) or Engineering skills (improvement). I also don’t see Linux as the best choice in this distant future. There is little reason to choose a crippled and fragmented platform for your bussiness to rely on (as much as I like Linux CLI potencial) it’s better to go with Solaris or other professional level System/Platform. Linux is doomed to backup storage, firewalls and medium sized web servers. And it’s good at it, it just doesn’t create (or need) so much IT jobs (and Salaries).
Since everyone is a ‘genius’ if you they use Linux all of your admins will lose their jobs. It is so great and wonderful, even old people use it and their IQ jumps off the charts.
Well, lets see here, all of the big IT companies are offshoring jobs to India as we speak. Why pay someone here in the United States around $60,000 when they can offshore the job to India and pay $10,000. So you can be a Linux guru, certifications, Redhat ect. And it will be of NO use, unless you want to work for about $5 an hour in the USA. If you don’t believe me then read it here on this link here, FACTS don’t lie.
You cannot be serious, like ppl said before, linux will kill jobs, because its easier to offshore to India, well thats the scenario for the big players IBM, RH and even Microsoft.
For small companies that i support, migrating to linux is just a headache, even Windows 2000 server is a pain, i mean some companies i support only have less than 25 staff yet, you get the smart alec that thinks its necessary to use ActiveDirectory, and make things too complicated, whatever happend to what Einstein said about making things simpler.
Linux will never threaten the desktop, and disrupt microsoft’s dominance, we have to be serious about life….the whole role of the computer world has changed…mobile is the future, desktops aren’t, and in a way im glad that its that way.
Well think about it, the current position of linux makes development for it, more exciting and makes me and other developer wanna work harder to make a difference, if linux suddenly became a dominant force on the desktop and everybody started using/abusing it, then the fun is lost.
Call me snob, if you must….but its a fact of life.
Up front(sorry for my engrish I am pissed off and can’t spell )
But it is ovious that the people commenting on this site and many other sites don’t have the sligtest clue what microsoft really costs in the enterprise. Office is what is expensive where i live 900$+ for office 2003 pro. per client (where i live). The cal’s are rediculus , for example you have to buy a licence to connect to a windows 2003 terminal server for a windows client.(this cal was included in 2000 pro server when connection from a 2000 or xp client. The list goes on cal for share point portar server , exchange (microsofts killer app) IMHO , sql server etc… and the price of windows 2003 server it self is pretty steep. for the Enterprise edition. 4000 $ (where I live).
That goes for just about any job in the tech industry, specially for you Microsofties. However I would not stop just at tech industry I’d say that a good portion of the labor market could potentionally be outsource, with some exceptions ( IE: general labor, and highly skilled positions ).
The U.S. may soon resemble many third world countries where there is a small or non exsistent middle class.
You guys can bicker as much as you like, and blame immigrants for your ill-fortune, but in the end that will accomplish very little.
“These are professional office workers and such, right, not children?”
Where have you been? Most of these people can’t even drive a car correctly. A blinker, what’s that?
i agree this is a concerning trend to americas (US) and western europeans. Any corporate job that need not be in the US is going to be outsourced elsewhere.
The answer is to stop running a country for corporations by corporations. US tax payers subsidize corporations left and right. We fight wars for them.
Our state department effectively exists to protect the interests of US corporations. Just think of the billions in “aid” that is provided by the US to countries all over. Do you really think that is humanitarian aid? Nope its a buy off to make it easier for major corporations to sell their products (many of which are made and designed outside of the US). why is the uS military budget $300-$400 billion a year?What do you think NIH (national institue of health) really is? Why is the Federal Reserve a private bank?
Its corporate welfare folks and its free R&D that trickles through the tech industries and makes billions for companies like intel that just love outsourcing and “overseas” manufacturing.
You can’t stop globalization. don’t try. You can’t change corporations. You can stop corporate welfare and put the money to better use.
Who do you think owns these corporations. If you have money in the bank, mutual funds, 401k’s, insurance or myriad of other investments most of it is in corporate hands.
We as US citizens are corporate America.
You do not have to be a US citizen to buy a portion of corporate America.
“We as US citizens are corporate America.”
there is some truth in this. US citizens do own a percentage of corporations but the benefits are not passed down equally and when things go bad its the common stock holders who get screwed. Don’t forget that not all US citizens hold stock at all and not everyone has a mutual plan or retirement plan.
The main benefits of ownership go to the insiders (upper level executives) and the bankers (many of which are multinationals). The benefits of the banks are certainly not passed down to normal citizens or does your local venture capitalist invite you to $30000 bottles of wine regularly?
In short, what is going on is a money transfer from ordinary tax payers to coporate leaders and bankers. The model is repeated in each and every country and significant benefits also go to the local puppet goverments in developing nations. the puppets are very important for the model to work. if they get out of line, they get taken out. Ever heard of saddam or noriega or how about mr. marcos.
so you believe in that? I reiterate support small business and stop corporate welfare. That is right thing to do and it will help everyone. Plus adam smith would roll over in his grave if he saw the current version of a “free market” because it is actually a market of corporate welfare.
If you mean: “Can Linux stop IT job exports from America?” the answer is Linux will probably accelerate it. Linux is used more in the countries IT jobs are being contracted to. Theye have a better knowledge base with regards to Linux and as Linux grows more popular here more linux based jobs will be exported.
Well, when the people in the United States have their jobs offshored to India and the like. Lets see how much they enjoy and promote Linux when they are jobless. It is going to happen, IBM is currently OFFSHORING over 40,000 jobs by the year 2005. Why pay a American $50,000 + a year when they can pay $10,000 to someone in India.
Linux is helping with offshoring of jobs, in the end the big Linux promoters will be working at Burger Hut and operating a cash register. Then they can run home and play on their Linux machine dreaming of a good IT job.
If you think this is not true read the article on Forbes.com
And yes, they are the all mighty Linux developers in that group to. So IBM is really help out the United States by offshoring 40,000 jobs by the year 2005!
With the increasing cost and complaints from Corporate, they will increase OFFSHORING of American jobs. You can have all the degree’s, certifications, knowledge and knowhow but you cannot compete with 3rd world counties who pay around $10,000 a year for a programmer.
It is wrong and it is destroying the United States.
Back in the day i tossed around an idea for easier conversion to linux on the corporate desktop. What i was going to propose was to use Citrix for the windows applications that you cannot do with out or that a linux version is not available for. Seamless ICA connections are slick as hell and as far as the user is concerned it would appear to them that the application would be running locally. It would easy to deploy new applications by just copying a new ICA seamless client icon to the users linux desktop. So you setup a limited NT domain environment for these types of applications using roaming profiles mapped to samba file servers if you wish. I am sure you can see the possibilities of this type of setup.
“You cannot be serious, like ppl said before, linux will kill jobs, because its easier to offshore to India, well thats the scenario for the big players IBM, RH and even Microsoft.”
I disagree with your statement. Linux will create jobs. First of all, it is important to note that being closed source versus open source doesn’t make it any harder to out source. Just look at IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle, etc. These companies are all closed source and are happily outsourcing away. The fact that they are closed source is even worse because the programmers in the US, who created the software and have all the knowledge, can’t do jack about it. If the software was free, the programmers could have easily taken that source code and started competing against the company that laid them off.
But it isn’t too late. Linux can still save high tech in the US. Linux will create high tech jobs by increasing the presence of high tech to small business. Linux allows intelligent groups of people to get together, create a small company, and provide services (such as networks, web pages, applications, email servers, etc.) for small to medium businesses. Because Linux is free and is not owned by the large corporations, it will allow you to create a healthy company by lowering your costs (you don’t have to purchase licenses for software) and allow you to pass some of these savings to your customers and lowering their cost. What you will get is a lot more business because it is affordable and reduced cost on your business. Best of all, you won’t be lining up Microsoft’s or IBM’s pocket’s with licenses for their software and hence helping out your competitor.
“For small companies that i support, migrating to linux is just a headache, even Windows 2000 server is a pain, i mean some companies i support only have less than 25 staff yet, you get the smart alec that thinks its necessary to use ActiveDirectory, and make things too complicated, whatever happend to what Einstein said about making things simpler.”
Your lack of experience with Linux is very apparent. Linux might seem complex but it is trully very simple. The greatest aspect of the OS is that everything is in text files. Does this make it harder to setup for new people? Yes. However for experts, it is a godsend. You can literraly create a whole bunch of template configurations, from webservers, to mail-servers, to firewalls, to name servers, to whatever else you want. And then when you want to deploy to the customers, you just have to change the computer name, domain name, ip addresses and you will be set. Configuring complex networks will take 1/2 hour after installation because it is just a matter of copying files. Contrast this Windows, where it has a nice point and click interface, but it forces you to go through all the setups over and over again, hunting for each little button/setting through tons of graphical menus *cough*exchange*cough*.
Also, for 25 users, I would strongly suggest that you do use Active Directory. It is indeed very simple and reliable, and allows you to centralize all the logins, printers, etc. I would say anything more than 5 people would require AD.
“Linux will never threaten the desktop, and disrupt microsoft’s dominance, we have to be serious about life….the whole role of the computer world has changed…mobile is the future, desktops aren’t, and in a way im glad that its that way.”
Wrong again. Linux can do many things small business requires. For 0 cost, a lot of them won’t mind using it either. It is much better than nothing. Example, my girlfriend refers to Excel as the database they use at work. I’ve told her it is a spreadsheet but she can’t really differentiate between the two. A lot of busiess requirements are so minimal, they can easily be replaced by Linux (or at least have a large part of their infrastructure on it).
“Well think about it, the current position of linux makes development for it, more exciting and makes me and other developer wanna work harder to make a difference, if linux suddenly became a dominant force on the desktop and everybody started using/abusing it, then the fun is lost.”
Strike Five houndred three. The irony is that even if people programming on Linux are so stupid to dedicate hundreds of hours just to be leet, and they stopped because it got popular, large corporations like IBM, Dell, Oracle, etc. would be so dependant on Linux (because it is so popular) that they would have no choice but to pump more money in it and keep it going. And because of the GPL terms of most tools and the kernel, all their hard work will be given back to the people for free.
“Call me snob, if you must….but its a fact of life.”
I’m thinking of calling you something, but it isn’t snob.
Well, Slash go read the article from Forbes. I think you are way out of your league if you are trying to say they are wrong. Here it is again, I see NO jobs being created by Linux. They are being OFFSHORED, one day when your job is offshored you will be wondering, gee what happened?
By the way Slash, IBM is OFFSHORING 40,000 JOBS BY 2005!
Read it and look at the Linux jobs going to India.
It is really helping out, by hurting the IT sector.
Thanks a lot Linux.
Stop spreading FUD. I never said Jobs are not being offshored. I simply said Linux is not the reason for this. Are you telling me that 30 years of manufacturing jobs being moved overseas is because of Linux too? Are you telling me if Linux didn’t exist, there would be no outsource. Bull$h!t.
Fact: Microsoft has campuses in India. They do not support Linux in any shape or form.
Fact: Sun has campuses in India. Their primary focus is Sparc, Solaris, and J2EE software.
Fact: IBM is moving jobs to India, most have nothing to do with Linux. (You really think IBM has 45,000 Linux developers????)
Fact: Intel is moving lots of jobs to India. They are doing chip design, not software development.
Fact: It makes no difference whether something is open source or closed source, they are both as easily outsourced.
Outsourcing is a problem, but Linux has nothing to do with outsourcing. You are an idiot if you think they are related.
BTW, I read the article when it first came out. Nowhere in it did Forbes say that those jobs were related to Linux.