Breach Candy Hospital Diagnosed With Linux Dilemma

by Amit Tripathi    Feb 26, 2004

Here’s a warning signal for companies blinded by Linux’s low TCO tag: Look before you leap. Breach Candy Hospital is one amongst a list of many, who has jumped on to the Linux bandwagon too soon, and is now left to fend for itself in the lair of repent.

The IT department of the hospital decided to go in for Linux desktops to cut costs, but soon learnt that things are not always as they seem, albeit the hard way.

Red Hat Professional Workstation 3 is priced at Rs 3,250 ($70) per system where as Windows XP Professional desktop is available for a license fee of Rs 11,000 ($240) per system and Windows 2000 Professional is priced at Rs 10,000 ($218).

Detailing the departments ’Linux dilemma’, Dilip Desai, Head-MIS, Breach Candy Hospital, said, “We purchased 25 licences of Star Office 7, but they remain unused as Red Hat Linux 7.2 does not support Star Office.” To add another nail to the coffin, the desktop does not even support new generation printers with USB ports, added Desai.

Interestingly, the problem does not end here. Says Desai, “We thought of swiching over to the next version, i.e Red Hat Linux 9, but it causes slow processing of individual machines, due to which installation of databases like DB2 and Informix has not been possible.”

Rushing in to defend the credibility of Linux, Javed Tapia, Director-India, Red Hat Linux, said, “Red Hat Linux 7.2 is an older version which is no longer sold, and therefore customers need to upgrade for full compatibility with other devices and applications.”

Breach Candy hospital spends Rs 30 lakh annually on IT, and had recently completed its LAN cabling for more than 150 PC’s, of which 80 are Linux desktops while others are based on Microsoft. It has its main application running on UNIX, while the database DB2 is on Linux.

Sporadic troubles like in this case sends encouraging signals to Microsoft as it’s Chairman-India Ravi Venkatesan says, “MS products are more convenient to use for its compatibility with other applications and devices. Besides they provide for easier debugging.”

Linux implementation, as Open Source experts describe it, should be left in the hands of those who understand the intricacies the best, and companies should steer clear of ’quick fix’ cost cutting measures.