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Microsoft Asks Open Source Not to Focus On Price

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-don't-hurt-us dept.

Microsoft 461

Microsoft's supposed open-source guru Sam Ramji has asked open-source vendors to focus on "value" instead of "cost" with respect to competition with Microsoft products. This is especially funny given the Redmond giant's recent "Apple Tax" message. "While I'm sure Ramji meant well, I'm equally certain that Microsoft would like nothing more than to not be reminded of how expensive its products can be compared with open-source solutions. After all, Microsoft was the company that turned the software industry on its head by introducing lower-cost solutions years ago to undermine the Unix businesses of IBM and Hewlett-Packard, and the database businesses of Oracle and IBM."

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461 comments

Sad News (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27649909)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Physicist Stephen Hawking was found dead in a UK hospital this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the physics community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to quantum mechanics and true American patriotism. He single-handedly wrote the PATRIOT Act thus ensuring freedom, security and stability throughout the world. Truly an American icon.

Focus on quality? (5, Funny)

revjtanton (1179893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27649951)

So he's asking people to get a recent Ubuntu build instead of Vista?

it is pretty funny (5, Funny)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27649991)

and indicative of Microsoft's sense of entitlement.

Funny but true.... (5, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650175)

Open source software is often the better option both on cost and quality. As a consultant, I've found that when you stand up open source and proprietary solutions side by side for a customer, the open source solution wins most of the time. Now ISV's prefer the kickbacks, training and marketing support they get from proprietary vendors, so the customer has to ask for the open solution to be compared, but when they do the results are significant.

Re:Funny but true.... (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650341)

Why?

I can see how using OpenOffice is beneficial for me, since I rarely do any work on my home PC and a $free word processor is better than $200 for MS Office, but how would OpenOffice be a better solution for a business customer if it doesn't come with any support for the employees?

Re:Funny but true.... (5, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650721)

  • It's (more) cross-platform.
  • It uses ODF by default instead of as an addon, which works in most other Office Suites (KOffice)
  • Not dependant on a single organization for new features and bug fixes (go-oo fork)

If you want support, you can get StarOffice for $80.

Re:Funny but true.... (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650749)

how would OpenOffice be a better solution for a business customer if it doesn't come with any support for the employees?

Closed source software support is basically either
1) Read the help file or try it and see, so the user doesn't have to be able to read or think
2) Third world script reader
3) Real support is huge $$$$$$$

So, overall, you get a better support experience using google and open source than script reader in india and MS office.

Also, there is more to support than answering "how do I print?" ... Such as the enormous cost of security / virus / worms plus the enormous cost of licensing documentation plus BSA audits that are only relevant for closed source products.

Re:Funny but true.... (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650767)

Why?

I can see how using OpenOffice is beneficial for me, since I rarely do any work on my home PC and a $free word processor is better than $200 for MS Office, but how would OpenOffice be a better solution for a business customer if it doesn't come with any support for the employees?

It comes with as much support as MS Office does. None. Further support can be purchased, for either product. And unless the employees are already using Office 2007, the OpenOffice.org solution is likely to look more familiar and need less support. I really don't see what issue you're trying to raise.

Re:Funny but true.... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650777)

Have you ever had to phone Microsoft for support on MS Office?

Re:Funny but true.... (1, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650359)

How is open source a better solution when your only source of troubleshooting is Google?

I've used a number of Open Source products on my network here, (Nagios being one) and I tell you, when I have a problem it's next to impossible to find support. At least through a paid closed source application, you typically get a support contract along with it.

Re:Funny but true.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650543)

I guess you never considered paying for the Open Source product...

Maybe the magic fairies will troubleshoot your faulty servers for free?

Re:Funny but true.... (3, Interesting)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650607)

In my exprience though, a significant number of problems that occur in my Windows box end up unfixable short of a format, regardless of how documented they are. (Not most, mind, but enough to be frustrating.) In many cases error codes are generic and meaningless.

With open-source software at least, error messages and info are more intuitive, and while fixes are sometimes more complex (one personal example was having to recompile mplayer from source to work around a bug in Ubuntu 8.10), fixes have also existed much more often on my Linux box than Windows.

Re:Funny but true.... (5, Insightful)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650683)

How is closed source a better solution when your only source of troubleshooting is the vendor?

I've used a number of Closed Source products on my network here, (Symantec Endpoint Security being one) and I tell you, when I have a problem it's next to impossible to find support. At least through an open source application, you typically get a user-support forum with it.

Mix and match.

Re:Funny but true.... (3, Informative)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650417)

You can always find a better quality solution if you're willing to pay enough, but as value is roughly modeled as utility/cost, with utility including quality, and cost including both monetary value as well as time and incidental costs (like training) your value will tend to plummet as your costs go up even if your quality goes up as well. Ironically Open Source tends to have better value specifically because of its cost even if the quality is often somewhat less than commercial offerings (not talking code quality here, but rather design and interface quality).

Re:Funny but true.... (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650621)

but as value is roughly modeled as utility/cost

If the Open Source solution costs $0.00 doesn't that lead to an undefined value in your equation?

Managment is stupid but even they won't fall for non-real numbers.

Re:Funny but true.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650801)

but as value is roughly modeled as utility/cost

If the Open Source solution costs $0.00 doesn't that lead to an undefined value in your equation?

I get it! Microsoft wants open source to fall in the "divide by zero" trap! ;)

Cost, quality and... (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650591)

...control!

With open source, you (not the vendor) have the option to control the features of the app. Want feature "X"? Write and contribute the code!

Re:Focus on quality? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650213)

Getting an ubuntu VM doesn't require approval like a windows VM does, because of the cost

If it's something I can do that way, the saving of half a day (not having to get approval) of my time is worth it to me, completely ignoring the difference in cost.

That's value.

Re:Focus on quality? (2, Interesting)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650293)

No, he is asking people to do what they have not done in the history of capitalism: ignore what something costs.

Value in this context is just synonym for cost-benefit analysis, which is a concept people are already quite familiar with even if they do not always apply it. The reason Microsoft wants OSS vendors to change their vocabulary is that they are aware that they have lost the cost-benefit fight under the old vocabulary and they want OSS marketeers to help them re-open the same debate under new terms.

The longer you can keep people redefining their premises, the longer you can hinder actual comparison and continue to market software with the good will that Jerry Seinfeld can sell you.

Re:Focus on quality? (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650723)

Then I hope he doesn't calculate value as benefit/cost, or his valuable spreadsheet will crash.

Re:Focus on quality? (5, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650521)

I can say this weekend I helped my neighbor install SuSe 11.1 after their Windows partition quit working and they didn't have a backup of their legitimate Windows XP disc since it was only available on the hard drive.

After we got it all set up, got the multimedia stuff from Pacman, added malware and tracking sites to the hosts file, installed No-Script, configured his firewall, and loaded his music so Amarok could play, and gave them a tour of all the stuff Linux could do right "out of the box" and without costing a single cent, all of the educational programs and games, etc, they were floored.

They had a chance to explore yesterday and said they liked it so much better than Windows it wasn't funny. They regret not having switched before.

The simple fact is that Linux really does work beautifully for most people's purposes and with all the applications available for it and included in the distros, I don't see how people aren't flocking to Linux in droves. Maybe the word just needs to get out. I know my neighbors are planning to tell all their family members about it.

They will listen! (2, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27649977)

Why does Microsoft think they can tell other people how to market their products? This just doesn't make any sense to me.

Re:They will listen! (2, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650025)

Why does Microsoft think they can tell other people how to market their products?

Not just "other people", generally, but specifically telling competitors how they should market products against Microsoft's.

Re:They will listen! (2, Informative)

zipoff (62601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650143)

Except they are telling vendors with whom they are collaborating... "That's why Microsoft is advising open-source partners with whom the company is collaborating not to focus their customer pitches on costs, but instead to lead their sales pitches with "value," he said."

Re:They will listen! (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650261)

Well, they can. But other people can also tell them to eat grass, which they probably will. :-)

eating grass (2, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650569)

Sorry, but the commons MS could have joined is already well aware that letting MS anywhere near our grassy field would leave it a muddy field. There would be no grass left to eat and MS knows this, thus you see why MS cannot be convinced to act in other than their own narrow immediate interest. Sadly, MS's herd must be allowed to die off so that the rest may survive.

cost plays a factor in value (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27649981)

and for open source, the price point is zero.

this gives open source a boost in value instantly.

Re:cost plays a factor in value (4, Informative)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650057)

and for open source, the price point is zero.

Not always. Especially if you factor in support contracts or the average salary of someone who actually knows how to administer the software in an effective manner. Open Source does not equal free beer. Just ask Stallman. However, if you write a good open source program I may buy you a free beer.

Re:cost plays a factor in value (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650353)

and for open source, the price point is zero.

Not always. Especially if you factor in support contracts or the average salary of someone who actually knows how to administer the software in an effective manner.

But that's also true of closed-source solutions. It isn't like a Windows server miraculously runs itself. You still need someone who knows how run the thing.

Obviously there's tons of wiggle room here... It may very well be that the average salary of a Windows admin is lower than that of a *nix admin... But *nix gives you better automation tools, security, and stability - so that one admin might be able to do more real work on a *nix box than a Windows box.

You can't just look at the sticker price when determining which piece of software is going to cost more or get you more bang for your buck... But you can't ignore the sticker price either.

The purchase price is NOT the "cost"... (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650227)

OSS software is a total boon to developers. I'm a developer, and we use OSS everywhere possible. Since we can easily support our software when something goes awry, we jump quickly and confidently.

But not every company has their own staff of developers. Companies that don't produce software have little incentive to hire developers if they don't contribute significantly to the bottom line. And for companies in this boat, OSS does, indeed, have costs that far outstrip the purchase price.

Windows Server licenses for needed servers might cost a grand or three. If this is sufficient to avoid the cost of hiring a developer (at around $100k/year) or an admin, (at ~ $60k/year) it's money very well spent!

Sure, I use OSS because it lets me sleep very soundly at night, with perhaps 1 significant unplanned incident per year in our hosting cluster of 14 servers. But part of that is that we already have paid the price of having developers on hand to maintain and understand our OSS-based servers.

And don't think that just because it's Microsoft, you can assume it's safe to laugh. I remember when MS Word was laughable. I remember when Windows was laughable. I remember when Excel was a toy compared to the "meat and potatoes" competition.

As a corporate culture, Microsoft learns how to dominate markets. They're losing right now, and maybe they won't turn things around in time. But they have massive assetts, they still have a monopoly in the desktop computing marketplace, and with Vista, they've shown a willingness to take risks if they are necessary to improve their software.

I know this is unpopular to state here on Slashdot, but many (most?) of the problems with Vista have been centered around making the changes necessary to more properly secure Windows. Software that was badly built that did bad things broke on Vista, and that's a necessary step to take in order to preserve their long term market share.

Don't laugh. Keep your head down, keep improving the OSS software, and be wary of Microsoft - they still have everything it would take to continue to dominate.

Re:The purchase price is NOT the "cost"... (4, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650557)

I remember when Windows was laughable.

Well, yeah. I can remember back to yesterday, too. No big feat there...

Re:The purchase price is NOT the "cost"... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650625)

Companies that don't produce software have little incentive to hire developers if they don't contribute significantly to the bottom line.

They can, however, get a contract with a company that does employ developers. This company can then dive in and fix any bugs that they encounter. They can do the same with proprietary software, but only from the original seller, and unless they are a very big company they are unlikely to get bugs fixed in, say, Office or Windows.

Re:cost plays a factor in value (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650343)

Typically the only "value" microsoft offers is compatibility with other ms products someone is already locked in to...

Re:cost plays a factor in value (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650449)

Of course MS wants this. Value is subjective. So with some creativity, and a liberal dose of BS they can at least look like they can compete on value.

This is just like MS and their TCO claims against Linus servers. They compare hiring a topflight Linux professional to getting Dave from accounting to admin your windows servers. I am sure we can all point to cases where "Dave" has been put to work, and the mess he created. A networking pro, be they an expert in Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, or whatever, is expensive because they are worth it.

Cost is not zero (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650485)

The up-front costs of a system includes more than the sticker price, and that doesn't include non-up-front costs.

It includes taking the time to learn it, the time to train employees, the time to learn its power and limitations, etc. Initial training and the cost of post-decision-pre-purchase self-education should be considered an "up-front" cost.

Buy buying a "branded," supported product from a major vendor, you trade a sticker-price fee for reduced costs elsewhere. Another alternative is to buy a support contract from a major vendor or go to the bookstore. Either way, you can take advantage of existing tutorials or books to train yourself and your people.

On open- vs. closed-source:

90%+ of companies with under-$10000-per-box-hardware don't want the burden of compiling their own environments. They are better off buying an out-of-the-box supported solution. For them, "open source" vs "closed source" isn't nearly as important as "is there a big, reliable company that stands behind this" and "is there a contingency plan if our primary vendor runs into financial difficulties."

For Microsoft users, the answers are "yes" and "um, that could never happen, not in the next 10 years anyways, could it?" which is just a long way of saying "Nobody in recent times ever got fired from buying Microsoft."

For Linux users who buy from SuSE, Red Hat, or other vendors, the answer is "yes" and, "any number of other companies that have experience supporting Linux at the source code level, plus hundreds if not thousands of dedicated volunteer kernel coders and tens if not hundreds of thousands of other experts who have seen and understand various bits of low-level code."

Neither Microsoft Windows nor Linux is inherently a better value proposition than the other, the values vary by company and application. It may be that for most users, one or the other may be the better value, but there will be users for which the opposite is the better value.

Re:cost plays a factor in value (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650497)

Um, there's a TON of OSS software out there which I've tried, and you'd have to PAY ME to use it, because it was utter crap. Sorry, free != better. I ditched Linux because I'd rather pay with my money than my time to use my computer.

Well . . . (2)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27649995)

Wouldn't that be like the Replicators asking the Borg to use the bathroom?

In this case, once the foot is in the proverbial price door, anything can and will happen.

Re:Well . . . (1)

DSXMachina (1480485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650407)

Errr... What?!?!

Re:Well . . . (2)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650795)

Presumably you know who the Borg are, these are replicators [wikipedia.org] . Watch more Stargate!

Re:Well . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650639)

I understood the connection between the Republicans and the bathroom, but I wasn't sure where the Borg fit in.

Synergies and Value Add Branding... (5, Funny)

bodland (522967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650003)

...are more important. As is leveraging a new paradigm

Re:Synergies and Value Add Branding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650035)

...are more important. As is leveraging a new paradigm

Paradigms aren't leveraged, they're shifted.

Someone failed manager school!

Re:Synergies and Value Add Branding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650565)

I'm afraid you must have missed the memo. Shifting paradigms is hard^h^h^h^h cost prohibitive on an internal scale, and can lead to massive customer dissatisfaction ratings if the paradigms are shifted the wrong way or at the wrong time. So you let other people shift the paradigms, then you leverage the opportunities presented through the cornucopia of new synergies made available. All a matter of semantics, but one who is able to think outside the box would understand that. I think I have but no choice but to sign you up for the next three team building exercise sessions. Which, incidentally, all happen to be on the week that you have scheduled a vacation. I know that there will be no objections... we really do prefer to associate with team players here at GlobalCorp Conglomerated International.

I can see the ads! (5, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650033)

This is Lauren. She told us she wanted a stable OS with an Office Suite and some photo editing software for $0. We told her, you find it, you keep it.

Re:I can see the ads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650463)

This is Lauren. She told us she wanted a stable OS with an Office Suite and some photo editing software for $0. We told her, you find it, you keep it.

To be honest with you I didn't notice any of that when I watched that ad, all I noticed is that Lauren is hot .... Damn .... I need to take a break from committing all these Linux kernel patches and go outside for a change ..... I hope the sunlight won't burn me up like a vampire ....

Cost will fall flat... (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650053)

You can tell most Open Source advocates have never had to make costing decisions in large businesses.

Businesses are a lot more interested in the total value of something than its price tag.

Linux might be "free" but if you include the support contract, [re-]training, only then do you start to get close to its real cost in a business.

To get ever closer you have to look at how efficient it is for people to get their work done on that platform when compared to the competition.

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

Re:Cost will fall flat... (5, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650145)

You can tell that most Microsoft apologists haven't had any sort of role in supporting or managing IT in business.

Been there. Done that. Have the faded t-shirts to prove it.

Although this isn't just about the fabled "business case".

This is also about the bargain conscious consumer that might
see various bits of commercial software and get a sudden case
of sticker shock or try something that claims to be free but
is really just an open door to malware and spam.

This is about taking Microsoft's own marketing approach and turning it on them.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (2, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650477)

You can tell that most Microsoft apologists haven't had any sort of role in supporting or managing IT in business.

Really? I personally find that here on Slashdot the opposite tends to be true rather consistently. The obnoxious "oh you can replace X with Y, no problem, and if you don't then you're an idiot" proclamations to excited claps from the peanut gallery usually underscore the deep misunderstanding people have about how corporations license and use software.

That and the constant and rather weak (by now) efforts to imply that Windows and other commercial software cannot be used without risking most horrible death and destruction (which frankly is rather dumb considering how most of you are just preaching to the choir anyway) leads me to think that it's actually the average FOSS "advocate" who tends to be completely out of touch with the realities of corporate software policies.

But that's just me.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650199)

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

If we're talking about desktop work, I'll grant you that. But once we start talking about network administration tasks, there's really no comparison. Linux is far easier to manage than any windows box i've ever used.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650381)

I through a firewall/router/fileserver into one of our remote locations last month. Apart from licensing costs and hardware, I wouldn't even want to think of how complicated it would be to do that in Windows. Including install time for Debian, I think the whole thing took about two hours. Add another hour and a half to get OpenVPN running for a good solid link to the main location.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650445)

I disagree with the statement that desktop linux is more difficult to work in and get things done. I'm a public school teacher in a Windows only school district. My particular position gives me a lot of freedoms and the choice to use Ubuntu as my full time desktop solution.

I find that, at least for me personally, Windows is much more difficult to get actual work done in. I cut my teeth using Windows, and have the certifications and the faded t-shirts to prove it. I guess to each his own but from compiz-fusion window scaling, the ability to edit PDF files, to the damn middle click to copy and paste quickly I can get a lot done much faster and at no additional expense to the taxpayer when I do it.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (5, Insightful)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650215)

> Businesses are a lot more interested in the total value of something than its price tag.

I'll go you one better: businesses, or more accurately, managers in charge of making major spending decisions, don't often understand the difference between value and cost.

If a typical empty-suit gotta-wrap-this-by-2-so-I-can-get-to-the-golf-course middle manager looks at open source software (priced at $0) and then Microsoft software (priced in the thousands or tens of thousands, for company-wide use), he's probably going to make the decision in favor of Microsoft because if it doesn't cost anything, it must not be worth anything.

Small business owners have always dealt with this mindset. If they want contracts from big companies they usually have to inflate their prices (even beyond what they would consider a fair profit margin) in order to even be considered as a potential vendor. This is especially true when trying to do work for governments or Universities.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650571)

Small business owners have always dealt with this mindset.

Possibly off topic but this is really widespread in everyday consumers as well, not just business people--A common discovery among craftspeople is setting a "fair" price and finding items don't move until they double it.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650231)

Which is a good, justifiable reason for you to stay with Windows. I am the opposite. I am much more productive using Linux. Which is a good reason for me to stay with Linux. "Each to his own." I don't personally care what people use. I do care if other people try to take away my right to choose. Which MS often does via their "proprietary lock in" on a number of things.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650585)

They take away your reason to choose, not your right - unless you're making the argument that you have the right to use whatever software you want under whatever conditions you want for whatever reason you want, in which case I refer you to reality, which dictates that there is no way that could be possible even if everything were open source - which is also never going to happen without coercion by force.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650257)

"Businesses are a lot more interested in the total value of something than its price tag."

I would mod you +1 Funny if I had the points.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

sifur (1423871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650265)

I usually use Linux based platforms for server applications. True they are more difficult to work with in the beginning. But once you get them working, they work well. Windows, on the other hand, is more simple with the point-and-click action but try remembering which combination of clicks and which dialogs and tabs led to the success of your efforts. Too much interconnectedness (read incest) with their products and features leads to undocumented and vague dependencies between them.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650273)

That may be true on the workstation, though rather than pay even $150 a pop for 23 licenses for Office Home/Educational or whatever its called, I threw in OpenOffice. My manager was a little nervous about this, and even tentatively put money in the budget for the licenses, but allowed me to "experiment". There have been a few problems, to be sure, but nothing so earth-shattering that, after a month, when we discussed it, it was agreed that OpenOffice was the obvious solution for these workstations. For what they're used for, if there wasn't XP licenses to be had, I'd probably just have installed Ubuntu.

But on the server end of things, it's quite different. I see no reason to pay thousands of dollars for the operating system and CALs for a fileserver, when Samba does the job quite well. In these harsher economic times, the value of a GUI drops pretty substantially when you're talking about licensing costs. What's more, because of Microsoft's insane licensing system, it's not just costs, but making sure you've got the right kind of license. Oops, that was an OEM license, so sorry, you can't put that copy of Server 2003 on a new server, you naught boy. Buy a new one! BWAHAHAHA.

We just went through a software-licensing-review-that-wasn't-labeled-as-a-review with Microsoft (likely because, once I was on board, I stopped paying their crappy, useless and expensive Software Assurance), and it was the first time my organization had gone line by line through our licenses.

Microsoft is absurdly expensive and restrictive, and believe me, so far as I'm concerned, OpenOffice is thin edge of the wedge. Next up is Exchange. Everything is going web-based anyways, and the only real "Exchange-y" feature we use is shared calendars. I can either use one of the open source groupware packages, or as some have suggested, just look at Google's calendaring.

I'm telling my rep flat out once the review is through that with the next round of purchases, the only thing likely Microsoft on the computers will be the operating system.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650295)

It obviously depends on what you're talking about. Desktop OS vs server OS. Desktop software vs server software. A few systems vs hundreds systems. etc.

I have a Nagios monitoring server. Sure I lost time setting up myself but I would have had to learn how to setup the equivalent MS solution. I don't need support contract for it. I dont have to pay for upgrades. I dont have to pay a license fee for the server + licenses per device monitored.

On the user workstations I replaced WinZip and WinRAR with 7Zip. CuteFTP with FileZilla. PDF Creator instead of Adobe Acrobat. etc.

If you incrementally move to new software and give users time to get used to them they happily accept it.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

McCat (1438893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650309)

You can tell most Open Source advocates have never had to make costing decisions in large businesses.

That may very well be true. But MSoft doesn't supply solely to businesses. So, while you may have a point, it does not negate the sentiment most people on here have (and will be) expressing.

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

I don't doubt you. But it's because you have a bias in your training/experience. I couldn't do very much at all in Ubuntu when I first installed it on my PC, but now (a few months later) I can do so much more than I would have ever imagined. I'm very close to being rid of Windows for good-- at which point, I'm sure I'll begin to consume less time using Linux than I would by using Windows (especially once Windows 7 becomes mainstream seeing as I haven't so much as looked at it yet).

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650513)

>>>Linux might be "free" but if you include the support contract, [re-]training, only then do you start to get close to its real cost in a business.

Then don't use Linux.
Continue using the Windows that your
employees are used to, but with alternatives:

- OpenOffice
- VLC Media Player
- WinAmp
- PDFedit/Inkspot

You can embrace the open-source concept & cost-savings without abandoning the familiar Windows operating system, just the same as you can embrace an electric car without completely abandoning the familiar gasoline engine (called a hybrid).

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650773)

Bad analogy. "Familiar" is not the engine of a car, "familiar" is the acceleration and break pedals, and steering wheel. You don't give those up when you switch to an electric car.
It's about the UI, not the kernel that powers it.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

AnibalOjeda (936222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650515)

Im so tired of hearing this every time.. this has become the most used excuses by IT management to not use linux for common tasks. i little bit of a system administrator can do things with linux for free in 1/2 the time you can do with all of the expensive tools in twice the time. I think personally the problem is you..

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

Stratocastr (1234756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650645)

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

That is probably because you are unfamiliar with linux. It is a very different OS than the ones u are used to.

I suspect there will be a tipping point for *IX at some point in time.

The OS isn't the constraint here, it's the people.

The reason that MS is successful is the same reason why McDonalds is. They dumb it down to the point where any retard can use it.

The consequence is that 40% of all our children are obese, and 90% of all ur bases r belongs to us.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650647)

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

It depends greatly on what you're doing. If all you need is a web browser, and office suite (and OpenOffice meets your needs), and access to email via POP/IMAP, then it really doesn't matter which OS you're using. If you absolutely must use certain apps, then you're stuck using a platform that supports those apps. Otherwise, some tasks may be easier on one system or another, and otherwise it depends greatly on what you're used to and what you prefer.

It's valid of Microsoft to point out that people should concern themselves with value vs. TCO. I'm not sure that's a comparison that will leave Windows on top, though.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (2, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650671)

Linux might be "free" but if you include the support contract

Are you telling me that none of your Windows software has a support contract of any kind?

We support a number of clients... Just what they call 'critical' varies from one place to the next... Some of them are very concerned about their accounting software, some of them are more worried about their inventory software, some of them have electronic medical records... But all of them have support contracts of some kind on the software that they consider critical. And most of them are running on Windows.

[re-]training

Training is going to be necessary on pretty much any new piece of software - Windows or otherwise. And if an update to an existing piece of software is significant enough you might need to re-train people.

Training has less to do with the OS things are running on top of than the software itself. Look at all the complaining over Office 2007... These were folks running a new version of Office on the same OS.

To get ever closer you have to look at how efficient it is for people to get their work done on that platform when compared to the competition.

Again, generally that's more a function of the software than the platform it is running on. Most people don't spend a whole ton of time at work playing around with their operating system. Most people spend the day working with various pieces of software - web browsers, email clients, development environments, accounting packages, office suites.

I personally find getting almost anything done on Linux much more time consuming than either OS X or Windows...

That will largely depend on what you're trying to accomplish and your familiarity with not only the operating system but that specific machine.

If I'm sat down at a random machine and asked to locate a file or burn a disc or something it will take me a few moments just to familiarize myself with the system. See what software they've got installed, how the files are organized, etc. If you're more familiar with a Windows environment it'll obviously take you longer to find your way around a Linux machine.

Windows and OS X both generally offer a nice GUI experience, which can be great for some users. Linux offers tons of command-line tools, which can be great for some users. OS X and Linux both offer tons of automation tools, which can be great from an administration standpoint. But, again, most people don't spend a whole lot of time in the day dealing with the OS itself. Most people spend their time dealing with the software that sits on top of the OS.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650679)

Linux might be "free" but if you include the support contract, [re-]training, only then do you start to get close to its real cost in a business.
****

This only holds true if you are wrongly adding in not having to train people who have been doing the same old thing forever.

If you add up the costs for new employees who you would have to train either way, it's fairly close. But the downtime issues and security involved is a clear win for *IX. Mostly because your IT staff can't be a bunch of no-brain idiots. You have to hire good people who know their stuff to run *IX.

It's about a wash. But being free of Microsoft? Well, that's priceless.

Re:Cost will fall flat... (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650751)

Switching to linux pays in the long run, no matter if you had to retrain your staff or not.

So? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650067)

Makes sense to me. Cost is irrelevant, as long as it's affordable. Much as some people like to claim open source has a zero cost, this is rarely true (overall, it is likely to have a lower total cost, you may end up paying more than your fair share if you are funding some of the development work and your competitors aren't). Value is a much more important in all cases. It doesn't matter if a product is free if it doesn't do the job. Of course, if it's free and does do the job well then it's likely to be better value than something that isn't free...

Re:So? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650385)

Alternatively, it doesn't matter if a solution looks fancy and follows all the rules of design if it gives you a black eye.

Attn: Sam. (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650111)

There is more than one meaning for the word "free".
And the definition you aren't looking at *is* one of the most important value measurements of open source.

Turnaround (3, Insightful)

sifur (1423871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650131)

I also remember the day when Microsoft was the upstart rebel. Now they kinda suck like those before them.

Is time to act (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650159)

A long time ago, I bought a feeder. I put it on the porch. It was beautiful to see birds standing close to me.

A week later, however, there were a lot of them. They started to build nests on the roof, tables, even in my car.

Then, the inevitable showed up: shit. It was everywhere. On my roof, on the tables, on my clothes... on everywhere! After some time, they started to be aggresive. They were over me, even though I was the person who was feeding them. Some of them were loudly and arrogant. They were invading my house, making sounds all the time, to remind me to fill the feeder if there wasn't food.

After some time I coudn't even sit down on my own chairs. I decided to throw away the feeder, and after three days they weren't neither on the garden nor in my house anymore. I cleaned and I put everything in order, eliminating even the nests. Soon, everything come back to normal: a peaceful and safety place, without any troublemaker asking for 'the right to free food'.

Now, is time to think about it.

We got with our hard work and with the work of our parents and grandparents a system with many benefits: access to a universal health care system, a little imperfect but better than nothing. We have public schools and public transport, economic facilities for the most needed people, etc. and we let to anyone that was born here to be a citizenship of our contry.

Then, thousands of illegal immigrants come here, and get all the same benefits that we have. Because they are illegal immigrants, they don't need to pay taxes. Because of that, they are payed more than us, because in order to pay to a legal worker 2000£, the employeer needs to spend about 4000£.

To pay the extra expenses, we need to pay more taxes.

Council houses are being taken by them, sometimes by force, and we are the ones that pay the rent, just like happens in Becontree and Bransholme.

If we need to go to the hospital we need to wait more hours before we get attended, because the hospitals are invaded by illegal immigrants, including workers that do not have the degrees we need to get those jobs.

In the schools, our childrens have to bear the problems when they're studing, even when they're eating, because the dining hall is set up by religious impositions.

Christmas will be eliminated to 'not hurt the foreigners' sensibility', showing no respect for our sensibility... that is the sensibility of the owners' house!!
About a 75% of criminal acts against common people (we) are committed by a 10% of the poblation (illegal immigrants); meanwhile, prisons are so full of crimminals that, with the help of ineffective justice, are released from prison in short time, so they start to commit crimes again.

If we try to stop all this madness, we'll find protests, organized by assholes that scream against human rights violations (because these assholes don't give a shit about our rights) or they say that we have the same rights as them, because our parents and granparents were the ones that pay all taxes when we were kids. So, it seems that my father doesn't have the right to choose where will his money go, whether to his childrens or to someone else's children. My father only had one children. Mi Colombian neighbor has six. Because of the global financial crisis, we'll see if I can have one children.

I want to make clear that this is just my opinion, but maybe it is time for the goverment to throw away the feeder, and clean the house.

If you agree with me, reproduce this message.

If you disagree with me, continue to clean shit... just like Germany was cleaning long time ago.

Ok we can do that (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650161)

BIG VALUE small cost

Another day, another press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650167)

We keep on hearing about a bunch of noisy companies. Now, if only they should actually do something other than have their PR mouthpieces run at the mouths.

Dialog (5, Funny)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650209)

Microsoft: Please compete with us on our terms??!?! Pretty please?!

Open-source: No.

Re:Dialog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650467)

Microsoft: Please compete with us on our terms??!?! Pretty please?!

Open-source: No.

Let me fix that.

Microsoft: Please compete with us on our terms??!?! Pretty please?!

Open-source: sudo kiss my ass

Re:Dialog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650553)

Microsoft: Please compete with us on our terms??!?! Pretty please?!

Open-source: No.

That's funny. Didn't it used to be:

Open-source: Please compete with us on our terms??!?! Pretty please?!

Microsoft: No.

Microsoft's history of anticompetitive behaviour (4, Informative)

sverrehu (22545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650217)

Since the article mentions Microsoft's attempts to undermine competing businesses, here's an interesting link to the Eupean Committee for Interoperable Systems' (ECIS) article "Microsoft: A History of Anticompetitive Behavior and Consumer Harm" (PDF): http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf [www.ecis.eu] Published on 2009-03-31. Required reading. :-)

Compare Microsoft to Microsoft first. (3, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650255)

Ah, before we start looking for the "value" in comparisons with Microsoft and Open-Source, perhaps we should look to have Microsoft justify its "value" behind the Office suite being $60 for the average student, and $360 for the average office worker...

Re:Compare Microsoft to Microsoft first. (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650403)

I feel sorry for the "average student" who paid $60 for Office. I paid $15 for Office Enterprise 2007 through my school...

Microsoft Asks Open Source Not to Focus on Price (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650271)

So they are effectively asking the FLOSS movement to do what they (the FLOSS people) have been doing all along? By focusing on reasonable licensing and distributed development models and neglecting the price issue in most cases?

Value: (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650317)

MythTV (even Tivo) boxes didn't record dead air when the broadcast flag was "accidentally" tripped a while back. The only DVRs I'm aware of that did were Windows machines. Value.

We do... (1)

skathe (1504519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650391)

...focus on value. That's why we run Mac or Linux. Microsoft sounds more like Dunder-Mifflin everyday. "Yeah, we're more expensive, but to us you FEEL like a valued customer, not just another number." In this economic climate, people don't have the luxury to care about how their feelings about the product they're buying, they want to not be broke. Also, Microsoft's customer service blows... even though you aren't a number to them. You're a product key, which makes you an alphanumeral.

Two words: Patch Tuesday (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650395)

How much damn money do you think Microsoft shops burn through with the continual need to addres crappy Microsoft products?

Put THAT in your "TCO" pipe and smoke it.

Sure, let's examine the value: (4, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650435)

Open source

Pros:

1. (Generally) free up front costs

2. A multititude of versions readily available, all the way back to early alpha, and will likely always be available, accompanied by the source code

3. (generally/often) cross-platform support

4. A huge support base made up of both paid professional support and "community" support

5. If you have a nagging "must fix" bug that affects you and only you, you have the option of fixing it or hiring someone to fix it for you

6. 0% risk of violating "per-seat" licensing

7. Development might be in someone's bedroom, or backed by a big company. YMMV, batteries not included. This could be a "con" if it's the former.

Cons

1. No warranty

2. Programs are often buggy or incomplete

3. Some projects are run by arrogant BOFH/RTFM types.

4. May require administrator training, in the form of self-study or tutorial videos on youtube, or time spent on messageboards.

Proprietary/Closed Source

Pros:

1. Shrink wrapped package and professionally-replicated DVD (oooh, SHINY!)

2. Development backed by a professional company

3. Program is usually relatively complete and bug free

4. Training i$ generally available for a co$t - where your sysadmin will receive a year's worth of information in 3-5 days and will remember precisely none of it, so he'll be asking you for funding for books, time for self-study and will be spending time on messageboards and/or watching tutorials on youtube

Cons

1. High up-front costs

2. High risk of copyright/license violations if you install more seats than "allowed" by your "license"

3. Support is generally expensive

4. Only the latest version is commercially available

5. If you have a bug you and only you encounter, you're SOL. It ain't gonna be fixed. They have your money already, so why should they care?

6. You are tied to the one and only one platform the software runs on

7. Support is paid support only, and in many cases, if you need support on an older version, they will require you to upgrade prior to providing support. Some community support may be available.

6. All warranties are expressly waived/disclaimed.

Re:Sure, let's examine the value: (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650827)

[Open Source] Cons

  1. No warranty
  2. Programs are often buggy or incomplete
  3. Some projects are run by arrogant BOFH/RTFM types.
  4. May require administrator training, in the form of self-study or tutorial videos on youtube, or time spent on messageboards.

Interestingly, those are some of the exact same reasons why I dislike proprietary software.

Warning: slanted article! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650475)

That quote from Ramji was taken completely out of context. It takes a bit of digging, because the distortion is already present in TFA, but here is the blog post to which TFA "responds" [zdnet.com] . Note especially:

Due to the downturn in the economy, many business users are putting the kibosh on migrations to or from open source. [...] That's why Microsoft is advising open-source partners with whom the company is collaborating not to focus their customer pitches on costs, but instead to lead their sales pitches with "value," he said.

(Emphasis mine.)

Now this may certainly be bad and self-serving advice from Microsoft, but it is still very different from what TFA makes it out to be. Microsoft isn't begging OS vendors to change their sales pitches to something it can compete with. It's telling vendors how it thinks they should pitch in a time of economic difficulty.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Microsoft bashing.

I do (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650495)

And, for me, I find Linux to be of far more value than Windows. This is in my home environment. Granted, a simple environment which consists of only two desktops (running Linux), a laptop (running Linux), and a MacMini (running MacOSX). I also have an Internet router with integrated print server. In this environment, I have a lot of development tools as well as "services" such as a real relational database (PostgreSQL). All of which was very inexpensive. Not $0, because I actually order and pay for my Linux system. I don't run the "Enterprise" distros because I don't need the hand holding.

So, as far as I'm concerned, if a person / business is starting from scratch, then Linux or maybe even MacOSX makes sense. But maybe Windows would too. It all depends on the person / business. I know many would say Windows is a necessity for interoperability with other people / businesses due mainly to Office. This is where I get upset. If MS Office would create a usable transportable format like OpenOffice does, then people could use MS Office, OpenOffice, KOffice, ... as was best for them. But MS, IMO, deliberately tries to defeat interoperability to "lock in" their customers. And that sometimes serves to "lock in" other businesses which depend on the first business. This may be "good business". But then, I guess using a .45 in a crowded venue to make money is also "good business". The only difference is that one has been legalized.

ploy revealed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650527)

The recent Apple tax ads are a ploy for Microsoft to learn from Apple how to compete against OSS?

He's not talking to you (3, Informative)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650545)

Pay attention to the source before going off the deep end:

IT departments are not cutting their spending to zero, Ramji claimed. Instead, they are focusing on strategic projects and cutting completely those they deem to be non-critical. That's why Microsoft is advising open-source partners with whom the company is collaborating not to focus their customer pitches on costs, but instead to lead their sales pitches with "value," he said.

The message is for Microsoft's open-source allies, not RedHat. Ramji is suggesting that they fish where the fish are. It's good advice.

so this is like saying (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650551)

"dont focus on the chairs steve is hurling...focus on his superior technique!"

Open Data Is the Important Part (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650593)

Well built "open data" proprietary software can prevent vendor lock in and will keep me happy. Have you ever tried to access the raw data in MS Exchange, or Sharepoint? It's a pain, in case you don't know. Some FOSS stuff isn't much better, even though you *can* drudge through the code and figure it out.

Give me a well designed, well named, *relational* DB and as a Sys Admin I couldn't care less what you do with the source. I will write my own add-ons in whatever language/method I like, accessing the well formed DB through SQL. This also has the ability to prevent a "dead fork", as I am merely adding on to the program, not attempting to change any of the core programming.

If MS would do this for Sharepoint, I would probably recommend it to everyone I see... but they make the db so hard to navigate and access, I would just rather use Drupal, although it does lack some of the nice features of Sharepoint. This is also the reason I don't like the new wave of using key-value pair DBs as it reduces my ability to easily use that data for other purposes.

Now some of you developers might be cringing at me mucking around in your apps data, but dammit, IT'S MY DATA! I can do as I please.

OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27650595)

Source code is worth more than a binary.

MS asking for something from OSS? (1)

pato101 (851725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650609)

Since when does MS listen to OSS queries?

Focus on Value instead of cost? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650615)

OK no problem but he's playing into Linux's hands because value is simply benefit / cost.
Linux now looks better than ever because its free.

Certainly (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650627)

I own a MacBook Pro - its hardware, OS and apps work more nicely for me. It has a higher cost than many roughly comparable PC laptops. I find greater value in it.

I run a Linux server. It has the same hardware cost as if Windows were on but no issues with client access licenses, activation or any artificial limitation brought on by segmentation like Home, Pro, Ultimate etc.. It has comparable but slightly lower cost. I find greater value in it.

Do they want to continue? The value argument is a very poor one from MS. Ubiquity is the best card they've got to play.

Cheers,
Ian

LIke in their ads.... ? (1)

jltnol (827919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650789)

Yeah.... that's right... don't compare your software costs with our software costs.... But it's ok to compare the hardware cost of laptops in our new TV ads.. Makes perfect sense!

How dare you, Microsoft! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650803)

By spewing statements like these, Microsoft just does not get it. I mean, how can anyone put a value to my freedom to modify software as I choose? Microsoft, give us a break.

Open source != free ? (1)

Stratocastr (1234756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27650841)

Correct me if im wrong, but isn't open source supposed to be freely distributed? I noticed that MS isn't talking about maintainable costs here, but "price".

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