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Open Source More Expensive Says MS Report

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the yeah-that'll-fly dept.

Microsoft 465

doperative writes "Much conventional wisdom about programs written by volunteers is wrong. The authors took money for research from Microsoft, long the archenemy of the open-source movement — although they assure readers that the funds came with no strings attached. Free programs are not always cheaper. To be sure, the upfront cost of proprietary software is higher (although open-source programs are not always free). But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them and making them work with other software"

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My psychic prediction (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928584)

I predict that this report will be met with much skepticism on /.

I also predict that I will make the argument that open source really *isn't* always all it's cracked up to be--and be shouted down by many, many voices

Re:My psychic prediction (1, Flamebait)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928618)

I will also predict that it'll be shown that Closed Source isn't much better in that regard...

Besides, anything that was bought and paid for by Microsoft has been shown to be stilted in their favor from start to finish. Special cases, that sort of thing. If you believe anything they've bankrolled as good information in your best interests you get what you deserve.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928750)

I don't think that anyone truly believes that any one piece of data can't be presented to show two distinctly different, and opposing viewpoints.

Re:My psychic prediction (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928930)

One could argue that MS funding really was provided with no strings, on the basis that MS are so confident in their superiority that they just want hard data to support that assumption. Not necessarily saying I agree, but it's a viable reason for why they would fund the study but actually want it to be valid and impartial.

In any case, most of the discussion here will be based on the summary as given context by the headline, which is very misleading.

What the research actually concluded was that the total cost of ownership can vary, sometimes open source is cheaper overall, but sometimes zero cost up-front is more than offset by training and support. They also point out that closed source software should be required to support open formats in order to prevent abuse of a dominant market position. Basically, exactly what any sensible open source advocate has been saying for years.

My one objection to most similar studies (although TFA doesn't say whether it's applicable here) is that switching from, say, MS Office 2003 to 2007 (a major interface change) is considered to take little or no training (a reasonable assumption for staff with moderate computer-literacy) but switching to OpenOffice is projected to incur significant retraining expenses (as well as the far more understandable costs of changing file formats and so on).

Turning the table (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929022)

The game continues and changes each day. Android is open source, and doing very well. Open source is still evolving. IPV6 may greatly increase people's interest in p2p type projects, which open standards and source are very good at. Internet censorship is also growing, and nobody really knows what's coming with that, it could be a call for more and more open standards to combat it. Funding sources are also evolving, apparently the Humble Bundle guys invented a new format. The pledge system [wikipedia.org] is becoming more popular.

Re:My psychic prediction (0, Flamebait)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928634)

I predict that by supporting you, I will also get modded down to oblivion. I also believe that the vast majority of /. readers will not even RTFA and just immediately post shouting angrily about how the report was fixed by Microsoft, and has no credibility.

Also, I support you.

/flamehaton

Re:My psychic prediction (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928754)

Is there some particular reason you trust any statement on open source that comes from Microsoft, considering it's long track record of animosity?

At any rate, it depends on the software in question, much like proprietary closed source software. In some cases with some products one side has an advantage, and in some cases the other side has an advantage. Working in a world where I deal with both closed source software (Windows+AD+Exchange) and open source software (LAMP servers, Samba) I have to say that there are aspects of both that cause me grief, and aspects of both that work well. At the end of the day, my level of competence is sufficient that issues of long-term licensing costs, particularly as far as upgrading to new versions goes, that in some areas open source clearly wins the day. However, in other regards, Active Directory, particular as far as Group Policies goes, does indeed have a clear management advantage that cannot easily be duplicated in open source. So I'd say, at the end of the day, large generalized statements like "open source more expensive" is clearly an invalid statement.

And I'll return to the fact that Microsoft paid for this. Microsoft's long history in regards to open source means I pretty much ignore anything Redmond or its mouthpieces have to say on it. I wouldn't ask a Microsoft rep or anyone given a nickel by Microsoft about the costs of software.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929102)

Is there some particular reason you trust any statement on open source that comes from Microsoft, considering it's long track record of animosity?

While the argument they present is not without merit -- who among us has not wasted time that could have been saved if some FOSS project or other had decent documentation? -- I have to wonder why anyone bothers publishing any study funded by a party that has a vested interest in the results. Even if the researchers are scrupulously honest and the research itself is done with extraordinary care and rigor, no one will trust the results.

Knowing this, as they must if they are not completely clueless, one has to wonder if they conducted this study solely because they could get a nice fat check from Microsoft. And if that's the case, I'd say a healthy degree of skepticism is warranted.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928792)

There are some legitimate concerns with open source, like the skillsets of the people you already have in house, making it work with other applications you are dependent upon, and what the support methodology looks like.

I think the general climate of /. is usually that there are zero disadvantages to open source, that it's advantageous in every way, and if your firm does not find this it's because your firm is peopled by idiots.

Of course Microsoft cannot be trusted to present a fair comparison between the two. But there are kernels of truth here and there.

Re:My psychic prediction (5, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928650)

The argument is valid for certain cases. That said, the large majority of work I do has the same operational cost regardless of where we get the software. We still have to learn how it works, and integrate it into the system we're deploying.

A proprietary solution has merit if you don't have technical people and you depend on an external company. Take whatever solution they provide.

But out in the technology world proper, these things cost more upfront and probably take just as much work to integrate.

Re:My psychic prediction (4, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928890)

Even if monetary costs are equal, F/OSS stuff may be a better business decision for the community.

Example - A college can pay $75k per year for an Angel or Blackboard license, and host it locally (or contract the hosting out to Angel/BB). Or, they can adopt a F/OSS solution like Sakai, and instead of paying $75k/yr to a corporation outside of the area they can pay $75k/yr for a programmer to maintain and enhance Sakai for their needs. Dollar costs are the same. However, by hiring the programmer, that improves the local economy and keeps that money local, as opposed to sending it out of area/out of state/etc.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929096)

A proprietary solution has merit if you don't have technical people and you depend on an external company.

If all other factors are the same, then an open source solution means that multiple companies can compete on an equal footing to provide you this service, without your being locked in, so is cheaper in the long run. In the real world, all other things are not equal, so any general claim about open or proprietary solutions is likely to be wrong in your specific case.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929194)

A proprietary solution does not necessarily have merit if you depend on an external company, it depends on the skills provided by that external company. The problem is that external company will have their own interests at heart, and that will mean providing you whatever setup brings them the most profit rather than the one that best suits your needs.

However if you are a company that provides support to others in this way, it makes a LOT of sense for you to start moving towards open source... If all your doing is reselling other people's products and providing first line support, not only will your margins be extremely thin and the value-add support you provide fairly low level (since you don't have control over the products, and have to defer harder questions to the original vendor), but sooner or later your customers and suppliers are going to realise they can save money and get better service by cutting you out of the loop.
On the other hand, if you are providing open source then your client doesn't have to worry about the perceived difficulties of running such software because thats your job, they can't easily cut you out of the loop because that would require them hiring their own competent IT staff to replace your services (although they could replace you with a similar company, so long as your service is decent and prices reasonable it wouldnt be worth doing), and you don't have to pay 90% of the sales cost to a third party vendor - all the profit is yours to either keep or squeeze if you need to compete on price.

A lot of these external support companies really do very little to earn their money, they shift boxes, take a small commission and hire a bunch of (cheap) clueless monkeys to unbox and forward your support calls to the original supplier.

In terms of integration, proprietary software may well integrate more easily with other proprietary software from the same vendor, however this is usually less to do with good interoperability, and more to do with proprietary software often being designed to explicitly not integrate with any competing software.
So costs aside, moving away from software designed to lock you in is a very important aspect especially if your thinking long term. While proprietary software is far more likely to try locking you in than open source, not all proprietary software is designed this way.

On the other hand, if you have the source code integration is always possible if its important enough to you.

Re:My psychic prediction (4, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928696)

I predict that this report will be met with much skepticism on /.

I also predict that I will make the argument that open source really *isn't* always all it's cracked up to be--and be shouted down by many, many voices

You'd have to, you know, actually make such an argument first. We don't always have time for shouting down non-existent arguments, only bad ones. The world awaits.

Re:My psychic prediction (1, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928728)

I will predict that:
  1. Time spent learning how to use a different software system is a one-time cost
  2. Open source software can be good or bad, just like software developed any other way
  3. People who "don't get it" will be screaming about how great or terrible open source software is
  4. People who follow the free software philosophy (like me) will smugly laugh at it all

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928858)

So what you're saying is that instead of making that good argument that you imply you have, you're just going to jump right to being a self-stylized martyr for truth. I predict you won't be the last to do this (which is cheating - this behavior always shows up in any OSS TCO thread).

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928870)

And I predict the standard knee-jerk reactions of people who don't bother to RTFA. In all honesty though, the article's not much good anyway. The book certainly does tempt me, particularly having read a couple of endorsements ( http://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262014632 [mit.edu] ):

"For anyone who thought the open source movement was a passing fancy, this is the book to read. Written by two experts in innovation and patent policy, it presents important evidence on the scope and complexity of how firms and public authorities have embraced open source software. The reader will learn which nations and which types of firms use open source most heavily, and may be surprised at the extent to which open source code is blended with code and products that are kept proprietary. The authors provide a rich foundation for yet another wave of thinking on the subject."
—Suzanne Scotchmer, University of California, Berkeley, author of Innovation and Incentives

“Unlike much of the writing on open source versus proprietary software, this book offers factual evidence, careful analysis, and evenhanded discussion, while avoiding unsupported opinions, hyperbole, and exaggeration. Everyone who is concerned with open source will want to read this book.”
—Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google

These people aren't idiots, and neither are they MS fanatics.

Try an open mind, maybe....?

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928962)

Well I would say you are mostly correct, however I will say that I agree with this premise of this report and therefore will reply to your comment :)

I do not have much experience in the field, so people may argue the finer points, but for many large scale implementations of software at a corporate level, free is not always better. This is not an example of where I worked, but lets take a company like Siemens, who provides the Teamcenter software. Now pair that with Boeing... (to my knowledge) they use this implementation in their drafting software. This Teamcenter implementation is not used at a single company however, so Siemens benefits from the fact it has multiple clients across the nation under this framework. Being able to mold the software to an individual company's need and benefit from the scalability / profitability of multiple clients... well here is an example of where "free" software I believe would suffer not being able to support the specific needs of each client.

On the same note, there are many instances that I really do not have time to discuss at the moment where free software in a business, assuming the free licensing is considered a negligible / really-small risk, can be of greater benefit. (Think Apache and those who work with XML as just one example)

Either way the Economist article talks of this sort of thing on a (better) broader sense... well, the Economist is awesome. What was that Slashdot poll about paying for subscriptions... yeah the Economist still persuades me from the quality of their articles that my money is well spent there.

Re:My psychic prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929002)

I predict that relatively few people will care about this article enough to read it, and the same goes for posting comments to this story.

10-15 years ago, Slashdot would have been in an uproar over this. These days, Microsoft is like the black knight in monty python and the holy grail. It has no arms or legs, and will soon bleed out (and everybody knows it), but talks as if it has something to be confident about.

The future is between Google and Apple, on ARM chips. Microsoft and Intel had their day. I suspect that this will be a "nothing to see here" type of article. Let's see.

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929008)

I predict that this report will be met with much skepticism on /.

Of course it will. And it should be. Microsoft has a long history of animosity towards open source software. That doesn't mean that they can't fund a genuinely objective study... But there's a good chance that things are going to be biased.

I also predict that I will make the argument that open source really *isn't* always all it's cracked up to be

Software is a tool. Nothing more or less. You need to use the right tool for the job. Sometimes the best tool is open source, sometimes it isn't.

and be shouted down by many, many voices

Probably. Slashdot has a long history of animosity towards closed source software, and Microsoft in specific.

Article is probably accurate. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929014)

Actually, I think that the article is probably accurate. The problem is /.'s summary. The report says:

Yet the finding that open-source advocates will like least is that free programs are not always cheaper.

Thus, the article acknowledges that the use of open source is cheaper in some circumstances -- but what proportion? The article doesn't elaborate. It could be 1%, it could be 99%.

General Lack of Balls (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929104)

Even giving the researchers the benefit of the doubt regarding their funding, I find their study bleak and useless. Why? Well, they have discovered that migration has its costs: training and retraining. That closed environments designed to work together beforehand can have relative short-term benefits: exchange comes prepackaged to "work" with Active Directory, so there is no integration cost. But Zimbra comes prebuilt to work with its own openldap, another openldap, any kind of ldap (really) and/or AD, and its foss...

So they are pussies. They made a study that reflects that moving from one technology to another costs, without an effort to measure what the long term benefits of migrating may be....

I find Zero insight in their work (insofar as ive seen, like the arcticle in the economist, although i will read the whole thing once i get my hands on it),, they only bring what we already know to the table, with the FUD package we have come to know for years now...

Re:My psychic prediction (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929108)

Nah, you're entitled to your opinion. I'll agree that OSS isn't what most people herald it to be, its just software. Unless you plan on Forking it or adding onto it yourself, the open source part of it makes no difference in how it really operates. The OS community hasn't been any better or worse for customer support, in my experience.

I have tried using Blender for 3D modelling, after using some Autodesk products.

I like the price, but I can't actually do anything that I want to do with it, and its not a matter of learning the product, I've done that. It's that certain functionality isn't built in, and the people who have tried to add it on have gotten frustrated and left that project.

Yeah...suuuurrrrre.... (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928604)

The authors took money for research from Microsoft, long the arch- enemy of the open-source movement-- although they assure readers that the funds came with no strings attached

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! THERE IS ONLY ZUUL!

Re:Yeah...suuuurrrrre.... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928734)

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! THERE IS ONLY ZUUL!

Lucky for us there's only one Zune too ;-)

Re:Yeah...suuuurrrrre.... (2)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928788)

In a similar report sponsored by Boris Badenov, it has been reported that Baden is Gooden now. Additionally, one of the more effective ways to save money is to kill moose and squirrel.

Don't forget to RTFA. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929060)

TFA is even worse than that with their usage of weasel-words.

Yet the finding that open-source advocates will like least is that free programs are not always cheaper.

Pay particular attention to the "not always" in that statement. If only ONE "open-source" app is more expensive than a SINGLE closed source app then their statement is true.

Useless, but true.

Re:Yeah...suuuurrrrre.... (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929150)

And we can all be absolutely certain that all future research contracts this group will get from Microsoft will also come with no strings attached and will be entirely unrelated to the results of the current contract. Yessir!

"Took money from Microsoft" = FAIL (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928626)

Right out of the gate.

Re:"Took money from Microsoft" = FAIL (1, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928652)

Indeed.

I love the supposition that closed source stuff is all "easier to learn" which isn't the case any more than open source stuff is all the opposite.

Re:"Took money from Microsoft" = FAIL (3, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928790)

They assume that you've already invested in training employees to use MS products. On top of that MS saves a lot of money when interfacing with other systems and software as you pay them to do all that for you instead of you having to figure out how to do it on your own. All have to do is pay for all your licenses and support instead of having to install free software and hire people that have brains to set it up for you. Using their figures this save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Re:"Took money from Microsoft" = FAIL (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929050)

Generally the company doesn't have to invest in training employees though, because most people are taught MS systems in school, and some even at University. I purposely didn't take "IT" classes in high school because they were just "how to use MS Office". Then I ended up being required to do basically the same course at University as part of my CS degree. It was pretty disappointing.

Re:"Took money from Microsoft" = FAIL (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929130)

I found Ubuntu Linux to be very difficult to learn, mainly because every time you need to fix something (example: change to supervisor mode to install flash), it involves opening the CLI.

Which would be fine if I knew the commands, but I did not. And saying "go learn them on this website" works for an engineer like me, but would be met with a blank stare by 99.9% of users. That fatal flaw is something Apple learned in 1984 and Microsoft sometime around 1995:

Things should be made simple enough that all you need is a mouse.
The CLI should not be needed.

No, !FAIL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928752)

1. RTFR(eview) - The book looks intriguing.

2. Why wouldn't MS actually want the truth? When making strategic decisions you must have the truth or otherwise you're dead - both figuratively and literally in the case of military generals.

MS is in the mature phase of their business cycle and all of their efforts to innovate and grow have been mediocre at best. Open Source is a trend that has taken off and if I were in MS' shoes, I would have commissioned a study to understand what's going on in the hopes of keeping my company from its slide down into irrelevancy.

making them work with other software (5, Insightful)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928628)

Maybe that is because software by certain companies deliberately ignore standards and try to maki it as hard as possible to work with other peoples software.

Re:making them work with other software (1)

mikael (484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928820)

They mean that everything in Windows uses the Microsoft Word .doc format, spreadsheets format, and the clipboard to get everything to exchange data. From that viewpoint, trying to not use those formats is just trying to make life difficult for yourself.

Re:making them work with other software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929112)

if by difficult you mean cost effective.
if office was say, $29.99 for the full blown penultimate edition, then yeah, it might be worth it, but $299.99 for the you can open 3 documents then have to re-buy me edition, no thanks.
and when documents written in the penultimate edition aren't readable without a $399.99 add-on to the re-buy me edition, we start to see things crumble.

TCO Fud (3, Insightful)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928636)

Come on, Bill gates more popular than the pope, Total Cost of ownership bullshit... I agree this is news for nerds but, is it stuff that matters? No.

Re:TCO Fud (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928708)

Come on, Bill gates more popular than the pope, Total Cost of ownership bullshit... I agree this is news for nerds but, is it stuff that matters? No.

I can see Bill being more popular than the pope, atleast he just screws his mainly adult customers, while the catholics are known for their penchant for the underage demographic.

Re:TCO Fud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929052)

Ignorant idiot! Do you really think only catholics have had this problem. EVERY church has had trouble with gay clergy preying on children. We only hear about the catholics because they are the biggest church.

Well, duh. (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928638)

One of the reasons to get something with source code is that you need to customize it, because there is no off-the-shelf solution that does what you want. So instead of writing your own completely from scratch, you start with something at least reasonably close to what you want.

If you're using commercial software, it's because the commercial software did what you needed out of the box; if it didn't, you couldn't use it, because you can't make it do what you need it to do.

This is not surprising.

Re:Well, duh. (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928780)

Right.

You only have three options when there isn't a ready made solution for your requirements.

Conform your requirements to the available proprietary software, develop it from scratch, or build on the work of an existing near solution.

One of these things is not like the others.

One of these things is not the same.

One of these things means you don't meet your original requirements and you have to deliver something that is less than what is asked wanted.

Re:Well, duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929016)

That sounds like it's from the perspective of an individual or small business. Where I work (a large university) we also have open source systems that function exactly how we want them straight off, and closed source systems that have had to be heavily modified by the vendor. The latter was a hell of a lot more expensive than the former. (About £3M for the student record system IIRC.)

disingenuous? (5, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928642)

So using an MS or MS-compatible (thanks to years of aggressive marketing by MS) stack is less expensive in terms of training time than inserting a piece of open-source software into that stack and trying to make everything work? Interesting...next up, replacing my car's wheels with motorcycle wheels makes it take longer for me to get to places. Perhaps I should just get the entire motorcycle instead?

Re:disingenuous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928822)

While the study is flawed, your analogy is even more flawed. The main flaw of most such studies is that it ignores long term costs such as the cost of vendor lock-in. And that has nothing to do with replacing one components. If you want software that's better, and you want software that also comes cheaper in the short term, that requires less retraining, etc., the components should also be better by themselves. I've never found FLOSS (or software in general) integrated too well, so this can't be a flaw as it would be in your analogy.

Re:disingenuous? (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929054)

Also, it worth mentions the cost is not the only reason to pick an OSS solution. In fact, this whole thing is primary about openess rather than freeness like in free beer.

Out of context (4, Informative)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928664)

Am I the only one who see's this summary as picking the most incendiary portion of this article, and elevating it by taking out of context? The latter part of the article discusses choosing carefully, and promoting open standards to allow for more compatibility in open source software. Plus, this is a partial book review...what's up with that?

Re:Out of context (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929034)

To be perfectly fair, almost no one is going to read the article for a topic like this, and the editors know it. They can just pick any study that MS had any financial input in, and that favors them (in any degree), publish a link, make sweeping claims, so they are simply feeding the fanboys and trolls. These types of articles are never insightful anyway, and most users here have better information about this topic than the authors of the articles. No one on the planet has ever switched platforms because of the contents of these types of articles.

Before we jump over this (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928666)

Regardless of what he said. It is reasonable to assume that not all open source software are cheaper to run on the long run than their propriety equivalent. Ok, it might be cheaper on the long run to have linux versus windows, but(and just as an example, I am not saying it is) it might be cheaper to run office then open office. Just because I am evil, that doesn't invalidate my point , nor does it invalidate the data I have.

Re:Before we jump over this (1)

mikael (484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928906)

When corporations make bulk purchases of hardware for new projects, they would have to factor in the following:

Purchase of new equipment + software
Installation of add-ons like E-mail and word-processing apps
Integration into the existing system network
Development and porting of existing in-house applications
Administration staff + training courses
Users + (re)training courses
Workflow performance
Power consumption

You could be a start-up company with half-price hardware, but if you tried to make a profit from expensive training course that would kill the consideration.

Re:Before we jump over this (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928942)

Regardless of what he said. It is reasonable to assume that not all open source software are cheaper to run on the long run than their propriety equivalent.

Sure. But this is hardly revolutionary or worthy of yet another book. We know that everything has costs and the overall cost of something is not always represented in an up-front price tag - software is no different. Where this conversation tends to get misleading is that not every cost is always considered and individuals with an axe to grind tend to limit the conversation to "free" being about licensing costs. This is old ground that's been trodden many times before.

Microsoft is high ... on my "Screw You!" list (3, Interesting)

Spectre (1685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928668)

{sarcasm}Yeah, having a company around that maintains and tests their products for compatibility is always better than having to do it yourself.{/sarcasm}

I do software development for a small company, we have a mix of tools in our environment.

Recently, my development workstation was upgraded from an old Windows XP desktop to a late model Windows 7 desktop.

Microsoft Visual Studio versions from a few years ago complain of compatibility issues and some need to be run in "XP compatibility" mode to function. "Would you like to check for compatibility updates online?" - Yes, I would. Fancy that, there aren't any.

ActiveState Perl and Python development environments and my HTML editor-of-choice VIM all function with no oddness at all.

THIS is why the first paragraph gets sarcasm tags.

Learning to use and making it work (5, Funny)

jpvlsmv (583001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928672)

It's a good thing Microsoft places so much value on keeping the user experience the same across its various upgrades. Certainly a user of Microsoft Office didn't have to change their mannerisms when they switched from Office 2003 to Office 2007's "ribbon".

Certainly, all of my XP habits still apply to Windows 7's Aero. None of the functionality has moved around in the slightest.

And it's also a good thing Microsoft places a lot of value on interoperability. Certainly they have never seen an incompatibility that prevents Active Directory from working with other LDAP solutions. Or certain Windows code that creates spurious error messages when run on a competitor's version of DOS.

I give Microsoft all the credit it deserves for making reports like the possible.

--Joe

Re:Learning to use and making it work (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929214)

Certainly a user of Microsoft Office didn't have to change their mannerisms when they switched from Office 2003 to Office 2007's "ribbon".

Heh, hit a nerve there. My company is switching from 2003 to 2010 and we all sort of sit around Googling all day to unwind the ribbon. It's not that the ribbon is so bad, but the built-in help is horrendous. How hard would it have been to have a help section geared towards showing you how the old way translates into the new way? Maybe something as simple as a mock-up of the old interface, where when you select something it shows you how to do it the new way?

Or favorite Ribbon fuck-up so far: to copy-as-picture in Excel, you select the sub-menu on the PASTE button, then select "As Picture", and then "Copy". Yes, that's right... in their fancy new interface they make you Copy by clicking on Paste! I would PAY to talk to an engineer that had to sit through the conclusion of that meeting :)

anti M$ orgasms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928694)

That report neglects the almost orgasmic feeling one gets when one does not add money to the m$ coffers

The Windows Phone 7 user thought so too (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928700)

He says although his phone cost more than all those millions of Android ones, he's happy because he knows he has all the smarts and know-how of the best brains in the business behind his closed source OS, so has great support if anything goes wrong. Then he got his phone bill [tomsguide.com]

Learning to use them? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928710)

Funny. My wife's office recently upgraded from Office 2003 to a more recent release.

How do I know?

The first day it was on her computer, the conversation at home went something like this:

Her: "What the FUCK! The fuckheads in IT gave some new bullshit version of Word on my fucking computer and it is completely fucking different. I spent like a fucking hour trying to find how to do "X". Where the fuck are my fucking toolbars? There is this new bullshit toolbar that is completely useless."
Me: "It's called the 'ribbon'."
Her: "Whatever the fuck it is called it is fucking stupid. And what the fuck is this 'docx' bullshit?" ... continue 15 minute profanity laced tirade...

Companies spend more money on learning how to use open source? The three-year quota on profanity that my wife used up in a day says otherwise.

Re:Learning to use them? (3, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928808)

You're a lucky man to have a wife who focus her anger on the source rather than bringing it home to you ;-)

The Office 2003 upgrade issue is something I'm dealing with with a few of my clients. Some employees have a newer version at home and are OK with the thought of upgrading but the owners are dead set against learning "the ribbon thing".

Re:Learning to use them? (1)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929178)

Thank you for the chuckle. I went through the exact same issue several months ago when IT "upgraded" me to Office 07. Suddenly, I couldn't find all the stuff that I needed, and I had deadlines to meet. Simple things like "Freeze Panes", moved for no apparent reason. Now that I've used it for a few months, I do like some of the newer features, but it seems that MS changed so many things for no reason other than to change them.

Bad Headline (2)

midnitewolf (673923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928718)

The closest the article comes to saying this is "that free programs are not always cheaper". Headlining it as "Open Source More Expensive Says MS" is pretty disingenuous.

The lingering saying about open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928720)

The saying that "Open source is only free if your time is worth nothing" lingers rather persistently, even among open source advocates, because there's a grain of truth there. Usability, stability, backwards compatibility, user friendliness; they all matter.

Re:The lingering saying about open source (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928958)

And yet the same applies to many of Microsoft's products. I have yet to do a major upgrade in server software without some pretty big hangups and issues, uninstalling certain software just to make sure the upgrade succeeds. These problems do not go away just because you paid $1000 for the base software and $5000 in CALs.

The problem I so often have with these claims is they seem to mistake ease of installation with the actual maintenance of the software. You betcha that Exchange is a lot easier to install than any potential open source solution. But maintenance over time? I've had more issues over the last five years with my Exchange server than I've had with the Postfix server I run, which only really gets kicked when I need to do upgrades. The thing just keeps humming, chewing up significantly less resources, thus requiring less expensive hardware, licensing-wise being much much much much much much cheaper, so I'd say that while I had my upsets getting Postfix going, if we're going on man hours, it's been far cheaper than Exchange.

Another good example is VPN. I reviewed a number of VPN solutions; Cisco, 3Com, Microsoft, and had assorted issues from stability to cost, and at the end of the day picked OpenVPN, which is secure, rock solid, and all in all pretty damned easy to configure. The people who, I suspect, would have problems with something like OpenVPN would be admins who sit completely within the Microsoft ecology, taking the courses, getting their MCSEs (or whatever its called these days), and thus having avoided as much as possible notions like text editors and command line tools, having drunken the kool-aid on "ease of use" to the point where the ease makes them almost useless at working on other platforms.

I'm not saying that things don't have their places. I'm fully cognizant of the fact that there are are areas where Microsoft is superior, certainly other groupware solutions, both closed and open source, are not the equal of Exchange+Outlook, though to be honest that's more a user ease-of-use issue than an admins. I think one needs to be pragmatic, but saying "open source is inferior" is just plain inaccurate. It certainly is true in some cases, but not in all. The worst part of living in a Microsoft world to my mind is that they've produced a legion of intellectually crippled sysadmins, who view competing products like Unix with either derision or fear, often times not realizing how inferior Microsoft is in some areas. This is clearly Microsoft's intent, to control the kinds of admins that get into any shop.

*sigh* (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928724)

One of my favorite quotes of all time summed it up nicely. I forgot it exactly and I can't find it now, but it was something along the lines of

If they're going to put scare quotes around "free" they should do the same for commercial software because you don't really "own" it.

Uh-huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928738)

The authors took money for research from Microsoft, long the arch- enemy of the open-source movement-- although they assure readers that the funds came with no strings attached)

Right, no visible strings attached! There's nothing except just the rather obvious understanding that producing a report that benefits your client's financial position in any way will likely lead to future sponsorship, which will benefit your financial position in a very concrete way.

key phrase in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928740)

"making them work" --yes, more money is spent making them work as desired, but the end result is they actually DO work, unlike most of MS's, where we often end up with kludgy workarounds that give less then the desired results.

Inconsistent Summary - Does Not Equate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928762)

RTFA. Summary misstates.

Not even Houdini.... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928784)

The real trick to software uptake is usability. If you can take a complex solution and make it a breeze to use you've got a win. The problem with a lot of the free software out there is the focus on "making it work" instead of "making it pretty"

If you have an application that takes a bit of configuration to get it right, grandma would rather press some buttons and fill in some text areas. Hiding options in config files or cli switches is not the way to go. Unfortunately, theres plenty of software out there that chooses this route

Re:Not even Houdini.... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928968)

The problem with a lot of the free software out there is the focus on "making it work" instead of "making it pretty"

True. But that's a problem if you are trying to sell your app to the PHB instead of the users and/or support staff. CLI or file configuration is preferred by many administrators, who just write shell scripts or push out files to multiple installations. Grandma is a different market and one that Microsoft can have.

Re:Not even Houdini.... (1)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929098)

Usability differs for different tasks. For some tasks, I WANT a program that utilizes "cli switches" so that I can use a script to automate it. Likewise, storing configuration information in a "config file" allows me to easily back up that configuration as well as inspect it if something goes wrong. I make a backup copy of important config files before I edit them so I can get back to a working configuration by overwriting the config file with its backup if^H^H when I screw something up.

You can't say anything about usability without knowing use cases. For server software, I would always prefer a config file over a gui control panel.

Bullshit. in the past maybe. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928800)

in the past, when you couldnt find people to work with those software. we are not in the past. o/s that has gone mainstream enough has huge base of professionals available to hire or to contract. from linux to php. check the listings here out, for example www.elance.com . it is a good picture of i.t. landscape.

it doesnt matter open source or not. software which has not gained enough userbase, will not have enough professionals working on it. this goes on from operating systems to platforms like python and php or android. this is the nature of software and hardware. hell, actually its the nature of all things technological. produce millions of volkswagen beetles, and in 10 years you will have people who can service them all over the world.

'strings unattached' sounds more bullshit when these are considered.

Yeah, closed source is waaayy better (3, Informative)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928802)

The benefits of vendor lock-in and proprietary file formats cost me way less money every year.  The ROI of adopting the latest and greatest version of my proprietary software gets faster every year too. I really like the way my choices become more and more limited, and dictated by a governing body focused mainly on capital and politics. Not to mention that secure feeling of having a digital noose around my neck, dragging my head towards a grinding wheel with each revision of my server software.  The benefits of meeting new and exciting people is a big plus as well. Just last month, I upgraded my proprietary mail server software only to find out there was some sort of misconfiguration error on my part which was causing my users to be unable to log in.  I was on the phone with so many people from so many third world countries that I actually managed to learn a new language!  We didn't fix the mail server issue, but for now, we use a Swingline stapler balanced on the spacebar to automatically close the error message dialogs to keep them from taking all available memory over night. What a creative solution!  And it only took two weeks to figure it out!  The vendor of our proprietary system promised us they will have it fixed in the next release.  You can't get that kind of commitment with open source.

Users given new software need training, shock! (2)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928804)

The increase in cost is in the switching. Well that's nothing new. That's pretty much a one-time cost. After that training for new versions is going to be much cheaper, and with closed software you would also have to pay that. Difference is that once you have switched, you software costs drop to nothing, and you can choose whoever you want to do support/training as there is no lock in. That switching cost is something MS and others rely on, but it's a false economy to keep avoiding it.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928826)

I say invest in people, not the corporations.

It's not that I am against buying anything from a company. All too often though money that could have been used to keep a person employed is spent on some expensive craptastic "solution" which was purchsed at the suggestion of a silver-bullet peddling sales weasel.

In related news... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928838)

The researchers will next compare Windows based and Open Source based mobile phones. The title of the article will be, "These are not the Droids you're looking for."

Inaccurate summary? (1)

Target Practice (79470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928876)

This is merely one writer's take on the book, 'The Comingled Code'. I would recommend instead to read the book before we get all uppity. It's true they received funding from Microsoft, but I would like to know who else funded them. From the book's homepage, it seems quite a few people are happy with their work, including this guy from Google:

“Unlike much of the writing on open source versus proprietary software, this book offers factual evidence, careful analysis, and evenhanded discussion, while avoiding unsupported opinions, hyperbole, and exaggeration. Everyone who is concerned with open source will want to read this book.”
—Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google

The writer at the Economist seems to have a bone to pick with Open Source, regardless:

"Yet the finding that open-source advocates will like least is that free programs are not always cheaper. To be sure, the upfront cost of proprietary software is higher (although open-source programs are not always free). But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them and making them work with other software."

Anyone experienced an implementation of new software, Open Source or not, where there was no cost associated with the learning curve and the integration?

I agree (2)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928894)

I agree with one of the authors points. We just ran into a problem where OpenOffice would not properly read a docx file. The problem of course is the maker of the priority (guess who) software constantly changing file formats just enough to break everyone's conversion code. The old MS moto - "It's not done until Lotus won't run."

As a Windows/Linux/Mac/Unix sysadmin... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928924)

I say hogwash. Admining *nix systems is much easier than Windows boxes. I'm constantly having to do simple things like "do $foo on boxes 1-24,35-90,102-150" on both windows and *nix boxes, and unless sshd and bash are installed on the windows boxes, it quickly devolves into stupid DOS tricks to properly run things like wmic via psexec (which doesn't work natively).

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928928)

How's that 8 GB of memory support working out for you in a proprietary OS from 2001? Oh wait, they crippled it to only allow 4 GB, even with PAE support. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension) Let me guess, I can buy an "upgrade" to fix it, thereby giving up EAX/3D audio support, which was removed from the new versions of the mentioned OS. No thanks.

I've instead upgraded to a system that isn't artificially crippled. I won't say which one, but you can be sure there are no stickers on the front of my PC. I'm tired of someone telling me how much hardware I'm allowed to use and I won't tolerate it any longer.

Awful Headline (1)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928944)

From the article : "Yet the finding that open-source advocates will like least is that free programs are not always cheaper. To be sure, the upfront cost of proprietary software is higher (although open-source programs are not always free). But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them and making them work with other software.."

It may be Microsoft inspired, but this statement is hardly as inflammatory as the headline makes it out to be. In fact the entire article seemed to be as middle of the road as you can get.

Red Herring (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928950)

Free Software != Open Source software. Open Source Really has nothing to do with free. The value of Open Source is that you are able to look under the hood. If it happens to be Free and Open and Good ala Apache and many others then it's just a bonus.

Of course you still need IT staff to manage it, pay for a computer to install it upon, and all the other fun stuff. Just because it's Open Source doesn't mean Joe Sixpack can suddenly administer a server - duh.

Having said that, experience has shown that Open Source software documentation is infinitely better than the rubbish in MS user manuals.

Why fuel the Microsoft pandering... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928954)

Why fuel the Microsoft pandering by "legitimizing" the said "report" with anti arguments?

Microsoft does not matter and they haven't for a very long time and the sooner we stop affix relevance to them the better.

and oh... think about it before you mod and/or reply.

Seriously not a flame bait... hoping more of an anti flame bait.

Teach a man to fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928960)

You can sell a man a fish each day of his live.
Or you could teach a man to fish - how can that be more expensive in the long run?

I'm curious about the methodology here (1)

Ellisande (1642467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928966)

I'm wondering about two things here. First - in cases where proprietary software is used, its generally the case that the company has to develope its own middle-ware product for intergration into their systems (or buy a boxed one), either way, its part of the cost of the product. Is that being used in this calculation, or is that considered a seperate "product"? For an open source solution, the better option is probably just to modify for the source to integrate the product, which would be more cost for the product itself, but you miss the middle-ware costs. Second - is this looking at only the "cost" or factoring in time as well? If you're having an integration problem (even if you are a big enough company to complain loud enough to get say, Microsoft, to implement a fix) you're certainly not going to get it over night, or next week. In smaller companies, this isn't an option at all. If you look at time waiting for Microsoft to probably never fix the problem, versus devloping and submitting an code change for an open source product, I'd bet the amount of time actually used is significantly less than the Microsoft turn-around. Sure its a higher development cost to the company, but it will save them many hours getting a fix to their workforce in a faster time frame.

Cost of closed-source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34928988)

Really, we all know this is a load of malarkey. Let me share my experience.

I run a large website. What I mean by this is that the site peaks at 15kreqs/second and is ranked under 500 on Alexa. Our entire staff consists of three people, all experienced developers, and we have built the site on open-source technology for less than the cost of a nice used car. Including hardware.

I honestly do not think this level of efficiency is possible with closed-source software. With open-source we can just go in and tool the sofware to our needs, easily write plugins and modules, and yes even sometimes pay the project developers a bounty for a feature we need. This leads to a highly tuned and effective system with low overhead and low maintenance burden.

Our experiences with closed-source software has been less than stellar. Waiting weeks, sometimes months for a company to customise their product to fit our needs and integrate with our systems, when if we had the source we could do it ourselves in a day or two. The cost for commercial licences and custom modifications can be outrageous, to say the least.. Sometimes approaching that of our yearly hardware budget.

If you're spending more on open-source than closed-source, you're doing it wrong. Hire better people. They are worth it.

piracy and externalizing costs (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34928992)

I will take issue with the training costs. Right now training for popular proprietary software is funded in three ways. One is that software is pirated by people who want to use the software, they use it, learn it, and then are available for employers. We know that software piracy costs software firms at least 34 billion dollars a year, and those costs are not tolerated by the firms. They are passed on through higher prices to customers. Therefore, training through piracy results in higher prices to customers using the software, and so the customers are indirectly paying for training. It is just that they are paying to train the employees of competing firms.

Third, people are trained through what are often for profit adult education programs. These programs are often funded through student loans. The default rate at for profit schools can be twice as high as public non-profit schools and three times as high as private non-profit schools. All these defaults are covered by taxpayer money. Again, the tax payer is funding the training of proprietary programs when often free OSS programs are available to teach the concepts. Firms are being taxed into bankruptcy to pay for training and buy licenses so their competitors can save on training costs. What is the point in that?

To be sure this report is a classic case of externalizing costs to make a product seem cheaper. Sure blowing up a mountaintop is the cheap way to get coal because it is the taxpayer, not the firm, that is going to be funding the health care costs of the townships below the mountain. Sure it is cheaper to run up debt to fund a ten year war intended to make war mongers rich because the debt will be paid by the next generation of middle class tax payers, not the war mongers kids.

OSS software is not useful for everything, but it does seem to work for much of the web infrastructure. Sure when I use OSS on my website there is a learning curve and the resources are not widely available. OTOH, when I want a feature I do not have to beg MS to include it, I can just pay one of the army of PHP, Python, of Ruby developers to do it. Even better, I am not a slave to an external upgrade cycle intended to maximize profits for a firm that has no regard to my needs and will demand upgrade fees even if I do not need the new software. This is another indication that OSS will sooner rather than later destroy the MS business model.

here are some hints... (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929000)

But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them

That's sometimes the case; in the long run, training and learning costs are almost always lower than for equivalent Microsoft software however. Microsoft keeps changing its interfaces so that marketing and sales can squeeze out a new version, and that gets really expensive in the long run. Many companies have been refusing to upgrade Windows and Office because of that, only to be forced to do so eventually.

and making them work with other software"

Sure, making FOSS work with Microsoft software is a real pain. However, that pain can be nearly eliminated by eliminating Microsoft software.

Always vs. Most of the Time (1)

rgbfoundry (1916834) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929040)

Yes. And murder isn't always illegal. Bottom line, look back over the past 15 years and see how much you've spent on Microsoft Office. Then compare that to how much you'll send on training and support for Open Office. I see money saved. Guaranteed. Now if you're talking about open source flight simulators or image manipulation software, you probably would be better off buying retail versions of those applications. Beware the "always" in this claim. They should actually title it "Most of the Time, Open Source Saves You Money", but Microsoft wouldn't have liked that title.

Not really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929106)

When I installed Ubuntu, I found that it worked seamlessly with all other software. Works well too. No 'freezing desktops', no jittery applications, no 'oh, you have too many applications open, just close two or three and then all will be well again' nonsense. When I consider user downtime, time that is wasted re-imaging a computer, time lost because 'the computer is down', (and with Ubuntu or Slackware, or Fedora, or RHEL there is no 'the computer is down'), and then people start talking about 'more expensive', people whos systems frequently freeze, crash, and in general kill productivity, I'm amazed they have anything to say at all. When people are inspired with ideas, its usually like lightning in a bottle, either you catch it and put a stopper in it, or it goes quickly. The computer is that bottle. When the bottle is broken, the lightning goes. When the stopper doesn't fit in the bottle, the lightning goes. With Open Source software, the stopper fits and the bottle isn't broken. I suppose the one difference there is between the 'free' software and the 'non-free' software is care. When 'volunteers' do something, they usually care about the quality of the job they are doing. They have a passion for the work they are doing (otherwise they wouldn't be doing it). I've seen paid-for software companies in action. There is a list of bugs, and a list of features. People vote based on the size of their contract, on what bugs they want fixed and what new features they want. Some bugs don't get fixed. Other companies have sales people who have targets. If the software isn't ready, its declared ready anyway, and shipped. Money comes in and sales targets are always hit. When the complaints come in, the sales team points to programmers and say 'its their problem'. Slapdash solves all. There is a reason why the US Department of Homeland Security ran an analysis of both 'Free' and 'Non-Free' operating systems with the Coverity code checker. They wanted to see what they were getting. To no ones surprise, the 'Free' software came out 20 times 'cleaner' that is 20 times fewer bugs than 'non-free' software, and the bugs that the 'free' software had were all 'low priority', as opposed to the 'non-free' software which has high numbers of 'critical' and 'severe' bugs. Go see for yourself, the US government paid for it. Here [cnet.com] is where they started their effort. Coverity lists all I have already stated. Go ahead, look for yourself.

Strings attached or no. . . (1)

Hero Zzyzzx (525153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929118)

Would we be hearing about this report if it hadn't come out with a conclusion favorable to its funders? Doubtful.

TFS vs ... (2)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929138)

If I add the lost productivity using TFS vs any of the FOSS SDLC or even simple version control software. The only statement we have been hearing from our MS tickets is "It shouldnt do that" Or "That was by design"... So far I a loosing about 1 man day every 4. And now that we have an "expert" on site, I am full time trying to debug this for MS.

Slashdot slaughters title... (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929154)

Original statement

Free programs are not always cheaper

Implication: Free programs usually are "cheaper".

Slashdot slaughtering of statement

Open Source more expensive

Implication: Free programs usually "cost" more.

Headline sensationalism much?

No strings attached, eh? (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34929182)

"But companies that use such programs spend more on such things as learning to use them and making them work with other software". There are so many things wrong with this. Sure, that could very well be true in some cases, but it is entirely dependent on the situation. They are stating an extremely vague idea it as if it were an absolute in every scenario. If this really was an unbiased study they wouldn't be regurgitating this worn-out claim.

Add costs for AV, Registry Cleaner and Reloading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34929184)

Until you add the costs for antivirus, cleaning the registry and reloading the OS every year - then FLOSS comes in 99% cheaper. You need to drink as much FLOSS koolaid as possible to get the savings.

In my experience, clients have 1 admin for every 100 windows users and 1 Unix admin for every 500 *NIX-based users. Admin people cost money too.

I gotta ask, why does anyone deploy Windows for network file shares or print servers. Seriously? Why?

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