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Linux Business The Almighty Buck

EU Commission Study Finds OSS Saves Money 128

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-print-dollars dept.
PS3Penguin writes "Groklaw has up a story about an EU Commission's recent findings on the costs savings available from using Open Source Software. From the article: 'Costs to migrate to an open solution are relevant and an organization needs to consider an extra effort for this. However these costs are temporary and mainly are budgeted in less than one year. The major factor of cost of the new solution - even in the case that the open solution is mixed with closed software - is costs for peer or ad hoc training. These are the best example of intangible costs that often are not foreseen in a transition.'"
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EU Commission Study Finds OSS Saves Money

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  • No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kamochan (883582) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:34PM (#17578804)

    This does not come as a surprise for people having worked in IT and with OSS for some time.

    Now, if this report gets public bodies to use and require use of OO/ODF, the large corporations (whose customers or legislators the public bodies tend to be) might move to OO/ODF as well, and then also us small subcontractors could finally junk the P-O-S, all-defaults-are-nonsensical, pay-for-incompatible-upgrades MSOffice. Someone just needs to get the ball rolling...

    Damn, it's good to see the EU bureaucracy sometimes produce sensible results!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rs232 (849320)
      "This does not come as a surprise for people having worked in IT and with OSS for some time."

      Stand by for a least one patent-imdemnification-fud post in this thread ..
    • I've seen Microsoft advertisements and white papers that assert that there are many hidden costs of using FOSS. You and I know that it's FUD or at least naieve, but people like Gartner Group lap that kind of 'research' up and repeat it.

      More interesting would be to do the research on the hidden costs of using Microsoft OS and applications. I, for one, waste plenty of time dealing with updates, reboots after updates, etc. with the various Microsoft OS's that I have to use.

      • by Bert64 (520050)
        Not to mention:
        Anti virus
        Anti spyware
        Remote administration software (the default remote desktop has unfixed security flaws)
        • And that's all???

          What about normal web-browser? what about some basic office suit and/or text editor? PDF reader? performance monitoring? usual for servers management software?

          From my POV, hidden costs of Windows has nothing to do with M$ software - but what the M$ software lacks. And what it lacks - is very very long list. Normally installed separately from 3rd parties. I can install desktop Windows in couple of hours - just to later on waste couple of days brining system to usable state. Same goes

    • by Jaqui (905797)
      True, this is not a suprise.

      "and then also us small subcontractors could finally junk the P-O-S, all-defaults-are-nonsensical, pay-for-incompatible-upgrades MSOffice"

      do as I do, use an oss office suite and reject ms office formats.
      [ after all, they are KNOWN malware carriers, it comes from being a binary format ]
      So anyone sending ms office format files is trying to infest your network with malware.

      windows / microsoft free for 10 years and proud of it.
    • OO/ODF do not replace functionality provided by Exchange or Outlook. Until someone provides that kind of service in OO, nobody here is switching to it.
      • by Colin Smith (2679)

        OO/ODF do not replace functionality provided by Exchange or Outlook.
        ???

        Open Office is an office suite, ODF a file format.

        The functionality of Outlook & Exchange can be replaced through the use of CalDAV/LDAP/IMAP/SMTP/NNTP & Evolution.

         
        • So you're saying we should replace something that integrates with the office with something that is completely unattached? It's not quite the same and thus not the solution.
    • I'm a big OSS advocate and I feel I make a pretty good case for clients to use OSS. However, the percentage that don't, and i've heard this quite a bit, do so because they're not "collectible" in the event it causes damage.

      Even if the damage had minimal impact, it seems they still need assurance that they can sue the crap out of someone.

      Sad.
      • by dtfinch (661405) *
        The real reason some enterprise software packages cost upwards of $100k.

        I think the Windows EULA, in addition to disclaiming liability, attempts to limit liability to $5.
  • But (Score:4, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:36PM (#17578820)
    One of open source's most touted benefits is its price. Download the software, install it--and don't pay a penny. That's the theory. But to a surprising number of companies, the price tag--or lack of one--is irrelevant. Believe it or not but in my university there are no problems to choose software. We are not looking the philosofical part of the questin (this is OS, this is not). We literally don't care for that. We look at what does the job best. And we buy and use it. And don't care for the price.
    • by Nos. (179609)
      The biggest benefit of open source software is that its, well, open source. Sure, most of it is free to use, commercial or not. However, as this, and other articles point out, purchase price is normally a very small portion of TCO (total cost of ownership).
      • yes, and to most user the "open source" nature is completely irrelevant.

        It, like other methods and philosophies has it's pros and cons. I'm glad not everythin is OSS, that way I can use the closed source software that ended up better in some areas, and the open source that ended up better in others.
        • by Nos. (179609)
          It depends where you're talking. Sure the average home user is going to prefer free programs. However, when you're talking large corporations, as I said, the initial purchase price usually isn't the deciding factor. Regardless of the type of software (closed or open source), one should ALWAYS choose the best software for the job. However, IMHO, open source generally produces better software in the long run than does closed source.
          • Ahh, but that's "free as in beer" software... Not necessarily open source software

            There's a lot of free as in beer software that isn't open source. A normal user could care less if it's

            free as in beer + free as in source access
            or
            free as in beer + closed as in source access

            I agree, though it's not always the case, OSS generally does do better given enough time... But earlier on, I've found closed source projects tend to get better financing and startup. Then the beurocracy makes the throw-money-at-it approac
            • according to marketplace free beer is not free http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/12/2 9/PM200612295.html [publicradio.org]

              the reason you might have to try many oss projects before you find a good one is that places like sourceforge and other big oss places never seem to drop any abandoned projects so they sit around popping up in search results. My theory is that all software starts off bad and gets better over time. Bad closed source is harder to find because they don't release until they think they can sell i
              • by mpe (36238)
                the reason you might have to try many oss projects before you find a good one is that places like sourceforge and other big oss places never seem to drop any abandoned projects so they sit around popping up in search results.

                That's because even abandoned OSS projects can be valuable and useful

                My theory is that all software starts off bad and gets better over time.

                It's perfectly possible for software to get worst over time. e.g. through the addition of "features" and a more complex UI.

                Bad closed sour
            • by init100 (915886)

              Part of the nice "features" of commercial software (where most non-OSS is admittedly, and most OSS isn't), is that it has a certain amount of market pressure to be of a minimum quality, or it doesn't last long.

              One of the disadvantages of commercial/proprietary software is that it often only has the minimum quality required to receive enogh sales. An increase of quality beyond this minimum will seldom happen, especially if it doesn't generate enogh return on investment. In contrast, non-commercial developers couldn't care less of return on investment and other such financial issues, which enable them to increase quality beyond the minimum needed to barely satisfy its users.

        • So you're saying that if the closed-source software had been open source, it would have been lower quality?
          • In some cases yes, in some cases no. There's a lot that goes into the development of a piece of software. In the end it amounts to this:

            what group did the software development setup aggregate for creation of said software?

            If it aggregated a good group, then the software will be good.

            Different groups are aggregated to different styles. Some styles seemed to have worked better Open Source, others closed source. Its way to dynamic of a subject to drop onto one categorization though.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              Please explain what you mean by "aggregated a [good] group", what "aggregating a group" is, and how a group can be aggregated to a style.

              Please tell us, specifically, which closed-source software you run that would have been of lower quality if open sourced.
        • by Bert64 (520050)
          The fact that it's open source should be considered by any well managed business.
          Using proprietary software that locks you in to a single vendor is a HUGE BUSINESS RISK. It's highly dangerous to make your business dependant on a single organization or product, you should ALWAYS have a backup plan.
          With open file formats, you have multiple sources from which you can obtain software, and with open source you are guaranteed the ability to install additional copies (yes, we've had several situations where we nee
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      And how much is tuition at your school?
    • Re:But (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Leftist Troll (825839) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:45PM (#17579036)
      But to a surprising number of companies, the price tag--or lack of one--is irrelevant.

      Many of those still choose open source software. There's a reason GNU, Linux, BSD and Apache are so widespread, and it has nothing to do with price.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by El Lobo (994537)
        There is also a reason why Windows, Photoshop, Visual Studio, Premiere, Office, Maya, AutoCad are also popular even if they cost A LOT. Have you been thinking about that? OS is not the holy grail. There are a lot of underfeatured are mediocre OS applications that sadly are overrated just for being that.
        • Hi, welcome to /.

          For approximately 10 years we've been arguing about why a lot of those products are so widely-used despite their (in some cases) inferiority or (in other cases) exorbitant pricing.
          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by El Lobo (994537)
            It's easy, in many cases it's not so har to understand. We use a lot of Photoshop at work. When you find us a package that does the same that Photoshop (please don't dare proposing me GIMP, don't make me laugh) then we will change be it OS or not. We don't care. AutoCad is used by our reactor designers. Don't try to push anything else to them. They have tried, believe me. And we pay gladly 8000 USD per licens... And so on... The philosophy and puritanism of OS=good and hip, commercial = bad and pest is not
            • We haven't been debating (and don't much care) whether your firm in particular chooses X or Y. It's more about why (e.g.) the 80% of Photoshop users who do basic cutting/pasting/editing of images still shell out for it when the GIMP is perfectly good.

              Why do so many people buy SUVs when cheaper, cleaner sedans do the same job? They "feel safer". Scientific tests prove they aren't *actually safer, but there you go. Or it might be an image thing -- but that's not *rational decision-making.

              "The philosophy and p
            • by swillden (191260) *

              When you find us a package that does the same that Photoshop (please don't dare proposing me GIMP, don't make me laugh) then we will change be it OS or not.

              Actually, the GIMP/Photoshop comparison is one that's worth exploring a bit, because, in reality, the GIMP *is* 95% as good as PS. There are a few things the GIMP is lacking, certainly (>8bpc color, good support for other color spaces (CMYK), some plugins), but most of those are only relevant to very serious users. Probably less than 5% of PS users actually need those features. There are some other nice-to-have features that the GIMP is lacking (e.g adjustment layers, history brush) that affect a wi

    • -It complies with published standards and therefore creates longer-lasting documents
      -Since the source code is available, you are not locked in to a single vendor
      -There are far, far more people who know the internals of the code and can offer you customizaton services.
      -Security holes are easier to spot.

      Who wants to do the next four?
      • Fine, I'll do them (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mateo_LeFou (859634)
        -(of particular interest to govts.) Instead of spending money on licensing fees that go into the Redmond, Washington tax base, you spend it on training, customization, etc. that can be performed by your constituency, and thereby have many generations of return
        -Any feature you want/need badly enough can be added. You don't have to hope that your desires are common enough to merit MS's attention.
        -You do not have to worry about whether sensitive information about your computers is being sent to Microsoft as pa
      • by mangu (126918)
        This is why I prefer OSS: I can test at will anything I use. With commercial software they either give me crippleware or a limited test period. And if I later find I chose the wrong product, I don't have to write a report to management saying I made a mistake and, please, could I have more $$$ to buy the right (I hope) software.

        And my second reason: with source code I don't have to worry about the supplier dying. I'm currently trying to find what to do with a software my company has; we do have the source c

    • by jo42 (227475)

      And don't care for the price.
      That's because you people get Academic pricing. Try paying Real World pricing in a Real World where cost is an issue.
    • Please tell me that your university is in some non english speaking country.

      If so.. I applaud your mastery of a second language! (Seriously- it's a little mangled but not bad for someone for whom english is not their first language).

      If not... well then your spelling and grammar was painful enough that I had to comment even tho I normally do not.
    • ...and the students don't care how much they pay for tuition either - but I betcha their parents do!
    • by oohshiny (998054)
      One of open source's most touted benefits is its price. Download the software, install it--and don't pay a penny. That's the theory.

      No, that's not the theory. Open source would be a better deal even if you paid the same for the software initially as you did for an equivalent commercial package. Why? Because open source reduces your long-term risks and costs.

      We are not looking the philosofical part of the questin (this is OS, this is not). We literally don't care for that.

      Nobody does. The reason people s
      • As a philosophy B.A., this thread disturbs me. There are about half a dozen references to "philosophy" as ... well, it's hard to tell. "You keep using that word. I'm not sure it means what you think it means..."

        Philosophy is about logic, the means of acquiring knowledge, and the limitations of knowledge. If someone says "I choose Linux instead of Mac b/c Apple is evil" that's not a "philosophic" decision, it's a moral one. What gives?

        btw, by far the *more annoying misuse of "philosophy" is this one:

        "At Comp
  • Training cost? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:38PM (#17578866) Homepage
    I am a manager with a masters degree in engineering. My charge rate is well past $180/hour.

    I spend about 1 hour a day telling other members of staff how things work in Excel. That's Excel 97 by the way, which we have had deployed for over 6 years.

    Retraining costs only apply if your staff are trained in the first place. In the world where *everyone* puts "Office expert" on their CV almost no one is trained - at least not to a high enough standard to do anything beyond typing a letter.

    With the interface also changing in the next version of Word this cost is even more fictional than ever - but it was never legitimate in the first place.
    • It's been years since I took 'em, but you know the ones: Office competency tests... "Perform a Mail Merge using the file 'blahblah.txt'". Except that if you use hotkeys, it registers as a wrong answer.

      I always wanted to train some sort of domestic animal to pass those tests.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751)

      Retraining costs only apply if your staff are trained in the first place. In the world where *everyone* puts "Office expert" on their CV almost no one is trained

      Heh, I don't. I can get by with office applications but I can only barely use a spreadsheet - I'm a mathematician so computers I work on tend to come equipped with rather more interesting power toys for any calculation/plotting needs and I simply never learned how to use spreadsheets. Likewise, due to my profession, I tended to use LaTeX for documen

      • You, sir, sound scaringly like me. Must be a mathematician thing. I am far more at home with octave than openoffice, and I'd have a much easier time writing an xml table and style it with xstl+css than do the same in kspread or any other spreadsheet :)

      • by Anthony (4077) *

        Almost the same here. Word Processors never appealed to me once I got past the "this key combination turns the word bold in-front of your eyes" which was novel at the time. I do all my correspondence in Emacs/LaTeX including invoices.

        Spreadsheets were more of a fascination because I used a printing calculator many years ago and remember wishing it would be good to be able to go back and fix up an entered number and redo the calculation. There are a number of ways that could have been implemented in a calc

      • Re:Training cost? (Score:4, Informative)

        by donaldm (919619) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:37PM (#17585382)
        I have just recently put Fedora Core 6 on my new HP dual core 64 bit AMD laptop which I purchased (no dual boot ether). I did have a few minor issues which could have been solved with a HP configured install and recovery disk instead of the Microsoft XP professional it came with. So far I can actually do nearly all my work with this OS with the exception of some Microsoft specific solutions that requires I use my company laptop but 95% of my work can be done using FC6.

        For a scientist or professional engineer I would strongly suggest a Linux solution (FC6, OpenSUSE, Scientific Linux ... etc) than a Microsoft one even though you can get most of the applications you like for a MS OS (sometimes free as well) at least you will fully own all your data and never have to be dependent on a proprietary Operating System. Actually IMHO LaTeX is actually easier to use than IMHO most word processors and the result is normally very professional. This is especially true if you need to write mathematical papers. You still need to know how to use a test editor though. As far as any type of development that requires maths a good Linux distro can provide everything you need (if you do any type of statistics have you tried "R" since it is like "S Plus") and again for free or cheaply.

        If anyone writes to me stating "Oh you had problems with a Linux install on your laptop then there is a problem with Linux". My simple answer is I will give you FC6 or OpenSUSE and Microsoft XP (legitimate copy) and then ask you to install the OS and configure it on a reasonably new laptop (I am being fair here) and I am quite sure you are going to have more problems with the Microsoft OS than with a Linux OS. Since I now have a working Laptop with FC6 (what do you think I am using to type this) I can easily create a recovery disk that could be used to configure all laptops of this type. The first install is always the hardest after that you can easily roll out an OS on equivalent machines, this is how most PC vendors install an MS OS.

        Now back on topic. If you are a manager and it has been put to you that you need to spend vast amounts of money to retrain your staff to the switch from MS Office to Open Office, then I would suggest firing people and I am not just speaking as a professional engineer I am speaking as a manager. Most MS documents can be imported into Open Office (including many with macros) with little if any changes needed. The only problem you have is when you try to read an OO document back into MS Office. That in itself should tell you how standards compliant Microsoft is.

        The biggest problem an organisation is going to have making a switch to Open Standards (note I did not say Open Source) are the managers who will most likely say "Oh it is not like MS Windows" or who have made bad business decisions although to be fair to them they may have made the right business decision at the time, that have locked the company into proprietary solutions.

        Sometimes you have to force change (the engineer in me speaking) otherwise things will never change since most organisations are very conservative and won't change unless a decision comes down from the top but sometimes the top managers are even more conservative or love to organise committee's, which usually means nothing changes.
      • by zsau (266209)
        I'm not a mathematician, but I also tend to use LaTeX and the like. I have very few skills in Office, but because I'm a programmer, people assume I'm great at computers and ask me how to do such-and-such in Word (or whatever). Most of the time I've never done it, but I poke around for half a minute and it's done, and so they ask me next time. (Some times, of course, I give up and say "I don't know".)

        So my guess: Almost everyone lies.
    • by sammy baby (14909)

      I spend about 1 hour a day telling other members of staff how things work in Excel. That's Excel 97 by the way, which we have had deployed for over 6 years.

      When I was a very young - okay, not that young, but young - sysadmin, we had a secretary who was constantly asking me over to help her out with something in MS Word or Powerpoint. I believe that the only reason I wasn't also getting requests for help with Excel was that management knew better than to ask her to work on a spreadsheet, but that's another s

      • When I was a very young - okay, not that young, but young - sysadmin, we had a secretary who was constantly asking me over to help her out with something in MS Word or Powerpoint. [Story about how secretary doesn't know Office]

        Hmm, did she smile when you helped her? Flick her hair back? Give out hints about movies she'd like to go to, but doesn't have anyone to go with? Mention nice places to get coffee at?

        If so, then perhaps constantly calling you over to 'help with Word' may be what normal people ca
        • by sammy baby (14909)

          Hmm, did she smile when you helped her? Flick her hair back? Give out hints about movies she'd like to go to, but doesn't have anyone to go with?

          I think that the pretty girl (or hot guy, for those inclined) who calls over the tech support dude to see if he could just help with one more little thing is the unifying fantasy of all geeks, if you ignore the ones about Natalie Portman, etc. But trust me, that's not what what was going on here. And I'm just as glad.

          Another quick story. The secretary had a terribl

    • by zappepcs (820751)
      You are exactly right. Every day I run into a question about how to use an office program that has been on the market for years, if not closer to a decade. In my opinion, this is why moving people to F/OSS is a no brainer. If they have to be trained anyway, why not move them to F/OSS?

      Simpler still is the fact that the complexity of MS office applications is what generally causes the questions for many people. They feel that there should be a way to do something, but don't know how. Even if 'clippy' was mean
      • by SQLGuru (980662)
        Google hits for: +"OpenOffice" training
        approximately 1.3M

        Google hits for: +"Microsoft Office" training
        approximately 6.4M

        (You can try other forms such as "Open Office" or "MSOffice" or what not, but that will just add to the gulf between the numbers.)

        So, if I'm looking to train my staff (the largest chunk of cost in implementing an Office Suite), it appears to be much more available to train on the MS product than the open source solution. If I live in PodunkTowne
      • by Shados (741919)
        One problem is that training isn't just for the stupid computer noobie employee. I know it comes in as a shock, but when you do high end enterprise softwares inhouse, moving from one environment to another can be a pain. When you're moving from an environment where the solutions are in .NET, people use OWA, everything is handled by Active Directory (including the inhouse apps), the database goes through SQL Server, the web front end is on IIS, all the web services get integrated in MS Office, the documents
        • "when you do high end enterprise softwares inhouse, moving from one environment to another can be a pain. When you're moving from an environment where the solutions are in .NET, people use OWA, Active Directory, SQL Server, IIS, web services, MS Office, Sharepoint, Biztalk, high level of integration ..

          What is it you do at your company, design nuclear subs, space planes? I worked in-house for a fortune 500 consultancy and all they ever used their 'integrated innovation' for was customised PowerPoint docu
    • "My charge rate is well past $180/hour."

      You mean, *gasp*, it is almost $190/hour?!

      (ok it's Friday, I'm not being sarcastic, my head is just... not right)
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:39PM (#17578900) Homepage
    No mattter WHAT it costs to transition your people, those costs can be amortized over time. Whereas paying proprietary software license fees is FOREVER. By definition, sooner or later OSS HAS to cost you less - not even taking the intangibles of avoiding lock-in, flexibility, etc. into account.

    The only issue is whether you can afford the upfront costs - and that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. And you solve that issue by doing your migration over time according to a PLAN.

    Planning? A novel idea for most IT management who are usually locked in to a crisis management mode...

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      sooner or later OSS HAS to cost you less

      And once you run into the limits of one tool, you have documentation and interfaces so you can extend it, or work around limitations. Yeah I know, this may entail going back to the source. Or you can just go to a different tool because you have compatible or documented file formats.
      But with closed tools you're more or less stuck. I've seen way too many cases where Excel refused to jump through hoops, at least without some serious coding. Unfortunately, around here Excel is all people know. Have tou ever he

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Volante3192 (953645)
        Have tou ever heard someone in the next office over going click, click, clock rapidly about 50 times? I'll bet you they were using Excel.

        If that was me, it's Minesweeper.
    • The saving over time has to be larger than interest on the initial investment for the free software (or any other cost saving measure) to be a good investment. Otherwise, you are better off putting the money in the bank.

      The "intangibles" as you call it, avoiding lock in, is the reason that free software usually is the better investment in the long run. The freedom granted by the use of free software is important when you have to navigate your organization in an ever changing and unpredictable world.

      • I'm perfectly well aware that the incremental savings has to be larger than the interest on a bank account.

        However, companies generally don't leave money lying in the bank earning interest alone. (And I used to do support for a Bank of America cash management package, so I know companies DO leave hundreds of millions in the bank and manage the accounts for their interest revenue, so don't bother making an argument about that.) They usually leave it there either as their emergency funds or until the funds ca
  • ... commissioned by a company that's a Microsoft partner. But no, honestly, it will be independent; we even paid extra for them to put "an independent study" in their abstract.

    It /always/ happens, and I've not seen a "Upgrading to Vista is cheaper than Linux" report yet this year, so it's due some time soon.
    • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:43PM (#17579002) Homepage
      [SARCASM]
      Don't you know Vista is Free with purchase of a PC?
      [/SARCASM]
      • It really is in a way.

        I used to scratch build.

        For the last two years, the parts to build the machine cost more than buying a prebuilt machine with an OS installed.

        OEM vendors have to be paying next to nothing per copy for their OS.

        The price of the OS seems to depend on the hardware. High end hardware can be bought and scratch-built cheaper than medium to low end hardware.
    • oh, I am quite certain that the next study that says that MS is a better low cost solution will be totally independent AND will not be "funded" by MS. In fact, it will be the same way that SCO was not funded by MS or Sun.
  • Training costs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coryoth (254751) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:42PM (#17578952) Homepage Journal
    It would be interesting, then, to see a comparison of training costs between switching to an OSS solution and upgrading to Vista and Office 2007. Certainly a pure OSS solution is going to require more training because there are more changes involved, and some of the differences are significant. Still given the easier incremental transitions you're likely to get on the OSS upgrade treadmill (which tends to have more regular, smaller, upgrades) compared to MS, you might be able to claim an offset in future training costs. At the very least it would be interesting to see how such costs stack up in a variety of cases. If training to the only really significant cost for OSS then this next upgrade round from MS might see a few more companies deciding to do an OSS roll out when they finally get around to upgrading.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:42PM (#17578976)
    I always see the studies about the costs of migrating to Linux. But they never adequately explain the control group.
    To be of any real value, you have to compare the Linux migration costs to some control group.

    Here are some possible control groups:
    1. Group transitioning from Windows95/98 to Window XP to Windows Vista
    2. Group transitioning from Windows95/98/XP to Mac
    3. Group transitioning from Mac to Windows Vista
    4. Group transitioning from Windows95/98/XP to LTSP
    5. Group transitioning from Linux to... Linux?
    6. Group transitioning from Windows NT to Windows 2003 to Windows Vista

    It seems that the control group in most of these studies is only imaginary: Windows XP with no transition.
    That control group doesn't exist. It is never actually included in the studies. It is only conjectured.

    What is the value of a study that uses an imaginary control group?
    • Quite possibly the most intelligent post ever by AC. Please look and mod up... or copy, paste and take credit for the parent post.
  • by oOo Shiva oOo (582339) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:44PM (#17579010)
    Wasn't it well established in an open letter [slashdot.org] that open source is dangerous and could derail the European economy? :)
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:47PM (#17579098) Homepage
    The forces who do not want to see OSS succeed for their own financial reasons will do what ever it takes to make sure your costs go up. If Linux usage spikes next month (for example) I would except to see a rise in underhanded tactics as well.
  • Glad to see the EU has started their own Department of Duh!
  • Lies (Score:2, Funny)

    by schabot (941087)

    Of course the EU would say that, Europeans are socialists and Linux is communism. [theregister.co.uk]



    Want the truth? Get the facts [microsoft.com] where they are totally straight and objective, from honest American corporations.



    (Insert tongue in cheek)

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:56PM (#17579248) Homepage Journal
    ..it's the sound of millions of Slashdotters facepalming at once.
  • Price doesn't matter (Score:4, Informative)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:31PM (#17580124)
    Vista will make cost irrelevant.

    Lots of companies and most governments are going to be mandated to use whole-disk encryption for laptops and desktops in the next year or so. The easiest way to do this is to get your hands on Vista Ultimate or Vista Enterprise.

    This is a problem.
    Vista Ultimate is a consumer product and you cannot get it via a volume license agreement, so that's out.
    Vista Enterprise is available via volume & enterprise agreements but you must have software assurance agreement in place.

    To get software assurance, you pay Microsoft a "seat fee" equal to the number of computers that you have that aren't:
      - Servers
      - Applicances (VPN devices, Google Search boxes, etc)
      - Kiosks (ATM's, POS terminals, etc)
      - Embedded devices (Treos, Blackberries, etc)

    That means that you'll pay Microsoft for Macs, Linux machines, FreeDOS machines... anything that is a workstation. So switching to Linux won't save a time, because you'll pay Microsoft anyway!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hymer (856453)
      IBM's laptops have hardware encryption of the disk on board... and got it for something like 10 years. You don't need Vista for harddisk encryption... and Vista's encryption is even not the best solution (for Vista) available, there are several 3rd. party solutions wich are fairly cheap, powerful, and runs on several versions of Windows. You don't even neesd that TCP chip for running real safe encryption...
      • So instead of locking into proprietary software, you lock yourself into proprietary hardware as well?

        I've been involved with evaluations and deployments of disk encryption software... there are plenty of great packages out there, but most places will choose the convenient solution over the best one.

        The point is, Microsoft is doing the same thing to enterprises that they did to OEM's.
      • by mpe (36238)
        You don't need Vista for harddisk encryption... and Vista's encryption is even not the best solution (for Vista) available, there are several 3rd. party solutions wich are fairly cheap, powerful, and runs on several versions of Windows. You don't even neesd that TCP chip for running real safe encryption...

        There is also the issue that proprietary cryptographic products tend to be poor. Even if they use well understood algorithms. Proper review and evaluation of proprietary software is difficult (even if no
      • by swillden (191260) *

        IBM's laptops have hardware encryption of the disk on board... and got it for something like 10 years.

        No, they don't. What they do have is almost as good, but it's not hard disk encryption. What IBM laptops (actually, the drives that ship with IBM laptops) have is a hard disk password. This password protection is implemented by the drive's onboard electronics, so it can be bypassed by replacing the HDD circuit board with one that doesn't have the password set, or by removing the platters and reading the data from them directly. So, although the data on the platters isn't encrypted, you do have to perf

    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Or they will migrate to Linux with full disk encryption.
      All we need, is to produce distros that install in this way by default (otherwise encrypting the whole drive can be a pain to set up)
    • For there to be a contract, there must be an offer and acceptance. Therefore, it is your own fault if you accept such a bad deal.
    • Quite the contrary. Vista's cost will be ever much relevant. And decisive. I'll tell you why.

      You mentioned disk encryption as your single reason and then based your whole assumption on the idea that Vista is the only OS which offers it. Then you claimed that the cost will not matter because the only Microsoft Windows Vista version which will be relevant to fulfill that purpose is the "Ultimate" edition, which costs about 450$ per seat, then noting that the only way to purchase it is to buy a license for eac
      • You're missing the point - the selection is between spending $450 for Ultimate and an extra $20-40/seat for software assurance that allows you to use Vista "Enterprise". The "it won't run on new hardware" argument is moot because most companies refresh on a 3-5 year cycle.

        Most enterprises are choosing Software Assurance -- because the upfront cost of migrating to Linux is higher. I've been involved in a linux desktop project for awhile now, and migration is not an easy or cheap prospect.
  • Another EU Commissioned Study Finds OSS Wastes Money
  • so transition is zero when you have to retrain people when moving to never fancy ribonized M$ Office? Same cost so for your sake it is better to switch to OSS like OpenOffice, instead retraining people with M$ junk.
  • Hey, fanboys! Before you get too far into yet another "OSS is the best!" argument, you have to realize that there are many, many, MANY other things that software does that OSS doesn't do yet.

    Case in point... the main software that I need is point-of-sale. There is NO OSS point-of-sale software that is anywhere near as good as any of the closed source products.

    Hell, there isn't even a good equivalent for Quickbooks/Peachtree that's OSS. It's absolutely mind-boggling that any small businesses could ever go
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      True enough, if you want a POS system, you need Windows.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, there is good accounting and POS software, IF YOU LOOK FOR IT.

      http://www.linuxcanada.com/ [linuxcanada.com]

      Their base package (GL, Recievable, Payable, etc) is free and compares featurewise with QuickBooks Enterprise. Their point of sale is also excellent but costs, albeit very reasonable at $1k + $250/terminal. Server runs on Linux only and needs Postgres or Sybase or Firebird; clients are graphical and run on Linux or Windows.
    • Amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      Hell, there isn't even a good equivalent for Quickbooks/Peachtree that's OSS. It's absolutely mind-boggling that any small businesses could ever go completely open source WITH NO FINANCIAL SOFTWARE (Yes, I know about GNUCash: it's a joke).

      Simply amazing that those crazy Europeans manage to get by without Quickbooks. A miracle I manage in my own business(es) without ever once missing Quickbooks. I run OSS almost exclusively and actually spend less time dorking with my computers, which tend to stay worki

      • by NineNine (235196)
        Well, first off, Quickbooks is made by Intuit, not Microsoft. Secondly, we do hundreds on transactions a day, and deal with over a hundred vendors, and have over 10,000 different products. Pencil and paper doesn't work for us. Glad it works for you, though!
        • "Secondly, we do hundreds on transactions a day, and deal with over a hundred vendors, and have over 10,000 different products. Pencil and paper doesn't work for us."

          Glad Quickbook works for you. Most people would need a custom app (severly based on FOSS if they want to afford it) on those conditions.

    • by leftcase (1030652)

      Hell, we don't even use any office software at my business (text documents are done with Textpad). So, while Open Office and Linux is nice and all, it only meets a fraction of common, every day business needs.

      So you're aware that products such as open office are available for free and yet you use textpad for word processing. You're either a nutter or a liar mate!!
    • Idiocy seems to be rewarded in Slashdot as you seem to have been favorably moderated. Just do a google search and you will find plenty of linux-based POS solutions.

      Try Novell's POS as we have deployed that for a very large business in Spain.

      Financial software is very much country specific. Here there are a couple of very compelling open source solutions, and some proprietary ones.

      Anyway, I'll quit wasting my time with what is obviously a troll post in intent, nature, and tone.
      • by NineNine (235196)
        Just do a google search and you will find plenty of linux-based POS solutions.

        A. I was talking about OS. Not necessarily Linux.

        B. I've investigated what's available, and none of them are even remotely acceptable (compared with the proprietary products out there).

        C. Novell doesn't make a POS product that I can find. They're partnered with Oracle for a product called "360Commerce". I have no idea if it's for small businesses or not.

    • "Oh, so my point is that these studies are ridiculous. The custom OSS software we would have to have written would have to be amortized over ~20 years in order to save us money. OSS is grossly more expensive for me than shirnk-wrapped products"

      Where does the study say you would have to write it yourself, in 'Textpad'. It may take ~20 years if you were going to write it yourself. But given the collaborative nature of OSS you get the benefit of the input from developers all over the world.

      There is OTHE
    • by swillden (191260) *

      The custom OSS software we would have to have written would have to be amortized over ~20 years in order to save us money.

      Get 10 competitors to split the cost with you, then it would only take two years.

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:42PM (#17580356) Homepage
    ... but I still prefer ALSA.
  • Retraining employees isn't cheap, especially with regards to the time cost.



    Unfortunately, OO.org is not anywhere near on par with M$ Word, especially under Linux. It's bloated as hell. When a word processor is so slow that it's annoying, something has gone horribly wrong. Hopefully later versions of OO (or some other office suite) will improve on this... but until then, I can't see Linux/OSS making significant progress into the office/business market without a good word processor.

    • by rs232 (849320)
      "Retraining employees isn't cheap, especially with regards to the time cost"

      "Unfortunately, OO.org is not anywhere near on par with M$ Word, especially under Linux"It's bloated as hell. When a word processor is so slow that it's annoying, something has gone horribly wrong"

      Nonsence, on this dual boot computer OO opens and runs just as fast as msOffice. Just increase 'memory per objects' and set 'Remove from memory' to 23 hours. Under Linux there is a pre-load utility that does exactly what it says.
  • Well, MSFT had how much sales last year? 40 Billion Dollars? What is the total expenditure of all the Fortune 500 companies put together? 2 trillion dollars? MSFT is not taking big enough chunk of the companies to matter.
  • http://www.illwillpress.com/acci.html/ [illwillpress.com] NSFW...hell not safe even out of work at times...

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