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How To Save $1 Trillion a Year With Open Source 275

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-kicking-after-all-these-years dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Cygnus founder Michael Tiemann estimates IT customers globally could save a trillion a year with open source or free source software." Not that a guy with a title like "VP of Open Source Affairs" at Red Hat would have a reason to be biased, but it's an interesting little read about a guy who's been doing this longer than you. Well, most of you anyway.
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How To Save $1 Trillion a Year With Open Source

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  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:19AM (#29565339)

    If you don't get it from Red Hat.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Well, Red Hat have salaries to pay. Like the salary of the guy telling us that the best work comes from people working for free.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by oddityfds (138457)

        Canonical:
        Revenue: $30 Million
        Owner(s): Mark Shuttleworth
        Employees: 200+

        Red Hat:
        Type: Public (NYSE: RHT)
        Revenue: $652.57 million USD (2009)
        Net income: 78.72 million USD (2009)
        Employees: 2800 (2009)

        Yeah, you see, having a business model helps. Someone's gotta actually write that software that Canonical gives away for free, you know...

  • by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:22AM (#29565357)


    Uhh, who's gonna pay to hire a trillion dollars' worth of architects, developers, testers, trainers, managers, distributors, support personnel, human resource departments, etc etc etc?

    Or is all that functionality supposed to spring from the ether in a perfect steady-state universe [wikipedia.org] of human perfection & utopia?
    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:35AM (#29565547) Homepage

      Mark Shuttleworth?

    • by dwandy (907337) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:46AM (#29565669) Homepage Journal
      hey, I'm just prepping up a response and need to clarify if you were going for strawman [wikipedia.org] or false dichotomy [wikipedia.org] ?
      • by jc42 (318812)

        ... clarify if you were going for strawman or false dichotomy ?

        Are you trying to subtly sneak in a presumption that it can't be both?

    • by xzvf (924443) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:56AM (#29565773)
      Most proprietary software companies spend little money on software development. The big players have margins close to 80% with a significant portion of their expenses in marketing and sales. Open Source companies are conduits of money and support to FOSS projects, making money off support and add on features. Generally low margins and small marketing and sales budgets (mostly word of mouth and try before you buy). Now, a massive movement to open source software will cause less total employment in the software industry, but the vast majority of those losses will be in non-technical fields. The economic issue is software is worth only ~25% of what people pay for it today. As performance gains from software purchases decline, the ROI is less compelling, and thus cost of software more critical. The critical shift now is convincing software consuming companies to shift from buying prepackaged software to contributing to the development of open source software. That could be co-ops of like minded software consumers, or some other innovative way.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maxume (22995)

        You can reasonably argue that software costs 25% of what people pay for it, but it is a little tough to argue that it is worth less than they are paying for it, when confronted with a situation like that, people usually just keep their money.

        I would argue that most software is worth far more than people are willing to pay for it, it is a happy benefit of general purpose computers and cheap storage.

      • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:40AM (#29566473)

        Most proprietary software companies spend little money on software development

        Cite, please.

        I've worked in three different for-profit, closed-source software companies in the past ten years, and in each case R&D was the largest bite of the budget.

        If you're charging money for your product this has to be the case - You need a steady stream of innovations to retain existing customers, win customers from competitors and land new customers. If you spent 'little money on software development' you'd soon be out of business. It's really no different, whether you're Acme Software or General Motors...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dangitman (862676)

          If you're charging money for your product this has to be the case - You need a steady stream of innovations to retain existing customers,

          It seems you've never worked with "enterprise software," whose customers seem to keep paying for any old shit, no matter how bad it is. And the developers don't seem to be very concerned, much of this crap still requires IE6, for fuck's sake!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by foobsr (693224)
        The big players have margins close to 80%

        http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2008/performers/industries/profits/ [cnn.com]

        1 Network and Other Communications Equipment 28.8
        2 Mining, Crude-Oil Production 23.8
        3 Pharmaceuticals 15.8
        4 Medical Products and Equipment 15.2
        5 Oil and Gas Equipment, Services 13.7
        6 Commercial Banks 12.6

        ???

        CC.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The sales and marketing "costs" are counted as costs and then profits are scored from that number. What the poster said "Big players have margins close to 80%" is wrong, the what the poster meant, "For big players close to 80% of their costs is in marketing and sales" is probably on the ball park. That is, for every dollar spent in actual software development, they spend three or four dollars in marketing and sales, including fat commissions to the salesforce, part of which gets kicked back, under or over t
    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:10AM (#29565947) Homepage Journal

      Ho-hum. The solution to your nearly non-problem is to require high school and college "computer science" classes to teach - wait for it - here it comes - COMPUTER SCIENCE!!!

      FFS, I'm quite sick of little morons telling me what they've learned in "computer science" classes. It is not science, period. They learn Microsoft-centric keyboard shortcuts, and they are fucking SCIENTISTS???

      The brainwashing has simply gone to far. And, the brainwashed haven't a clue that they are victims.

      If your little dweeb graduates from any "computer science" class, and he is *nix illiterate, then he has been cheated of an education.

      • by RKThoadan (89437)

        That's about the same amount of science that the real science courses teach you in high school. It is pretty ballsy of them to put science right their in the course name though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357)

          "That's about the same amount of science that the real science courses teach you in high school."

          Really? I know that I had a modest understanding of the periodic table after one year of chemistry. I actually learned a few skills, and began to think scientifically. And, biology introduced me to some pretty useful concepts and ideas, which aided me later when I became an EMT.

          High school science shouldn't necessarily make a real scientist of you, but I also mentioned college. 4 years of biology in college

      • by Tim4444 (1122173) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:58AM (#29566787)
        whoa whoa whoa, simmer down hun-dude. nyugi. There's a broad spectrum of "quality" in software education and you can't just point to the technologies used to evaluate a school's program or its students. No four year program could possibly cover everything, so you could always say "Ha, you didn't learn xyz so you didn't get a good education!" It's better to see if they take the time to learn on their own because good programmers will keep learning even after they graduate. As for course material, I'm more interested in whether or not they understand the concepts that transcend technology. Even so, you can't just teach pseudo code for four years and expect to get a good programmer. It's better to learn how to code for one platform well than to just learn abstract concepts that you don't know how to apply anywhere. At the end of the day degrees don't matter much (except to people who don't know how else to evaluate a programmer). I've met Devry grads who were quite good and graduates of ivy league schools who didn't even understand algorithm complexity.

        In your career you will meet many people who claim to be software experts but don't know $hi7. The only way to convince them that they don't know something is to teach it to them yourself. Unless you're planning to personally go educate the masses you'd better get used to it. It's better to worry about yourself and let them come around when they're ready.
        • I see. You make a good point. So, in chemistry, I should have spent my first year learning all the characteristics of the common metals, right? No need to learn about noble gases, heavy metals, or even flammable metals, right? An entire year devoted to common metals would have qualified me for - what exactly? I promise, it wouldn't even have qualified me to study metallurgy.

          Again, I'll emphasize the name of the course: COMPUTER SCIENCE. There is no science. None. Zero. Zip. Get the point yet?

          I've

      • "Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."
        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrKaos (858439)

      Uhh, who's gonna pay to hire a trillion dollars' worth of architects, developers, testers, trainers, managers, distributors, support personnel, human resource departments, etc etc etc?

      The same people who pay for it with commercial software. All we are talking about here is software with a different licensing model. I can't see a single business out there that wouldn't like the costs of their software reduced and have the functionality available to do what every other business does the same way they do.

      Th

  • Dubious figures (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toreo asesino (951231) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:24AM (#29565397) Journal

    Assuming that losing license fees directly means profit gain is somewhat dubious logic to say the least. Sometimes it pays to invest in paid solutions; and rarely is any one software stack purely OSS or propriety.

    • Re:Dubious figures (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:52AM (#29565733) Homepage

      Licensing without solid support buys you exactly nothing but the warm fuzzy feeling that when the BSA extortionists parachute in to your office and screw you over you were ethically in the right (even though you still had to fork over). Most licensed software is not a paid solution, it's just pieces you pay for and then you have to build the solution yourself.

      That's why even 100% Windows shops still have to have an IT department and internal helpdesk.

      • by jim_v2000 (818799)
        "Support" doesn't mean "set up your system for you"...people seem to get that confused a lot. It means that if something isn't working as designed, they (the support people) will help you figure out why.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Support ought to mean 'if the thing you bought doesn't solve the problem you want it to solve, said thing will be modified until it does.' That is the only kind of support that is valuable to a business. With open source software, you can get people to compete to provide this. With lots of proprietary products you can't get this at all unless you are a government or multinational company.
        • "Support" doesn't mean "set up your system for you"...people seem to get that confused a lot. It means that if something isn't working as designed, they (the support people) will help you figure out why.

          As a person who works for a company that sells Linux support, I can say that support means a lot more than that. While it does not mean "set up your system for you", it can mean making the process of setting up the system easier, or helping debug the customers "set up the system" script. And more often than not the system is "working as designed", just it was either designed counter-intuitively or it's not working as expected by the user. The support person will help you through that. Hell, as a support per

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sandbags (964742)

        Licensing is a tiny fraction of what we pay for our infrastructure.

        besides, we looked at the math. We have over 2,500 MS Server licenses. We don't buy support, we pay on a case by case basis or buy blocks of support hours. Support total costs us under $15K anually. We have an EA to cover upgrade costs, and don;t buy licences on a one-to-one basis for servers either.

        With RedHat and Suse, we pay nothing for the OS, but we buy support on each and every install (since support is tracked on a system to syste

    • by lyml (1200795)
      Apparently, using open source can save us 2% of GWP, gross world product.

      Highly unlikely.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Assuming that losing license fees directly means profit gain is somewhat dubious logic to say the least.

      That's true, but since no one proposed any such thing, it's not particularly pertinent. The article talked about ROI numbers.

  • by onionman (975962) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:26AM (#29565423)

    RedHat (current owner of Cygnus) has made a successful business providing high quality support for FOSS software, and I think that's great! However, the $1T estimate seems like it might just be a tad biased and perhaps ignoring some hidden costs, but I can't tell from the FA because it just references the figure without any details for the estimate.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:13AM (#29567023)

      RedHat (current owner of Cygnus) has made a successful business providing high quality support for FOSS software, and I think that's great! However, the $1T estimate seems like it might just be a tad biased and perhaps ignoring some hidden costs, but I can't tell from the FA because it just references the figure without any details for the estimate.

      It does provide a link to the paper [opensource.org] that is the source of the estimate, but I suppose clicking the link would be too much to ask.

  • by NoYob (1630681) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:26AM (#29565427)
    When you guys see these kinds of articles, the ones that say "save BIG money with F/OSS","Get anything you need in software for FREE with F/OSS", etc... and there you are: designing, researching, cranking out code, putting it out there, and for the exception of a very very small minority of you, barely getting enough money to pay for the bandwidth for your server(s) - if that.

    I'd be pretty pissed to see folks in big offices making real nice livings off of software that I designed and developed and tested.

    I guess that's why I'm not a F/OSS developer.

    • Producing software has value. Copying software has no value. Free Software does not charge you for copies of software, but it (often) does charge for producing software. Apple is currently shipping a compiler containing some code that I wrote. I didn't get paid for this, but I needed a compiler and so I wrote some code. Apple employees contributed a lot more code, and we both get a compiler that we can use. I wrote my code in a text editor that I neither paid for nor contributed any code to, but in th

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by godrik (1287354)

        sudo mod me up

        Hey mods, read the signature as well!

        Ok, I don't want to post only a "mod parent up" so I'll say something related.

        I was looking a few years ago for some software to handle my personal schedule. I first looked at google calendar but it came useless on a mobile device without internet connexion. So I had a look at evolution or other software. And they suck so much (memory) that I decided not to use them. I finally found a ncurses based calendar( http://culot.org/calcurse/ [culot.org] if you are interested ). It was fast

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Too many software projects (written without a customer already hooked) have much less success than F/OSS ones, so if you're a developer working on your own, chances are no-one in any kind of office is making any kind of money off your software. Or using it, for that matter.

      This is one reason why F/OSS is better.

      Second, of course, is the same argument the RIAA have: with commercial software you're always trying to monetize your product in the face of piracy, with F/OSS you've simply changed your business mod

  • Believablity gap. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Delusion_ (56114) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:26AM (#29565433) Homepage

    Though he makes good points in the very brief article, turning it into a $1Trillion USD figure just comes off as shock tactics, and probably comes off as more open-source ranting to anyone just reading the headlines, or to anyone with a bias against open source proselytizing.

    I don't have strong opinions about the matter, myself. I've seen some open source disasters where the proprietary solution is the industry standard for very good reasons, and I've also seen open source projects that are amazing, and amazingly practical.

  • It's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:28AM (#29565459)

    I spend more on support than I do on software and there's almost no support even purchasable for opens source so I'd save a bundle!

    I'm sure I'll get modded troll or something but I'm being serious. Some software is really expensive like matlab. But it always works. But a couple times a year I have to swicth from Fink to macports or vica versa because one or the other won't build the dependencies I need for matplot lib or octave. that costs me a lot of money in time.

    Open source is not a cheap replacement if your time has value. But I still use it a lot none the less. it may not be cheap but sometimes it is better or has features you can't replicate easily in a single computing environment outside open source.

      The biggest advantage and problem with open source is portability. I use open source so that I gan give my code written on top of it to someone else. I can't do that if I write in matlab and use exotic toolkits. But on the flip side it's also why code written in open source rather than a homogenous environment is so fragile and may not work in a few years (because say some critical library is gone). (Take for example the disappearance of whythelucky stiff and thus the demise of all SYCK based YAML bindings.)

    SO it's true that you'd save a bundle on open source. You'd wish you could pay to have it maintained. You will pay with your own time instead.

    • The RMS Open Source business model doesn't lead to applications that have good intuitive interface or easy installation or configuration. Because they expect to make money in supporting and consulting their products.

      Closed source software want to make money from selling their products to the people directly so they put effort in making it easier to use and setup.

      YES THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS AND THIS IS A GENERALIZATION

      However a lot of the "Enterprise class" Open Source software which does work just as well if

    • How did a critical library go away? (I'm not familiar with whythelucky stiff)

      My experience has been just the opposite. Many closed source packages not are supported on newer versions of the OS, but when I needed a grep feature that my vendor didn't provide, I was able to find 10 year old GNU grep sources. They compiled the first time right out of the box.

      Since you have sources, why don't you just port the old library to the new OS?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by goombah99 (560566)

        Since you have sources, why don't you just port the old library to the new OS?

        That's the point I was trying to make. You pay with your time. code you wrote a years ago won't run. sometimes a couple times a year you have to re-write deep layers to compile it against some new library, re-write code wo work around API changes or bugs. etc... Sometimes the libs you need don't compile on the latest OS or you have to screw around with obscure makefiles, maybe ones written in things you don't understand (configure, c-make, scons, make, distulis, debain, ...) and getting the pa

    • I completely agree with you. This is just like the guy toting opendns as being bad. Most companies have IT departments and if the guys running it are worth their salt they will research the best solution for the problem. Sometimes OSS wins sometimes Proprietary wins it completely depends on the niche they are trying to fill and the budget they have. These guys that are trying to sell you their software are just marketing. You should not take their comments at face value and at least the summary tries to te
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Yes, no company has ever gone out of business, or been bought out and had operations shut down. Ever.

      Whoever you do business with, you are taking a risk, it doesn't matter if it is some rather odd guy on the internet or if it is IBM, you assess the risks and benefits and go forward when the one outweighs the other.

      • Yes, No Open Source project has been abandoned with no succession and lets the project relatively die and by the time it needs to be picked up the code is so out of date that people will just start from scratch.

        For the most part when a company goes out of business if they have a profitable product that has a decent following then some other company will buy it and keep it going or at least make a clean(er) path to migrate to their project.

        For example I am working on a software project that uses the Advantag

    • Re:It's true (Score:5, Informative)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:12AM (#29565981)

      I spend more on support than I do on software and there's almost no support even purchasable for opens source so I'd save a bundle!

      What open source software can't you find support for? Have you tried IBM, Redhat, and Canonical? I usually attribute support as a win for OSS, since you can take bids from multiple companies for your support needs. Obviously it only scales well on the top end, but a lot of larger companies hire an engineer to support a package internally as well as do development on that package to better meet the company's needs. I tell you, support is never better when one of the core developers for a project is on the payroll and works on that software 24-7.

      Open source is not a cheap replacement if your time has value.

      This is often quite true for individuals using packages that are not very widely in use. But that's not what this article was all about. He's talking about big businesses who spend huge amounts of money on software licensing for small returns. By the numbers, those companies could work together to fund the creation of OSS tools for a small fraction of the cost. We're not talking about you donating $5 bucks to use the GIMP and then supporting it yourself. We're talking about a couple hundred companies each paying a coder to work on developing it and saving all the photoshop license fees which currently cost them 25 times as much. Mind you, that's how the numbers he put together represent it for the low hanging fruit programs in use right now in the industry. It probably would be a lesser benefit going forward. For those companies, support becomes a whole lot better than it is now. The internal employee or directly paid contractor you have developing the GIMP is going to be a lot better in general than going through the hell that is trying to get an answer and solution from Adobe. For individuals, most of the problems they have are smoothed out by the big players and they get a free ride, but for support, well then they have to go with a contracting company that supports that package. But at least as an individual you can still shop around and pick your support company and I bet it is cheaper than paying Adobe licensing and support. Try telling Adobe you don't like their support so you're going to somewhere else that supports Photoshop if they don't improve responsiveness.

      The real problem with all this is showing businesses how much the status quo is costing them and convincing them of the real savings they can get, and convincing enough of them to make those savings a reality. For this, third party companies can be a support barrier which is why organizational groups are probably more efficient. Then you still have to overcome the momentum of business culture. You might, possibly get a raise or a promotion if you save your company money by switching to an OSS project, but it is risky. It's a lot safer to let a commercial vendor take you on a few junkets, buy you some nice meals and expensive booze, take in a show, and sign off on a purchase order and don't rock the boat.

      • by goombah99 (560566)

        Have you tried IBM, Redhat, and Canonical?

        Yes I've tried redhat. But since I use both Linux and Mac that does not really help. Moreover I have and will will gladly pay for (affordable) service. I wish it was more available. But it's rarely the OS that I have problems with. The OS works fine. it's all the libs and dependencies outside the paid-for distro that make it a nightmare to use without support.

        My point was I love open source preciseley because I can do more with it. For example, matlab does not have YAML bindings at all. If I want to

    • You'd wish you could pay to have it maintained.

      You can. Why don't you?

      It seems there are lots of folks who get the intrinsic benefits of FLOSS, get why there are benefits of paying for support, but then decline to pay for support for FLOSS.

      One would think this would be a pure value judgement, but it's not. I'd be curious if some could offer a hypothesis.

    • That is true as of this moment, in my opinion. However, if everyone switched to open source then the open source movement would have a lot more money infused in it (open source is not free) and things would quickly change. More people would get certifications, more people would learn to support it through college courses.

      In the long term, things would be different than they are now.

    • What does support buy you? If you need a feature that an app doesn't have, will the support contract get it added? If not, how much will it cost on top of the contract to get it added? Can you go to a third-party and get them to add it? How much will that cost? If another company wants the same feature, then can you split the cost between you?

      From your post, I can't tell if you are talking as a single individual or from the perspective of a large company; your arguments seem to stray from one to the

  • On open source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:28AM (#29565469)

    While I can appreciate the appeal of open/free source for IT guys like myself, I can't help but think that some of us push this ideal a bit too far. I currently make a living writing software, as millions of others do, and I'd like to continue making a living for the foreseeable future. Developers need to eat, too. The normal reply to a comment like this is that customers will pay for the support, rather than the software itself. Okay with me, but then how are customers going to save one trillion dollars?

    What other industry consists of so many people that argue that the products they develop (or services they provide, if you prefer) should be free? Do doctors or lawyers or engineers ever argue that their service should be free? Construction workers? Accountants? Anyone? We're shooting ourselves in the foot.

    • Great Post. I'd just add that many of us spent a lot of time, money, and sweat getting our engineering or CS degrees and we didn't do it because we wanted to be in the support business. Most of us don't have the people skills to be a great at support anyway.

    • Re:On open source (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:57AM (#29565787)

      Do doctors or lawyers or engineers ever argue that their service should be free?

      They should be paid for their services but the knowledge they use shouldn't be secret, especially in Medicine or Law. (Imagine you doctor wanted to give you a new drug, but wouldn't tell you the name or what was in it. or you were charged with violating a secret law)

      • (Imagine you doctor wanted to give you a new drug, but wouldn't tell you the name or what was in it. or you were charged with violating a secret law)

        Hmmm. How many people here have actually read up about all the drugs they take? And by that I mean the small print, huge sheet of paper with all the info about side effects, clinical tests, etc...? Or do you just go with the doc's two-line summary. "Don't take this with alcohol. Take two of them."

        I dare say most actually don't read the tons of stuff about a given drug.

        And, of course, we could always get into the mercury-used-in-dental-fillings that they aren't really supposed to talk about..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          Hmmm. How many people here have actually read up about all the drugs they take?

          And how many OSS users actually take the time to inspect the code and compile their own software?
          The point is that the mere ability for anyone to the research, be it software or medicine, keeps the market much more competitive and thus beneifts the consumer that it would otherwise.

    • by IANAAC (692242)

      Developers need to eat, too. The normal reply to a comment like this is that customers will pay for the support, rather than the software itself.

      So charge a reasonable price for your software. If it does what I need with a GUI and workflow that works for me, I'll more than happily buy it! Really.

      I don't know why people seem to think it's either completely white or completely black. There can be a solid middle ground.

      I've paid for some decent software for Linux, and have never regretted it.

    • currently make a living writing software, as millions of others do, and I'd like to continue making a living for the foreseeable future. Developers need to eat, too. The normal reply to a comment like this is that customers will pay for the support, rather than the software itself.

      This is perilously close to a strawman. I give you the benefit of the doubt only because it is such a common misperception that OSS coders don't get paid. Developers get paid to write OSS code. The main difference is who is paying them and how. Support is another market, but it is joined together after a fashion. So right now if you work at Microsoft you get paid to work on new feature X to get customers to buy the new version of a closed source project based upon MS's customer surveys and feature requests.

    • What other industry consists of so many people that argue that the products they develop (or services they provide, if you prefer) should be free?

      Stop right there. There is a big difference between the products being free and the services being free. The service is creating software. The product is a copy of the software. One of these costs money to create, one does not. Proprietary software provides the service (writing the software) for free and then charges for the product (the copy of the software). Free Software charges for the service (writing the software) and then the product (a copy of the software) is free to whoever paid (and, often,

  • From TFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:34AM (#29565527) Homepage Journal

    I got a chuckle from this gem:

    The reality of the situation was that we couldn't find any names that were not previously registered. When I lamented this fact to a couple of my Net friends, one of them searched the dictionary for words that contained "GNU". And "Cygnus" seemed the one that was least obscene

    • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:51AM (#29565721)
      I wish GIMP has followed that lead. I used to use it in my web development classes for teaching basic graphics editing, but it was so embarrassing for people to see the name, I finally stopped using it. Better to spend some money than to offend a bunch of people and look like a jackass as an instructor (whether you view it as a derogatory name for the handicapped or a Pulp Fiction reference, it's pretty damn bad either way).
    • by pz (113803)

      I got a chuckle from this gem:

      The reality of the situation was that we couldn't find any names that were not previously registered. When I lamented this fact to a couple of my Net friends, one of them searched the dictionary for words that contained "GNU". And "Cygnus" seemed the one that was least obscene

      If you use the command "cat /usr/share/dict/words | grep gnu" then you get (commas added to avoid the lameness filter):

      agnus, agnuses, bagnut, Cygnus, cygnus, double-magnum, Elaeagnus, encoignure, encoignures,
      gnu, gnus, hognut, hognuts, ingnue, interregnum, interregnums, lignum, lignums,
      Magnum, magnum, magnums, Magnus, Magnuson, Magnusson,
      pignus, pignut, pignuts, regnum, rignum, signum, Spagnuoli, spagnuolo,
      Sphagnum, sphagnum, sphagnums, spignut, stagnum, tignum, triregnum

      So, yeah, I gotta agree. Either od

    • Our mission is clear: Ubuntu 9.10 Fucking Ferrets.

  • by NYMeatball (1635689) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:35AM (#29565543)
    While I found this read interesting, I was a little disappointed to find much of his evidence random strings of numerical data. I'm sure anyone here can infer the cost savings and increased support in moving from an MS office to OpenOffice suite scheme within their enterprise, or transitioning from [Microsoft Product X] to [Opensource Magic Y]. On the other hand though, there's no insight as to how to deal with the seemingly obvious problem of our interdependency on these licensed products. I'm a database developer where I work, so speaking from where this impacts me the most, I can appreciate simple things like leveraging MySQL or other free source apps where appropriate. On the same vein, I don't see how reading this article immediately makes me jump up and go "Oh! Let's transition off of oracle for our company wide HR system." There's a reason all of these products have kept themselves going over the past 10, 15, etc years - and its more than just marketing and capitalism at work. Saying you can completely replace all or most of your IT resources with open source initiatives is ambitious at best, and completely ignorant at worst.
    • On the same vein, I don't see how reading this article immediately makes me jump up and go "Oh! Let's transition off of oracle for our company wide HR system."

      I don't think that was his point. He seemed to be targeting a higher level of action, like getting enterprises to perform cost analysis and see if they can get a chunk of savings, and getting industry working groups to look into OSS collaboration in areas where it makes sense but is not in use do to sheer momentum in the industry, and finally for governments and other organizations looking at the economy and wondering where we can innovate with tax dollars that will both save tax dollars long term and provi

  • The guy is talking about FOSS saving all this money, so he takes to making outlandish claims to get PR for himself, hits for his site.

  • Listen, mutual funds a mugs game. You want to get in on the real investing. Open Source is where it's at. I'm managing a lot of peoples' money in the Open Source derivatives market, but I like you so I'll squeeze you in. Minimum investment is $100,000 but I've delivered consistent 20% returns to my clients over the last decade, as these complicated 1000 page spreadsheets will show. Really, if you aren't inversting in Open Source, you might as well be lighting your money on fire.
  • "How To Save $1 Trillion a Year With Open Source." Step 1: be the sum of all IT organizations worldwide.

  • But what about staff training, support etc..?

    Windows skills are cheap and plentiful. People may dabble with Linux, but those who truly know their stuff are probably already earning lots as a Unix or Linux admin.

    • by AP31R0N (723649) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:20AM (#29566127)

      SHUT UP! As soon as your company converts to FOSS all will be rainbows and unicorns! Your secretary will automagically know Thunderbird. Your graphics team will pick up GIMP in a day. Your sys admins experience and training on Windows servers will make him an instant Red Hat server guru. There's no learning curve, just awesomeness and freedom to change the software as you please!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Uh, I believe the correct answer is that "FOSS is easier to use anyway" and "People only can use [insert Windows product here] because they grew up with it" and "FOSS is better designed and more intuitive because of the clearly superior development model."

        Of course, it's the developers that have been working on the product for 15 years that say this.

        hehe. :) it's entertaining. But, all that said, I actually like using FOSS...

        [that last sentence was primarily to try to mitigate the "troll" mod.]

  • by sirwired (27582) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:36AM (#29566401)

    The ever-useful Google/WikiPedia combo pointed to a research report estimating the global size of the software industry at $308B in 2008. Saving $1T by not paying licensing fees to an industry worth 1/3rd as much would be a neat trick. Especially given how even $0 Open Source software is not free to support.

    SirWired

    • The ever-useful Google/WikiPedia combo pointed to a research report estimating the global size of the software industry at $308B in 2008.

      The universe of analysis in the paper suggesting the $1 Trillion savings is not the software industry, but all information and communications technology investment, which doesn't all (or even mostly) flow through the software industry, as much ICT is spent on things other than packaged software by companies that are themselves outside of the software industry. The estimat

  • There is truth in the argument/concern that those dollars saved are dollars that are *not* going to pay other companies for non-free software. The naysayers use this as an argument against FOSS saying that it undermines the industry and therefor the economy. This is the same thing doom-sayers argue about the evils of automation and computerization. It costs jobs.

    The only way things like this won't cripple the economy with lost jobs is if the money saved by things like these is not used to line the ever-deep

  • No particular reason for FOSS to be cheaper once it's not "free beer". RH or Novell could very price Linux solutions at level higher than MSFT. Ubuntu, Debian or other traditional FOSS could be much cheaper (depending what kind of support model you use)
     

  • I'm pretty sure his $1 trillion figure doesn't include the cost of retraining every user to use a new OS and applications, at a cost of over $2000 per seat. Your first year would be a lot more expensive because of the switchover; 2 or three years down the road you would start seeing a substantial cost savings since you only be paying for minor support and training of new employees. In the long term it does make good economic sense, but try selling that in a corporate environment where bonuses are based on c
  • The problem with any sort of TCO study always comes down to two things:

    1. Personnel costs. Personnel costs are higher than software costs. If changing to OSS means that you have to pay for more admin time, then your software savings will be eaten up by salaries. Much as I like Linux, the fact is that Windows AD/GPO tools are more usable "out of the box". To get anything equivalent with Linux does cost you those additional salaries.
    2. Legacy software. One widely-used, legacy application that won't run under Lin
  • In 2006 Open Source software and services earned $1.8B USD50 as compared with $235B USD in packaged software sales51 (which likely pulled through an additional $235B USD in support and services52). No matter how one looks at it, Open Source solutions represent less than 1% of global software spend, and yet now enable a reduction of more than 25% of such spending (because $60B is more than 25% of $235B). More impressively, Open Source solutions represent less than 0.1% of global ICT spend, and have already been estimated to deliver back 2% in total returns ($60B is approx 2% of $3T). With these kinds of numbers, the idea of spending half one's budget on open source software and half on proprietary becomes meaningless: the whole problem could be solved twice over with Open Source solutions for 10% of what is being spent right now.

    They're assuming that the ratio of (free cost/licensed cost) compared to returns will remain constant. I propose that as they convert their entire shop to FOSS, costs will rise above the status quo. Sysadmins and linux geeks will make the leap quickly, but the rest of your support staff will have to be replaced or retrained. Helpdesk person supporting Windows who is not a linux geek will not know what questions to ask to support linux.

    Haven't even addressed productivity. And if you think the average use

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