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

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

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:51AM (#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).
  • Re:or how to... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:03AM (#29565849)

    And burning that trillion dollars would increase the value of our the rest of the currency. Deflation is a good thing.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:09AM (#29565939)

    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.

  • Re:or how to... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:24AM (#29566197) Homepage

    They should, my company is trying to save money by dialing the heat down to 65 in the offices but on the other end, one of the IT departments spent a lot of money on a license for a syslog server. Not kidding, the company sold them a virtual appliance with a configured syslog-ng daemon and they are paying a license based on the events/minute.

    The company I work at spends literally millions in closed source licenses for all types of crap that can be easily done using open source alternatives. Sometimes I wonder if there is nobody that actually checks what other software there is available on the market that would fulfill their needs.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:53AM (#29566683) Homepage Journal

    "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 generally qualifies a person for SOMETHING - medical school, pharmacy, some kind of research involving living things - SOMETHING.

    My complaint is that a degree in "computer science" qualifies most people to do little more than run Microsoft-centric shops. You know, install, network, and administer Microsoft Windows, and administer Microsoft Office. Sad, in my opinion.

  • Re:Dubious figures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:08PM (#29566957) Journal
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:21PM (#29567181)
    Seriously, if you have competency with IE and can't transfer that skill to Firefox, I've got to wonder how you managed to get competent with IE in the first place. I probably wouldn't consider hiring you for any computer-related position because, even in the Microsoft world (ribbon), UIs change regularly and you would be demonstrating a significant lack in adaptability.
  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:17PM (#29568073)

    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( [] if you are interested ). It was fast, efficient and free. I was happy

    I finally crossed a bug in calcurse. I just corrected it and send a patch to the author. I also needed some more command line interface to do automatic visual alerts on my computer. I just wrote the piece of code I needed and send it to the author.

    In conclusion, the author would have to write the software anyway because he needed it. His cost was publishing the software online, in other word nothing. What did he got in return ? patches and new functionnality. So he won something by publishing it. What about me, I got a working and light calendar application I was able to customize it to fit my needs. I am even currently using it on my maemo tablet and will soon write some desktop applet to have better integration. Clearly I won something by using/debugging/improving it; I skiped all the basics of the application; it was already written.

    So clearly this was a non commercial example and it does not addresses GP's comments:

    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 would say I do not really care. I had to write it anyway. I would even be happy to be of any use to a greater community. With a bit of luck, they would even contribute back to your code oremploy you to maintain it. In any way, I would not have lost anything; perhaps just not win as much as I could. But as long as I can eat, feed my familly (ok, I do not have a family. yet) and have some fun. I don't care if some other guy is making money out of my work.

  • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:33PM (#29569461)

    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 model to something different to selling licences - usually support, or selling 'additional features'. Both work, and get your software into more hands than it otherwise would, and additionally has the benefit of bringing many more developers in to update your software for you - bliss :)

    My boss thinks that in 10 years time all software will be free, and everyone will be buying support, installation, training and paying for updates. For my company, we sell licences to a difficult to use suite, we could easily give it away for free and make just as much money off training, bugfixes (we charge for this already, its called maintenance contracts), support for when things go wrong, customisation, and installation.

    For F/OSS software, you need to step back a little and see the bigger picture of where the marketplace is going.

  • by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:57PM (#29572129)

    And I'd like to know why it took someone 3 hours to get Windows working. I can backup, do a clean install, and apply patches and install software in three hours.

    This guy's anecdote is not about the ease of use for Linux or inferiority of Windows. It's about how much more he knows about Linux than Windows. His Linux upgrade went fine, but he messed up the Windows upgrade. He complains lost a disc he needed for Windows and had to download one which was 200 MB. Nevermind the fact that it's his fault he lost the CD, he also would have had to download the Linux ISO.

    In my Linux experience, for every system that worked fine out of the box, I've dealt with one that needed drivers not in the distro, configuration the installer did not perform but should have, and on more than one occasion getting a system that would not boot because of kernel or bootloader issues ("noapic nolapic" anyone?). I've had problems installing Windows, too, but I've done that so many times I basically don't even need to think anymore and it still comes out right or I'm familiar with how to fix all the common and uncommon problems which arise. HDD not detecting? No SATA drivers. I have a USB floppy or I can use nLite. I'm to the point now that I know that if I'm going to install XP that I should look for the driver disk before I even begin.

    This isn't the fault of Windows or Linux. You just need more experience.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:12PM (#29574351)
    I am from the US. I graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology about 2 years ago, a small, state engineering school in the Midwest. And although the CompSci department had its share of problems, being an MS Trade Program wasn't one of them.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll