“Over time, the open source community has proven to be somewhat self-policing, where the best products get adopted and widely used, while the stuff that doesn’t meet standards gets a well deserved funeral. It seems to me that thousands of developers and hackers beating up on open source code is an efficient and transparent way of identifying software bugs and vulnerabilities. When the code is available to the public and people can identify, comment and document problems, things get fixed more quickly – kind of like software market Darwinism where only the strongest code survives.
There are plenty of arguments against using OSS, including the “there’s no guarantee of future support” hymn, but how many hours have you spent on hold with some clueless support tech trying to translate a script he or she doesn’t understand? At least with the open source community, you have access to worldwide support available almost any time of day and it’s typically free. So while there are some criticisms, there’s also a lot of valid business rationale for using OSS.”
Coming from the Chief Information Security Officer, that’s a strong endorsement.
If such a large organization can see and recommend using FLOSS for important work, so can we all use it with confidence. It is different but it works. For anything resembling typical office work with a browser and office suite, it will do the job. For reliable services on the network, it will do the job. For easily managing all of that, it will do the job. My position is that one should have a very good reason not to use FLOSS. If it does the job and it is less expensive than other solutions, why not? On top of the purely technical decision of whether or not FLOSS can do the job, there are many advantages to FLOSS like the ability to tweak the source code and to have input to the code itself even if you are a smaller player, hiring more people in your locality than where the supplier of that other software dwells, and the ability to use open standards preserving the integrity of data. All over the world, governments and businesses are making similar analyses.
Where I work, it was obvious that other OS could not survive in our environment. It slowed. It picked up malware. It needed anti-malware software just to keep it going longer. It needed periodic re-installation. GNU/Linux was tested at first in the lab with students and one teacher, and then tested by students and teachers in other classrooms. Even the boss tried it. No one found it could not do the job. When they saw the speed on the same hardware where XP struggled the choice was clear. When they saw that the old machines could be used as terminals to new machines to spread the joy no barriers were left except a couple of corner cases of lock-in.
Try it. You will like it even if it is not suitable everywhere. In my organization, there is only one PC that must run that other OS (for an application that uses Java and MySQL, both accessible from GNU/Linux!) out of 80 machines. The position that uses that PC is not staffed at the moment… so for the balance of the school year, at least, I can say that no position in the school needs that other OS. GNU/Linux can do audio, video, browsing, searching, word-processing, maths, services, … Limits on GNU/Linux are limits on imagination. GNU/Linux can permit you to do anything you can do with a PC. I am not talking about features. M$ can add as many weird, unnecessary features as it wants to its software. That does not make its software,magically, necessary. You decide what works best for you and you have choices.