Repeatedly, I am told that it costs less to be locked-in to M$’s way of doing things in IT. The explanations are diverse and wonderful:
- malware doesn’t happen,
- M$’s stuff is just better and easier to maintain,
- more/better applications are available for that other OS,
- GNU/Linux is bad, the GPL is bad, no one makes anything good for GNU/Linux and
- users want M$ so you are better off making them happy…
I think that’s all nonsense. Doing anything in IT with M$ underneath puts toll-booths on everything and prevents using the best technology to do the job. Apparently, the world is getting the message and adopting FLOSS but you could not tell that from M$’s quarterly report yesterday. They beat the market… However, M$ has bothered to plaster the government of the United Kingdom with e-mails about how it costs less to use both FLOSS and non-FREE software. Apparently governments in Europe use enough FLOSS that M$ has noticed and has given up trying to explain that they are cheaper but that a combination is cheaper. Give me a break. As Glynn Moody observes, if FLOSS-only is more expensive than mixed, so is M$-only…
That’s the trouble with FUD. It’s elastic. If M$ does not get the effect it wants, it changes its FUD. If you want the truth, use FLOSS for the OS and the office suite and notice
- fewer re-re-reboots,
- less corruption of systems by malware or whatever,
- better performance because there’s just less software getting in the way of what you want to do,
- more flexibility because the GPL and other Free Software licences give you rights instead of taking them away,
- faster implementation of systems because you can get the necessary licences for FLOSS as fast as you can acquire the software over the Internet (the licence is provided in the software), and
- you don’t need to constantly convert file formats and if you wish to do that, it’s easy.
With FLOSS you’ll never have to buy a licence to open a file you make. You won’t need three times as many IT people because FLOSS breaks less often. With FLOSS you’ll never have to buy new hardware because M$ and hardware makers have made a secret deal.
I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because the number and variety of software packages gives you one-stop shopping (for $0) for a complete IT system. Whether you have one PC or thousands APT packaging system makes it the same problem to update or change one or many. Tell me how that can cost more than paying someone to count licences and keeping track for lawyers and accountants of every bit of software. Tell me how Oracle v Google or M$ v TomTom or Apple v Samsung made the world a better place. Tell me how M$ made more money selling software licences last quarter than all the PC makers earned. HP earned only $464 million for its Personal Systems Group selling 18% of the world’s PCs. M$ made twice as much as all the PC OEMs put together selling permission to use PCs.