“goes against one of the arguments used more frequently to promote Free Software (which, in and by itself, is intrinsically weak, and therefore not used as the main one by the most experts) that is licensing costs. The graph clearly show that such costs (the leftmost column) are only a small part of the total. From left to right the columns show â€œsoftware license costsâ€, â€œimmaterial goodsâ€ (whatever that meansâ€¦), â€œsoftware acquisition and developmentâ€, â€œlitigation and other legal expensesâ€ (as much as licenses..), â€œsoftware assistance and maintenanceâ€”
See Hacker proves with Open Data that Microsoft license costs don’t matter – Stop! at Zona-MOpen Data in Italy has been used to spread the FUD that licensing costs of That Other OS are insignificant. It’s true that licensing costs are just the tip of the iceberg of the costs of IT with That Other OS. There’s also the cost of re-re-reboots, malware, downtime, complexity, lock-in and reliance on overly expensive Intel processors for the heavy lifting needed with That Other OS. There’s also training and support.
Many examples of migrations from TOOS to GNU/Linux have saved a bundle:
- the licensing,
- the complexity of the licensing, the constraints imposed like number of connected PCs, CALs etc.
- ease of maintenance: apt-get update;apt-get upgrade works, unlike the breakage and rolling back of upgrades frequently required by users of TOOS.
- lock-in – Ask users of XP how much it costs to migrate to another OS. Munich spent $millions migrating away from NT to GNU/Linux and still saved $millions.
- convenience – Extremadura was able to migrate tens of thousands of PCs to GNU/Linux over a weekend. Compare that with multi-year efforts by those sticking with TOOS.
- training – most migrations to GNU/Linux find training requirements are minimal, even less than retraining required for TOOS simply because the software is less complex and easier to install, maintain and to use.
So, the proper place to look at M$’s licensing costs is at acquisition time when they may be 50% of an outlay. Hiding them behind year(s) of operating costs is deceptive. Then there’s the fact that those licensing costs represent an infinite sum going forward. For that huge cost what do you get? Permission to use the hardware you own, rent or buy. How silly is that? Should NYC pay me licensing fees to use the Brooklyn Bridge? Should a child pay me for the privilege of watching YouTube videos which Google provides for $0? Should anyone pay M$ to read their e-mail? Nope. Those are silly expenditures. Neither I, you nor the government of Italy should pay M$ or its “partners” a single penny, let alone $billions of Euros.
Software does cost time/money to develop and distribute but the costs of developing and distributing software can be many times less than with TOOS. The world can and does make its own software. The world does not need to pay M$ many times over for the privilege of using hardware which becomes less expensive year after year. The world does not owe M$ a living.
Look at it from the supply-side. SUN Microsystems years ago considered buying Wintel PCs and licensing TOOS and M$’s office suite for thousands of employees. They were able to buy a company producing StarOffice, a competitive office suite for less money. They contributed the software as FLOSS around 2000 and that software today has evolved into LibreOffice, a modern office suite developed, improved and supported by hundreds of contributors to LibreOffice.org. Folks needing an office suite can use LibreOffice for $0 and if they want to pay money in lieu of licensing costs they can contribute manpower or money to The Document Foundation which supports the work.
The same is true of Linux and GNU. The world needs an operating system and instead of paying M$ for its restrictive licences can have a licence to a complete OS for desktop or server for $0, the cost of a download. A few large organizations and many individuals contribute modifications to the Linux kernel and the GNU utilities to keep it going. That’s all that’s needed. M$ and “partners” are an unnecessary burden on the process of providing the world with software. GNU/Linux will also run on ARM, MIPS, Sparc and several other types of hardware while TOOS mostly runs on the expensive Intel stuff.
Wake up! Don’t be fooled by statements that M$’s licensing is just a minor cost of doing business with IT. Look at M$’s financial statements. Look at their margins. Look at how many employees they have on the payroll. The world can do much more for much less. I know it. I’ve done it, replacing XP on old PCs in schools and getting much-improved IT for a tiny cost. In one case, I installed a new school with an amazing system with three times as many seats and twice the hardware of comparable sized schools using TOOS. The difference was licensing. The cost of operating the resulting system was many times less than the cost of trying to “fix” TOOS.