Free, As in Puppy? Or Free, as in Beer?

This is Isabel.  Our dog.  Or should I say my son's dog that somehow has become our responsibility.  But that is another story.

While Isabel was not a "free to a good home" puppy, the price we pay to feed her, vet her, and replace the things damaged by her, the sleep we lose when she decides 3am is a great time to go out, eclipse the price of admission.  Not that we regret it, there are some benefits... at least SOMEONE is happy that I come home.

But that is not what this post is about.  There is a perception out there that organizations should jettison their costly licenses for operating systems, email, office applications, databases, etc. and start using opensource applications instead - because they are free.

I've been in the world of IT for more than 20 years, and I've run across this perception that opensource = free for almost as long.

For those of you who have been in the business for a while, you know that the hardware and software component of any enterprise wide deployment averages around 20% of the total cost, once you factor in cost of switching systems, support costs, training costs, data conversion, system integration, etc.

Saving on the license fees will have less of an impact on the overall project once you add the increased support and training costs to the project.  Just say to yourself... "Opensource is free as in puppy, not free as in beer."

There is some great opensource applications out there.  But don't choose opensource for cost savings, choose it because it allows you to meet all of your objectives.


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