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Software reVisions

In pursuit of reliable, fault-tolerant, fail-safe software and systems

The Humane Society of the United States

"Still don't think open source hurts commercial software? Guess again"

A Comment...

Open Source is becoming a radical challenge for premium software companies that depend on what are now exorbitant prices.

These companies have been built on the cornerstone of customer lock-in. Once deployed, their large, complex, expensive products are usually too unwieldy and too costy to replace except as part of a massive system architecture upgrade as we were forced to do for Y2K.

How can a company excel if it's not free to do things differently from its competition? The high cost of enhancements to one of these installations keep most somewhere near the basic package. This stifles innovation and competitiveness.

In short, these premium companies have priced themselves out of the market.

Open Source software, while free in initial price, does have costs that many a CIO has yet to appreciate. Though at least as reliable (usually more so) as its commercial counterparts, Open Source software is largely developed by and for programmers and thus requires a deeper level programming and system administration expertise to maintain. That usually means more, and more experienced, and thus more expensive staff.

Here are two simple rules of thumb in deciding between commercial and open source software...

If you have more money than expertise, buy commercial.

If you have more expertise than money, use open source.

If software in no way effects your competitiveness, buy commercial like everyone else.

If software can in any way effect your competitiveness, use open source for the freedom it gives you to innovate.

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