1.8 Business Case

Resources include http://consultingtimes.com/desktoplinux.html and http://www.opensourceconsortium.org/.

Software Licensing

Free software is licensed to allow users the freedom to decide when and how they will use the product. There is no requirement for the added burden and cost of proprietary software in tracking software licences and usage. Breaching copyright law, even often unwittingly, can expose a business to litigation and fines.

The GNU General Public License (the GPL) is a license developed to enshrine the users rights and freedoms with regard software made available under this license. If you agree to the GPL then you do not lose any rights you would have had if you hadn’t agreed to it. The GPL strictly increases the things you are legally allowed to do! Indeed, the act of running the Program is not restricted in any way. From a commercial point of view, you may charge a fee for transferring a copy of the software and you may offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee from those whom you supply the software to.

Reliability and Quality

High reliability is important for any business. Free and Open Source software offers high reliability through the most extensive peer-review network possible—thousands of developers and users around the world, all having an opportunity to review the source code and improve on the quality of the code. This leads to mature and more bulletproof software that any closed source vendor can possibly provide. Examples of such high quality, professional, robust, scalable and usable software includes Open Office, Apache, Sendmail, Python, Perl, PHP, Mozilla, and Samba.

Incremental change

Some strategies for moving, bit-by-bit, to GNU/Linux include:

  • You servers can start running GNU/Linux with Samba installed to share their resources to end user desktops running MS/Windows
  • You can then replace your MS/IIS web server with apache and continue to use the dynamic scripting technologies you are used to.
  • By moving to the reliable and widely used sendmail you will never need to pay licensing fees for the MS/Windows Mail Server again.
  • Open Source print managers (including CUPS) provide seamless interoperability.

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