OpenSource software is often superior to commercial products for a number of reasons:
UNIX is superior to Windows NT for Internet services (see also Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX on unix-vs-nt.org). It is more
flexible in configuring integrated services; it is far easier to
combine email, Web, video, fax, and phone services on the UNIX
platform. UNIX if also more reliable which reduces ongoing support
costs. Linux, an OpenSource version of UNIX, is our Internet platform of choice. It runs on over 10
hardware platforms (including x86,pentium,680x0,powerpc,alpha,atari,arm).
We have been using it for 5 years.
- Far less expensive
- More up-to-date and more stable
- Superior support
- Y2k compliance
Far less expensive
Savings from selecting Linux over NT Server for the OS: $4000
Apache, the world's number one Webserver software is also OpenSource.
Savings from using Apache over Internet Information Server or Netscape Enterprise Server: $900
Sendmail, the most powerful email server software is also OpenSource and now has an organization dedicated to
promoting and supporting it. The license is unlimited (try getting that from Microsoft!), of course. Sendmail currently routes 80% of all Internet e-mail.
Savings from using Sendmail over Exchange or Notes Server: $800-$1000 (for 20 seats)
Total savings: ~$6000
This does not even include the hardware savings. A respectable
Internet/Mail/Web server can be run with Linux on a 486; NT requires a
powerhouse of a computer to have decent performance. Server
performance for UNIX is almost twice as good as NT on the same
hardware. To get the same capacity, more hardware, and more expensive
hardware is required for most Internet service products from
The product development cycle of OpenSource is shorter than that of
commercial software. Bug fixes are released quickly. Security holes
are announced and patched very soon after they are discovered. Compare
this to large commercial companies who prefer to keep security holes
secret to avoid the bad press. As a result, only hackers know that
they exist, which leaves you very vulnerable. For example: the
recently publicized email attachment bug was identified (but not
announced) by Microsoft over a year and a half before a third-party
company discovered it. Only pressure from the press forced them to
issue a patch.
OpenSource is more widely used (both by more people and under
more diverse uses) than most commercial Internet products resulting in
more stable release versions. People who use OpenSource are more willing to
share their expertise so there are more online examples to follow and advice to be used.
Support is a very expensive service for software companies to provide,
as a result they provide support (even paid support) only grudgingly.
Often one waits on hold for upwards of an hour only to not get help
which solves the problem. With OpenSource you have access to very
effective user groups, online examples written by others doing similar
projects, and if you wish to buy commercial support services, many third-party companies
sell support packages. Most problems or design help one needs can be found in
databases of user postings to support mailinglists and for advanced help, the programmers are available via email.
And for the truely high-end user the source code is available for study of
the programmers' comments and for advanced customization.
Year 2000 compliance
All of the major projects listed above: Linux, Sendmail, Apache, and all other products we recommend
to our clients: PHP3, MySql, and perl are all year 2000 compliant and have been for many years. In the close scrutiny of the open development environment such short-sighted programming is completely unacceptable and gets fixed quickly.
Open standards are the future
Novell's move to TCP/IP is just the latest blow to proprietary standards. In the open environment
of the Internet the standards that have the lowest barriers to use (no license fees, no proprietary specifications) are
the ones more and more developers will gravitate towards, making it the best long term choice.
For more information, please see The OpenSource Page
"Computers are really reliable things that do
everything you want them to do and nothing else."
-- Linus Torvalds, Father of Linux