A blog about computers, open source, software and other perceptions gained over the years as a sysadmin.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is open source important for a Microsoft shop?

Even if you are the most fierce Linux opponent free software is still something to keep in mind. Most important is to avoid painting yourself into a corner with proprietary solutions and protocols. An open environment is much cheaper in the long run than a tightly integrated one.

You can build an open environment without free software so that accommodating it later becomes much easier. The key is to avoid interdependencies between different services as much as possible. Especially software that requires specific versions to work at all. If possible always choose open standards (real standards, not pseudo standards like OOXML where Microsoft themselves cant even follow it).

Someone who follows this will find that utilizing free software solutions becomes much easier after a while. The system as a whole also becomes much easier to manage because you can upgrade and replace different parts without having to rip and replace everything or upgrade a whole chain of services and clients at once.

Another reason free software is very important for a Microsoft shop is prices and competition. Free software is right now the only thing keeping prices down. A MS shop has nothing to gain for lambasting free software, rather the opposite. By upping free software Microsoft gets competition, that in turn makes them put that extra effort into making better products.

Free software arent for everyone but it truly benefit all the customers by bringing prices down and quality up.

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