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Dealing with Recession – Saving Money With Free and Open Source Software

According to wikipedia - "An economy which grows over a period of time tends to slow down the growth as a part of the normal economic cycle. An economy typically expands for 6-10 years and tends to go into a recession for about six months to 2 years". The current defaults on homeloan have led to a major crisis in the US. Once recession started consumers lose confidence in the growth of the economy and spend less including technology and software. Is free and open source software (FOSS) a way to cut business costs? As concern about recession - even depression - deepens, more and more companies are asking this question. However, many have trouble knowing how to begin to find an answer.

This blog post explores the safest way to FOSS as one step at a time. Instead of plunging into FOSS all at once, author suggest that you begin with some of your basic desktop productivity software on Windows before making any large scale transition to a FOSS operating system like GNU/Linux. Many FOSS applications have versions for both Windows and GNU/Linux -- and, often, Mac OS X as well -- so you can easily experiment. Then, if you decide to go ahead, you and your staff will already have some training when you switch operating systems.

=> Hedging against recession with free and open source software

I have been cautious, saving a bit, when possible. I have not used my bike or car, and I live in a small apartment to save money. Linux and FOSS can really save some money. Are you affected by current recession? What are you doing to cope with recession?

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  • ugm6hr March 2, 2009, 8:16 pm

    Even the UK Government have reacted to the recession with a positive spin on open source software: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7910110.stm

  • Thomas Pedersen March 3, 2009, 11:22 am

    I would just like to recommend Open Source Alternative http://www.osalt.com/. This site helps people find free, open source alternatives for the commercial software products they would normally have had to pay for.

    This site is a real gem.

    Thomas

  • Joren March 3, 2009, 12:10 pm

    As an ubuntu user I totally support this development. The Dutch government has switched from MS Office standards (.doc .xls) to Open standards (.odf etc). This could be considered such a first (tiny) step.

    But I keep wondering what the actual financial benefit is of switching to Linux/Unix etc. Is it really that much that companies have to pay for an XP licence? Is there a (more or less) standard price, or does every company negotiate on this. I never saw any figures and I am really wondering if the benefit is in percentages, promilles or maybe less…

    Does anybody have any clue?

  • mt March 3, 2009, 5:58 pm

    @Joren

    In my experience, the cost of a license for say Windows is nothing compared to the total cost of ownership of the software. When you add in support, training, legal (to review the license), … the $100 (or so) is a drop in the bucket. Switching to Linux and replacing Windows in a large company could much more than is saved.

    Also, free software is far from free. You need more training since there isn’t a company to fall back on for help, or you need to purchase a support contract.

    Small companies/startups though, where cash is scarce and time is plentiful, are a different story though.

  • hardi March 3, 2009, 11:39 pm

    @mt

    good point…

  • Survey Software March 4, 2009, 8:35 pm

    Free will always generate big buzz with among consumers, so there are advantages to making certain things be offered for free.
    -Jack

  • vonskippy March 5, 2009, 2:24 am

    Fixating on cost is a stupid marketing strategy. To a business, buy-in cost is a drop in the bucket compared to TCO. Add in ROI (i.e. what can that software DO for me) and it’s a losing battle for Linux on the desktop. Business is all about making money – when a Linux Desktop or Linux Application can help me MAKE money, trust me, I’ll be there – until then, I’ll stick with something that does.

  • jacynta March 16, 2009, 8:53 am

    This is really great…!

  • Survey Software June 26, 2009, 10:54 am

    great but free software doesnt come with premium things – so free is something which people treat as a secondry option not as a primary – that’s why there is still a huge demand of premium softwares in the market and people will continue to buy those . .