Practical Technology

for practical people.

Let’s talk cheap software

Want to know one of the things I really like about open-source software? The price.

Yes, I know, I know. It’s ‘free as in freedom, not free as in beer.” Trust me. I get that. I also get though that open-source software gives you quality programs either for free or for a support fee that’s often a fraction of the cost of proprietary software.

Of course, thank you, Robert A. Heinlein, TANSTAAFL (There’s no such thing as a free lunch). If you’re going to use any software, you’re going to pay for it in one way or another. You need to learn how to use it. If you’re in a business, you need to learn how to maintain it. You people know the drill.

But, one of the most important things about open-source software is that, once you have the knowledge, you don’t need to spend any more money on it. I mean Novell or Red Hat will be happy to take your money for support contracts, but if you have enough people in your organization who know SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) or RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), there’s no reason you couldn’t run openSUSE, Fedora, or CentOS, which is based on the RHEL source code. Many companies already do that.

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