What do you feel is the great benefit of open source? DiBona: It's all about flexibility for us. The terrific thing about open source software is that we don't have to ask anyone's permission before we make changes to our operating systems. We don't have to ask anyone's permission before we make changes to our databases. We don't have to pay any per client licencfe fees for these things. This is really important, not just from a cost savings point of view, but from a flexibility and speed point of view.We get terrific value from being able to do what we like with our computers. Nobody is incentivised to tell us no -- none of our competitors, none of our friends. It's really remarkable. I wish that more companies would recognize this. There is a very real cost to buying software that is well beyond the financial. Buying software means you have to really trust who you interact with, because they know things about you. And they have the power to slow you down, so you have to be very careful when you pick your partners. The great thing about open source is you are your own partner.Google. This confirms my believe that moving to Open Source is not about saving cash by not paying license fees. The money you don't give the software vendor you usually spend with the consultant or trainer. Of course you now have a much better budget for implementation and training so that's a positive -- you can spend the money tunning the software to your needs. However the real saving of Open Source is that it offers better business value in the medium and longer term for the reasons that DiBona gives above. You certainly need smart people to get the best value, but if you want to be the best at what you do then you should already have them anyway. If you use closed source software then you are be definition aiming to be a second class organisation. How's that for a sweeping generalisation? I hope it obvious that I am talking about companies for whom software is a core activity; i.e either products or services are delivered through the medium of software.
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