Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Jul 2010 19:43 UTC
Microsoft U.K. government staff suggested replacing Microsoft Corp. operating systems on computers with free alternatives in response to a call for ideas for Prime Minister David Cameron's cost-cutting drive.
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RE[4]: Until they need support
by MamiyaOtaru on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Until they need support"
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

well, one could look at Munich. http://www.osor.eu/studies/declaration-of-independence-the-limux-pr...

The total cost for the proprietary solution were calculated to be 35 million Euro, against 37 million Euro for GNU/Linux (both including all costs beyond the solution itself, such as personnel and training costs, over five years). While the proprietary solution was deemed to be slightly more cost-effective over the full period, the strategic advantage of being free to take its own IT decisions led the city council to decide in favour of the migration to GNU/Linux.

So that's nice and all, but it's more expensive (though long term that may change). There are other benefits of course, but considering that the UK is talking about this as a cost saving measure the higher projected costs for Munich's migration (which have risen, here the figures as of four years ago: http://news.cnet.com/Munich-fires-up-Linux-at-last/2100-7344_3-6119... ) should be taken into account.

One can obviously quibble with figures and talk about how it would be cheaper if X and Y or whatever, but the case of Munich shows it is not a clear-cut case of open source = savings, and since savings is the driving motivation behind this latest proposal, one has to look at it with a critical eye.

And one can't ignore retraining costs. Users are idiots. The slightest thing different means retraining. Lost productivity in the meanwhile (and training costs) are likely to compare with the cost of a few Windows licenses. Obviously I don't have figures for this (just experience with users), but that's why I linked the Munich stuff.

In short you can talk about other perceived benefits and that's great but I don't think you can smugly assert that money will be saved and talk down at anyone who disagrees (or isn't as sure about it as you are)

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