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Re: <nettime> Six Limitations to the Current Open Source Development Met
Ian Dickson on Tue, 19 Aug 2003 05:57:24 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Six Limitations to the Current Open Source Development Methodology

A further note.

Some proponents of Free Software think it is synonymous with Free 

To which, (assuming that functionally either will do) there is one very 
simple question that they need to consider:-

Is the likely IT overhead, in term of time, expertise or money involved 
in implementing and keeping upgraded a Free Software solution greater or 
lesser than that involved with a commercial one?

Only if the TOTAL COST is lower (including looking to the future, you 
might donate your time for free, but what happens when you move on, what 
is the market price of an appropriate expert to fix/extend, taking into 
account the learning curve for the deconstruction of your incompletely 
documented code) is Free Software actually a cost effective deal from 
the clients POV.

However Free Software does serve to keep commercial prices realistic by 
providing an alternative.

Eg if an OS option has a total internal cost of say $50 per seat 
(implementation, training, upkeep) then this caps commercial 
alternatives (which work out of the box, are intuitive to use and 
auto-upgrade) at around $50 per seat, instead of the $200 that they 
might have aimed for prior....

By way of concrete example, we find that some IT people think they can 
use PHP and MySQL to deliver their clients our solution. They could, but 
it would require months of work, probably go up several blind alleys 
etc, and since we charge less than $1 per person per year it would be 
cheaper to buy our solution than build their own with current OS tools, 
at least for communities of up to 100,000 + members. (For the only 
serious OS project in this field google Augmented Social Network. They 
need all the help they can get).

ian dickson                                  www.commkit.com
phone +44 (0) 1452 862637                    fax +44 (0) 1452 862670
PO Box 240, Gloucester, GL3 4YE, England

           "for building communities that work"

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