[TriLUG] Open Source Propaganda

Mark Freeze mfreeze at gmail.com
Wed Apr 19 18:03:58 EDT 2006

> If you look closely at the phrasing of the question your CEO asked, you
> can see that it builds an unnecessary fence around the answer.  "Why
> would you build a wonderful product and then just give it away?" serves
> to throw you into a defensive posture, with the likely outcome of
> looking foolish.  It is much more of a statement of opinion than a
> forthright question.

Let me rephrase the question that I was asked.   We had just shown the
CEO the SugarCRM app.  The question/statement sequence went like this 
"Wow!  This is great!  How much work did you guys put in on this?"  (1
day)  "How much did this software cost us?"  ($0) "The software was
free? What do you mean free? How can someone just give this away? I
mean, I guess they can, but why would you write something like this
and just give it away?"

As most of us know, nothing is truly free.  I don't think that he was
trying to shoot holes in it, I think that he was just looking for the
'catch'.  In business, when someone tells you that their product is
free, you better start looking over your shoulder.  I gave him 'my
version' of the open-source spiel and he now understands it for the
most part, but still eyes it with more than a healthy dose of

Look at it from a non-IT standpoint. (If that is possible in this group...)
He is used to having a $5000 server running $2500 worth of M$
software, to run mail, web and file services.  Salesforce CRM is $995
per year for only 5 users and $65 per seat after that.  (Not to
mention $ to run SQLServer.) Thjis is all on hardware that constantly
needs upgrades to keep up with M$'s ever progressing requirements.

My partner and I tell the him that we are going to run Ubuntu (free)
with MySql (free) and SugarCRM (free) on hardware that the current IT
department stopped using 1 1/2 years ago. And, on top of that, our
stuff will run twice as fast with half the problems while doubling the
amount of services that were available on the m$ system with 95% more

If you didn't have any open source/linux experiences to draw on
wouldn't you be suspicious?

To me, Open Source is about giving back.  Pure and simple.  Despite
having over 22 years in the industry and being a fairly proficient M$
programmer, I'm nowhere near as savvy as some, maybe most, people on
this list. I can't crack open Ubuntu or Sugar and start coding away. 
So, the way that I plan on giving back is to promote and further Open
Source every chance I get.

What I am doing is adding section on our website and our promotional
documentation that explains how Open Source has worked (and is
working) for us. I want to show our implementation and encourage
others to do the same. So, I'm really looking for anything I can get
on the open source philosophy.

Thanks for all of the links so far.  Keep 'em coming.


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