Small businesses still resist open source

Small businesses still resist open source

Summary: Is it inertia, can that inertia be broken, or is there another reason we don't give Linux a chance?

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TOPICS: Open Source
133

Nitiz logoYet-another small business Linux box crossed my eyes this morning.

Net Integration Technologies (right) of Markham, Ontario calls its Nitix system autonomic, meaning it's not only as easy to use and cheaper than a Windows solution (as little as $2,000 for 25 users), but a quicker set-up as well.

Yet Nitix is not taking a big bite out of Windows, and it's unlikely that it will.

There are many possible theories.

  • Small businesses want to make sure they can run custom applications requiring Windows.
  • Small businesses fear training their own people on Linux boxes.
  • Windows marketing reinforces these fears.

Are these fears real? I do know that inertia keeps me from making more use of Linux than I do. Distribution channels for open source systems are thin, and the assumption is help will be hard to come by.

So I want to throw this open to our small business readers, especially those who continue to use Windows in their operations. Is it inertia, can that inertia be broken, or is there another reason we don't give Linux a chance?

Topic: Open Source

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133 comments
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  • Free (as in free speech)

    Obviously, small businesses would be very interested in alternative operating systems if they could save money, and there are lots of blueprints they could follow to make this happen. However the point that seems to be missed, for whatever reason, is that Linux offers the end-user another huge advantage outside of pure price... freedom. Yes, I know what this means, and the readers of this blog should know what I mean, but the average SMB has NO CLUE. Why? Years of being used to horrific EULAs and forced upgrades can make things look a little blurry. In reality, SMB's are simply used to not only buying software, but also being drilled with strict useage licensing requirements and paperwork hassles that are apart of the game that must be played by using typical proprietary software.

    What I have learned over the past couple of years is that INFORMING the client about free as in free speech is critical. Laying out the differences in how you license a 25 seat office with Linux compared to Windows is truly dramatic, not to mention the fact that clients love the idea of FREEDOM. The key is exlaining what freedom is, and how there is another way to do things with software.

    It may seem simple to me and those in the know about OSS, but most small business people are not in the business of researching freedom. Hell, they're too busy keeping track of their Windows licenses!!!
    opensourcepro
    • Sorry but no...

      Freedom? Freedom to do what, muck about with the code? Trust me, that is the last thing 99% of small businesses want, they simply want to put the CD in, install it, and get to work.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Hmmm

        what's the prob Don, I can do that with Linux. So can several millions of other folks around the world. Why can't you?
        Linux User 147560
        • Simple, I have no desire

          To be wasting my time mucking about with the OS code.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
          • You missed the point

            lad, that is so old school, and so is your thought process. The new Linux distros do not require any "mucking" about in any code.

            Ubuntu, drop in CD follow some prompts wait... reboot, use system.

            SuSE 9.3 Pro, insert install CD or DVD, follow a few prompts, set partitions, select applications... wait.... change disk (if using CD and more than a base install)... reboot and use system.

            Mepis, install CD, select install... wait... reboot... use system.

            At no time have I had to "muck" about in any code unless I wanted too. Your arguments are based on very old data and have been outdated for quite some time. Try again.
            Linux User 147560
          • No you missed the point.

            The only benefit of open source is the ability to muck about with the code. It is not faster on the desktop (percieved), it does not have the selection of apps., it is not easily learned, it is not compatible with the rest of the business world.

            I said:

            "Freedom? Freedom to do what, muck about with the code? Trust me, that is the last thing 99% of small businesses want, they simply want to put the CD in, install it, and get to work."


            You replied:

            "what's the prob Don, I can do that with Linux. So can several millions of other folks around the world. Why can't you?"

            I assume you say that suggesting I should spend time mucking with the code. Did you mean something else???
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Don

            you are such a red herring tossing idiot! AT NO TIME DO YOU HAVE TO MUCK WITH THE CODE UNLESS YOU WANT TOO!! What do you get with Open Source?

            $0.00 for the OS
            $0.00 for the majority of needed software that has the needed features
            $0.00 for hardware... unless they want to update existing.

            The rest is a simple as drop the stuid CD in (or you can do a net install Don...) make your choices then wait. Reboot and use. I haven't had to screw with any source code since 2000!

            Stop being a moron and get with the program.
            Linux User 147560
          • THe other reason no wants Linux, people like you!

            Again I see that when anyone says anything that approachs common sense with using open source the people like you think they will win them over by calling them names.

            Now to set the record straight, it was you that brought up the "freedom" of changing code, not me. I simply said that has no attraction to 99% of small businesses. For what ever reason you decided that was reason enough to start the name calling.

            I suppose it's a case of desperately trying to find fault in anyone not agreeing with you or wanting to use open source. As I said, when the open source community begins acting this way they turn off more people than they can possibly imagine. You know what they say, "you are judged by the company you keep"... If open source keeps company with people like you (name calling and argumentative instead of listening) it may as well fold up the tent and go back home.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • RE: the other reason...

            Don, here you go from the beginning... show me where I said anything about freedom to modify the code? You are wrong again...
            Starting post...
            ?[B]Free (as in free speech)[/B][I]
            Obviously, small businesses would be very interested in alternative operating systems if they could save money, and there are lots of blueprints they could follow to make this happen. However the point that seems to be missed, for whatever reason, is that Linux offers the end-user another huge advantage outside of pure price... freedom. Yes, I know what this means, and the readers of this blog should know what I mean, but the average SMB has NO CLUE. Why? Years of being used to horrific EULAs and forced upgrades can make things look a little blurry. In reality, SMB's are simply used to not only buying software, but also being drilled with strict useage licensing requirements and paperwork hassles that are apart of the game that must be played by using typical proprietary software.

            What I have learned over the past couple of years is that INFORMING the client about free as in free speech is critical. Laying out the differences in how you license a 25 seat office with Linux compared to Windows is truly dramatic, not to mention the fact that clients love the idea of FREEDOM. The key is exlaining what freedom is, and how there is another way to do things with software.

            It may seem simple to me and those in the know about OSS, but most small business people are not in the business of researching freedom. Hell, they're too busy keeping track of their Windows licenses!!![/I]
            [B]Posted by:[/B] opensourcepro [B]Posted on: [/B]07/08/05
            Response by... you!
            [B]Sorry but no...[/B][I]
            Freedom? Freedom to do what, muck about with the code? Trust me, that is the last thing 99% of small businesses want, they simply want to put the CD in, install it, and get to work.[/I]
            [B]Posted by:[/B] No_Ax_to_Grind [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05
            Next response by... yours truly... me!
            [B]Hmmm[/B][I]
            what's the prob Don, I can do that with Linux. So can several millions of other folks around the world. Why can't you?[/I]
            [B]Posted by:[/B] Linux User 147560 [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05
            Now your response...
            [B]Simple, I have no desire[/B][I]
            To be wasting my time mucking about with the OS code.[/I]
            [B]Posted by:[/B] No_Ax_to_Grind [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05
            So there you have it! You brought it up then you tried to state that I did. Your credibility falls even lower on the board... care to try again Don?
            Linux User 147560
          • RE: the other reason...(Cleaned... ZDNet how about some previews!)

            Don, here you go from the beginning... show me where I said anything about freedom to modify the code? You are wrong again...

            Starting post...
            ?[B]Free (as in free speech)[/B]

            [I]Obviously, small businesses would be very interested in alternative operating systems if they could save money, and there are lots of blueprints they could follow to make this happen. However the point that seems to be missed, for whatever reason, is that Linux offers the end-user another huge advantage outside of pure price... freedom. Yes, I know what this means, and the readers of this blog should know what I mean, but the average SMB has NO CLUE. Why? Years of being used to horrific EULAs and forced upgrades can make things look a little blurry. In reality, SMB's are simply used to not only buying software, but also being drilled with strict useage licensing requirements and paperwork hassles that are apart of the game that must be played by using typical proprietary software.

            What I have learned over the past couple of years is that INFORMING the client about free as in free speech is critical. Laying out the differences in how you license a 25 seat office with Linux compared to Windows is truly dramatic, not to mention the fact that clients love the idea of FREEDOM. The key is exlaining what freedom is, and how there is another way to do things with software.

            It may seem simple to me and those in the know about OSS, but most small business people are not in the business of researching freedom. Hell, they're too busy keeping track of their Windows licenses!!![/I]
            [B]Posted by:[/B] opensourcepro [B]Posted on: [/B]07/08/05

            Response by... you!

            [B]Sorry but no...[/B]
            [I]Freedom? Freedom to do what, muck about with the code? Trust me, that is the last thing 99% of small businesses want, they simply want to put the CD in, install it, and get to work.[/I]

            [B]Posted by:[/B] No_Ax_to_Grind [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05

            Next response by... yours truly... me!

            [B]Hmmm[/B]
            [I]what's the prob Don, I can do that with Linux. So can several millions of other folks around the world. Why can't you?[/I]

            [B]Posted by:[/B] Linux User 147560 [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05

            Now your response...

            [B]Simple, I have no desire[/B]
            [I]To be wasting my time mucking about with the OS code.[/I]

            [B]Posted by:[/B] No_Ax_to_Grind [B]Posted on:[/B] 07/08/05

            So there you have it! You brought it up Don, then you tried to state that I did. Your credibility falls even lower on the board... care to try again Don?
            Linux User 147560
          • Wow, you posted like an adult. Way to go!!!

            So what exactly is the "freedom" you are talking about then? Freedom to do what exactly? I mean you already poionted out the free cost so what other "freedom" did you mean?
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Gee that is an easy one!

            Freedom from ever recurring license fees.
            Freedom from being dictated to. (Read customizability for you needs) sure you can do that with SOME Windows apps but the cost is usually far more than it is with Open Source, plus with the source code... if you want to know if your stuff is secure... you can get it audited buy a third party.
            Freedom to reuse hardware that is still good without major performance penalties.
            Freedom to move vendors if you are not satisfied.
            Freedom to have total control over your system.
            Freedom to own what you paid for.
            Freedom from worring about your licenses being in order.
            Freedom from wondering of you missed a license only to have the BSA come in and financially thrash you because you inadvertantly did.
            Freedom from drive by virus's.

            There are many Freedoms Don... which do you want?
            Linux User 147560
          • All Strawmen...

            Reoccuring license fees? None that I see. Buy Windows, install it, use it forever. Same with Office, same with Server, same with all the MS products I know of.

            Fear from BSA? Not as long as you play by the rules.

            Sorry, but these "freedoms" you speak of are at best an idiology that most simply don't buy into.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
        • You confused "speech" with "beer"

          No_ax might've been responding to the "speech" argument you made, since "speech" in the OSS world equates to "code", though just from reading your post, I could tell you were talking about something else. What you were really talking about was "free" as in "beer": that you can distribute it to multiple machines as many times as you like without paying a licensing fee, or having to audit the licenses.

          It's more than just Windows though. Anytime a business buys a commercial package they have to keep track of their licenses. It's not just MS software. That's been the rule in the software world for at least a couple decades.
          Mark Miller
      • Easy answer(s)

        Freedom to not have to track licenses, deal with forced upgrades, deal with licenses that do not entitle you to do much.

        Oh, yeah, you do get to monkey with the code, although most SMB's wouldn't touch it, but, unlike Windows, you could hire someone to make a change to the hear of the operating system.

        Yes, freedom comes in a lot ways when it comes to using Linux. You know it, and I know it... flaming doesn't make it untrue.
        opensourcepro
        • No flame intended...

          Just simply stating most people simply have no desire at all to muck about with code.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Alas

        [i]Trust me, that is the last thing 99% of small businesses want, they simply want to put the CD in, install it, and get to work.[/i]

        Alas, instead they have to spend a young fortune on license management, bookkeeping, auditing, etc. or face the wrath of the BSA.

        Then they have the problems of actually [b]getting[/b] the system to work if they don't stick with a 100% virginal OEM image (which has serious license-management issues), and the security problems if they don't violate that virginal system with antivirus etc.

        Let's not go into the nightmare of [b]keeping[/b] it working.

        There's a lot to be said for the old Selectric sometimes.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • And yet...

          The facts say the vast majority simply don't agree with your assesment. The license issue is at most a few hundred dollars (if that) and compared to the hassle of learning Linux/open source from scratch makes this an easy to justify expense.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Modern Open Source

            is no more difficult to learn than closed source. Red Herring.
            Linux User 147560
          • Not true.

            Show me ANY distro of Linux where I can set up a network without having to drop to a command line and is as simple as the MS wizards. The other part of your answer is also a strawman because most poeple have already learned to use Windows. In other words there is no learning curve to go through a second time.
            No_Ax_to_Grind