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FOSS is Much Safer in the Long Run

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on August 29, 2006 02:06 AM
Good article.

In fact, for the last few years, my main argument when selling clients on an Open Source solution has been that it provides better long-term viability.

That argument seems to have more impact than cost savings, or even freedom (although the long-term viability is, in fact, a result of FOSS freedom).

While most customers would like to save money, the future cost-versus-effectiveness considerations are fuzzy enough that they often opt for the safe and known (Windows), over the new and promising (FOSS).

Likewise, many customers have never really understood how many of their problems are actually a result of their lack of freedom (especially Microsoft lock-in).

But every customer has experienced a case where software they liked and/or relied on (in business, or personally) has stopped being supported, leaving them high and dry.

Thus, potential clients tend to sit up and take notice when I explain that, even if the supporting company goes out of business, the software will still get support from its users, and, even if there are no other users, in the worst case, my clients can always take the source code and maintain it for themselves (or pay someone). This can work as either a long-term solution, or a stop-gap measure providing time for a controlled migration, which is to say that my clients will not suddenly be left in a lurch, the way they can be with proprietary software.

It's easier to sell something when you can relate your argument to a situation that the customer has personally experienced.

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