GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Why bother with open source software when Microsoft has the market sewn up? The cost of GNU/Linux (it is freely available for no purchase fee to whoever wants it) is not necessarily the primary issue! In fact, the driving force has been the freedom to access the source code and to use the software without limitation. But usability, reliability, security, and developerability are often the most important issues for many users.
GNU/Linux offers a value proposition that money can not buy! The investment in GNU/Linux is really an investment in human beings working to bring a better and coordinated solution to the organisation. A solution that in the long run delivers more for less, without the traditional tie-in of proprietary systems.
But what is wrong with proprietary systems? Look at Microsoft's power from proprietary MS/Word documents - on 27 October 2005 (see Infoworld and Neowin) they threatened to remove MS/Word from South Korea because they did not agree with its free trade investigations into their commercial practises. This would have an adverse impact on government and industry who have locked in to the proprietary format and potentially would no longer have access to their own documents. Of course Microsoft is keen to retain proprietary formats and its ability to sway governments to suit its interests, rather than yours.
We begin here with a review of major decisions by governments and organisations the world over to move to open standards and open source, then review some of the key benefits of such an approach.