US Economy

Roberto Mello rmello at
Fri Apr 8 11:30:00 MDT 2005

On Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 09:25:48AM -0600, David Smith wrote:
> How about providing some examples? Is there an example of a business who
> was able to spend less on software thanks to F/OSS in such a manner that
> they could afford other goods/services that they otherwise could not have?
> Most IT budgets that I have seen go *up* year after year, not down, even
> those that are using F/OSS.

I can cite a few...

- My mom's business (she's a doctor)

- My brother's business (also a doctor)

- My own business (I'm a programmer/sysadmin/consultant - or "software
  engineer"). I also am involved in a VoIP startup.

- My friend's business, in the medical area. Is possible solely because of
  OSS. Without it, the company would have never gotten off the ground.

- Novell stopped acquiring Microsoft licenses for almost all of its
  desktop machines (that's what, 4000 people worldwide?). The saved money
  is likely going to reinvested in the company.

- I know Doran Barton (as do many others) has a business solely based on 
  OSS. I don't think it would have gotten off the ground without it.

- The Utah State University business. I wrote the online book exchange
  that is used by students 5 years ago, completely on OSS. The student
  association doesn't have the budget to buy a proprietary application.
  Students would be without the application, and spending more money on
  books. With the savings, they can go dine at their favorite restaurant,
  watch a movie, or reinvest in other areas of their education.

- LiveJournal is another example of a company who exists because OSS gave
  them means to.

- The city of Sao Paulo in Brazil created over 100 "telecenters" where
  people well below the U.S. poverty line can have access to computers and
  internet. Without OSS, each telecenter would have cost 4 times as much,
  even with Microsoft donations. Each computer has browsers, office
  suites, programming tools, educational software, all OSS.The 100 telecenters
  are used by *thousands* of people everyday, given those people an
  opportunity they otherwise would not have to better their own lives.

- I could cite numerous other small and large companies where the same
  happens, but I think that's enough.

> With the lack of examples here, we can't accept this argument.

Just because he didn't cite examples doesn't make the argument invalid. You
could lift a finger and do research.

> Now that's a concrete example, but not a good one for the argument at
> hand. I doubt that Open Source had anything to do with the falling prices
> cited here. After all, it wasn't until very recently that a competitive
> open source office suite has been available. This is just an example of
> competition lowering prices. It has nothing to do with F/OSS, nor does it
> have to do with the argument at hand: whether F/OSS impacts the US
> economy.

History (or past behavior) is the best predictor of future behavior.

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