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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Replacing/Displacing Microsoft

From: Tom Chance
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Replacing/Displacing Microsoft
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2007 21:17:00 +0100
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I'm currently embarking on a feasibility study for my employer, a ~50 staff 
NGO, and I sit on the board of another small NGO that is trying to migrate, 
so I hope I can be of some help here...

On Monday 02 April 2007 20:56:08 J.R. Seago wrote:
> So the information I need is what does it cost, roughly, to use
> XP to run a members database for 150,000 members, plus usual organisation
> accounting, administration, correspondence, preparation of reports,
> research department needs, etc., etc. per seat licenses for a staff of
> around 200? Input from the UK would help here as that's where its used.

That's really not enough info to be specific. Still...

Licensing isn't actually all that pricey as a proportion of the total cost for 
a charity. You can get all the necessary MS desktop and server licenses for 
tops £40/head through the Charity Technology eXchange (CTX) program for up to 
50 users, and then the remainder I'm not too sure. Most companies do 
educational / charity discounts on licenses.

> I 
> also assume that such an organisation would only need the one DVD, (to be
> on the safe side, per office, thats around 10), of Slackware, total cost of
> around £300, (or whatever other distribution, its just that I'm used to
> Slackware), the limitation on numbers of users of work stations being the
> hardware, not any limitation of Slackware/GNU-Linux? I can then make a
> start on a paper on the benefits of changing over, and comeback
> occasionally when I need help on particular matters

The cost of the media is trivial compared to these costs, which you really 
shouldn't underestimate and that might significantly outweigh the licensing 

- Do they use any software without an equivalent in the free software world? 
What about bespoke customisations? How much would it cost to build new 
bespoke solutions, and to "downgrade" to less capable software?

- What support/service contracts do they have, and are there companies who can 
provide similar services with free software at a competitive price?

- How much training will it involve? NGOs often have quite small training 
budgets and time-pressured staff who won't see a few days of retraining as 
trivial. The same goes for IT/tech staff, where the possibility of hiring 
people with the same expertise is also important.

- Are there any staff in the organisation who are keen to drive it forward? 
This is often necessary, as is support in management.

In both the cases I have experience of we're talking about much higher costs 
in the short term to migrate.

Talk about the classic business risk reduction benefits (vendor lock-in, lack 
of viruses, greater robustness in certain areas, data security through 
backwards compatibility) and congruence with their organisational values, and 
balance any possible increases in short-term costs with the long-term gains.


| Green Party Speaker on Intellectual Property and Free Software |
| http://tom.acrewoods.net    ::    http://www.greenparty.org.uk |

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