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Cost-Conscious Companies Turn To Open Source 249

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.
Martyr4BK writes "BusinessWeek has a slew of special reports today on open source software discussing the benefits for buyers who are cost conscious and open source being the silver lining for the economic slump. They even have a slideshow of 'OSS alternatives' like Linux, Apache, MySQL, Firefox, Xen, Pentaho, OpenOffice.org, Drupal, Alfresco, SugarCRM, and Asterisk. These are all good examples (we use a bunch of them already); what other open source software can I use to drop my company's IT costs, and maybe get a decent bonus for the year?"
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Cost-Conscious Companies Turn To Open Source

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  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:03PM (#25945459) Journal

    Do they mention anything about project management? Even on linux, the free stuff I've found can't compete with the uber-expensive proprietary stuff. Am I just looking in the wrong places?

    • by AndGodSed (968378) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:09PM (#25945581) Homepage Journal

      I use planner.

      Have you tried it? I find it is adequate for my needs. Mind you I am not the most hardcore project management user out there...

      • Yeah, I've tried it. It's actually under my "Office" submenu now (don't ask me why apt puts it there...)

        Nice for the four kinds of charts, but not much else... Not even PERTs, apparently.

      • pitiful (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CarpetShark (865376)

        Planner wasted a day of my life last week. I put an entire project into it, and then found out it couldn't do leveling. It also couldn't export in MS Project or any other common format, so I had to start again in another project management tool. Eventually I just went with a table in a wordprocessor, and a collaboration webapp.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      I've heard good things about both TaskJuggler and openproj.

      The latter can read MS Project files.

      TaskJuggler claims to be comprehensive, but I've got the impression that it's one of those OSS apps that does absolutely everything *if* you can figure out how the hell to get it to do anything at all.

      Still, maybe worth a quick look at those two.

    • by liquidpele (663430) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:21PM (#25945835) Journal
      For product management, the best thing I've found is redmine [demo [redmine.org]]. I implemented it for the small company I do part time work for, and it's worked well so far. At my full time job, we use Mercury Quality Center. It's better in some respects but worse in others.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Foofoobar (318279)
        This is nothing more than Trac which again is still the best thing that open source has to offer. I use Trac and love it. It integrates with Subversion, has a wiki and bug tracking plus project management and tons of plugins including one for scrum support and gant charting. But as many will point out, it isn't a full project management tool. Openoffice was working on a project management tool but this got dropped. This unfortunately is one area that got dropped in the open source arena.
        • What features are missing that a "project management tool" should have? Redmine and Trac (I liked redmine's interface a million times better which is why I recommended it) both do everything I was looking for so I'm wondering if there are features I would find helpful that I never even considered.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mjhaynes (604572)
      You're not alone in having trouble finding hardcore project managment solutions, particularly if you're looking for something to replace Sharepoint and MS Project. I use Trac [edgewall.org] for project management and software development, and I really like it. It requires a database, Apache, and Python. I know that 37 Signals uses it for their development work.
    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Trac now has a nice SCRUM plugin. And a separate SCRUM tool is built off the TRAC project. Trac also has alot of additional plugins which are extremely useful for project management like gant charts and stuff and can integrate with subversion and has very basic bug tracking as well. Can be a good all in one tool for internal and remote offices (since it is web based).
      • by Octorian (14086)

        Trac is an absolutely excellent software package, in its domain (smaller-team software development projects). I'd even go so far to say as its the best thing the OSS world has to offer in that arena. However, I'm not so sure its useful as a generic project-tracking system, in the way MS Project and similar software is intended.

        • by Foofoobar (318279)
          Yeah, I love Trac but have to agree with you. OSS doesn't have anything that competes with Microsoft Project. Open Office did have something that was going to compete but it got sidebarred while they pushed 3.0 out the door. They may be getting back to it now or else someone may be building onto Eclipse... I dunno.
    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Aside from Trac though, I hate to say this but you are right. My manager recently asked about this and after researching, I had to admit that I couldn't find anything satisfactory. I use Trac (which is web based) but it's not something that I would suggest for project management on a daily basis. Agile42 [agile42.com] is the SCRUM tool based on Trac which again is web based but is very good. But again, not much out there for project management.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CornMaster (1105789)

      I use dotProject: http://dotproject.net/ [dotproject.net]

      It's not exactly an application or linux only, as it is a web app, but it is free and open source. And it allows many users to input into a process. Currently our project manager manages everything with MS Project using some of its features. This type of product allows managers (or at least in our case) to offload some of the updating to the workers since they can log their own progress.

      I've used a few other web app managers but dotProject seemed to have the most f

      • by iamhigh (1252742)
        I'll second dotProject. I wish they had a better ticketing system, but it works and was easy for me to modify to fit our needs. It can also be incorporated into Drupal (really as a seperate/sub website, but you can write a module to access the tickets/tasks/projects). It is a little difficult to learn how all of it works, but really powerful. Gantt charts work great, dynamic tasks work (caveats). No MS Project integration, though. All in all a very robust, flexible solution.
  • Would love to... (Score:3, Informative)

    by DogDude (805747) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:04PM (#25945463) Homepage
    Would love to save $$$ with OSS, but the software I need (robust, full-featured POS system) is non-existent. Bummer.
    • Re:Would love to... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Great Pretender (975978) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:30PM (#25946033)
      I'm not convinced yet that money is saved for small to medium businesses. We are supposedly an open source shop and productivity is severely hampered by the constant maintenance required. We have twice the IT staff for half the people that were being served in my previous job, which was MS based.

      In addition, the open source IT staff seem to just want to constantly be changing everything when something newer and flashier comes out (read that as closer to functionality to a purchased project). In one year we have had 3 different email servers, with the associated problems of swapping over. Or the IT recommended web casting software works on MAC and windows but doesn't have full functionality on the Linux boxes. I was hoping that would change when we change the IT staff lead, but the new guys seem the same.

      I also find it amusing that the anti-MS IT staff bitch about things like MS Outlook, but then celebrate when Thunderbird adds a function bringing it closer to MS Outlook.

      Over half the company just use their own personal laptops due to the hassle, which ironically, defeats the crippling obsession with security that the IT guys have.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hobb3s (1016023)
        It sounds more like you have an issue with management and leadership in your IT department than issues with OSS.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Oh, I agree with you. The problem lies in hiring talented staff. This is why I started saying that "I'm not convinced yet..." The concept of not paying the license fees is very attractive. However, albeit in my limited exposure, I have yet to see an OSS staff that is not distracted by the daily updates of products and one who can understand that BETA is not satisfactory for business operations. This is the hurdle that needs to be removed for me to accept OSS as a viable solution.

          Interestingly, it's the sam

      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:40PM (#25946255) Homepage

        Just goes to show that anything can be implemented badly...
        Where i work we have 2 separate networks serving different parts of the company, one is all OSS while the other is primarily MS based.
        The OSS one is faster, has better uptime, cost very little to build (runs entirely on hardware that was discarded by the MS oriented staff), and requires minimal maintenance. Users don't really notice any difference until something goes wrong, which happens far less frequently on the OSS network. The bean counters notice because of how under-budget the OSS based network is.

        The MS guys are jealous of some of the fancy kit we have to play with, but we've still spent a lot less overall.

      • Sounds like your problem isn't so much the software, but the staff and lack of policies.

      • We are supposedly an open source shop and productivity is severely hampered by the constant maintenance required.

        If that's the case then you've implemented OSS badly. We're 90% Linux here and the last significant downtime we recorded was when the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through town and knocked out the power across the whole area. We use OSS solutions precisely because we don't have to jack with them all the time. The last place I worked that was constantly tweaking and fixing things was an all

    • by xs650 (741277) on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:19PM (#25947109)
      "Would love to save $$$ with OSS, but the software I need (robust, full-featured POS..."

      With that requirement, it would be hard to beat Microsoft's offings.
    • Would love to save $$$ with OSS, but the software I need (robust, full-featured POS system) is non-existent. Bummer.

      That's weird. Here in Brazil, most POS solutions (that's "Point of Sale," not "Piece of $#!+") are Windows-based, but I found a few Linux-based solutions, of which some were Free Software and some were proprietary. The best one, called Stoq, does everything I want, and it's real Free Software, so if I want to have it modified or customized, I can get the source code and adapt it myself or

    • I wish I was able to move more things to OSS.

      I have had the devil of a time in my company just getting people to switch to Open Office from MS Office, and this is for people who only use basic word processing and spreadsheet functionality.

      The fact that it does exactly the same things and only has a slightly different interface doesn't seem to matter - if it doesn't look exactly the same as Office they simply stare blankly at the screen, or pester me so relentlessly about walking them through every little fe

  • Web Filter (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hobb3s (1016023)
    I've implemented Dansguardian webfiltering with a squid proxy on an unused Mac OS X server to placate my bosses need to control everyone's surfing habit and keep the cost of doing so at $0.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dionysus (12737)

      You weren't paid?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Andr T. (1006215)
        The agreement was that his web-surfing was not to be filtered.
      • by Bert64 (520050)

        As a salaried employee, he will be paid wether he implements a new proxy or not. If he has no other work to do at the time he would just be sitting idle so yes, the relative cost really could be $0.

  • I wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:07PM (#25945555) Homepage Journal

    Besides Slashdot how much FOSS does Slashdot use?
    Do they use Asterisk for it's phone system? Or does it's parent company do all the "business" stuff for them and just let write perl and post articles?

    • Re:I wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Foofoobar (318279) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:33PM (#25946111)
      You use it where it is feasible and where it can be supported. At the financial company I work at, we are about to move to Asterisk (mainly because conferencing calls cost the company thousands of dollars each year). We have started dynamically creating our PDF's through a LAMP app instead of using a Windows app and closed source BIN for PDF generation. But all of these are supported and maintained in house. If they have the STAFF to support them, then I say do it. If they have the money to get someone else to support it, then I say do it. Otherwise, as a business, their best bet is to stay where the support and maintenance is... not even open source supporters can be all open source; we'd like to do everything ourselves but the fact of the matter is there just aren't enough hours in the day.
  • TCO not always lower (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NinthAgendaDotCom (1401899) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:11PM (#25945627) Homepage
    I used to think the TCO argument was rubbish. But then I did some research this year on bug tracking software for my company. At least in this one area, it was obvious that while you'd save a few hundred initially on open source solutions, these solutions were much less polished and supported than their commercial competitors. I would have had to do a lot of additional installations and customization to get things working right. And there was no quick answer from a tech support email address when I would have trouble. And in another recent purchase of music production software, the open source versions were an absolute joke in comparison to commercial varieties. Open source is great. I use Firefox and Open Office all the time. But for business and specialty applications, commercial applications are still often much more solid and cheaper in the long run.
    • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:22PM (#25945861)
      I think the source of this trouble is that when you use exceptionally popular programs like FireFox or 7zip you're seeing software that really isn't representative of FOSS. These are definitely in the top 99%.

      When you start digging down into niche software that serves a tiny market segment you're getting into an area where few people are interested in using it and even fewer are interested in contributing. I do agree that these areas are currently best served by commercial apps. The whole FOSS thing works because so many people are contributing and it's easy to get support from one of the masses of people using it or working on it. On smaller projects you find yourself doing your own support - which isn't necessarily awful, it's just a real time sink.
      • by Bert64 (520050)

        Yes, niche software is far less likely to be covered...
        But in those cases, i would still like to run the niche software on linux, If i have to pay for the apps then so be it, the underlying OS is not a niche product and i shouldn't have to pay for that as well, just like i shouldn't have to buy proprietary hardware for a generic purpose (i want it to run on standard hardware, tho specialized peripherals are ok if its really necessary).

      • by EricWright (16803)

        You know, saying something is in "the top 99%" isn't really a ringing endorsement of the product...

        • Ah curse you early morning post... top 1% was, in fact, what I meant... but you already know that!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Hmm, even NASA uses Bugzilla.
    • by mangu (126918) on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:42PM (#25947547)

      And there was no quick answer from a tech support email address when I would have trouble

      Obviously, you've never worked for a corporation using commercial software. Try emailing, for instance, Oracle's tech support. At one time, it took me *two months* to get the response I needed from Oracle. Or rather, a response that *didn't* solve my problem: "that feature has been deprecated since Oracle 8i". It took them two full months just to find that an obscure feature that was essential to my work wasn't supported anymore.

      Based on my 25+ years of experience of using software, both commercial and free, today I'd rather have Google and the source code than any paid tech support.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      I'd say that bugtracking, ticket tracking OSS software is one area where OSS far outperforms the commercial stuff. We use Siebel for our corporate stuff, and ... I hate it with a true passion. We also use Mantis for internal bug tracking, so far 3 groups have decided that they want to continue using it, or move to using it.

      Same applies to Remedy and Clarify and .. all the others.

      That does not necessarily apply to other areas, I find that there is some OSS software that is brilliant, and a ton that is poop,

  • by fgaliegue (1137441) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:16PM (#25945739)

    And what about the _total_ cost of ownership?

    I'm all for open source software, don't get me wrong, but switching from a known solution that Works For You(tm) even though it's horribly expensive to a $0 one but with a steep learning curve can be disastrous.

    Would you replace Oracle with PostgreSQL if "all" you had in house were Oracle gurus?

    I know, this is one example, others may not be that extreme. But taking this kind of decision has to be done with some caution.

    • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:26PM (#25945943) Homepage

      Would you replace Oracle with PostgreSQL if "all" you had in house were Oracle gurus?

      I'd view that as being similar to replacing AIX or Solaris with Linux -- and that's something that plenty of companies have done successfully.

      It does require retraining, it may involve buying support contracts, but it's proved worthwhile for many companies.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Well yes, people are tied down. TCO is not something very accurate all the time, though.

      This is why adoption of open source in businesses has not been as fast as it could be.

      That doesn't mean however that businesses are blind to the option of not paying licensing fees and being able to fix software with their own dev team/make improvements aka using open source.

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      As you say, it depends. I'm moving two data warehouse setups from Oracle on Solaris to MySQL on CentOS Linux. I had a small problem with UTF-8 and of course rewriting truck loads of SQL statements, but over all it was worth it. The commodity hardware that CentOS is running on is 1/3 the cost of comparable Sun hardware. The maintenance cost burden of Solaris, Sun, and Oracle far outweigh the costs involved in the change over. Going forward the in-house staff are switching to the new OS/database with grace. P

    • by lewp (95638) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:43PM (#25946329) Journal

      Good point. This is why the ultimate cost saver is to switch from commercial software to pirated commercial software.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by einer (459199)

        I know the intent (and moderation) was "funny" but this is actually how a former employer operated. Once he realized that all he had to do was not get caught for a certain period of time and it suddenly became worth it to not renew licenses, he stopped renewing licenses. He did get audited. It cost him an order of magnitude less than it would've to have kept current on his licenses for the five years he managed to skate by.

        Your plan makes sense in some cases. :)

    • by Ploum (632141)

      Yes because gurus should be able to learn new things.

      The problem with proprietary solutions is not the cost : it's that you are tight by the balls !

      If you have Oracle Gurus and you don't want to switch because of that, your gurus will become even more expert in Oracle only and you will hire only Oracle gurus making the situation even worse regarding an eventual migration.

      You must always keep in mind that the question is not "Will the migration happen" but "When will it happen".

      If you choose it deliberately,

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Would you replace Oracle with PostgreSQL if "all" you had in house were Oracle gurus?

      If your in house Oracle people can't quickly adapt to a new OS or new RDBMS then they aren't really gurus.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      In the current market, unemployment is rising, costs are rising...
      Using cheaper software is a good way to save money...
      If that cheaper software requires more staff, hiring those staff is comparatively easier in the current market, and the savings from free software could easily pay for a few staff while still saving you money in a medium to large company.

      And consider long term savings, once you have postgres competent staff on hand the choice to make future deployments on postgres is a no brainer.

      Also using

    • The cost of a bad decision is amortized over the life of the system. It is easier for a business to accept a low initial cost in exchange for paying a much greater total cost over the life of the product than it is for them to accept a large initial cost with much greater long term savings.

      This is why Windows is so successful. Consumers browsing Best Buy don't see the annual reinstall or inevitable virus-cleanup. They see a product which is easy to use from the outset, and can play their video and aud

  • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:24PM (#25945907) Homepage

    Without telling us what non-free applications are currently being used, it's a very difficult question to answer.

    If I were starting a business tomorrow, I can't think of a single piece of commercial software I'd standardise on.

    Partly because I'm stingy when it comes to software. Partly because I don't want license management to become a headache as the business grows.

    • Partly because I don't want license management to become a headache as the business grows. This i the biggest factor for me favoring open source solutions. I remember calling our MS Rep, and a few others, 3 people gave me 3 different answers about how to license MS SQL Server. (per processor, or how many seats). Total pain in the ass. Its funny, but I've never seen a TCO calculation take into consideration how much time and money you have to spend to ensure that you are in compliance. For larger compani

      • by jimicus (737525)

        One thing I have always thought was interesting, was that MS doesn't write/sell any software to track licensing compliance themselves. I used to think that was a mistake on their part, but after hearing/seeing how much it nets them in audits, it was a genius move on their part!

        It's worse than that. I've looked into license management and auditing software; I found out a few interesting things:

        • Most software either checks the "Add/remove programs" registry entries (won't pick up pirated copies of things whic
    • I would think another problem might be that if you opt for a commercial solution you have no guarantee that the company and its software will continue to exist in the future. With FOSS the author(s) might stop writing it and companies that support it might come and go, but you always have the option of hiring a developer to expand and improve it if you wish to do so. With commercial software your only choice is to continue to use a deteriorating product, or switch to something else.

  • Server side the savings are pretty obvious, especially around maintenance contracts. On the desktop its much harder as you have all the transition and training costs. Looking at things like SugarCRM, rather than Salesforce.com, is a grey area as you have to pay for the implementation rather than just renting.

    Oh hang on its Slashdot and we aren't going to worry about the actual business change, implementation or management side of it, we just want to see two list prices compared and be able to go "OSS is f

  • Works for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:31PM (#25946045) Homepage
    Ever since I started using Nagios, I've been able to slowly help the rest of the IT department consider open source when starting projects. Now we use Nagios, Backuppc, MySQL, Perl, Splunk, Snare and Ubuntu LTS for servers. The clincher was not having to pay for licensing for a SQL server, OS and all. We're all so tired of dealing with the behemoth of a licensing scheme that Microsoft uses, and that's really what pushed us to alternatives.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bert64 (520050)

      Don't think splunk is open source...

      • Damn, yeah it looks like you're correct. Ah well, it's at least free as in beer :-)
        • by jimicus (737525)

          Only if you're analysing a relatively small amount of data.

          I promise you that as soon as you go over that limit, the price will give you one hell of a shock.

  • in contrast to all those companies out there with a policy of spending as much as possible.
  • Exchange and SharePoint are huge money-suckers. There are plenty of open source alternatives, such as Citadel [citadel.org] and Kolab [kolab.org] and OpenGroupware [opengroupware.org]. Give them a try and get that migration started.
    • ...but if you switch to Citadel on a single little server, what are you going to do with the dozens of redundant Exchange servers? Think of the hardware!
      • Come on, with so many networkable games around this is not a question that will arise :-).

        However, it assumes you like the Citadel model. I'm not so happy with it, but that's personal taste - I am certainly impressed by its ability to interact with other Citadel servers.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Have you ever actually used OpenGroupware? Please don't recommend it.

      • Have you ever actually used OpenGroupware? Please don't recommend it.

        I happen to be a Citadel developer. I only mention a few others in order to focus on the idea rather than a specific product. Of course I think you should be running Citadel. :)

    • Sorry, nice try (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cheros (223479)

      At this very moment in time there is nothing I can pull in from the Net which I can run for a while as Exchange replacement without a large amount of work on the client side - MS has built the barriers quite well.

      As long as there isn't a USABLE Exchange replacement we won't be able to lose it in the server room - management is addicted to Outlook (even though the 2007 version suffers the same productivity obliterating GUI) and its ability to share calendars. And AFAIK there is NO plug-n-play replacement ou

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Agreed 100%.

        The problem is that Exchange has put Microsoft in a very powerful position. I don't care what others say about products like Citadel, OpenGroupware, Zimbra or whatever, quite simply none of them integrate with Outlook anywhere near as well. (Yes, I've set them up in test environments). And while you can whine "But microsoft make that hard!!11", the executive who wants a shared calendar which appears on his smartphone and Outlook doesn't care about that. He cares about his calendar. And he d

  • Despite being free on one level, if you look at opensource from a business perspective you realize they are looking at the costs slightly differently.

    If they are looking at all that is. To be considered by a business, the opensource alternative has to be noticed first, and that isn't trivial considering the vast majority of opensource projects don't exactly have a marketing budget.

    One way to lower the barrier to entry is to make an opensource solution really easy to try out, but sometimes even that isn'

  • Here's the rub: pay for the proprietary software and get service, deployment, and customization with varying degrees of quality. Or get open source projects that require customization and put the burden on your IT staff to make it happen. Some of those are no-brainers but some of the more specialized enterprise stuff gets REALLY hairy. With deadlines, migrations, and trouble-shooting, the company might spend just as much money on over-time and lost productivity or, worse, the salaried IT staffers will suff

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mspohr (589790)
      "Here's the rub: pay for the proprietary software and get service, deployment, and customization with varying degrees of quality. Or get open source projects..."

      ... and get service, deployment, and customization with varying degrees of quality.

      There is still no substitute for doing your job. You still have to evaluate the software.

  • When we started development of our software, we noticed that everyone else in our business were all depolyed on Windows. When we were doing research on our main competitor in this region, it was pretty clear why they were Windows based, all of the company's founders had worked for Microsoft or were certified MS techs.

    From the outset we were going to be using *iux based servers with PHP & PostgreSQL and JAVA for desktop apps. OpenBravo powers our ERP and POS systems.

    Originally I pushed for FreeBSD, but

  • gcc as your compiler. The visual GUI's for various Microsoft compilers are pretty, but tend to produce crap code.

    GNU-make for building software. Again, the GUI's for software builders are pretty, but tend to reproduce problems solved in GNU make 10 years ago.

    CygWin for Windows SSH and X software. It costs some support, but is much lighterweight, more powerful, and more flexible than the commercial X servers.

    Bugzilla for ticketing. The idea in commercial systems of 'internal notes' that the bug submitter can

  • We were traditionally a windows company. However, the number of linux boxes is growing rapidly in engineering. I have a windows box, a linux box, and a dual-boot laptop. I can do most everything on my linux box, the windows box is mostly for using Outlook (we run Exchange) and having an environment common to the one engineers on windows machines have. The laptop is for small scale experiments. All in all its a great setup for me.

  • Switch your company to GNUCash. Of course, you will need to know something about bookkeeping and accounting to hide your bonus in there like the C*Oes do.

    (What? You didn't think you'd get anything more than a Jelly-of-the-Month club subscription for saving the company millions, did you?)

  • I'm typing this on a Linux box. It works just fine. It's a powerful development platform and I've developed all sorts of cool stuff on it.

    We make extensive use of Apache, MySQL, and related goodies. One of my recent applications was my first foray in to Django. It too works just fine.

    Now we're looking at VoIP, based on Asterisk. I downloaded the current source tarball, built it, am using the O"Reilly Asterisk book to figure out how it works. It works. I just phoned a test extension and left voicemail. G

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