Open Source Solutions Should Cost More

Friday Dec 18th 2009 by Paul Rubens
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Sometimes the only factor that spurs sales is -- paradoxically -- boosting the price.

Against traditional logic, a software solution may gain more sales by having a higher price. Open source software may suffer from what is usually seen as one of its advantages -- its famously low price.

Talk to any art dealer and you'll hear the same thing: Sometimes the only way to shift a work that's proving hard to sell is to jack the price up a bit. That dodgy painting of a sunset over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor or the tearful little girl standing by a horse may not sell for $50, but mark it up to $500, and it will be gone in a jiffy. Why? Because a higher price sometimes convinces the buyer that he or she is buying a true work of art and not a naff and worthless piece of junk.

In the art world where quality is subjective, this is understandable — perhaps even unavoidable. But in the world of enterprise software, where metrics like speed, reliability, scalability and so on are available, it is just muddled thinking. But it may also account for some of the success of Microsoft's Windows server operating systems — at the expense of open source alternatives like Linux.

"I think open source is great for its own internal playground type of things, but if it's running vital mission-critical applications — networks running on open source for example — then that is a huge, huge risk to the organization," Peter Gyorgy, chief information officer of General Electric's Consumer and Industrial division in Europe said at an IT summit recently. "We are not here to be an IT shop, we are here to be the partner of a business, and we shouldn't put business' operations into risk by running very low-cost solutions," he is quoted as saying.

Read the rest at ServerWatch.

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