NewsForge: The Hidden Benefits of Free Software

“Most conversations about the cost of free software deal with
its effects on the software industry. Microsoft people often talk
about how much money the proprietary software industry can add to a
developing country’s economy. At the same time, proprietary
software vendors tell us the total cost of ownership (TCO) for
their products is often less than cost of running competing open
source products, even though in developing countries the cost of
labor is almost always low enough that license fees for proprietary
software are huge by comparison. All these conflicting numbers get
wearisome. Perhaps we need to look beyond the software
industry–and beyond software pricing–to see what effects free and
open source software have on a country’s economy…”