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Business 2.0: Find High Tech in the Bargain Basement

Jan 10, 2002, 20:10 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Caulfield)

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"Forget the zealots. Open-source software isn't ready to take over the world just yet. But it can be had for free, and in this economy, free is good. Raj Goel, chief technology officer at technology services firm Brainlink International, saved $50,000 by going with open-source Apache software for his Web servers instead of buying the commercial stuff. Goel is a big open-source fan, but he also believes that there's a limit to what it can do. Linux is great for routine networking tasks, for example, but don't inflict it on your workers as a desktop operating system. Likewise, don't expect Windows and Mac users to embrace open-source alternatives to Microsoft's (MSFT ) ubiquitous Office suite. The free alternatives just don't measure up. Instead, open-source works best when powering systems behind the scenes, accomplishing tasks such as serving e-mail or powering firewalls.

To decide if open-source software is right for you, talk to your techies. If they're already juggling a mix of platforms, such as Windows and Unix, they've probably fooled around with open-source servers and development tools. On the other hand, if they're dedicated Windows developers, you should probably give open-source a pass."

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