Open Source or a commercial offering?

Gary Jarrel garyjarrel at
Thu Aug 16 07:51:58 UTC 2007

My 7 cents!

On 8/16/07, Eberhard Roloff <tuxebi at> wrote:
> Karl Auer wrote:
> > On Wed, 2007-08-15 at 22:06 -0500, Anthony M Simonelli wrote:
> >> above.  That's $500 worth of work.  Now compared to a commercial
> >> offering such as the SonicWall TZ 180 TotalSecure 10 priced at $480
> >> that does all of the above, what is the benefit of running a free,
> >> open source solution?
> >

There is no such thing as a free solution!!!!!! no matter what you opt
for, you always end up spending money. And a lot of it comes down to
the size of the company and the application. If an organization has a
10 man operation (small business) then either the open source or the
SonicWall solution will cost money, as it is most probable that this
organization does not employ an inhouse IT expert. And even with the
SonicWall solution a non experienced user would struggle. Hence at
$480 a pop + a technician to install maybe 1 hour you are still
looking at $500

> > If it goes wrong, you can fix it. If you don't like the way it works,
> > you can enhance it, improve it, extend it.

Can you? Similar situation, most small businesses do not have the
inhouse facilities to do this! and will rely on an external entity for
their IT servicing! And this quite often costs a lot more than $25 per

> > There is no company to worry
> > about going belly up. The effort you expended has resulted in in-house
> > skills that are almost certainly applicable elsewhere, and are most
> > certainly applicable to the care and feeding of this box. The box is
> > perfectly matched to your needs, no compromises were necessary. You
> > controlled the quality of the components.

A very valid reason but once again the cost of a Linux technician to
do this is not cheap.


>  However, I surely know that with Linux you pay your debts with ellbow
> grease instead of direct cash.

Not necessarily. It really depends on what you use. Based on the
initial post "Gateway/Proxy/Email" there are various solutions.

In my experience the elbow grease is the raw Linux configuration -
that is true. I.e. the installation of every package separately, and
configuration of same, giving you the end result. This is probably the
hardest and the longest path to take. I've got a few of these servers
set up and they are extremely powerful, flexible, and easy to fix.

The next best thing, in my opinion, is the pre packaged product. I
have used Zimbra in quite a few installation and this works like a
charm. The costs are relatively low and the system is prepackaged with
Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, etc, etc. Run that up on an Ubuntu LTS install
and you can have an operational mail server within an hour. With a few
extra treats the same server will act as a Gateway and a DNS server.

Short of that a lot of people still opt for the MS Exchange solution -
however even with a "Press Next to Continue" installation, you are
stuck with the proprietary system - which is not the easiest of things
to configure if you don't know what you are doing. And a nightware to
diagnose problems. Couple that with the costs of Proprietary A/V and
A/Spam and you are really in for direct cash.

> And I admit, I also have my doubts whether this is always worthwhile,
> when economic value is of concern.

>From the point of view of balance I find a pre packaged solution a good result.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant!


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