Open Source or a commercial offering?

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Thu Aug 16 13:52:07 UTC 2007

Andrew Zajac wrote:
> On 8/15/07, Anthony M Simonelli <a.simonelli at> wrote:
>> I've been working on an Internet Gateway/Proxy/Email filter box for work
>> using Postfix, AmavisD-New, Spamassassin, ClamAV, Squid, Dansguardian, etc.
> ...
>>  Let's say that after benefits and everything, someone in IT is paid $25 an
>> hour and spends 20 total hours getting a Linux server setup for the
>> functionality above.  That's $500 worth of work.
> I reckon that someone who knew what they were doing would take an hour
> or two, no?  

I'd probably disagree in the majority of cases.

Would it take an hour or two?  Add another hour or two if you're doing 
it from scratch, at least, for updates and installing the OS, etc...

Otherwise, sure.  If I specialized in building these boxes.  Most 
businesses have tech departments that don't do this all the time, 
though, no?  I've found that if I have to rebuild a system for this 
purpose once every couple years, there's a learning and re-learning 
curve to get up to speed with changes in the OS/distro, new methods of 
stopping spam, newer filters, etc...

> So, I guess you would have saved some money by paying someone for
> support and services instead of doing it yourself.

If a business has the money to go either way, I think the question 
becomes more of a "do I want to have someone in-house to invest in and 
not have to depend on an outside company for everything, or do I want to 
spend money on outsourcing this and depend on outsiders for 
liability/etc. but have someone to blame when things don't work?

Cost depends on their philosophy.  Open source is time and person 
expensive.  Proprietary is financially expensive.  Do you want to invest 
in other companies or in your people? :-)

> This may or may not be the case.  Of course there is no argument for
> saying that FLOSS can replace/displace all proprietary software across
> the board.  

Technically, I think it can.  Depends on your priorities.  I mean, you 
COULD do your latest programming project with bare metal assembly, but 
your C++ and VB people would complain, and no doubt secretaries would 
complain to no end if you make them do memos in EMACS or VI instead of 
MS Word.  But you *could* do it.

Oooh one aspect I forgot: liability of licensing.  What was the company 
that switched entirely to open source after being audited by some 
software version of RIAA?  They make guitars I think.  He switched over 
successfully because the audit found software that they didn't realize 
were installed or used and didn't have licenses for...big fines, and 
with open source, there is no such problem.


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