We all have Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (F.U.D) over things. I've heard and read so much about F.U.D when it comes to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Recently I personally witness it happen.
A company needed an application to handle some aspect of File Management and Storage, So there was two major proposals. One was an open source solution based on Java and web. The other was a typical M$ client server based solution. The M$ solution was not at all appropriate. It lacked a lot of functions and feachers. The solution was needed for a network which was M$ based, and both solutions lacked the Active Directory (LDAP) integrations. The open source solution lacked the "drag and drop" stuff, but besides that it was perfect. It was true value for money. But the M$ thingy was a big blow. Mainly because it was not designed to be a solutions for this specific problem. But of course we had loads of other good solutions which were proposed. These solutions had really good integration with the Windows clients as well. Which was a good plus point. The only problem I saw was it was not compatible for Linux and Mac's. But that was not a big problem, since it was me and maybe one more guy who would use anything besides Windows. I knew I'd find a way even if it was implemented. If it was ever implemented. But when it came down to the price factor. Wooo, it was so damn expensive (both M$ solution and the new one).
You had to pay a few thousand USD annually. So I was wondering WHY would anyone want to pay so much just for simple drag and drop and LDAP or Active Directory Integration. They can pay me half the price for the license and I'd have it implemented on the Open Source solution. If they paid me, that is. :)
So at the end, it was decided to look into the price and make a good choice. Well, to choose which do you have to pay the least. So it really does not matter if a solution provided you the right solution. Its about UI and ease of use. Thats what I figured out today. A lot of people are scared when it comes to FOSS stuff. They are not so conferable with it, its understandable. I guess the FOSS community is slowly improving on this, and I hope I'd experience a different day other then this. Where people will be more confident with FOSS solutions. Here we are talking about technical guys, network guys and IT managers.
Then I wonder, if UI and ease of use is what these guys look for; what about the Mac's ?. Its much user friendly then Windows and performance is good too. But still F.U.D comes into play. So This not only applies with FOSS. Its mostly true for anything besides Windows (for most people). I don't know how Microsoft has achieved this world domination. But it sure works. Windows is not close to being good compared to most other alternatives. But yet they get the market. This applies in terms of looks , ease of use, functionality, security and cost too. How do they do it? Amazing...
Anyway I did not felt like commenting; it was more a learning experience for me. I still do remember the day when people joked about things like Linux. But today those same people use it to host their company web sites. Those same peoples networks are protect and connectivity is given using it. Recently like almost 2 years back, I was asked to remove a Linux box as a firewall (because he felt Linux was not secure). Only to replace it with a set top box which ran Linux too as an OS and same tools. Only difference is the looks. The new one had a GUI. The person who instructed me to remove it and got the new one does not know its the same damn thing. But well; who are we to comment. The people who make the decisions should always be respected, regardless of what they know and don't.
Coming back to the FOSS applications, I feel that too will slowly catch up. Apache and few others have. Others might soon follow, so I won't be surprised. I hear there is gonna be a trade fair soon. Best part is I also hear that Microsoft will be one of the participants. I guess the objective is to promote Windows Vista in Maldives. Anyone in for FREE distribution of Linux distro's like new Ubuntu at the fair ? Why ? Just to make aware to people that there is alternatives, just the same. Or even better and they are for FREE.