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Not coming from the windows world, I'm confused about licensing.

I think my knowledge may be out of date. Before we gave up with windows web servers (IIS 2), we used to have to pay Client Access licence's. This worked out quite expensive.

Is it cheaper to host 1000's of users on Windows than use Free open source software tools?

This post suggests I can pay $15 a month, for unlimited users.

I certainly hope that this is an unbiased view, I am a professional and use the right technology for the right job. I hope i am not feeling the wrath of a windows (or linux for that matter) fanboy.

Perhaps a Microsoft certified Licensing person can clear this up.

Should i be recommending to startups windows servers and products over lamp?


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up vote 5 down vote accepted

My opinion : I'm using less and less proprietary software every year because most problems with it are license-related. Proprietary software means bureaucratic hassle; free software means technical problems. I can manage technical problems, but I wouldn't touch administrative problems with a ten foot pole.

So if you're a technical guy, a programmer, OSS is an immense relief; if you're some manager or bureaucrat then proprietary means "stuff you understand" and insurances. I want to Get Things Done, not paper-scratching...

I hope to get rid of the last proprietary tools in my belt soon now, and it will be a Damn Good Thing.

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except of cuorse instead of worrying of whether or not your code was purchased properly you have to worry about whether it's gpl2, gpl3, apache etc. FOSS also means you have to find support for all those open source packages (if you want to compare it to proprietary software) and with foss you have no vendor to complain to when you find a bug or have a problem. The last time I had a client ask for a cost comparison IIS vs apache tomcat + springsource support IIS was cheaper. – Jim B Mar 21 '10 at 0:41
@JimB: Yes, this is exactly my point. With OSS I can get on the technical problems instead of searching who to blame. Big Organizations are all about diluting responsibilities and avoiding blame. I don't find this interesting, nor intellectually challenging or fulfilling. – wazoox Mar 21 '10 at 21:35

If you buy into to typical MS marketing they will tell you that when you look at the TCO of a solution the cost of the OS is a very small amount.

Your question isn't exactly clear if you are talking about a Web service or managing client PCs:

If Web then.... Lets face it - if your clients want an ASP.NET/MSSql solution they should go for a Windows server. If they want a PHP/PERL/Java/Python/etc solution they should go for Linux.

If managing computers... If the computers are mainly Windows boxes then go for a Windows server, if they are mainly Macs then go for a Windows server (seriously), if they are mainly Linux, go for a Linux server.

That said, Linux isn't necessarily free you may still want to purchase support from a Linux vendor such as Redhat.

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As Jon says, look at your required technology first, then at your available skill sets. The up-front licensing cost of a Windows web server will pretty easily disappear down the road if you can manage it or develop to it in a fraction of the time.

I have both FOSS and Windows Web servers; I chose based on what the programming department is building. If they can code in .NET in even 90% of the time, it only takes a few hours at $50/hour to pay for a $500 (list price) license.

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I think everyone has missed the point of FOSS. If i get a problem with a system or application I can look at the source! It's saved me a number of times. Use the source luke is impossible on windows. So that's the main thing with foss, it makes system engineering possible. Your not blindly reading the microsoft knowledge base all day, trying to figure out why your system is misbehaving. – The Unix Janitor Mar 22 '10 at 22:35

ask a professional.

Web startup? - basically 100 USD for three years, post paid.

Web company?10 employees or smaller? I hope youa re part of - otherwise you waste money.

Non-startup? Contact someone from SPLA and get the SPUR.

Normal company? Well- if you dont hae Microsoft Select your purchasing manager should be fired ;)

What you recommend is not a simply "how is the cost" decision, because even at SPLA costs the cost of the software is pretty indifferent - unless the start is a lonely server doing nothing and not being maintained (which incidentally is what most people think a startup is). Once you start paying people (as in human bodies), the advanteage of FOSS is pretty much out of the window. Why? Because 3% or so higher costs total are not necessarily going to make or break you - strategic decisions are not that simple. And no, sorry, just beacuse you use FOSS you STILL have to pay programmers. And the secretary. And the lease for your building. And the internet provider. Shall I go on? ;)

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You should be recommending whatever is the best fit for their particular application.

Take everything into account at the time of your recommendation and make what you feel to be the best recommendation to your client.

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