What are the benefits of going with an open source stack in terms of price and service (not technical)?

I am a .NET developer; our team is developing an application in ASP.NET MVC. For some reason we need to consider open source stack (Ruby on Rails to be specific). So I wanted to know pros and cons of open source stack (Linux, Apache, RoR, MySQL) so vs Microsoft stack (IIS, Windows 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008); on a dedicated server. Migration between technologies is not a concern, because we are starting a low profile app and will grow gradually.

Something I am looking for explicitly is "hidden fees" (database, services, licenses, ...).


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    This probably belongs on programmers.stackexchange.com, not here. – Zoredache Dec 3 '10 at 20:56
  • Apparently I am asking my questions in wrong exchange sites over & over! :) This is 2nd time in this week (previously one was on stackoverflow). Seriously it seems there is a need for "move thread to X-exchange" site! – Kaveh Shahbazian Dec 3 '10 at 21:20

Warning, overly generic and simplified answer ahead!

Open Source has lower barriers to entry, but higher support costs (commonly). Over the long haul, open source and widely supported proprietary solutions tend to cost the same.

In markets where startup costs need to be minimized, open source solutions are generally preferred. The same goes for the inverse.

For any given situation, stick with what you know. Since both end up costing about the same, if one has lower learning curve, go with that one.

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    I'll also add that Proprietary also tends to have higher scaling costs in the long run. So you need to take into account that as well... – ircmaxell Dec 3 '10 at 20:48

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