Saturday, 23 May 2009

So, you don't use open source software because it is not well supported?

But what support do you get from software you pay for?

Lets start with Vista support.

If your Vista install has a bug or doesn't run some of your purchased applications or crashes, how will Microsoft help?

Their End User License Agreement (EULA) for Vista has the following:

(If you are interested, here is a simple commentary on Windows XP Home)

Length of Warranty: Basically 1 year as I read it.
The limited warranty covers the software for one year after acquired by the first user. If you receive supplements, updates, or replacement software during that year, they will be covered for the remainder of the warranty or 30 days, whichever is longer.
Repair: Microsoft will repair or replace it or give you a refund.
D. REMEDY FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY. Microsoft will repair or replace the software at no charge. If Microsoft cannot repair or replace it, Microsoft will refund the amount shown on your receipt for the software. It will also repair or replace supplements, updates and replacement software at no charge. If Microsoft cannot repair or replace them, it will refund the amount you paid for them, if any. You must uninstall the software and return any media and other associated materials to Microsoft with proof of purchase to obtain a refund. These are your only remedies for breach of the limited warranty.
What they warrant it for: Nothing it seems. Microsoft don't warrant that Vista is fit for any task.
G. NO OTHER WARRANTIES. The limited warranty is the only direct warranty from Microsoft. Microsoft gives no other express warranties, guarantees or conditions. Where allowed by your local laws, Microsoft excludes implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.
So... I hope you kept your receipt showing the amount you paid for Vista, otherwise will not get any refund, nor will Microsoft need to fix anything since you have no proof of purchase.

But you actually use more open source software than you think

Web sites

According to NetCraft, about 70% of the million busiest web sites/servers run open source software - Apache Web Server. Of all active web sites the figure is about 50%.

Google and Yahoo use mostly Open Source software to develop and run their services.

Operating Systems

If you run Linux then your Operating System is Open Source.
If you own an Apple Mac then your Operating System is Open Source.
Many companies and web service providers run Solaris. Solaris is now Open Source.

Mobile Phones

If you have a Nokia Symbian mobile phone - your phone's OS is Open Source.
If you have an iPhone, the OS is Open Source.
If you have an Android mobile phone, the OS is Open Source.

In fact, your mobile phone service provider is probably running equipment based on the ATCA standardized hardware platform running Carrier grade Linux (CGL) and other Open Source software.

For more information, see the IEEE SCOPE site.

Web Browsers

Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Webkit are Open Source web browsers.


Some ADSL routers use linux. eg. Netgear, Linksys, Huawei. Linux is Open Source.

Last but not least...

Almost every PC, mobile phone or PDA runs some version of Java. That is estimated to be installed on 5.4 Billion devices. Most of Java is Open Source.

So what do you have to worry about?

The universe runs on Open Source - Your work probably uses it - You already use it, so why not try it out on your current PC, or for that next work project or when you buy your next PC or laptop?

... and you will probably get more support than you do right now.

Real Support

The following companies and organisations develop, support or have donated commercial products as Open Source:
Sun (now Oracle)
Red Hat
Texas Instruments
EMC (VMWare)
Microsoft - yes, they are helping as well!
Most (all?) universities
Perhaps it would be easier to list companies not supporting Open Source software.
Want more Open Source software?

Try here.

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