Article/Cost benefits of Free and Open Source Software
The main contents of this article is taken from http://article.gmane.org/gmane.user-groups.linux.delhi/22745 , Thanks to Tashi Samphel, New Delhi --
Free and Open Source communities encourage people to use Linux based Operating System with Free and Open Source Software. The primary advantage to this is having basic software freedom. In the article we will evaluate the one of major side effect of FOSS, the cost benefits to developing or underdeveloped nations.
A user who receives a copy of free software has the following four freedoms:
- . The freedom to run the program for any purpose.*
- . The freedom to study and modify the program.*
- . The freedom to copy the program so you can help your neighbour.*
- . The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits*
Richard Stallman: *"Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of 'free' as in 'free speech', not as in 'free beer'*.
we have learned the success story of India's Kerala state for encouraging open source or linux in their state and their counting on open-source software to boost its IT literacy rate and various Open Source Initiatives have been taken by NIC kerala for effective use of open source for online applications. Now Tamil Naidu state is also diverting their way to open source and they embarked on a plan in January to put Linux in government offices, schools and villages, is making progress.
prime minister prof. Samdhong Rinpoche comments in the AP story said, "Digital security is expensive and difficult job" Yeah, surely it is expensive if the TGIE is to buy legit Windows licenses + legit software for all its computers but I would rather said it is not an expensive.
Offices and Schools can derive huge cost reduction and gain flexibility by using Free Open Source Software (FOSS) tools. Here are some FOSS 'equivalent software' for common use and the associated cost reduction possible.
|Application||Windows Application||Cost||Linux Application||Cost||Net Saving|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows||RS - 7000||LINUX||Rs - Zero||Rs - 7000|
|Security: For this purpose one has to use any antivirus||Norton/ McAfee Antivirus, ClamWin, AVG Antivirus||Rs - 5600||Avast Home for Linux users||Rs - Zero||Rs - 5600|
|(i) Tools required for computer algebra||Maple, Mathematica||Rs-20000.00||Maxima, Axiom,Sympy,YACAS, Sage, Mace||Rs-Zero||Rs-20000.00|
|(ii) Tools required for numerical computing||MATLAB||Rs-100000.00||Octave,Scilab,Sage||Rs-Zero||Rs-100000.00|
|(iii) Tools required for statistical analysis||SPSS, Stata,EViews||Rs-8800.00||R-project,PSPP||Rs-Zero||Rs-8800.00|
|(iv) Verilog simulator for circuit simulations.||Verilog||Rs-39800.00||Iverilog||Rs-Zero||Rs-39800.00|
|(v) Electronic Design Automation tools||Pspice||Rs-8000.00||GEDA||Rs-Zero||Rs-8000.00|
|4. Office Tools||Microsoft Office Packages||Rs. 9160||Open Office, KOffice, Siag Office||Rs. Zero||Rs. 9160|
|(i) Computer Graphics Software|
|(a) Raster Image Manipulation Tools||Adobe Photoshop||Rs - 13960||GIMP||Rs. Zero||Rs - 13960|
|(b) Vector Graphics Creation Tools||Coral Draw, Coral Designer||Rs. 6800||Inkscape||Rs. zero||Rs. 6800|
|(c) 3D Graphics Creation Tools||Maya, 3D Studio Max, XSI||Rs 2,49,000||Blender 3D||Rs Zero||Rs 2,49,000|
|(ii) Media and Music Players||Windows Media Player, Power DVD, Sonique||Rs - 798||MPlayer, Xine, Totem, Kaffeine, VLC||Rs. Zero||Rs - 798|
|(i) CD writing tools||Easy CD Creator, Nero Burning ROM||Rs. 1200||Arson, Eroaster, gcombust, K3b, XCDRoast||Rs. Zero||Rs. 1200|
|(ii) Backup Tools||Veritas Backup Exec Cobian Backup, Norton ghost||Rs. 2800||BackupPC, Bacula, Amanda, Veritas etbackup||Rs. Zero||Rs. 2800|
|(iii) Disk Manager||Norton Partition Magic||Rs. 2459||QTparted, Gparted||Rs. Zero||Rs. 2459|
|7. Publication Tools:||Ventura, Cord||Rs. 25000||Scribus, latex||Rs.Zero||Rs.25000|
|Net Saving||Rs 5,01,127|
If all above tools are used then the total cost reduction per computer is = Rs 5,01,127 per computer.
It is worth pointing out here that zero cost software does not imply zero value; the FLOSS software that you get free of cost is generally at par in quality and performance with the closed software you pay for and in some cases, better.
And if you are wondering - if everything is free, where does the money come from, http://lug-iitd.org/Articles/where_does_the_money_comes_from_FOSS is where you might get some answers.
Some common scenarios
If an institute uses the following tools: MS Windows, MS Office, MATLAB, Nero, Norton GHOST, SPSS and Norton Antivirus then the total possible cost reduction by Switching to LINUX based tools is: 7000+9160+100000+1200+2800+8800+5600 = 1,34,560 INR per computer
If the school or organisation has a lab with 50 computers then the total cost reduction would be = 134560 * 50 = Rs.67,28,000
By using such software an educational institute not only saves lots of money in license fees but it also brings lots of other advantages too. some of these are:
- You are not bound by restrictive licenses of proprietary softwares.
- By using thin clients you need only buy minimum hardware leading to substantial saving in costs.
- Many of the Linux distribution support old hardware with less resource. this means that you can still use the old Pentiums available in your Labs
with low RAM too. you don't always need very high end machines. see the Linux Thin Client project on how to use even Pentium 1 Machines with 8 GB hard drives as effective terminals.
- You have a huge freedom of choice.
- Computer Assisted Learning improves student learning.
Special distributions for educational purposes like Edubuntu are also available at www.edubuntu.org and other such as www.ofset.org/freeduc-cd(live CD for primary schools)