[linux-elitists] What's some marketing buzzwords for what we do?

Larry M. Augustin lma@lmaugustin.com
Mon Dec 30 20:52:16 PST 2002

> From Alan DuBoff
> On Sunday 29 December 2002 21:23, Larry M. Augustin wrote:
> > I think the comparison we want is to Accware or Small Business Manager,
> not
> > MS Office.
> I've been looking at their website some. Definitely not what I had priced
> and
> confused with VariCAD or similar I was looking at last week. VariCAD is
> $399/seat for a AutoCAD replacement. Runs on Linux. There was another I
> was
> looking at also.
> Accware has many modules that are licensed on concurent users. This type
> of
> product is really overkill for most small businesses, or what I consider
> small businesses that could use QuickBooks.
> Do you think that companies with less than 25 employees would buy into
> Accware?

>From Michael's earlier comments, he was talking about a small business with
more than one location, inventory, resale, and maybe a mail-order or
Internet component.  That's bigger than Quickbooks.  Also, he felt that
there were good shrink-wrapped software products out there for the small
business.  I took that to mean Quickbooks, and I don't think he disagreed.

And yes, that business could easily be less than 25 people.  When VA was
about 6 people and doing about 100 units/month we ran on a mix of scripts on
Linux and accounting on Quickbooks.  We sure could have used something like
Accware.  We definitely would have paid for something decent.  The trouble
was that there was nothing in the middle.  Either it was too little
(Quickbooks) or overkill (Oracle, SAP, etc.).

So I definitely think there is a demand for good business automation
software for the 25 person and under small to medium business market.

Microsoft sees that as well.  That's exactly their target market, and it's
why they bought Great Plains.

> My previous reference to ms-dos-office is that the bulk of users in a
> company
> use that type of product along with email these days. There's an enormous
> amount of expenditure on ms-dos licensing, and there is savings to be had
> by
> using Linux and OpenOffice/StarOffice.

I would disagree that there's an enormous expenditure on Microsoft
licensing.  I talk to a lot of CIOs.  I've also looked at formal studies
from the likes of Gartner.  Software licensing costs are less than 10% of IT
budgets in big companies.  Maybe it's different in small companies.  It's
the old optimization rule; spend your effort where you spend 90% of your
time.  Selling Linux based on lower licensing costs does not work in most
big companies.

I believe in selling Linux based on quality, not licensing cost.  Also, it
needs to cost less to maintain.  The cost to support, maintain and
administer dwarfs the licensing costs.

That's why Microsoft has switched their attack strategy on Linux.  Notice
that MS has gone quiet on a lot of the anti-GPL, anti-Linux rhetoric?  It
wasn't working.  So now they've got after Linux with cold, hard, cost
studies.  They have this new IDC study that shows Linux is more costly to
support than Windows.

> Let me ask you this. Do you see any value in promoting Linux/OpenOffice as
> an
> alternative to ms-dos/ms-dos-office? If so, do you see value for companies
> in
> size of 50-100 client desktops to pursue that savings?
> I think this is a valid sector to target. It won't cover the financial
> software like Accware or SBM or Peachtree, etc...but there is an
> opportunity
> to replace desktops with Linux/OpenOffice for a large sector of business
> work, including word processing, spreadsheets, presies, email.

The problem that I have with promoting StarOffice (I've only tried
StarOffice, not OpenOffice, but I'd expect them to be similar) is that it's
a piece of crap.  It's awful software.  I can't in good conscience advocate
for it.  Free or not, it has to be good software.  We can't ever lose sight
of that.

Linux is better software.  That's why a lot of us use it.  Sure, it's free.
But free crap is still crap.  We will never convert people with free crap.


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