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

Larry M. Augustin lma@lmaugustin.com
Tue Dec 31 06:59:23 PST 2002

>From Alan DuBoff
> [...] 
> > I would disagree that there's an enormous expenditure on Microsoft
> > licensing.
> Each system cost $300 for an XP license, upgrades are in the order of
> $150,
> and the office software is in the $400 range which is also going on
> subscription.

Big companies with large numbers of users get discounts and site licenses,
and those costs are noise in the overall budget.  With 1,000 people maybe
they end up paying $250K in licenses.  That's one person out of maybe 20
people in IT.  That's less than 5% of the headcount budget.  The costs just
to retrain people will dwarf the savings.  There are plenty of places that
are costing a lot more that the CIO is going to worry about first.

On the other hand, if switching to Linux saves 2 people because it requires
fewer sysadmins, that's $500K cost savings and twice the license cost

> Why is it that folks like Telstra are looking to convert their entire
> userbase to non-ms products?

I don't know Telstra, but I assume they have decided that it's the best
choice for them as a company.  Many more companies are not converting their
entire user base to Linux.

If we're going to lobby people to convert to Linux, we have to understand
how and why they chose software.  We have to understand their budget.  We
have to understand their needs.  The fact is that companies today are not
converting to Linux on the desktop in droves.  Understand how those
decisions are made, and we'll go a long way to making arguments that will
convert them.

But the first step is to listen to them and understand them.  I'm telling
you that MS license costs are noise for a lot of CIOs.  
> > 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.
> I don't see it that way. I see StarOffice/OpenOffice as a great
> alternative
> to ms-dos-office. Word Perfect is also available, as is ABIWord, and I
> think
> Applixware still has software for Linux. StarOffice/OpenOffice seems to be
> the preferred on Linux though, and it works a heck of a lot better than
> the
> Applixware that VA was trying to market with that Linux Office Suite '99.
> The most recent StarOffice/OpenOffice is able to manage most all ms
> documents
> as well as the PowerPoint slides, and Impress works well to create the
> slides
> also. It is good enough, and I certainly wouldn't call it crap. I think
> it's
> good enough for a good majority of users that are currently using ms-dos.
> > 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.
> What do you use on Linux to do your word processing? spreadsheets? slide
> shows? Do you feel that ms-dos and ms-dos-office is really a better mouse
> trap and worth the price? We certainly differ on this point I think,
> because
> I believe Linux is definitely good enough for the average user, most of
> whom
> are idiots.

Yes, we disagree.  StarOffice is a piece of crap.  It crashes more than any
version of any commercial software I've ever run on Windows.  It's lost data
for me on numerous occasions.

I don't want "good enough" software.  I want the best software.  That's why
I prefer Linux.  It's better software.  StarOffice is not better software.  

Further, average users are not "idiots."  They are simply people for whom
the computer is a tool, just like a hammer is a tool or a car is a tool.
They want to spend time on the things that are important to them, and
knowing how a computer works is not one of those.

To steel a Bob Young analogy...

Most people who own a car just care that it gets them point A to B reliably.
They don't care how much horsepower it has.  Most don't know anything about
how it works.  They'll probably buy something similar to what their friends
buy, simply because choice of car is not that important to them, and they'd
rather fit and go with the crowd if it's not important.  They don't want to
know how the car works.  They want to spend their time thinking about things
that they care about, and cars are not one of them.

Does that make them idiots?  No.  It means they have different priorities
than we do.


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