MYTHS ABOUT OPEN SOURCE DEBUNKED
- “I want a company to stand behind my software.”
Admittedly, OSS is offered “as is without warranties of any kind.” As stated by Windows license, however, “Except for Limited Warranty and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft and its suppliers provide the software and support services (if any) as is and with all faults, and hereby disclaim all other warranties and conditions, whether express, implied, or statutory.” The “Limited Warranty” to which this provision refers lasts for only 90 days from receipt and does not apply to security updates. It also limits one's remedy to obtaining a refund or a new copy of the software with the defects “fixed”. Thus, if a security flaw in Windows results in a loss of data, Microsoft is not liable for your business damages.
- “If OSS is so superior, why is it being given away?”
An excellent question with an even better answer! For decades, IBM turned a profit from the services it delivered with the software that accompanied their machines rather than relying upon income from selling software licenses. Furthermore, most production costs of proprietary software are incurred through marketing, not development. In essence, the open source model allows companies to focus upon supporting their customers with customized solutions that suit their needs as they can depend upon a capable contingent of independent developers to provide a stable foundation of applications that have been subject to global testing and peer review.
- “Everyone with whom I do business employs Microsoft Windows and Office. How can I be sure that my work on LINUX or OpenOffice will be compatible?”
OpenOffice will open files from MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc... and it is possible to save an OpenOffice document as such a file that a MS user can access. Microsoft will continue efforts to render Office incompatible with competitors (i.e., complicating formatting so that a Word document may not open optimally in OpenOffice or an OpenOffice document saved in Word file format may not open perfectly in Word). The solution (and more secure way) to share files is by creating a PDF that cannot be altered on the receiving end. When collaborative authoring is necessary, other means can be easily implemented.
- “All the programs I use require Windows.”
For most anything one executes with a proprietary application, there are likely several open source alternatives that would work just as well – or better!