Open Source software? I've been reading that some serious organizations are using open software. Sun Microsystems asserts that Open Source may be a trend that will absolutely revolutionize the software industry.
Sun claims that the money to made with Open Source is in support. Of course, Open Source software is free and there is quite a bit of community and FAQ support. However, for mission-critical help, that is where the economics of it all is in play.
So, if you use Open software, tell me:
Why do you use it? What are the downsides? What are the upsides?
I'm considering a switch from Microsoft Office 2004 (in which I rely heavily on Entourage) to the Open applications OpenOffice, Thunderbird and Lightening/Sunbird. For instant messaging, I use Adium. This allows me to simultaneously monitor almost all of chat applications out there.
I'm also researching the viability of replacing Adobe Photoshop with Gimp. Yep. A professional retoucher, with 10 years behind me. I'm considering a switch to Gimp. My students, customers and colleagues surely think I've lost it. However, this application is nothing at which one should sneeze. I'll admit, it will take an awesome feat of reason to pry me from Adobe. However, as a businessman, I've got to look at all alternatives when it comes to increasing productivity, savings and man-power.
A big stumbling block for me is my PDA. Syncing with it is critical. I use a small combination of Missing Sync and Documents to Go to make it all work. And it does so with ease. What will open source do to disrupt this need?
Another factor of Open Source is hardware. This is especially complicated when it comes to Apple Computer. I found an interesting prospect in Psystar. They are making and selling systems with Mac OS X on them. Of course, this is a violation of Apple Computer’s OSX End User License Agreements. This too, is something I have considered (the first Mac I purchased was a PowerComputing Power Center Pro 180 in 1996—when it was legal!)