ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Sometimes opensource software can cost you money

ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Personally I think opensource software is great but, and it is a BIG but, you have to use it in the right circumstances or you could end up with some hefty bills.  This was illustrated last week by a new client.

Said client (lets call him Jim) started business five years ago and being short of funds decided to go down the opensource route to gain the software he needed for his business (opensource software is great in the right situation).  He decided to buy a refurbished laptop and install Ubuntu on it because one of his friends said it was where the market was heading. For emails he installed Evolution (very good email client which I personally use) and Openoffice as his office suite.

Once installed he was very happy, that is until last week.  Last week Jim managed to get himself a new contract with a pretty big corporate client who uses Office 365.  After seeing what Office 365 offers he is now interested in switching across but there is one major problem – migrating emails from Evolution into Office 365.  Evolution to Mozilla Thunderbird is easy enough and you can go from Evolution through Outlook Express to Outlook but it is not exactly easy (especially since Outlook Express is no longer available on a Windows 8.1 system which he has gone out and bought). At the present time the migration is still a work in progress!!

A bit of forward planning on his part would have seen that while Evolution is a really good Linux email client (like I said I use it for my own emails) there are some issues if and when you come to migrate to Outlook which at the moment is the market leader in business email clients.

Using software (and or hardware) because they are cheap, or free, is not necessarily the best option (neither is buying things because they are expensive and hence must be better). Opensource software is fantastic in the right circumstances but in this case it is going to cause the client some migration issues and hence cost them more money.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

4 thoughts on “Sometimes opensource software can cost you money

  1. Heather I would agree that Microsoft hardly bends over backwards when it comes to opensource but for the most part in a business environment Microsoft has an enormous market share and whatever software you decide to use has to be fully compatible with them or you will end up having issues.

  2. Hmm. Whether this is an open source issue or a business issue is very open to debate! You mention forward planning in your article and I would suggest that it’s lack of that that can be very expensive, rather than open source. There are several examples of failed migration to open source where it’s a completely bungled (or altogether absent) change management process that’s to blame, rather than open source. I think the same principle of holding up open source as the whipping boy applies here. And let’s be honest, Microsoft hardly bends over backwards to be compatible with open source, and I could never seriously hold open source to blame for that!

    You’re absolutely right that choosing open source because it’s cheap or free isn’t a good approach. Choose open source because of open standards and a generally very high level of compatibility between open source packages, which gives a business or individual freedom to choose the right software for them, and not what’s dictated to them by a software house.

  3. Why, does he want to go “all-cloud”? Does he have to go with Office365? He could not foresee Microsoft as a later entrant on the cloud business would (unlikely!) seem interesting enough. Even so he could go Office365 without e-mail – why not? And it is not a surprise Microsoft wouldn’t integrate with anything else… Frankly? He might get locked-in to MS and never have any possibility of changing, ever (we all know this is the game MS plays.) He would be better off of Microsoft, just to keep his future open for change.

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