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One school district answers Microsoft's pricing with open source

Open source saved a school district a great deal of money. What could it be saving you?

What if your local school district had to choose between Microsoft software licenses or education for your children? This isn't far off from the choice Windsor Unified School District in California recently faced, as LinuxWorld Magazine details.

Facing a $100,000 price tag from Microsoft (half the district's IT budget) and another $200,000 for security software from Trend Micro, the district's new IT administrator turned to open source:

Carver dramatically reduced costs by moving about 60% of software to open source, while also saving on hardware expenses by employing virtualization and thin client technology....

Windsor's "mixed source" approach includes OpenOffice, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, and proprietary technologies like Microsoft Windows Server, Novell NetWare and Novell ZENworks.

IT operating expenses and travel time were cut by 50%, since the new products can be managed remotely for the most part, and have fewer problems. "OpenOffice doesn't have bugs like Microsoft Office has," Carver said in an interview after her presentation.

Let's do the match. A lot more technology for a lot lower price. It's actually shocking that people keep wasting time with proprietary technology at all. Yes, there are times when open-source alternatives aren't up to par. But those times are becoming fewer and farther between.

If you're a CIO, do yourself a favor. Upgrade your IT department by going with more open-source software. You'll be able to attract higher-caliber employees and you'll save a grundle on the software, plus you'll end up with software more finely tuned to your particular needs, rather than the needs of your proprietary vendors' quarterly targets.