Briefing notes on the benefits of Free Software?

Karsten Gerloff gerloff at
Fri Dec 4 15:16:47 UTC 2009

Hi Pete,

On Tue, Dec 01, 2009 at 10:35:09AM +0000, Peter Lewis wrote:
> Hi there,
> I work with a voluntary sector organisation in the UK, who are currently doing a review of their IT strategy and systems, and I asked recently if they were considering Free / Open Source solutions, as their previous systems are all based on Microsoft software (desktops, web servers, email, everything). After a short chat about what Free Software meant and how it's different from proprietary software, they had lots of questions, including "can this really save us money?", "will it give us more control?", "is it reliable?", "how secure is it?" etc.
> As a result, I've been asked to send them some information on Free / Open Source Software which will help to inform them in making decisions about their new strategy and procurement. So, can anyone recommend a good briefing note or two which would be suitable? Ideally it would be aimed at voluntary / public sector organisations in the UK and accessible by general management (not IT specialists), though other good materials would also be useful.

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any such note that I could point
you to, though one must certainly be out there somewhere.

One important point to go for is strategic independence. With Free
Software, the organisation is independent from upgrade cycles, and
can upgrade its software whenever it feels like doing so, rather
than when the vendor phases out support.

From the migrations I've studied, costs often tend to be
comparable to a proprietary solution in the first year, but drop
sharply afterwards.

There would be a great many more things to say. I hope you or
someone else still finds a briefing note like the one you're
looking for. But the point of strategic independence is often not
sufficiently considered, so I'm adding it here.

Best regards and good luck,

Karsten Gerloff <gerloff at> // Tel. +49 176 9690 4298 
President // Free Software Foundation Europe // []
Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 

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