The end of life for Windows XP - The case for Open Source Software

I'm sure you have all heard about Microsoft's announcement for the official end of life for Windows XP.  In case you haven't, here is a link to the official countdown:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/end-of-support.aspx

At the time of this writing, the countdown is 18 days, 1 hr, 9 minutes

In the world of commercial software, there is pretty much one guaranty:  At some point you will be forced to double down on your existing investment in technology.  It happens for one of a few reasons.  First is that the vendor just cannot afford to keep supporting the older version of their products.  And, they don't want you running them anyway.  They always want you to have to buy the latest & greatest product whether you need it or not.  How many versions of MS Office have you purchased over the years?  Do you really use many, if any, of the new features?  Most people don't.  The second way to get forced to upgrade to a new product is when another company buys the product and then promptly ends support for it so that you can buy their competing product.

This model is the primary reason why, back in the late 90's, I decided to forego closed source software and run my business only using Open Source products.  It has always served me well.  We've invested a lot of time implementing our business systems.  As expected, some of the applications are no longer supported or maintained.  But, having the source code to these applications gives us great power and the ability to continue to run them, even as the operating systems they run on have evolved.  If necessary, we are able to recompile the code, or just refresh the packages to support modern systems.

Now, I'm not necessarily advocating never upgrading or changing applications.  We do that all the time.  I just think that you should be able to make that decision in your own timeframe and not your vendor's.

Certainly, the savvy business owners have caught on to the game.  Many of our customers look primarily for an open source solution and will consider a closed source one only in the event that a solid open source product doesn't exist yet.  Luckily, that is becoming less and less common.  Open source software has moved way up the software stack into areas that commercial vendors never thought possible.  Applications, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) used to be reserved only for large enterprises with huge budgets.  Now, there are many open source offerings and they commonly have more features and flexibility than their closed source competitors.

When it comes time for you to make a technology decision for your business, I hope you will consider an Open Source solution.  If you need help, let us know.

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