Subject: Development vs. aquisition costs (was: Re: Need quotes for an article...)
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:13:19 -0800
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:13:19 -0800
on Thu, Dec 23, 2004 at 06:26:58PM -0800, Karsten M. Self ( wrote:
> Please note reply-to set to linux-elitists.
> on Thu, Dec 23, 2004 at 03:42:39PM -0500, Peter Wayner ( wrote:
> > 
> > On Dec 23, 2004, at 11:10 AM, Robin 'Roblimo' Miller wrote:
> > 
> > >Here's the opening paragraph of an article I'm writing:
> > >
> > >According to MIT's <a  
> > >href="Technology">">Technology  
> > >Review</a>, the world's top R&D spender isn't Microsoft. It's Ford.  
> > >Pfizer is number two, DaimlerChrysler is number three, and Toyota is  
> > >number four. IBM is number eight. Microsoft is number twelve. While  
> > >it's unlikely that all the open source software development and  
> > >research in the world represents nearly as much R&D investment as  the  
> > >bottom entry on Technology Review's <a  
> > >href=" 
> > >scorecard1204.asp?p=5">"Top 15" list</a> (Volkwagen), it probably  
> > >would make their (pdf link) <a  
> > >href=" 
> > >scorecard21204.pdf">list of 150 top research spenders</a>. But how do  
> > >we meaure the value of open source development in financial terms?  

> > >Should we even try to measure it this way or look for a different  
> > >metric that includes social value, not just money?

> > Note also a more methodical study:
> > 
> >
> I turned up the Wheeler estimate as well.
> There's a Register story from 1998 citing Eric Green estimating core
> GNU/Linux development (kernel + utilities) at $1,000,000,000, and
> $4,000,000,000 for a then-typical distro CD bundle:

For another PoV, I ran across a line on a GNU/Linux website which
mentioned that the cost of equipting a legacy MS Windows PC with the
software readily (and freely) available on a GNU/Linux desktp was well
over a thousand dollars.

I did a quick calculation for my own configuration, using MS Windows XP
Professional as the base OS.  Rules were that software on the Microsoft
platform had to be proprietary and fully-paid-up versions, where
available.  Net cost:  $4,522.

This includes some costs many users might not incur:  Unix utilities, X
server, and a CAL 5-pack.  Less these, we're down to merely $2,148.

This is for retail packaged versions of software, where possible, and
somewhat assumes a whitebox / bare metal system (as mine is).  You can
definitely acquire a lot of functionality at lower costs, with OS-only
running about $348.  There are also significant discounts available for
preload, institutional, educational, or non-profit organizations, likely
reducing costs significantly.

If anyone has suggestions for software not included, please reply to me
off-list.  Several P2P and messaging clients have been mentioned, but
most of these are freely available (free software or freeware) and
wouldn't change the bottom line.

It was also interesting to note that there are a growing number of
niches in which it's becoming difficult to find paid-up, proprietary
software.  X Server, GNU/Linux / POSIX / Unix utilities, and messaging
applications among them.

I'm also utterly baffled by requirements for CALs.  If anyone has a
reference that lays this out clearly, I'd very much appreciate it.
Google fails me here.  What I have been able to tell is that the things
are expensive and required for a large number of services.


Karsten M. Self <>
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    We're not going to fix this by getting the pilots to be more careful.
    - Aviation industry approach to systemic improvement.

["application/pgp-signature" not shown]