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The Hidden Cost of "Free"

It happens all the time: You find a company offers a free product, or an open source tool that does exactly what you need. But free often comes with associated costs of one kind or another. During this session, we’ll go over some of the most common types of expenses associated with free (such as time, effort, portability, expertise required, and compatibility). We’ll also take a close look at some popular free programs to evaluate first-hand what they might really cost you and your company.

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The Hidden Cost of "Free"

  1. 1. The Hidden Cost of “Free” Brenda Huettner @bphuettner @LavaCon
  2. 2. 14 http://www.homewetbar.com/free-beer-tomorrow-metal-sign-p-1454.html @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  3. 3. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31717/ @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  4. 4. Free Software Foundation Categories http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  5. 5. Other Categories of “Free” • • • • • • Software Trial Free with Purchase Freemium Creative Commons Shareware Beerware @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  6. 6. http://www.theboomerway.com/boomers-blog/there-is-no-such-thing-as-free-lunch @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  7. 7. Functionality Costs Pandora Spotify Slacker iHeartRadio Monthly Unique Users 65.6 million 20 million 4 million 48 million Launched 2000 2008 2007 2008 Free version available Yes: limited skips, ads, reduced quality Yes: fifteen combined Yes: ads, limited listening Yes: ads, limited skipping skips per day, six per hour time per station Paid Versions $4.99/mo. for desktop & PandoraOne: $36/year or $3.99 ad-free, $9.99 laptop, no ads. $3.99/month no ads, custom playlists and full $9.99/month lets you use higher quality on-demand streaming all devices, no ads No paid tiers Music Library Size 900,000 20 million 15 million Stations Custom stations, supported by Pandora algorithm Custom, 200+ curated Custom, unlimited skipping stations, 750 terrestrial stations, live talk radio 13 million Custom, 1,500 Live Stations Excerpted from http://mashable.com/2013/02/13/music-services-compared-2/ by Charlie White @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  8. 8. Support Costs • Tech Support: Who you gonna call? • Documentation: There are some FLOSS manuals you can download (or buy) • Upgrades: Well, it depends. @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  9. 9. Security Costs • Privacy Issues • Security of Personal Information • Bonus: malware and trojans included for free!! @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  10. 10. @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  11. 11. Compatibility Costs http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/libreoffice-vs-microsoft-office.html @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  12. 12. Legality Issues GPL (GNU General Public License) AGPL (Affero General Public License for servers) FDL (GNU Free Documentation License) BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) Creative Commons (6 different ones) @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  13. 13. Legality Issues Excerpt from the Open Source Definition •The program must include source code •The program must allow modifications •The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software •The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed – Open Source Initiative www.opensource.org @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  14. 14. City of Munich 2004-2009 http://waste.informatik.hu-berlin.de/Grassmuck/Texts/Limux.html @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  15. 15. References • • • • • Open Source Initiative www.opensource.org Free Software Foundation www.fsf.org Open Office www.openoffice.org LibreOffice www.libreoffice.org LiMux project in Munich http://waste.informatik.huberlin.de/Grassmuck/Texts/Limux.pdf • FLOSS Manuals www.flossmanuals.org @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon
  16. 16. Thanks Brenda Huettner bphuettner@p-ndesigns.com @bphuettner @bphuettner #CostOfFree @LavaCon

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It happens all the time: You find a company offers a free product, or an open source tool that does exactly what you need. But free often comes with associated costs of one kind or another. During this session, we’ll go over some of the most common types of expenses associated with free (such as time, effort, portability, expertise required, and compatibility). We’ll also take a close look at some popular free programs to evaluate first-hand what they might really cost you and your company.

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