Why bother?

Matthew Geddes mgeddes at xavier.sa.edu.au
Mon Apr 23 00:28:20 GMT 2001

Richard Sharpe wrote:
> Hi,
> I am seeking to re-affirm the faith?

A Samba-technical topic?

> Why bother, why not give into the borg and use M$ products?

There are many, many reasons why people pick one platform over another. 

> What is it that keeps you using Samba, or indeed any other open source
> software like Linux, FreeBSD, GIMP, etc.

It works. OK, when I grab the latest CVS of something (call it Samba, to
stay on topic), I don't expect that every feature will work perfectly.
The difference is, though, that nobody is claiming that it is perfect.
This is the biggest difference between Open Source and say, Microsoft
and/or sun Microsystems.

> Are there any rational economic arguments for doing so?

Microsoft's own baby: TCO.

> Isn't it easier to use M$ products because so many school levers are
> familiar with the products now that M$ have managed to weasel their
> curriculum into so many school and college boards ...?

We are trying to fix this (schools, that is). We already run mostly
Linux servers, I have distributed CDs of various distributions to kids
that ask me about it and I'm also researching thin client X-Term stuff.
There are other schools here in SA that are sponsored by Sun to use
their Sun Ray technology also. There are quite a few of us who firmly
believe that rather than teach specific products, teach the concepts
behind using that type of product. It's not easy, but it will mean that
students are in much better stead than they would otherwise.

> Isn't maintenance so much easier since so many people know how to use their
> products?

Not necessarily. There is a huge amount of support available for most
major Open Source projects. Things like Linux and Samba aren't as hard
to admin as some people will have you know. A good example is a friend
of mine who builds PCs for a living. He has a Linux/Samba server that we
set up for him, but he's never used Unix or similar. He used to use DOS,
but uses Windows these days. Anyway, there was a problem with
permissions on one of the Samba shares and he learnt vi and a few key
Linux commands and RTFMd until he had sorted out the problem. It took
him longer than it would me, but he did it himself and he surprised
himself as to how little time it took him.

> Aren't we just refusing to acknowledge that M$ have won? Shouldn't we just
> pay the M$ tax and get on with our lives?

I am getting on with my life. I still don't use Windows though. I have
an unopened copy of Windows 98 that came with a machine and a Beta of
Windows 2000. Neither are installed. There is nothing I need to do that
I can't do with Unix/Linux/Samba/Open Source.


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