I'm working on a marketing letter, and I'll be using one of my favorite success stories which is about Russ, owner of a small Internet service provider (ISP) providing web hosting, e-mail, and related services to his local community.
Once upon a time, I would listen to Russ complain of problems with his proprietary e-mail server, then I would suggest he let me set up a Linux server running open source software, and Russ would sigh, “Yeah, I really should...” but he could usually get his e-mail running again without too much help and everything would continue as before.
As time went on, Russ' business grew and more customers relied upon his e-mail server; moreover, the spam, viruses, and e-mail scams multiplied even faster than his customers. Eventually the day came when Russ' e-mail server crashed and he could not repair it. The server was down, angry customers were calling, and the company that sold the e-mail software to Russ told him, “We won't fix it, You need to purchase the latest version.” They had him over a barrel: the latest release of their software sells for $1,795.50 and requires a more powerful computer to run smoothly. Russ called me and asked, “How fast can you set up a Linux server?” We set one up the next day and it ran for more than a year before Russ chose to upgrade the computer hardware. The current server is almost a year and a half old, has about five hundred users, easily filters spam attacks up to over 80 messages per minute, and still has plenty of room for growth. For over two years Russ has enjoyed happy customers, he eventually had us set up Linux servers to handle e-mail, web page hosting, DNS, file sharing, and some custom applications. Russ hired Codefix Consulting to migrate him to the Linux platform, and I make sure his servers are up to date, but software license fees and corporate profiteering are a distant memory. Open source software is free and it does what it's supposed to do.