Total cost of ownership (TCO): Commercial vs Open source software

Total cost of ownership (TCO) of open source software as compared to commercial software has been a controversial subject for sometime now, with companies providing varying and at times even opposite results.

An article on ServerWatch compares open source TCO with that of commercial software on the following parameters:

  • Upfront Costs and Internal Synergy
  • Labor vs. Licenses
  • Scalability

The author says that “Defenders of commercial software argue that the upfront cost savings attributed to open source are illusory because of the support and labor costs that follow. That argument is strongest when applied to open source projects that haven’t yet attained internal synergy. It is weaker when applied to those that have.”

He concludes by saying that “The crux of the comparison between commercial and open source software is where the better human capital investment lies â

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