Open Source Software vs. Commercial Software:
Migration from Windows to Linux
An IT Professional's Testimonial


How about Standards?

Microsoft is and has always been very aggressive in coming up with new technologies. Nobody can deny that they have moved technology in the forward direction by putting in plenty of research and development into different subjects of everyday computer life. However, Microsoft is also well known for straying off on their own path, rather than adhering to standards that have already been established and are known to work well. They have in fact "reinvented the wheel" many times over. Often times, Microsoft will try to use its weight to sway others along for the ride. Fortunately, they have not been extremely successful at doing this, but they keep on trying. Did you know that they tried to invent their own image format to compete with Jpeg, even though Jpeg has been around for years and is a proven standard? And more recently they have gone so far as to come up with their own browser technology called Silverlight, to compete with Javascript. Their said goal is to enrich web pages with extra functionality. However, Javascript has been around for many years and is supported in every web browser, including older versions of browsers. Don't get me wrong, competition is good. But Microsoft is not only in the game for competition. They are in the game for vendor lockin which helps their bottom line rather than helping the actual consumers.

HTML code Dreamweaver Word
HTML code generated by Dreamweaver and MS Word

There are many examples of Microsoft straying off into their own land. Take for instance Internet Explorer, Microsoft's web browser. If you happen to use Microsoft Word to create web pages (yes, it was never meant to be a web page editor, however if you already purchased Word and it has the capability, why not?), you will soon find complaints from users that use browsers other than Internet Explorer that they cannot see the pages or that the formatting is incorrect. This is due to the way Word codes the actual HTML code within the pages. You never see this code, but it defines everything that you do see within the browser. Microsoft purposely uses their proprietary code and tries to make the pages more rich in features that only work with Internet Explorer. Did I mention vendor lockin yet? This works fine if you use Internet Explorer (their web browser), but it totally disregards all other browsers on the Internet which are plenty. Also, the code generated by Microsoft Word is 10-20 times as long as code that does the same task with existing HTML technologies. So, in reality you have a double edged sword; not only is the code incompatible with all browsers other than Internet Explorer, but also it takes longer to download which will frustrate those viewing the page. I have had countless support issues with this problem, and in the end it causes more frustration with users trying to access websites, frustration with support personnel as they are very limited in the options (try telling the customer they have to use a certain browser!), and in the end both sides lose. And to boot, the functionality that Microsoft adds with their own code can be done with Javascript and other coding technologies that have already been around and are supported in every web browser, are guaranteed to work, and are more efficient at it.

Just another sneaky tactic by Microsoft to try and get their hands on different aspects of the end user (you). If I am creating a website, I want to rest assured that the people viewing it will be able to see the content, no matter what kind of computer they have or version of web browser they use. If a customer cannot view your business website, they can't see the content for it and will probably move along and look at a competitor's website that they can view. Essentially this is the same thing as closing your front door of your business, and hand picking customers that are standing outside the door to come in and shop. I have seen several websites that are written with Microsoft's custom code that only work in Internet Explorer. I use Firefox. So when I come across these websites, I move along and go to another website that does work. My guess is that either the creator of the website doesn't care, or is unaware of the problem.

Fortunately, Linux is at the forefront of widely adopted standards around the world. Not only does this ensure interoperability and compatibility with other organizations and products, but it opens the door to infinite resources such as product support, solid and secure applications, and minimal to nonexistent costs. Recall my previous point that open source is open to other open source products, as well as closed source products. Closed source products are just what they are, closed to open source generally and only work with their own proprietary standards.

Next Section : Conclusion

Previous Section: A Matter of Cost:Windows Refund,Cost of Anomalies,Knowledge Training Costs


Table of Contents


Click Here to Continue reading on making the actual migration.