Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

07 Jan 2007

You Get What You Pay For?

Today we were doing some graphics work in the Gimp. The Gimp is one of the poster children of the open source movement. It is quite a powerful application and it can do quite a lot, however it is not a drop in replacement for Adobe Photoshop, which is a better application.

You can compare many open source applications with commercial closed source equivalents and sometimes the commercial version is better, sometimes the open source version is better. When you consider retail prices though it's hard to justify buying many commercial applications for small business or home users, indeed except when the commercial offering is significantly better there is little additional value in many commercial applications for corporations either.

For example, consider:

Open/FreeClosed/CommercialPrice*
OSLinuxWindows Vista£50-£200
OfficeOpenOfficeMicrosoft Office£100-£500
Bitmap EditorThe GimpAdobe Photoshop£500
Vector EditorInkscapeAdobe Illustrator£430
Web SuiteNuvAdobe Dreamweaver£330
Anti-virusClam-AV (Not Required)Sophos/Norton£50/pa
TotalsFree & Open Source = £0£1410-1960
* Price varies depending upon version with family. Range represents typical UK street prices from most basic option to most complete.

I will admit that some tools like Gimp are not as good as Photoshop but Debian GNU/Linux is a vastly superior operating system to Windows and comes with about every conceivable piece of open source software imaginable, all easily installed. Debian cost me £zero, and while it may not be quite as good as a close source alternative in some ways it is a lot cheaper, indeed a comparable closed source commercial system to my current Debian system would cost around three times the cost of my current hardware platform.

Some closed source software may be better than open source but on the whole free and open source is a LOT BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY!