Quitting Microsoft Like Quitting Cigarettes: Difficult to do, but it feels great when its done!

Mercian Labels, a company that produces “custom printed self adhesive labels for UK businesses” has a blog detailing their migration from Windows-based software to open source software.  Their most recent post is “What it feels like to turn off windows XP and finally be totally dependant on open source” and the quick summary is:

“God it felt good.”

 :-)

The details are a good reminder of how quitting Microsoft is like quitting cigarettes; its very dificult to do, but when its done you feel great!

I reflected on the cost of this to date. Its been expensive in terms of time, very expensive. Probably a hundred plus hours of my time to get to this stage. Open source is great, reliable and cheaper in terms of license fees, but the migration is punishing. Advice to new business startups is go with open source from the start – far better for compliance, functionality, reliability and cost saving. The more you get hooked into developing systems that are dedicated to microsoft, then the harder it is to get out of it. If you are considering open source as a short term cost saving exercise in your business and plan to use existing hardware or have special software, then my advice is dont. Have a long term strategy, or accept that its cheaper to stay with what you have. That said, I dont regret the migration for a minute, and now I am the first person in the business running only open source software I will report on my experiences in the coming weeks before we start the roleout for all our other employees. Its a great feeling to be free (in a very small individual user way) of the restricive, slow, unreliable xp/outlook configuration I USED to use! 

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