CNet had a story recently about how Ernie Ball, an American guitar company responded to a BSA shake-down (which discovered, to be fair, that they were running some unlicenced software):
In 2000, the Business Software Alliance conducted a raid and subsequent audit at the San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based company that turned up a few dozen unlicensed copies of programs. Ball settled for $65,000, plus $35,000 in legal fees. But by then, the BSA, a trade group that helps enforce copyrights and licensing provisions for major business software makers, had put the company on the evening news and featured it in regional ads warning other businesses to monitor their software licenses.
Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months. "I said, 'I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses,'" recalled Ball, who recently addressed the LinuxWorld trade show. "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."
After considering a few non-Microsoft options, they settled on Red Hat Linux, with Mozilla, Evolution, and OpenOffice.
This company's story is one every open-source-in-business advocate should know and spread as widely as possible. Sterling Ball (the CEO) makes very compelling points:
I know I saved $80,000 right away by going to open sourceby abandoning Windows on their 72 desktop systems.
- (In response to the classic anti-open source arguments about TCO and support):
What support? I'm not making calls to Red Hat; I don't need to. I think that's propaganda...What about the cost of dealing with a virus? We don't have 'em.
It's just software. You have to figure out what you need to do within your organization and then get the right stuff for that. And we're not a backwards organization. We're progressive; we've won communications and design awards...The fact that I'm not sending my e-mail through Outlook doesn't hinder us.
I think it's great for me to be a technology influence. It shows how ridiculous it is that I can get press because I switched to OpenOffice. And the reason why is because the myth has been built so big that you can't survive without Microsoft, so that somebody who does get by without Microsoft is a story.
All timestamps are Melbourne time.