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The cost of changing desktops

Open source software and apps expert Bernard Golden explains why jumping from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice isn't as difficult as some people think.

For a small company, would the financial benefits incurred through changing from propriertary to open source desktops warrant the change? Would the overheads involved (support, training etc) cancel out the savings made through licensing? I am a final year student and am very interested in the idea of companies changing from Windows, etc to open source. I would be interested in starting a company in Ireland (where the open source in business idea has not yet been embraced to a great degree) and was wondering if you could give me some advice?

There is a learning curve associated with moving from Windows desktops, but it's less than commonly supposed. Small businesses often use a very limited subset of Windows and Office functionality and could easily live with Linux/OpenOffice and reap significant savings. I think you have a great opportunity for starting an open source business in Ireland; start with a local Linux User Group to get going.

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