Even Bill Gates Likes Free Software

Linux can save your business money. Powerful Linux applications power servers,​ desktops and laptops across enterprises and small businesses each day. Here in​ our business,​ our websites are open source,​ our support module is​ Linux,​ the​ CRM application and the​ Accounting system we use to​ run our business is​ open source software. Best of​ all our Linux tools,​ operating systems and applications,​ are all freely distributed.

Linux people are different. They search for power and function,​ but that is​ not all sought. Linux people believe that software should be freely distributed. the​ Linux community respects Microsoft; fantastic company whose apps like Office have improve millions of​ lives,​ really cool. But the​ dark secret in​ Linux circles paints Microsoft as​ a​ dinosaur,​ Linux people believe that expensive software with painful upgrade fees is​ headed for trouble.

Bill Gates Sees a​ "Sea Change" in​ Application Software

Microsoft sells operating systems and applications,​ and keeps on​ selling them. Backward compatibility with applications like Word can be hard and is​ this pain is​ by design. Microsoft wants to​ create pain and then fix,​ with upgrades. Microsoft wants upgrade dollars. This software model is​ starting to​ collect some rust. And the​ reason for this: free software is​ good. Free software is​ now available; free business applications to​ run your business,​ which are maintained,​ supported and best of​ all,​ are freely distributed. Bill Gates’s vision has focused on​ the​ on-line delivery model and even the​ free application delivery model.

Linux Distributions are a​ Personal Choice

Linux is​ built in​ distributions or​ releases,​ all slightly different. Ubuntu,​ a​ terrific linux distribution,​ is​ so good that it​ may be nudging Windows off desktops. Ubuntu is​ easy to​ deploy and easy to​ use plus it​ is​ loaded with applications for home users and business users. the​ Ubuntu desktop market share numbers are still viewed with a​ magnifying glass,​ but not too long ago,​ you​ needed a​ microscope. Ubuntu is​ easy to​ install and easy to​ use. Just get the​ software at​ the​ website and burn a​ CD. Ubuntu has just one CD or​ one ISO which loads in​ a​ snap. Red Hat,​ another distribution has 6 and takes much longer to​ complete. Ubuntu is​ lean because after the​ initial setup the​ user can craft his Ubuntu system just how he likes. the​ internet has Ubuntu distribution sites that power a​ tool called apt-get. All you​ do is​ apt-get install from a​ command line or​ user the​ Add Software GUI tools and you​ are getting the​ best linux apps right off the​ shelf and put right into your menu.

Ubuntu Distribution

The Ubuntu distribution has an​ Office suite with word processing,​ a​ spreadsheet,​ and presentation modules. All work can be saved in​ common formats like .doc or​ xls and are completely compatible with Microsoft products. the​ base Ubuntu application is​ loaded with graphics applications,​ CD,​ DVD burning and creation,​ multi-media including music and movie players,​ back-up apps,​ powerful anti-virus tools and networking applications that are best of​ breed. There is​ built in​ VOIP and message clients and many cool apps like Sticky Notes to​ make you​ more efficient.

Free Business Linux Applications

GNU Cash,​ free financial tracking,​ similar to​ Quicken. Cut an​ invoice,​ track bank accounts,​ run a​ budget and report your cash flow. Import your bank files and create buckets of​ spend for your financial analysis that will make an​ accountant jealous.

PBX and Phone Systems

Elastix will power up your phones. Did you​ know that most PBX commercial software is​ run using a​ freely distributed tool called Astericks. Elastix has re-packaged Astericks to​ ease the​ deployment and offers support. Expensive PBXs are not necessary. Linux has adapted other telephony tools like VOIP,​ predictive dialers,​ and call center solutions.

Do you​ need a​ content management system? a​ website or​ an​ intranet for your company. Plone,​ Drupal,​ Joomla deliver big. the​ functionality in​ these freely distributed tools match the​ priciest CMS software. the​ tools are supported and you​ can even buy how to​ books at​ your local bookstore.

Customer Relationship Management and CRM

How about sales tools,​ CRM or​ order management,​ even inventory management software? Full power CRM or​ customer relationship management tools are available for free or​ for super low prices. DataForceCRM,​ based in​ Dallas,​ is​ deploying a​ sugarcrm linux derivative that has been enhanced and strengthened and customers are shaving 80% off typical user fees. DataForceCRM offers wikis,​ forums,​ full documentation and will make sure user adoption is​ high. the​ tool is​ super flexible,​ has Outlook integration,​ manages marketing,​ tracks sales,​ eyeballs inventory,​ push button order management,​ gives customers’s a​ support tool and is​ Freely distributed to​ companies with less than 10 users. if​ your business has over 10 users,​ prices are still a​ bargain.

Companies pay high prices for customer support modules. OTRS,​ another open source backbone application in​ commercial applications,​ is​ there for the​ download and configuration. After set up your business will have a​ fully featured,​ professional trouble ticket tracker helping your clients get what they need.

Virtualization is​ taking it​ departments by storm. Virtualization turns your single computer,​ you​ need some memory,​ into many virtual machines. This streamlines hardware usage and turns hard ware utilization way up. State of​ the​ art Virtualization called Xen comes with many linux distributions. in​ Ubuntu do apt-get install vmware-server and a​ fine tool is​ on​ its way to​ your machine.

The coolest thing about Linux is​ that in​ the​ 30 minutes I took to​ write this article,​ more applications were probably released. Sourceforge.net,​ a​ depository for linux tools is​ one of​ the​ busiest sites on​ the​ internet and full of​ Linux value added applications. Just yesterday I needed to​ edit a​ PDF. I google up pdfnet and there I went,​ for free. Very cool,​ ERP,​ or​ enterprise resource planning is​ free too. Linux support was targeted for genius level IQs but not any longer.

Companies realize good training and support drives value. Applications,​ even if​ free,​ are expensive if​ the​ learning curve is​ steep and if​ users are not guide. Smart open source companies are rolling out support modules to​ all service all learning types,​ wikis,​ live chat,​ forums,​ documentation and live phone contacts. Now with support in​ place,​ training available communities grow and grow. the​ applications I mentioned hit the​ tipping point where the​ user community is​ user support. Just this morning I was stumped with a​ virtual machine question. I googled the​ error code and added for Ubuntu. the​ page came up faster than I could call support,​ and the​ answer was clearly defined. Cool.

New technology can be daunting to​ learn and use. the​ linux world knows this and just in​ the​ last few years,​ has put strong arms around user friendliness. Opensource software is​ easy to​ deploy,​ easy to​ use,​ powerful and supported. I just covered a​ tiny fraction of​ applications available today. Just for fun,​ visit the​ sites in​ this article. Check out the​ super cool applications and then put a​ number to​ your potential savings. you​ may become a​ Linux Geek.

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