David Wheeler has written an oustandingly lucent article about Open Source vs. Proprietary software, taking the business and risk viewpoint. He carefully debunks much of the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) with real data and information.
This paper provides quantitative data that, in many cases, using open source software / free software is a reasonable or even superior approach to using their proprietary competition according to various measures. This paper’s goal is to show that you should consider using OSS/FS when acquiring software. This paper examines market share, reliability, performance, scalability, security, and total cost of ownership. It also has sections on non-quantitative issues, unnecessary fears, OSS/FS on the desktop, usage reports, other sites providing related information, and ends with some conclusions. An appendix gives more background information about OSS/FS. You can view this paper at http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html<!– The PDF has too many problems – misnumbering, table misformats: it is also available in PDF format. –> (HTML format). Palm PDA users may wish to use Plucker to view this. A short briefing based on this paper is also available in PDF and Open Office Impress formats (for the latter, use Open Office Impress). Old archived copies and a list of changes are also available.