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    RL:  What were you planning on doing with the systems?
    Joe:  Thats where it gets even more frustrating.  It seemed ridiculous that we would need to pay as much for Microsoft software, in this case Office Pro, so my staff could be typing letters, printing documents, managing basic spreadsheets, or making a few presentation slides.   It was disturbing and discouraging to me that the software was going to cost us more than all of the hardware!   It's hard to run a small business when Microsoft site licenses would run in the hundreds of dollars for each system.

    RL:  Microsoft offers bulk prices for licensing.  Did you look into prices and options?
    Joe:  Yes, we talked through all of the options.  The best price we negotiated for Office Pro license was still far more than all of the hardware we had bought.

    RL:   What about other software?  Perhaps a simplified suite like MS Works?
    Joe:  It couldnt do the job.  Everyone kept reminding me that the rest of the world worked in Office and we would need to be able to exchange data, like emailing power points.

    RL:  So, is this when you contacted us about Linux?
    Joe:  Honestly, no.  I did not consider Linux as a viable option, because we wanted to be compatible with the rest of the world.  Then a friend showed me how Linux included SUNs StarOffice suite which had word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and among others all for FREE. These tools were all compatible with MS Office and free.

    RL:  Is this when you moved to Linux?
    Joe: Indeed, yes!  For $29 I saw a more stable operating system than Microsoft, with all of the tools we needed to get the job done, all while remaining compatible with the rest of the world.

    RL:  What was the key factor that sold you to move your business to Linux?
    Joe:  The factor that sold me was the fact that StarOffice for Linux allowed me to import and export Microsoft documents, and spreadsheets, and all this for almost zero cost per machine.  No other alternative offers this deal. We saved our small business thousands of dollars using OpenSource and Linux instead of Microsoft, and we are saving even now in maintenance and uptime!

    RL:  If you had a chance to talk to business owners in the same situation, what are some thoughts you would convey?
    Joe:  We have reached a pivotal time where the PCs are less expensive than the software they run.  This is a terrible barrier to entry for small companies until they consider Linux.

    Small Company Saves Big on Linux
    "We saved our small business thousands of dollars using Linux instead of Microsoft, and we are saving even now in maintenance and uptime!"

       Joe runs a small business that needed infrastructure at minimal cost.  This brief interview sheds some light on the reality so many face when given the option to buy PCs that are cheaper than the software suites they run.

    ReallyLinux:  Joe, give us some insight how you got into the financial mess?
    Joe:  We saw some great priced PCs at the local retailer I mean really great priced PCs -- and purchased ten systems.  These were solid machines to run our business needs on.

    RL:  So, what happened next?
    Joe: Our system administrator was in charge of setting up and getting them ready for our new employees.  A few days later I had a note from him with a check request for thousands of additional dollars needed for the software to run our PCs!  We spent less on all of the Pcs, network hardware, and printers combined!

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