Free as in Kittens

While Open Source has been steadily gaining traction across business and government many organisations are still confused by the total cost of ownership (TCO) of open source products. The presentation takes a look at the various cost, procurement and maintenance models, and proposes methods of managing the costs of open source within corporations.

People who were convinced by “Free as in Speech” were the amongst the first to adopt FOSS as a method for improving and developing tools and software unencumbered by over complex and restrictive license conditions. This was followed swiftly by the “Free as in Beer” crowd who were attracted by the free cost of purchase in what could be an extremely expensive market.

However, both of these arguments, while valid, confuse the value proposition of open source software. The concept “Free as in Kittens” is an alternative way of looking at the TCO of open source products based on 3 factors.

  1. There is no (or minimal) initial purchase cost for the product.
  2. There is an ongoing maintenance or upkeep cost for the life of the product.
  3. The extrinsic value of the product is significant and much greater than the ongoing cost (in other words, we all love kittens).