Rob Weir Wants Students to Pay for Linux and Open Office

I have a really bad habit of occasionally reading Rob Weir’s blog.  For those of you who don’t know him, he’s one of IBM’s paid FUD masters that has a fanatical hatred of Open XML and all things Microsoft.  It’s a shame because he’s a really smart guy but uses his powers for the dark side of OSS.  He’s almost like the Darth Vadar of the OpenOffice world and goes to any lengths to instil fear in those who would even consider Microsoft standards or technologies.

One of his recent posts discusses how much cheaper an entry-level Dell with Ubuntu and OpenOffice is for students than one with Windows and Office.  I decided to call his bluff and browsed over to Dell’s site and configure the system as a student.  As can be seen from the picture below, the system is a reasonable $527.  Add Office Ultimate directly from Microsoft using a student discount and the total comes to $586.95.


Why Rob Weir Fails

Rob, your student analogy fails if you apply for Dell's student discounts:

Also, the final price with Vista Home Premium and Office Student Teacher edition is $665

Okay fine you want Office Ultimate, well if you're a student you can get Office Ultimate edition separately for $59.95 from The Ultimate Steal directly from Microsoft.

So going back to the final Dell Price w/o productivity software + Office Ultimate from Microsoft = $527 + $59.95 = $586.95

Some may personally choose to save $169, but personally I think its worth the money for all the apps you get in Ultimate Edition not to mention a student can’t play games reliably on Ubuntu.  Sure Wine is coming along, but is this really what students want?  Furthermore if you really want a quality commitment to gaming, you have have pay for Cedega.  If we examine the cost of gaming on Linux using Cedega over a four-year period of college, the cost savings of $169 is blown away because Cedega costs $45/year totalling $180.  *that $428 is starting to look really expensive*

So to me, Linux and Open Office are free, but its like a puppy is free.  What is the total cost of ownership?

So once again, what do students get for the additional $169 $11 they spend save choosing Vista Home Premium for their four years in college?

  • DirectX Games
  • Vista Media Center
  • Office Ultimate (they own it)
  • Compatibility with All School Systems that use IE6 (I hate IE6)
  • Native Compatibility with an iPod or iPhone
  • Ability to run all Windows applications

I would like Linux to be competitive just as much as the next OSS *I love Compiz Fusion* guy because that forces Microsoft to do better and be better, but Linux still has a long way to go before consumers use it as a valid alternative to Windows.  Rob, I know you’re a numbers guys so it would be great if you could double check my numbers :) 

Be merciful m’lord.


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