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A few weeks ago The Linux Foundation released a report disclosed the approximate cost of developing a typical linux distribution would be $10.8 billion. They reckon the Linux kernel alone would cost at least $1.4 billion to develop.

That got me thinking, as a company we use open source software quite a lot. The idea is that we can pass on the benefits of open source to our clients. It doesn’t always make sense to offer an open source solution to a client, but when it does, we have no issues recommending an “off-the-shelf” open source product. Using open source software gives us the ability to offer our clients high quality, powerful and robust solutions for a for low price.

So the question is, how much money is open source saving our clients?

Let’s take Typo3 Content Management System for example. A standard, 10 page website using Typo3, would cost anywhere from €4k to €10k depending on the company you decided to go with. But what if you were to purchase a similar bespoke option CMS, with all the features of Typo3?

Looking at the code from the basic installment of Typo3, outside the modules and add-ons of course, there’s quite a large amount of work to be done.

Nevermind the brainstorming that would have been involved to get it to where it is today, at a complete guesstimate, I would estimate that there’s at least 7-8 months work in it for not 1, but 2 developers. Design is limited in Typo3, but it would have definitely needed some input from a designer at some stage.

Let’s break that down into the current markpet prices with a rate of €500 per developer (cheap I know)…

2 x Web Developers x 160 days (8 months) = €80,000
1 x Web Designer x 3 days (being nice) = €1,200
Total = €81,200

Of course, VAT isn’t included here – but it’s clear to see that there is quite a saving for the customer by choosing the open source solution.

In most cases, the basic installation of Typo3 isn’t enough to get a decent website going, which means there would be more development required for additional add-ons and modules.

The bottom line is that Open source solutions tend to offer you a lot more than a bespoke solutions and quite frankly costs very little in comparison.

We’ve obviously only discussed Typo3 here, but what about other systems such as Joomla, Mambo, Zen Cart, osCommerce etc etc??? Can you imagine how much you are saving with these systems too?

So the next time you think of developing a website, you should seriously consider an open source solution before even discussing the bespoke option.

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