We look differently at the cardboard box full of free puppies outside the super market once we become adults. As children what could be more fun than to get a puppy who is going to be your friend for life? Why not mom…it's FREE!! But as adults we have learned the truth. We know that taking home that puppy is going to cost us in the end. The free price tag hides all the costs we are going to spend on food, training, shots, and a new couch once the puppy discovers you are not coming home at 5:00 every night to walk him. Open source WCM solutions are very similar. The free price tag is attractive at first, but for online strategies that have multiple initiatives (intranet, extranet, portal, landing pages, micro-sites, etc.), the hidden fees lie in the heavy customization, maintenance and engineering work.
Puppy analogies — especially those with free puppies — are powerful stuff.
Is Open Source more expensive than proprietary systems? It depends. You can't generalize. Open Source implementations can be more expensive if you try to bend the software too much. However, you don't have to be a genius to understand that because there are no licensing costs, Open Source has the potential to be much cheaper than proprietary solutions, and that Open Source solutions come with freedom and flexibility not found in proprietary products. Implementation cost is an important factor, but it is in providing freedom and flexibility that Open Source wins and commercial vendors lose. Open Source puppies are "free" as in "free
One thing is for sure: puppies attract attention; these days, Open Source does as well and proprietary vendors tend to be of the jealous type.
The great thing about FUD, though, is that it validates our work in the Open Source community. Blog posts like Annie's trigger the competitive gene in hundreds of Open Source developers around the world, and in the end, makes Drupal stronger.
A free puppy, anyone?