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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it make business sense to replace Windows with Linux?
Linux, sometimes called GNU/Linux, has been around long enough that some of the hype is starting to die down as to whether you should or should not replace proprietary software with open source software like Linux and OpenOffice.org. The discussion has grown from a strictly religious discussion to a nuts-and-bolts discussion about the fiscal upside and downside...
Published on January 17, 2005 by Christian Einfeldt

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like it, but ...
I thought I could just keep silent on this, but I can't. I was disappointed with Ms. Winslow's publication, as much as I really wanted to like the book.

Here's why:

* Too simplified. Although this book makes for an 'easy read', she glosses over the details of important, and often complex, topics, such as the intricacies of the GPL license and how...
Published on November 30, 2005 by V. Kouyoumjian


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it make business sense to replace Windows with Linux?, January 17, 2005
This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
Linux, sometimes called GNU/Linux, has been around long enough that some of the hype is starting to die down as to whether you should or should not replace proprietary software with open source software like Linux and OpenOffice.org. The discussion has grown from a strictly religious discussion to a nuts-and-bolts discussion about the fiscal upside and downside.

Maria Winslow contributes to the nuts-and-bolts side of the debate with her new book, The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source. Although it is obvious that Winslow tends to have a personal slant in favor of open source software, sometimes called free software, her slant is based on numbers, not religion.

Winslow starts out with a primer for the business manager who is new to open source. She gives you a short history of how we have gotten here, what's available on the market in terms of functionally solid open source software, and where it might fit in your business.

Winslow next gives examples of real-life settings in which companies or governmental agencies moved to open source, why they moved, and the ups and downs of the migrations. She gives it to you straight, telling the hardships as well as the benefits of those users' migrations. Her unvarnished stories will give you a candid opinion from those who have made the transition, so that you will have a realistic picture of what challenges you might find by moving, as well as the potential upside of moving.

Winslow's best score with this book is the creation of live spreadsheets for the reader to download from her site to use in making actual calculations about the potential return on investment (ROI) in YOUR unique business's IT (information technology) environment. Her spreadsheets will first help you prepare a feasibility report to determine, whether or not you will be wasting your time considering such a move in the first place; and her second spreadsheet gives you a framework for calculating a real-world analysis of what your realistic ROI might be based on your own unique circumstances.

The remainder of the book is dedicated to familiarizing you with places that you can go for further information on getting support; what companies are offering reliable open source solutions; and what will likely happen with the future of open source offerings.

Overall, it is Winslow's opinion that a practical manager will not rip-and-replace wholesale, absent some compelling financial reason for doing so. Rather, Winslow recommends breaking the reader's needs down in terms of time and functionality to time the migration, if at all, so as to maximize both the benefits of open source software, in places where it gives superior performance, as well as cost savings, in places where an open source migration is cheaper than the status quo.

She concludes with a brief review of the controversey between Microsoft and companies such as IBM, Novell, Mandrakesoft, Linspire, etc., as to whether independent studies tend to show that Linux is, in fact, less expensive that Microsoft's proprietary solutions. Microsoft has launched an ad campaign called "Get the Facts" in which it contends that Microsoft solutions are cheaper than the open source alternatives.

Winslow, ever the pragmatist, gives you a brief framework to assist you in evaluating the arguments pro and con on that debate, and offers her own opinion as to where the chips seem to be falling.

This book is not that useful for technical IT managers who are looking for technical solutions to technical problems. However, this book is highly recommended for business managers who would like a pragmatic framework to use in quantifying wether or not to move to open source software, and which aspects of their environment are candidates for migration.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title Says It All, March 15, 2005
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This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
This is a very clear and concise book that provides not only guidance in the decision making but also simple explanations that a manager can use to promote the funding and policy changes necessary to support a migration. Dealing with non-technical senior management is always a challenge but this helps a great deal. I did not expect this book to be one I had to read cover to cover but I found myself doing just that. The worksheets that the book recommends (available on their website) will open your eyes. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like it, but ..., November 30, 2005
This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
I thought I could just keep silent on this, but I can't. I was disappointed with Ms. Winslow's publication, as much as I really wanted to like the book.

Here's why:

* Too simplified. Although this book makes for an 'easy read', she glosses over the details of important, and often complex, topics, such as the intricacies of the GPL license and how it differs from BSD-style licenses. I implore all readers interested in open source to read at _least_ one more significant publication on this topic.

* Too much opinion. I noticed that Ms. Winslow tended to interject her opinion with the facts such that the two became blurred for this reader.

* Older references. Too many of her critical sources were from 2001 or 2002. Given the subject, this is not useful to the practical manager who wants to stay current. I realize she published in 2004, but "The Success of Open Source" by Steven Weber was also published in 2004 and it is overflowing with useful references.

* Too Linux-centric. The title belies a broad topic of open source to be covered. Only Linux was her open source focus and success story. Perhaps the title should be "The Practical Manager's Guide To Linux Open Source".

* Poor editing. Although a minor distraction, I lost track of the number of typos.

I did appreciate the case studies, however.

Thanks for your time - .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few books that lives up to its title, June 8, 2005
This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
Exactly what the title promises, this is a survey of open source business software solutions from the business manager perspective. Most of the books on the market that laud the merits of open source programs are directed at the technically oriented user. This book provides management with the information they need to determine if they should investigate the use of open source software in their business. It includes actual case studies including the specific software products used and a cost savings analysis as well as how to calculate the Total Cost of Ownership if you are looking at making a change away from Windows products.

The book contains almost no technical jargon. It is a high-level overview of the programs available, what each one does, advantages and disadvantages, and where to find additional information. Ms. Winslow includes information on all the most popular business applications and distributions of Linux. She even includes information on determining when you should and should not make the switch and when a hybrid network is the most appropriate as well as how to get users and management to buy into the change. The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source is a great non-technical overview of open source business programs and the perfect place to start for management considering Linux in their network.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars technical material explained in plain English, May 13, 2005
This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
I don't do a lot of reading yet have really enjoyed "Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source" by Maria Winslow (way to go, Maria!). So many books are filled with technical spew or other superfluous information. Not the case here. It is the straight forward real deal and explains in plain English what open source is and how it is being used. There are real case studies instead of stuff dreamed up from the sales department.

Highly recommended for all those that use open source software or want to learn more about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book - covering specific case studies and TCO calculation, September 16, 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (Broomfield, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
Ms. Winslow's book is a rarity - it contains real case studies from real people, and talks both about where Open Source is a good match, and very practical ways to tell where it may not be as good a match.

The case studies are superb - much better than "analyst reports", because they contain the words, thoughts and motivations of people who've actually put open source software into production in the real world, and it includes their savings according to their own measurements and experience.

Although I've seen a few of these cases before, having them all together in one book with the information on how one goes about seeing what kind of savings one might expect, is quite illuminating.

The concentration on computing total cost of ownership and how to get a reasonable idea if and when a particular change is going to pay for itself is really outstanding.

Given that the topic of the book is open source, it is unsurprising that the author has found it to work well in many of the cases she's examined.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Now the rest of the story, September 16, 2005
By 
J. Smelser (Charleston, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source (Paperback)
After reading this book it is clear the author has a problem with Microsoft. This book is extremely unbalanced and the author missed an opportunity to give managers practical and objective information regarding the trade-offs they make when they invest in open source products vice traditional commercial product. Yes, I said invest... this book is a sales pitch for specific open source products targeted to replace parallel Microsoft products. You are often led to believe that you will saves tons of money, which is not the truth... The total cost to implement, support, develop, many of these product is often VERY expensive. I am not saying anyone should not use open source products... I am saying this book is a terribly unbalanced view; even lying at times, and should NOT be considered something from which to base business decisions.
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The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source
The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source by Maria Winslow (Paperback - August 26, 2004)
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