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What is Cheapware?
11:16am Thursday 14th October 2004 in Freetime
Cheapware is finding an alternative software solution to business which provides you with the same benefits and quality, but with a lower cost on investment and support.
There are many Chief Financial Officers (CTO's), IT Managers, IT Directors now more so, looking to outsource their information technology to places like India or Eastern Europe. Apart from the outsourcing, companies are always looking for alternative cheap solutions that will actually save them money on the bottom line. Companies are either now looking at Open Source Software' in preference to existing off the shelf applications. Open Source Software is distributed with the source code freely available for alteration and customisation. The idea behind open source software is the exact opposite of the old "too many cooks spoil the broth" adage. Theoretically, through the collective work of many programmers, the resulting software can become more useful and free of holes and bugs. One of the most well-known pieces of open source software is Linux. For instance, Sabre Holdings, the world's largest airfare and ticketing network has been changing its technology for cheaper alternatives.
Granted that the cheaper alternatives will not have all the bells and whistles' from companies like Oracle , IBM or Microsoft, but it does make sense for companies to look around for alternatives. As long as the proposed solution is ideal for the job. At the same time, you do not want use products that perceive themselves as commodity suppliers to handle your data. Even companies use software from companies listed, above, they may use open source software for pilot tests and evaluation. There are many open source and other alternatives for proprietary software available at a very cheap price. These range from operating systems (Linux competing with Microsoft, Sun Microsystems) to webservers (Apache competing with Microsoft and Sun) to databases (MySQL competing with Oracle and IBM) to user apps such as word processors (Staroffice competing with Microsoft). Executives at Microsoft and Oracle dismiss MySQL as too puny to handle serious corporate projects. The Swedish company is likely gross $20+ million in 2004; Oracle generates that much every 17 hours.
People in the software industry scoffed at them till recently as 'toys of hobbyists'. But, more and more corporations are slowly moving to the cheaper software alternatives. Microsoft themselves are looking to offer their software and technology at a lower rate to captivate the part time programmer'. These are people who have a job in another field, but they love programming as a hobby. The tools now offered by Microsoft are bringing the fun back to programming like never before or should I say a very long time and the future is looking good for new software technology and integration.
Microsoft Office suite are an excellent set of programs, but they are alternatives like Staroffice from Sun Microsystems. Check the web or www.sun.com for more details. As the open source software door is opening wider, it will not stop companies from looking at alternatives ,that improves the bottom line and save them money so that it can be used and deployed on other necessary projects. There are many open source and other alternatives for proprietary software available at a very cheap price.
Now there are a number of websites around the world that infiltrate email accounts for cheap software. They can offer the same software for download at a fraction of the cost. However these are versions that have been broken or hacked using the serial number or cracked'. Again there is a risk of using such software , since it is not authorised.
Shareware, freely distributed software, is paid for voluntarily when it is used. It tends to be less expensive than shrink-wrapped software and can often be better. A type of shareware called freeware is simply given away. These tend to be programs that programmers have written, usually to accomplish a specialised chore that the coders themselves need for a project. They have no interest in the hassle of marketing the software, so they give it away to others who may find it useful.
But you don't always need the most expensive software to find happiness: There are dozens of cheap or free utilities and programs that technical editors and readers couldn't live without.