Henry Ford, father of the mass production assembly line, would have hated Linux although embracing it today might help pull his company out of its current financial nosedive (Current stock price under $1.50 per share). Ford held 161 patents and if he were alive today, some of those might well be software-related--a very anti-Linux and anti-open source concept.

He also believed in the anti-open source religion known as consumerism and giving away something for free would be grounds for a good lashing, verbally and physically, from old Henry himself. He was also adamantly anti-union--a concept closely akin to the solidarity of like minds seen in many community-based open source projects.

A good financial advisor, another anti-Fordian entity, would tell Mr. Ford that he should minimize his capital outlay by using Linux and free, open source software programs to power his empire. My guess is, though, that he would toss off such a suggestion as "bunk" or "poppycock" and opt for the costly alternative.

So, why wouldn't someone like Henry Ford appreciate Linux and its status as a free and comparable product? Only Henry would know for sure but I think it's because he would consider it un-American, anti-capitalist, and non-revenue generating--probably associating with socialism or communism.

Using Linux makes sense both fiscally and conceptually for those who are cautious with their precious financial resources. Maybe Henry Ford wouldn't buy in to Linux and open source but surely Henry the Plumber who drives a Ford would.

Tell me what you think. Can Linux and open source software save a company from financial ruin in these tough economic times?

8 Years
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Last Post by Rashakil Fol

I read that a bit too quick so may have missed a bit; but if a company such a Ford has already purchased say Windows powered systems. Could switching to Linux now really make so much of a difference?

As they've already got the overheads from implementing a rather costly Windows system, and although the actual Linux OS maybe free. Implementing it surely wouldn't be...


For current systems, no. Where you save real money by using Linux is on refresh or new systems. Licensing fees are unreasonably high for certain OSs and applications. Linux will also save money in the future because soon most commercial software will be sold as subscription only.


if you already have microsoft products its cheaper to stick with it.

A) if your a large longtime MS user they will offer you large incentives to stay with them

B) if youve already got licences, its cheaper to stick with them and upgrade. If you break out of the cycle and want to go back you will end up coughing up much more

C) ford wouldnt use a linux OS for free. Thier business depends on it working. For that they would require support and the cost of changing over, retraining and then paying Red Hat or Novell would be prohibitive.


Henry Ford liked the one-model-fits-all mentality and would not have switched.

But there's a reason American car makers are in trouble today -- they did not look far enough into the future to anticiapte changing technology and the world needs. This short-sightedness is rooted in Henry Ford's mentality.

A dynamic company must plan for the future and progessively change toward the future. Linux-based systems are the future, if for no other reason than they are flexible and adaptive, not to mention inexpensive.

The oft-mentioned maintenance costs for Linux is a bunch of hooey -- it costs just as much to maintain any other OS in a corporate environment.

No, a company can't ditch one OS for another wholesale, but it can plan for the future -- install new servers with Linux, groupware that is Kolab and Linux compatible, start partitioning computers for dual booting with Linux, and replacing computers that are infected or otherwise crippled by Microsoft licensing policies with Linux desktops.

Then one day the critical mass will be built up and switching from Windows to Linux will be a no-brainer.

Did you know that there are sophisticated test, control, and simulation modeling programs for business written for the Linux platform? How about a wealth of scientific programs for Linux? Security systems based on Linux?

A company can transition its business components piece by piece and soon find it is using freely replaceable, freely upgradeable, and future-compliant software on Linux. Then it will also find out that it can expand with cloud computing using Beowulf, in a similar fashion to Google, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, Wikipedia, and many other large companies.

Our server (which hosts not only MS-Exchange but also a proprietary software package which is sold to us at a gigantic markup becasue it is Windows based) is at capacity. Our proprietary software company is demanding a fortune to upgrade the server (our contract ties the software to the hardware). Fortunately, we have been planning the transition to Linux servers and open-source software -- now we can ditch the exhorbitantly expensive proprietary software vendor.


Linux-based systems are the future

Ah so thats why linux is fundementally modelled on a 30 year old OS architechture whereas NT is a modern os which is portable, supports many subsystems, runs on the majority of pcs, and has 95% hardware compatibility?

and yes, thats sarcasm...


Can Linux and open source software save a company from financial ruin in these tough economic times?

I'd say NO !
1. IT-costs usually don't have such a high share of the total costs that a considerable reduction could save a company from ruin !

2. Even if IT-costs are high: the exchange of the OS is nothing that can be done within a few month (within a bigger company).

<jbennet> said, that "if you already have microsoft products its cheaper to stick with it" .

Point A => That's no reason to change - as long as the new
environment ist considerably cheaper or has considerably advantages.
Point B => The same as A
Point C = > This argument is somehow the same as the one of <darrenw89> (implementation isn't for free). That's true, but who is going to stick with MS-XP for the next 30 years ? Right ... nodbody. The pure service-costs for changeing from XP to Vista or something else are just as high as changing from XP to Linux, provided that the IT-staff has the proper knowledge .
The same situation can be found considering a change vom MS-Office to OpenOffice. A change from MS-Office 2003 to MS-Office 2007 is definitely not cheaper than a change vom MS-Office 2003 to OpenOffice (since MS-O-2007 has a radical change in GUI).

Very often the problem lies within the IT-staff: they have no or only small knowledge about Linux and because of that - THEY don't want a change.

And yes - a Linux-environment can work just as fine as others !


When Henry Ford began his manufacturing business he introduced a disruptive technology that threatened the status quo of the automobile manufacturing industry that had existed for the few decades prior to Ford Motor Company's founding.

Ford introduced mass production into an industry that had, up until then, been primarily built upon small family owned craftsman shops. Many of the hand built cars cost three to four times what a Ford cost, and were spectacular pieces of machinery. Ford changed all that.

When it comes to patents however, I don't think that Henry Ford would have agreed with the current state of the patent industry and the ability to patent ethereal ideas as we do now. I think the record clearly shows Henry Ford would have opposed software patents and the flim flam that they represent.

Ford was sued by George Selden a patent attorney who held a patent on a gas powered engine, but never built them. He just threatened and sued manufacturers into paying him fees.

As the linked article shows, Henry Ford said in Court:

"It was reported that at one point during the trial, an automobile race was being organized outside the windows of the courthouse. Ford's lawyer looked out the window and said to the judge, 'your honor, I see a Winton, and a Duryea, and many Fords out there - but not one single Selden!' He was right, of course - Selden was a patent attorney, not a car builder. "

I think History shows that Industrialist Henry Ford, introducer of a disruptive technology that drastically reduced the costs of a product and threatened the profitability of the existing giants of the industry actually had a lot in common with the current state of the FOSS industry.


@jbennet: that 30 year old architecture you refer to is what's known as a "standard"; I know you folks on the Windows side don't see many of those, so you can be forgiven for not knowing that.

As for portable... ugh, never mind. It's not worth the trouble explaining it.


This is the dumbest blog entry I've ever read. You are typing wild nonsense without using any facts. Your adversarial tack is nauseating.

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