Adopting Open Source for cost reduction

Applicable to: Urban and Rural areas

Linux can be used to save licensing costs of Microsoft Windows. All computers in SoM may use Linux primarily. After all, most of the office and school employees use Chrome, File manager, video/audio player, and Office suite, for day to day work. These work quite well in Linux. Google Docs or MS Office can be used online. Libre Office is an offline option.
Some licenses for MS Windows, MS office, expensive Adobe tools like Photoshop, etc, will probably be required.

Linux comes in many flavours (called 'distros') and one of the most easy to use and popular one is 'Ubuntu'. That will be the likely choice for SoM.

Virtual Machines can also be used to keep licensing costs low using some innovative ideas.

Ease of use

The common misconception about Linux is that it is considered to be difficult to use. Since last many years, Ubuntu is easy enough to use for a common man with zero technical know-how.

One main difficulty a common man may find with Linux is the initial familiarisation with the Operating System and the difficulty in installing a software, because the process is different from Windows, not because it is difficult. In an office setting, help can easily be taken from those who know Linux.

Benefits of Linux

Lower Hardware costs

In general, Linux has low hardware requirements and runs much better on any piece of hardware, including the old ones. Because of low hardware requirements, cheaper laptops will be able to run linux as efficiently as Windows runs on more expensive laptops.

Also, donated, old, or refurbished Laptops, can be used efficiently using Linux distributions which are specifically made for running on low-end hardware, like Mint Linux, Ubuntu Mate, Xubuntu, etc. The hardware requirements for Xubuntu, that uses Xfce, are:

With such low hardware requirements, it can run on any machine. Any machine can work like a basic chromebook, which atleast runs the chrome browser quite well. For the volunteers for whom the use of computers is limited, Xubuntu running on an old machine will serve the purpose. Spiritual organizations do not run like regular organizations. There, people are more ready to lead a simple life and focus more on inner growth and inner wellbeing than on outer comfort of using a latest computer hardware as long as it serves the purpose.


Security is another advantage of Linux. Windows being a more popular OS, it is a much easier target for malware, like trojans and viruses. Therefore, Linux systems do not need to use anti-viruses. Because of lack of risk from viruses, there is no risk in using a pendrive. Therefore, if data security is not an issue, use of pendrives need not be prohibited within SoM. This saves the IT team from a lot of hassles.

Also, Linux being open-source has a much bigger developer community and are swift in fixing security bugs. Linux also has a much more secure architecture. Further details on security can be found here:


Linux is built for developers, but now it is user-friendly enough for normal users also. It works pretty well as a development machine. Microsoft's .NET development and iOS development may not be possible on Linux, but otherwise most of the technologies work as well or better than in windows.

Common Software available on Linux

Most of the popular software are available for Linux. Here is a list of commonly used ones:

.. and many more

Common Software not available on Linux

Microsoft Office Suite
Alternatives: Google Docs and MS Office are online applications that are available for free. They have added advantage of collaboration features which are not available in offline MS Office. One drawback of both these online tools is that they become less responsive and feel bulky when the document size becomes large (100 pages maybe). Perhaps, this is a common flaw in all online document editing tools because of how web works on the browser. To dodge this issue, for large documents, one may use LibreOffice which is an offline open source alternative to MS Office, but it is less user-friendly in comparison to MS Office.

Adobe's Design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe XD, InDesign, etc.
Alternatives: Some people consider Gimp and Inkscape to be a good alternative for Photoshop and Illustrator. But in my experience, I think nothing can replace Adobe's design tools, especially because most of the ready-made design templates available online for free or for payment, open only in Adobe's tool and designing anything is nearly impossible without them. But, Adobe XD has multiple good alternatives, especially Figma.

Adobe's Video Editing tools: Premiere Pro and After Effects
Alternatives: There are some alternatives but they need to be tested before concluding that they work well or not. 

In general, design, video-editing, games, and other such entertainment or entertainment-related software do not work well in Linux. For such use cases, buying a Windows license is probably the only option.


The costs of a single computer Windows License may cost roughly about Rs 5000 or more, but Ubuntu Linux is free. If there are 100 computers in the organisation, Rs 5L can be saved straight away. Savings on MS Office licensing is extra.

Moreover, Linux works quite well on old hardware. Therefore, donated or refurbished hardware can get a new life because of Linux. Because of this, the organisation may save a lot on hardware costs too.