computer with money flying outThis is the next post in my discussion on why attorneys and law firms should switch from Windows or Mac OS to Linux. My last article explained why law firms can switch to Linux without facing compatibility issues or other “switching pains.” Given that most software now runs “in the cloud,” and that many common applications are also available on Linux based operating systems, a lawyer should be able to migrate their business over with minimal difficulty. This switch will lead to many benefits, some of which will be discussed in this article. I’ll use this post to explain why switching to a Linux based OS can save your firm some $$$$$$$. This savings will come in two forms. The first is lower software costs. The second is a lower lifetime cost of ownership for a computer in your office. Last time I checked, saving money was a good thing. Let’s get to it.

Law firms can lower their software costs by switching to a Linux based operating system

As I explained in my last article, LibreOffice and many other applications are free of charge. The way in which this saves money for your firm is simple – imagine not having to pay for Microsoft Office or other such applications any more. You also save the cost of the operating system itself, however, since the various flavors of Linux are distributed for free. Think of it like this – when you go to ‘da Best Buy and purchase a new PC then you’re paying for a copy of Windows; the cost of that Windows license is built into the price of the machine. When you purchase a system with Linux pre-installed, such as those available from a company like System 76, then you are not paying a built in cost for the operating system (those who distribute Linux are required to do so without charging for the software). This allows you you to get more computer for the same number of dollars.

By using open source software you’ll also find yourself saving on constant upgrade costs. The upgrades from one version of the OS to the next will be free. No more paying to upgrade from one version of Windows to another; if your office has computers which are still running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 then you’ll likely be feeling these upgrade costs shortly if you continue to use Windows. Also, there won’t be any more paying for the newest versions of Office and if you’re one of the many law firms that is paying for Office 365 solely to have the newest version of Office then you’ll be able to get rid of the subscription (since LibreOffice, various email clients, and other pieces of software are free). Not having these costs pop up all the time is a good thing for your bottom line.

Lawyers can have lower lifetime computing costs by switching to Linux

Lawyers can also lower their lifetime computing costs by switching to a Linux based operating system. This lifetime savings comes from the fact that your machines will last must longer and the fact that you’ll be able to stop paying the money-sucking, outdated technology pushing, person who is keeping you behind the times while inflating your costs IT person. Let’s look at each of these.

Linux based operating systems are much, much, much, much (much) more efficient than Windows. As a result, a Linux system can run on older hardware. Consider this – I’m currently typing this article on a machine running Ubuntu 16.04. The minimum system requirements for this operating system only call for 384 MB of RAM. Windows 10, by contrast, calls for 1,024 MB (which equals one gigabyte). While the “minimum” requirements aren’t what you would want to run in order to have a good computing experience, this shows that the system requirements for Linux are substantially lower. This means that hardware which you purchase today will be able to run newer versions of Linux for much longer than new hardware will be able to run updated versions of Windows. This, in turn, means that you will be replacing your hardware less frequently.

Now think of how often your Information Technology person has to deal with machines which are running slow due to malware which has been downloaded by your employees. This is a non-issue in a Linux based law office. Ubuntu actually describes Linux anti-virus software as being unnecessary. In short, once you have everything up and running then you’ll have far fewer instances in which you run up a bill for an IT guy who’s selling you outdated technology in an effort to keep his job alive.

The above-discussion shows why using Linux will save lawyers plenty of ‘da cash. In my next article I’ll look at why it can also make your firm far more secure. Have you tried using a flavor of Linux in your law practice? Please chime in through the comment form below.