Years ago, we were constantly in the software update rat race. In our business, we used some vendor-specific development tools, which were always being updated, and we did a lot of PC-based application development. As a result, we were paying through the nose for the latest operating systems and office software. Our technical tools for hardware and firmware development were a significant recurring expense category, also.
Today, things are much different. Thanks to the open-source revolution, many small businesses and individuals can cut their software costs to near zero, and get off the never-ending upgrade treadmill that is great for software vendor profitability, but terrible on your budget and expertise. Many people are already using open source options. But, to lay the foundation for future articles that build on this information, we want to establish a common baseline, especially for people who may not be up to date on the technology or trends (phone and tablet apps are another topic entirely).