Sterling Ball talks to CNet about dumping Windows for Linux and Open Source software.

The folks at CNET.com have an interesting interview with Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball which is the world’s leading maker of premium guitar strings, on his decision three years ago to dump all Microsoft products and switch to Linux and Open Source software to run his company with after a nasty run-in with the BSA.

Ernie Ball is pretty much known as a musician’s buddy. How does it feel to be a technology guru, as well?

I think it’s great for me to be a technology influence. It shows how ridiculous it is that I can get press because I switched to OpenOffice. And the reason why is because the myth has been built so big that you can’t survive without Microsoft, so that somebody who does get by without Microsoft is a story.

It’s just software. You have to figure out what you need to do within your organization and then get the right stuff for that. And we’re not a backwards organization. We’re progressive; we’ve won communications and design awards…The fact that I’m not sending my e-mail through Outlook doesn’t hinder us. It’s just kind of funny. I’m speaking to a standing-room-only audience at a major technology show because I use a different piece of software—that’s hysterical.

He’s got a point. Microsoft has done an excellent job of convincing people they can’t do business without them, which pretty much gives them carte blanch to do whatever they want.

Linux still isn’t as user friendly as Windows for people that aren’t technically inclined, but it’s certainly made leaps and bounds in that area to the point that you could probably run any business you wanted to using it. In some respects that increased learning curve might be an advantage for the Techs supporting it because users are less likely to install a bunch of extra crap on their systems if they can’t figure out how. I know there are a few people in my building who I’d be happier if they weren’t able to figure out how to install every single app they ever came across on their systems.

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