Key Advantage of Open Source is Not Cost Savings
"Computer Economics recently conducted a survey of visitors to its website regarding the perceived advantages in the use of open source software. Although not a scientific sample, the results are nevertheless startling."
OSS developers and users have known all along, that "Reduced dependence on software vendors appears more important than low cost".
* Lower total cost of ownership
* Reduced dependence on software vendors
* Easier to customize
* Higher level of security
* Do not see a significant advantage
For a starter on open source projects, check out sourceforge.net.
If you have plans on using OSS, here are a few suggestions:
Find out the number of developers. Do not let one developer through you off - especially if the program/code is something you can maintain and extend yourself. Get to know, via email, chat, forums the key developers.
How active are the mailing-lists, forums. This is important. It shows the level of interests in the project as well as future plans.
Get involved. Ask questions. Donate your time and code. Sponsor enhancements.