How to replace Microsoft

Reading about Windows 10 and all the talk about "free". Yeah, "free to be forced to subscribe" to everything. I think I would like to pass on the free.

What can I look at to replace Microsoft?

We currently use SBS 2008, Exchange 2007 and the desktops run Win7Pro and MS Office Pro 2007.  And, there is a custom app I will have to get re-coded, but, I would spend thousands, even 10's of thousands to avoid being held hostage by MS "free" program.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Your question reads as angry with no apparent basis for that anger.

First, most things are going the subscription model - Microsoft is definitely not the first - Adobe did this a couple years back.  You can refuse to go with the crowd, but you'll find yourself trailing in time.  I don't subscribe to much... but the things that save me time and effort I do... they are worth it.

What do you think you are being forced to subscribe to?  Don't want to upgrade?  DON'T.  That simple.

Your other option is to subscribe to everyone else Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. or build and maintain a linux environment - which is free of license costs, but for people who aren't linux experts tends to be a LOT more expensive in time and effort learning, implementing, and maintaining.
wfcrrAuthor Commented:
Yes, Linux is the sort of thing I am thinking. Angry? I guess.  Was on Spiceworks a few minutes ago and quite a lot of talk about what I am saying here. The ultimate target seems to be subscription everything. I prefer to not participate in that model.  Is there anything other than Linux, or is Linux the main gig outside of good ole Microsoft?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You could pay the apple tax... but don't you think they'll go to that model too?  They already are with some things.  Linux is really the only other thing out there... I suppose you could look at a few select unix vendors... but you'd be worse than pluto - a bizarre outlier in the IT Networks universe.  

If you're talking about what ZZaffis speculated - in 5 years we'll be paying... then here's my take:

MAYBE.  So don't use what they want to charge you for.  Or stick with the old version until support expires.  

The other thing to keep in mind is MS is LOSING market share in the device OS - and in an environment where they goal to is dominate because EVERYTHING is going subscription ANYWAY, you can't have that.  Office is subscription - but you can still buy it.  Or you can use OpenOffice.  COULD MS force you to subscribe?  NO - they can if you want to use Windows but there are people out there who vehemently oppose this concept and will provide alternatives.  Likely based largely on Linux.

Keep in mind THESE DAYS, some people don't have computers - they have iPads, Android tablets and phones.  And those devices don't run windows!

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For server get yourself Zentyal, which is based on Ubuntu Server and very easy to setup and use, in my opinion much easier than m$ servers. It is modular so that you can just add modules for whatever tasks you want the server to do. For example it can act as an internet gateway and proxy server for your business, Web Server, Files and Directory server (AD compatible), Mail and collaboration server (using OpenChange) etc. The free Community edition doesn't come with support (except via the Forums), and the Commercial versions come with support:

You could stay with Windows on your desktop PC's, or also go for linux there. There are many distributions around, and probably most of them would do fine.

Personally I would recommend Makulu Linux, which is a very nice OS. One of the new versions that has only recently been introduced is based on the Debian testing branch and uses the Cinnamon UI that has been highly modified so it looks like a Windows 7 clone. Another that has just been published is the XFCE version which is a less resource hungry UI, but it also looks very nice, and this one is Ubuntu based. Both use WPS Office, but you can also install LibreOffice via the package manager. LibreOffice includes a database (Base) module which WPS doesn't have as far as I know.

For you mail Client you can go for Thunderbird, which in my point of view is the best one available.

Inlcuded is wine and PlayOnLinux, which makes it easy to get many Windows programs to run

Both of those Makulu versions run very fast.
Both of those Makulu versions run very fast.
What can I look at to replace Microsoft?
Nothing, really.  If there was a replacement, people would be all over it.
They aren't.

Q. Can you construct a non-MS IT infrastructure?
A. Yes
Q. Will it be cost-effective?
A. Probably not.  What you gain in FOSS you will lose in risk, complexity, and learning curve.
Q. Will it interoperate with the rest of the world?
A. To a degree.  But the more complex your needs, the more likely you will encounter difficulties

We currently use SBS 2008, Exchange 2007 and the desktops run Win7Pro and MS Office Pro 2007
Same boat, with a mix of O2003, O2010 and O2013.
The end of SBS pisses me off because O365 is just not happening with the cost and dearth of upload bandwidth.
The whole Cloud hype is an ocean accessed by a straw.

Win 8 was a failure because no one bought it.
Sooner or later MS is going to recognize that no one is buying O365.
Maybe someone else will, too.

The subscription model is just not going to grow because there's no value in it.
The emperor eventually recognizes his nudity.
We await the day.
wfcrrAuthor Commented:
Lee, Nick and Rindi-thanks for the very useful input.

I think I'll leave the question open a little while to see if there are other comments from other folks.
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