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I want to switch to open source, but the market around me is all Microsoft

By wayne62682 ·
Well like the title says, I've become increasingly interested in learning and using open source technologies, as well as providing them to businesses since I feel that, due to the economic downturn, more and more companies are going to be looking at using open source instead of paying expensive licensing fees.

However, I live in an area that is almost entirely Microsoft and .NET centric; I rarely if ever see any jobs wanting someone familiar with open source, it's all VB/C# development. The company I currently work for has a Microsoft infrastructure that is several years old and needs to be upgraded, but there's no money to do even the most basic of upgrades like buying new versions of MS Office, yet we require a lot of robust functionality - I've been debating proposing that we switch our infrastructure over to open source in order to leverage a plethora of free and/or cheap tools to give us the quality we need at a price we can afford. As the only IT person, I am the de facto CTO and can recommend decisions of this nature if I think it will benefit the company.

I'm afraid of doing this, because the market where I live is all Microsoft; I know some .NET but it's about two years old (I don't use it at my current job), and I'm frightened of the prospect that if I learn open source technologies for my current job, if I ever leave then I won't have any marketable skills because everyone is looking for .NET. On the flip side though, I could branch into consulting and charge a premium because open source consultants are rare here. I have a "pipe dream" of sorts to educate businesses, especially small businesses, of the benefits of open source solutions, especially in times like these.

What would you do in a situation like this? Would you focus on .NET since there are more job prospects using it, or would take the plunge and learn open source if it would greatly improve your current job's operations and give you something new to add to your skillset, not to mention the personal belief in open source.

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