“you ALWAYS pay”
Lately I find myself frequently pointing to this USENET post by Vladimir Butenko. Since it is a rather long post, I quote here the parts that really make it worthwhile, without having to read the whole thread:
If you need something, you pay. Either in cash, or in your own time, or in consequences of not having what you really need.
Bottom line: you always pay. You need a simple thing – you pay a small amount, you need a big thing – you pay more.
People tend to underestimate the value of their personal time invested.
When choosing “free” software consider how much your time is worth. Unless you have a friendly local mentor who loves spending time with you at all hours of the day, you will spend many many hours learning and making mistakes… alone… while waiting for on-line groups to respond to your pleas for assistance. In the end, software is never free. It always requires an investment to use it correctly.