The Linux OS provides for open access to its source code. This has led some to choose Linux as a viable development platform, on the perceived basis that its cost is less than commercial alternatives. To examine this, we present a three-part white paper series that closely examines the total cost of ownership of Linux and how that compares to a commercial off-the-shelf real-time operating system like QNX. In Part 1 we examine upfront costs, selecting the right version, and time to market.