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Dec 31, 2008
Review of open source software for desktop and server
Open Source Software You Can Use Michelle Murrain Nonprofit Open Source Initiative MetaCentric Technology Advising October 23, 2008
Using Open Source Software <ul><li>There are open source tools you can download right now and use, no matter what your platform, that are useful, mature, secure and easy to use.
If your website is on a Unix or Linux based host – you've been using open source software already.
Some of the software I'll talk about you might implement with help of a provider. </li></ul>
Types of Software <ul><li>Operating Systems
Server software </li><ul><li>Fileserver software
Web/mail server software
Web application platforms </li></ul><li>Desktop applications </li></ul>
About this review This is not an exhaustive list of all free and open source software that is mature and usable. But it is a good review of most of the software out there that is going to be useful to nonprofit organizations. For more tools, go to: http://socialsourcecommons.org
There are two common, mature open source operating systems... <ul><li>Linux </li><ul><li>RedHat/Fedora
and many, many others... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BSD </li><ul><li>FreeBSD
Darwin (Basis of Mac OS X – based on FreeBSD)
a few others, not much used </li></ul></ul>
Operating Systems <ul><li>Linux and BSD are very mature and strong on the server/appliance side </li><ul><li>Varied flavors of Linux are used in network and security appliances
Linux and BSD are virtually ubiquitous in web hosting environments, from virtual host companies, to large enterprises (like Yahoo and Google.) </li></ul></ul>
How to get Linux <ul><li>There are commercial versions of Linux that include enterprise-level support (RedHat, Novell, Ubuntu)
You can buy a box sometimes (relatively inexpensive) in a store (may come with installation support.)
Download an ISO from the website of the distribution or a mirror, either directly or via bittorrent (won't come with any support except community support.)
Buy a CD from OSDisc, or another vendor (also won't come with support – these just duplicate the CDs from the websites – so they are cheap if bandwidth is an issue.) </li></ul>
Server Applications <ul><li>Samba – allows Linux to act as a Windows file and print server – very mature
Mailman – mailing list manager
Applications for internet services and systems administration </li><ul><li>very mature, some in use for 15 years or more </li></ul></ul>
Server Applications <ul><li>LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) </li><ul><li>This has become an industry standard web application development stack
Included in all unix-based virtual hosting services.
Each component of the stack is Mature
PHP/Perl/Python are programming languages </li></ul><li>Ruby on Rails </li><ul><li>Newer web framework that is gaining steam. Uses the Ruby language. </li></ul></ul>
Server Applications <ul><li>Web platforms/CMS </li><ul><li>Drupal
These three have become standard. They have overlapping feature sets, and they are differently customizable. But all are very solid CMS platforms
Blogging platforms <ul><ul><li>Wordpress – specialized for blogging – the others can be used that way, but if all you want is a blog – Wordpress is great.
Movable Type – also specialized for blogging </li></ul></ul>
Server Applications: Business Processes <ul><li>CiviCRM – server-based CRM/Fundraising package
SugarCRM – server-based enterprise CRM package </li></ul>
Desktop Software <ul><li>Mozilla Suite (all platforms) </li><ul><li>Firefox
Camino (Mac browser)
Sunbird (Calendaring - not so mature) </li></ul><li>Open Office (all platforms)
Adium (Mac OS X)
OpenOffice.org <ul><li>Has word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, drawing program, HTML and XML editors, and a database.
It will read and write Microsoft Office formats (except Office Open XML).
It uses open standards for native document formats
It exports PDFs
OO Base ≠ Access (way too immature) </li></ul>
OO Writer OO Calc
What FOSS is being used in nonprofits? <ul><li>A recent NOSI survey found: </li><ul><li>60% of respondents used FOSS on webservers
80% used FOSS on Windows desktops (largely Firefox)
Many fewer (~20%) used FOSS as a desktop operating system </li></ul></ul>
What are the barriers to FOSS adoption <ul><li>Familiarity with proprietary tools
Lack of support
Lack of staff expertise
Lack of training </li></ul>
Resources <ul><li>http://wiki.metacentric.org/ - list of links for software mentioned here, and other resources.
http://nosi.net/projects/primer - Updated Open Source primer written in 2007.
http://nosi.net - NOSI's website. </li></ul>