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Open-Source Software: Bad For Non-Profit Organizations?

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  • Open-Source Software: Bad For Non-Profit Organizations?

    Phoronix: Open-Source Software: Bad For Non-Profit Organizations?

    For non-profit organizations, open-source/free software might not actually be the best solution according to a director at a non-profit software solution provider...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTczODE

  • #2
    Dumb article.

    Ofcourse Free SW is often marketed the wrong way as in free of charge ( which is even in commercial waters hardly ever really free!).

    Some people expect to get equivalent of free ( of charge) dinner from Free software creators because they are too dumb to read fineprint.

    If you want something without payment, you can wait fro producer to offer you discount deal - if the price is all you care about.

    If you value your freedom, then be prepared to commit yourself and some of your work.

    So you won't maybe pay upfront for a box, but will have some costs in one form or another, that will end up bettering the product for you and probably next guy that comes along.

    Using free option doesn't mean stinging the pay, it means investing in freedom.

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    • #3
      I stopped reading after the "lack of documentation" was mentioned. I've seen and know of a few projects (some fairly widespread) that have crap documentation, but I've found most of FOSS software to be very well documented, since the community (even non-coders) likes to help with that.

      Before reading that, I assumed the author at least had an idea of what he was talking about, but that thought flew out the window. A shame that people will read this and think he's right in all points.

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      • #4
        Then they should join one each other to make specialized software, sharing costs but making "generic-enough" solutions. Of course, organizations like nonprofiteasy.com are of no help, and one has to wonder why they are against free software, while offering their own closed-source solutions...

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        • #5
          What's there to discuss? Someone working for a company providing a commercial CRM solution targeted at non-profit organizations for 100 bucks a month tells non-profit organizations not to roll their own thing with Open Source. Most surprising.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tuxee View Post
            What's there to discuss? Someone working for a company providing a commercial CRM solution targeted at non-profit organizations for 100 bucks a month tells non-profit organizations not to roll their own thing with Open Source. Most surprising.
            I was looking at that. Here's their pricing: https://signup.nonprofiteasy.com/pricing

            Originally posted by nonprofiteasy.com
            NonProfitEasy, the CRM solution created for nonprofits by nonprofits...
            Yeah, I guess they don't profit that much

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            • #7
              For non-profit organizations, open-source/free software might not actually be the best solution according to a director at a non-profit software solution provider.

              Coming in today as a guest post on Phoronix is an article written by Gretchen Barry of NonProfitEasy
              About the Author:
              Gretchen is Director of Marketing for NonProfitEasy, an all-in-one software solution provider
              In other news, Microsoft CEO says free software is a cancer and actually costs more than the latest Windows, for reals, folks.

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              • #8
                Is this a sponsored article? If not, then Michael, you should consider taking some money from such "guests" in the future.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by asdfblah View Post
                  I was looking at that. Here's their pricing: https://signup.nonprofiteasy.com/pricing


                  Yeah, I guess they don't profit that much
                  Non-profit gives a suggestion of free, or low cost, or value for money.

                  However, typically, large non-profit organisations might also charge $150 per hour. Fortunately they are experts in makeing profits disappear. Cars, bonusses, luxury office buildings, high wages for the directors are helpful zero profits.

                  (this I know for sure for certain government linked non-profits in the Netherlands, if this doesn't apply to your country let me know - I might consider moving there)

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                  • #10
                    Enter “free” software: on its surface, a simple, cost-effective solution. However, free software isn’t always free, and nonprofit executives often learn this the hard way: after incurring costs from implementation, consultants, ancillary features, support, and ongoing maintenance. These costs add up to more than a solution with an upfront cost but long-term savings.
                    This is true for any software, not just FOSS. You're not done with n Windows licenses either, you need someone to manage your installations, network, updates and required software. Either you do this yourself, or you pay for it.

                    Low purchase prices and robust “communities” of users tempt nonprofit executives to invest in these free solutions. However, the “free” program is typically a bare-bones solution, containing only limited functionality.
                    Not true. Lots of popular open source projects are feature rich: LibreOffice, Firefox, Zimbra, Pidgin to name a few. Problems arise with specialised software, but this is not required for 95% of all non-profit organisations, and should always be considered from its features otherwise. Also, it's not black and white. You can run a Linux desktop with some proprietary software installed (granted, when available), you can run a Windows desktop with open source software.

                    There is often limited documentation on these low-cost products, and the trainers to help also cost additional money. What does this say about a system that is so difficult to understand that it requires consultants to manage?
                    If you need consultants for a FOSS desktop, you need consultants for a proprietary desktop. FOSS software is not harder to maintain, just different. Documentation is plentiful as said, and the right consultants know what they're doing. Red Hat trains consultants too you know...

                    Organizations should look for all-in-one software solutions which don’t require external consultants to set up or maintain. All-inclusive CRM solutions will provide many of the above costs in their total pricing. That means that nonprofit executives know exactly what their up-front and ongoing costs will be.
                    Again, it sounds like my tech-savvy uncle can run a "Windows" network, but not a "Linux" network. Reality: you don't want him to manage either, because everything he or she will produce is likely to be fairly close to what you want, but no cigar. He or she is likely not a security expert, nor a domain controller expert nor a licensing expert.

                    While it can be tempting to “save now and pay later,” it is worth your time, now, to do your homework, test drive software, and calculate the full cost of “free” and paid software solutions. Free often comes at a higher cost in the long run.
                    That last sentence just screams "FUD". Again: an IT budget is always larger than just the licenses. You always need paid expertise to set it up, maintain it and support it, whether it be free software or proprietary. Free software is cheaper on the licenses, but there's no fundamental reason why the quality is lower or the expertise is more expensive.
                    Last edited by RSpliet; 07-08-2014, 03:50 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Daktyl198 View Post
                      I stopped reading after the "lack of documentation" was mentioned. I've seen and know of a few projects (some fairly widespread) that have crap documentation, but I've found most of FOSS software to be very well documented, since the community (even non-coders) likes to help with that.

                      Before reading that, I assumed the author at least had an idea of what he was talking about, but that thought flew out the window. A shame that people will read this and think he's right in all points.
                      lol, i stopped after reading this
                      "Enter “free” software: on its surface, a simple, cost-effective solution. However, free software isn’t always free, and nonprofit executives often learn this the hard way: after incurring costs from implementation, consultants, ancillary features, support, and ongoing maintenance. These costs add up to more than a solution with an upfront cost but long-term savings."

                      even if you go with commercial software. if your work depends on it, you'd have to be major fool not to take same steps. not to mention, commercial solution IT doesn't come and install it for free.

                      whoever wrote this is being payed moron to spit nonsense
                      Last edited by justmy2cents; 07-08-2014, 03:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        if you need consultants to set up a CRM system you are doing something wrong.

                        If you don't have IT personel, you are doing something very wrong. Especially for non-profit organisations you need IT people to make sure your stuff is secure and save.

                        Also I'd like to know how many dollars Michael got for posting that crap self-ad.

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                        • #13
                          It seems moronix FUDs once again. Did someone pay your for this bullshit?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Detructor View Post
                            If you don't have IT personel, you are doing something very wrong. Especially for non-profit organisations you need IT people to make sure your stuff is secure and save.
                            Bullshit. When your organization's only internet presence is a weekly flier e-mailed to members, there is no need to hire any IT staff.

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                            • #15
                              Yeah.... This was pure and simply FUD without proposing a real fix and implying that you should buy their commercial product instead. Whoever wrote this was a complete and utter dumbass, and I hope you were paid for this because while it would be morally bankrupt to at least it would be kinda smart as opposed to being an accessory to stupid.

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