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Old 10-10-2013, 01:00 AM   #1
graeyhat
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My workplace project to redirect funds towards the open-source community.


The company I work for is a multibillion dollar international company located here in the United States. My occupation, although a profession, is a non technical occupation. However I have been employed with the company for over 15 years, know my way around the system, have a knack for navigating workplace politics, and have access to higher ups within a 12 state district. At my last review my manager told me that he wanted to see me persue something in the leadership field (although he wasn't sure of what that would consist of). With Microsoft's EFI secure boot and Adobe not providing their latest version of Flash for the Linux platform I feel as though my digital way of life is imperiled.

I have found my mission.

My goal is to convince the company I work for to reduce their reliance on Microsoft products and to allocate funds towards the open-source community. My reasons are to strengthen the open-source community in which I so heavily rely on for my software needs and to try to do my part to contribute what I can. The benefits for a company to switch over to open-source is a no-brainer to many us but to convince others will take a little bit of finesse. As of now this project is in its infant form as I still have to identity the parameters of how much information I can release to the public without putting my job in jeopardy and I still have to identify and learn how to use the public resources at my disposal.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
 
Old 10-11-2013, 10:04 AM   #2
zeebra
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Sounds great! Good luck with that.

Don't forget to remind the company that much money can be saved if they cooperate with other companies to develop software that they need, together. Any business software is a good start. Sharing this with the community would also be helpful, and perhaps get more companies involved. It saves the reliance on companies to sell their software to you, and the inevitable upgrade costs every few years or whatever.

They also then ofcourse support a far better model where companies work together in the community to build software that fits their needs, rather than getting software which perhaps don't perfectly fit their needs, sold by a company at gigantic costs.

Depending on the company you could contribute towards the development of LibreOffice and implement this in the office instead of Microsoft office if that is used. Microsoft office is normally a big cost for companies, and a regular cost with changing platform all the time.

The very best ofcourse would be able to get rid of the reliance of Windows alltogether, and hire competent people in your organisation to organise and put together all the things you need for desktops, mobiles, servers etc etc. This however is still a a bit further away, since everyone would need to learn to work efficient with a completely new system.

I think the key is to get corporations to work together and build/fund the building of whatever they need.
 
Old 10-11-2013, 11:31 AM   #3
graeyhat
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The support that my company could supply would be a little more indirect than that. Currently a few aspects of our systems run software provided by Redhat. A part of my vision is where the company would increase this relationship, thus providing Redhat with more money, who in turn (by design) further supports the open-source community from an even stronger position.

On a side note, a very high ranking senior member of our company is scheduled to visit our location within the next couple months. I would like to assemble some reading material to hand him. I will be printing it on as fancy of stationary as I ca find. I would like to have this hard copy produced within the next couple weeks. Can someone point me in the direction of some really good FOSS propaganda that I can print off? Some information on available vendors that would supply this software would be helpful as well.
 
Old 10-13-2013, 10:30 PM   #4
catkin
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It might be worth contacting the FSF
 
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:15 AM   #5
zeebra
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www.gnu.org
http://www.fsf.org

Again, good luck!
 
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:17 PM   #6
graeyhat
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Thank you.
 
Old 10-14-2013, 03:43 PM   #7
Robhogg
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The free software foundation focuses on the ethical and political reasons for supporting Free Software, which i think is absolutely right. But, if you want to convince a business, you probably want to look at Eric S. Raymond's articles in The Cathedral and the Bazaar - particularly The Magic Cauldron which puts the economic arguments.

It would also be worth thinking about the issues facing your company, and what leverage points there might be. Positive public image, protecting against vendor lock-in, ability to shop around for support... what would your management care about most?
 
Old 10-15-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
graeyhat
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If my case is not about saving the company money then it most likely will not be heard.

This is how I picture the events of this upcoming window of opportunity unfolding: The senior member of the company makes his rounds pressing flesh and telling us to keep up the good work. I approach him with the question, "If an employee had an idea that could potentially save the company millions of dollars would you want that employee to come forward with the information?" His response would naturally be a "Yes" or an "Of course." That would be the moment in which I hand him the reading material. After which he would quickly fan through the pages, realizing that it is full of charts, graphs, and diagrams, and figuring to himself "I could at least look at the pictures and decide if I'm gonna read the damn thing!"

Not sure where it would go from there but at least it's a step. I do wonder if there is a movement of individuals who get together and brainstorm ideas of this nature.

Thank you Robhogg for your input. Yes basically I am putting forth a case for a resolution of policy. I have to convince my audience that there is a problem (identify the criteria and show that the criteria is satisfied). Then I have to identify the source of the problem (as gracefully as I can). Then I have to prove that the proposed solution will solve the problem. Finally I have to show that on balance things will be better off.

I am off to do my research. The topics of "positive public image, protecting against vendor lock-in, ability to shop around for support" will be issues I will be thinking of. I have already considered the one of positive public image. The criteria of any sort of vendor being a company based here in the United States (like Red Hat) is important. It would prevent a potential local public backlash that would result if an American company (Microsoft) was traded in for a 'foreign' one (like Canonical).
 
Old 10-15-2013, 05:15 AM   #9
zeebra
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Looking at the sites of corporate GNU/LInux distributions could be useful. They should have information about how it saves money.

For example:
Redhat
Mandriva

GNU/Linux is the biggest saver in the long run. I think emphasis should be put on not having to "change" the system every other year, but rolling from release to release. Working together with other companies in the area of common useful business software could save a substantial amount of money AND contribute to the community. Public image could be optimised as a result.

It's not impossible for a business to switch their working machines to GNU/Linux either. Solutions such as Virtualbox can provide you legacy Windows support (without new licences) if that is ever needed.

Last edited by zeebra; 10-15-2013 at 05:27 AM.
 
Old 10-15-2013, 10:21 PM   #10
graeyhat
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Looks like the senior member of the company will not be visiting our location until the end of this winter. At least that will give me more time to do research and come up with more ways to achieve my goal.

Does anybody here know of other people who are trying to achieve what I am setting out to do? Perhaps there is a 'GNU Economic Warfare Committee' out there?
 
Old 10-16-2013, 09:09 AM   #11
catkin
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From http://fsfe.org/work.en.html:
Quote:
Public Awareness

Informing the public about Free Software is part of FSFE's core mission. Many people in the organisation are experts on various Free Software topics, and can be contacted about giving authoritative talks, holding workshops, or participating in discussions.
That may or may not cover what you are looking for but it may be worth asking them.
 
  


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