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Les_P 01-07-2009 03:43 PM

Promoting Linux and Open Source Software to charities
I've been an Ubuntu user since Dapper Drake, and I love using Ubuntu, for the first time in my computing life I have true freedom.

I was thinking over Christmas, that I am lucky, I have the freedom of open source software, and free software that performs every task I ask. I never have to pay for anything, and with the credit crunch, thats a good thing.

But what about all the charities in the world, from the small teams helping in your local town / city, to the big international charities helping millions.

Can the IT requirements of a charity be met by Linux and open source software, I think so, but would the charities be willing to change from Microsoft / Apple?

I am currently looking at the common tasks that a charity may undertake, using IT. Once I have ascertained this then I will devise some method to show the charities how versatile and cost effective Linux is, in particular Ubuntu.

If anyone has any opinions, or would like to comment, please do.
Many thanks for reading

MS3FGX 01-07-2009 04:11 PM

There is no question that the technical needs of a charity organization could be met by OSS, the problem is getting people to install, maintain, and ultimately, use it.

A lot of charities are manned primarily by volunteers, a good portion of them generally being the elderly. These people are often not technically inclined in the first place, let alone up to the challenge of learning a new operating system.

I have been involved with a number of charitable organizations in the past (both in terms of well-known groups and local upstarts), and the IT requirements are almost always handled by a volunteer who the others deemed "the computer guy", which in these circles tends to translate into "person who bought and operates his own computer without the help of his children".

If you want to make any headway in installing and operating OSS software for charities, you would also have to take on the responsibility of volunteering your own time to actually do it. Even then, you are probably going to meet some skepticism in terms of what the real-world benefit would be; you have to remember, charities qualify for low-cost software and hardware from many vendors, so they aren't paying retail prices. Even then, they probably have grant money or donations to pay for their technology in the first place, so nothing is coming out of their own pocket.

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