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Charity Shuns Open Source Code 115

Posted by kdawson
brown-eyed slug writes, "The BBC has an article explaining Christian Aid's decision to use Microsoft software in preference to Linux. It re-opens the classic debate about the total cost of ownership, highlighting the wider availability of Microsoft skills, as well as the beneficial pricing policy of the Seattle giant. From the article: '...one of the things that we find is that Microsoft is viewed as the big, bad organization — but they've actually got some good corporate social responsibility. If you're a charity or an educational institution, you pay pence in the pound for the license, compared to what a major bank might pay.'" While the Christian Aid spokesman makes some good points, he seems to miss totally the idea of open code — confusing code with data.
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Charity Shuns Open Source Code

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  • by udderly (890305) * on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:26PM (#16786619)
    We support a lot of networks for non-profit organizations. We usually go through techsoup for licensing and software. Microsoft always makes their stuff available, whereas companies like Intuit and Macromedia are usually out of stock. Too be fair Symantec usually has stuff available. And look at these MS prices:

    http://www.techsoup.org/stock/category.asp?catalog _name=TechSoupMain&category_name=Office+Tools+MS&P age=1&Cat1=Microsoft&CatCount=1 [techsoup.org]
    http://www.techsoup.org/stock/category.asp?catalog _name=TechSoupMain&category_name=Servers+MS&Page=1 &Cat1=Microsoft&CatCount=1 [techsoup.org]
  • Let us pray (Score:5, Funny)

    by MECC (8478) * on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:32PM (#16786693)
    Let us pray for these open-minded people whose software we are rue to use, that they may avoid eternal damnation for the path to hell is wide and 'open'. Let us be thankful we avoid damnation by avoiding their damn software.

  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:32PM (#16786701) Homepage
    "that can actually cost more than having Windows on an enterprise machine" ... guy: it's when you have more than one machine that the benefits of free software get obvious. When you have more than a dozen, they're stunning.
  • eh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:33PM (#16786723) Homepage Journal
    the whole charity thing is really pretty much irrelevant. sure, charities get big breaks on software and hardware. at the same time they often have much smaller budgets for things like i.t. (and hopefully they are careful not to waste donation money) so really the question is the same question for business - which ultimately costs more? and you can go out and find studies and anecdotal evidence all day and just about all of it is tainted in some way. the study was payed for by some big company or the anecdotal evidence is coming from someone with an agenda to push.
     
    i work for a very large non-profit. we get huge breaks and we still spend a lot (to me anyway) because there is some stuff we do that justifies the cost. when we can - and when the tool best fits, we use open source. just like a big for-profit company should do. a person who writes off open source completely without analyzing each situation is really just hurting themselves. often OSS might not work, but when it does it can really be a great cost saver. especially if you can train volunteers or existing staff.
     
    is OSS free as in beer completely? no - of course not. does it cost more than a closed source solution? it really depends on so many variables that change from situation to situation that there is no way to make a blanket statement.
     
    my organization just got oracle to give us a huge break on some stuff. it was a huge deal to get them to do it. they had to be sure that it wouldn't violate some of their contracts with the government. (by giving someone else lower prices or something-- i'm not involved at a level to know the details) it went through, we saved an insane amount compared to the 'list price' but it was still expensive. and getting skilled people is not a walk in the park. but we think it is the tool that will best meet our needs in a specific area. we also use linux (server and some desktops), we use some OSS project management tools, we use a ton of stuff all over the place that is open source. and we use windows. but i don't see the windows stuff as saving us a ton of money. shoot, we had a virus problem the other week that caused a lot of issues. i think part of that was because we run a.v. that isn't the greatest - but it was cheaper (not in the long i don't think, but that's not my area). on my aix and linux servers-- i don't have to pay for or worry about a.v. and they don't even address the cost of compliance management.
     
    so there you have it -- on charities pro-oss story to balance out anothers con-oss story.
  • pence in the pound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:34PM (#16786733)
    "If you're a charity or an educational institution, you pay pence in the pound for the license, compared to what a major bank might pay"

    Suuuure.. as if major customers don't get huge volume discounts and other incentives to remain MS shops. The people who end up having to pay full price are the home and small business types who can't get volume discounts- they are the ones that get raked over the coals. It is from screwing the endless little customers over that MS gets fat and rich, then gives back a tiny percentage to charity to get all the glory for having "social responsibility".
  • by heinousjay (683506) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:36PM (#16786755) Journal
    Like most people, they don't care about open source code, because they don't code.

    It's not like people are going to suddenly develop a love of programming en masse. The ability to modify the operating system, or anything else for that matter, is about as important to most people as the color of the motherboard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scoth (879800)
      You jest, but when my fiancee and I were shopping for a video card upgrade for her computer, it took a fair amount of convincing to get her to go for the higher-specced card over the equal price, lower-specced one with a purple PCB. She really really wanted that purple card.
    • by AlHunt (982887)
      But they ought to care. I'm using OpenSuSE on my laptop at the moment and damn near anything I get a hankering for (recently a CAD program to draw floorplans) is *right there in the repository*. I don't even have to get up out of my easy chair.

      That said, I can see the point about there being a larger pool of worker-bees who can just sit down at a WinXX machine and go straight to work.

      Linux has arrived, and in a big way. It'll just take time to spread and that spread will be aided by the coming glut of wi
  • Irony? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:37PM (#16786765) Homepage
    Does anyone find the fact that a charity supporting the community is giving money to a monopoly, directly impacting the community? Yes, they pay pennies on the dollar, but what about the rest of us, who theoretically will pay more because of their discount?
    • by shmlco (594907)
      Of course, that "monopoly" also exists in the "community", employs people in the community, makes it possible for the "community" to have retirement plans, pays taxes in the community, and so on.

      And rather that complaining about non-profits, how about the warez leaches? People who steal are subsidized by you too, and they contribute nothing...
      • how about the warez leaches?

        This story wasn't about warez leeches.

        • by shmlco (594907)
          You opened the door on subsidizing freeloaders and people who get discounts. I just walked through it...
          • No, you made yourself look silly, because you tried to make a counterpoint that is not a counterpoint at all.

            Me: Joe stole a cookie.
            You: Oh yeah? Sue stole a cookie!
            Me: ...
  • by HighOrbit (631451) * on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:38PM (#16786769)
    The old analogy "Linux is Free like a puppy is free" is not always fud.

    The article quotes the charity as saying:
    "Microsoft skills are easily available throughout the world in terms of an organisation, and it is more effective for us to have Microsoft software which we can employ people easily for...."
    So its easier and less expensive for them to find both volunteers and employees who already know how to use MS software as opposed to having to go through the time and expense of training them anew on something different. That is a valid concern if they are trying to operate on a shoe-string budget. The noted that the licensing cost for the charity is "pay pence in the pound for the licence" (i.e. cents on the dollar). So the training and support become major expenses.
  • Um. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lostlyre (774960) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:38PM (#16786773)
    Microsofts beneficial pricing policy? How about Linux'snonexistent pricing policy?
  • First of all, I don't see how a person could want a good example as long as that person is ruled by a boss (Microsoft bosses for ex). A person should not have a boss. Instead a person should, if possible, allow somebody to pay you to 'do want you want to do' because he or she wants to see what you do: take 'donations' (meaning payment for your work really).

    O.k. if a person can attempt that first, the person should also 'be able' to and 'optiona
  • "Re-opens"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sczimme (603413) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:38PM (#16786783)

    It re-opens the classic debate about the total cost of ownership

    I must have missed something: when was this debate closed?

  • Guilty as charged (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cloud K (125581) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:42PM (#16786811)
    I'm the IT manager for a small charitable organisation (but in such a position that it needs someone like me)

    If I tried to put Linux on the desktops, erm I'd probably be sacked.

    There are sooo many little 'bits and pieces' we use in this organisation which simply wouldn't work in Linux. Funders often provide their own software, for example, that we are expected to use in order to capture data and return facts and figures. Sometimes it's written in Access, sometimes VB or something else - but 99 times out of 100 it's for Windows.

    Just recently we had to roll out some health and safety training software for our young trainees who we get paid good money for. Interestingly it's mostly written in Shockwave which is available for Linux I believe, but it's all wrapped in a .exe file. Windows.

    OpenOffice isn't quite there yet either - we did try it a few years ago (to be fair it'll have improved since), and aside from the staff saying "I'm not using this because I'm not used to it, put Office back on please" there were often so many little formatting/translation issues that didn't work properly when people took work home to their MS Office based computers.

    Digital cameras are a big part of our work, for collecting training evidence. Unfortunately the departments were 'let loose' in buying their own digital cameras from those above me and so inevitably we ended up with a bunch that have a proprietary USB interface (as opposed to mass storage) and are not supported in Linux.

    With the diversity of our projects, the project leaders just so often need a piece of custom software. Until Linux becomes more widely adopted, or WINE something resembling useful (sorry but it *still* doesn't run most of the software I throw at it) it is simply not viable. As much as we'd love to save the money, it turns out that the money is actually worth spending.

    Unfortunately, although there is a religious crusade behind the basic existence of our charity, it's the one called Christianity - not the one called Linusanity :)
  • The best {long term} strategy would be one of investing into the software developement into whatever main software you're planning on using (databases, ERP, whatever), then save over the long run of not having to be forced into upgrading at ever release cycle. It just seems that open source solutions would fit that need better.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Believe in God. Check.

    Shun oss in favor of MegaEvilCorp. Check.

    I guess this explains the torrent of negative and condescending comments. Is there anything these people could have done more wrong in the eyes of the slashdot collective? Maybe sued RMS in a Rev. Phelps styled lawsuit?

  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:50PM (#16786913) Homepage
    At my university the bookstore sells XP Pro for $10. You can download Office Pro off of the website for free.
    Do you think MS is doing that to support higher education? I doubt it. I'm more certain that they see it as a cheap way of indoctrinating people to use MS products so that when they get out of college they are so used to using MS, that they don't even stop to think of anything else existing.
  • Bah! TCO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mpapet (761907) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:51PM (#16786921) Homepage
    At this point, it is reasonable to assume most organizations that do not want to rely on their IT employee talent or skill will choose Microsoft.

    TCO, like most statistics is skewed toward the biases of the people putting the numbers together listening carefully and intentionally including the biases of their employer. In this case the TCO will never come out in favor of Linux because of the organization's biases.

    I think this is a good thing though. The more biased and irrational the PHB the more likely they will listen to Dvorak/Microsoft craziness. The more that hyperbole is abused the better for Linux.

    Meanwhile, the more rational PHB will look at the tools available for the job and decide which is best. In increasingly more and more situations, Linux will be the better tool.
  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:52PM (#16786925) Homepage Journal
    It re-opens the classic debate about the total cost of ownership

    sczimme [slashdot.org] said [slashdot.org]: I must have missed something: when was this debate closed?

    Oh man, you did NOT miss that thread!!! we resolved the TCO debate, Mac v Linux, Security models, and even Emacs vs Vi.
    • by Bugs42 (788576)
      Oh man, you did NOT miss that thread!!! we resolved the TCO debate, Mac v Linux, Security models, and even Emacs vs Vi.
      You resolved Emacs vs. Vi? Now I know you're lying!
  • if you're a charity or an educational institution, you pay pence in the pound for the license, compared to what a major bank might pay

    Yeah, contact me when private individuals can pay "pence in the pound" too, please. I remember once wanting to upgrade from Win95 to XP, only to find that I couldn't. I had to either pay the "full retail price" for a non-upgrade version, or pay for a "discounted" upgrade to windows 98 and then pay for another "discounted" upgrade from that to XP. Also, since then, I've pur
  • by IflyRC (956454) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:54PM (#16786949)
    "that can actually cost more than having Windows on an enterprise machine" ... guy: it's when you have more than one machine that the benefits of free software get obvious. When you have more than a dozen, they're stunning.

    Thats why I am an advocate of free hardware.
  • by mcpkaaos (449561)
    Believe in God. Check.

    Shun oss in favor of MegaEvilCorp. Check.

    I guess this explains the torrent of negative and condescending comments.


    Thank you, Mr. Ironic.
  • Not necessarily. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:58PM (#16786983)
    guy: it's when you have more than one machine that the benefits of free software get obvious. When you have more than a dozen, they're stunning.

    Remember, it is in Microsoft's long term interest to prevent people from moving to Linux.

    So, for a charity, Microsoft could give their software away (free as in beer) and still come out ahead because it would be another instance where Linux was denied.

    This gets back to the "piracy" argument. "Piracy" helps your company if it gets people who would not normally purchase your product to use (and learn) your product rather than use (and learn) a competitor's product.

    There's no loss on sales because they wouldn't have been able to afford the purchase price in the first place.

    I've often wondered why companies don't just give away licenses for their product that are 2 generations old or older. Get the people hooked on the free stuff and then they'll pay you when they get money. Just like the drugs.
  • I would imagine it is because they get their money given to them. The cost of M$ software is probably insignificant compared to the 'expenses' paid to the top brass at the charity for travel, accomodation etc. Apologies to any of the top brass who never claim any expenses.
  • Revelations (Score:3, Funny)

    by mordors9 (665662) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:09PM (#16787065)
    Doesn't it say something about many will be fooled by the Beast? Just further evidence of who Bill really is... (just kidding, lighten up)
  • what a tool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:09PM (#16787073) Journal
    ""We are a funding organisation that ships £90m around the world - the last thing you want to do is open up your systems to anybody to have a look at to deal with bugs," he said"...

    Because of course its better to have JUST the black hats looking at the code... they'd never steal from a charity would they? I'm sure we can trust criminals. This is idiocy of the highest order. And then he goes on to say;

    "But one of the things that we find is that Microsoft is viewed as the big, bad organisation - but they've actually got some good corporate social responsibility.
    "If you're a charity or an educational institution, you pay pence in the pound for the licence, compared to what a major bank might pay."


    He previously said that there were training costs because the staff didn't know how to use non-MS software, why can't he see that they do this as a way of enforcing their hegemony so that people HAVE to use their software. Freedom might not be free, but it is important
  • by mattgreen (701203) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:10PM (#16787079)
    Funny how the open source movement is about choice until you decide not to use them. For example, any article on here that mentions Photoshop, without fail there's always someone who stands up and says, "stop Adobe's monopoly! Use Gimp!" This sort of myopic zealotry is childish at best. People aren't always going to use what you think is best. They may have different requirements than you. Heck, they may just want to get stuff done without dragging ridiculous debates on software distribution into everything.

    This was just a choice the charity made. Perhaps it isn't what this crowd wants to hear. Instead of complaining about it, figure out what made them be dissuaded, and evaluate whether their complaints are legitimate. If they are, then fix the underlying problem. If they aren't, then disregard it and move on. You don't need to sit there and whine endlessly about it.
  • by nomadic (141991)
    While the Christian Aid spokesman makes some good points, he seems to miss totally the idea of open code -- confusing code with data.

    Maybe he had more important things to work on? [christian-aid.org.uk]
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:11PM (#16787087)
    I'd be more than happy to give a couple of hours a week free support to a charity that was using FOSS software - I'm sure there's a few more people like me also, it wouldn't take too much organisation to create a pool of people willing to pool their resources for supporting FOSS in charity organisations.

    I don't really care how much money private businesses pump into Microsoft for software but I'd really like to think that any government department that's financed by my taxes or any charity are doing their utmost to cut costs on any sort of infrastructure spending when cheaper ot free alternatives are available.

  • by zrq (794138) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:12PM (#16787093) Journal
    "We are a funding organisation that ships £90m around the world - the last thing you want to do is open up your systems to anybody to have a look at to deal with bugs,"

    No disrespect to the guy, but I don't think he understands what OpenSource actually means.
    In fact, I get the impression that he hasn't really considered using OpenSource software.

    To be fair, if you are already busy trying to maintain the systems that you already have, then experimenting with OpenSource alternatives can seem a lot more hassle than it is worth.
    How often does an IT manager sit down and think "Ok, looks like I have some spare time ... should I think about replacing all of my existing (working) services with a completely new set of (unknown) services".

    Unless there is a policy change from higher up, then the only way that change will happen is if enough techies within the department discover OpenSource for themselves and begin to suggest alternatives.

  • "one of the advantages of open-source - the core code can be examined by anyone - could actually work against the charity (...) the last thing you want to do is open up your systems to anybody to have a look at to deal with bugs" (...) "When you think of charities, we think they are liberal organisations with woolley-jumpered amateurs"

    Well you sure proved wrong a misconception I never made.
    *slaps suspenders*
  • by Micah (278) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:15PM (#16787111) Homepage Journal
    I know of other nonprofits that are shunning open source for the entire Microsoft stack for one reason -- "foundational software." This software handles all their donations, contacts, personnel, etc., and binds it tightly to the M$ stack.

    This is something we in the Free Software community need to address, soon, assuming we want to help nonprofits standardize on open code. Does anyone know if a viable solution that currently exists and would not be scorned by thier leadership?

    I'd like to see something that does the same things, but runs on Linux and has ties to OpenOffice, Firefox, PostgreSQL, etc.
  • man that article was absurd, that guy clearly didnt know DICK about linux..
    you dont have to pay for support contracts, and your system is not wide open for anyone to look at... ofcourse anyone with have a brain (most of the people on slashdot) already knew that

    it comes down to that guy being unaware of the subject and wasting money
  • by Saxerman (253676) * on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:18PM (#16787137) Homepage
    After reading the article, it sounds more likely to me that they received their preconceived ideas about Linux after talking to their Microsoft sales rep. Which is not to say they are all wrong, but it doesn't sound like they've actually done any of their own research on the topic of switching their OS. However, their core point seems to be that they already have a system that works, and Microsoft is already giving them a big break on the cost of the software because they are a charity. So staying with Microsoft is a known cost, and switching over their IT infrastructure and trying to make certain everything still works would be an unknown cost, with no guarantees it would ultimately be less expensive than what they currently have.
  • It is frustrating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrScary (39957)
    I work for a Catholic school and trying to get the Archdiocese to switch over to OSS is like pulling teeth. You would think that with as tight as school budgets are that saving $40 for a wordprocessor would make them jump but they just will not do it. Then you look at some of the overpriced budget and database software they use and you really start to shake you head.
  • It is not about whether or not people will be coding. That was just a stupid comment. Most people don't code and never will. The fundamental importance lies elsewhere.

    If you use a proprietary system, then they decide to change something, and you don't like it, you no longer have the choice of keeping current without accepting the things that you don't like.

    If you use a proprietary system, then they change things, but it breaks what you are doing, unless you have deep pockets you have no choice but to s

  • Rubbish. Linux is not that dissimilar to Windows - it's not as if they've been taught to operate Windows and are then thrown in front of an alien control panel from Independence Day. The Linux desktop is almost exactly the same as Windows. As it OpenOffice. Oh, yes, and you forget that forum support is free, whereas if you ring Microsoft they'll say "Hi! What's your credit card number?"
  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:26PM (#16787205) Homepage
    I must agree with them on the topic of knowledge base. There ARE more M$
    trained people available than for Linux. They may have an easier time getting
    support and they probably won't have to train anybody using the computers.
    (What software is running on the computers in your kid's school?)

    They are wrong about security, open source does not mean their computers
    are open to attack (wonder who put THAT idea in their heads?)
  • from the article.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:31PM (#16787251) Homepage
    "We are a funding organisation that ships £90m around the world - the last thing you want to do is open up your systems to anybody to have a look at to deal with bugs," he said.


    I really don't follow this logic..
    That doesn't make any sense.

    He seems to think that if you are using open source software, it means your data server's admin account is available to anyone?
  • by tvm662 (232083) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:38PM (#16787287)
    According to Netcraft [netcraft.com] they run their website on Red Hat servers. They moved from FreeBSD to Linux in September 2005. This might just be a hosting company change, but the fact the netblock is registed to them makes me think that they might run the servers themselves.

    Seems a bit strange to me.

    Tom.
  • by knuty (136597) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:42PM (#16787339) Homepage
    In 2004 twenty tons of computer equipment was sent from Oslo in Norway to Eritrea. This is the largest shipment of computer technology from Norway to a developing country ever to have taken place. The software chosen to accompany the computers was Skolelinux, a Linux distribution initially developed for, and successfully deployed in, hundreds of Norwegian schools. This was annonced at the EUs Open Source Observatory 12 October, 2004:

    http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3355/469 [europa.eu]

    FAIR is an international non-profit NGO with its headquarters in Norway, aiding developing countries by supplying resources within ICT, such as hardware, software, training, information and support. By combining brand new hardware with first-class second-hand computers and the latest software upgrades applicable, FAIR aims to become a premier ICT supplier providing world leadership in cost effective computer networks and communication solutions.

    http://www.fairinternational.org/ [fairinternational.org]

    The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has founded a report about free software in schools. It covers planning and deployment of Skolelinux/DebianEdu that currently includes 234 Norwegian schools, 33,000 client machines, and 101,000 pupils and teachers. It cover technical issues, economical and organisational issues. There are also feedback on how teachers uses free software in teaching.

    The report basicly says that Skolelinux/DebianEdu has 30-40 percent less Total Cost of Ownership compared with proprietary solutions. This is based on experiences with free and propretary software at many schools operated centrally.

    http://developer.skolelinux.no/artikler/2006-04-02 -debconf6.pdf [skolelinux.no]
  • by Kattspya (994189) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:44PM (#16787359)
    I can't really see the problem. If Microsoft subsidizes charities at the cost of commercial customers then the charities have everything to gain by going Microsoft. It doesn't say anything relevant about the TCO of Linux versus Windows in the commercial sector.
  • Let us pray for these open-minded people whose software we are rue to use, that they may avoid eternal damnation for the path to hell is wide and 'open'. Let us be thankful we avoid damnation by avoiding their damn software.

    And someone, somewhere laments the use of the Goatse man as the logo for their Linux distribution. It just goes to show you there *is* such a thing as too open.
     
  • It is from screwing the endless little customers over that MS gets fat and rich, then gives back a tiny percentage to charity to get all the glory for having "social responsibility".

    And how much of a discount does the little customer get for Red Hat Enterprise Linux? Oh, wait... they get screwed over too. Your nice anti-Microsoft rant, while probably deserving of a +5 Kool-aid mod, misses the point that most for-profit businesses operate the same way, whether their software is open source or not. If Red
  • In reply to #16787287:

    What's so surprising about that? Linux is a very good OS for running webservers. For working with (i.e., sharing files with) other organizations and recruiting people who already know how to use applications and an OS, Windows is clearly the OS of choice. That may change, but right now that's the way it is.
  • At my university the bookstore sells XP Pro for $10. You can download Office Pro off of the website for free.
    Do you think MS is doing that to support higher education? I doubt it. I'm more certain that they see it as a cheap way of indoctrinating people to use MS products so that when they get out of college they are so used to using MS, that they don't even stop to think of anything else existing


    They do the same thing at my Uni, and guess what, the newspapers do the same. I have seen a lot of people coming
  • I submitted the following complaint to the BBC website:

    This story reads as if it were a scripted Microsoft sales promotion. Indeed it probably is. No doubt MS is providing Christian Aid, through Mr. Buckley a discount on MS software if he promotes it against Linux and Open Source software. Since the BBC does not carry advertising it is all the more important that advertising does not creep in under the net and appear as content, It appears to have done so in this case.

    The only value in this story is to warn
  • all of the money Bill gives to Planned Parenthood, and not to mention how morally bankrupt MS is as a company. I just recently converted my primary box over to FreeBSD and will never put MS back on it again. I have tried to move away from Windows for years (off and on), but the experience was too uncomfortable no matter what Linux distro I used, and I felt I depended too much on Windows software to give it up completely (I would always dual boot my system, eventually finding myself using Linux less and le
  • Funny how the open source movement is about choice until you decide not to use them. ... People aren't always going to use what you think is best. They may have different requirements than you. Heck, they may just want to get stuff done without dragging ridiculous debates on software distribution into everything.

    I have no problem with anyone at all choosing to use non-free software. As you said, they have different requirements than I do.

    What irks me (and most of the people who get pist about this) is

  • Misses the idea? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Freak (16973) <[prius.driver] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday November 09, 2006 @02:07PM (#16787581) Journal
    ...he seems to miss totally the idea of open code -- confusing code with data.


    Of course he does. He's not a geek. Yesterday I convinced one of my customers to use OpenOffice.org over Microsoft Office. The only selling point she heard? "Free". Not "Free as in speech", but "no cost to acquire." And her next door neighbor is Ward Cunningham (this [wikipedia.org] one, not this [wikipedia.org] one,) yet she still didn't quite get "open source". The average person doesn't understand open source, nor do they care enough to learn. It's just the way the world works.

    It is disappointing that Linux couldn't make more inroads at a nonprofit, but as the article says, it's much easier to find cheap Microsoft help than Linux help. (For example, my on-site consulting company charges 50% more for Linux work than for Microsoft work; simply because we only have two of us that know Linux.)

  • I believe you .. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs232 (849320) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @02:10PM (#16787607)
    "I work in a mostly Linux shop. It is the only solution for our server farms", InsaneProcessor

    "We have to hire both linux and windows IT people", InsaneProcessor

    Is it possible for someone to have both linux and windows skills in the one brain?

    "Linux is next to worthless on our desktops", InsaneProcessor

    What version? Why are you running both desktops. As an IT services company what exactly is difficult about the 'Linux' Gui?

    "Every time a new version or upgrad comes out (new hardware isn't supported by older versions) too many things become broken", InsaneProcessor

    What compels you to upgrade? As a professional IT shop I would imagine you set your own upgrade agenda. Why do you install the 'old' version on new hardware when as you say, there is a newer upgrade available. What kind of a shop are you running there?

    "Windows is far cheaper to maintain and support", InsaneProcessor

    According to this MS sponcered report [vnunet.com] from 2002 it takes three people to support a Linux server and two for Windows. Anyone who know anything about Unix knows this to be absolute nonsence. An average ISP need hire at most two Linux sys admins regardless of the number of machines. Once some automated scripts are in place baring a hardware failure, there is minimal maintenence.

    X-Fud-Status: Yes, score=7.0 required=2.5 .. morons, worthless, upgrad, broken, troublshooting, licenses, zeolots+pretend typos

    InsaneProcessor (869563)
    was Morons that miss the point completely (Score:1, FUD)
    Morons that miss the point completely [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think the comment about confusing code with data is probably off base. I think the original quote in the article is just not very well explained, and out of context.

    What he seems to be *trying* to say is that you don't want to get into a situation where fixes things depends on just "anyone" fixing the problem (which is how most OSS bugs will get fixed -- volunteer effort, ya know?). Instead they want to pay someone for support, someone they can rely on to actually help them resolve problems. The point is,
  • Funny how the open source movement is about choice until you decide not to use them. For example, any article on here that mentions Photoshop, without fail there's always someone who stands up and says, "stop Adobe's monopoly! Use Gimp!" This sort of myopic zealotry is childish at best. People aren't always going to use what you think is best. They may have different requirements than you. Heck, they may just want to get stuff done without dragging ridiculous debates on software distribution into everything

  • by WizMaster (974384)
    I have to agree with you. Everything is about choice and Microsofts products are sometimes the best choice. I disagree with many things this person said and frankly I don't care. Most people will not pick the best tool for the job. As ignorant as this christian is, your point still stands. I think there should be more respect in people's choice to choose the monopoly.
  • by parvenu74 (310712)
    I see Apple isn't on the list. Does anyone know if Apple does non-profit discounts, or are you S.O.L. if you want to user iWork or Final Cut or Aperture at your non-profit?
  • I work for and with several charitable international NGOs and mission hospitals in the developing world, mostly in East/Central Africa. I'm not the IT guy for any of these organization but in addition to my medical work, I often end up wearing the general purpose geek hat.

    Although I've moved to OS X for most of my general purpose computing needs, I've been involved in the Linux/OSS community since the mid 90s. I would love to be able to recommend Linux/OSS solutions to any of the organizations I work with
  • Here's my inflammatory two cents:

    I, for one, would rather see spammers using my free software than a religious org of any flavor (spammers, in my opinion, have a less detrimental effect on society in the long term and their forms of torture are at least tolerable... plus they've yet to start a war or blow stuff up).

    I'd be much more tolerant if these charities weren't just public relations stunts--I mean, unless "Christian's Aid" is really to help some guy called Chris...
  • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jwsd (718491)
    If you had actually read Microsoft's 10-K, you would have seen that they received the vast majority of their revenue from OEM, Enterprise, government, and other large customers.
  • Open Source software doesn't move at the pace that Microsoft does. Good software takes time! Everyone in the world could switch to M$ based products three times over and it wouldn't bother the true OSS developers. We don't need advocacy; we need people with heart and skill. While others are being pushed through the bovine lines at colleges there are others that believe in what they do and do it the best in the world.

    It's not going to be for Grandma for years to come. Until then, patience and contribu

  • Are movie theatres looking out for kids when they charge less? Are airlines feeling sympathetic towards vacation travelers when they charge them less than business folk? Are senior citizens given discounts at museums, restaurants, and elsewhere because these places truly care about the elderly? Or... Can Microsoft make more profit by charging charities less because 1) it's dirt cheap to supply another copy of software thus they still make a profit off of this group, 2) charities are willing to pay less
  • I guess it all depends on what kind of applications they want. I really don't think it has anything to do with "open source" and "closed source"... Chances are that the person or department deciding has a specific need that needs be met and they think a windows application can do it easier then a linux one. Nothing to cry over.
  • Looks like Microsoft beat you to it... To get the non-prophet discount [techsoup.org], a religious organization must provide services to people regardless of their religious beliefs and does not propagate a belief in a specific faith. By these requirements, I wonder of the Salvation Army gets the discount, last time I stopped in, they preached to the people being fed at their soup kitchens.
  • In reply to comment #16787521

    First of all, a person should not do business with Microsoft. Microsoft buys out people's souls: a person purchasing something from Microsoft is as deluded as a zombie, with an illusion of expertise, under the Devil's wing(command).
    I try not to act as a conventional customer because in all ways I would behave in the way of a Microsoft customer.

    And if a person pays Microsoft money, there's no reason for he or she to be concerned as a customer with what they do with the money bec
  • by Pinback (80041) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @04:37PM (#16788545) Homepage Journal
    Charities need money. Money comes almost exclusively from closed source companies.

    You don't spit in the face of those closed source companies, and put down their product. You smile, but the reduced cost copies, and say good things about closed source companies.

    Anyone grumpy about a slashdot story is not in your target audience anyway.
  • Corporate Charity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SloWave (52801) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @05:14PM (#16788779) Journal
    If I remember correctly Al Capone was considered a big charity giver. So are some of the present day Mexican drug barons.
  • Quotes from the article:

    ""Open-source doesn't mean free," he told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme."

    Does not mean free as in beer.

    "...you have a support contract that goes with it - it's an essential part of operating that software."

    Why *that* software? I fail to see why a contract is needed for an OSS solution when it is not needed for a proprietary solution. This may be the case if OSS is inferior; that is asserted *implicitly*, not good. I personally do not think that statement is true or
  • I agree that in principle open is better than proprietary, and anything that actually works is better than Microsoft, but do you not understand that there's one big risk to "open" and that's instability. Not catastrophic instability, just change, and what to do about it, and who is going to be able to fix anything, and what are we doing, and how do I sell my Board on this, and....

    It's not "cost of ownership," it's the cost of utter confusion. When you're perpetually under-resourced financially, the only th
  • I'm the IT Manager for what was a medium size company (around 30 people). When I arrived and kicked off the IT department, since I had Linux skills, using Linux for our servers was a no-brainer. Cheap, robust, reliable, flexible... all of that. However using Linux on the desktop is still a long way off. Even trying to go for Windows based OpenOffice met with a good deal of resistance and was abandoned.

    Recently we were purchased by a large multi-national, and the message coming down from their managemen

  • Red motherboard are soo much cooler than green ones. And yellow ones just look cheap.
  • I give any money to them if they're gonna waste it like that.
  • At my university the bookstore sells XP Pro for $10. You can download Office Pro off of the website for free.Do you think MS is doing that to support higher education? I doubt it. I'm more certain that they see it as a cheap way of indoctrinating people to use MS products so that when they get out of college they are so used to using MS, that they don't even stop to think of anything else.

    My college age nephews began with Windows 95 when they were eight years old.

    The Geek needs to wrap his head around th

  • I think I saw one of those lunatics that would actually try to pull this in another post in this topic!!!! LoL
  • You must be new here.
  • It does not matter how much money M$ has given to charity.
    They have destroyed way lot more that what they have buildt.
    That cannot be said about open source.
    If open source does not give money, it is because open source does not have money.
    Of course, the churrch has always knew what they care about...
  • I didn't realise everyone else understood the importance too! Mine's red...

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