Choosing and Using OSS - NTEN

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Jan 31, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)

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Open Source Software You Can Use


Michelle Murrain

Nonprofit Open Source Initiative

MetaCentric Technology Advising


May 20, 2008

Outline


What is free and open source software?
(very quick)


Stages of open source development


Using Open Source software


Types of software


How to get support


Q&A

What is free and open source software?


Software is released under a license that
allows:


Access to source code


Modification of code


Re
-
release of code (in certain ways that differ by
license)


This is free as in 'libre'


Open source software does not have to be
without cost to obtain, but almost always is
(free as in 'beer')


Many “free” software products are not 'libre'


not open source

Stages of open source development


Pre
-
Alpha


Maybe just a design


One or a few developers


Usually doesn't work


No documentation


Alpha


Very first version


Usually buggy


Still a few developers. No community


Little or no documentation

Stages, cont.


Beta


Can still be buggy


Might have more developers


A forming community


Mature


Software works well


Good documentation (books, even)


Good UI (if applicable)


Active developer and user communities


I'm going to talk largely about mature
software.

Using Open Source Software


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.

Types of Software


Operating Systems


Server software


Fileserver software


Web/mail server software


Database systems


Web application platforms


Desktop applications

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.

There are two common, mature open
source operating systems...


Linux


RedHat/Fedora


Debian


Ubuntu


Kubuntu


Edubuntu


others


Mandriva


SUSE


and many, many
others...


BSD


FreeBSD


OpenBSD


NetBSD


Darwin (Basis of Mac
OS X


based on
FreeBSD)


a few others, not
much used

Operating Systems


Linux and BSD are very mature and
strong on the server/appliance side


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.)

How to get Linux


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.)

Server Applications


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


very mature, some in use for 15 years or more

Server Applications


LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL,
PHP/Perl/Python)


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


Ruby on Rails


Newer web framework that is gaining steam.
Uses the Ruby language.

Server Applications


Apache



industry standard web server. It runs
twice as many webservers as the closest
competitor (MS IIS).


MySQL



very popular database server


PostgreSQL



considered as good as Oracle
by many


Tomcat



project of Apache, used for running
Java web applications

Server Applications


Web platforms/CMS


Drupal


Joomla


Plone


These three have become standard. They have
overlapping feature sets, and they are differently
customizable. But all are very solid CMS platforms


Others:


Typo
3


Alfresco

Blogging platforms


Wordpress


specialized for blogging


the others
can be used that way, but if all you want is a blog


Wordpress is great.


Movable Type


newly open source, also
specialized for blogging

Drupal

Joomla

MediaWiki

Project Pier

Moodle (Courseware)

phpBB

Server Applications: Business Processes


SQL
-
Ledger


server
-
based accounting
package


CiviCRM


server
-
based CRM/Fundraising
package


SugarCRM


server
-
based enterprise CRM
package

SQL
-
Ledger

SugarCRM

CiviCRM

Desktop Software


Mozilla Suite (all platforms)


Firefox


Thunderbird


Spinoffs:


Flock


Camino (Mac browser)


Sunbird (Calendaring
-

not so mature)


Open Office (all platforms)


Adium (Mac OS X)


GIMP

Firefox

Thunderbird

Open Office


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)

OO Writer

OO Calc

GIMP

Desktop Linux



As of
2008


good everyday operating system
for some desktops


Ubuntu
8.04
probably the best bet


Xandros, Fedora, Linspire, SUSE, others


There will be snags


Hardware drivers


some proprietary formats


missing or immature software

For Whom?


Great for Email/Web stations


Great for Kiosks


Great for staff who only need the basic apps


Probably not for most power users (unless they
are serious developers)


Not for creatives


graphic, publishing, media
applications are lacking


Great for developers

What FOSS is being used in nonprofits?


A recent NOSI survey found:


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

What are the barriers to FOSS adoption

1)
Familiarity with proprietary tools

2)
Lack of support

3)
Lack of staff expertise

4)
Lack of training

How to get support for FOSS



Evolving support model


Developer and user communities


this was the
traditional, “self
-
help” model of technical support


this is, for many nonprofits, not enough support
for implementation


Consultants and trainers


Companies (RedHat, MySQL, Canonical)


In our space: Technology Providers are
increasingly working with FOSS

Next Steps


Try Firefox if you haven't yet


Try out Open Office


Try running a “liveCD” of Linux


a way to do
a test drive on your computer without
installing anything


Have a need for simple email/web stations?
Don't want to buy new hardware? Think of
using Linux with older hardware.

Your Questions?

!??

???

???

??!?

Resources


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.