View Full Version : Promoting Linux and Open Source Software to charities

January 6th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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


January 9th, 2009, 11:15 AM
At Friends of The Earth in Birmingham they've been using Edubuntu for the last two years. You can read about it here http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/waste-recycling/waste-recycling-news/desktop-recycling.html

Perhaps you could ask them about if it meets their needs and if they've encountered any problems

January 24th, 2009, 11:09 PM
ubuntu can meet the needs of many charities and organizations, the question that needs asking is not is ubuntu capable,but is the support capable!!:popcorn:

January 26th, 2009, 03:58 PM
I've found that the Linux User Groups give quite a lot of support. It's not quite the same as phoning a help-line but it's great support none-the less

January 26th, 2009, 04:04 PM
we are using it too. See link underneath.

A whole radio station rolling on it, a IT centre and our office in the Netherlands. Including finance, webserver and everything needed for a radio station.

February 5th, 2009, 03:53 PM
That's a really good idea, I've been thinking about promoting Ubuntu personally but I think the main problem is specialised software. For example, the libraries in Aberdeen, Scotland used specialised, tailor-made software to fit their needs, to switch to Linux, someone needs to guarentee them a program with the same functionelle, that's where support comes it. Eventually... You'll end up paying...

February 5th, 2009, 07:19 PM
It'd be great if each program offered the same kind of support in addition to community support

February 8th, 2009, 01:14 PM
Canonical offer paid support, it's also possible with remastersys to create a custom image to clone to multiple pc's.

Basically it boils down to, unless it's community supported and not specialised:- at some point there is a cost.

I think really free software should be promoted as a low cost alternative, unless unlimited free support is offered on small projects

April 3rd, 2009, 08:52 AM
I think the way to adoption is through specific solutions that target what a charity is trying to achieve, independent of the operating system.

The total cost of IT is what a charity would consider and the usual issues are:

i) Familiarity - what is Ubuntu?
ii) Training - do we need to train our staff who are already familiar with the most common OS/apps and therefore moving to Ubuntu would incur unnecessary cost
iii) Can we use our existing applications and access our data using Ubuntu and associated apps
iv) Can we get local tech support for this

Yeah, I know you've got plenty of answers for the above but It's that kind of talk one has to get used to... CivicCRM has done a lot to promote the benefits of FLOSS however it's producing open source solutions to rival offerings from companies like this that might be more adept in gaining market share:

April 5th, 2009, 10:49 AM
However you promote ubuntu I would avoid the term "free" unless you promote it as a lower cost alternative with free elements.

For instance if a large organization rolls it out nationally-there will be a support cost/equipment cost.

Also if you go the remastersys route you will need to still configure some hardware unless you have exact model computers.

April 5th, 2009, 02:59 PM
I set up a successful NGO see my signature we use Ubuntu exclusively. Our volunteers are very happy using Evolution, Firefox and Open Office.

We do have support. NO2ID maintain our web site and have loads of LInux experience.

Bigken on these forums sorts out any hard ware issues. We met through the forums. He lives very near to us.

I find it easier to maintain than Windows we never have issues at all.

We have not used Windows for 3 years now.


August 29th, 2009, 05:26 PM
I wonder if Xink (the Belgian Punk/Rock band)use Ubuntu? It would be cool if they did. I wrote into the Consumer Association Which? Magazine as they seem to be pushing Microsoft a lot, and suggested they use Ubuntu and report on it. They wrote back and were very nice how they worded it - but said that Ubuntu was not in the same league as Microsoft - I'm thinking of killing my sub with them since that sounds more like Microsoft has more interest in them - from a marketing point of view? :guitar: