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In the last two years, sexism in free and open source software (FOSS) culture has been increasingly discussed and documented. (See Sexism: Open Source Software’s Dirty Little Secret.) However, little has been done about it.

Both Aurora and Gardiner have been active in FOSS women’s groups for over a decade. However, the catalyst for the Ada Initiative was the hostile responses to Noirin Shirley’s account of being sexually assaulted at ApacheCon in November 2010. The incident led to Aurora, Gardiner, and other members of the Geek Feminism blog to draft sample anti-harassment policies for conferences, and eventually to Aurora quitting her work as a full-time kernel developer at Red Hat to focus on the issues involved.

Named after Ada Lovelace, an associate of Charles Babbage who is often credited with being the first computer programmer, The Ada Initiative is intended as a means to do the kind of intensive work that is difficult — if not impossible — when relying on volunteers.

The current plan is to find funding for two years’ full time work for at least Aurora and Gardiner. Others may be hired as funding permits, or for special projects.

“We’re hoping to rely on corporate donations, probably with some early funds raised through individual donations” says Gardiner. The Ada Initiative has already announced its first sponsor, Linux Australia, and its founders hope to announce other sponsors shortly.

Assuming that the necessary funds are raised, The Ada Initiative’s co-founders have several ambitious goals.

One of the earliest priorities, according to Gardiner, “is the first substantive research on women in open source since the FLOSSPOLS survey that everyone relies on, but which are now five years out of date.” The Ada Initiative will spend the first six months developing a research methodology and doing a new survey, then repeat it at the end of two years, leaving a consistent standard that can be used afterwards, either by The Ada Initiative or its successors.

More immediately, the organization will be working within FOSS and related communities in three ways. According to Aurora, “one is creating reasonable policy frameworks in general on things like how to successfully run [things like] a Women in Open Source Scholarship. There are a lot of people who want to run a Women in (fill in the blank) Project, and they just don’t know how. The things that we develop and write down we can share with them.”

Aurora continues, “The next one is to actually do in-person workshop and training.” Examples of these events include what Aurora refers to as Allies Workshops for male and institutional supporters and First Patch Week, an intensive short course that would encourage women’s participation in FOSS by teaching them via mentors about the cultural mechanics of proposing, writing, and submitting code modifications to a project.

However, Aurora adds, “One thing we are very clear on is that we are not going to be fee for service. We are not going to be earning money because some bad thing has happened.”

Another point that the founders emphasize is that men are welcome to contribute to The Ada Initiative as mentors or other consultants– and, in fact, that much of the audience for its activities will be male or represented by men.

“We think there is a large community of men who would really like women to be a greater part of open [culture],” Aurora says, “and we have to give them the information they need to help them understand how to be part of this movement.”

Gardiner and Aurora also want to stress that The Ada Initiative is complementary to existing organizations for women — and is not intended as a replacement or umbrella organization, let alone as a competitor.

Instead, Gardiner suggests that The Ada Initiative will take on projects that existing organizations are less apt to undertake. Not only are many groups, such as Debian Women or KDE Women focused on specific projects, but, because of traditional divisions of domestic labor, women still frequently have less time to volunteer.

Moreover, some goals are simply harder to achieve with volunteers. Gardiner suggests that volunteers are best-suited to activities like coding, which can be divided into a series of smaller tasks, or event planning, which involve concentrated bursts of effort over a short period of time. By contrast, larger issues that involve multiple projects or intensive work over long periods of time are easier to organize when people are working on them full-time.

At any rate, Aurora notes, “Especially in open source, the majority of participants are paid, and it seems a bit much to expect that women are going to be different and participate in their free time. We want to get women involved professionally full-time.”

According to Gardiner, women who want to be involved in FOSS “often find that their tolerance for the level of conflict is really short. Very quickly, you’ll find this level of hate rhetoric, trolling, and puerile behavior that is pretty exceptional.”

However, Gardiner and Aurora hope to avoid burnout because of the way that The Ada Initiative is being organized and planned. “Just being able to make some sort of positive difference and being able to work actively and intensively” may make a difference,” Gardiner says.

Moreover, Aurora observes that, in previous activist efforts, “generally there’s been one person who has done the bulk of the going to conferences, being the public face, and being the person who gets the death threats which inevitably happen. Kathy Sierra is just one of the high profile examples of that.[Sierra is a programming instructor and game developer who cancelled her appearance at a tech conference due to threatening blog posts and death threats.] One of the things we’re doing is having a minimum of two people for the Ada Initiative, so it’s depersonalized. People are hopefully going to be more likely to attack The Ada Initiative than a person.

“The second part of burnout is that activism takes a lot of emotional energy. It’s extremely draining, and when you have to work a full time job to support yourself then you come home to death threats and angry emails and people being upset about the way you’ve phrased something, pretty soon you decide to stop doing that. So we also need to be able to go home in the evening and relax, and the only way we can figure out how to do that is to get paid for [activism].”

And if the founders burnout anyway over the next two years? Then, “in an ideal world, we’ll have grown a couple of excellent candidates who would love to go to work for The Ada Initiative,” Aurora says.

The planning for The Ada Initiative includes evaluating progress towards its goals at each step of the way. According to Gardiner, the project will be reconsidered in six months if it has not found adequate sponsorship, with any funds raised returned to their donors

Similarly, Gardiner concedes that, “it is, for instance, not realistic to expect that in 2013, fifty percent of developers will be women.” Instead, Aurora and Gardiner are viewing the next two years as an initial phase in the project.

During that time, they hope to observe and document small but definite changes in the participation of women in FOSS and related areas. Aurora suggests that measures of success will be such things as “the number of women who have submitted their first patch through one of our programs, establishing a baseline for women in open source and culture, the number of groups and organizations that we have assisted, [and] the number of conferences that have adopted some form of anti-harassment policy.”

By contrast, signs of failures might be the number of women who fail to keep up their involvement, or of conferences that, after adopting an anti-harassment policy, fail to enforce it.

The Ada Initiative is confronting complex problems that many others have faced with limited success, but, overall, its founders are convinced that the time has come for their approach.

“It’s the right thing to do, and it seems like it’s far overdue,” Aurora says. “A lot of people want to do something and they have nowhere to go to do it, so there’s this pent-up frustration and helplessness. We hope to give people a focus.”

ALSO SEE: Sexism: Open Source Software’s Dirty Little Secret

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Open Source Ecm In A Windows World

Informa, a technical publishing company with some 7,000 employees, straddles the worlds of Linux and Windows.

The company uses Linux in all its applications that interface with customers. The London-based Informa has very active Linux development teams in its Dutch, German and UK offices. These developers create software for uses ranging from content distribution to marketing.

“They’re all Web apps that deliver something to the broad public,” says Bob Hecht, the company’s VP of content strategy.

The Windows-centric side of Informa is its internal network, which supports its production and management functions. Although the company has open source developers based in Florida and New York, “We tend to, for expediency, write to the Windows platforms, because our infrastructure is all Windows boxes,” Hecht tells Datamation.

Despite the company’s clear dividing line – Linux for customer apps, Windows for its internal network – Hecht decided to take a major step: He introduced an open source element into Informa’s Windows-only internal network.

Surprisingly, the open source tool he introduced was an enterprise content management (ECM) application. In most companies that’s a critical app, but for Informa – whose entire business is content distribution – its ECM program is a defining element of the network.

Why did Hecht want Informa to take such a major step? Cost was the key consideration. Additionally, “I’m a huge Linux fan and supporter, and what has been happening in open source is just an incredible move.”

A New Tool

The open source ECM tool Informa chose is Alfresco Enterprise Network, developed by Alfresco. Launched in the fall of 2005, the software is not quite yet a year old. In its short life, the ECM tool has been adopted by companies like Boise Cascade and Knight Ridder Digital. The application is designed to run in the Linux, Mac, Unix or Windows environments.

One of Informa’s goals in adopting Alfresco was to allows employees to use the editor of their choice to participate in any stage of a document’s creation, from authoring to reviewing, approval to distribution. The company wanted support for EXL-FO (Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects) and Web services standards. It wanted its content management system to be open source so that it could incorporate third party tools without being limited to a proprietary software model.

Alfresco enables a network manager to apply an array of content management rules to virtual folders. For instance, “You say, ‘anything that goes into this folder, do this with it,’” Hecht explains. So any file can be automatically translated into the correct file format, locked, or versioned. The software also handles an array of security rules. It uses the Lucene Text Search Engine.

Alfresco employs CIFS (Common Internet File System), a protocol for allowing users with different platforms to share files. “It uses a CIFS mapping tool to make the Alfresco content repository look like a Windows folder,” he says. So users navigate within the comfortable, well-known Windows environment.

Because Alfresco supports the JSR-168 portlet standard, users can work in their native portal when necessary. The application employs a configurable Aspect-Oriented system where rules are defined to prompt actions.

The Cost Factor

Some users might expect a relatively new open source app running in a Windows environment to create network snafus. On the subject of Alfresco’s stability on a Windows network, Hecht says it’s hard for him to say, chiefly because he’s never run the app on top of Linux. Not that Alfresco isn’t stable, he explains, but “The only thing I can say with confidence is, I’d feel that it’d be more stable under Linux.”

Actually, there are some Alfresco tools that work better in a pure Windows environment, he says.

The Alfresco enterprise-level product is priced at three tiers: silver, gold and platinum, or $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000 per CPU. (Alfresco is also available as a free, unsupported download.) The software doesn’t need to be implemented onto all a company’s CPUs, Afresco sales director Jason Hardin tells Datamation. “Let’s say they have 200 users, and two CPUs with back-up would be just fine.”

Hecht, for his part, says Informa is moving at a “very cautious” pace with its new ECM tool, but that “I’m viewing Alfresco as a long-term solution for my company.”

“I’m putting in small systems, because the product is not even a year old yet,” he says. “There’s a tremendous amount of functionality that’s in the technical road map for this product and almost all of it is important for a mature enterprise content management solution.”

Features And Popular Open Source Database

Introduction to MySQL OpenSource

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What is RDBMS?

RDBMS is an abbreviation for Relational Database Management System. It is a collection of programs that allows to store and manipulate the data. It always stores structured data. RDBMS stores data as database objects in a Table, which comprises a set of related entries organized in rows and columns. A database stores a group of related tables. Various companies like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Teradata, and many more provide RDBMS with different capabilities, but the main purpose of all the RDBMS is the same.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source relational management database system. MySQL is a fast and easy-to-use RDBMS to develop various small-scale and large-scale applications. Various applications like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and many more are widely using it. MySQL is popular because of the various features it has.

Some of them are listed below:

MySQL Software is released under an open-source license. So, there is nothing to pay for. It can be used freely.

MySQL Software works on various operating systems and can be used with various programming languages like Java, C, C++, PHP, etc.

MySQL Opensource uses standard SQL language to query the data.

The maximum data size that the table stores is based on the operating system constraints on file size.

Is MySQL OpenSource?

MySQL Software is an Open-source RDBMS software. The source code of MySQL OpenSources is available under the terms of GNU General Public License and a variety of proprietary agreements. For Proprietary use, several paid versions are available that offer additional functionalities. A Swedish firm originally developed MySQL called MySQL AB, which Oracle Corporation now owns. The MySQL server software edition is available in various editions, including the Commercial edition and Community edition, which are described below:

MySQL Community Edition: An active community of open-source developers supports the freely downloadable version of MySQL RDBMS. There are a lot of forums where users can post their queries and get all the updates on MySQL.

MySQL Commercial Edition: MySQL is available as a paid version under this edition. The commercial edition of MySQL includes various editions of MySQL Opensource, listed below.

MySQL Enterprise Edition: It has the most comprehensive set of features, management tools, and technical support to achieve scalability, reliability, and uptime. This reduces the risk involved in cost and complexity in deploying, developing, and managing business-critical applications.

MySQL Standard Edition: Enables us to deliver high-performance and scalable Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) applications. It provides a transaction-safe ACID properties complaint database.

MySQL Classic Edition: The Classic Edition serves as an embedded database for ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), and VARs (Value-Added Resellers) who develop read-intensive applications utilizing the MyISAM storage engine. It has been established as a zero-administration database with high-performance capabilities.

MySQL Cluster CGE: It is a distributed database providing linear scalability and high availability. It provides features like in-memory, real-time access with transactional consistency across distributed datasets. It has a globally distributed cloud infrastructure. Also provides a replication factor for the data between clusters across geographical sites which helps to prevent data loss.

Features of MySQL Opensource

Relational Database System: MySQL OpenSource is a relational database system.

Client/Server Architecture: MySQL is a client-server system. A database server is installed in some systems, and many clients try to communicate with the server to query the data. The client can run on the same machine as the server, or it might be on different devices, also.

Query Language: MySQL Opensource uses Structured Query Language is a database programming language.

Replication: It enables the replication of the database contents on multiple computers to prevent data loss in cloud infrastructure.

Platform Independent: You can install the MySQL server on various operating systems.

Connectors: MySQL Opensource provides different types of connectors like chúng tôi JDBC and ODBC, chúng tôi driver, etc., to connect MySQL with various programming languages like Java, chúng tôi chúng tôi and many more.

Easy to use: MySQL is easy to use. It is available both as an editor also as a command-line interface.

Conclusion

So, from the above points, you must know about MySQL Opensource and its availability. So, after going through the details about MySQL Opensource, we can now conclude that MySQL is one of the best RDBMS databases with many features. As we know, it is available both as an open-source and a commercial edition. Users can choose the MySQL edition based on their requirements. The open-source edition is ideal for individuals seeking to learn any RDBMS database and is helpful for learning, development, or exploration purposes, particularly for students. It can be easily downloadable and installed since the Commercial edition is a paid version. Companies or institutions can mainly use it to develop business-critical applications as this edition provides technical support like deployment, maintenance, and availability, reducing the complexity risk. The commercial edition is also available in the cloud, making it highly available.

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Open Source Cloud Storage Software For Linux In 2023

Introduction

As the amount of data we generate continues to increase, finding a reliable and cost-effective way to store it has become increasingly important. Cloud storage software is a great solution for this need, allowing users to store data remotely and access it from anywhere with an internet connection. For Linux users, there are a variety of options available, including open source software.

Open source software is a type of software that is freely available to use, modify, and distribute. It is often created and maintained by a community of developers and users, rather than a single company. This can make it a great choice for cloud storage, as it can be more customizable and transparent than proprietary software.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of open source cloud storage software for Linux users in 2023. We will provide an overview of different types of cloud storage software and discuss how open source options can be customized to fit specific needs. Finally, we will provide a list of the top open source cloud storage software options available for Linux users.

What is Cloud Storage Software?

Cloud storage software is a type of software that allows users to store data remotely on servers located in data centers, and access that data from anywhere with an internet connection. This can be especially useful for businesses or individuals who need to access their data from multiple locations or devices.

There are several different types of cloud storage software, including −

Public cloud storage − This type of cloud storage is offered by third-party providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform. Users pay for the amount of storage they use on a monthly or yearly basis.

Private cloud storage − This type of cloud storage is hosted on servers that are owned and maintained by an individual or organization. It can be more secure than public cloud storage, as the owner has more control over the data.

Hybrid cloud storage − This type of cloud storage combines elements of public and private cloud storage, allowing users to store some data on public servers and some data on private servers.

Benefits of Open Source Cloud Storage Software

Using open source software in general has a number of benefits, including −

Cost savings − Open source software is often available for free, which can be a huge cost savings for individuals and businesses.

Flexibility − Open source software is often highly customizable, which can make it a good choice for businesses or individuals with specific needs.

Transparency − Because the source code is freely available, users can see exactly how the software works and can identify and fix any issues or bugs.

In the context of cloud storage software specifically, there are several additional benefits to using open source options −

Customization − Because open source software is highly customizable, it can be tailored to fit specific needs. This can be especially important for businesses with unique requirements.

Security − Open source software is often more secure than proprietary software, as the code is available for anyone to review and identify vulnerabilities.

Collaboration − Open source software is often developed and maintained by a community of developers and users, which can lead to a more collaborative and innovative approach to software development.

Top Open Source Cloud Storage Software for Linux in 2023

There are many open source cloud storage software options available for Linux users. Here are some of the top choices −

Nextcloud

This software is a popular choice for individuals and businesses looking for a self-hosted cloud storage solution. It offers file syncing, collaboration tools, and a range of third-party integrations.

Benefits −

Highly customizable

Can be self-hosted for increased security

User-friendly interface

Drawbacks −

Requires some technical knowledge to set up

Seafile

Seafile is a file syncing and sharing software that offers both self-hosted and cloud-hosted options. It offers end-to-end encryption, file versioning, and mobile access.

Benefits −

High level of security with end-to-end encryption

User-friendly interface

Multiple deployment options

Drawbacks −

Limited third-party integrations

Can be slower for large files

ownCloud

This software is similar to Nextcloud in that it offers a self-hosted cloud storage solution with file syncing, collaboration, and third-party integrations. It also offers mobile access and built-in file versioning.

Benefits −

Highly customizable

User-friendly interface

Large selection of third-party apps and integrations

Drawbacks −

Requires technical knowledge to set up

Can be slower for large files

How to choose the best open source cloud storage software for your needs

Choosing the right open source cloud storage software for your needs can be a daunting task. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision −

Features − Consider the features offered by each software and whether they meet your needs, such as file syncing, collaboration tools, mobile access, and encryption.

Usability − Look for software that is user-friendly and has a clean interface, so that you can easily navigate and use the software.

Compatibility − Make sure that the software you choose is compatible with your operating system and any other software you plan to use it with.

Customization − Consider how customizable the software is and whether you can adjust it to fit your specific needs.

Once you have a few options in mind, it’s a good idea to test them out to ensure that they meet your needs. You can do this by setting up a trial account or testing a self-hosted version of the software.

Conclusion

Overall, open source cloud storage software is a great option for Linux users looking for secure and customizable cloud storage solutions. By considering the features, usability, compatibility, and customization of each software, you can choose the best option for your needs. Whether you’re an individual or a business, open source cloud storage software is a great way to keep your files secure and easily accessible. So don’t be afraid to explore your options and find the perfect open source cloud storage software for you!

A Brief Introduction To � Makefiles’ In Open Source Software Development

As an open-source developer, you might have come across term “Makefile” while exploring different projects. But what exactly is a Makefile, and how does it work? In this article, we will provide a brief introduction to Makefiles, covering what they are, why they are important, and how to create one.

What is a Makefile?

In simple terms, a Makefile is a script that automates build process for a software project. It contains a list of instructions that specify how to compile, link, and test code. Makefiles are used to build complex projects that have multiple source files, dependencies, and targets.

Makefiles were first introduced in early 1970s as part of Unix operating system. They were designed to help programmers automate process of building software, which was a time-consuming and error-prone task. Since then, Makefiles have become an essential tool in world of software development, especially in open-source community.

Why are Makefiles important?

Makefiles provide several benefits to developers. Firstly, they automate build process, which saves time and reduces errors. Instead of manually compiling and linking every source file, developers can simply run Makefile, which will perform all necessary steps in correct order.

Secondly, Makefiles make it easier to manage complex projects with multiple dependencies. For example, if you have a project with several source files that depend on external libraries, you can specify these dependencies in Makefile. When you run Makefile, it will automatically check if dependencies are up-to-date and rebuild them if necessary.

Finally, Makefiles help ensure that code is built consistently across different platforms and environments. By specifying build process in a Makefile, developers can ensure that code is compiled and linked with correct flags and settings, regardless of operating system or compiler being used.

How to create a Makefile?

Creating a Makefile can seem daunting at first, especially if you are new to concept. However, with a little practice, you can quickly become proficient in writing Makefiles. In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to create a basic Makefile.

Step 1: Define targets

The first step in creating a Makefile is to define targets that you want to build. A target is a file that you want to create or update, such as an executable or a library. To define a target, you use following syntax −

target: dependencies command

Here, target is name of file that you want to create, dependencies are files that target depends on, and command is shell command that should be executed to create target. For example, if you want to create an executable called myprogram from source file main.c, you would define following target −

myprogram: main.c gcc -o myprogram main.c Step 2: Define dependencies

The next step is to define dependencies for each target. Dependencies are files that target depends on, and they can be other targets or source files. To define a dependency, you simply list file or target name after colon. For example, if your executable depends on a header file called utils.h, you would define following target −

myprogram: main.c utils.h gcc -o myprogram main.c Step 3: Define build rules

The final step is to define build rules for each target. Build rules are shell commands that should be executed to create target. To define a build rule, you simply list shell command after the dependencies. In our example, we use gcc compiler to compile main.c and link it to create myprogram executable. Our Makefile now looks like this −

myprogram: main.c utils.h gcc -o myprogram main.c

Once you have defined your targets, dependencies, and build rules, you can save Makefile to a file called Makefile. To build your project, simply open a terminal in directory containing Makefile and run make command. This will read Makefile and execute necessary commands to build targets.

Makefiles are not only limited to building software projects but can also be used for other tasks such as cleaning up temporary files, testing, and deployment.

For example, you can define a target in your Makefile to clean up temporary files generated during build process. Here’s an example of a target that removes all .o files in project directory −

clean: rm -f *.o

To run this target, you simply need to run make clean command in project directory. This will execute rm command and remove all .o files.

Makefiles can also be used for testing your code. You can define a target that runs your unit tests and reports results. Here’s an example of a target that runs a Python test suite −

test: python -m unittest discover -s tests -p 'test_*.py'

To run this target, you simply need to run make test command in project directory. This will execute python command and run all test cases in tests directory.

deploy: tar czf chúng tôi src/ README.md rsync chúng tôi user@server:/tmp

To run this target, you simply need to run make deploy command in project directory. This will execute tar command to create a chúng tôi file containing source code and README file. Then, it will upload file to remote server using rsync.

In summary, Makefiles are a powerful tool for automating tasks in software development. They can be used to build, test, clean, and deploy your code, saving you time and reducing errors. By mastering art of Makefile creation, you can become a more productive and efficient developer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Makefiles are an essential tool in open-source software development. They automate build process, manage dependencies, and ensure consistent builds across different platforms and environments. By following steps outlined in this article, you can create your own Makefiles and improve your productivity as a developer.

Making The Case For Open Source Software

As budgets contract, it is becoming more and more important for schools to consider alternatives to expensive proprietary software. Open source software can provide a viable alternative to traditional software at a fraction of the cost. It is available for free, and is as stable as traditional commercial software (provided schools choose mature software packages). Furthermore, most open source software packages have large communities of developers and users who work towards the common goal of improving the software. This collaborative environment mirrors the style of work educators often seek to create in the classroom.

Open Source vs. Web 2.0

In the last several years educators have begun adopting Web 2.0 sites as alternatives to traditional installed software. The propagation of Web 2.0 sites has provided options not previously available for schools, however there are important distinctions that need to be drawn between Web 2.0 and open source to avoid conflating the terms. First, Web 2.0 sites are not open source. That is to say, the end user has no ability to view, edit, or change the source code of the application. The only permission typically given to the user of a given Web 2.0 site is use of the site. Open source software, on the other hand, affords you the ability to download the source code (the building blocks) of the software.

Web 2.0 sites are hosted on the creating company’s servers, meaning use of the site is dependant on sufficient bandwidth and the site’s servers must be running at a high rate of speed. However, the costs of running Web 2.0 sites can lead to sites shutting down or going to a pay model, leading to frustrated users. Open source software cannot move to a pay model due to inherent restrictions in open source licensing. With open source software, there is no fear that a favorite package will one day cost money. For example, I personally know of many educators who used chúng tôi as a podcast-hosting service. It worked well and was free, until Garageband (the parent company) decided to shut it down. This left many educators searching for a replacement tool.

Open Source Alternatives to Traditional Software

One of my favorite ways to find open source software that is an alternative to traditional software is using chúng tôi This site will offer free and open source substitutes to traditional software. For example, if a school wanted to find an open source alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop software, a visit to chúng tôi reveals an open source package called Gimpshop. This is just one example of many possible alternatives to traditional commercial software.

One way open source software can save schools money is by replacing Microsoft Office. Schools often spend large amounts of money on Microsoft licenses, propagating the dependence on commercial, proprietary software. One alternative to Microsoft Office is LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a free and open source software package that looks and feels much like Microsoft Office and can interact with Office documents.

In my classroom, we often use LibreOffice in place of Microsoft Office because our district has yet to upgrade past the 2003 version of Microsoft Office. LibreOffice gives us newer features and compatibility we did not have with Office 2003. We also use Audacity to record audio. We use Audacity to record podcasts, we create “radio commercials” as projects, and learn to edit audio. Without this free tool, we would have had to invest in a commercial software package for audio editing. This decision has saved us a significant amount.

The other open source software package we use frequently is called iTalc. iTalc is similar to SMART Sync (formerly called SynronEyes) and NetSupport. iTalc allows me to see student screens to provide remote support, demonstrations, and supervision while students are working on their computers. As in the other cases, the use of this software has saved us a significant amount of money.

Practical Advice for Implementing Open Source Software

A proper implementation plan can make the difference between users who thank you and users who get frustrated. There are several ways to ease the transition to an open source software package, especially when it is replacing a traditional commercial package. Here are some tips for planning your transition:

1. Involve key stakeholders. If you educate users ahead of time and prepare them, the transition will be easier. Help your users see the need, help them see the cost savings, and show them that the differences in the software are minimal.

2. Start with early adopters. Each district has an easily identifiable group of users who would be willing to try this out and report possible issues. These same users will become your “go to” folks when the switch goes live.

3. Create short how-to videos and/or screencasts addressing common transition issues. The time it takes to create these will save you help desk requests in the future.

4. Roll out the change over time. Consider running both packages side by side for a year so that users have the chance to try it out.

Open source software can save your school/district/community money while still providing the features users require. In today’s budget crisis, consider how using open source software can replace some of your commercial software.

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