I don't care if you use AOL, but such a database would be the best thing
ever. This way, we have people within the foundation that are easily
contactable in the event the Wikimedia Foundations needs... say... a
60-year-old privacy activist. For the record, I have a flatbed scanner that
also functions as a photocopier (color and b&w) and a printer.
On 6/25/06, daniwo59(a)aol.com <daniwo59(a)aol.com> wrote:
I have to agree with much of what Erik is saying here as well. The key
statement for me is "there are of course areas where open source
(yet) compete." In response the software package being examined is
open of those available which meets the Foundation's specific needs.
For those who are not in the know, these needs are threefold: 1) donor
management, 2) press management, and 3) volunteer management (i.e.,
database of volunteers with specific skills and circumstances, who can
to specific tasks, such as a request to interview someone who specializes
classical music, or someone who has a flatbed scanner at home). Other
will likely be identified over time as well. We need a package that can
all of the above--the package being examined can do that--and it is
open source. In fact, the propritary part is the privacy component, which
means that confidential information about donors and volunteers will not
accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
I do not think it lies within the scope of our mission to provide
support for the development of free software alternatives, but
accept Erik's other points, particularly that a partially proprietary
is preferable to a fully proprietary one. I would add, however, that we
should not compromise on the quality of our solutions.
In a message dated 6/25/2006 12:58:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
I won't comment on the specific question, but on the underlying
Wikimedia policy issue.
The Board can decide the policy for software use by the Foundation.
What would a sensible policy look like? I think an a priori "open
source[*] only" policy is problematic since there are of course areas
where open source software cannot (yet) compete. For instance, I'm
not aware of a professional open source optical character recognition
(OCR) solution, which is crucial for digitization.
However, we do need to be aware of the risks of proprietary software:
vendor lock-in, company bankruptcy, no code availability for security
auditing, and so on. Aside from that, supporting open source is an
important matter of outside perception for the Foundation.
How about a policy that states:
- when no adequate (as determined by its prospective users) 100% free
software solution for a task can be found, a proprietary solution may
- such use needs to be reported and documented in a list of
proprietary software used by the Foundation, so that the decision can
be debated and challenged by the community.
- in such cases, a partially proprietary solution is preferable to a
fully proprietary one.
- a migration plan should be made as soon as a realistic fully open
source alternative emerges.
- the Foundation should, within its budget, support the development of
such an alternative.
Does that make sense?
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