[Foundation-l] Wikimedia Foundation switching to Google Apps?

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Tue Oct 26 20:43:58 UTC 2010

On 26 October 2010 21:30, MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:

> Perhaps Google Apps has some terrific benefits that Wikimedia sorely needs;
> that was the reason I asked what benefits Wikimedia saw in migrating their
> systems in my original post. However, from where I'm standing, the cost
> versus benefits simply don't add up, particularly when you consider what
> impact this might have from a public relations/perceptions standpoint.

Gmail is just ridiculously better than any other email client I've
ever used ever, having previously progressed through Pine, elm, mutt
and Thunderbird. Perhaps it's just me, but I'd guess otherwise from
the number of Wikimedians with gmail,com addresses.
Google Docs is ridiculously usable for real-time collaboration. More
so than anything I've ever used.

I suggest it's quite plausible that the Google versions are so far
ahead of self-hosted open source equivalents that we'd be crippling

> I think the broader issue of Wikimedia using non-open source software is one
> that needs clarification, as it still seems very murky to me.

It is, of course, quite possible that we should in fact use less good
open source equivalents, even if we would be near-crippling ourselves.
We're not the FSF and our technology policy isn't set by Richard
Stallman. That said, RMS does have the important plus point of having
been pretty much right about most things, so we would be very foolish
indeed to disregard what I will term the "rabid free/open source
software" position out of hand.

Wikimedia is a creature of the broader free culture movement. Erik
Moeller, a Wikimedian since the wikipedia.com days and currently WMF
deputy CEO, *wrote* the Free Content Definition. We're aggressively
neutral about most things, but our essential values stand foursquare
for the ideals of that movement: more freedom, more information,
refusal of strings attached.

I suppose I'm saying that it's a tricky one. I have a pretty much
entirely free software desktop (except Opera for browser checking and
Lotus Notes for work [1]) but I still live in my Gmail, and it'd
utterly bugger my ability to keep up with my email to give it up,

- d.

[1] http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Lotus_Notes

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