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

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Tue Oct 26 21:01:09 UTC 2010

2010/10/26 David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com>:
> 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.
> free
> 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
> ourselves.

That's the gist of it. Our general policy is to be as open on internal
tools as reasonably possible, which includes giving people an Ubuntu
laptop even if they've only ever seen that name on a restaurant in
Napa. [1] It also includes pretty substantial investment in some open
tools where we can make a significant difference through our adoption
and support, e.g. CiviCRM.

We've still got lots of Macs, but are gradually moving away from them
where we can; we've standardized on OpenOffice.org (soon LibreOffice?)
for formatting documents, and of course we use wikis extensively for
sustained collaboration. I've started a page a while ago to publicly
document the internal tools use of WMF and other players in the
Wikimedia movement:


We've recommended Thunderbird in the past (with some folks sticking
with GMail, yours truly included), but unfortunately it doesn't meet
all our needs. We're reluctantly switching to GMail as the standard
email solution, but we'd love to switch to an open solution in future.
Jon Davis can elaborate a bit on the assessment process. Naturally
folks will be able to continue to use open source clients.

Google Docs is a great collaborative drafting tool (as is Etherpad,
which is open), but I don't want us to become dependent on it -- for
any document that needs to be worked on over sustained periods of
time, it ends up being moved out of GD. I'd love to see at least a
basic MediaWiki/Etherpad integration, it would give MW a huge
productivity boost for real-time note-taking and collaboration.

[1] http://www.yelp.com/biz/ubuntu-restaurant-and-yoga-studio-napa

Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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