Open Source I.T. is a curated combination of open and free (libre) software that satisfy the majority of your personal and business productivity needs, as well as remove your dependence on a jumble of disconnected cloud companies (SaaS) and the major tech monopolists like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
Here are some examples of productivity needs that can be satisfied by open source software:
- text chat
- video conferences
- marketing and sales
- a website with business information and forms
- an e-commerce shop
- event and meeting calendaring/scheduling
- data backup and file sharing
- collaborative document editing
- task and project management
- and much more!
The purpose of this site is to show how individuals and organizations can take advantage of the richness of open source software, as well as to provide a forum to discuss the gaps in existing applications and features that would need to be filled in order for personal and business productivity needs to be sufficiently met.
To get started with Open Source I.T., follow my guides for:
- Own Your Online Identity
- Set Up Your Own Easy Self-Hosting System with Yunohost
- Host Your Own Federated Chat with Yunohost and Matrix/Riot
- Set Up Your Personal or Business Website with Yunohost WordPress
- Set Up Remote File Management, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and More with Nextcloud
- Install and Configure Desktop and Mobile Apps
- File Sync and Remote Storage/Backup
- Set Up Video Conferencing
The superficial answer
Because free software is awesome!!!
There is an amazing abundance of quality free software created by passionate communities around the world just waiting for us to use and enjoy. Free software is our global information heritage – an ever growing library of tools to help us work, play and interact. Free software comes with user freedoms to help ensure that individuals and organizations are not taken advantage of. And while free software is about freedom, not cost, it is still typically much more affordable than non-free software.1
Also, because if you host your free/open-source software with Yunohost, then you get Single Sign-On (SSO) and user provisioning out-of-the-box! This alleviates the proprietary SaaS software annoyance of having to create multiple accounts, manage multiple passwords, and add/remove employees from a bunch of disconnected software applications every time an employee joins or leaves your company.
The deep answer
Because software is deeply embedded in our society and our lives, and it will continue to become further embedded, until it is an integral part of who we are. If we value liberty, democracy, justice and the enrichment of society, then we need to look beyond short-sighted notions of convenience and gadgetry and challenge the sacred priorities of maximum efficiency, productivity and profit. We need to slow down our knee-jerk consumerism and more carefully consider the tools we use in our daily lives, or we will loose further and further agency over our data, our work, and our identities. We are living in a time when we can still make choices to align our digital lives with our commonly shared values, rather than have those lives increasingly guided and controlled by the self-interests of a few software proprietors.
To be fair, I do think there is a role for plenty of proprietary/SaaS software in the world, if that software serves a unique product work-flow or service niche. It’s the proprietary/closed-source software that tries to replace the tools of our daily personal or business productivity culture that I think we should try to avoid.
Unfortunately, Free/Open Source software is not always simple to set up or use. The primary purpose of opensourceit.org is to provide the “recipes” (documentation) for setting up all the software you need for your personal or business use. But I understand that not everyone is a “cook”, or even likes to cook, so the secondary purpose of opensourceit.org is sort of a software consulting business proposal. If it were viable, there would be no more satisfying work for me than to help promote and support the use of open source software. So, for the time being, I am also offering my services to set up and provide (limited) support for a complete open source software “stack”2. The viability of this proposal is currently uncertain – mostly since I’ve never run my own business – so I can’t publish prices or make any guarantees, at this time. But if you’re interested, just send me a message and let’s chat! Also, depending on interest, I’ll be working on automation to make the set-up easier, faster and cheaper.
Interested in specific features or apps? Let me know by casting a quick vote on the Open Source IT Priorities page, comment on a specific article or on the What Do You Need for Open Source to Work for You? post, or send me a message.
One of the defining characteristics of open source philosophy is the recognition that we’re all “standing on the shoulders of giants.” While there are countless open source projects that enable the whole of what this website describes to support your personal or business I.T./software needs, a few deserve special mention. In particular, Open Source I.T. is made possible by the awesome work of the folks at Yunohost.org and Nextcloud.com. This website seeks to add value to Yunohost and Nextcloud by filling in the gaps in documentation and support for the key applications required by small-to-medium sized businesses.
And, of course, I’d also like to thank my beautiful wife, Eliana, for putting up with my obsession with open source software.
- It is important to note that free software typically requires more involvement from the user to install, configure, etc. – which I think is a good thing. But depending on your situation, the cost of this time may outweigh the cost of paying for proprietary solutions. So if cost is your only metric for evaluating free software, then it may not be for you.
- A set of software for a particular purpose