Choosing open source software: Decision-making materials for civil society organisations
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY, 29 March 2004
Free and open source software (FOSS) holds a great deal of potential for civil society organisations. The most obvious benefit of FOSS is that it is often free to use or low-cost. However, it also offers more including
crucially better security (did you know that if your computer uses the GNU/Linux operating system you don’t have to use anti-virus software? No more days or data lost recovering from the latest virus…). Plus, FOSS is based on the kind of collaborative and cooperative principles that many civil society organisations embrace.
The materials available in the MultiMedia Toolkit’s latest unit on FOSS provide an introduction to FOSS, tackling questions like ‘what is open source?’ and ‘how will it benefit my organisation?’ They also include practical advice on how to review open source software packages and select the right ones for your organisation. The guides are planning and decision-making tools not a detailed technical manual.
Introductions to selected OpenOffice tools. OpenOffice is fast becoming known as the real challenger to Microsoft Office – and it’s available for free! Take a look at the MMTK units available on OpenOffice Writer (it’s like Microsoft WordTM) and OpenOffice Impress (which is similar to Microsoft PowerPointTM).
These materials are part of the ItrainOnline Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK). The MMTK provides an integrated set of multimedia training materials and resources to support community media, community multimedia centres, telecentres, and other initiatives using information and communications technologies (ICTs) to empower communities and support development work. The six units on FOSS were developed by APC for the MMTK with the support of UNESCO.
The materials are online free to download. They are designed to be used by trainers for face-to-face group training work, however, if you are interested in the guides you should look for materials labeled ‘handouts’. http://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/opensource.shtml
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