Louisiana Association of Non-profit Organizations

Wesley Harp wesj at wesleyharp.com
Fri Feb 22 12:26:38 GMT 2008

A link was posted to the Louisiana Association of Non-profit Organizations (
http://www.lano.org/explore.cfm) during our meeting last night.  While this
is probably a good place to look for information on whether or not we want
to become an official non-profit, if you look around the website, it also
could be an opportunity.

Who can benefit more from free open source software than non-profit
organizations who have very little in the way of financial resources.

On their front page is a link to a "Tech Talk" on Microsoft Word.

Below that is a pdf called Budget Basics.  In their description of this pdf
they say it "is designed to help you better understand the state's budget,
advocate for fiscal policy & affect the financial priorities of the state."
What better way to save the state money than by using free open source
software?  The argument can be made that this would cost more in
installation and support costs, but I believe there are savings to be had
even if we only get the state to selectively replace Microsoft Office with

If you look at their FAQ, they have a technology section.  The very first
item is about upgrading to Windows Vista and Office 2007.  They recommend
not upgrading at this time.  A perfect opportunity.

They do have sources of low cost software.  They are able to get Windows XP
for $8 and Office 2003 for $16.  Those are incredible prices, but from the
FAQ, there are limitations.  Some companies place restrictions on how, when,
and what can be ordered and they must also provide proof of their non-profit
status.  These are things they wouldn't have to do with free open source
software.  Even at such low cost, if a non-profit needs software for more
than a handful of computers, even these low cost items will add up and take
a bite out of already limited budgetary resources.  I believe any cost
savings provided to a non-profit organization would be significant.  They
are also likely to be more receptive to free open source software.

They are not averse to free products.  Looking at the FAQ further, they
already recommend CutePDF for creating PDFs.  They mention it is free, but
don't mention that it uses Ghostscript which is licensed under the GPL.

These are things I found in less than 10 minutes of looking over their
website.  Surely there are other areas in which open source software would
be an enormous asset to them and other non-profit organizations.

An additional opportunity to spread Ubuntu and free open source software
might be Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council (CACRC).  They are listed
as a resource to the non-profits for obtaining low cost computer equipment.
I assume they don't distribute these refurbished computers with an operating
system, though I'm not certain.  Approaching companies of this type would be
a good way to further spread open source awareness.  If you are able to
offer your customers a fully functional computer with almost every a
software program to do almost anything they need, that sounds like an
advantage over your competitors.

What can we do?

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