Seeking open source software resources (case studies, advice) for web design and consulting
December 10, 2003 4:42 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to move my web design and consulting business to running on completely open source software. Any penguins have any good case studies, papers, blog posts or advice on making the switch?
posted by will to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could you give a list of what type of applications and what functionality you need? Do you need a WYSIWYG web development app? What office software do you need? etc etc...

To get started here's the list of applications I currently use

Distribtuion: Gentoo, but I would not reccomend it for beginners. Have a look at Mandrake or Progeny. And remember just because it's open source doesn't mean you don't have to pay for it. Both these are companies that hope to make a profit...
Desktop: GNOME 2.4 (and let's not turn this thread into a KDE Vs. GNOME flamewar)
Email: Evolution, best PIM on linux in my opinion, and the 2.0 release is looking pretty cool as well.
Web Browser: Epiphany (Gecko, ie Mozilla, based browser standard with GNOME)
IM: I use Gaim at the moment but the minute Gossip has better support for Jabber transports I'm switching.
Office Software: Currently I write all my documentation in LaTeX but that's not really a decent user friendly Word Processor. There's quite a range to choose here from KOffice to Open Office to combining seperate apps like AbiWord and Gnumeric
Development: I currently just stick with good old gVim, but I have recently downloaded and started looking at Eclipse which looks quite impressive.
Web Development: Screem, but have a look at Quanta and BlueFish.
posted by PenDevil at 5:20 AM on December 10, 2003

O'Rielly has a great resource for open ports/clients for Linux and other OSes.
Freshmeat's listings are handy for tracking the latest dev builds of various projects, but can be overwhelming if you're just starting to switch.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:22 AM on December 10, 2003

Project management / groupware: dotproject.

CRM: Anteil has a good demo, though I've never been able to get it installed. I've tried out Compiere and several others, but haven't been able to find quite the functionality I was looking for. I'm currently using instead. (If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.)

Content management: See Open Source CMS for live demos of tons of systems. For most cases, I recommend MovableType -- configured not as a blog (the first thing I do is strip out all the default templates and ways of doing things), but as a CMS.
posted by oissubke at 5:37 AM on December 10, 2003

Response by poster: Wow, great responses - thanks!

oissubke - Open Source CMS is great, but I agree that right now Movable Type is just the best so far.

Can anyone suggest something to do my accounting?
posted by will at 6:22 AM on December 10, 2003

There's also TurboCash which has been opensourced. It's a UK app bu I think it has support for US accounting standards.
posted by PenDevil at 6:30 AM on December 10, 2003

there's gnucash. i have it installed, but haven't got round to using it yet. it looks pretty comprehensive.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:31 AM on December 10, 2003

If you absolutely, positively must use some of the more popular Windows productivity apps, Crossover Office will let you do it for a reasonable fee (and probably with less hassle than standard WINE).
posted by Galvatron at 7:23 AM on December 10, 2003

Other Linux-based business accounting options are SQL-Ledger, which is open source, and MyBooks Professional, which is proprietary, but looks pretty slick.
posted by zsazsa at 7:40 AM on December 10, 2003

Fedora (previously Redhat) is an easy to use Linux distro (the latest Mandrake was too unstable for daily desktop use). I run it on a few servers and desktops and it's zippy.
posted by holloway at 12:49 PM on December 10, 2003

If you're betting your business on it, don't settle for a free software OS less than either of Debian or FreeBSD. Both have fantastic user communities with great support, are not OS products of for-profit corporations (which, in the "Open Source" world tend to go under or make sudden strategy changes), and both are designed as complete systems rather than collections of packages a la Red Hat or Gentoo.

I would personally use exclusively Debian both at the desktop and on the rack if I were putting my livelihood on the line: It works, it does not fail, it's easy to administer and lets me focus on getting work done rather that fiddling with the box itself, it's implemented under a consistent and strong policy (probably the reason Debian is my first choice), and doesn't lock me in to a vendor's peculiar way of doing things. BSD is, of course, somewhat similar in most of these regards.

GNOME/KDE and application questions are a matter of personal preference. Find the environment that lets you get your core business of consulting and web development done. Consider sitting down and putting together a needs analysis and specification document as though you were having a consultant do this migration for you -- then be your own consultant.

OpenOffice is great for everyday office tasks but a spreadsheet of any kind is probably not sufficient for complex accounting and billing tasks. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to consider a more robust accounting package. Some to consider are OSAS which seems like a "big" app to me, SQL-Ledger, and some smaller packages like lazy8 which is an accounting plugin for jEdit.
posted by majick at 5:09 PM on December 10, 2003

« Older Online Portfolios for K12   |   Adobe Director technical question. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.