Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Open source vs Antharia

The folks over at Antharia are some true blue mission driven nonprofit technology providers, but I suspect they are buying into the entire open source vs. vendor thing driven by FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) generation on both sides. To whit this post.

I think Jordan and I would enjoy having drinks... something about an affinity for a rant. So here goes,

  1. Drupal, Plone and Joomla ARE NOT VENDORS.
  2. Antharia, CitySoft, Convio, etc. ARE NOT SOFTWARE.
When you send Antharia a check you are buying two things:
  1. FourtyFourFish / On Content, their software.
  2. Antharia, the vendor.
Jordan has this comment her blog post that is a common misperception... and the way vendors spread FUD about open source (I'll cover how open source spreads FUD about vendors in a sec.).
If I did not know better I would swear the makers of Drupal, Joomla, and Plone were greasing the pockets of NTEN.
I'm not sure how the 1400 individuals that "made" Drupal by offering uncompensated contributions of software code could or even would slip NTEN a check, but hey, whatever. You are not buying a vendor when you use open source software. End of story.

Now, NTEN can take it on the chin for screwing the pooch on the CMS software survey by conflating the software and the vendors into a single entity rather than having people rate the software and the vendor seperately. Not sure how Drupal can deliver on promises since software doesn't make promises, vendors do.

And the open source guys spread FUD about vendors mostly by using the words lock in and free. If you have a good vendor, your probably pretty happy with your lock in.

Finally, as a big open source proponent, I must pose the question... who can write better software? A small company with a couple developers? Or 1200+ contributors driven by a multi-million dollar ecology?

And props to the small nonprofit technology vendors... who can help out a small nonprofit implement software better? 1200+ conributors who couldn't care less about you? A small company where you are an important customer?

What is the best solution for nonprofits? Excellent software (open source) implemented by excellent vendors (small mission driven shops).


ntenhross said...

Hey David - It's true. I'll take it on the chin for conflating vendors and software in our survey. Maybe we can come up with a better name. But we're just trying to measure whether folks feels their expectations for the product and support are met. Int he case of proprietary software, that's met by a vendor. In the case of FLOSS tools, it's generally the community. We know it's a problem with how we frame the survey, but stand by the results.

Also - I totally wish SOMEONE were greasing our pockets. Have you got any extra grease lying around? :)

JAD said...

Color me behind the times. No Antharia is not a product, only a moron would draw that conclusion. Antharia is the company. onContent is the CMS. I am never happy to see vendor/software mixed together which is why we work so hard to make sure people know that FortyFourFish is the suite of products. Antharia is the makers.

People have no problem understanding Word is a product in the Office suite made by Microsoft. This is the same....

onContent is the CMS which is a product in the 44fish suite which is made by Antharia.

Oh vey.