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Ask Slashdot: How To Share a SharePoint Site?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-much-wood-would-a-woodchuck-chuck dept.

Government 151

New submitter grzzld writes "I am a systems analyst for a County in New York. Last year I made a SharePoint site that manages grants and it was well received. So much so that it won a NACo award. Since then, there have been several requests from other municipalities from around the country who would like to get this SharePoint site. The county is trying to figure out how to protect ourselves from people making money from it and having people hold us liable if it they use it and something goes awry. I am afraid that ultimately nothing will be done and the site will not be shared since at the end of the day it is much easier to not do anything and just say no. I proposed that we license it under an Open Source agreement but I am not versed enough in the differences between all of them. It is also unclear to me if I could do this since the nature of the 'program' is a SharePoint site. It seemed like CodePlex would be a good place to put this since it is Microsoft centric and it an open source initiative. I just want to contribute my work to others who may find it useful. The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable and have somebody turn my work around and make a buck. How can I release this to the world and make sure the county's concerns are addressed?"

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735445)

first

If you are running Sharepoint on Windows (0)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736693)

then sharing is a given whether you like it or not

Warranty disclaimer's the important thing (5, Insightful)

abiggerhammer (753022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735467)

The GPL variants and the BSD licenses all contain a disclaimer of warranty (the part that reads "THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED ``AS IS'' AND WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE" or similar), which addresses the county's concerns. By releasing code under a license with such a disclaimer, you are asserting that no one can sue you if the code breaks, even if your code breaking caused them some kind of loss.

Public Domain (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735601)

FYI, if I remember right all works by a public employee while employed are to be in the public domain. This is at least true for federal workers.

Re:Public Domain (3, Informative)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735771)

You remember most of it. It depends upon applicable law. Federal law is almost as you describe -- for works created while the employee is working (not "while employed", as that could cover off-duty activities). States and local laws differ.

Re:Warranty disclaimer's the important thing (2)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735699)

Using a bog-standard BSD/GPL license addresses liability, it just doesn't fix the fear of managers and lawyers inexperienced with releasing software. The poster could try writing a short email linking Google licenses, the FSF, the EFF and others.

The real problem will be support: I can't fix a SharePoint package if it doesn't install right, so you have to release all the code, and if you want it to succeed, you'll also need to write documentation and answer email/forum questions. Does your employer want you doing that?

what's wrong with making money? (2)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737383)

The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable and have somebody turn my work around and make a buck.

who cares if somebody makes a buck? this sounds like sour grapes on the part of the county. They're in no position to monitize it (they shouldn't be anyway, or else they're wasting taxpayer money on business ventures?). Let somebody else make some dough.

quick how-to (0, Flamebait)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735471)

Step 1: Cry, because you used sharepoint
Step 2: Wallow about, because it's sharepoint and you're pretty much screwed
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 indefinitly.

Re:quick how-to (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735615)

I loath Microsoft and closed-source software, and "walk the walk" (I use a total of 4 proprietary programs), but this comment is beyond worthless. The poster says that the site works great, and wants to share it with other groups. You are basically saying "no it doesn't." And there is no analysis as to why that might be the case. You might as well have just screamed nonsenically in anger.

Re:quick how-to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735639)

You might as well have just screamed nonsenically in anger.

I thought he did.

Re:quick how-to (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736145)

It was a joke. Woosh.

Re:quick how-to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736207)

No one got it.

Re:quick how-to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736237)

Nope, it was a troll. GTFO.

Re:quick how-to (0, Offtopic)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736383)

Nope, it was a joke. I think I'd fucking know, I posted it.

GTFO yourself.

Re:quick how-to (2)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736605)

Nope, it was a joke. I think I'd fucking know, I posted it.

GTFO yourself.

Maybe you should learn how to tell jokes better.

Re:quick how-to (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737317)

i liked it. i cry at SP every day as well.

Re:quick how-to (-1, Flamebait)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737719)

So you loath the company that made computers both cheap and ubiquitous... It's really sad to hear comments like this. IF it weren't for Microsoft you'd be paying thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to run your open source Unix knockoff. It's because of Microsoft that you CAN run your cheap ass software on cheap ass computers. Get a clue my friend - someone needs to make money to make this all work. If everyone worked for free (as in open source) no one could pay the bills. I'm a developer and I spend hours writing check printing software so I really need to get paid to live and eat. You may have an unlimited source of income so you can write software and give it away - I don't.

Re:quick how-to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39737889)

I loath Microsoft and closed-source software, and "walk the walk" (I use a total of 4 proprietary programs), but this comment is beyond worthless. The poster says that the site works great, and wants to share it with other groups. You are basically saying "no it doesn't." And there is no analysis as to why that might be the case. You might as well have just screamed nonsenically in anger.

Not really. It's like me going to the dentist to have my tooth removed, or having someone bash my tooth out with a rock. Sure--both will solve the problem of removing the tooth, but who wants it done with a rock like sharepoint?

Re:quick how-to (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735693)

You should have ended your post with viable alternatives.

Re:quick how-to (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736169)

True enough, but my post was meant entirely in jest.

I hate Sharepoint as much as the next person who's been forced to use it, so I beg pardon for having a little fun at it's expense.

Re:quick how-to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736233)

He did mention Sharepoint.

Re:quick how-to (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737161)

I usually try to replace Sharepoint with Wiki or Drupal installations. Sharepoint does a lot of different stuff; I don't think there's a single drop-in replacement available in the land of OSS projects, but in my experience a lot of the time workgroups are barely scratching the surface of what they could be doing with it anyway.

Do nothing. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735477)

CYA and don't share anything. If they want it badly enough, they can contract you to build something similar.

Re:Do nothing. (2)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735885)

All they have to do is file a FOIA request and "force" you to turn over the codebase, what they do with it after that is not your concern or liability...
perhaps you could even automate handling of FOIA requests for the automation of FOIA request requests, which in turn handles automation of FOIA requests for the automated grant handler...
I think I got that close enough...
-nB

Re:Do nothing. (4, Funny)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735961)

perhaps you could even automate handling of FOIA requests for the automation of FOIA request requests, which in turn handles automation of FOIA requests for the automated grant handler...

A SharePoint workflow might be able to handle that.

Can you say "lawyer"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735509)

The county wants to make sure no one can make a profit off of this, AND they want to make sure no one can sue them?

1) GET
2) A
3) LAWYER

Surely the county must have one or two floating around who can do this. This is not an IT function. Sheesh! Learn where your boundaries are, boy.

Re:Can you say "lawyer"? (4, Insightful)

jpate (1356395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735737)

Why does the county care if somebody else makes money on it? That's just vindictive. As long as there's nothing blocking somebody from developing useful things for free, I see no reason to forbid business uses.

Re:Can you say "lawyer"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735965)

Why do they care if somebody else makes money off it? Because they're republicans, that's why. Those dirty capitalists.

Re:Can you say "lawyer"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736015)

The use of tax dollars to compete with business is considered unfair practice.

Whether it should be so considered is a valid question.

Re:Can you say "lawyer"? (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737549)

Absolutely. But bear in mind that sometimes you'll be ignored unless you start someone else's job for them. If you hand them a stack of half-true claims, sometimes it will induce them to go look up facts. (or it could just make them mad, but they presumably weren't doing their jobs to begin with)

On another note: the derogatory "boy" has a racial tone to it, and should be avoided unless you know for sure you're not addressing someone of color. I really wish our language wasn't being co-opted by innuendo (race, sexuality, nationality, politics, etc). It's getting really hard to say anything without being called a bigot by some victim-hood bloc or other.

This one? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735529)

Online Grants Management System
Suffolk County, New York
Population: 1,493,350 (2010)
Program Year: 2011

Abstract:
In Suffolk County, NY, the development of grant applications as well as the coordination of successfully funded grants across was determined to be an inefficient system.. Individual staff and programmatic units each kept their own separate monitoring and tracking systems that recorded different levels and phases of grants. In some instances, there were gaps in the collection of information. An interdisciplinary group convened to discuss the problem and to plan for improvements. The planning group brainstormed and used additional quality improvement strategies in order to develop the Grants management System (GMS). GMS has developed as a centralized tracking and coordination system that tracks grants through very phase: the evaluation of whether to apply for a Request for proposal (RFP), application submission, grant award, acceptance of the award by the county, development and finalization of contracts, inventory management, monitoring of expenditures, claiming, revenue receipting, grants reporting, grants purchases, etc. Feedback from SCDHS staff indicated a high level of satisfaction with GMS, improved knowledge and skills, improved management and implementation of grants. Due to the improved efficiencies of GMS, the SCDHS was able to reduce the grants staff by 2 Full Time Equivalents (FTE), with significant cost savings.
 

Re:This one? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735715)

Due to the improved efficiencies of GMS, the SCDHS was able to reduce the grants staff by 2 Full Time Equivalents (FTE), with significant cost savings.

Hey, I was one of those Full Time Equivalents, you insensitive clod.

Re:This one? (1)

grzzld (1206404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736943)

Bingo.

Why can't anyone make a buck? (5, Interesting)

perbu (624267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735541)

What is it with this fear that someone will make a buck? It does not diminish the value of the original work, rather it ads to it. The county should focus on what their job is and if somebody actually manages to create something valuable from that - great!

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (2)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735657)

I strongly agree!!! On the other hand, I am not surprised that the government is concerned of private citizens doing things they cannot control ;)

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735727)

What is it with this fear that someone will make a buck? Yes, this puzzled me. It's like the BSD vs GPL arguments, but it's odd to me that folks in government are thinking like this. While I support the position, I would not have expected it from them.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735929)

If you make a buck and I don't, then my wealth is diminished. This is obvious to anyone who was ever in a playground at two years old.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735955)

You're right. That's exactly what a two-year-old would think. Lol grow up dude.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (2, Informative)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736129)

For some strange reason, many reasonable and successful adults still have a playground mentality when it comes to sharing the ball, even when it's someone else's ball. The only difference is that the fights happen inside the courtroom instead of behind the equipment shed.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39737205)

There are ten loaves of bread for ten people. Everyone has a nickel. How much is a loaf of bread?

There are ten loaves of bread for ten people. Nine of them have a nickel and you have $1.05. How much is a loaf of bread? More importantly, how many people can afford bread?

It's obviously far more complex than that, but the basic principle is the same.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737537)

I'm pretty sure this makes no sense. The price of the bread depends on how the demand compares to the supply. If everybody just wants one loaf, then all the bread is free. if people want more than one loaf, then bread is a scarce commodity and will be assigned some value. Then you have to figure out the price sensitivity - how badly do people want the bread?

so while I agree with your first comment, that the situation is far more complex than your example, I disagree with your second comment, that the basic principle is the same.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735735)

I'm sure that the county also has barricades and checkpoints to keep the evil commercial trucks off the county roads.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (2)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736141)

I'm sure the fear is that a commercial company will simply copy their work, and then go around selling it to other agencies without substantial improvement.

Stuff like this happens all the time in government contracting.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736583)

And what, exactly, is wrong with that?

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737079)

Say commercial company scrapes and reuses public data, the public entity does some important updates to said data (as they should) and commercial Co either doesn't notice decides not to update theirs (too expensive) Now commercial co is selling bad data, when customer sues company claims ignorance of the change and points the finger at the public entity for not informing them of the change or somthing else along those lines.

Case in point: In California (and other sates) there are local Child Care Resource & Referral agencies that collect data on licensed child care in the area and provide referrals to the community at no charge. They are in partnership with the state's community care licensing division to be kept informed of when providers are in investigation or violation of licensing, and have an understanding to hold referrals due to potentially dangerous situations. Most for-profit child care referral companies don't get such data, they usually get the information from the more limited "who's been licensed" list (usually only centers or larger homes which operate as a full business) and fill that in with data from the providers who pay for added visibility. If Jane provider is under suspicion for neglect, safety, or other serious reason the R&R will hold referrals during the investigation but the commercial service would be completely unaware - I wonder to what extent they can recognize/handle clients when there is a substantiated violation.

The big crux of this is "Accountability" government agencies and contractors are very accountable for what they put out; commercial operations who swoop in and re-sell public data aren't (at least until they get sued - which is probably way too late).

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737573)

this makes no sense. if the county were to enter into an agreement with a private company, where they promise to send them any updates, then yes, perhaps there's liability. but if there is no updates and no contract, then of course there's no liability. It's like if I scraped slashdot to make a compendium of your comments, and sold it as a book of wisdom. Somebody sues me for selling lousy wisdom. it's not like i can turn around and point the finger at you!

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

grzzld (1206404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736967)

I'm sure the fear is that a commercial company will simply copy their work, and then go around selling it to other agencies without substantial improvement.

Stuff like this happens all the time in government contracting.

While I cannot directly speak for the powers that be, I believe this is their concern.

Re:Why can't anyone make a buck? (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737595)

yes, but so what? from one perspective it's "unfair" because county isn't profiting from its work, but from another perspective the county isn't going to monetize it anyway, so who cares if somebody else does. A healthier perspective: county did awesome award winning work, and it can improve the efficiency of other counties by distributing it widely. the best way to do this is to add a profit incentive!

ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735543)

Many licenses, both open source, copyleft, and proprietary contain wording similar to:

There is no warranty for the program, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Except when otherwise stated in writing the copyright holders and/or other parties provide the program “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with you. Should the program prove defective, you assume the cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction.

Sounds pretty clear to me.

By "Site" what are we talking? (3, Informative)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735547)

The site schema? Custom web-parts? Masterpages? Data? Everything?

You could create a site definition that contained as much or as little or as much as your site as you wanted; wrap it up in a Visual Studio solution/WSP and then people could deploy an instance of your site with all of the above pre-previsioned. At that point it's just a SharePoint extension so would be no different to open-sourcing an Office extension. Even better, site templates are largely just XML files so it's even less "complicated" than custom-code - it's all just parsed by the core product.

Re:By "Site" what are we talking? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735795)

agreed, if it is just a few web parts and "theme" then package the bits up and put them on codeplex. It's a shame you used sharepoint, if this was a (say) Drupal site, then you could just zip up the entire site and deliver it as-is, sql DB and all, and tell the recipients "this is what I did, all yours as an open source gift as if you'd developed it yourself".

Re:By "Site" what are we talking? (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735849)

You can do the same thing with SharePoint solutions now. Granted there are still some quirks.

Why it took Microsoft 7 years to make them functional enough to use after the launch of SharePoint I have no idea.

Re:By "Site" what are we talking? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737143)

Most of that time the SP tools team spent writing a method to distinguish between various kinds of COMExceptions. ~

(Yes, I did develop for SharePoint. These are the scars that don't heal.)

As a fellow Public Employee (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735555)

I work for another muni and have encountered similar questions about software we have developed. You need to take this to your legal department to determine which licenses are acceptable to your legal department before you start asking Slashdot/reddit/intertubes any of these questions. You may find that the GPL is a great license which you whole heartily support only to have your legal department say "WTF?! No!" or worse depending on your clauses within your muni. Once you get legals take on what licenses are acceptable to them, come back and ask which license you should release under. At the end of the day, any liability case or other such legal issues will end up being the purview of your legal department and not yours.

Re:As a fellow Public Employee (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735799)

He's got a doubly rough road because even if the lawyers can be tamed, you'll still have to get the tech workers on the other side to swallow Sharepoint. Which, from personal experience, is like slowly twisting rusty screws underneath your fingernails. But then again, I was a developer placed in a site administrator's role.

But to get the bean-counters to swallow the GPL while simultaneously getting geeks to swallow MS's monstrosity, in the public sector... That has got to be the hardest sell I've ever heard of. If you can get everyone to sign off on it, to hell with the project, you need to get your ass into congress because you have a magical gift for getting shit approved.

is there really a liability concern? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735559)

People often list liability as a potential concern when they open source software, but is that a valid concern? Has any organization been sued because software they released to the world when they don't guarantee that it will do anything useful?

If I open source a mortgage calculator that does an incorrect calculation, does anyone really have the grounds to sue me? After all, they have the source code, and are just as capable as me of finding a mistake in the code. And if they aren't capable of understanding the source, maybe they shouldn't be using it.

Re:is there really a liability concern? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735595)

It's the US. There are *always* liability concerns.

Re:is there really a liability concern? (1)

iamgnat (1015755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735847)

If I open source a mortgage calculator that does an incorrect calculation, does anyone really have the grounds to sue me? After all, they have the source code, and are just as capable as me of finding a mistake in the code. And if they aren't capable of understanding the source, maybe they shouldn't be using it.

You mean like recalling and banning lawn darts because people are too stupid to figure out not to throw them at each other or stand under them when throwing them straight up? Or like all those people that (using your example) listened to their realtors/brokers and couldn't figure out that no they really couldn't afford that house? Or maybe like the guy that just won class action status against Apple because he was too busy to be a parent and use the tools Apple provided so his kid ran up a "large" bill with micro payments?

In the US people will sue over anything and really licenses and agreements mean less than which judge you get and what type of mood they are in that day. I understand and agree with the idea that you shouldn't be able to sign away your rights, but that should be balanced by common sense and responsibility (e.g. it's not the MFGs fault that a dart impaled you if you stood under it).

Re:is there really a liability concern? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736617)

If I open source a mortgage calculator that does an incorrect calculation, does anyone really have the grounds to sue me? After all, they have the source code, and are just as capable as me of finding a mistake in the code. And if they aren't capable of understanding the source, maybe they shouldn't be using it.

You mean like recalling and banning lawn darts because people are too stupid to figure out not to throw them at each other or stand under them when throwing them straight up? Or like all those people that (using your example) listened to their realtors/brokers and couldn't figure out that no they really couldn't afford that house? Or maybe like the guy that just won class action status against Apple because he was too busy to be a parent and use the tools Apple provided so his kid ran up a "large" bill with micro payments?

In the US people will sue over anything and really licenses and agreements mean less than which judge you get and what type of mood they are in that day. I understand and agree with the idea that you shouldn't be able to sign away your rights, but that should be balanced by common sense and responsibility (e.g. it's not the MFGs fault that a dart impaled you if you stood under it).

Yes, interesting examples of the litigious nature of Americans (but I think the lawn dart case had merit - few would expect a toy marketed toward children to have the potential to penetrate a child's skull when the very nature of the game involves tossing the dart in the air so even if used properly such an accident could occur), but do you have examples of an open source software developer was sued (whether successfully or unsuccessfully) when the software he provided for free with no warranty didn't do what it was supposed to?

Re:is there really a liability concern? (1)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736303)

For most companies, liability is just an excuse to force the workers do something, even when there is no legitimate (aka public) reason.

Like making your delivery drivers buy their own liability insurance ($80 un-reimbursed per month), even when the company already has full liability insurance for all the drivers. Then they use that EXTREMELY strict insurance policy requirement (no more than 2 speeding tickets in 2 years, and no DUI ever in your lifetime) to selectively not hire people. All in the name of "liability"

Companies are so busy covering their asses that I'm surprised they have a free hand to get anything done. (which might explain why the managers outnumber the workers at some businesses)

Release the beast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735569)

Most likely your sharepoint site is useful because of a particular list(s) you made, not because of the entire site. If this is the case, you shouldn't need to try and give out the entire installation and whatnot as a bundle. Just save the list as a template(in the list settings), make a wordpress blog on wordpress.com, and release it under a creative commons license or something similar. This way you're not trying to give people sharepoint, you're giving them a particular "list"(plugin) that you put together. If that fails or turns you off, you could always just write a step by step how-to on recreating the list themselves and give them a good ol all-American "Do this at your own risk, I take no responsibility".

Making money from it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735581)

The county is trying to figure out how to protect ourselves from people making money from it

Why do they care if someone can improve it and make money from it?
Why are so many people scared to release something into the public domain for the greater good?

Re:Making money from it (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736857)

Keep in mind these people aren't artists, engineers, or anything like that. Their job isn't to do some airy-fairey "improve the world" BS, it's to get the best value for the money for their taxpayers. And if they release this program, somebody gets rich off it, their taxpayers are gonna be pissed. Their tax-money went to getting some guy rich. The question their bosses will be answering at the next Commission meeting isn't "How did you do the great thing of making that dude rich?," it'll be "Why was my tax money spent on making some dude rich while the police budget was being cut?"

It's not likely that this program will actually make anyone rich, so that's probably not the most important objection the OP's facing. Anyone who knows much about government contracting knows it's virtually certain some shifty operator will see this, set himself up as a consultant on code he doesn't understand, charge local municipalities lots of money, and do it so badly he gets sued. Since he doesn't have much cash (stealing programs you don't understand to make money is only a sensible decision if you're poor), whereas the County that wrote the program has insurance, the OP's bosses get sued. The No Guarantees clause can help here, because it means any lawsuit will lose, but nothing can actually stop someone from filing a lawsuit.

Always remember the bureaucrats creed: "I want my tombstone to say "He didn't get his name in the newspapers."

CodePlex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735609)

After verifying with the county that you will be allowed to share the code, I would just put it on codeplex with a simple "nothing is guaranteed, as-is, use at your own risk, no support is available".

Our company has released several SharePoint components on CodePlex, and while we occasionally receive suggestions or bugs, we address them if and when we have the time. We do include all source code, which provides the option for people to fix it as necessary, or to provide their own code reviews.

CodePlex *does* REQUIRE that a license be selected, and does provide some assistance in understanding the differences.
If ours is of any reference value: http://sdssharepointlibrary.codeplex.com/

Making money (3, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735611)

Why do you care if others make money off it? It's government developed so that means it was funded by taxpayer money.

All taxpayers should have access to it, even if they want to make money from it. It should automatically be public domain.

You can still CYA by a simple BSD style license.

Re:Making money (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735663)

And in fact, a license that disallows commercial usage or sets limits on how much money can be charged for the software is incompatible with Open Source.

Re:Making money (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735753)

All taxpayers should have access to it, even if they want to make money from it. It should automatically be public domain.

Actually, that would be "All taxpayers in that county should have access to it..." since they paid for it. Yet they are considering going quite a bit beyond that group.

Re:Making money (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735875)

Most counties get Federal funding that contributes to their budget. So some portion of it could be considered any US taxpayer.

Re:Making money (1)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735769)

I just remitted a check to the State of New York because of some kind of "revenue sharing" agreement I have with them related to my employment in the state. I believe this makes NY, and by association, your county employer, business partners of mine. I am therefore entitled to a share of the revenue/benefits achieved through this technology you created while employed by my business partner. I happen to need the money more than a WSP file, so please send me cash, check, or starbucks cards.

Re:Making money (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737847)

Funded by taxpayers doesn't infer the taxpayer has open use of what they funded. The B2 was taxpayer funded, but I can't just walk onto a base and ask to fly one, or get plans to build my own and offer joy rides for my own profit. I know there are probably several large holes in my analogy; maybe a car analogy would be better?

NACo Award (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735619)

No offense, but I won a NACo award as well...in the 90s. Seems cool, but I am aware that ANY submitted project 'wins'.
I am not so certain I'd be using this award as a statement of how awesome the work is.
* I am not saying the work is not awesome, just that this is not a good measurement.

Re:NACo Award (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736097)

Sweet, so everyone win's! How very much like public schools.

Re:NACo Award (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736347)

It's better than nothing I suppose.

Re:NACo Award (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736505)

Honestly, I am not sure it is better than nothing.

Developer/County Management : 'Give me an award'
NACo : 'Here is your award'

How can anyone know the veracity of the claim that this is quality work?

Fucked. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735623)

Sharepoint, aka the black hole, aka the inescapable creep, aka the literal physical manifestation of vendor locking, aka Microsoft's final gambit.

Suicide is your only way out.

Re:Fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736191)

Lol..did you work at First Solar?

Like a woodchuck chucks wood (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735631)

Like a woodchuck chucks wood

I don't see an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735675)

I think your idea of posting it to Codeplex is a great one, that in and of it's self should be sufficient, if you post all source code with the project.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735703)

The county just wants to make sure they can't have somebody turn my work around and make a buck.

Locking up your work is not in your best interest. (And probably not the county's interest either)

Let's say someone takes your work (that you are distributing for free), puts it in a shiny package, and starts selling it. What are your losses? Maybe that shiny package was what people really wanted...what they would really pay for. Someone turns it into an addon for Raiser's Edge and makes some money. This is a good thing Your work improves more people's lives.

Now, down the road, someone else wants some additional features built into the original work. Who is the first person they are going to look for? You.

Besides, the county has no business trying to prevent the residents of the county from exploiting what their tax money funded. If that exploitation includes making a proprietary fork, so be it.

Share the template and any custom code (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735729)

Under an open-source license and be sure to include disclaimers about providing no warranty as to its functionality and suitability for what they're trying to do with it. Best choice would be to consult with a good lawyer who has worked with a "free" distribution of software before. Only in America would you need a lawyer to give something away safely, but here we are.

Re:Share the template and any custom code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736005)

If you have a personal Dev box, and your employer is ok with you releasing the wsp, then just "recreate" the functionality and release to codeplex or sourceforge or github or where ever using whatever licensing model you deem appropriate. I wouldn't worry about over-thinking this. There are other site templates, web parts, features, lists etc. available for "free" online. I would think codeplex would be the most appropriate place. As a SharePoint Solutions Architect and SharePoint Developer, I provide code to clients that I created in my shop and don't really care if they "profit" from the work that I did in-house and later released to them. It's good for the ego and good business. No offense, but whoop dee doo...another purpose built site template! Wow! Since your a Systems Analyst, I have to wonder how "awesome" it truly is. If you release it to codeplex or sourceforge it is not warranted or guaranteed in any way. Have you seen some of the non-functional garbage on those sites? I kinda think the OP is an egomaniac and just wants to toot his horn for creating a site template...big f'in deal.

Is not this the time to open your own shop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735731)

Seems you have gotten customers, the hardest part.

Gotta Redirect Your Question (1)

nko321 (788903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735861)

You're a technical person asking a technical group a business question. Redirect your inquiry to a business person. If you were working for a commercial company, the terms of your distribution of this software would be sussed out by sales people, marketing people, business analysts, etc., but no technical people (unless you count sales engineers or the like).

Don't give anyone access to your own infrastructure. Maybe offer to do a backup / restore or otherwise make copies, but offer these options to a business person on your side, not to prospective external users.

Talk to a lawyer! (3, Insightful)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735869)

If the county wants to share but is concerned about liability, THEY SHOULD TALK TO THEIR ON-STAFF/ IN-HOUSE/ ON-RETAINER legal counsel!

They have them, I guarantee it. Use them. The last they want is a tech guy (who has already admitted he doesn't know the implications of the various licenses) fumbling around to figure this out.

If they really really don't want to talk to their own legal counsel, then just prepare an instruction list that other municipalities could follow and publish that instead of trying to distribute the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

General Counsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735921)

The county must have someone on retainer as their general counsel. Why don't you ask him [her], that's what he [she] is being paid for. Just bring along copies of some different licenses (GPL, etc) and let someone with real knowledge of contract law decide what's in the county's best legal interests.

"protect ourselves from people making money" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735933)

Protect yourselves from what? How would it harm you if someone made money from it?

> The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable

People have been releasing Free software for thirty years or more with impunity. The University of California has not been sued over bugs in BSD. Linus Trovalds has not been sued over bugs in Linux. Why do you think you will be sued?

Re:"protect ourselves from people making money" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736047)

"how to protect ourselves from people making money from it ..."

Hello ... you are part of a government being paid for by tax dollars. The things you do are the property of the taxpayers and they have a right to make money from it or anything else for that matter. It is amazing that a government employee would say such a thing. What if NASA took the same attitude and they chose not to share any of work they do because someone might make money off it? That is crazy. Plus, governments are generally exempt from liability so that part does not make sense either.

This is best handled by private companies... (1)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735939)

You exist a government entity and have one purpose and one sole purpose alone and that is to serve the residents of your municipality. You are clearly not in the business of making money through profit seeking endeavors.

With that being said, you worked hard on this and it seems to be a huge success, so the municipality should benefit greatly from such an endeavor. You may have something that works great for you but honestly Sharepoint is really only good for internal apps and you certainly do not have a scalable solution that could be easily marketed to other counties. The best thing you can do is to find a private company to partner with that can take the work that you did and use that as the foundation for building a product, as well as marketing and selling that product.

By letting private interests handle the risks involved, you and your county can serve an advisory role and still work out a mutually beneficial arrangement where your county is well compensated, either through a percentage of gross revenue or a large lump sum.

You really can't do that easily (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735949)

Open sourcing it doesn't prevent someone from making a buck off of it. All the license agreements in the world don't prevent you form getting sued. As a result, no is the easiest answer.

How about: Form a Non-Profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39735983)

Form a non-profit, donate the software to it, set up the charter so the software is licensed for public uses for free, and to others for a fee.

Share a share point? (1)

elecmahm (1194167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736267)

Are they people you hate or something? Friends shouldn't share crappy MS products like Sharepoint, VB, and Microsoft Bob / WinME with one another.

Wow (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736287)

Wow sharepoint is getting investors on the county level too? That's the huge buzz word amoung the branches here in the military. All the branches either wants it or have it already.

sharepoint - microsoft- working great? (1)

awpoopy (1054584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736333)

Sharepoint - works great? Want to open source something from microsoft? hahhahahahahhahahhhahhhhahhahhhahha oh wait haahahhahhahahahahahahahahaha! I just pooped a little. ohhhh hahahahahahha!

Other places to ask / look. (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736485)

I'm guessing that Code for America, Open Source for America, or Civic Commons would have some experience in dealing with these issues, and have suggestions:

...and sure enough, it looks like Civic Commons has a page on legal policy, which includes ''Legal Issues and Best Practices With Converting/Contributing In-House Developed Code into a Reusable FOSS Project [civiccommons.org] ". Also take a look under Chapter 4, as there's a bit of a discussion about code releases using FOIA. The others might have stuff, too, I didn't look too thoroughly.

Give it to the state (1)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39736639)

New York State Senate releases all the software they develop under a dual GPL3/BSD license. Pas it up to them to release and let them deal with it...

http://www.nysenate.gov/developers/

Some licenses cover what you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39736721)

The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable and have somebody turn my work around and make a buck.

There are plenty of licenses, open source and not, that attempts to shield the software distributers from liability - consult your lawyers on these. As for restricting folks from making a buck off of your software - well, that might be tougher. There are some licenses that distinguish between "personal" vs "corporate" use, and these might be useful as a template for a distinction between "non profit vs profitable use".

You realize you just won the argument? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737027)

If their major concern is that if we release it somebody will make money off of it then they need to release it, and release it in such a way that nobody can make money off of it. If somebody's able to make money off it, then clearly it's very useful, and it would be churlish to keep it to yourselves. You release it open source, with a No Guarantees license to prevent you from being sued when some jackass figures out a way to use it to turn over his entire Parket Ticket Payment Database to identity thieves. Then you get your bosses to budget a few hours a week to support it.

So get legal on this, get them to agree to a license. It needs the No Guarantees clause. It should probably have the No Commercial Exploitation clause, even tho that is not terribly effective (see Red Hat).

Sovereign Immunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39737057)

Government entities like your county have sovereign immunity. Talk to the county attorney, you have one because every municipality in NY does. You are worrying too much.

Your time and creativity and due dillgance is wort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39737067)

1. Congratulations for getting a piece of junk ( M$ $hare point ) to do something useful.

2. Share all the things that any other public can see. i.e. just the the glass on the front of your building.

3. If they want to use it, charge them, just like any other service. Market rates. ( How much would it cost to go out, and have this done from scratch? )( Hey... can I buy your desk? Can you just give it to me for free? Hmm? ?)

4. if they want their own, which they will, sell them a package. ( You dont sell offices in your building right? )

5. Always, Always, Always, keep a critical part hidden, so it cannot be cloned or stolen, ( like the design documentation, i.e. Why you did it the way you did.

6. Search this thread for the word 'Lawyer'. Take their advice. ( i.e. County Council exists for a very very good reason ).

7. Pick some place you would like to retire to, and tell that county you can do it for them for a song, but then tell them it needs a few years work on customization. ( That is just about how every cost over run works )

good question (1)

kanoalani (2515446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39737779)

Essentially: how to use an open-source license for something created within a closed-source framework? Clearly it's possible and it happens often with code developed for a closed-source language (like IDL or Matlab for example) but Sharepoint is not really a programming language and I don't know if your creative work can be extracted in a way that it can be licensed separately. I think that's what other comments were getting at by suggesting that you create meta-code like a how-to. That's probably a good idea if Sharepoint does not let you extract your site as an unencumbered expression of your creative work. I think liability or potential for profitable derivative works are pretty much non-issues for something like this but a GPL is a good idea if you can get your work into a form that you have the right to license.
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