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Running a Business on Open Source Software?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the topics-for-PHBs dept.

Linux Business 504

Graabein asks: "I'm part of an effort to startup a VoIP provider. We've decided to use Open Source Software wherever possible. Production is not a problem, we can handle the VoIP network itself, POTS termination, web sites, email systems, all the usual stuff. The business side of things is another matter entirely. We need to be able to handle Customer Relationship data, manage subscriptions, handle invoicing and accounts, have a web shop of sorts, online billing, credit card transactions, and more. Whatever system we use has to be able to handle national standards for accounting, or at least be possible to modify to do so. We've looked at Compiere, but our business types are not impressed. Neither am I, for that matter. Requiring an Oracle license is one thing (database independence is 'in development', but it has been for a long time, with no discernable progress), not working properly with Mozilla is another (you need IE to use it fully in HTML mode). What other options are there?"

"Our business types are full of suggestions for supposedly excellent and well suited systems, however they all have in common that they require Windows on the client. If we choose one of those systems our OSS policy is pretty much moot and OSS has been relegated to (some) servers in the computer room and that's about it. I don't mind running these business functions on a Windows server if that is the best system for the job, but having to run Windows on every client in order to access the data is simply not acceptable.

We want Linux and OpenOffice on every desktop. We want to be able to access customer data from a variety of clients, even including Windows. The same goes for Accounting data, HR data, QA data, you name it. Do we have to write our own system from scratch? I'm not sure that is very realistic."

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ThinkAboutYourBreath (735770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197351)


Yes that's right, THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING. Why you might ask? Well it's simple!

Your brain usually takes care of breathing FOR you, but whenever you remember this, YOU MUST MANUALLY BREATH! If you don't you will DIE.

There are also MANY variations of this. For example, think about:




In conclusion, the THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING troll is simply unbeatable. These 4 words can be thrown randomly into article text trolls, into sigs, into anything, and once seen, WILL FORCE THE VICTIM TO TAKE CARE OF HIS BREATHING MANUALLY! This goes far beyond the simple annoying or insulting trolls of yesteryear.

In fact, by EVEN RESPONDING to this troll, you are proving that IT HAS CLAIMED ANOTHER VICTIM -- YOU!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197366)

it's a good thing i read the last line...


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197491)

damn you! DAMN YOU!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197679)


Innurnut mind rape! Think about my cock again, bitch!

HAHAHA!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197354)

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! First Poast!!!!!!!

Why Michael Moore cannot be trusted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197357)

George W. Bush has his problems as a leader, but obese lunatic Michael
Moore is a much larger embarrassment to America. His popularity does not
speak well for Americans' collective intelligence; in a more orderly,
enlightened society, Moore would have been long ago put in his place. He'd
be doing something he's more qualified to do -- baking doughnuts or
mopping the vegetable aisle, for example -- than spouting his lies,
allegations, bigotry, and anti-American hatred. No other country on earth
would make this guy a celebrity.

When idiot Moore can't find a half-baked allegation from some other source
to use against the President, he just pulls facts out of the air and
speaks them like they're the gospel. A casual scan of his latest book,
"Dude! Where's My Country?", reveals a breathless but unfounded warning
against President Bush's evil intentions in virtually every paragraph.
Among Moore's most important theories are the ideas that Osama bin Laden
had nothing to do with 9/11, but rather, Bush planned it all; and that the
Bush administration is working feverishly to destroy freedom in America,
for reasons never fully explained. Moore is also a leading exponent of the
"Bush was AWOL" theory; the "Bush is stupid" theory; the "Bush is a drug
addict" theory; the "Bush stole the 2000 election" theory; and countless
other crackpot ideas.

Refuting every single one of these ridiculous ideas is not necessary. The
key thing to remember about Moore (and others who cling to these ideas) is
that they did not use logic or facts to get to these conclusions; thus,
there's no point in trying to use logic or facts to argue people out of
them. They are not viewpoints, or even opinions. They are simply articles
of faith. They are passionately held beliefs that transcend logic.

To understand Moore's motivations, it's useful to understand a little bit
about Moore himself. Those who knew him in school describe him as a shy,
overweight kid lacking in confidence - hardly a surprise. Since then,
however, he has discovered a talent for harrassment and humor, and become
popular for it. He has an audience which reinforces his behavior. This is
the only thing that gives Michael Moore's life any meaning: his self-image
of a rebel and the knowledge that the gang is, finally, cheering him on.
He's petrified of what might happen if his friends leave him and he
returns to being a fat nothing.

The next time somebody points you to a Michael Moore piece about the
latest Shocking! Bush allegation, remember that after stripping away the
humor, you're just reading the rantings of a religious fanatic. His
religion is hatred. He wants you to hate along with him. Do not be fooled.
Double check Michael Moore's facts once in a while and draw your own

Re:Why Michael Moore cannot be trusted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197374)

AMEN Brotha! Somebody mod this up!!

SQL-Ledger of course ! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197361)


Running a Business on Open Source Software? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197372)

Well, for now SCO seems to be doing just fine.

Mozilla Runs on WIndows (1, Offtopic)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197376)

Mozilla runs fine on any desktop. A browser-based interface would work independent of the desktop environment you choose.

Re:Mozilla Runs on WIndows (1)

Glial (659341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197419)

He was referring to Oracle html support. Not whether or not Mozilla would run on Windows.

Re:Mozilla Runs on WIndows (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197454)

The parent may be lacking on content, but it's probably not Offtopic. For example, Hummingbird provides a workflow and document management project that is web-based. Although it runs on Windows Servers, it's clients can be cross-platform.

Re:Mozilla Runs on WIndows (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197553)

Don't count on a "web interface" equalling "will run on any platform". I've lost count of the number of "web enabled" applications that only work in I.E. Some vendors seem to think the purpose of a web interface is so you don't have to install new software on your Windows PC (giving them the benefit of the doubt vs just plain laziness/poor qa), whereas it _should_ mean it's platform and browser independent.

Personally, if it will only run on I.E. in Windows (wine/xover office notwithstanding), what's the point - may as well run a Windows app.

If a company goes to the trouble of making a web interface, it ought to be done "right", so any web browser that follows http/html standards can run it. It's not _that_ hard to do.

Re:Mozilla Runs on WIndows (2, Insightful)

SpaceRook (630389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197603)

Any HTML app that requires IE might as well have a big banner that says "THIS PRODUCT WAS DEVELOPED BY AMATEURS!". It's user hostile. AND Mozilla is a better browser. You can actually do more with Mozilla than IE, since Mozilla has better standards support.

Some 'tards [buymusic.com] still don't get it.

Not necessarily (5, Informative)

HPNpilot (735362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197576)

Some net apps require Microsoft extensions or are written using proprietary IE calls and absolutely MUST be run on IE. And don't tell me changing the browser id string will make it work. That will eliminate the warning messages but not make things work. I am having to deal with this issue right at this moment.

Some things to try (5, Informative)

ptaff (165113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197378)

You might want to peek at OpenGroupware [opengroupware.org]. My colleagues and I have skimmed though what was available and it seems to be the most impressive for at least the customer management side. Though the look of the web interface will not amaze your artist friends, it seems to work well. You can interoperate with Evolution, Mozilla Calendar and some other programs - even Outlook should you want to buy the driver.

I'd strongly suggest not to be impressed by eGroupWare [egroupware.org]'s feature list and cute themes (I know WE've been fooled). Seems like these guys, though talented, are not really working towards stabilizing the tree, so you see frightening changelogs - like code rewrites between 1.0RC2 and 1.0RC3. They forked from phpGroupWare [phpgroupware.org] lately but I can't tell if it's a more serious project.

One of my friends is completely sold to the Horde Project [horde.org] so you might want to try it.

All of these will not solve all your issues but no application does and as these three above are open source, you can do the linking as you like.

Re:Some things to try (4, Insightful)

Red Storm (4772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197428)

Phprojekt is another good one to check out too. I've used it for a few small time projects and most people have found it relatively easy to understand. The thing I like most about Phprojekt over OpenGroupware is the install docs are much easier to understand, and for the most part it's worked straight from the tarball.

Re:Some things to try (2, Insightful)

afree87 (102803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197543)

By the way, good luck getting your company going! It will be great to have more people using and contributing to open source projects.

Re:Some things to try (-1, Offtopic)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197544)


1. Synopsis
2. Why bother?
3. Warnings
4. Details on the amplifier method
5. Other methods

1) SYNOPSIS. This textfile describes self-stimulation for men by means of
electrodes and low-power, carefully controlled electric current. When you
talk about running electricity through someone's genitals, most people think
of torture. However, we have found that low power, high frequency (audio)
current can produce some very interesting tingling and throbbing sensations.

2) "WHY BOTHER going to all this trouble when anyone can masturbate using
only his hand?" This is a common and reasonable question. Electronic
stimulation creates sensations that are different from anything you will get
from your hand or from intercourse with other people. You can keep yourself
close to orgasm for quite a while. In fact, orgasm sometimes seems like an
anti-climax after a really good session of electrical stimulation. (But we
must admit, just like with "real sex," some electronic experiences are
better than others.)

We believe electronic masturbation could be very useful for relieving
tension in certain situations: in prisons, aboard submarines, and so forth.
Because it can be more satisfying than ordinary masturbation, you can use it
to reward yourself (or someone else) for completing a difficult task or
exhibiting the desired behavior. Athletic coaches, military trainers and
others who need to harness the wild energy of young men should look into
this. 1/2 :-)

3) WARNINGS. Like everything that feels good, this method has risks. It can
cause tissue burns; molecules migrating from the electrodes can
theoretically cause heavy metal poisoning; if you use a plugged-in amp and
tone source (instead of battery powered) there is a chance of getting
shocked or electrocuted. Use of electrodes that have not been sanitized
could spread disease or cause infection. Not recommended for persons with
high blood pressure or heart trouble. Proceed at your own risk. Because we
have no control over the manner in which this information is used, we assume
no liability for damages resulting from its implementation.

If you are electronically illiterate -- if you've never handled a wire
stripper and soldering iron -- DO NOT attempt to perform the experiments
described below. Get a person with electronic experience to help you.

4) DETAILS on the amplifier method

Let's start out with a simple test to see if you find these sensations
interesting, then move on to more advanced methods for making the sensations
more complex and intense. You will need the following items:

1. A stereo audio amplifier, with 1 to 5 watts per channel of output
power. Battery-powered is best for safety reasons, although I have used
plug-in amplifiers since 1976 with only one unpleasant accident. Do not
use an expensive, high-power amplifier; they can be damaged by short
circuits and by being connected to loads of unusual impedances (which
is what we'll be doing).
2. A tone generator of some sort. An electronic music synthesizer will
work (Casio and Yamaha make inexpensive, portable keyboard instruments
that do the job nicely); or you can use a tone generator like those
found in an electronics workshop. A battery-powered tone source is
safer than a plug-in unit. Do not use an electric guitar, or any other
device that could provide a pathway for current to travel through your
whole torso.
3. Insulated, solid (not multi-strand), 18-guage copper wire.
4. Soldering iron, solder, wire stripper, maybe some connectors. Use
solder that doesn't contain any lead if possible; Radio Shack sells
some solder which is 98% tin and 2% silver.

Cut a piece of wire 10 feet (3 meters) long. Strip 3/4 inch (2 cm) of
insulation from one end. Try not to nick the wire while you're taking the
insulation off; you don't want to create a weak spot in the wire. Form the
exposed wire into an elliptical loop. Solder the loop closed with a single,
rounded bead of solder. You want a nice smooth loop of wire and a nice
smooth bead of solder holding it closed -- no rough spots. Strip a bit of
insulation from the other end of the wire and connect it to the left channel
"hot" output of the amplifier. (The "hot" terminal is usually color-coded
red. If the amplifier output uses RCA phono-plug outputs, the "hot" wire is
attached to the center conductor of the jack.)

Cut another piece of wire 10' long. Strip 2 inches (5 cm) of insulation from
one end. Make it into a loop, as above. Connect the other end of this wire
to the left channel "ground" output of the amplifier. (Actually it is better
to make this electrode out of a larger-diameter wire, if you have any handy;
but with larger wire you need a more powerful soldering iron to get a solder
joint that won't come apart.)

Now wait for a time when you're feeling horny and you need to release all
that tension. Connect the output of the tone generator to the amp's input.
Set the amplifier's volume control to MINIMUM. Set your tone source to
produce a continuous tone of about 440 Hz (cycles per second). That's the
"A" above "middle C" on a musical keyboard. Insert the small loop electrode
just inside your urethra -- don't shove it very far in. Insert the big loop
electrode just inside your anus. SLOWLY turn up the amplifier's volume
control. Experiment with different tone frequencies and waveforms. If you
produce some sensations that you like, welcome to the club, you are now an
"electro-sexual." If none of these sensations feel good to you, this method
is not for you; sorry.

WARNING: Don't touch any plugged-in appliances while you are wired up!
(Reaching over to adjust a lamp is how I had the "one unpleasant accident"
mentioned above. I was unable to let go of the lamp and suffered a
dislocated shoulder. Not to mention that I could have been killed.
Fortunately I was able to unplug everything with my free hand. Let this be a
warning to you; have some kind of a "panic button" i.e. power cut-off switch

If you liked this simple test, you'll eventually want to try full stereo
operation. For this you need two tone generators and more electrodes. (If
you thought the test described above felt "okay" but not especially
spectacular, I urge you to give the full stereo method a try. Its sensations
are much more interesting.)

The amp's left channel "hot" output is connected to a small loop electrode
just inside the urethra, as before; and also to a large loop electrode
around the "neck" of the sex-noodle (where the glans meets the shaft). Use
some sort of conductant around this external electrode, such as skin
moisturizing cream, to get a more pleasant sensation.

The amp's left channel "ground" output is connected to a small loop
electrode 2.5 or 3 inches deeper into the urethra than the "hot" electrode.
Make this electrode carefully, and test it to be sure that it won't come
apart (i.e. that the wire loop won't come open). If the loop comes open when
you're trying to pull the electrode out, the wire will scrape your urethra
-- a bloody, painful experience which can be avoided by proper electrode
construction. Once again, be careful not to nick the wire while stripping
the insulation; you don't want to weaken the wire because the loop might
break off.

The amp's right channel "hot" electrode is connected to a scrotum (balls)
electrode. There are at least 2 types of scrotum electrode; you need to be
sitting down to use either type. One method is to use the handles (not the
cutting blades) of a pair of all-metal scissors; lightly clamp them onto the
scrotum, between the two sex-nuts, and apply some conductive liquid such as
skin moisturizing cream.

The other method (which feels better, in my opinion) uses a rectangular
piece of synthetic sponge, 1 to 1.5 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches long. Use
a nail or something to poke a hole through the middle of the sponge (the
long way) when it's dry, and thread some exposed wire through that hole. Dip
the sponge in salt water, put it on a coaster or small plastic tray, then
sit down in a position that causes the sponge to gently press into your
sex-nuts. (The key to getting a good sensation here is to arrange things so
that only the sponge and not the wire is touching your skin. The electrode
should be in the middle of your scrotum, with one testicle on either side.
You want the current to travel between and past your nuts, not through
either one of them. You might need to re-moisten the sponge from time to

The amp's right channel "ground" output is connected to a big loop electrode
just inside the anus.

(I've heard from several guys who were afraid to put a ground electrode
several inches into their urethras. If you suffer from this phobia, try the
following configuration: tip of urethra = left channel hot; neck of penis =
left ground; nuts = right hot; anus = right ground. That configuration
doesn't feel as good as the one described earlier -- the left channel
sensations will be way too intense, from my point of view; but it's better
than nothing. It seems odd to me that anyone willing to try this technique
would balk at the idea of urethral insertion. The classic book _Baby and
Child Care_ by Dr Benjamin Spock mentions that boys often insert things into
their urethras while masturbating -- I owe my whole discovery to that one
line of text in a book that I was reading only because I was bored silly and
it was the only book in the house that I hadn't already read!)

The output of one tone generator is connected to the left input of the
amplifier; the other tone source is connected to the right input. By playing
two slightly different tones on the two tone sources, you can produce some
very interesting sensations.

For example, play the "A above middle C" on the left channel, and play the
"A" an octave lower on the right channel. Or play "C" on one channel and the
adjacent "C sharp" on the other channel. Play a steady tone on the left
channel and do a downward "glissando" or "pitch bend" on the right channel.
Play a continuous tone on the left channel while rhythmically turning the
right channel's tone on and off. There are many possibilities...

Various waveforms produce different sensations: a sine wave is good for a
tickle or a tingle; square and triangle waves are good for buzzing,
throbbing, pulsing, squeezing and "roller-coastering." Discovering all these
sensations is like gaining a new sense, like becoming able to hear music
after many years of deafness, like regaining your vision just in time to see
a spectacular fireworks display.

Another possibility is to tape-record the voice of someone you find
attractive, and listen in headphones while playing the tape through your
apparatus. I find this a bit painful, but if you have a masochistic streak
you might enjoy it.

After a lot of experimenting, you'll find out what sorts of tones feel best
to you, and you can use a stereo cassette recorder to put together a taped
"program" of stimulation for yourself. Maybe you can eventually swap tapes
with a friend. Perhaps eventually we can all pool our favorite tone
sequences and publish a compact disc. If you live in North America, I can
mail you a cassette of some of my favorite tones; just transmit your
snail-mail address to me. I will throw your address away after mailing the
cassette, to protect your privacy. (This is a relatively new way of getting
one's rocks off, and a lot of narrow-minded people {electrophobes} would
ridicule and bash us if they knew who we are.)

The electrodes do corrode after a few uses. I've often wondered if having
the electrodes gold-plated would prevent this, but so far I haven't been
able to get up the nerve to take them to a jeweler or a metalworking shop to
have this done.

* advanced experimentation

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can get 5 or 6 toggle switches
and a 'project box' and build yourself a little control panel that allows
you to turn each electrode on/off or switch it from "hot" to "ground" or
vice versa. If you really want to get elaborate, you can put a variable
resistor (potentiometer) in the feed to each 'trode so that you can adjust
their intensities one by one. (Personally, I use a 6-electrode set-up; in
addition to the 5 electrodes described above, I put another small loop
electrode about 6 inches into my urethra and connect it to the amp's right
channel "ground" output. Not for the faint of heart; this allows current to
tug at the balls from two directions at once, or you can switch or
cross-fade between the two right channel ground electrodes to create some
neat "panning" effects.)

If you want to wire up a group of people, you need a 'distribution
amplifier' (or a mixer with several outputs) to feed the signal to each
individual's amplifier. It is NOT a good idea to hook several people up to
the same amp.

What does one fantasize about while using electrodes? This is an important
question, since an electronic session can last from 5 to 90 minutes (in my
experience); plenty of time to work on a really elaborate, detailed fantasy.
Well, you can fantasize about sharing the electrode experience with
attractive people, or about having attractive people control your
electrodes. (With some adaptation, it should be possible for women to use
electronic stimulation. Let us know if any of you invent suitable

One of these days I'll get a sound card for my computer and come up with a
protocol for transmitting stimulation "programs" over the phone lines via
modem. The programs could also be broadcast on stereo radio stations and via
satellite TV; really good players could give live concerts! Compact discs of
stimulating tones might make it onto the Top 40 charts someday.

5) OTHER METHODS: I've heard that the technology exists to cause ejaculation
in men who are paralyzed, but for the life of me, I cannot find any articles
in medical journals or books describing the apparatus or current used -- if
anyone can provide info or bibliographic pointers, please e-mail me.

Cattle breeders use electrical devices to extract semen from animals for
artificial insemination. I don't know if any of these devices are suitable
for use on humans.

There have been messages posted in alt.sex.masturbation indicating that
medical TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units can be used
in masturbation. An anonymous correspondent reports: "They are supplied
with sort of conducting rubber electrodes and a transparent slightly blue
contact gel. The TENS machine I own is normally operated by a 9V block
battery (but can be used with external NiCads after some modification - this
is necessary because the battery lasts not very long at maximum output). The
frequency range is 0-50kHz and can be varied, as the intensity and the pulse
width. This model has an additional burst mode at fixed frequency which is
only useful for treating a very badly hurting back where all other modes are
too aggressive. The red electrode (plus?) gets placed on the backbone, about
2cm above the asshole, using some of the gel. The other black electrode gets
placed where you want the effect."

paularcher@delphi.com posted the following in 1994: "I ran across a device
once called a Vag-a-stim or something like that. It was a dildo-shaped
device covered in latex, with two metal rings on the dildo part, and a
curved bit with a control knob on the opposite end of the dildo. It was made
to basically give small electric shocks to a woman's vagina to tone it, via
the two metal contact rings. I found that inserted anally, it gave the most
delicious sensations, along with involuntary contractions of the anus.
Unfortunately, I no longer have it. Maybe someone out there knows of this
product, or one similar, and give us more information about the manufaturer
or availability..."

-- Erik the Rude


Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197638)

Does OpenGroupware run on Mac OS? I've been wondering for three weeks about needing an Exchange Server, but not wanting to keep a windoze box running 24/7. I would LOVE to get a powerbook and opengroupware as a server (for three people) and have outlook as the client (Outlook just works the best with the palm, multiple catagories, etc). Thanks :)

Impossible (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197386)

It is impossible to run your business on open source software and you should not even bother to try it. If you do succeed, how will Billy Boy and the rest of the gang be able eat?

Yeup (0, Redundant)

phobos182 (656449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197391)

Probably. You will have to design it.

Re:Yeup (1)

Catharz (223736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197498)

Designing a system from scratch does have some advantages, but can be costly.

Personally, I'd look at an OSS project that most suits your needs and get your development team to start talking to the developers. If the developers aren't working on the features you want, you can have your team start contributing to the project. If they aren't taking the project in the direction you want it to go, you can branch from the original project and create your own. Either way, you get the benefit of the work already done and get to contribute something back to the OSS community.

Outsourcing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197396)

Have you considered outsourcing the whole damned thing to ...."India" ? :-P

Re:Outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197403)

I'm sure that's one of the very first things they thought of.

OSS Sofware in general.. (3, Interesting)

Red Storm (4772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197398)

I have run into this problem a few times with my busisness. What did I end up doing? I resorted to the ultimate open source system, pen and paper. I have looked at a few packages for use as an accounting system but I seemed to always run into a problem with this and that, and when I'd try and read the documentation it sucked ass! It assumed you already knew XY and Z to get the package working when you don't really need to know them when it's finaly working. I dislike winblows as much as the next Slashdotter, but I have to say most programs in the windows einvironment install and work out of the box, and the install documentation is written at a level even a drunk person can understand.

Re:OSS Sofware in general.. (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197566)

yes documentation.

install: press next until you finish installation.
usage: click there to do that.

you dont get coolness points for pointing out the obvious. really.

Re:OSS Software in general.. (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197570)

To be quiet honest, I find that sort of ridiculous. The business I work for insisted on Macintosh and has been using Quickbooks since before I got there, but if I were using OSS to help a business there are certainly things it can do better than pen and paper.

A simple spreadsheet in gnumeric or OpenOffice is surely faster than calculating by hand. Word Processors are a dime a dozen. I don't believe there is anything like quickbooks (heck, I have one windows machine around just so I can run Quicken) but there are certainly programs available that would make your life easier. Even the "easy to install/use" distros generally include abiword, gnumeric, and OpenOffice.

Because Windows... what? (2, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197410)

It costs you a couple bucks for some Windows licenses. In the grand scheme of your business, it is an insignificant cost.

It is also a business expense which makes it tax-deductible, so the actual cost is even lower than the price you pay up front for those licenses.

Suck it up and join the rest of the business world.

Re:Because Windows... what? (5, Funny)

SIG TR0LL (749566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197457)

It costs you a couple of bucks to buy Starbucks coffee for all your employees. In the grand scheme of your business, it is an insignificant cost.

It is also a business expense which makes it tax-deductible, so the actual cost is even lower than the price you pay up front for coffee.

Suck it up and join the rest of the business world.

Re:Because Windows... what? (4, Insightful)

Red Storm (4772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197472)

True, very true. However if you have let's say an IT budget of only $5000 and you have to get enough machines for 4 people, what then? True you can "suck it up" and purchase a machine with windows installed, but if you choose to use linux as we all know that saves you a few bucks now. Writeoffs only happen at tax time, not at startup.

Re:Because Windows... what? (2, Insightful)

dot-magnon (730521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197557)

This immediately becomes an ever bigger problem if the business is running from several places and not one central office.

Flamebait or not he's right. (3, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197473)

VMWare $280
WindowsXP License $180
Quickbooks Pro $300

Not risking a business to save $760, priceless.

In the end you'll get more out of doing it right the first time than you will by screwing up your accounting/etc and hiring someone (or wasting someone's time) to fix it.

Re:Flamebait or not he's right. (-1, Flamebait)

SIG TR0LL (749566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197512)

Not risking a business to save $760, priceless. What about that "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM"?????? After all they peddle linux these days, do they not? ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE, why do you put VMWare there? nobody needs that shit unless they are running windows apps in linux. furthermore, you're deceptive in your numbers. Windows XP costs 180 PER COMPUTER. What if you had 1,000 computers, what then you smart cookie? Oh my gods, it would cost liek.... a zillion dollars or something! so In short you should use linux since you can get it for free from debian.org and don't tell me you have to "retrain" your staff or else I must assume they would be outwitted by bonobos sig troll over and out

Quickbooks Pro 2000 was my last Intuit purchase (5, Informative)

originalhack (142366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197547)

I started using Intuit products with Quicken 2.0 and Quit after buying Quickbooks Pro 2000. It deliberately disables many obvious features in attempts to sell add-ons and internet services. It has a very heavy-handed registration process and contacts Intuit's servers later without asking. And worst, it has essentially no open interfaces so it traps your data within itself and refuses to allow itself to integrate with other applications.

That was my last purchase from Intuit. I have removed it from my system and it sits on a shelf.

Re:Flamebait or not he's right. (5, Insightful)

Senior Frac (110715) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197610)

It's not the first $780 he's worried about, but the the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.

Re:Flamebait or not he's right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197634)

"VMWare $280
WindowsXP License $180
Quickbooks Pro $300

Not risking a business to save $760, priceless."

Nice concise point, but there are other options out there. See Oracle or Peoplesoft's outsorcing.

What writeoff? (1)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197496)

Tax-deductible expenses only do you any good if you have profits to write them off against!

Good point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197517)

If they have made the idiotic 'policy' to eschew a whole class of useful software, it's unlikely they'll be around in a couple years. Bad business sense usually becomes evident after the company's business plan has started execution and the problems begin to surface. Lucky for the poster, such bad business decisions are evident from the get-go.

Get out now!

Re:Because Windows... what? (4, Informative)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197521)

The parent should not have been modded flamebait.

Are you running a business to make money, or just to say you used OSS? It seems pretty clear that you don't have a business plan, because if you did, the cost of licensing v. cost of finding something that might work would have become apparent, and you wouldn't have had to ask this question. Forget about technology for a sec, get out your favorite spreadsheet and crunch your finances. Get your priorities in order. Don't make the same mistakes [slashdot.org] my former associates and I did

Re:Because Windows... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197525)

Don't forget the LOCK-IN!

It costs more than a few bucks my friend, once you have a DEPENDENCY on Windows.

And not spending the money is a lot better than a tax deduction don't you think?

Save your money for customization and maintanence.

Are you going to provide free service? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197411)

I am starting up a software company. Since you have no plans to pay for software any time in the future, can I use your hardware and services for free?

Also, not buying your software and not paying proper sales taxes takes the money out of public schools in your state. Use all the free software you want, but don't be surprised the next stay in the hospital will cost 3 grands a day.

Re:Are you going to provide free service? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197427)

That's the stupidest goddamned comment I've ever read. You're a fucking moron. Go suck a tailpipe.

i have many things to suggest... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197420)

and i'll talk for standard consulting fees.

if you're asking slashdot for free advice about CRM, you've got bigger problems.

Changing attitudes is 95% of the battle (1, Insightful)

dubdays (410710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197424)

I know this kind of sounds strange, but absolutely the first thing you need to do is either have everyone's cooperation, or just make the changes and make people deal with them. People are very reluctant to change, and that's the biggest problem. When you have everyone in a company used to doing their business in Windows using MS Office, you're going to have a hard time getting them to change without just going ahead with the changes. It goes against everything they teach you in school (I was a business major), but people just won't change unless they're forced. That even goes for the higher-up in the company. I'm the director of IS at my company, and you really have to go over the benefits of open source to those above you, because they know only the pay-for-the-license way of doing business. For everyone else, even though OpenOffice is so much better than many Windows programs, they're still hung-up on MS Works from 1996, because that's all they know, and they don't even care to become more productive. I guess the only point I'm trying to make is that you can't just get the average person to change...they have to be made to.

Look at freshmeat.net (5, Informative)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197429)

Have you looked around on freshmeat.net? There are quite a few people providing some sort of business management package. A quick search for "billing invoicing" turned up the Trabas VoIP Billing package [trabas.com] as the first hit. Probably a good place to start. I'm sure there is plenty of stuff that will do most of what you want. Is your company comfortable with doing some minor coding on an existing project to get exactly what you want? If so, there are a lot more options.

Too unproductive for business use (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197431)

Seriously, Linux is too time consuming, and very unproductive.

Silly mods (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197549)

it should be : (Score:5, Truthful)

Mozilla is utter crap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197433)

When Mozilla 1.6 crashes for the tenth time in 3 hours you know it's time to upgrade [opera.com]

Re:Mozilla is utter crap (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197461)

Strange yous say this. I've been running Firebird 0.7 since it came out. It's technically still beta. But it's only crashed on me once. Perhaps you should TTFP?

Re:Mozilla is utter crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197537)

And I've been running 7.5 preview 1 [opera.com] since December and it hasn't crashed once.

right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197560)

only idiots would trust their business to an open source browser.

Re:right on (1)

frazzydee (731240) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197671)

funny that you say that, seeing as msie is NOT open source- and is one of the most popular web browsers- yet it is completely lax in security- especially with ActiveX. Much of the time serious msie security flaws (such as the recent address bar spoofing flaw (http://www.zapthedingbat.com/security/ex01/vun1.h tm)) are non-existant in open-source browsers such as mozilla or opera.

Re:Mozilla is utter crap (1)

bubkus_jones (561139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197668)

Upgrade to what? Opera? HA! If Mozilla is crashing on you that often, maybe you should look at your system.

A common problem I think, not easy to solve (5, Informative)

dot-magnon (730521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197435)

I think this is a common problem. I run a business myself, with two friends. We've just started, but we're looking into getting things like customer related software in order before doing anything serious about ourselves. I've worked voluntary with organisations and economy before, and I know things screw up if things are not kept track of.

I think your questions are hard to answer, and even though I have searched a lot for software (not online shopping/CC, we send invoice by mail since we're only doing business inside Norway) I have yet to find anything free and useful.

We've really considered doing it ourselves, making a simpe customer registration and management system with a web frontend. Using f.i. perl modules, you can create Excel documents with tabular data, and such. So that might be a thing to do. If you accept a tiny bit of manual work, that is. Of course, that tiny bit isn't that tiny after you've got hundred customers to bill.

But at least, I know that GnuCash [gnucash.org] has some functions regarding invoicing and customer registry, but I haven't really had the time to try it out. The rest of GnuCash is good, though, so there should be a hope. So far we can keep track of our economy, and if it works, GnuCash might do our customers as well, even generating invoices.

Good luck, and I hope this post will create some feedback for myself as well. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss, by the way.

Open Source is not CHEAPER (1, Funny)

RicJohnson (649243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197439)

I am sorry.
Maybe I am asking for a flamewar, but why not try a professional package, i.e. not done by some open source developers who do not know BUSINESS.
Open Source Development IS GREAT!
You can find some card processing, but not for FREE!
Also - what will your customers feel that you have their PRIVATE info on open source processing software???

Re:Open Source is not CHEAPER (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197487)

open source is cheaper, in th long run.

"Also - what will your customers feel that you have their PRIVATE info on open source processing software???"

umm, do you just completly fail to understand how software works, or are you a moron?
It's not like you can read source, and thus know what the clients private data is. What OS buys you is that you can be sure that the code handles the data properly, and if not you can have it fixed.

If a closed system is mis-handling data, you have no way of finding that out.

Re:Open Source is not CHEAPER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197488)

what will your customers feel that you have their PRIVATE info on open source processing software???

Darl? Is that you?

Re:Open Source is not CHEAPER (4, Insightful)

dot-magnon (730521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197501)

You're not really asking for a flame, but I think you're disinsightful.

Open Source developers do business as well. Many developers run their business of OSS, or create OSS outside of their work time. Of course, when someone CREATE a business package, they'll have to know what to do with it. But I would agree that in some cases, the searching user would need some insight in what a product needs to offer.

What would customers know? Do you advertise on your enterprise site that you use this-and-that Inc. Accounting Software? Besides, OSS isn't insecure by default, by all means. And, in many countries, like Norway (mine), you own your own information. If a business f**ks up handling your information, they're up in their knees in lawsuits in no time, if users want that.

Bottom line, Open Source is Open Development, not Open Access.

How much is this ideal policy costing you? (4, Insightful)

dmorin (25609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197440)

While you're waiting for your Slashdot answer, start the egg timer and multiply it times the amount of money you're burning waiting for the ideal answer. If no reasonable OSS alternative exists, then cut your losses, salvage what parts of your OSS policy that you can, make a decision and get moving. I've been in places where the developers have two workstations - a Unix and a Windows - exactly for the situation you describe. Or relegate Linux to the servers but put Xwindow on the developers Windows machines. That's a day one decision, not one to labor over and try to get perfect otherwise everything falls to pieces.

Your internal IT should never ever never be a gating item for letting your business department do what it needs to do. If the chairman of the board likes MS Word and just doesn't "get" Open Office, then the amount of his and your time that you burn trying to show him the light will forever outweigh the cost you would have paid to get him a Crossover license and a copy of Word and keep him happy and concentrating on what he is supposed to be doing.

Re:How much is this ideal policy costing you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197508)

Did you even read the blurb?

Re:How much is this ideal policy costing you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197604)

There will always be those apps that, for whatever reason, you cant run on Linux. For this have one windows box running terminal services and install rdesktop (http://www.rdesktop.org/) on your workstations.

Then your selling out is limited to only one box in the corner :-)


Re:How much is this ideal policy costing you? (3, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197615)

You are completely wrong. An Open Source policy is not just some pie-in-the-sky ideal -- it's a valid business decision based on value and control. Buying into proprietory, closed systems is a significant risk and can result in not only large financial outlays now, but again later, eg; When the product is discontinued and the tax laws change. Software with only a Windows client is almost as bad as no software at all.

Re:How much is this ideal policy costing you? (1)

seigniory (89942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197649)

you're an idiot. the parent post hit it right on the head.

Re:How much is this ideal policy costing you? (4, Insightful)

dmorin (25609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197680)

You are completely wrong. An Open Source policy is not just some pie-in-the-sky ideal -- it's a valid business decision based on value and control.

Sure, it's a valid business strategy. But you have to know when your strategy is not going well, and change it. Before you even get to the IT section of the business plan, you know you need certain internal systems. The business can run without OSS. It cannot run without accounting software, or whatever it is that the original post (which is not in front of me) said. So I suppose you *could* say "It's more important for everything to be OSS, I guess we will just live without a [blank] system", but I'm not sure that's a valid business decision anymore.

Buying into proprietory, closed systems is a significant risk and can result in not only large financial outlays now, but again later, eg; When the product is discontinued and the tax laws change. Software with only a Windows client is almost as bad as no software at all.

It's also the model that's been working for something like 30 years now. While I prefer open source as much as the next guy, you can't just dismiss something as "almost as bad as no software at all" when the world has been running that way just fine. Make open source win by showing it to be of a higher quality than closed -- not by trying to debate why closed source doesnt work. The evidence is against you.

We use the following: (5, Informative)

dskoll (99328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197450)

For CRM, we use TUTOS [tutos.org].

For accounting, it's SQL-Ledger [sql-ledger.org]. Both the CRM and accounting apps are backed by PostgreSQL [postgresql.org].

For office suites, OpenOffice [openoffice.org].

Web browsing is Mozilla; e-mail is whatever our employees prefer (Mozilla, Kmail, Evolution, Pine, Mutt, whatever...)

We are completely MSFT-free and intend to stay that way.

Accounting Software (4, Informative)

Count of Montecristo (626894) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197452)

We use Passport Software Inc's 'RW32' provided and professionally supported by SCAS [scas.com], in Torrance, CA.

It is a closed source general accounting software, but it runs on Linux, and the clients are linux too.

It takes off where Great Plains Classic left, when it got shut down by microsoft in favor of MS Dynamics, and i think its great, rock solid stuff. (passport, not Dynamics)

Also, it is written in COBOL, and uses ACUCORP's ACUCOBOL runtime, for which you need a license. Finally, ACUCORP provides an ODBC driver that works pretty nicely with PHP for web frontends and reporting, and also runs on Linux.

The only gripe I have, is terminal emulation in Konsole, 'cuz the graphics characters come out as A-umlauts and what have you, and i cant seem to find documentation for that issue anywhere.. suggestions?

Re:Accounting Software (1)

fyoory (632327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197539)

Try the vga.pcf or vga11x19.pcf i think commonly found in dosemu. Stick it in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc and mkfontdir that dir, xset fp rehash and away you go. Its a chance it wants Dos ASCII font since it probably was a dos app ported. Then you might only need to tell konsole to use the vga font, usually -fn vga in xterm clones.

Re:Accounting Software (1)

christooley (215314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197561)

This is a SCOANSI terminal emulation. The full ANSI terminal emulation in Linux is less than stellar. As a side note I can help with both RW32 and Sychronics Counterpoint (a sales/inventory/customer management software package that integrates well with RW32). ctooley@ntrc.net

Have you considered apt-get? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197475)

Apt-get sounds like a perfect fit for your requirements. It is open source, so it can be modified to suit local accounting rules and regulations. There are several Fortune 100 companies already using apt-get for CRM, but they generally don't like to talk about it because the big vendors get pissed off. Just do a man apt-get, and read the 'CRM and Accounting' section, just below 'How to configure a local mirror'. You won't be sorry.

Ask /.: I'm A Drunken Has-Been (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197482)

Back when I was in high school, I was the most uber geek around (back then, uber wasn't even a word). Then, in my Junior year, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting drunk, smoking reefers, and various other delinquent activities. Now I'm 26 years old, and I just don't seem to have my edge anymore... MySQL, PHP, RSS, I don't even know what these letters mean! I need a job, but all the script kiddies I kicked in the teeth in HS would be my bosses!

Does anyone out there have experience with this sort of thing? What solutions have you slashdot crowd been able to implement? I'd rather not change my lifestyle. Is there a way I can get fucked up every night and still be sharp enough in the morning to brush up the shmoozing skills neccessary in today's tough, drug-intolerant job market?

More on Compiere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197494)

They have not delivered on their Open Sources promises. The 'PostgreSQL' port was supposed to be done, or at least in a useable form last year. Now the project is 'MySQL or whatever' and is still undone.

To hear it is 'tied' to Internet Exploder is a sad bit of knowledge to hear.

Ask for quotations.... or pay the price (5, Insightful)

martijnd (148684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197506)

Simple answer: what you are looking for does not (yet) exist.

There are a lot of fancy applications on the net, none of them any usefull for your purposes (and please prove me wrong, I'd though I had been pretty thorough)

Having looked at the same problem for my own small business I'd say that if your business is essential to you, you either start asking for quotations for companies that can deliver a solution to fits your purposes or find a stock application that does most of what you need. (and does it in a way that most members of staff understand it)

Look at the price, and see if its matches your needs and budget.

As you are setting up your own business, you should NOT be fooling around trying to recreate the wheel; you will need al your energy to focus on your business and hope that it doesn't go belly up.

One sure way of doing that is having a dozen incompatible systems hide all your major business information from you, your customers, and your staff.

SHALL I use GIF or TIF or something else? help! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197510)

Sorry - offtopic I know but who knows what the best file format is to save my scanned personal archive documents in? Some info: quality not important, file size is important but I definately also want to be able to read the files - say - ten or fifteen years for now.

What file format is the best one that I should use?


Re:SHALL I use GIF or TIF or something else? help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197551)

I would convert all you images to BMP, then use a program like WinRAR to pack them all into a "concrete archive."

The concrete format ensures that your files will be rock-solid readable 25 - 50 years from now, as long as you only access them infrequently (say 3 - 4 times a year). That's more than an order of magnatude longer than you specified, so I hope that'll work.

Re:SHALL I use GIF or TIF or something else? help! (1)

fyoory (632327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197589)

For black and white just use 300 dpi images. Tiffs offer typically very little compression unless they have some special codecs. I have access to high end Xerox document scanners with massive feeders and they primary use tiffs for rasterizations and wrap them in a proprietary compression format. But in the print industry, PDF storage of files you dont want to alter too much in the future seems to be the way to do it.

SQL-Ledger (4, Informative)

slpalmer (6337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197516)

I was recently asking this same question, albeit for a home-based consulting business.

The solution that I found was SQL-Ledger [sql-ledger.com]. While it is overkill for my needs, I think it might fit your criteria quite well.

maybe you should re-examine your assumptions (1)

jonnosan (300963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197532)

If OSS isn't going to cut it for what is really the single most import reason for giving your staff desktops in the first place, why are you so insistent that windows be kept out of your business?

Don't let your technical expertise convince you that you can make a better commercial decision than the suits.

Real world vs. fanboy fantasies (-1, Troll)

Mike Bourna (748040) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197545)

I am what most people would consider a highly trained technical professional. Unlike most people who spout off at this site, I have the certificates to prove this, and furthermore they're issued by the biggest software company in existence.

I know how to tell facts from marketing fluff. Now, here are the facts as they're found by SEVERAL INDEPENDENT RESEARCH INSTITUTES:

Expenses for file-server workloads under Windows, compared to LinuxOS:
  • Staffing expenses were 33.5% better.
  • Training costs were 32.3% better.

They compared Microsofts IIS to the Linux 7.0 webserver. For Windows, the cost was only:
  • $40.25 per megabit of throughput per second.
  • $1.79 per peak request per second.

Application development and support costs for Windows compared to an opensores solution like J2EE:
  • 28.2% less for large enterprises.
  • 25.0% less for medium organizations.

A full Windows installation, compared to installing Linux, on an Enterprise Server boxen:
  • Is nearly three hours faster.
  • Requires 77% fewer steps.

Compared to the best known opensores webserver "Red Hat", Microsoft IIS:
  • Has 276% better peak performance for static transactions.
  • Has 63% better peak performance for dynamic content.

These are hard numbers and 100% FACTS! There are several more where these came from.

Who do you think we professionals trust more?
Reliable companies with tried and tested products, or that bedroom coder Thorwalds who publicly admits that he is in fact A HACKER???

Copyright (c) 2004 Mike Bouma, MCSE, MCDST, MS Office Specialist, widely respected Amigan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

*Yawn* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197582)

Ok that was the yawn. Now back to my coffee.

ERP systems (1)

thayner (130464) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197550)

The good news is that if you are willing to use a proprietary ERP system, then running Linux on the user's desktops will work just fine, several of them run just fine on Linux (primarily using a web browser interface -- mozilla works just fine). An example would be most of the Oracle's suite of software. This will allow you to have Open Source desktops and the like (with at least some ERP vendors you can have linux running on the servers too). Unfortunately, There are no good open source ERP systems yet that I'm aware of, although your requirements span quite a bit and software and undoubtedly some of the tasks can be handled well with open source software.

One last piece of advice, customization is expensive and to an extent unavoidable, so consider how close the system comes to your ultimate result, how familiar your team is with the technologies involved, etc...)

use niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197556)

nigger labor is cheap and hard-working, unlike white labor or wetback labor

just try it and your productivity will explode

Stupid racism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197598)

Just meet some black fellow humans, have a beer with them and then conclude that you may have made a stupid racist. I was a racist a couple of years ago but now I am not anymore. Yes, peoples ARE different but that's nice. Don't degrade black people please.

Bite the bullet with WINE (4, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197577)

You will likely need windows for some things, unfortunatly. Fortunatly Wine works very well for a lot of window programs, and since you are looking for which one you use, you can demand Wine compatability from the start.

Don't be a jerk instisting on all open source, you have a buisness to run, and that means spending money once in a while. Don't waste your money (except by sending it to me....), but don't be too frugal either. If you can only get what you need from a pay software, buy it and get on with your buieness.

P.S. buy Crossover as your wine implimentation, those guys put a lot of support into wine and should be helped. (Or alternativly you can get WineX, but they focus on games so I doupt you care about their advantages)

osCommerce (1)

Last Warrior (105980) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197584)

Ive been playing around with this one. The storefront interface is very similar to what amazon.com uses.

it handles many different payment systems including internationally recognized ones.

taxes, inventory, shipping, etc..


good luck.

Do you want free software? (0, Redundant)

armando_wall (714879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197586)

The Lizard [mozilla.org].

MySQL [mysql.org].

GNU Project [gnu.org].

Slackware Linux [slackware.com].

Mepis Linux [mepis.org].

K Desktop Environment [kde.org].

Gnome [gnome.org].

Perl [perl.org].

Apache WebServer [apache.org].

Roxen WebServer [roxen.com] (very intuitive, and GPL!).

Phew!! And that's a short list!! There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of open source, free-for-all applications.... so many it's almost absurd not to use them!! Go ahead and get them!

Try a Mix (2, Interesting)

NullProg (70833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197593)

Open Source doesn't mean free. If you use mySql/ReiserFS in a commercial environment you will have to pay a fee (but you get the code).

If you need Oracle and Windows to manage clients, then purchase a license for both. You could start out as a free company, and then work out the bugs without licensing issues. Start charging for the service later. As far as business/CRM software is concerned, IBM and SAP both offer professional services for Linux (but you need some money).

Your not going to get free access to the credit card clearing houses using open source or proprietary software. You need a merchant license for this (along with money in the bank too). Software is easy to write, FDIC approval is harder.

But then again, why a VOIP company? Did anyone write a business plan first? Who is your target audience? Slashdot users? Not me, I'm still comfortable with the landline connection to 911/1-800-CALL-WIFE that doesn't go down in a power outage or DOS attack. Can't get that with dialup/DSL/Cable.

My opinion. Enjoy.

Easy. (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197608)

Citrix. Put one or more Citrix servers in the server room. Put the few apps you can't find anywhere else on it. Citrix has clients for pretty much anything.

You're set. As open source apps start filling the gaps switch over. No, Citrix isn't cheap but it works. It works very well.

Open for Business (2, Informative)

MasterMnd (95596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197611)

It's not a complete solution yet. But it has an excellent framework and a quite active group of programmers behind it.

So what if your policy becomes moot? (1)

gkuz (706134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197616)

"Our business types are full of suggestions for supposedly excellent and well suited systems, however they all have in common that they require Windows on the client. If we choose one of those systems our OSS policy is pretty much moot ..."

So what? Your OSS policy isn't business-critical. You're not looking to run an open source company, you're looking to run a VoIP company. If the "business types" want to run the books on a copy-protected closed-source system, let them. Why is this your decision to make?

One thing I've learned in nearly 20 years in a variety of IT support and management positions is that what I think is cool or morally superior doesn't matter. If the customer wants XYZ, then that's what he wants, and my job is to give it to him as quickly and efficiently as I can, and keep it running as well as possible. Jeez, you know, I'd have the best system in the world if it wasn't for those damned customers...

Business reality vs. FOSS idealism. (4, Informative)

smoon (16873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197622)

You're running a business. Get over the idealism and focus on what you _need_.

You need an accounting system that an auditor from a public firm will write an unqualified opinion on. In general this is going to mean a commercial product -- Solomon, Great Plains, Quickbooks, etc.

You need a payroll system that always works. Flawlessly. Many companies outsource this. Explaining to folks that the .7 version borked the checks and you've upgraded to .8 and that borked the witholding info so now you need to rebuild it -- that's unacceptable. Bite the bullet and focus on your business needs.

You need a business plan that the investors technical people will sign off on. Betting everything on untried and little-used systems isn't going to get you there.

So for a lot of things: buckle down and do what needs to be done.

For the other 90% -- use open office, linux or bsd desktops, open groupware or even openexchange (suse). There are plenty of Linux/BSD/Apache/whatever storefront systems. Work on it. For the accounting/finance/etc folks -- get a windows terminal server and use rdesktop for those windows apps.

What will your customers be using? (3, Insightful)

case_igl (103589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197633)

If you are a startup looking to get into the VoIP market, chances are almost all of your customers are going to be running some kind of Windows based computer.

While I applaud open source and use it myself wherever I can personally, and in our offices, we still all have Windows machines on our desks.

If 95% of your customer base (and honestly the number is probably higher) is using Windows to either use your product, learn about your product, or do things like manage their accounts it is foolhearted to not have that technology available yourself.

Our servers and backend systems all run Linux, and yes it does save us money, but don't handicap your business' already statistically slim chances for success by not using a platform most of your customers will!

Proprietary Business Software (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197637)

If Compiere was released under a suitable free software license, you could hire Eric Raymond to add whichever features you require, like database independence, for example.

Of course, after the 12 months or so it would take him, you'd be tied to MySQL and none of the enterprise RDBMS features would work anymore, it'd be slow as hell, would work reliably only on commodity x86 hardware, and the only way to do a backup would be 'tar'. There's beauty in simplicity, though, right?

On the bright side, you'd have three competing natural language config syntaxes to use, all written in python with an optional elisp plugin and a totally rad TeX output mode for your invoices. Too bad the binary printer drivers no longer work. "Impact printing" is all the rage, though, I hear, and is "# cat invoice.txt > /dev/lpt1" really all that hard?

Have you considered an ASP Hosted Application? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8197643)

if by CRM you mean leads, opportunities, sales pipeline type stuff have you considered a hosted model? something like salesforce.com may be worth a look. keeps you out of the business of managing apps. just make sure they work with your browser (e.g. if they write custom controls that require a certain browser that may present problems).
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