The OpenSure Free Press 25th July 2011

Welcome to the new edition of The OpenSure Free Press, a little light relief from the school hellidays and the recent run of tragic news stories. Our adopted charity, Hereford-based Concern Universal, operates in the Horn of Africa and you can read their report on the drought here.

Software Freedom Day 2011
OpenSure has been working with Herefordshire Linux and Open Source User Group (HLUG) to put on an event for Software Freedom Day. We’ll be at All Saints Church, Hereford, on Saturday 17th September from 10am-4pm. We’ll have freebies, demos and experts to hand, and this year our event is placing an emphasis on Open Source in education. Later on this year we’ll reveal details of HLUG’s education outreach programme (already being warmly received by many county schools). If you’d like to be involved in HLUG and/or SFD or open source in education please get in touch or even better, come along to our meeting on Wednesday 27th July at 7.30pm at the Point4, opposite the Blind College.

Software Sales Down
I feel sure I didn’t take from this article the message the author had intended. The title heralds woeful news: software sales are down – gnash! – and UK sales are foundering – oh no! Glossing over for now the enormous issues behind this comment from the magnificently named Fabrizio Biscotti of Gartner:

the UK has seen less enterprise software sales recently because the government has chopped so many of the country’s IT projects

…if you read on you learn several rather interesting things. The first is that:

25 per cent of the software market in Western Europe comes from the UK

…which suggests that our work in promoting the joys of open source software is far from done. Biscotti goes on to say:

Europe’s enterprise software sales were also slowing down as more businesses opt for open-source technology

He mentions the cloud as being partly to blame too. His most noteworthy comments though, from our point of view, were these two closely related points:

The SME market in particular is looking for lower cost alternatives to keep going…many IT customers have lost loyalty to the big proprietary vendors during the recession. The large vendors increased their maintenance costs in the recession, leaving customers with less money, but more to pay in maintenance. There are a good number of disgruntled customers out there, so vendor loyalty has been falling.

If Gartner is saying it, it must be true. It’s a shame that open source is portrayed in a rather LibDem light, ie where people storm off to in a huff with traditional services, but clearly open source stands to benefit hugely from the increased uptake from UK SMEs, and in turn UK SMEs stand to benefit hugely from the increased uptake in open source. It’s hard to feel sorry for the big proprietary vendors really, especially as the article goes on to make it clear that they’re still doing fairly well, just without the support of many UK companies that have moved on to better things. The next step now for those companies is to move over to UK-based energy efficient open source hosting.

Plus YOU+?
Are you one of the 10 million  “exclusive” Google+ users? No? Tchuh. Us neither. We’re going to let the early adopters do the hard work and then see how it’s looking. If you’re wondering what Google+ is all about, and what on earth are these circles?, then you might like to read these two articles. The first focusses on whether Twitter should be worrying and the second looks at the famous circles.

The Green Bit

We’ve had a fantastic response to the launch of GreenLight, our ‘green’ advice exchange for business that runs via a monthly evening in the pub. We’ve already formed links with Herefordshire Greenlinks (that’s our lighthouse logo on the bottom right) and we’re hoping to draw in participants from other groups focussed on business, sustainability and energy-efficiency. Our site is up and running and already attracting comments and requests to be involved. If you’d like to help shape GreenLight into something that can help your business work on its green credentials, or if you’d like to share your own experiences of making changes, or if you just need an excuse for a pint, please join us at The Old Market Inn Newmarket Street, Hereford on Thursday 11th August at 8pm. In the meantime you can follow us on Twitter @GreenLightLocal.

Other bits and pieces that have caught our eye recently include:

  • Do you run a seasonal business? Here are StartUp Donut’s golden rules.
  • Almost 1/5th of new businesses started following redundancyis this you?
  • New uses for old materials: the cardboard phone and record player (video), and the potato poncho

And finally: you can now receive updates via our RSS feed. To sign up please visit our main website and sign up under OpenSure News.

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