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Free software – you can’t give it away!

On Thursday 21 June, Bristol Wireless’ Bails and Rich Higgs attended the Connecting South West Conference in Taunton organised by the SWRDA on the future of ICT support for business. This event considered recent changes and developments in the provision and delivery of ICT support in the South West of England and was opened by Fabian King, SWRDA’s Head of Regional ICT, with an address on the importance of ICT support to the regional economy. Bristol Wireless were billed to speak last, right after David Overton, the man from Microsoft small business solutions.

Rich writes:

“Our presentation focused on the what is open source, why we use Linux. We discussed LTSP and the power saving, security, flexibility, interoperability and the huge range of software available. We then went on to talk about extending the useful life of hardware, cost savings compared per seat licensing, scalability, hot desking, ease of administration, speed and reliability. We cited some global roll outs of LTSP, e.g. Telecentros in Brazil, which has some 18,000 terminals installed.

The presentation moved onto open standards in VoIP and the importance of SIP phone systems. Moving on to CMS and CRM packages, we explained how we’ve integrated Asterisk with Drupal and CiviCRM into our telephone system and database. As a demonstration I dialled the Bristol Wireless lab from my mobile and my record popped up on screen at the conference.

We ended with a bit of a round table discussion with Microsoft’s David Overton and ourselves taking questions from the floor. We were asked why we wanted to integrate our phones with our database when some telephone systems don’t send caller ID….. Well ours does!

There’s a lot of things I wished I’d said, but didn’t think of at the time. The general feeling of the conference was that selling proprietary software is better for business…. but there was no mention of whose business!

Bristol Wireless is currently working on more presentations with the aim of organising our own open source for business conference in the near future. The focus will be a more user-orientated approach.

One Response to Free software – you can’t give it away!

  1. woodsy June 28, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    According to the Connecting South West website, the event was attended by some 60 delegates.

    I notice the man from MS has a blog, but it makes no mention of his jolly to Somerset and seems to be mostly an advert for his employer’s overpriced offerings.