Yes, The World Can And Does Make Its Own Software Cheaper Than Renting

Repeatedly, over the years, I have stated that no corporation can make better and cheaper software than the whole world does.“In July 2009, Patrick J. Burns, vice president for information technology at Colorado State University, led the first-ever adaptation of the Kuali financial system.
"We had an interim chief financial officer, and when I made the recommendation to him, his comment was, ‘OK, but it’s your neck if it goes south,’" Mr. Burns recalls.
The switch cost $1.3-million to $1.7-million, depending on how the calculations are done, he says, estimating that the university saved at least a couple of million dollars.”
The world has more and better programmers than any corporation. All it takes are FLOSS principles and a bit of organized effort.

The case in the article linked below describes some US colleges that were faced with $millions per annum of payments to a few corporations for permission to have computers the colleges owned compute stuff like finances and enrolments. One university spent $100million installing some software from Oracle and setting it up (Oracle charges ~$10 per employee per function per annum and ~$1000 per user per function per annum. It adds up to $millions per college per annum.). Now they are spending ~$1million per annum instead, contributing to a FLOSS project, Kuali, which will do what they want how they want it done. They share with a bunch of other colleges all with similar motivations. By sharing the load, each college gets what it needs for a lot less than paying some corporation multiple times what software costs to develop. The world does not owe big corporations a living. Make them earn it by competing on price/performance instead of lock-in.

It’s not rocket-science. If the inputs and outputs are known, anyone can make a computer do the maths. Bigger projects just take more contributors/contributions which is no problem at all when the world cooperates. Kuali started with financial management as a target. Now it encompasses human resources, student tracking and a bunch of other tasks. 30 US colleges and one Canadian university are now using parts of Kuali or in the process of implementation.

See Open-Source Software for College Administrators Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ After 10 Years.

You can download Kuali source code here. This is a serious amount of source code. The KFS financial software is 226 MB zipped…
“To implement KFS, a developer should have a good working knowledge of the following:
Java Programming
Java Servlets and Configuration
Spring Framework – specifically the Spring Beans XML format
Tomcat Configuration
Ant
JDBC and Databases”

The licence is Educational Community License version 2.0

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Yes, The World Can And Does Make Its Own Software Cheaper Than Renting

  1. oiaohm says:

    Compared to Libreoffice 226MB source code is small.
    http://dev-www.libreoffice.org/bundles/

    Yes you need quite a few GB of harddrive space if you are thinking about building libreoffice.

    Yes the scary/good part about Libreoffice is it broken into sections. You think the executable source code is huge the translations in fact can be larger than the executable source code. Yes that 1.6G of translation data with Libreoffice is not source code.

    Linux kernel is very light. Mostly because at the start it was define all documentation and error messages in the kernel tree would be English. No multi language support ever.

    Linux kernel 3.14.2 .tar.gz compressed is 113M. So allowing for how bloating major documentation and translations are that Linux kernel avoids 226 MB would make Kuali about the same or smaller in executable code than the Linux Kernel due to how much is not bundled with the Linux kernel.

    Yes most people wonder why Libreoffice is taking so long to code clean. The answer is its huge.

  2. ram says:

    DrLoser wrote “226 MB of source code?”

    Java, … always bloated.

  3. DrLoser wrote, “What are these fools thinking?”

    They are probably thinking they need “this and that” repeatedly. One thing I think they’ve forgotten is that while MySQL will do the job for smaller operations and Oracle database will do it for the big guys, PostgreSQL will also help cut costs. I guess after saving many $millions they think they can afford to waste a few $hundred K.

  4. DrLoser says:

    226 MB of source code?
    Sounds a bit bloated to me. You could probably fit the source code for any given 2.x Linux kernel and any given 3.x Linux kernel in that and have room to spare.
    And the Linux kernel, God bless it, includes all sorts of drivers you’re never going to need, just in case.
    What are these fools thinking?

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