Subject: Re: Disguising open source code as a proprietary software product
From: Rich Bodo <>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 10:49:21 -0800 (PST)

> I'm sure it will be one day, but right now the scant documentation is a
> little scary for a site my wife is going to maintain and
> administer. I

Can't argue with this.  I was impressed with the graphical installer
and docs of Plone myself, but I have different needs.  Xoops is
probably more mature documentation-wise.  Plone is a newer project.

> also note that plone requires (or seems to require) root access on the
> server, plus Zope, which knocks it out of the running for those of us
> whose budgets dicatate use of shared hosting services like Verio or
> or (name another).

I can completely understand if your stuck with a hosting service that
does not provide zope.  Some hosting services do, and some hosting
services provide completely preconfigured CMS solutions based on open
source projects.  They're pretty cheap, too; I've seen hosting below
100USD per year for a xoops site, preconfigured.  You can just add
content through the web interface.

> >you say, benefit from an open support environment.  That is not at all
> >the same thing as an Open-Source Support Environment, which should
> >develop a trained community offering a free and paid support pools.
> >So, in conclusion, technically speaking, an OSSE is cooler, nicer, and
> >more better than an OSE.
> >
> Yes. Cool, nice. more better.

The salient point was that get trained free and paid support pools
with the OSSE vs OSE.  The technical point was what passes for humor
around here at 3AM when the coffee machine is busted.  I admit I was
certainly digging deep to try to find an answer to your question.

> But usability for non-technical people is
> still chancy with most Open Source software, especially for those of us
> who run small businesses.  We're essentially setting my wife up in a
> Web-based business on a very low budget (and using this business as a
> case study for a book I'm writing), so we are interested in reliability
> and ease of use more than in coolness or niceness.

As you've pointed out, non-technical people have problems with most
OSS due to ease of use issues.  Let's consider OSS vs. proprietary
reliability an out of scope discussion for the moment.

If there is even the slightest sense of urgency involved, I recommend
that you jump on the proprietary product.  It sounds great.  Why
torture yourself?  It does everything you need quickly at a price you
can afford.  Continue doing your research in the background.  There
are lots of reasons to use OSS, but usability for non-technical people
is rarely high on the list.


Rich Bodo | | 650-964-4678