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Some policy information required

By basheerpt ·
As per our company policy, there are a couple of software which are essential for the business and daily computing. Other than any software are banned, users cannot install any software other than what we give according to our policy.

But, recently we get a single request from a user to give them access of some free software which will help his daily work very much. This software is against the policy and i dont like such free softwares to install users computers, which will increase the requests and am afraid it will be a support headache and un manageable.

I would like to know, how do you IT managers handle this issue?

Expecting some valuable advises.

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by Mehul Bhai In reply to Some policy information r ...

I would not allow installation of such software at all against company policy.

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That depends.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Some policy information r ...

What does the software do? Does the company already have an approved application that does the same thing?

Is the 'free' software actually free for business use? Many popular programs are free for use on privately owned personal computers or educational systems, but require payment for use on workplace computers. Read the license.

Does the application install other unwanted software?

If there isn't an already approved application that does what this one does, if it's legal to install it for free or if it can be purchased affordably, if it's safe, I would consider the request.

Based on the way you interpret the policy, you'd never be able to introduce any new software. Policies are guidelines; they should be reviewed regularly and modified as needed to fit new situations. Otherwise, you'd still be running Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase III.

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by basheer In reply to That depends.

Thanks for the response. I would consider if the freeware has a commercial edition that officially supported. In other words, if users are requesting everyday to have their favorite program, IT department will be dedicated to trace the problems created by such gadgets. Also, if a user has got permission to have his requested freeware, many other users from other departments also come up with their own 'useful' programs. This is not practical and not safe in a corporate environment, especially if there is a software policy exists.

Well, I agree the reviewal of the policy, it should be. I want to know what should be the approach against the freeware program in the policy?

Thanks again.

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What difference does it make if it's free?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to well

Why would you consider freeware any differently from purchased software? The object is to use the best application for the job.

People have favorite commercial applications they want to use. Do you consider those by a different method than freeware? Why?

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To read

by basheer In reply to What difference does it m ...
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That's not a study, that's an opinion piece

by NickNielsen In reply to To read

Of course he doesn't want you to use freeware, he wants to sell you his software and services.

In your case answer these questions:

1. What does the freeware do? Look for a two-word answer: file management, development environment, etc.

2. Do you already have paid software that performs that function?

If the answer to question 2 is yes, there's no reason to install the freeware.
If the answer to question 2 is no, you need to decide whether you want that function on your PCs.

Added: Nothing lasts forever. You should always be evaluating new software, free or paid, to replace older software when the time comes. Of course, you may not have the money or people.

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Some excerpts from your link.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to To read

"Freeware tends to have an insidious way of slowly sapping productivity. ... freeware - which is typically far less functional than commercial software ..."

Unsupported opinion.

"Using freeware is like walking around with no health insurance."

So buy a support contract. Many companies make their living supporting freeware applications.

"In some cases, freeware is simply lower-quality software."

This is no different from the first quoted 'point'; it's just an unsupported opinion. In some cases, proprietary software is simply lower quality too. For example Windows Me was an 'upgrade' to Windows 98 that increased the installation size with no additional functionality.


That's another opinion, one that doesn't explain why Firefox has carved out 30% of the browser market in less then 5 years. It also doesn't explain the popularity of the LAMP suite (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl / Python) as a popular configuration for servers, or Linux as a preferred OS for embedded systems.

"ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Weathington is President and CEO of Excellent Management Systems, Inc., a management consultancy ..."

In short, like Nick said, the document you're referring to was written by a guy who's trying to sell his services, a guy who's income is threatened when you choose a freeware alternative to what he's selling. That's what ALL 'White Papers' are about - selling you something. Don't base your decision on one guy's advertisement.

I'm not going to tell you every freeware app is as good as a commercial app. However, I'm certainly not going to tell you every commercial app is better than any freeware app just because it's commercial. I suggest you try the software your employee wants to use. (Exactly what application does he want to install?) Does the company already have an approved app that does what the freeware does? If not, evaluate it along with commercial alternatives and pick the best one based on features, available support, security, and ease of use. Don't disqualify something just because you don't have to pay for it.

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Excuse me?

by johnweathington In reply to Some excerpts from your l ...

Everything in this white paper is my opinion--my expert opinion after being in the industry over 20 years. I don't need to support it or explain it, because it's my opinion. Just like everything in your post, is merely your opinion--but that doesn't mean I'm going to make public judgments about you.

Where you cross the line, is making inferences about me, when you don't know who I am or what my company does. This isn't an "advertisement" as you put it--it's a white paper, stating my opinion. And, my income isn't threatened by what kind of software you or anybody buys.

Read the paper if you want, you can choose to agree with me, or disagree, but don't go around talking about me when you don't know me.

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Sure; you're excused.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Excuse me?

If you don't want people to talk about you when they don't know you, stop posting opinions, advertisements, or white papers on the Internet. Some stranger might read them and express differing opinions, or ask questions about what your opinions are based on, or make inferences about your motivations.

I didn't drag you into this; basheerpt did. Had he not, I wouldn't know of your white paper, your company, or you. When basheerpt linked to your white paper, I read it and notice a lack of what I consider supporting information. No mention of specific freeware products you've tried or specific problems you encountered. At this site, members are expected to support their opinions with facts. While your white paper wasn't written for this site, a member introduced it as why he why opposed freeware. By doing so, he made your arguments his, and subject to the expectations of the membership. I expected him to respond as to why he agreed with you, but you'll do nicely.

I don't expect a white paper to get into complete details, but yours is full of vague statements like the ones I quoted. How does freeware sap productivity any more than proprietary software? I've seen plenty of lost time bloating up a PowerPoint presentation with unnecessary effects.

That "you get what you pay for" stuff? Funny how I'm running a free browser, two free anti-malware apps, and a free web design tools that I find superior to the proprietary apps they replaced. (Firefox vs. IE, MS Security Essentials and ThreatFire vs. McAfee, MS Visual Web Developer Express vs. Sitespinner.) Your web page has plenty of free articles; are they inherently inferior because you don't charge for them? The one linked to by basheerpt certainly isn't any better supported than the support you claim freeware lacks.

Your statement about freeware being unsupported is just plain old-fashioned vanilla wrong. Plenty of companies make money selling support for freeware. IBM, Novell, and your business partner Quest, for three. (Incidentally, if freeware is inferior, why does Quest support Linux???)

What did I say that set you off? Is it not true that every freeware app installed instead of the proprietary ones you and your partner support is income lost to you? Was it my assertion that you wrote a white paper to drum up business? If wasn't for that reason, why did you write it? General education of the public? Pull the other one; it's got bells on.

If wasn't either of those statements, what was it? If you think I crossed the line, either develop a thicker skin or stay off the web. It's a big Internet, and I'm not even close to the nastiest guy out there. It's usually best to ignore personal attacks; otherwise you just draw attention to them. Stick with responding to questions of fact.

Oh, and welcome to TR. Seriously.

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Public Judgment

by santeewelding In reply to Excuse me?

Go back and take the course over. Looks like you missed important parts of it.

Don't nobody get away with nothing on TR.

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