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Some policy information required

By basheerpt ·
Hi,
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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The Hidden Cost of Freeware

by johnweathington In reply to To read

Hi Basheer,

I appreciate you referencing my article on the hidden costs of freeware.

In response to Nick, I don't sell software, and the services I provide don't apply to this audience or the target of the article that I wrote.

To Palmetto, I'm quite happy with the thickness of my skin, however I don't like it when people assume things about me that aren't true. What I wrote in the article that's being referenced is my expert opinion based on my experience with software development over the better part of the last 20 years.

As I stated to Palmetto, I really don't mind having an intelligent argument over whether or not using freeware is a good idea, but it's quite irresponsible to make any claims about why I wrote the article, as you don't know me at all.

In short, just because you feel a piece of software has a set of functionality that you need, doesn't mean it's a good idea for your company to invest in embracing that software. If you're a developer, your company probably spends a good deal of money on you every day in the hopes that you're as productive as possible. And yes, I'm making a general statement that freeware software has a tendency to make developers less productive than commercial software. Of course there's exceptions to the rule, but count the number of freeware applications that you use on a regular basis, and compare that to the number of commercial applications you use on a regular basis. Personally, I use more commercial software than freeware software. That's not because of the lack of availability for freeware, it's because building quality software has an economic implication on providers of commercial software, and in general I get more value and productivity from commercial software. You have to understand, that's an attitude, because I'm a professional and tools are important to me. I also feel it makes total sense to fly first class to Europe, but some people swear by being cramped in an economy seat for 13 hours because it's a few hundred dollars cheaper. Whatever, everybody has their opinion.

Of course you can point to examples like Apache, Linux, Java, MySQL, and all the other iconic apps that freeware zealots point to when they're trying to make their argument. They'll also reference the devil incarnate of software, Microsoft, the likes of which have ruined the integrity of our software system with their empty promises and beta software that they market as the panacea for all your problems.

That's predictable.

Just understand, as the article states, that there's more to total cost of ownership than software license fees. What's important is that your company monitors productivity metrics, and makes good decisions based on objective data. For a lot of software, the license fee is nominal compared to the productivity loss. There are controlled scenarios that you can run to get reasonably accurate measures on this. Most are common sense, but if you need some pointers feel free to reach out privately:

email: john@excellentmanagementsystems.com

Finally, don't believe anybody who asserts the motivations of somebody who writes a white paper, even if they're put in a positive light. Nobody here knows why I wrote that article, and making an irresponsible statement like that is illegal regardless of the informality of this forum; just know it's my expert opinion based on a long tenure in this industry. Under no circumstances would I author something I don't truly believe!

Thanks, and take care.

-John

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Observation

by NickNielsen In reply to The Hidden Cost of Freewa ...

An expert opinion is almost always worth more to the expert than it is to anybody else.

Been the expert.

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An expert opinion

by johnweathington In reply to Observation

Nick,

If you believe that then you're missing the whole point. You're focusing more on what angle I'm coming from, than the usefulness and applicability of the information I'm putting out there.

When I buy and read a book (presumably written by an expert), and I purchase a lot of books, I'm not concerned about how much money the author's making on the book. I'm concerned that I'm getting my money's worth.

What I concentrate on whenever I author an article like this is, how I can convey the most value from my experience, to anybody who decides to read this.

Sorry you didn't like my article, but I'd appreciate it if you would just state your opinions on the matter instead of attacking my intentions.

You and Palmetto can have the last word on this if you want. I've said what I wanted to say here.

-John

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Tuck your tail

by santeewelding In reply to Observation
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My apologies

by NickNielsen In reply to Observation

Almost every white paper I have ever seen has been prominently sponsored by a company or agency who provides services or equipment relative to the subject of that paper. This gives the (admittedly cynical) impression that the author has an agenda, usually to try to sell equipment or promote services. That no doubt colored my initial response.

On the other hand, I dismiss your published opinion in the same manner you dismiss this forum and audience: the usefulness of the information in the white paper in question is worth what I paid for it.

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John

by santeewelding In reply to The Hidden Cost of Freewa ...

I am unimpressed with your mention of first class. I am impressed only with first-class form and formality, of which I see none.

I see crass.

Basheer is to be excused. You are not.

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Not everyone is a developer

by CharlieSpencer In reply to The Hidden Cost of Freewa ...

"If you're a developer, your company probably spends a good deal of money on you every day in the hopes that you're as productive as possible. And yes, I'm making a general statement that freeware software has a tendency to make developers less productive than commercial software."

Not everyone is a developer. basheerpt is applying your position to all freeware, regardless of what it does or who uses it. He's rejecting apps simply because they are free, and using your white paper as justification.

"Of course you can point to examples like Apache, Linux, Java, MySQL, and all the other iconic apps that freeware zealots point to when they're trying to make their argument. They'll also reference the devil incarnate of software, Microsoft, the likes of which have ruined the integrity of our software system with their empty promises and beta software that they market as the panacea for all your problems."

You're referencing the extreme position. Not all open source advocates view MS as the devil. You might as well say all Muslims hate the U.S. Regarding beta software, I'll back you all the way on it being inappropriately market, but there are plenty of commercial developers who market vaporware.

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Depends on the Software involved and the Business

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Some policy information r ...

If you already have a Software Package that fills that function then it's probably not a great idea to install another application that effectively does the same thing. Though none the less it should be tested to see which is the better option for that particular business. If the Free Software is more efficient it's probably a better option, and if it is a well known package it's likely to be very secure and have a Service Contract Available which you or the Business can buy.

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 is probably the important bit of your post as it is showing that there is a need for a application like this by at least one user in this Business. The entire idea behind using computers in business is to cut down costs and improve productivity. Computers cut down costs by requiring fewer people to do the same job and the more efficient that you make the systems the more money they save.

To that end you need the best applications for the companies needs and that covers all users.

This software is against the policy

The Policy then needs altering if it is adversely impacting on Productivity.

and i dont like such free softwares to install users computers

That's entirely a personal opinion brought about by lack of knowledge and supported by Fear of the Unknown. While whatever Free app has been asked for may not be the best option it is IT responsibility to find something that works for the business and suits the needs of that business. IT is a Service Industry and we Support End Users we are not the beginning and end of all business related activity we are there to cut costs and increase productivity. To do that we need to be flexible and more importantly supply solutions for the End Users.

which will increase the requests and am afraid it will be a support headache and un manageable.

If you are not supplying the End Users needs then you are not the right person to fill that position. There is No One Size Fits All and there is no single company who can supply every need so we as IT professionals need to shop around play with different products and then submit what we find to those higher up to make the decisions as to what gets used. If we set policy to make our lives easier it not only costs the company money but taken to the logical end we wouldn't supply power Leads with any Computer that way the End Users couldn't mess them up causing us added grief.

As you didn't mention the actual package requested it's hard to say one way or the other and then again it also depends on the Type of Business as Instant Messaging Applications are not acceptable in a Medical Center or a Financial Institution where Money is Controlled. But if there was a request to install Open Office when there is no other Office Product available I would see it as Unreasonable to refuse unless there was another option available.

Col

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