How to understand free software? Why free software? Trust free software?

There are still people and companies that either do not know free software or do not know how it works. In the software world there are situations that would be unthinkable in other sectors but in ours they are day to day and that is what we have to deal with. If, in addition, the world in which you move is not software, but free software, the situation is even more complicated. Because they don’t understand how it works. There are those who believe that being free is free and there are those who do not believe that free software is serious. And much less in the small and medium-sized business sector.

Let’s take an example comparing the need to manage your company, with the need to change employee uniforms. I know it is a simplistic comparison but in this short story, I try to add a touch of humor to the seriousness of the matter and expose situations that would be absurd and ridiculous in other sectors but are part of our day to day.

.- Manager: I need new uniforms for the entire company… let’s see what is in the market. Browsing the internet, you find several options and even on some specialized page, you publish this need. Without further ado, different salespeople from different companies come by with their catalog.

  • Empresa1: Multinational hyper archi known in the sector, with great prestige and many design collections sold …
    • Comercial1: We are going to present our new spring-summer collection, signed by “pepe’s” and with high quality imported materials.
    • Manager: Now, but look at you … most of my employees are mechanics from the workshop and I, of course, was looking for some blue jumpsuits because the ones they have now are already slightly worn and full of grease. I also have some administrative staff who might need a suit, but I am not very clear about it.
    • Comercial1: Do not worry yourself, trust us and buy the new collection that you will see that it is great and your mechanics will be very comfortable with their cashmere jackets.
    • Manager: And how much will the joke cost me?
    • Commercial1: naaaaa…. It depends on how many mechanics, administrative and cleaning personnel you have, you pay an amount for each uniform and don’t worry that every year, after going through the checkout, we renew them as well. You fiese. Look in the catalog that I bring and I leave you here so that you can see it later with more calm. How colorful, look at how many buttons, zippers and pockets. Look what a shine on the boots. You will not regret. Even if you want, we can give you an invitation to our model show on the Neptuno catwalk where you can see the show with impressive views from row 17 and our couturiers will attend you personally in case you have any questions. By the way, if you come we will give you a coffee with pastries.
    • Manager: Jo … well, these guys are not bad. Look at everything they offer me and how beautiful the suits are … Men … cheap, what is said is not cheap. But it will be for a reason … and with everything they sell … they say they are the best … I’ll go to the parade to see how that coffee is.
  • Company2: The tailor of my town makes them all to measure for me. He is well known and my neighbor with a similar company also hired him. The same is the option.
    • Commercial2: Good … I was coming to get the suits. What did you want?
    • Manager: Anyway, my mechanics and administrative staff … I want to change their costumes.
    • Commercial2: Nothing … look, I have blue jumpsuits for the mechanics, black suits for the boys and a very cute navy blue suit for the girls. This is what we have as a base but if you want adaptations, we can do them as you ask us. All tailored
    • Manager: Ahhh… well that’s fine. What patterns do you use?
    • Commercial2: Patterns? and that does not matter … well that … we have been using the last 20 years.
    • Manager: But… there is a theme and it is that fashions change. This year they take the red jumpsuits and I don’t want blue ones.
    • Comercial2: Well, they turn red, but of course… this is very complicated. We will have to change the fabric supplier, see prices, think about dyeing the jumpsuits blue … but it can be done. Sure it can be done.
    • Manager: And how much is the prank going to cost me?
    • Commercial2: man … it depends on the suits you buy from me. Each diver has this price and each administrative suit this other and each young lady’s suit this other too. Now … about the red divers … should be seen. Maybe that costs you more than all the suits, I stayed with the blue jumpsuits that total … what else gives one color than another.
    • Manager: Good. And if I buy blue divers from you and ask someone else to dye them red for me?
    • Commercial2: This you will not be able to. Only we know the patterns, the materials, even the special stitches that we give in the delivered suits. And if someone else dyes them, you still have spots or even they are useless. Also, the patterns and dyes we use are secret. It’s not going to be that that other tailor on the corner takes away my ideas and starts selling red jumpsuits from my blue jumpsuits and takes away the merchandise.
    • Manager: So if I buy your suits, only you can adapt them or change the things I don’t like.
    • Comercial2: That sounds very radical but basically… yes… this is it. But don’t worry we are the best. Note that even every year at the end of the year, we send you a couple of seamstresses who make the mending of the suits that are breaking, after mandatory payment by the box.
  • Company3: They offer “free” suits. And that what it is? Like what free suits? Explain it to me.
    • Comercial3: Hi… you have told us that you want to change the uniforms of your employees.
    • Manager: Yes, basically. Something simple, some red jumpsuits for my mechanics and some serious suits for my administrators.
    • Commercial3: Well… we can see what we have out there in red jumpsuits and serious suits. Do you know what free suits are?
    • Manager: Not very good, if you explain it to me …
    • Commercial3: Our suits are in a large area. So great that only some people know part of what is there and nobody knows everything there is because it is infinite. We have thousands of tailors around the world who make their designs, manufacture their suits and leave them there, available for any company to pick up and use.
    • Manager: And how much does it cost?
    • Comercial3: You go there, try on a suit and if you like it and it is worth it, you keep it.
    • Manager: I don’t believe that. Can not be. Who maintains that warehouse? If everyone goes there to get suits, they will end and if I need more of the same, the time will come that I will not find them.
    • Comercial3: what do you lose? If you find what you are looking for and are able to try it on and the suit is worth it, as long as you wear it you will not have paid anything. Now … keep in mind that there are millions of costumes there. How long will it take to find the red jumpsuits and serious suits? Do you have time? Do you have someone in your company that goes through aisles and aisles every day until they find what they need? Or you prefer us to guide you. This is what we will charge you. The time it takes us to get you to the right aisle and find exactly the red diver you need from all the red divers there. There may not even be red divers in the warehouse, but I can assure you there are divers. In the store, there are paints, dyes and books to dye your diver if you want to do it yourself. If you don’t know, We will provide you with experts who know how to do it. This is a service that we will also charge you for. Also, if you need your employees to teach them how to put on and get the most out of your new red jumpsuit, we will teach them. This is another service we offer.
    • Manager: If I don’t pay for the suit, it can’t be good. The suits cannot be of the same quality as what I am looking for. They will break the first time and I won’t know who to call for a patch if it breaks. And if it breaks completely, who fixes it for me?
    • Thousands of companies worldwide, the same ones that manufacture them but also people who love to sew, are able to fix them. They are also capable of improving them and what’s more, new models of suits, new materials, new dyeing and sewing techniques are continually being brought to the warehouse, so you can always be in the latest fashion. Most of the suits meet some standards in terms of materials used, dyes and type of stitch they have. There are seamstresses who are dedicated to posting patterns and ways to sew suits so other seamstresses can learn from them. If for whatever the company that made your suit model, stop doing it, there will always be seamstresses who can dedicate themselves to you. Each company and / or person is a specialist in a specific type of suits, so the question is to find and hire the appropriate service. Therefore, to take your worry away, we can tell you that we have seamstresses that will make patches and will leave your suit as good as new. But, obviously, it is a service that will be charged.
    • What if the diver does not have an inside pocket for the mobile phone? What if it is not thermal insulator? What if it is not waterproof?
    • Comercial3: If you tell us in advance each and every one of the characteristics that your red jumpsuit requires, we will guide you through the warehouse until we find the one you need and if it does not exist, we will try to search the secondary warehouse, where there are accessories and new pieces that complement all the outfits on display. If, despite this, the accessory you are looking for does not exist, we will custom build it for you or teach one of your employees how to build it. And this service is another one that will be budgeted for you.
    • Manager: The trick is this then … Surely the divers that you have there are super basic, they only have a jacket and pants and also surely that you can only touch it and you will charge me a dough for putting pockets on it, dyeing it red, treating it with insulation and add accessory pockets.
    • Commercial3: Well … the diver is there and we can take you to him. If you want it as is. He keeps it. What’s more, he stays as many divers as he wants. You don’t pay more the more divers you take. From the outset, it has its mechanics dresses and we can assure you that they are red, have multi-pockets, are waterproof and we can also adjust all the accessories that exist to fit the maximum with what you really need. From there, we will issue you a quote with everything else. If you agree, we will. If you do not accept, you will keep the diver that you originally brought, but yes … your mechanics will still have new, practical and usable divers, whether you make the adaptations or not.

Manager… you have made up your mind. Happy and happy he communicates to his mechanics the decision that from Monday they will all have new divers and that some people will come to explain everything they have and teach them how to get the most out of them. Reactions:

  • Mechanic with a few years on his back: But how about a new diver? Ahhhhh… no… that’s it. That this diver has been with me for 10 years and I already have him adapted to my body, I also made arrangements on the sides to put the pens and now a little boy who has never worn a diver is not going to come here to tell me how to use the Own.
  • Rookie mechanic: Goaaa…. how cool … a new diver, latest model. Passion-red. Great, what an illusion to start using the new pockets and not have to go looking for the hammer that always gets lost in the hole that this old diver has.
  • Mechanic forewarned: uuuuyyyy … I foresee problems. Happy management idea. What do we get into this new divers thing? you’ll see … that half the tools will be lost around until we adjust to using them and half the time I will be missing things or my pockets will bother me when I lie down to do a repair. And let’s not talk about the friction that the zipper can make me. I don’t know … how this will go.
  • The owner’s son: Genteeeeeee… .. you will complain! Daddy gives you new divers !!! Joy, this is great. You will see already. You will finish the repairs in a flash with these divers …

Company1: Start of implementation

  • Hi … I come from the cool chachi company that is going to put you the expensive cashmire wool designer jumpsuits that your boss has bought. Soft to the touch, multi-pockets, with filigree leather flaps and cuffs. Now, to use them and not spoil them, first you have to give them a wax treatment, then carefully close all the zips, before tying the buttons, if you do it the other way around, the zippers will not open later. Ah … do not forget that to put on your boots, first you must open the 7 clips that the pants have and put them inside the socks, otherwise, the shiny boot with glitter will not fit. Ahhh and when you are under the machine, do not forget from time to time to brush the cashmire wool because if it does not cake and of course … the diver is not the same.
  • Reactions of almost everyone: THIS IS SUCK !!! But what the hell do I have to tie zippers, put on the shoe, squeeze 18 clips to put on a diver ??? naaaa. give it to him. Let the boss use it, who is the one who has paid for it and let me be left alone with my machines and my old diver who already knew him and I have him very comfortable.

Company2:

  • Helloooooo, I’m coming with new divers for everyone.
  • Heyeeee. that this diver is not my size.
  • Ahhhh… all divers are the same size. They didn’t tell us there had to be different sizes.
  • But it is that I do not care
  • Ahhh … well, you tell your boss that we have to make you a new diver because he did not take into account the issue of sizes.
  • Hey .. it doesn’t have zippers.
  • Ahhhh…. Well, nobody told us it had zippers.
  • And not multipockets either !!!
  • Ahhhh…. They have bought us red jumpsuits and this is what you have. They are red right? Well that. Nothing else was told to us. We have complied.
  • Boss … divers are not worth us. We do not fit, they do not have this, that, the other … we almost wait for them to put this whole list of new “essential” things that we have asked for and for now we continue to use the old divers as always. Because they are NOT WORTH US this way. Also that you know, that Pepe has tried his on and when he opened a pocket it has been torn. By the way, fix that too, right? And have the pockets of all the divers checked.
  • Manager: But how come there are no sizes? That does not need to be specified. IT IS UNDERSTOOD that if you make divers, you make them in different sizes. And in a mechanical workshop, how do you think that we don’t need zippers and multi-pockets? You are Kaffirs. They do not understand my needs with all that they have charged me!
  • Poor consultant of the company who is the one who has brought the divers and faces the client: Look, our salesman told me that you had asked for red jumpsuits. Nobody told me about sizes, or zippers, or multi-pockets. You will have to make arrangements with my company, but let you know that these are all new things that you need. I’ll send you a commercial to talk about it.
  • Manager: Like a commercial? At least the carvings, is that it is a wooden drawer! How did you not know this? This should be …

Company3: Free suits.

  • Hi guys, I bring you the red jumpsuits.
  • It does not fit me, it is not my size.
  • I need a right side inside pocket, with several compartments and green zippers.
  • Ahh… and the outer multi-pocket too.
  • I also need the socks to be striped.
  • Well, I don’t like red and I want it blue forever.
  • First of all … keep in mind that your boss only asked for red jumpsuits. What he wants is that you change your uniform, that you are more apparent and that you gain efficiency by having the tools you need organized in your pockets. Also, you still do not know the divers that I bring you. Put them on, start working with them. I teach you how to take advantage of them. Keep in mind that these divers are totally different from the ones you use now and that they have many more utilities that you will have to learn to use. Also, I will tell you that the color of the zipper is not critical. Striped socks are no longer worn. And your boss wanted the divers to be Red. From here, if you need more things, we will go to the supermarket and see if there are accessories to complement your divers. If there are not, we would have to have them made or teach someone here who is dedicated to building accessories and mending your divers. But first I would have to speak to your boss.
  • The diver is tested. First repair … ANDAAAAA but this also has a small coin pocket on the arm !!! It suits me great.
  • Ahhhh…. that I can also put a belt with leather straps?
  • But how can I put the hammers organized by measures. I had not thought about it.
  • Well, in the end it will be that the new zippers do not rub.
  • Well in the end it was not so difficult to know all the tricks of the new diver. It must be recognized that we have gained in efficiency.
  • Now that if … I REALLY need a right side inside pocket, with several compartments and green zippers … Well, let’s talk to the boss.

Conclution. Returning to our world that is software, those of you who know the world will surely have quickly identified each of the 3 companies that have presented “their divers” to the client:

  • The first: It moves in big waters. They are very expensive. Your software is very very good, but sometimes very very complicated. It works well in very very large companies, but not so much in SMEs because in an SME normally a single person does many different things. In large companies, everything is much more departmentalized and specialized so perhaps for someone their job will be to “open zippers”, for another to “tie clips”, for another to “adjust the boots”, but when all this has to be done by one only person and also in the correct order … very nice and very powerful, but not effective. Second problem, you buy “under catalog”. I mean, you can’t touch it. It won’t be installed unless you pay a hefty amount up-front for licenses and sign the contract. Third problem, They change models often and “force” you in a way that every time they release a new version or even a complete refactoring of the software, you migrate to the new version, prior to checking out. If you don’t go through the hoop, you’re left alone. They take away the “seamstresses” who make the patches for you because they no longer work with old-fashioned old-fashioned suits even though you are perfectly comfortable with these suits. In addition, it is usually mandatory and required to pay annual maintenance costs, per user and position. Often times this “model change” is not included in these costs and the upgrade is usually to be paid for as an additional task. Things get even more complicated and the cost increases if the client has a custom-developed module.
  • The second option: Custom developments. Sometimes for specific things they come in handy. The most complicated thing is to focus the requirements in detail. What is asked is not usually what is needed and sometimes, it is not usually known what is needed. The developer company assumes premises that are not such and whoever hires assumes that the developer “must” have understood what he wants the first time.
  • The third, ours. Free software. As everyone knows, it has no licensing costs. It is true that there are countless software published in all areas. The problem is knowing which of them is the one that my company needs. For this there are 2 options, research on the internet or hire someone to guide you. As for the implementation of an ERP, you may want to “have it” before “buying”. To tinker, to play, to see their screens. There are tons of options for this. One … pay for a basic installation and configuration on a server of your company. Installation hours will be quoted for you. Negligible expense compared to a 30% advance when signing a contract with a proprietary ERP. Two, you sign up for a SAAS or open an account in OpenERP’s Odoo. Three, you invest your time and install it yourself. From here, you decide … whether to continue the implementation on your own, or to hire training services, consulting, technical maintenance, functional support, updates … or any of the wide catalog of services offered by companies that work in free software. Regarding maintenance… it is highly recommended to hire them, both for bug or technical problem repair, as well as for version updates. But it is decided by the company. No one is “forced” to do anything. It is software. It’s free. It’s up to you. Regarding maintenance… it is highly recommended to hire them, both for bug or technical problem repair, as well as for version updates. But it is decided by the company. No one is “forced” to do anything. It is software. It’s free. It’s up to you. Regarding maintenance… it is highly recommended to hire them, both for bug or technical problem repair, as well as for version updates. But it is decided by the company. No one is “forced” to do anything. It is software. It’s free. It’s up to you!

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