Open Source AU
Reference Information and Home Page

Prepared by: Brendan Scott/OSAU

Last updated: 15 January 2003

Aim:  The aim of this site is to provide resources for organisations in Australia considering the adoption of open source.

Open Source AU Digest:
Open Source AU produces a regular digest of stories of interest to users and potential users of open source in business and government.  If you would like to receive this digest please send and email to with the subject "Subscribe OSAU digest".   If you have news items of (business) interest relating to open source, drop me an email as well.

How can I help?  If you have implemented open source in your organisation and want to help others to do the same, download and fill out this form.  Please don't feel intimidated by this form.  Just fill out what's relevant and send it through to me.  Alternatively get someone to interview you using this sheet as a prompt and send through the interview.  Otherwise email me with suggestions - ""

Plans:  OSAU's ongoing plan is to include a list of links to resources and a list of detailed case studies specific to industry sectors.  These will be put up as they become available.

What is free software?
Free software is not software for which there is no licensing fee.  Free software is software which as a customer, you are free to do what you like with it (other than to restrict others' freedom). 

Is Open Source the same as Free Software?
No. The two definitions are here:
Click here for the free software definition  The GPL is a specific example of a free software licence.
Click here for the open source definition  The BSD license is a specific example of an open source licence that is not a free software licence.

The practical difference between the GPL and other open source/free software licenses is that given a piece of software later versions of that software can be captured by a vendor in the future if not GPLed.  However, if it is GPLed later versions must remain GPLed as well.  If, as a customer, you are averse to vendor lock in, and all other things are equal, it is wiser to invest in GPLed free software than in software licensed under other terms. 

Taking this discussion at a philosophical level - one of the fundamental tenants of free software is that there should be minimal government regulation of the software industry.  Open source permits government regulation through the copyright law.   Free software is the most capitalist/free market of the three software models (lock in, open source, free software).

The Free Software Foundation has attempted to illustrate the distinction on this page

Where to find Applications Which are Open Source or Run on Linux (or both)

This is not an endorsement or recommendation of any of the following applications.  However it is a suggestion of a starting point from which you can commence your own evaluation. The best starting point is  Sourceforge is a place where open source software is developed collaboratively.  A lot of the projects are "in progress" or beta, but there are nonetheless many production and mature packages available on sourceforge.

Specific things to look at are:

Email: Kmail, ximian evolution (interfaces with lotus notes and exchange), Mozilla
Office Suites: openoffice koffice, gnome office, 602 Software's PC Suite (these include, eg, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation)
Word Processing: (see also office suites above): Abiword

Web Browser:  Mozilla  (web browsers are also included in desktop and office packages, such as Gnome and K desktop)
Calendar: KOrganizer, ximian evolutionMozilla (beta as at 1/03)
Home accounting: GNUCash
Project Management: Mr Project

Bug Tracking: Bugzilla

Run windows programs from Linuxwine  ("wine is not an emulator"), Crossover Office (allows packages such as Microsoft Office and Lotus Notes to run from within Linux)

Graphics: The GIMP (free software Photoshop equivalent)
Multimedia (eg MP3, wav, CD, DVD) player: xmms, xine
Audio Editor: audacity
Video Editor: Heroine/Cinelerra
Telephony Application server: Bayonne

See also: The Open CD Project and their list of candidate programs, and the Linux Bootable CD Knoppix (try Linux without installing anything on your hard drive).

User experiences:

Caterworld (Catering Business, 50 PCs, installed free software on desktop, accounting and network.  Interview 1/08/02)

Brendan Scott (Single user,  legal office, desktop.  Paper 07/02)

Other Resources

General (mostly my papers)

Empirical Data (Updated on an ongoing basis)
David Wheeler:  OSS/FS Look at the numbers article (review of empirical data relating to Open Source/Free Software)
TCO - Total Cost of Operation (July 2002)
Brendan Scott: Free Software TCO must be lower article: Article showing that the total cost of operating free software must be lower than that for proprietary software in the long run.
Four Free Software Fallacies (September 2002)
Brendan Scott: Four Free Software Fallacies: Article identifying four arguments against free software, and arguing why they are misdirected.
Lock in Software not "Proprietary Software" (March 2003)
Brendan Scott: Lock in Software: Article identifying why the term "proprietary software" is inaccurate.  Proposes an alternative.

Super Charging Innovation Towards a Software Access Regime (White Paper) (Draft)  (March 2003)
Brendan Scott: Supercharging Innovation: Article identifying problems with copyright for customers and why the Government ought to support the creation of a software access regime. 


Open Source Policy in UK Govt (July 2002).
EU Pooling Open Source Software (June 2002)
EU Study into the use of Open Source Software in the Public Sector (June 2001):
Fact Sheet:
Use of Open Source in EU:
Open Source Market Structure:


Red Hat's Open Source Now pages: Open Source Now
Red Hat's Open Source Open Lab (sample computing lab specifications):Open Lab
Simple End User Linux Project:
SEUL-EDU (case studies and lists of open source educational software)
Schoolforge (open source project for schools)
Details on implementing Linux Thin Clients in k12 - (a) Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP); and (b) installation instructions.
Case study on implementation of thin clients at St Mary's Catholic School Florida: (a) at Linux Planet; and (b) at St Mary's School (note references to Melbourne Linux Users Group is to Melbourne, Florida, USA).
Koha Open Source Library System (full catalogue, opac, circulation, member management and acquisitions package):
Kim Brand's powerpoints on a Linux Implementation at O'Reilly OS Con 2002. Demonstrates the reliability and profitability of open source platforms in the small/private religous schools market. Describes the technical, economic and political issues surrounding establishing a small-school focused open source product strategy:
Riverdale High School - Case study in the implementation of linux terminal server (with costings and pictures):
The case for Linux in Universities:


OpenEMed is a distributed healthcare information system and includes sample implementations of the Person Identification Service, Clinical Observation Access Service, Resource Access Decision, and Terminology Query Service which have been adopted as international standards by the Object Management Group: OpenEMed