Brooklyn Linux Solutions Desktop Initiative Plan

It is the goal of Brooklyn Linux solutions to generate broad adoption of Free Software desktops and to profit in the future growth of free software in business and government. It's the belief of the company that the currently available software configurations and office software can technically viable but lacks the basic support and training needed for broad adoption in business and government. In addition, the desktop is missing several important vertical applications for business markets beyond simple office software. Brooklyn Linux Solutions expects to exploit the current lack of support and marketing tact for profit.

Members of BLS met for a ground breaking discussion on the possibilities for future business opportunities with Free Software on Wednesday February 13th, 2002. This document is being created to hopefully clarify the vision and to better explain how each of us has a vital and specific role in BLS plan. As team members, all business profits for BLS will be equally distributed according to time spent to team members.

The participants at the above meeting where as follows with their expertise:

Current Status of the Linux Desktop

The Linux Desktop technically is ready for heavy business usages. The desktop has been tested in business environments by BLS, with simple secretary end users with a minimum of formal computing education. Workers have been found to be productive and successful in their appointed tasks with considerable savings to the business. Stability, lack of viruses, multiple users, and the flexible licensing have contributed to the total cost of ownership being significantly less than Microsoft desktop environments.

Currently, both KDE and GNOME provide powerful integrated desktops with available office software including open solutions such as Open Office, Evolution, Ximan, Gnumeric, and cost efficient commercial offerings such as Star Office, Applix Office and Corel Word.

Despite this, several large barriers are holding the Free Software Desktop from general acceptance in business and government. These barriers are addressable. Overcoming them will create a huge opportunities for Free Software based businesses and consultants. Using community resources to overcome these barriers, and BLS resources to overcome others, will place BLS and the NYC Linux community at the top of the food chain as new business opportunities avail themselves in a strengthening economy.

Barriers to Overcome: Opportunities to Exploit

Three major barriers are impeding Free Software Desktops:

  1. Vertical Desktop Configurations
  2. Corporate Desktop Support, Templates, and Desktop Documentation
  3. Government and Business Marketing strategy.

Each of these areas can be exploited to create broad opportunity. Progress in one area enhances success in the other two. All three need to be handled for overall sustained success. Each member of the team can directly contribute to the overall goals of the organization.

Vertical Desktop Configurations

While the Linux Desktop is now technically sound, Office Software, that is Word Processing, Spread Sheets, Databases, Mail and Calendering, simply isn't enough to run an most enterprises. Most businesses need specialized software in addition to Office Software. Discovering these markets and tailoring overall solutions for whole industries will open those industries for Free Software vendors, and BLS specifically. One major market is the Accounting Industry in NYC and nationwide. Discovering the needs of this industry, and acting as midwives for both Free Software developers and commercial vendors into the Linux desktop market will position BLS as the leading provider of Free Software Desktops for this major local industry. Over time it will feed us corporate training, server support, and desktop training for years. By focusing on the needs of clients, we will gradually expand Free Software's hold on the industry, and lead desktop computing in this industry into the future, rather than following Microsoft vendors into the same territory.

PROPOSED areas of responsibility:

Joe Maffia - Market Identification, Software Evaluation, Client Relations, Funding and Budgeting

Ruben Safir - Desktop Construction, Developer Relations, Technical Support

Marco Scoffier - Software Evalution, Desktop Construction, Software Development

Evan Inker - Environment Integration, Client Relations, Desktop/Server Production of finished product

Liz Arum - Client Relations, Technical Specification, Technology Demonstration, Desktop Planner

David Sugar - GNU-Enterprise Liaison, technical translator.

Diane - Documentation and Training

Joe will describe for Liz his needs for a complete desktop solution which she specs out

Marco, Evan, Ruben, and Joe will search for appropriate software and test it to see if it fills the accounting needs in consultation with Liz. David, Marco and Ruben works with GNU-Enterprise and other vendors to help develope or port needed products, and to toon them to the needs of the projects, with consultation from Liz who supervises the overall development. Diane develops the desktop documentation as needed and develops a training program. Liz, Ruben and Diane demonstrate finished product to professional organizations/

Corporate Desktop Support, Templates, and Desktop Documentation

Adoption of the Linux Desktop will require the same level of support provided to corporate customers of MS Office. When a business rolls out a new desktop across it's enterprise, it starts by providing end user training for use of the product. Everything from mouse training to advanced functional training of spreadsheets needs to be included in the roll out. In addition to training, templates need to be added to the existing products. In the same manner in which the Free Software model produces quality device drivers and network programming, we need to rally local users to create the templates needed for office workers around the globe. This work might seem tedious, but it is absolutely essential for our office desktops to achieve the same level of acceptance as commercial programs. We also need to work closely with the office development teams and companies developing and marketing these solutions. Buy gaining their trust and cooperation we can greatly improve the chances of their efforts to become successes. BLS members will be expected to help LUGs and others in developing a strategy to fill this Free Software wide need.

Ruben and Marco develop relationships with Office Software vendors. We encourage the involvement of NYLXS to help create templates and documentation for the selected products.

Liz reviews Office Products for professional design and usability. David help's translate Liz's observations to Linux Geeks developing the software, and the design specs desired.

Evan tests desktop software and uses his desktop tech support experience to evaluate needed templates and documentation. Evan develops with Diane an end game to make these complete products which can be marketed by BLS, including documentation.

Diane develops a training program for the new office desktop, as we move forward into the project.

Government and Business Marketing strategy

Marketing to large institutional vendors and the government requires a new kind of skill set for Free Software types. Starting with government contracts, we need to learn the skills needed to scan for appropriate government business , and properly set up the paper work trail to pursue large numbers of separate contracts. Hopefully, we can get other consultant groups together to continually identify government opportunities and distribute them to parties for business development. As more Free Software gets into government bodies, more chances for training and support will make itself available. We can market the get licensing savings and inter-operatability of Free Software products. In addition, we need to do regular business demonstrations of Free Software capabilities for government and business groups. The goal in this case is to develope enough expertise in these areas to be able to automate the process, eventually being able to hire and train others to fill these roles.

David coaches the group in the Federal Government's procedure for processing contract requests.Ruben, Marco, Evan, and Diane monitor's the web for possible contracts. We meet once a week to evaluate replies. Diane acts as lead project manager with Dave's coaching. Liz edits final communications with Federal Government agencies.

Overall Areas of responsibility

Diane - Training, Project Management, Documentation Development

Marco - Template development, Hacking, Configurations

Evan - Configurations, product integrations, desktop tech support

Ruben - Template Development, Hacking, Configuration, Organization, LUG interactions

Liz - Information Design, Client Tech Interactions, Technical Planning

David - Cross Organizational Contacts, Government Coaching, Software and Hardware Design

Joe - Business Planning, Client Liaison, Budgeting, funding, professional organizations contacts

Final Word - I hope this document serves to better layout my vision for the next few months and gives everyone an idea where I envision them using their skill sets. This document is not meant as a one way conversation, but the start of an open dialog process to reach our goals. We can provide Government and Businesses with a lower overall cost by empowering them as users. This should give us an edge over existing organizations once we overcome support issues.