Thursday, 13 January 2011

Open Source & Co

Note: The law firm is not running anymore, so I'm going to use this blog to keep track of my thinking on various questions that pique my curiosity.

My project: to use only open source software to run this law firm. I'm also a qualified I.T. 'expert', so it should be a doddle, right?


So far:
GNUCASH
I tried it, gave up, found that nothing else matched it, accepted that I would have to hack the templates, and just went ahead and did it. It doesn't have the integration or time-billing functions of LEAP legal, but it also gives me a very basic, naked, (sobering), view of the firm's financials. I have successfully completed some quarterly reporting, invoicing, and receipting.

I'm going to stick with it and, I suppose, hack as necessary. I'm pretty sure that I could write or at least commission timesheet/item based invoicing modules should things get busy, and will contribute them back into the project.

OPENOFFICE.ORG
I use it, and have used it for years. I love its structure and speed over MSOffice. I don't have integration with matter management software (e.g. LEAP Legal). But that's because I don't have matter management software.

FIREFOX
Works like a dream except when browsing the SA Courts website. Fie! Java buttons died in the 90s!

THUNDERBIRD
Best. Email Reader. Ever. My mail host is hotmail, and even when they didn't offer POP and SMTP, Thunderbird could still interface with them using add-ons.

I am most proud of my calendaring system. Google calendar is my calendar server. I sync to it with Thunderbird. I also sync to it with my Motorola KRZR K1 thanks to the friendly mob at Syncme.

WINDOWS 7
Wait. It's not open-source. Alas, the OS is my single point of failure. But it works. It runs the others. I'm happy with it. Maybe when this lappy starts getting long in the tooth I'll stick Ubuntu on it, but I'm not going to fix something that isn't broke.

Open Source & Co ... we'll get there.

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