Support Network for Free Software

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Support Network for Free Software: We support independence by making Fee Software the most convenient option.

Austria
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

At the moment most people are using proprietary software since this is the default solution which is available with ease. This way they rely on untransparent systems controlled by others. Freie.it makes professional support for buying, setting up and administering computer systems with Free Software accessible. So that even people without extensive technological knowledge can enjoy independence from closed formats and restricting programmes.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

As a society we rely more and more on computer systems to administer our lives. Therefore, the possibilities open to us depend on our choice of technology. We need technology we can trust. Trust comes from transparency and accountability. Proprietary software is non-transparent by definition. Nobody outside the providing institution is allowed to check what exactly this software does. Not even governments are allowed to penetrate these secrets. The first obligation for a for profit company is to generate revenue. Therefore, without control users' interests get truncated for greater gains. Especially when economies face constant threat of collapse. The intention is not to try to harm others. This is just a consequence of how things work.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Nobody can hide unwanted functions or disable certain possibilities in Free Software. Everybody can get complete access to the source code and is allowed to publish altered versions. This way, Free Software stays accountable and independent. Since Free Software doesn't enable anyone to limit others to only use (and buy) certain products, there has been no powerful body to push its market share. As a consequence, despite its obvious advantages only few people use it. Huge computer security scandals lead many to crave a trustworthy alternative. Unlike traditional Linux user groups freie.it enables people with no desire of becoming computer experts to get Free Software solutions. We work to make Free Software the most convenient option.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Lisa needs a new notebook. She is no expert on computers and worries to make wrong security decisions ending up with technical problems and no reliable support. Via a quick internet search she finds freie.it. She calls an expert from the list on the platform to discuss what he can do for her. She confirms the e-mail with her order from the expert. Like announced, a few days later the expert visits Lisa at home. He sets up her new system and shows her how everything works. Since Lisa doesn't really care about the technological background she decided to keep the expert as administrator. She can give him remote access when ever she needs his help. If she has connection issues he can visit her since the expert lives in her area.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Profiles on our platform are free at the moment. We start as a local project in Vienna. If we find growing demand it is easy to geographically widen the range. After leaving the testing stage our group of Free Software advocates behind the NGO will locally advertise the availability of this service by spreading leaflets and giving talks. (If we decide to collect additional funding via member fees or paid profiles we can even pay for traditional advertising.) Since we use Free Software only the availability of our concept is not limited to our NGO. Everybody can set up local projects. The more people using Free Software the greater the demand for the services offered via freie.it will be. We deliberately started with a very low level implementation and designed the basic framework in a way that it can provide the necessary structure for rich functional incremental enhancements.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are some very successful business to business companies offering Free Software solutions but they ignore small scale enterprises and the private sector. In Linux user groups people can get help with Free Software. They are usually populated by quite advanced technicians and they most of the time overexert what new people can comprehend. They can reach only people with a serious interest in computer systems and with high self confidence in that area. There is extensive documentation for Free Software. In theory everybody can get an expert by just working his way through that material and endless guides and forums available on the internet. Obviously this as well excludes people who just understand the advantages of Free Software but who lack the desire to become computer experts themselves.
Team

Team

freie.it is a small volunteer based NGO. We keep business and the work of the NGO strictly separated. The association supports the adaptation and usage of Free Software by providing infrastructure and organising information events. The business happens only between experts and customers. Therefore the role of the NGO is limited to providing infrastructure. Business acteurs and customers can suggest features and donate money and time but the association itself will never offer paid services. Acteurs in the NGO act in self interest in order to support the platform which they are depending on. Volunteers can practically come from any field, but most are experts and customers in one person since nobody can be expected to be an expert in every field.
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