Difference between revisions of "CNVC IT Committee"

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(IT Priorities)
(IT Priorities)
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##Client applications.
 
##Client applications.
 
###Pre-configured Linux installation for low-end computer and net access for low-income use.
 
###Pre-configured Linux installation for low-end computer and net access for low-income use.
###Firefox browser and Thuderbird email application.
+
###Firefox browser and Thuderbird email application for security and compatibility.
 
###OpenOffice for complete MS Office compatible application suite.
 
###OpenOffice for complete MS Office compatible application suite.
 
##Server applications.
 
##Server applications.

Revision as of 23:03, 1 May 2006

Discussion and document collaboration area for CNVC IT Committee.

IT Priorities

  1. Database combining online and CNVC office information.
    1. Variable levels of strong security.
    2. Trainer contact info.
    3. Donor contact info.
    4. Local and Regional NVC group contact info.
  2. Online tools integrating various CNVC and other online resources.
    1. The cnvc.org website.
    2. The NVCwiki website.
    3. The Yahoo Groups and other email lists.
    4. Blogs
      1. Email interface to blogs for those who prefer that medium.
      2. Email digest daily, by discussion volume or weekly.
      3. Auto-trim of "quoted" prior messages in emails.
      4. Archive option for email interface?
      5. Live "push" technologies like RSS.
    5. File sharing capability.
    6. Audio and Video streaming and file download capability; free, restricted and paid.
      1. Photos of IITs and other events.
      2. Handouts and other documents from IITs and other events.
      3. Maps and directions for IITs and other events.
      4. FTP and/or Bitorrent/peer network capability for sharing other files.
  3. Free IT package on CD or DVD data set, for distribution to NVC groups.
    1. Client applications.
      1. Pre-configured Linux installation for low-end computer and net access for low-income use.
      2. Firefox browser and Thuderbird email application for security and compatibility.
      3. OpenOffice for complete MS Office compatible application suite.
    2. Server applications.
      1. CivicSpace or equivalent integrated suite.
      2. Apache server for those wanting to set up and run their own server.



Database Selection Criteria

The following database qualities are offered for consideration by the IT Committee:

  1. Open source preferred (see description of [Open Source]) because of:
    1. Low cost. Funds invested in the database reduce funds for CNVC training and scholarships.
    2. No extra cost for distribution to NVC individuals and groups. Most commercial software charges more for each user, computer, or site using the package. GCC individuals and groups around the world could benefit from tools used by CNVC, and content generated would more likely be compatible between GCCs and CNVC.
    3. Robust multicultural, multinational and multilingual support.
    4. Extremely reliable and robust with rapid bug fixes, updates and security patches.
    5. Additional modules (e.g. Payroll, Donors) at little or no cost.
    6. Skills learned by IT staff and volunteers on one project would be applicable to other projects, rather than needing to learn different commercial packages.
    7. Easy modification of features, functions, reports and screens. Commercial packages generally limit the ability to create new features and functions.
    8. Easy creation of new features, functions, reports and screens.
    9. Free online support, with fee-based telephone support often available.
    10. Inexpensive and volunteer IT support is sometimes available for open source applications, because many of these applications are developed by altruists and college students actively seeking projects.
  2. Maximum compatibility with CNVC needs in an integrated package.
  3. User friendly.
  4. Secure, to prevent hackers from unauthorized access or damage to the system.
  5. Reliable and fast long-term support.
  6. Simple to maintain data.
  7. Solid long-term prognosis for commercial developer or open source project. In addition to content, many hours of labor typically go into learning and customizing a system and all that could be lost if the developer or open source project were to be shut down. Note that even very strong corporations are sometimes bought and shut down by larger companies who view them as competition, and open source projects sometimes lose the support and interest of their contributors.
  8. Robust email and web interactivity (mailing lists, etc.).
  9. Many levels of security, ranging from top system administrator through project manager and down to anonymous user. This enables a diverse community of people to create and access content with the level of security chosen for each type of user and content.



Information Technology (IT) Needs

The following Needs are offered for consideration in planning an update of CNVC computer systems:

  1. Open source preferred (see description of [Open Source]) because of:
    1. Low cost. Funds invested in the database reduce funds for CNVC training and scholarships.
    2. No extra cost for distribution to NVC individuals and groups. Most commercial software charges more for each user, computer, or site using the package. GCC individuals and groups around the world could benefit from tools used by CNVC, and content generated would more likely be compatible between GCCs and CNVC.
    3. Robust multicultural, multinational and multilingual support.
    4. Extremely reliable and robust with rapid bug fixes, updates and security patches.
    5. Additional modules (e.g. Email Lists similar to Yahoo Groups) at little or no cost.
    6. Skills learned by IT staff and volunteers on one project would be applicable to other projects, rather than needing to learn different commercial packages.
    7. Easy modification of features, functions, reports and screens. Commercial packages generally limit the ability to create new features and functions.
    8. Easy creation of new features, functions, reports and screens.
    9. Free online support, with fee-based telephone support often available.
    10. Inexpensive and volunteer IT support is sometimes available for open source applications, because many of these applications are developed by altruists and college students actively seeking projects.
  2. Contact management tools for fundraising and other community interactions.
  3. Blog for easy creation and moderation of discussion groups and forums, with email publishing option including Digest function for the convenience of users who prefer that medium.
  4. Email lists with automatic trimming of quoted prior messages to a pre-set number of first and last lines.
  5. Wiki or similar for collaborative document generation and editing, with some areas having limited read and/or write access (e.g. Board, Certified Trainers, etc.).
  6. RSS capability.
  7. Online and offline mass mailing tools.
  8. Integration of online and offline content with robust security.
  9. Widely available free and paid technical support.
  10. File sharing with variable access and security levels to enable activities such as publishing IIT photos for participant sharing.
  11. Audio and video storage and streaming.
  12. Policies to invite, seek and accept IT volunteers from the NVC community.
  13. Cooperation, collaboration and standardization whenever possible on technology efforts and projects within the whole NVC community.
  14. Online participation tools like Surveys and Polls to engage the NVC community in dialog.
  15. Online contact tools to enable people to share their personal information for networking.
  16. Online and offline tools to help in publishing event information.



Products for Consideration

BlackBot(sp?) commercial database package for non-profits

Features

Cost

Support options

Addtional advantages

  • Proven favorite of non-profits.
  • Possibly easy to install and set up.

Potential drawbacks

  • Proprietary system might be more vulnerable to hackers.
  • Can not be shared with other NVC locations or affiliates without significant additional expense.
  • Additional features would probably be expensive if provided by the publisher and difficult or impossible to add otherwise.


[CivicSpace] integrated free Open Source software) package for non-profits

Features

Integrated package includes Drupal web software, MySQL database, CiviCRM Contact Resource Management software, blogs, file sharing, website, photo publishing, audio files, FTP and other features.

Cost

Complete package is downloadable at no charge. Development is supported by open source developer community (especially Drupal) and grants.

Support options

  • Free online support
  • Paid consultants
  • Fee-based support

Addtional advantages

  • Can be installed and running within a few hours, although configuration and customization can be done over time to provide a wealth of additional features.
  • New features can be added relatively easily due to the underlying computer code being written in Open Source.
  • Many programmers are available who have the skills to modify open source software.
  • Some programmers, consultants and support might be found at no cost or relatively cheaply at technical schools and in the global open source community.
  • Any customization work done can be offered free to other non-profits.
  • All work done on CNVC implementation can be shared at no cost with other NVC affiliates.

Potential drawbacks

  • Concerns about the long-term availability of quality fee-based support from a specific vendor.