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tified and fixed with almost ruthless effi-
ciency and worldwide, keen-eyed scrutiny
ensures that security issues are quickly
resolved. Similarly, open source users find
themselves less likely to be the target of
viruses and invasive software, which can be
associated with or motivated by resentment
to large corporate distributors.
C
hoosing to embrace open source
solutions need not be a particularly
dramatic or revolutionary process but the
positive outcomes in terms of increased
productivity and lower overheads may be
vast. By removing the risks commonly
associated with software use, such as ven-
dor collapse, unfinished bugs, potential
legal exposure from restrictive licences
and becoming tied to proprietary file for-
mats, institutions are free to concentrate
fully on achieving their computing goals.
Any choice that offers maximum func-
tionality with none of the oft-associated
restrictions is worth at least a great deal
of consideration.
F
inally, the two highly visual tasks that
the museum currently completes
could both be accomplished using
OSS/FS applications. Scribus
(http://www.atlan
tictechsolutions.com/scribusdocs/proj-
ects.html) is an open source DTP package
that, while still in its relative infancy, has
garnered a great deal of praise and enthu-
siasm from a wide variety of users. With a
selection of industry award nominations to
its credit including Linux User UK's `Best
Linux Software', Scribus aims to strike a
balance between ease of use and powerful
functionality in the creation of a variety of
published materials. The OSS/FS imaging
tool of choice is The GNU Image
Manipulation Program (The GIMP,
http://www.gimp.org/) which offers a
wide variety of functionality for the edit-
ing and creation of a comprehensive vari-
ety of digital picture formats.While The
GIMP stops short of the exhaustive
and specialised functionality included
in software such as Adobe's Photoshop, it
incorporates more than enough to far
exceed the imaging requirements of
most institutions.
I
t is clear that OSS/FS software offers
sufficient functionality to facilitate a
wide variety of IT and IT-related tasks.
Quality and depth of functionality is facili-
tated by the open source development
model, which is geared towards mass co-
operation and collaboration: many institu-
tions and individuals working together to
create something more than could other-
wise be attained. Programmers are moti-
vated by their own interest in the software
they create, as well as their own needs to
have the tools that they devise unencum-
bered by restrictive licences. Bugs are iden-
"The open source development model is
geared towards mass co-operation and collabo-
ration; many institutions and individuals
working together to create something more
than could otherwise be attained."
Screenshot of Scribus software
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