Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Using open source products for data collection

Following on from my little to do with Excel and the problems in getting a product activation key updated when I was off the corporate network, I'm even more strongly of the opinion that open source products are the way to go.

While the organisation that provides our IT support resolved the problem efficiently. professionally, and with good humour, it did take an hour of phone calls to resolve the problem. Given that I'm IT literate, even though I'm no windows engineer, I do wonder how easy it would have been had I been a less expert user.

In contrast, with open source the maintenance overhead is so little - no licence keys to worry about, and while there is clearly still a day to day support cost, it's probably not much different from proprietary, and in these days of Google and StackOverflow, it's less than it might once have been.

There is of course a case for ensuring that the applications used are of suitable quality and perhaps also a need for standard toolkits. It is of course unrealistic to expect individual researchers to do this, which is where product directories such as the Dirt Tools directory play a crucial role in allowing researchers to select and use suitable tools, but equally we also need to think about putting together a set of standard toolkits as a means of enabling the development of a set of community knowledge as to how to resolve common problems ...

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