[Scottish] how would an IT turkey vote for Christmas?

Will Partain partain at dcs.gla.ac.uk
Sun Jul 24 15:43:51 BST 2005

(Something a bit different -- Scottish/Linux connection included...)

Here's a question I've been wondering about... A small business/org
has a need for some pretty standard "intranet" IT things -- some
subset of: e-mail, (internal) mailing lists, a place to stash (shared)
documents, a wiki, some (internal) blogs, a way to manage a common
pool of contacts/addresses, a Subversion server, "groupware" (almost
always meaning "a way to schedule meetings"), an issue tracker, and
perhaps something extra for "project management".  Backups and data
"security" for all of that. These don't vary from one company to
another, not really.

What if you're a company and you want to *buy* the above?  You don't
want a server, you don't want an IT guy, you just want a Web panel
where you can tick "give us an issue tracker", and that's that.
Employees plug in their laptop, aim a web browser and/or VPN-thingy,
and it just works.

An extreme solution I've seen mentioned is "websourcing", where you
use an assemblage of web apps to achieve the above: gmail for mail,
Yahoo! groups for mailing lists, JotSpot [NB: open for business] for
wiki-oid things, and so on.  This would seem to rely on a bunch of
employees each signing up for a plethora of services, and aspects like
"data security" will just be hard.  For a little reading on this
option, some blog entries and comments thereon:


At the other end, there are people who will look after a box for you
(in some co-lo place), "There's a Linux box, do what you like."  This
doesn't seem to get rid of the need for an IT guy.

There _do_ exist people who solve a part of the problem, the best
known being e-mail.  They run "your" mail server, handle the
spam-squashing, often do mailing-lists for you, provide a webmail
interface, etc., and you never have to think about it.  [Or not: see
http://www.deepchip.com/gadfly/gad072105.html for a contrary
experience.]  The problem is, if you need an issue tracker or
Subversion server -- or any one of the "other" things -- you're back
to needing an IT guy (or an amateur pretending to be one :-).

But does anyone offer to solve the _whole_ problem?  I'm not even sure
what query to type into Google :-(

I would be most interested in Scottish answers and/or things built on
a Linux base (if only so I can sleep at night :-).  I'll summarise if
I get many non-public answers.  Thanks,


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