Longtime TechSoup friend Michelle Murrain often champions open-source solutions to nonprofit technology problems. Michelle says that she spends a lot of time listening to software vendors debunk the myth that open source software is free. Recently, she noticed that for all of the debunking going on, no one seems to be spreading the supposed myth. In Michelle's words:
My realization was this: the myth is entirely of the making of these proprietary vendors who claim it is a myth. There would be no myth if it were not for them. No one would think that anyone thought that implementing open source software was without cost.
Just as the cost of implementing a new piece of proprietary software doesn't stop at the price tag, the cost of implementing open-source software doesn't stop at the free download. For many nonprofits, the ideal IT solution includes a combination of free and proprietary applications. Most of us here at TechSoup use Windows XP and Office 2007 every day, but we also use Drupal, Subversion, and numerous other tools from the open source community.

For information on open-source software solutions for nonprofits, Michelle's own open-source primer is a great place to start. She's also contributed numerous TechSoup articles about the subject, including Six Steps to Adopting Open-Source Software at Your Organization and Open Source Database Technologies.

Elliot Harmon
Staff Writer, TechSoup