This page has grown to a questionable size. If you have suggestions on how to break it up, please start a thread on the discussion page, or add to the existing relevant thread. Lippe 03:17, 14 July 2012 (EDT)
See also Finding Tech Resources
- 1 Basic Definitions
- 2 General "Community" Software
- 3 Use-case Specific Software
- 3.1 Real-time Collaborative
- 3.2 Site-based chat
- 3.3 Mailing & Discussion Lists
- 3.4 Q & A, Idea Generation
- 3.5 Forms: Scheduling, Polling & Voting
- 3.6 Commerce: Point of Sale, e-commerce
- 3.7 Commerce: Lightweight Point of Sale
- 3.8 Accounting & Bookkeeping
- 3.9 Member Management (CRM, AMS)
- 3.10 Analytics
- 3.11 Training & Courseware
- 3.12 Enterprise Software
- 3.13 Warehouse Management Systems
- 3.14 Sensing & Reporting
- 3.15 Timeclocks
- 3.16 Conferencing, chat, and screen sharing
- 3.17 File Sharing
- 3.18 Task-lists
- 3.19 Collaborative document drafting
- 3.20 Timebanking and Barter
- Hosted software: Software installed on one machine, but accessible from other remote machines. Ex: gmail, cultivate.coop, etc.
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS): Hosted software which is installed & maintained by one party, but is used by others - for free or in exchange for payment. Some software packages are available as a service, but also be downloaded for personal or commercial use. Wordpress sites can be hosted by wordpress.com, but the software is also available for download.
- Free & open source software (FOSS): Software available free of licensing fees, licensed with permission to use, study, adapt and share. Some is copyleft or Share-Alike, which means it is licensed in a manner which perpetuates its re-distribution. See the Wikipedia entry for a more complete description.
General "Community" Software
A comparison matrix of software that can serve as a general hub, originally created by the Food Co-op Alliance of NYC.
|Software||Open Source||Free||Platform||Language||Skill for Setup||Feature List||Demo Site||Custom / API||Plugins|
|Drupal||yes||yes||SaaS or LAMP||PHP||moderate||drupal.org||opensourceCMS||yes||yes|
|Joomla||yes||yes||SaaS or LAMP||PHP||moderate||joomla.org||opensourceCMS, joomla.org||yes||yes|
|Wordpress||yes||yes||SaaS or LAMP||PHP||moderate||wordpress.org||opensourceCMS||yes||yes|
|Wordpress MU + Buddypress||yes||yes||
|Crabgrass||yes||yes||SaaS or RoR||Ruby||Varies||
|Teambox.com - Github||Yes||Options||SaaS or RoR||Ruby||Varies||teambox.com||
|Big Tent||No||Ad supported||SaaS||
||Minimal||bigtent.com||Live demo, Screencast(Youtube)||No?||No?|
|| SaaS or deb
Use-case Specific Software
Below are listed some software packages aimed at meeting specific needs. Before adopting single-use tools, a co-op should consider future needs, data portability, & tech capacity within the organization. Some lightweight tools (Etherpad, Mytinytodo) can be easily integrated into other workflows, but others (Mailman, Surveymonkey) can present difficult challenges in the future.
- Will you want your discussion list members to use a single login to access their list subscriptions, and a future site?
- Is your organization prepared to trust voting participants, or do you need specific measures to assure voting fairness?
- Does your organization have the capacity to maintain software? Should you settle for a simple solution, or increase capacity in order to use a tool that can integrate multiple solutions?
- Will you need the data to move to another system in the future? Is there a migration path?
- List of public installations: http://etherpad.org/public-sites/
- Richard's whiteboard thing
- Kune collaborative federated social network
Real-time Collaborative Source Code Editing
I can't vouch for any of these, but I think this is a category of tool that has particular relevance to co-ops, particularly when using integration into mobile phone chat platforms. I've opted to list open source packages, and companies offering free plans, that while limited could prove valuable to startups or small organizations.
- http://mibew.org (Free, open source)
- http://www.olark.com (Drupal integration)
Mailing & Discussion Lists
Many cooperatives wish to maintain email lists to send out mass announcements to their clients and customers. Mailing list management software makes this easier and automates many of the processes. There are many options available and you should determine your cooperative's needs and capabilities and order to find the best match.
Also note that you can create and manage mailing lists using customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRMs offer more options and can scale better than general mailing list software, allowing things like targeting a specific subset of customers for an email announcement. They also have the advantage of integrating many different kinda of data about your co-op's customers. However, many cooperatives will find that CRMs have more features than they need and seem daunting to set up and use.
Mailing Lists (Announce only)
- "Email Marketing and Email List Manager" - http://www.mailchimp.com
- "It's the easiest way to start writing your own email newsletter." - http://tinyletter.com (Acquired by MailChimp, but probably worth listing)
- Constant Contact
- My Emma
- Your Mailing List Provider
- "Dada Mail is a Contemporary Mailing List Manager." - http://dadamailproject.com/
- http://www.icontact.com/ - Similar to Constant Contact, My Emma, etc.
Mailing Lists (Discussion)
There are numerous options for creating discussion lists, intended for many-to-many communication, from longstanding free software (Mailman), to newer services (Google Groups), to radical rethinking based on simplicity (Fiesta, Breeze) or integration with a CMS.
Some discussion lists can be configured as announce-only.
See discussion list software for a listing and more in-depth discussion.
Q & A, Idea Generation
- Open Source (GPL) Q&A System. Based on CNProg (Chinese Q&A web application) Written in Python w/Django. Social Q & A with roadmap for extended features.
- Stack Overflow clone based on CNProg, Django based, currently in development.
- Get Satisfaction
- "...friendly online environment '[created to encourage]' people to answer each others' questions, pitch in to help solve problems, and share all kinds of new ideas about how to improve their product and processes." Software as a service with paid monthly plans.
- Helpdesk + Feedback. Software as a service with paid monthly plans & limited free options.
- "...full-featured Open Source (LPGL v3) Social Q&A web program. Deep integration with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger and soon LinkedIn APIs."
- Open Source (GPL) product feature discussion system. Users create, discuss, and vote on potential features. Product managers assess discussion, manage release and publish a roadmap.
- Closed Source under a [free license.] "VoxPopuli lets your web site visitors submit ideas and suggestions regarding your web site, your products and services right on your web pages. Other visitors can vote for or against submittions."
- Idea Torrent
- Open Source (GPL) Drupal (6.x) based idea generation, discussion & voting platform. Apparently minimally maintained. In use by [Ubuntu.]
- Google Moderator
- Software as a Service. "...create a meaningful conversations from many different people's questions, ideas, and suggestions..."
- Software as a Service. Free? "...Idea informer creates the feedback system, which encourages discussions of good ideas, ensuring a better quality instead of a greater quantity."
- Open Source (GPL v2) idea generation, discussion, voting platform, with estimation and project management features. Ruby.
- "BBYIDX is a free and open source idea-gathering application written in Ruby and distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License."
- Free and open source Social Q&A software, written in Ruby. Also offered as free Software as a Service option.
- User Rules
- Software as a Service with limited free option. "UserRules empowers your users to submit, discuss, vote and follow on feedback for your company and gives you single interface to manage your community forum, customer-support platform and user analytics all in one place!"
- All Our Ideas
- Open Source (Modified BSD License) idea generation, discussion, prioritization platform.
- Use Response
- "UseResponse is a self-hosted customer service satisfaction, community solution and feedback software that you can place on your server. It is fully customizable (open-source) and can be used at your full disposal." Scheduled for launch December 2011.
- Open Source (New BSD License) simple Django based user feedback management system.
- Software as a Service with limited free option. "Bring out the best ideas from your customers and stakeholders by giving them a platform to share, vote and discuss feedback."
- Software as a Service with limited free option. Idea & feedback management.
- Open Source (GPL) Q&A. Standalone, single-sign-on, and OotB integration with WordPress 3.x
- WordPress Q-A plugin
- Wordpress specific Q&A plugin. "Q&A Lite allows any WordPress site to have a fully featured questions and answers section - just like StackOverflow, Yahoo Answers, Quora and more"
- WordPress based Q&A plugin.
Some other alternatives at alternativeto
Forms: Scheduling, Polling & Voting
- Lightweight collaborative appointment making. Simple, fast.
- Collaborative appointment making. Also offers polling and to-do lists, slightly more robust and complex than Doodle.
- FOSS installable scheduling.
- (Service appears to not yet be live, as of 3.21.12) "Vlad creates harmonious schedules — accounting for crew preferences, time conflicts, job priorities, and other factors — automatically."
Voting & Survey
- "Webform is free, open-source software for making forms and surveys through a web browser. Webform is built on top of the Drupal platform (which is also free and open-source). This website (webform.com) provides a hosted platform for using the Webform software as a service, without the need to download or install Webform yourself."
- "LimeService is a survey service-platform to prepare, run and evaluate online surveys. Besides basic free usage you are always getting the full feature set with no monthly fees or subscription plans." Runs on the free open-source software LimeSurvey
- On line forms. Primarily useful for collecting data. Free plan available, with some limitations. Slightly more robust than Google forms.
Commerce: Point of Sale, e-commerce
See also: Point of Sale Systems
- Free open source (GPL) buying club management software, developed in collaboration with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.
- xTuple POS
- The xTuple Point of Sales (xtPOS) system is an extension package that can be run on any edition of xTuple ERP (including the free PostBooks Edition) to add Point of Sale / Cash Register capabilities to the software.
- Free hosted buying club management software.
- Buying club management software.
- Free open source (GPL) buying club and/or coop management software.
- OpenBravo POS
- Open Source POS system meant to integrate with OpenBravo ERP
- Free open source POS system created at the Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis in use in several food US food co-ops. Also see CORE: POS project of IS4C.
- Point-of-sale and inventory management software designed for bookstores. Should also work as a general point-of-sale software as well. Free/open source, developed and distributed by Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse worker collective.
- Commercial POS solution in use at several US food co-ops.
- PHP Point of Sale
- Lemon POS
- Commerical POS solution with broad usage in US food co-ops
Commercial POS solution in use a several US food co-ops.
- Drupal based POS system. Currently lacks support for scale use, but is in active development. There's a video demonstrating it in action. The developers list the hardware they use, and how it works in the faq. The card reader they use requires an Authorize.net card present account.
- A Drupal module maintained by ebrelsford that uses Ubercart to manage Greene Hill Food Co-op's buying club.
- A Drupal module which integrates Ubercart with CiviCRM.
- Free Wordpress e-commerce plugin to facilitate selling of physical and digital products, utilize a shopping cart, and so forth.
- Floreant POS
- "Floreant POS is a platform independent Point of Sale application that greatly benefits Restaurant business simplifying order management, automation of kitchen and keeping control of cash." Open source - MRPL license.
- In use at the Bushwick Food Coop, NYC
|Software||Open Source||Free||Platform||Language||Purpose||Feature List||Demo|
|Localfoodcoop.org||yes||yes||Unix||PHP||Buying club order management||localfoodcoop.org||screenshots|
|xTuple POS||yes||for one site||Unix, Windows||C++||Retail POS/ERP||xtuple.com||demo|
|Foodclub.org||no||yes||SaaS||PHP||Buying club order management||foodclub.org||demo|
|Buyingclubsoftware.com||no||no||SaaS||-||Buying club order management||buyingclubsoftware.com||demo|
|Foodsoft||yes||yes||Unix||Ruby||Buying club order management||foodcoops.net||demo|
|OpenBravo POS||no||no||Unix/SaaS||Java||Retail POS/ERP||openbravo.com||openbravo.com|
|Rattail BONE/POS||yes||yes||Unix||Python||Retail POS/ERP||-||rattail.edbob.org|
|PHP Point of Sale||yes||no||Unix/SaaS||PHP||Retail POS/ERP||phppointofsale.com||https://demo.phppointofsale.com/ phppointofsale.com]|
|Lemon POS||yes||yes||Unix||C++||Retail POS/ERP||lemonpos.org||-|
|uc_buyingclub||yes||yes||Unix||PHP||Buying club order management||-||-|
|Floreant POS||yes||yes||Windows||Java||Retail POS||floreantpos.com|| For Demo, Please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cash Register Express||no||no||Windows||-||Retail POS||-||-|
|ECRS Catapult||no||no||Windows/Linux||-||Retail POS/ERP||ecrsoft.com||-|
|LOC SMS||no||no||Windows||-||Retail POS/ERP||locsoftware.com||-|
|Microsoft Dynamics RMS||no||no||Windows||-||Retail POS||microsoft.com||-|
|Cashier Live||no||no||SaaS||-||Retail POS Software||Inventory Management, Credit Card Processing, Purchase Orders, Reporting, Accounting||www.cashierlive.com|
Commerce: Lightweight Point of Sale
- Lightweight web/iPad based POS system. Currently (July 2011) does not support scale integration.
- Free + premium web-based point of sale, inventory management, sales analysis, customer relationship management, etc.
Accounting & Bookkeeping
- Open source cross-platform accounting application created by the GNU Project. Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. (Free)
- Business accounted software developed and sold by Intuit. Runs on Windows and Mac OS X.
- Cross-platform double-entry accounting software. Licensed under the GPL.
- Wave Accounting
Member Management (CRM, AMS)
- CRM that can be deployed alongside your co-op's Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla website.
- Used by Mariposa Food Co-op to track members and shifts. Python and Django.
- RedHen CRM
- Drupal 7 native CRM developed by ThinkShout in Portland, Oregon. demo install profile.
- vtiger CRM
- Big Tent
- See above in general community software.
- Tofu DB
- Simple perl/mySQL membership database created at the 4th street Food Co-op. Available for free on inquiry.
- Multi-part article on selecting a membership management system from Wild Apricot
- Page outlining AMS/MMS options from idealware.org
- Powerful web analytics, free options available, free plugins available for Drupal & Wordpress.
- Free open source (GPL) real time web analytics software. Self-hosted.
Training & Courseware
- Moodle "is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites."
- Online project collaboration software for project managers, contractors, freelancers and teams. (Open source and free for up to three projects.)
- webERP is an open-source web-based ERP system.
- Open source business software, covering: CRM, Accounting, Point of Sale, Project Management, and more.
- Open Bravo ERP
- Web-based ERP, covering: Procurement, Project Management, Sales, CRM, Finance, Point-of-Sale, and more.
Warehouse Management Systems
Software for managing inventory
- Powerful, Enterprise-Strength Warehouse Management System
Sensing & Reporting
Software + hardware for sensing, reporting and recording data. Could be used for integration with checkout lanes, store environment, equipment.
- "Our open source platform has applications in many areas including health, fitness, the environment, social networks, and education." Hardware, software, mobile & web interfaces.
Some timeclock systems mentioned on CGIN list as currently being in use at Co-ops.
- ADP WorkforceNow solution
- Time Force from QQEST
- Virtual Time Clock by Redcort Software
Conferencing, chat, and screen sharing
Tinychat, and Google+ Hangout
- Free (reg. required to initiate, anyone can join @ static url), Java w/flash video. Polls, screen-sharing, hand signals.
...tinychat because it doesn't depend on someone initiating the meeting, so the room exists when the first person appears.. ..no additional downloads beyond flash.
- Easy, works. Slight edge on freeconferencecall.com freeconferencecalling.com has a good web interface for facilitating a call, including the ability for participants to raise their hand by pressing 5* It's a small difference, but can really help keep a call on process. Lowish quality audio, suitable for standups.
- Easy, works. Slight edge on freeconferencecall.com freeconferencing.com is almost identical in features to freeconferencecalling.com, but with an inferior web interface. It also has a (horribly implemented) "hand raising" mode. It gets big points for having a skype "bridge," so people can call in for free via skype, using the contact name format "freeconferencecalling.<call in number>" - which would allow for the local meeting to have the conference call on using a hardware speakerphone. Lowish quality audio, suitable for standups, suitable for bringing in remotes via audio.
- Proprietary voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service and software application owned by Microsoft. Offers text, audio, and video chat features, with varying limitations. Currently available for Android, iOS (iPhone/iPad), Mac OS, Linux, Symbian, and Windows.
Might also be accessible from SIP through gateways like rebtel.com.
- X-platform, high quality, kinda confusing.
- IRC bot that facilitates more structured IRC meetings, puts out formatted logs & HTML files.
- "Openmeetings provides video conferencing, instant messaging, white board, collaborative document editing and other groupware tools using API functions of the Red5 Streaming Server for Remoting and Streaming." In development, demo server available.
- Free, simple, one to many screen-sharing. Significant lag in display.
- Jitsi - https//jitsi.org/
- an open source audio/video and chat communicator that supports protocols such as SIP, XMPP/Jabber, AIM/ICQ, Windows Live, Yahoo! and many other useful features, including conference calls, call-recording and desktop-sharing. Works on free java systems. Has particular requirements for SIP servers, so does not work with some current commercial providers.
- Big blue button - http//www.bigbluebutton.org/
- an open source web conferencing system built on over fourteen open source components. Requires Adobe's Flash on clients and does not work with any Free Flash yet.
Todos: Some XMPP discussion (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, a way for open, autonomous, multi-server chat and telephony - what would you like to know?). Sections on conference strategy, dependability, some hardware, mention business model of freeconference clones ?
Many project management and collaboration platforms have integrated methods for sharing files, but there are also dedicated products which may be preferable.
Collaborative document drafting
- Collaborative word processor includes discussion and email notifications: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-ment
Timebanking and Barter
- Community Weaver 2
- Drupal Timebank install as used at http://timebanks.org/. Installation overview, latest news.
- Barter based education software as used by Trade School locations.
- "Trade School is a self-organized learning space that runs on barter. Pay for class with a barter item (like food, supplies, or help) that your teacher requests."