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Just a dream?

Vision versus reality

At the moment the Synodalsoft vision is merely visible. Many features are still missing or unfinished, things is poorly explained, advertised and documented. Compared to SAP or Oracle, Lino looks like a rowing boat challenging ocean liners, like the dream of a handful of developers and site operators.

Our vision is not yet fully realized:

  • In reality, Lino is used by only one professional development provider, a family-owned company in Estonia, who serves only ca. 20 customers and a yearly turnover of about 50,000 €. Their biggest customers have less than 100 users each.

  • In reality, Lino hasn’t yet become a standard part of every public IT education curriculum. A few proprietary software giants govern our society and even our public education systems. Customized software development is expensive because everybody tries to do it their own way.

  • In reality, established development providers are reluctant to trust in a framework that is maintained by a family-sized team of dreamers.

  • In reality, Lino is very unknown because nobody sells it.

The reason for this seems obvious at first sight: Rumma & Ko has limited human resources, they can’t do more than their best. A framework like Lino should be led by an international organization with a clear governance.

Not only Lino

The problem is actually much deeper. It is not limited to the Synodalsoft project. For example a Security/Devops engineer from Chicago reported on Mastodon about a disappointing experience with LibreOffice:

I’m surprised people here recommend #libreoffice so much as a Word replacement. Having tried it out with 2 small businesses, it has had a baffling number of issues. From users being unable to open files due to lock files not being cleaned up to the update prompt not working (or being unclear), this might be a usable option for people who need to occasionally work on documents and spreadsheets but (…) it seems highly unlikely to me that there are heavily Office dependent shops that could transition to Libreoffice without some serious technical skill among the users.

Similar reports exist for Linux. Free software in general is less fool-proof and less shining than proprietary software. That’s because making software fool-proof or shining is a Sisyphean task and not the type of task developers do just for fun.

Signs of hope

While reality is more complex than theory, there are signs of hope:

  • Rumma & Ko is using Lino successfully since 2010. They employ two developers and one system administrator. All their customers are satisfied.

  • Lino grows “automatically” despite the fact that nobody sells it. That’s because satisfied customers recommend it to their friends.

  • Lino is sitting on the shoulders of giants: it is based on established free software technologies like Django, React, Sencha ExtJS, Sphinx and Python.

  • Lino is a living proof that slow software development, an approach that focuses on long-term quality over quick success, makes sense in a rapidly changing world.

  • There is an impressive collection of ready-to-use existing Lino applications.

  • Rumma & Ko issued the Synodalsoft manifesto in order to formalize the Synodalsoft dream legally.

A political choice

Comparing the features of free software with those of proprietary software is actually invalid because proprietary software exploits intellectual property as a means of accumulating know-how into capital. That’s an unfair competition.

When you compare software products regarding only their features and ease of use,
Lino has no chance compared with SAP or Oracle,
LibreOffice has no chance compared with MS-Office,
Linux has no chance compared with MS-Windows.

Proprietary software has the strategic advantage of using intellectual property to increase capital.

The roses in your garden won’t thrive if you leave them competing with weeds. The weeds will naturally overgrow your roses.

The actual reason for free software is strategic: free software protects your sovereignty against vendor lock-in. Period.

As long as we don’t care about sovereignty, it’s only normal that free software leads a wallflower existence. Free Software is a fundamental challenge to our society. It is a political choice.

Bringing Lino to the next level

The job of bringing Lino to the next level must be done by a non-profit organization.

Even if Rumma & Ko would decide to do this job and become big, this wouldn’t be a solution. Sooner or later the company would try to turn the Synodalsoft project into something that is no longer really free. A private corporation with limited responsibility is not a valid candidate for the job of bringing a free software product to the next level. This role must be played by an organization that does not have any private interest.

This is why the Synodalsoft project is waiting for a manager. This manager can be either an existing organization who would take over the team and the customers of Rumma & Ko, or a person who joins our community and creates a new legal entity (a non-profit organization, a collaborative or a foundation).

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel that you can help Lino to become big.