[LINK] No deal with Yahoo! re Zimbra and Australian non-profits

Darrell Burkey darrell.burkey at anu.edu.au
Tue Oct 28 18:13:26 EST 2008

On Tue, 2008-10-28 at 17:38, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
> Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> > And on the subject of Microsoft giving away software to non-profits - 
> > and then revoking their not for profit status once their software has 
> > been entrenched.....
> I don't quite understand this. Is Microsoft or the Tax office revoking the 
> Non-Profit status?

Far be it for me to defend proprietary software (I'm already in trouble
with our FOSS contingent for straying) but I think the article is really
a bit of a beat up. It states that the groups involved were incorrectly
using academic licensing/pricing. 

In the past it's been quite common for many companies to automatically
offer non-profit organisations the same pricing they offered to the
academic sector. This was not the case with Microsoft and indeed it's
been full price to non-profits for many years. So it's entirely possible
that the situation here really has nothing to do with a vendor
reclassifying an organisation's non-profit status but rather that they
are just expecting their software to be used with the correct license.

What's really odd about this entire situation is that Connecting Up (a
non-profit in Adelaide working in conjunction with TechSoup in the
US/New Zealand) now acts an agent on behalf of the non-profit sector and
processes requests from non-profits through a project called DonorTec
for Microsoft software and Cisco hardware which those two companies then
donate at no cost.

For a small admin fee paid to DonorTec most any non-profit organisation
can obtain software/hardware from vendors participating in the project.
It's highly likely that the organisations mentioned in this article are
eligible for the DonorTec program so I would think they might end up
with licenses costing them far less than the academic licenses they now

Unless of course there is some factor I have totally missed or am not
aware of which is certainly possible. But again, I'm not sure this
article is actually a fair representation of the issue. 

This situation does however demonstrate quite clearly the dangers of
lock-in to proprietary systems/vendors which can include very high costs
that divert the scarce resources non-profits operate with from service
delivery to administrative overhead. This can be quite disastrous to
those depending on the services and to those of us providing the
resources (think taxes). I don't think you can blame the non-profit
sector's lack of understanding of that on any specific vendor. 


Darrell Burkey
UNIX Systems Administrator
College of Asia & the Pacific
Australian National University 
Ph: (02) 6125 4160

More information about the Link mailing list