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An Open Culture, why CSR and Open-Source go hand-in-hand

In a recent piece on how our values align with Red Hat values we covered how being Brave also means fighting, actively, for the promotion of Open Source software which is by its nature freely available and accessible.

For us this is important, as for example a Law Centre may not be able to afford a proprietary and closed solution, and so the promotion of Open Source is central to CSR in software development and implementation.

Now, Corporate Social Responsibility is not just for large organisations (although it helps to be large). Fundamentally CSR is about running a socially-responsibility business regardless of size or locality of the operation.

There are numerous ways of doing this and so we will focus in this piece on how using Open Source software facilitates Corporate Social Responsibility.

Firstly, an Open Organisation is fundamentally inclusive by design.

Box one ticked.

Secondly, it is not socially responsible to run closed-source software because this excludes by design – many developers try to mitigate against this through charitable donations, but it boils down to the worldview of a software vendor.

Social Responsibility is about Method AND Practice – where it is possible to use technologies that are Open Source, choosing not to so speaks volumes about the organisation.

Box two ticked.

Thankfully most Enterprise Software is based-off open source projects such as Citrix. Citrix Xenserver is sourced from the XenProject for their enterprise virtualisation, used my most of our top-50 legal clients for its excellent features and performance.

Can you write home about using Open Source?

Yes.

If for example your organisation were to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) you would be supporting the CentOS and Fedora projects which are freely available and open source. RHEL is used by 90% of the Fortune500 and most governments, and CentOS/Fedora are used from large charities all the way to individuals and SMEs at no cost to them.

Practically, this means that your software choices infer your advocacy and where you do this. Choosing to use software from vendors unlike the above two examples, that do not embrace Open-Source, therein implies that while attempting to conduct your operations in a socially responsible way you have a diametrically opposed platform for it.

Box three ticked.

It all starts with software – the platform – not unlike sourcing ingredients responsibly in the food industry. Celebrate your victories in bringing CSR to the organisation through the IT department, share your victories in doing so conduct outreach on how we can all be more socially responsible organisations.

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