Farming is all about doing more with less, and being mindful and conservative with limited resources. For the farmers, time is their most precious resource. There never is enough time, and someone always wants your time. One of the things that has made CF Chestnut Farms and their shareholder based CSA so successful in such a short time, is technology; -- email, the world wide web, productivity applications, and VoIP(Voice Over Internet Protocol). By embracing Information Technology , and using Free and Open Source software applications where possible, Chestnut Farms has been able to control costs, save time, and grow the business with very limited resources (time and money). For those of you that don’t know what Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is (the free is like freedom, not free beer), it is one alternative to Microsoft Windows. Speaking in general terms, FOSS tends to be leaner and meaner, focused on the basic functionality that is required of the software. Probably the best example is Firefox 1.0. The most familiar visible branding you may be familiar with is 'Tux' the penguin for Linux who appears in the page footer. How cheap is cheap? Everything I mention including the web hosting and phone/fax for under $1000.00! For those of you that are interested in the details, and the technology that Chestnut Farm uses here they are:
LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, php) For those of you that are non-technical, LAMP is basically one alternative to Microsoft software. Until fairly recently, the adoption and use of these applications has been predominately confined to techies and in the data center. Many corporation’s websites use Apache and MySQL on their servers.
Firefox Chestnut Farms has been using Firefox as their primary browser since 2005. Kim, Rich, and I also use many of the Add-ons which are great. A couple favorites: Firebug, Fireftp, Forecastfox, Google notebook, Foxytunes, MeasreIT, NoScript, PDF Download
VoIP Short for Voice over Internet protocol. If you have broadband service, you may want to investigate VoIP. Chestnut Farms has been using Vonage for 2 years and is quite satisfied. For a flat fee $30/ month you have all the features of a land line and more.
PhpWebSite phpWebSite is a Content Management System provided by Electronic Student Services at Appalachian State University. A content management system or CMS is a customizable, modular package; each component can be installed, updated, or modified.
Phplist phplist is an open-source newsletter manager. phplist is free to download, install and use, and is easy to integrate with any website. phplist is downloaded more than 10 000 times per month and is listed in the top open source projects for vitality score on Freshmeat. phplist is sponsored by tincan.
Simple Machines Forum Simple Machines Forum — SMF in short — is a free, professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board.
Gimp The FOSS version of Photoshop/Paintshop
Kompozer A web development tool.
AVG Antivirus software
Ad Aware Malware/spyware interdiction
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