Recognise any names in the header image, above? Firefox, maybe? or Android? or Wordpress? If you use the Internet, then you already use FOSS every day perhaps without realising it--it's what makes the digital world tick. Whether you're an educator or a small business, a social enterprise or a hobbyist, we'll show you how FOSS can empower you to do the things you want to do more effectively ... and more cost-effectively. We'll also give you the hands-on training and consultancy that helps you make best use of it. Interested?Read More
Learning Works builds great bespoke web sites. But not for just anybody--we really like the little guy, the social enterprise, the charity, the small business, the kinds of people who want a great web site but don't want to have to pay the earth for it. Learning Works, too, is a social enterprise, supporting the IT needs of the wider community, so we understand your ambitions and your needs. With more than 20 years web development experience we can create the ideal web presence for you.Read More
We'd like to give you the best software and to teach you how to use it effectively to manage your own e-book, web, and video publishing projects. But if that's something you don't have the time to commit to for the moment, we'd be delighted to work on your e-publishing projects for you. Whether you want a HD video, a web flipbook, a podcast, a Kindle book, or a blogging platform, we have the experience and expertise to be able to create the digital publications you need.Read More
If you're browsing the web with Firefox, looking something up in Wikipedia, consulting government sites such as the Greater London Authority, watching a movie on Netflix, or blogging (or simply reading a blog) on Wordpress, then you are using open source software. Simple as that.
In fact, if you're using the web at all, then it's very likely that you are using open source applications, since around 80% of the entire Internet infrastructure is based upon free open source software (FOSS).
Nervous about putting aside your expensive proprietary software and giving free open source software a try? That's exactly how the big vendors want you to feel. After all, it's your money they're taking, isn't it?
We're also aware that you may have heard a lot of arguments made against use of free open source software. So we'd obviously not expect you to blindly take the plunge without knowing a bit more about what free open source software is, and why most of those arguments against FOSS are based on misconceptions and false claims intended to keep you locked in to those same old greedy vendors.
We at Learning Works in Europe CIC take a different view. As a non-profit company, we just want to give you the opportunity to take control of your computing, with better software, better skills, greater productivity, and at lower cost.
We'll try to answer your questions about free software. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. So our hands-on one-day workshops are specifically designed to give you a taster of using free software.
You can then make up your own mind ... but we think we can anticipate what software you will decide to use thereafter.
Anything you can do with propriety software you can do just as well, just as quickly, and just as easily with equivalent free software. In fact, much of the innovation we now take for granted in closed source proprietary software (for example, tabbed browsing) originated in open source software.
It was open source software, for example, that underpinned Peter W. Higgs and François Englebert being awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics.
And did you know that much of the non-free software you spend out money on may actually be no more than glitzy user interfaces to what, beneath the bonnet, is open source software? you could have had the same thing for free.
Any bug will be more quickly spotted and fixed than in propriety software. After all, there are likely to be many more contributors to free software than programmers of propriety software, not least because even non-programmers--users like yourself--can contribute bug reports. Even major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle are routinely fixing bugs that have been discovered by end users such as yourself (so you end up working for the company for free). Open source projects just tend to be more open than proprietary systems about talking about their bugs.
In short, free software is generally just better quality software!
Most free software has the support of huge communities of developers and experienced users; post a question to a forum and you're likely to get a helpful response from an expert within minutes. Better still, when you take one of our training courses you get free ongoing telephone and web-based support for three months.
And non-free proprietary software? go make yourself a cup of tea ... or two ... while waiting for an online response or, worse, being mind-numbed by wallpaper music while an irritatingly chirpy voice repeats to you every minute or so "Your call is important to us" and "Please hold while we try to connect you to the next available agent".
Every time you use a proprietary operating system, every time you do a web search, every time you post to proprietary social media, every time you browse or buy from the big online stores, you compromise your privacy. It's a bit like leaving your back door unlocked for intruders to wander in and look around. Happy with that? Happy with those big companies sneaking away with your data to use for their own profit? You shouldn't be.
Free software doesn't do that. Because you control the program rather than the program controlling you. And of course the crowd-sourcing approach towards software development yields more secure code than any single company can accomplish in-house.
In a society in which we take freedom of speech and freedom of
association as inalienable rights, value freedom of the press, and expect freedom to privacy, it is remarkable that when it comes to technology most of us are nonetheless happy to sacrifice our freedoms to the dictates of non-free software. And we pay for it, not just in money but in loss of privacy and in loss of control of the programs we run on our computers.
When you use free software, on the other hand, you take back those freedoms, you protect your privacy, you have control over the programs you run.
Almost all free software is free of charge, gratis. Costs nothing, niente, rien, nada, nichevo, zilch.
But let's first of all clear up a potential misunderstanding. You'll sometimes come across applications that are badged as 'freeware'. They're often pretty good at doing what they say they do; but they're not necessarily 'free' in the 'free open source software' sense in so far as they may still be closed source. To know whether an application is truly free, look at the licence. If it says 'GPL' ('General Public License'), or 'LGPL', or 'MIT license', or 'BSD license', or 'EUPL' (and there are a few others as well) then it's really free.
Learning Works builds great bespoke web sites. With more than 20 years web development experience we can create the perfect web presence for you.
We can keep your costs to a minimum by customising your site design and functionality by building on open source HTML5 toolkits (the 'bricks and mortar' of contemporary web sites) such as HTML5 Boilerplate ; or, if you want a database and login access, then on top of the Wordpress CMS.
On the other hand, if you need a fully bespoke design and a hand-coded build from scratch, this will take a little longer to create and so cost a little more. To be honest, probably a lot more. Ask us about it, anyway.
Single page or many? database? custom graphics? embedded media? Every web site is different, so it's not possible to publish a standard price list. As a guide, we start from £400 for a single page, rising with the complexity of the site and the number of days we work on it. Why not ask us for a quote?
We'd rather be tutoring you in how to create your own web presence. But if that's not something you feel you need to know or have the time to learn at the moment, we'll be delighted to build your web site for you. We offer a full web design and development service, with optional hosting, maintenance, and ongoing support.
We all love Facebook, don't we? But we realise that for some organisations Facebook's open access platform may, for reasons of confidentiality, not be appropriate. A school, for example, or a residential care home, or a business. We offer you the opportunity to run your installation of our Facebook-like community platform. We'll give you all the functionality you expect from Facebook, but with a choice of themes and your own branding.
Learning is at the very heart of what we do. Not only do we run our own courses but we also create online teaching and learning spaces for our clients. From the excellent Wordpress-embedded CoursePress, through medium-size learning management systems like ATutor, to enterprise-strength Moodle, if you are a teacher or trainer we can advise on--and build--the right platform for you.
If you haven't already bought a domain name (that's your 'web address') and web hosting, we can do that for you as well.
We use one of the UK's top web hosting providers (they've won numerous awards, including the 'Top 10 Support Company' award) so you can be confident that you're getting one of the very best providers around.
Once in a while you'll want to update your site. Add a bit more text. Change a photo. If we've installed a content management system for you, you'll be able to do that yourself. But if you're not sure how to do that, or need further functionality, or just need our help with something, we'll be there for you. And minor changes won't cost you a penny more.
We create e-books for Smartphone, iPhone, tablet, and web. We work with a number of different formats (including EPUB, PDF, RTF, MOBI, and AZW) and technologies, publishing for a variety of platforms including e-readers Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and EZReader.
For the web we create page-turning books in both Flash and HTML5. You can look at some examples here
We're also passionate about video production, and would be delighted to create the perfect video for you.
This is very much going to depend on what materials you give us to work with and on the number of pages in your book, since our pricing is based on the number of hours of work we do.
If you want a book of PDF pages and you give us the PDFs, it probably won't cost much at all. If you give us unformatted texts and pictures it will mean more work for us, and so cost more.
Let's talk about it. It costs nothing to ask.
Learning Works in Europe CIC is a non-profit social enterprise specialised in free open source software (FOSS) solutions for e-learning. We develop web-based educational projects with a strong community orientation.
Learning Works in Europe CIC has a very simple mission: to empower you to take control of your own computing. We want to give you free open source software; and we would like to show you how you can use it productively and creatively to change the way you do things.
Why not contact us?
The company's founder and director Dr Christopher Hutchison taught in university for 35 years prior to setting up Learning Works in Europe CIC. He has been using free/libre open source software since 1999.
We know you may have more questions about free open source software, and recommend the following videos on the history of FOSS for viewing when you have the time