Go Bankrupt, Get Free Software
July 24, 2012 Alex Woodie
The California-based software company GroundWork last week announced that it is offering free licenses of its enterprise system management tools to all qualifying municipalities that go bankrupt. The company says the program is aimed at helping cities and towns manage their IT infrastructure without incurring additional costs.
GroundWork is a San Francisco company that develops open source systems management tools designed to irritate the likes of the “Big Four” in this category, which includes BMC, CA, HP, and IBM. The company’s products are largely based on dozens of different open source products and standards, including the Ganglia grid and cluster management software, the Nagios systems management tools (which offers integration with IBM i), the Syslog-NG systems management standard, the Cacti graphing tool, the BIRT reporting tool. It’s designed to run on the core LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) platform, which works just fine on IBM i.
GroundWork’s offer is good for U.S. municipalities only; counties, states, and countries are not eligible for the program (at least not yet). The municipality must have filed for Chapter 9, Title 11 bankruptcy, and be wiling to participate in a case study.
“Our goal is to not only provide these municipalities with free access to GroundWork’s software, but to reduce spending waste on overly expensive IT management software, leaving funds for municipal services instead,” GroundWork VP of marketing David Dennis states in a press release. “We feel it is a way to help organizations when they are down and hope that they will stick with us when their finances rebound, as we are confident they will.”
With the dominos of municipal bankruptcies just beginning to fall–especially in the (once) Golden State, where the cities of Mammoth Lakes, San Bernardino, and Stockton have filed for bankruptcy recently–one wonders whether this is such a good business model to go after the public sector. Then again, it could spur other software vendors to make similar offers to help struggling cities around the country.