[Haifux] FOSS alternatives to an Access-based organizational software solution

Amichai Rotman amichai at iglu.org.il
Sat Dec 4 15:06:40 MSK 2010

Check this out:


Does this suit your needs? I do post-sale support for these guys, it's FOSS
and I know it can be tailored for your specific needs.



Amichai Rotman

Registered Linux User#: 201192 [http://counter.li.org/]
Registered Ubuntu User #12851 [http://ubuntucounter.geekosophical.net]


On Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 12:57, Eyal Rozenberg <eyalroz at technion.ac.il> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I would like some advice regarding a possible upgrade of an organizational
> software application we use at the Graduate Student Organization.
> In fact, while initially what I need is advice and directions, we may soon
> be interested in contracting a single developer or a (small?) development
> company to entirely replace our existing system with something nice and
> FOSSy.
> To describe things briefly, our system:
> - Keeps grad student personal data.
> - Records payments and debts.
> - Communicates directly or via imported/exported data files with some
> Technion and non-Technion systems: The listserv, ANAM, the student tuition
> people etc.
> - Records non-financial operations such as collecting a gift,
> joining/leaving the organization etc.
> - Is used simultaneously by more than one person on a network (although it
> is extremely rare for two people to try to add or modify db records at the
> same time)
> The number of people handled by the system at any given time can range upto
> 5,000 (let's make it 10,000 to be on the safe side), and if we keep info
> about people active in the past and don't only maintain a snapshot of the
> present, then we need to be able to handle, say, 10,000 as a real estimate
> for the next several years and 30,000 to be on the safe side. There isn't
> any heavy calculation going on, it's all pretty routine and mundane.
> Before talking about our currently operating solution, here are some
> questions:
> Q1: What software platforms/toolkits/etc. would you recommend for this kind
> of a system? Be specific, not "make it LAMP-based".
> Q2: Do you know of specific software apps, already written, which cover
> this functionality and may be easily adapted to our needs (or would not need
> any adapting)?
> Q3: Do you know people/organizations who run such systems with FOSS
> solutions, and would be willing to share their experiences?
> Our system as you may probably have guessed is based on MS Access, with a
> Frontend-Backend split to ease multi-user use. While it is working well
> enough today, it is an endless patch-work, not well documented, without
> proper specs for anything, and showing signs of aging with every operation
> becoming slower as features are added and the number of people grows. There
> are also some foundational architectural assumptions which we want to change
> (e.g. the present snapshot vs. full history I mentioned above).
> Q4: Not a list-relevant question, but are more recent versions of Access,
> or Access + a full-blown SQL server, options which allow better scaling?
> Perhaps with careful coding?
> Q5: Does any of you know people we could consult regarding migrating away
> from MS-Access to a more capable platform which is both FOSS and is easy to
> extend in the way Access-based apps are?
> Q6: Is it or is it not worth thinking in the direction of web-based
> frontends to databases, rather than plain vanilla apps?
> Any other thoughts/comments are welcome.
> Eyal
> PS - We're an organization of mostly non-Technically-oriented people, bear
> that in mind.
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