This is the second post in a series on introducing open source software into your church. If you haven't already, `read part 1`_ first.

In my previous post I mentioned introducing an open source browser to start moving your church over to open source software. In this post we'll try to take things a step further.

Three of the most used applications by churches are an e-mail client, a word processor or office suite and (more and more often these days) church worship presentation software. These are particularly big hurdles to overcome, especially the office suite, but they are not insurmountable. The easiest to replace of the three is probably the worship presentation software.

Most commercial worship software these days costs in the region of $400 per licence, though some packages have group licensing schemes if you want to use more than one copy in your church. This is often prohibitively expensive for most small-to-medium sized churches, resulting in them either just using Microsoft PowerPoint, or worse, pirating the software they want to use. Fortunately there are two great open source alternatives: OpenSong and OpenLP. There are a number of other projects too, but none of them have as large communities as those two.

If your church is looking for worship presentation software, I recommend you look at these two and see if they fulfill your needs. They are quite feature-full, but without the hefty price tag. (Check my interview with a user of OpenLP for one church's take.)

An often overlooked aspect of open source software is their communities, and both OpenSong and OpenLP have well-established communities. As the project leader of OpenLP, I can personally attest to how various members in the OpenLP community help each other out, and often go far beyond just simple answering of queries. So if your pastor is worried about support, you can show him that the open source software has support too.

If you manage to move your church over to using an open source presentation application, it's probably a good opportunity to explain to your pastor what open source is all about. We'll cover this, and convincing your church to move to an open source e-mail client in the next part of this series.


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