"Truth in advertising" statement
The community of ebase consultants, trainers and developers* want to fairly describe the most important advantages and challenges of ebase to enable you to evaluate the appropriateness of ebase for your organization. To that end, please be advised:
ebase has significant installation and operational costs
1. ebase is freely available open-source software and is remarkably economical to use. But the use of ebase is not free of cost, especially when first installing it.
2. ebase will require a significant investment of your time and, most likely, the technical assistance of qualified IT staff or consultants (especially in the case of the multi-user, client-server version) for effective installation and configuration.
3. Further, your productivity using ebase will depend on:
a. Acquiring and maintaining adequate technical infrastructure in your office,
b. Appropriate training of staff on the use of ebase, and
c. On-going staff time and effort to operate it consistently.
4. ebase support, upgrades, and premium services are benefits of membership in the ebase online community. ebase online community membership is an annual, sliding-scale subscription costing $50 (for groups with budgets under $100,000) or $75 (for groups with budgets over $100,000).
ebase technical support is provided primarily through online information resources and the ebase community
5. ebase ships with documentation, updated with each release, that includes Installation notes and Getting Started guides.
6. ebase technical support is provided primarily through the ebase online community website (http://www.ebase.org/community) which currently consists of active email lists, a Knowledgebase, supplemental documentation, additional software modules and upgrades, and a directory of trainers and consultants in your area.
7. A growing list of ebase user groups, consultants, developers and trainers is maintained on the ebase Community website and is regularly to locate resources in your area. Groundspring provides a variety of custom ebase support services (details available at http://www.ebase.org/support/).
8. Fee-based technical support is also provided by consultants and trainers listed in on the ebase website.
9. ebasePro includes tools to assist in moving data from unmodified versions of ebaseClassic. ebasePro versions can be upgraded to the most recent version through software available on the ebase community site.
10. Although some ebase customizations can be accomplished by intermediate users, significant customizations or changes to the core functionality will require input from a qualified ebase consultant.
11. ebaseClassic will be supported as long as demand exists from the ebase online community. Older ebase versions are available for download by ebase community members on the ebase site.
12. ebase bugs are reported on http://bugzilla.groundspring.org and their disposition is addressed online. The speed at which bugs are fixed depends on the severity of the bug, the nature of the fix required, and the resources available to fix it.
13. Bug fixes are released as soon as resources allow, either as a software patches, workarounds, or through the version upgrade process (currently on a quarterly basis).
14. While ebasePro is open source and open to customizations, keep in mind that customizations done to core files will be overwritten by any subsequent ebase version upgrade or patch. Customizations done in external files and non-core modules can be preserved in ebase upgrades and patches.
ebase currently depends on FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Office
15. ebase performance is optimized when used with FileMaker Pro (version 5.5 or 6) operating on each users computer.
16. Most of the reports produced by ebase are in the form of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel merge documents. While the reports work out of the box, if you wish to modify ebase reports, you will need to be proficient in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
17. The free, single-user runtime version is distributed as a trial demo for evaluation purposes. The runtime version cannot be used in multi-user mode, and restricts your ability to customize ebase.
18. If more than one user needs simultaneous access to ebase on your computer network, each user needs their own licensed copy of FileMaker Pro. In addition, the multi-user, client-server version of ebase requires that server data be hosted on a dedicated computer running FileMaker Server 5.0 (or greater). This is a different program from FileMaker Pro software, and must be purchased separately. The practice of using FileMaker Pro in peer-to-peer mode to share ebase files is unreliable, is strongly discouraged, and is not supported.
19. ebase client-server installers are distributed to ebase community members only. However, skilled FileMaker Pro developers can use the documentation enclosed with the runtime version to create their own versions of the client-server installer.
20. ebase is intended for use with datasets smaller than 50,000 contact records. ebase will slow significantly when this limit is approached or exceeded unless your hardware has been upgraded to use the fastest available CPUs, storage media, memory, and your network is set up for maximum performance.
21. Because ebase relies on the security built into FileMaker Pro, it is not suitable for data that must remain confidential and impervious to computer hacking (for example, information such as credit card numbers and personally identifiable health records).
ebase software and support is developed and maintained by the ebase community
22. ebase is evolutionary open-source software that will grow in features, ease-of-use and technical support as the ebase community uses it, contributes improvements, and together, expands the community of ebase users.
23. ebase is not commercial, proprietary software, and does not follow a commercial software development model: the utility of ebase relies on the efforts of hundreds of individuals contributing their ideas and work to the ebase community. ebase code is made freely available to the ebase community to allow members to work together to develop the software and support mechanisms that best meet their individual needs.