Friday, April 9, 2021

ChurchDesk for example

The archdiocese of Berlin thoroughly tested several administrative software products for managing their parishes. Now they decided that the winner is ChurchDesk.

ChurchDesk is a beautiful example of a gifted programmer who did the right thing and met the “right” people to sell his work.

We’re changing the way the church works. At ChurchDesk we believe the church needs great tools that can help them improve their work and meet people where they are. It’s church management software made beautifully simple. ChurchDesk is a SaaS company established in 2010 working +2,000 churches across Europe. We’re a diverse group of 30 people with 11 different nationalities. We have offices in Copenhagen, London and Berlin.

ChurchDesk is doing good work at the moment, making more than 2000 parishes happy because, finally, they have a software solution that meets their specific needs and a team of experts that listens to their ideas. And as long as Christian Steffensen is the boss behind everything, we can trust that it all makes sense.

Of course they listen to the problems and needs of their customers! Bugs are the business of software developers. Bug reports are valuable raw material that contribute to improving the quality of the software.

The problem with ChurchDesk is that there is no legal infrastructure to protect them from becoming a greedy giant. I fear that sooner or later the company will be seized by its own investors, and the original beautiful vision will align to the “higher” goal of being profitable. After a while it will just look like beautiful idea, but the inside is corrupted. Compare the snail that was parasitised by a Platyhelminthes flatworm in this video. I see Christian Steffensen’s idea is the snail, the flatworm is organized egoism. See also Why software should be free.

That’s why switching Lino to the AGPL was important.

It’s clear that most people, including software developers, don’t feel with me. They say (or think) that I am being paranoid there. And I agree that I think something similar about people who believe in conspiracy theories around the climate crisis or the Covid19 pandemic.

I have invested 20 years of my life into the Lino vision. Rumma & Ko works well and sustainably with a small but stable base of customers. But Rumma & Ko will function only as long as I live and am able to work. What will happen with Lino when I die or retire?

Maybe some existing software team discovers Lino and swallows Ruma & Ko, employs me and takes our customers. That would be great because I could focus back on actually doing work instead of managing the work of others.