back to article Dear Obama: Please consider open-source a waste of your time

Last week, several big names in open source tossed a letter at American President Barack Obama, urging him to mandate that no government IT purchase be made without someone scrutinizing the software license. "Dear President Obama," it read, "please consider open source." The letter contained all the classic elements of an open …

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wim
Linux

cost effective ?

Maybe the government should start working with fixed budgets instead of just using more tax money. If open source is indeed more cost effective than closed source they will have an incentive to consider it. I guess the day a government that doesn't waste tax payers money is the day that linux will be truly desktop ready for everybody.

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Linux

ted, give it a rest

Ted

You post, you post an anti-Linux/open-source rant. It seems to be all you do.

Why not try something else?

Even if it is an article examining Linux that is not pro, just doing something intelligent and dispassionate would be a change.

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Gold badge

I agree

I agree that writing to the prez will do nothing.

BUT, "lets use crap software because we've always used it" is an AWFUL argument, and I do agree with Redhat etc. writing a letter, even if it's probably pointlessl. Deptartments. continuing expensive, insecure deployments of Microsoft software... expensive copies of Oracle... etc. should not be used unless there's a damn good reason for it.

For special projects, agencies should insist on having the source. (I think a medical records system would be a FINE example of this). As it is now, it's all too common to have a vendor work on a project... if it doesn't work out, the vendor and product are scrapped and it's all started over with the second vendor. If the agency has the source, if the vendor works out things work exactly as now (agency keeps paying vendor for bug fixes and feature requests.) If it DOESN'T work out, the second vendor has the option of fixing this code up rather than having to start from scratch.

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Drivel

It's articles like this that make me wish el reg allowed me to filter out authors the same way slashdot does.

I don't know whether to call this article Trolling, FUD, or just the sad result of Microsoft brain washing, but either way reading it was very much a waste of my time.

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Agreed...

myxiplx has it right, still I wasn't being productive anyway, just drinking my tea before the day starts. Oh, for the MS zealots who always seem to turn up; I use predominantly MS software (that's just how it is in Windows development) so don't bore me with some pseudo-religious strawman about how we all hate MS because they are successful or something.

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Efficient health care is not a bad thing.

"... as they don't understand that the inefficiencies in health care keep a lot of people in work."

Excellent argument. I know so many people work in the medical sector because they love the paperwork aspects of it, and it would certainly be a tragedy if those trained medical professionals came into contact with more patients. Heaven knows there isn't enough actual "medical" work to keep them busy if the paperwork were streamlined. Just think of the work for opticians alone in helping doctors to read faxed, hand-written medical transcripts.

I suppose you publish on-line because you are still protesting all the jobs that were destroyed by the use of offset printing in the publishing industry? Public access to an efficient, high-quality medical system is at least as important as the ability to have computer layout and a colour photograph on page 3.

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What planet are you on?

"Because if the idea was really that good, it would thrive without a federal mandate."

How do you reconcile that with...

"You can put the best engineering in the world into your product, but if you don't know how to market, your project will rot in the source repository."

The best way to market something is to make it sound good to the guys in charge. Governments are all strapped for cash at the moment and they're saying "This will save you some money and let you make some 'feel good' announcements". Whether they are telling the truth or not is irrelevant - this is government lobbying.

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Good article

Nothing wrong with Open Source, but begging to the new president of the USA is pretty weak.

To be honest, from the point of view of everyone other than a geek, there's no difference if the code is open or not. It needs to be usable and reliable. That's pretty much it. Unfortunatly FOSS is only really getting started on the former point, and let's face it - a big point that Ted was making is that the FOSS crowd can't bloody market it's products.

He's got a point!

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Happy

@myxiplx and Saucerhead

I take it that neither of you bothered to read the second page then?

Nice one Ted. Hook, line and sinker.

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Let's keep it real, shall we ?

Open source can be used just as much as the "ball-and-chain" commercial products we all know and love (?). What needs to change in order for open source to be adopted more readily is the way in which an organisation implements it - by that, I mean, full source-code review and robust business functionality QA and sign-off before an open source solution is made available to the general population. It can be done, but it needs a mind-set change and closer collaboration between business and IT.

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Linux

Guys...

To some extend he's right.

Problem with Open Source is marketing. Nothing else. Stuff is marketed by geeks and as much as appealing for geeks, other people are not impressed. Community needs to deliver a message that can be understood, not some technical mumbo-jumbo. I'm still surprised that RedHat, Novell and Ubuntu haven't approached any newspapers to write about Open Source. Not an advert, mind you, but a reasonable articles to compare, to make people understand that it's nothing to fear about. We know how it works - but majority of population has no clue. All that needs to be delivered in lowest common denominator format, so no pompous academic words - no. Make it a software for average people.

//Rant over ;)

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Paris Hilton

Sad, but true

@myxiplx & Saucerhead Tharpe - As a worker in the Public Sector (UK, not US, but same mindset), I can totally vouch for the accuracy of this article.

We have upper management who will buy the software they are familiar with, and completely ignore any cries to evaluate other software that does the same thing either a)better or b)cheaper or c)both.

You try to tell them why software B is better than software A, they just put on their 'I'm technically incompetent and am not even going to listen what you are saying' hats and continue signing that massive cheque for that massively shite piece of software.

Upper management in the Public Sector are the worst for their software procurement habits. Not being in a money-oriented company where every major purchase must be justified and accounted for, these people buy systems worth 10k plus like I buy toothpaste, and then complain when support and upgrades cost an arm and a leg and you have to remortgage your house just to increase your Concurrent Access Licenses (Business Objects, I'm looking at you!).

This isn't an anti-open source article, just telling it the way it is.

Paris - As her software procurement practices are probably more robust than the muppets in public sector management.

Anonymous - just incase the boss' winged-monkeys read El Reg.

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Joke

Hey, Ted

How's your start-up doing?

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Yup

Ted Dziuba in top form :)

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Yeah, sure Ted*

* for the uninitiated, a catchphrase from an old Australian sitcom used when a certain blowhard Ted Bullpit** went into one of his inevitable rants.

The show was not noted for its subtlety.

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Realistic, but without depth

I think he's not THAT far off base in this article, but he leaves a few things out.

Firstly, that ol' chestnut security. It is a FACT that "anything but Microsoft" systems are more secure by default. Not 100% safe, but less of an open invitation to malice for the outsider. That is a risk people know about, given the tremendous sales of anti-virus products. It is also a nigh-unfixable problem for MS as the OS is fundamentally a hack of a single user system as opposed to the alternatives which come from a multi-user world.

Secondly, conversion. If I build an OSS solution it will cost me the same amount of effort (roughly), but I will need to get engineers first who know about Open Source. It takes a shocking amount of time to convert a business, more so for government. For someone who is judged at the end of the year, the long term benefits (which there provably are) are too long term to be of any use for them. And thus, yes, no change. Oh, and that's why interoperability won't stand a chance either until someone sues the gov for wrongful restriction of trade.

Thirdly, money. Do you really think a gov official is going for the bearded club when he/she(it can obtain flights, meals, conference attendance, in short, every jolly going (still!) from a vendor who wants business? Think again.

Forthly, alike replacement. Until there is an Open Source Outlook, no dice for me. Every mobile phone I use installs for Outlook sync. It's a battle under Linux because you never get collaboration from the provider - I don't have to be selective in Windows. This is not to say that I *like* Outlook (especially anythong 2007 is seriously crap), but it integrates what I need. What's more, I am STILL waiting for Thunderbird to allow mail archives like Outlook. AFAIK they're still talking about which implementation - it's been an outstanding feature request for YEARS. I can take a bunch of mail and contacts, ram it into a separate file and so make the travelling mailbox light without losing data. The Thunderbird directory is several GB - no option but all or nothing.

I have been using Linux from when it came on a pile of floppies. Its gone a lot better, but there are still too many people being fanatic without trying to understand the user they're talking to. Unless you address the issues USERS have it ain't gonna happen. Sure, OSS *is* eating into Bill's cake, but if you have the only cake in the world it's easy to get a piece, and a percentage move is too often heralded as the "end of MS". OSS is far from "there" - I can't see this happen for at least another 3 years or so.

So, I think he's not far off. He just didn't argue it far enough, but risk aversion and stasis is a more powerful driver than "it's better and cheaper" - the story has to change for OSS to be making real inroads. Drugs addicts and smokers rarely change brands..

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Jay
Linux

Open source saves our company $500,000.00 a year

And that saved money goes to hiring more employees and increased training for our IT staff. Our CFO gets it. We are profitable and are expanding in this economic slump. Thanks to Linux, Apache/Tomcat and Java we are saving $3,000,000/year on licensing alone and we are more productive then we were with our old closedsource model.

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Go

Ted changed my life

Keep it coming... "If you take two parts pathological aversion to risk, mix it together with one part apathy and a jigger of laziness, what you get is the government workforce culture."

BEST QUOTE EVER

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A good start...

...would be for the procurement people to properly examine the IP issues before signing a services contract.

I've seen cases where government pays for a load of software to be written, believing they will own it, and it turns out the contract says all software assets are property of the supplier. This is justified because some monkey copy-pasted some util classes from a code repository, thus the new software becomes a derived work.

Also, for some reason ending up contractual dispute/stalemate/court isn't seen as a failure, and the possibility of this isn't seen as a risk. This is the only explanation I can think of for why govt proceeds merrily with obviously shaky-looking procurements with huge IT suppliers.

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Well but open source gets money out into the public

I mean if you hand 1 Million to microsoft it will end up in the pockets of a few managers. From where it probably will go into some hedge funds buying some companies in order to destroy them.

With open source solutions the local admins will suddenly be possible to actually do something. Fixing a machine will be more than just re-installing the OS several times until some non-user accessible configuration is right.

Closed source software barely is good bang for the buck if you want employment, unless you want it in India.

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Anonymous Coward

open source just wants to make money off the Govt.

I resent the comments, I have worked for both private sector and public sector, a state. I saw much more waste in the private sector. You want to get fired by the govt.? try working for a state the word is layoff, un-paid days off, etc. but not fired. "tax payers" seem to want it all. lots and lots of services, oh but don't tax us, the police have to show up when we call, but don't tax us, we want teachers to baby sit our children, but don't tax us. We want to vote on laws to spend money on our pet projects but when the govt has to cut other programs to cover the newly voted on and mandated programs they get mad at not cutting the "pork", even when there are layoffs and staff is not able to keep up. So lets say we take a federal agency that has 30,000 employees all running novel on the servers and for desktop communication and microsoft as the desktop suite. The IS dept. is able to cover all the needs and keep everything running well. How much do you think it will take in time and money to retrain all the IS staff and users? I'm not saying its a bad idea but do you think the "citizens" will like the idea of spending money when there is a "perfectly good" way of doing things now? My experience is that the "taxpayers" want the change but with no impact to them, and they don't look to the long term, they are concerned about NOW not two years from now. If you can convince red hat and the others to donate their services, products, and training for free (absolutely no cost what-so-ever) for the next 5 years you may have something. But as the private sector is in business to make money, off the tax payers if possible, I cant see it.

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Syd
Boffin

English

> They have used Microsoft and others in the past, and they works.

I believe the correct form is...

"They have used Microsoft and others in the past, and they works *innit*?"

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Gates Horns

You simply don't get it

I am sorry for the Open Source bigots but this article touches a nerve (in the positive way).

It's not about Linux or Open Source. It's about how Open Source today is positioned on the market.

From the customer's point of view (being govt. or public companies) I can assure you that talking of "Religions" (Linux vs Windows or whatever) does not make any sense.

Talk about runing costs and heads will start turning at you.

Moreover: pretending for Open Source to be a recipe to rationalise public administration is just silly (and I am not talking of the social consequences).

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Don't wait for Help or Incentives/Virtual Permissions, just do IT if you can

"If open source is going to make any real headway in the government, there needs to be an incentive to choose it, not a rule. "

Ted,

Would a threat which collapses Systems be enough of an incentive to choose/use it? And it is very easy for open source and ITs Source Sorcerors/Wacky Wizards and Witches to manage the Windows environment.

* Permissions smack of One still being in Child Mode with Unresolved Issues going Far into the Future of One's Own Life ....... a Lack of Sustainable Effortless Vision.

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Anonymous Coward

Agree with Saucerhead

"Ruby on Rails won't save the planet" - so therefore the government should not consider open source in the most perfunctory manner?

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Ted, I'm in tremendous pain

So charging lots of money for software is an incentive and charging no money for well written software is not an incentive. I'm sure if I work at it I'll be able to figure it out but for the moment your word puzzle has bested me.

Don't confuse the unkempt hair and possible birkenstocks of opensourcers with patchouli doused hippys . The open source movement are .commies and they are dismantling the stranglehold of capitalism on those without capital. They turned on, tuned in, read dilbert and dropped out.

Lastly the vast majority of reg readers are not opposed to open source so I don't know who this bullshit article was meant to entertain.

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Your argument is not sound

Sometimes, to get the right thing done, legislation is needed. An example: if the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK and Section 508 in the US, most Web site developers would have done squat about Web site accessibility and most businesses would have no awareness of their requirements. The current status quo is not a level playing field as you suggest, where software is assessed on its own merits. Microsoft - and other big companies - spend millions in soft-dollar marketing to get their products promoted into governments. When that fails they apply pressure and in some cases drop their prices drastically to keep the business. Open source does not have the financial lever. The final say is that when it comes to taxpayers' money there SHOULD be a legal requirement to consider cheaper solutions that are as effective with an open mind. Nope, I don't use Linux and I'm not a freetard - but I think I'm more open-minded that you.

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One exception

The fact is that using open source is better for the economies of all countries save one, the USA. Why? Because most if not all the big software sellers are American. And from what I've seen a lot of open source software isn't. Given the amount of coziness between the US government and US companies, they're mostly part of the same clan really. That's what an plutocracy is all about after all. So for the USA, their government buying Made-in-America software actually makes sense. For them.

For the same reason, it makes no sense for the government of any other country to be buying Made-in-America software, putting all the control in the hands of American corporations, and sending all the profits outside the country. Therefore, it's all the countries that aren't the USA that should be pushing open source software in their governments, and outlawing the use of that closed source foreign crap.

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Dead Vulture

Reg please add filter by article

After wasting 2 minutes on this article (you can read articles with no content pretty fast), I really want a way to filter out by byline.

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Thumb Up

Exactly

As someone who previously worked on govt medical project, I agree with this article wholeheartedly.

As far as "cost effective" - cost of licenses can be very small compared to the overall TCO. This is especially true for the government, where the huge bureaucratic behemoth needs a swarm of consultants, trainings, seminars and the whole supporting organization for the software. As much as OSS advanced in the recent years, I don't think it's ready for the US govt. Or you can say that US govt is not ready for it.

Also, remember that MS provides source to the govt. So the argument about "transparency" and "having the source" doesn't carry all too much weight.

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Aw, he's just acting up

I did a search for Mr Dziuba after posting above.

It is obvious he's a young guy, wants to make a name for himself, so this is his method, trying to be IT's answer to Frank Black.

Aw, bless.

You're no Frank Black son.

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What's your problem?

To the author of this article -

What's your beef with open source anyway? I suppose that's what's really at the bottom of your rant.

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So what should they do?

I didn't know the author was Ted until I read these comments, then I went back to the article to check - yup, it's Ted; a bit more mellow that I'm used to but the old cynicism shines through if you scratch away those finely crafted and swearword free sentences.

OK, they made the wrong pitch, but it can't have done any harm and maybe, just maybe, the Prez will ask someone about this and a little awareness may spread to the right places?

In reality, I'm sure that there are many able and aware people at various levels of government who have thought about this for a while and maybe even tried to do something about it. After a short time, horrible reality (as described by Ted) will have hit them and they'll have decided that not rocking the boat is an easier and a safer way to live.

So Ted, how can the open-source people make headway in government procurement? What should the approach be and how should they go about it? It's a tricky problem and needs long term planning, monitoring................ It's not easy is it?

Maybe there are readers/commenters out there who have experience and examples of where open-source has been able to make headway in the government swamp, and also tell us how it was able to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: "For special projects, agencies should insist on having the source"

Which, in the real world of bespoke software development will triple the cost if you're lucky, quadruple it if you're realistic and make it a double monkey fudge bucket amount bigger when the invoice comes in.

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Go

Please Santa

Try to avoid beeing looked-in with one vendor or any one vendor.

Simple as that. I fully agree.

Useless optimism, perhaps, who knows.

But as there is a new Santa in Town wish lists have to be made. (and they are).

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Linux

Easy to criticise while not being constructive

The article criticised the action of Open Source advocates without giving as much of a hint of any positive alternative approach. What does the author want the Open Source advocates to do? Sit on their hands? Go and start using closed source software themselves and forget all about open source alternatives?

It is very easy to be an arm chair critic without doing anything useful. The letter that was written to the President may not have a great impact as such - but it is just the beginning. It is just the first step. May be if the President says a few good words publicly about open source alternatives and may be starts using it himself it would make a very good start.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jack Harrer

No, the problem with OSS / Linux / Freeware etc. is that it is not supported.

Big companies and governments are not prepared to invest millions if they do not have the security of the vendor's support infrastructure at the other end of a phone.

All other arguments are missing the point by a mile.

End of.

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Tom
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When MS goes bust

what happens - its gradually becoming apparrent to those even not in the know that MS have been winging it for years - they have to wait for the Samba project to document their inter-machine communicatione before they can get them right. They cant even write code for a standard that they spent billions creating. It wasnt maliciousness that caused them to create OOXML over ODF - they are not up to the task of writing something more complicated than space invaders game: theyve given up on flight simulator!

Even now they're offering $1/4M to someone who wrote a virus - they're obviously desperate for someone who understands how windows programming works.

Zune, rhymes with tune and thats about all. XBox - popular if you can sell it at a huge loss.

In 10 years time when they have fizzled out who will be left holding the ordure - governments who use open standards and open source and may actually utilise their data - or those that repeatedly pay those who know better to build rubbish systems to build more rubbish systems that, as they are closed source, are 'maintainable' by nobody.

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Again, with the 'proprietry will prevail because w're all tallentless lazy bastards' argument

This seems to be the last line of defence. "People are to lazy, too stupid, too scared. They'll wonder where the 'Blue E' has gone because (hearty, commisioned-ranks-only chuckle, here) they're all IDIOTS - hohoho".

If the argument really has got to the stage where these authors are saying that users deserve Windows because they're too tallentless to be worth anything better, then where does this picture sit, in a labour market where anyone with any iota of tallent is fighting, tooth and nail, to hang onto their jobs and demonstrate that they're still worth a salary?

In a market where dozens of Windows sys admins are being pitched out of their Halo 3 - I mean SERVER - rooms, and into the dole queues... how many of those guys are going to lazily and stupidly hunt around for another company daft enough to pay them to sit in a cupboard all day playing computer games, while wondering whether they should get around to rolling out that patch, that Microsoft issued last autumn? Perhaps a few of them will realise that playing computer games all day, and acting passive-agressive towards 'stupid users' with network problems, might have been a contributory factor in why they're suddenly living on 50 quid a week?

Or is Dzuiba simply saying that HE's too stupid, and we're all very mean for using a technology he doesn't understand? Is there a sense of panic, in his writiing - while we wonders what he'll do, when there's no one left, to pay him to write patronising articles about how users are idiots and deserve the crap that IT foists upon them?

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Flame

Was there any real point to this article

No, really.

What was the sodding point of writing this witless pile of drivel.

So Pres Obama has been lobbied by a bunch of open sourcers. Big fat hairy deal! I suspect he has had letters from everyone and anyone 'congratulating' him and asking him to consider their own particular niche. I expect he got letters from Microsoft and Apple. I expect he got letters from the American Guinea Pig Breeders Association and the Guild of American Nose Pickers as well! I imaging the pile of congratulatory letters containing a 'by the way' arriving at the White House would a mile high by now.

And 99.999% of them were probably consigned straight to the bin (trash can), where they belong.

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They're only asking to be considered.

Most people buy MS because it's the only thing they've ever used and they're comfortable with that however that brand loyalty allows a company to stagnate and therefore cease to be value for money even though it's still the "only" choice and very popular. This is a bad thing for the consumer and the government is a consumer in this case.

Maybe there are better alternatives, maybe using some of these alternatives would reduce the monopoly that MS has and therefore force them to improve their standards for interoperability and price.

Capitalism requires competition and maybe it IS the job of government to encourage this where the risks can't be justified in the private sector. That said we also don't want governments wasting money so it's something that needs to considered very carefully but to not consider it is wrong.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Reg please add filter by article

Here's an idea - when you click on an article and see that it's by an author whose work you never enjoy, simply click the back button and choose another article. Would that work for you?

If you don't like, you can filter off.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tharpe & others

"You post, you post an anti-Linux/open-source rant. It seems to be all you do."

As opposed to most commentors' anti-anything-not-open-source rants?

"Why not try something else?"

Good idea. Think you guys can do the same? I'm betting not based on precedent.

"Even if it is an article examining Linux that is not pro, just doing something intelligent and dispassionate would be a change."

Well, in fairness there are usually intelligent points made in both articles and comments for each side. As for dispassonate, open source fans zealots have a tendency to quikly fall into name-calling or other insults after trying to sound reasonable and then being patronising don't work.

@ myxiplx

"I don't know whether to call this article Trolling, FUD, or just the sad result of Microsoft brain washing, but either way reading it was very much a waste of my time."

Do the usual and call it all of them. Or the classic "MS shill" argument. After all, people are only likely to disagree with you if they're paid, aren't they?

It is interesting to watch the patterns of how people post. It seems that whenever there's anyhing that isn't a foaming endorsement of open source, there's a deluge of people ranting. Ironically, when someone actually rants against open source, they get all pouty and whinge how 'Your negative comments don't help anything." People have told you before - your rabid preaching probably puts people off more than anything. Maroons. Still, at least there've been a few reasonable open source fans here.

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Flame

Hang on a minute.... this isn't all my fault!

Sorry folks, Ted's right.

What's more, all of you whining that it's senior management not having the balls to step outside the Microsoft compound, are wrong.

I am Senior Management, responsible for IT in a UK public sector organisation, and I can personally guarantee that the license status - which is all we're really talking about here- has precious little to do with my decisions when picking suppliers and software.

Many many commenters are speaking as if decisions on major procurements are made in some kind of vacuum, where the first (and perhaps only) decision is whether something is FOSS or not. I have to take a really broad view of fitness for purpose, and FOSS ain't it for me at the moment, but there's a few general points out there that influence my thinking when spending public cash.

First off- FOSS sounds great, but how do I get FOSS products that work for me?

Secondly, many folks are speaking about "alternatives" to Windows apps as if one can simply swap out components and replace e.g. Word with OOO.

Thirdly- "It's free, therefore you save money!"- ORLY?

Looking at these in turn:

I've just committed my organisation to a million pounds worth of spend on our principal line of business application deployment project. All of that spend is going on closed source, proprietory products. Why? Because they are packaged up as a solution, (albeit one slightly adapted by the supplier) for my organisation. The present day FOSS alternative would have been for me to employ a stack of staff to develop something from a bunch of scattered components, which would then have had to have been solely supported by yet more expensive staff. Why on earth would any sane person do this? Alternatively, I could have approached RH and entered into an expensive support contract with them, after providing them with the source code, and gone through roughly 100 years of contract negotiations where they argued over various bits of the code, so as to get it into a shape they would be happy to support. Why bother? The closed source option already came with this supplied. On top of that, there are disbenefits to being the only organisation in a sector to use a system, so following the crowd does make sense from a practical point of view.

Secondly- dragging the odd FOSS component into an enterprise does have significant risks and pain in the arse aspects. At one level- I have another supplier and set of patches to manage. Not that much of a bother if you have a set of 50 staff in your IT team, but for me, it's an issue, as we run a tight ship. At a user level, they are being given software they haven't seen before. Thirdly- legacy documents require tweaking to get them into OOO (which is the most likely candidate for adoption). Their spreadsheet app has limited compatibility with excel, and like it or not (and I definitely don't) many chunks of organisations are run of excel workbooks.

Finally, please quit with this "It's free, therefore it's cheaper than paid-for software" shit. FOSS is more expensive, end of story. Even if you have a team of 20-30 die hard freetards manning the IT department. Support for FOSS is improving, but it's a million miles away from where it needs to be to tempt folks like me who are solely responsible for supporting a business of 200 staff, all of whom care not one iota about whether something is "free- as in beer" or "free- as in speech" or whether it comes with a certificate of authenticity from Redmond. At the moment, I cannot begin to build a sensible case based onROI or payback on FOSS products. They just simply do not stack up on a direct costs basis, even before you look at BI and other indirect costs. Office standard costs me £34 a head, and with that I get happy users, and good support, and products that integrate with our email and other proprietary apps. I estimate I'd be at least £25 a head worse off a year using OOO (and as I say- that's direct costs: training for users, and integration into our infrastructure. No lost productivity factor included- these are all fairly hard figures)

Lastly- and I never directly asked this question, but we touched on it in the answers above, but it's still a biggie: Linux has a limited skills base out in the wider world. I have a stack of roughly 100 CV's on my desk now for a 2nd/3rd line Engineer role. About 15% have Linux/Unix skills. Many of those 15 folks have a salary expectation above what I'm willing to pay.

Having said all that, I won't say no to open source, but the FOSS world just need to start selling the stuff better, making it integrate into what's already out there, get it working in a financial sense, and then make certain IT staff have the skills to support it.

Flames- because I know that's what's gonna happen next.

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Ya'll can write letters to the Dalibama all you want......

...I'm building a fort.....

Black helicopters because I just wasted two days of my life reading The .Plan...or the Stimulous... or the Recovery... whatever it's called.... and judging by all the bread and circuses - that letter might just work....

<heavy sigh>

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Heart

Fight for the presidents ear

There is no doubt that the letter had all the haul marks of a sales pitch, instead of been written by a number of non company boys....hell even i thought about writing to the president at one point, but thought better of it. I would be of little supprise to still find some of Obarma people not able to connect to the system yet.

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Flame

@Ted: One word - Limux

http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/dir/limux/english/147197/index.html

Would you like your bullshit sauteed or fricasseed?

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Thumb Down

Pointless

A few points, from a MCSA/E, working for a Microsoft Gold Partner who believes that in the office, Microsoft does offer the best bang to buck ratio.

Why are you paying this guy?

What is the point in this flamebait?

What the hell happened to journalism?

What is the author trying to say?

Zealotry in any form is ugly and purile. This op-ed being particularly bad. Is it "cool" or "trendy" now to post vitriol as fact? Is this a Youtube comments page?

Thumbs down because im genuinely dissappointed, to the stage i have registered (sic) solely to comment on this piece.

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Linux

Dear Ted...

you sir, are an asshat.

Good luck with the purchasing of a closed source operating system every 2 years or so to maintain security and compatability, I wil be simply updating my opensource OS to each new version free of charge. Hows that for reduced overall cost?

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Paris Hilton

Re: "Sad but true"

"We have upper management who will buy the software they are familiar with, and completely ignore any cries to evaluate other software that does the same thing either a)better or b)cheaper or c)both."

Not ruling out the fact you have a poor boss, but could it just be the case that you are looking at the problem with a much narrower viewpoint than your boss? What's your definition of "better"- compliance with the GPL? Usability? Support availability? Compliance with Audit requirements? What about "cheaper?"- Capital cost? TCO? Annual Support costs? Financial viability of the supplier/support company? Let's face it- bosses think about things in terms of solutions, not software. Software's a part of the whole, but it ain't it by a long shot.

"You try to tell them why software B is better than software A, they just put on their 'I'm technically incompetent and am not even going to listen what you are saying' hats and continue signing that massive cheque for that massively shite piece of software.""

Again define "Better", and while you are at it, would you care to think about how you are telling your bosses that B is better than A? I can guarantee that if you start of with a technical reason they'll be thinking you've just put on your 'I'm technically competent but think I know all the answers to a bunch of things that even God only has limited insight into" hat.

And God help you if you start talking about the GPL license and "why it's a good thing".

God knows, I really *really* wish IT management was only about technical issues, but it's not, and no amount of hoping, praying, alcohol and/or scientology will make it so. The sad truth is- decisions like Linux vs MS or FOSS vs Closed Source really has very little to do with technical matters. Those decisions have even less to do with matters of principle. It's all people issues, finance and timing.

Paris- because she knows she's not got all of the answers

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