back to article Portuguese open sourcers decry MS-only gov eProcurement

Portuguese open sourcers are a bit miffed that a government "eProcurement" platform offers "conditioned access to bid at a public tender", viz: If you're not running Microsoft software you're not tendering for anything. That's according to the Associação de Empresas de Software Open Source Portuguesas, aka ESOP, which claims …

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Unhappy

Interesting

I wonder how many twists and turns there are in the trail from Vortal back to Microsoft, and how many politicians it bumps into along the way.

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Same in the UK

The NHS Supplier Information Database portal here doesn't work with non-MS browsers either. NHS spending money on rubbish IT projects? Never....!

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting point though

How can you justify demanding a closed standard on a Govt. procurement/tendering site.

A shop with exclusively Linux or *BSD boxes then they can't view and bid for Govt. contracts.

I doubt there was any corruption involved, just a failure to think in the tendering process for a procurement site, not a good sign that

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Linux

Good luck to 'em...

...just don't come crying to us when some ne'er do wells get in and suck your info out and sell it off to the highest bidder!

Before you start, no I don't advocate Linux over MS or vice-versa, but horses-for-courses. You mix match like normal businesses should do, so when you get a problem in "the stack" somewhere, the whole lot doesn't come crashing down because it's all based on the manufacturers kit!

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Why would you want to be non-MS?

F/OSS brings with it massive (*MASSIVE*) overheads in training and support, orders of magnitude higher than for any comparable MS product. Hence it makes sense to stick with MS even if the purchase cost is higher because to the enormous saving in training an support.

Users know Office, Explorer, IE, etc. They do not know KDE, HuggyBear, BouncingPanda (or whatever childish names the Linux apps have). Not only would you have to train end users on new OSs/applications; you would need to re-train or hire in new tech staff. That's just crazy. And that's before we get into hardware and the terrible support Linux has for a lot of what is out there.

Spending all that tax revenue to please a niche sector is plain stupid. Leave Linux in the web server farm and the geek's bedroom where it belongs.

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Boffin

Standard stuff

A large national research institute I used to work at tendered for a bespoke ordering system for within site experimental wetware. The specs were that it should work with both PCs and Macs (Linux being in its infancy back then). This was expected to be an intranet based Web portal. What arrived was a stand alone program that worked only on PCs. So having recently rid the lab of PCs in favour of Macs we had to buy and dedicate a desk space for a PC which functioned only to run this piece of software. We did try it on SoftWindows but no dice.

Needless to say the software was POS, because there had been no consultation with us users.

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Pirate

What the hell is AC on about?

"F/OSS brings with it massive (*MASSIVE*) overheads in training and support, orders of magnitude higher than for any comparable MS product"

Can I have some of what you are smoking? 90% of our PCs run windows with no IE but Firefox instead. These would also be excluded. As non-IE browsers now make up over 30% I cannot see how this scan be justified. The support costs for Firefox are no different.

"Users know Office, Explorer, IE, etc. They do not know KDE, HuggyBear, BouncingPanda (or whatever childish names the Linux apps have). Not only would you have to train end users on new OSs/applications; you would need to re-train or hire in new tech staff. That's just crazy. And that's before we get into hardware and the terrible support Linux has for a lot of what is out there."

Hang on, why are you on about training? We are on about making a site multplatform/multibrowser here. Just pick up GWT or equiv (in a day) and write an app that runs across most browsers. We've just done this with a team of 2!!!! It's not hard.

"Spending all that tax revenue to please a niche sector is plain stupid. Leave Linux in the web server farm and the geek's bedroom where it belongs."

You should keep your personal preferences out of this. This has nothing to do with Linux Mac Windows ... is best on the Desktop. This is about multiplatform apps.

In reality, they should be shot for this. Producing good web apps that work for eveyone is not difficult in this day and age.

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Heart

@ AC - 4 March @ 1242

>Users know Office, Explorer, IE, etc. They do not know KDE, HuggyBear, BouncingPanda (or >whatever childish names the Linux apps have)

Surely you mean OpenOffice, File Explorer, and Firefox don't you? Please don't confuse the somewhat wacky names associated with a somewhat wacky Linux distribution to be the end all of Linux application naming conventions. Besides, "Ubuntu Intrepid Ibis" is no more childish than "Mac OS X Leopard" or "Windows Longhorn," now is it.

At least do some research before spewing your anti-Linux vitrol here. Horses for courses and all that...

Heart...because all OS want to be UNIX in their kernels :)

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Heart

@AC - "Why would you want to be non-MS"

"Spending all that tax revenue to please a niche sector is plain stupid. Leave Linux in the web server farm and the geek's bedroom where it belongs."

So that would be niche geek sector applications like 64 bit Oracle RAC and SAP, and Lotus would it?

You seem to have a very blinkered idea of what government procurement is about. Sure there are tenders for desktop applications and desktop PCs but there are a huge number of contracts placed for the stuff the "normal" user never sees. You might be running an app on your PC but the multi-terabyte Database and application servers running it aren't running on Windows. So why should anyone have to have IE running on PC to tender for something like that.

Building browser specific websites frankly shows a complete mis-understanding of basic HTML, never mind things like AJAX. I had to sit a test the other day on a website which just never finished rendering the page on FireFox unless you clicked on the Help link which opened up a new window and when you closed that window the page finished rendering. That's just crap developers not understanding things.

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Gates Horns

AC 12:42

Any change in technology brings MASSIVE (your word) costs, but it has been done innumerable times throughout history. Would the internal combustion engine have displaced the horse if people were as short sighted as you? Think about the costs of retraining all those grooms, saddlers, farriers etc. When CadCam came in? Draughtsmen had to be retrained in the use of computers and the software and discard their pencils. When the automatic lathe replaced manual lathes. The turners had to be retrained, they did not automagically have the ability to use the new technology.

Improvements always have a cost, and getting free of the shackles of any particular monopolist will have a significant cost. But, if secret "standards" and closed applications are replaced with open ones it is a one time cost. Any well written application will be easily transferred from one platform to another. Many (most?) FLOSS applications run equally well on Linux, various Unixs, Mac and Windows. Equally there are many closed source applications that do the same and I would hope that any supplier of software worth their salt could port their software to any platform.

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Flame

@What the hell is AC on about?

He sounds like a Microsoft stooge to me. Why let knowledge of the subject matter get in the way of a good flame?

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Paris Hilton

Of course that would never happen in the UK...

Yeah right.

Having said that, there's been some success in embarrassing various bunches of incompetent goits into at least producing standards-compliant web pages.

It's amazing how management tend to squirm when discrimination legislation is quoted at them and producing web pages which can't be rendered properly for a blind person is discriminatory.

Paris, because she's an open standard

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Paris Hilton

Kneel before your anthropomorphic deity

Don't you know? The PC as we know it sprang fully-formed from the brow of William Gates! There were no personal computers BW (before Windows)! Funny how I remember using Wordstar and DBase, let alone administrating Unix servers. I can also recall the "massive" retraining required for users when migrating to Windows. Oh no, that's right, it wasn't massive, and nothing like the confusion reigning as a result of the introduction of Orifice 2007.

Typical tosh from the duty MS troll.

Paris because...(the rest of this statement is left as an exercise for the reader)

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Unhappy

@AC 12:42

You're afraid.

You know only Microsoft technology.

Look behind you. There is an elephant in the room.

Become informed and it will go away.

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End-costumers

"This situation gives rise to a direct interference in the software options of end-costumers...."

Surely, the ones who dress up as Stormtroopers or Klingons, then, right?

I'm not even sure what an "end-costumer" is, really.

Simple typos are fun, especially when they turn into other, real words, but have TOTALLY different meanings. :P

Grabbing my taco... er... coat.

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Happy

Lot of trolls here, ain't there?

I recently made a commitment to entirely go with Linux and I assure you the level of grief I experience on a daily basis has shrunk immeasurably. I am slipping nicely into standards of computing that I hitherto had considered make-believe.

I am productively programming with an ease I thought had gone years ago and if I ever do have a moment of angst its because I remember "this isn't the microsoft approach" and guess what? It all just goes away!

Open tools and operating systems are *the* sensible, productive and rewarding (both personally and financially) way to go. I just wish I had done it years ago. I was scared. Now I just regret the years of fucking waste I have had in my career being tied to MS.

The revelation. Its a fucking breath of fresh air.

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@Why would you want to be non-MS?

It's not that the government is refusing to use opensource solutions - it's that the page to even find out about them is deliberately MS only.

It would be like forcing everyone to submit their tax returns online and having a site that only worked in IE - now who would be stupid enough to do that?

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Anonymous Coward

@Darren Bell

He's a troll that's been doing the rounds of threads hereabouts; you'll get to recognise his writing style after a while and can then skip onto the next post without worrying about him.

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Stop

More to the point...

More to the point... the implementation of services should be put in place using whatever technology best serves the purpose. Not whatever a monopoly says that you will use, regardless of poor value for money, poor overall ROI or just poor "fitness-for-purpose". If windows desktop provides the best implementation of a certain service, then use it - if (some variety of) linux provides a better implementation, then use that instead. That's where the competition should be and without competition you don't get improvement... instead you get supplier lock in and extortion.

As for "massive training", I can tell you that it's not that bad when switching users from one system to another. 99% of PC users use their PC to write the odd letter and browsing the Internet along with the obligatory IM client (e-mails for most of these users are just web-based services). Those that consider themselves more advanced tend to indulge in a bit of occasional spreadsheet bashing, downloading of music (unfortunately mostly using iTunes, but this at least runs on two OSes), and maybe a bit of half-hearted management of digital photos. The majority of these users just want a cheap, reliable system that doesn't sound like a jet engine taking off, starts from cold quickly, is tolerably fast enough to perform the tasks required of it and has big buttons (icons for the rest of us) on the screen allowing them to start writing a letter or browse the Internet.

In the real business world, users tend to stick to the same staple of web browing, e-mail (more often a rich client than a web based e-mail system), letter writing, spreadsheet mangling and plotting how to induce comatose hypnosis (presentations). After that its a case of custom, specialist applications which, for very evident support reasons, are now more and more likely to be web based and a huge tranch of terminal emulator use to access critical business systems that "still" run on those nasty old Unix systems that have been reliably plodding away for the last 25 years.

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Linux

I do not wish to create a title for my rather brief comment

Truly it is Microsoft only if you can't even use Firefox running on a Windows box to access it (or Opera, I imagine). You can run IE under Linux with WINE, but that is beyond any expectations the government should have.

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Black Helicopters

RE: Why would you want to be non-MS?

I think our rather uninformed and outmoded AC is Ted Dziuba

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/26/dziuba_linux_desktop/

He is patently a troll.

I rather think there is probably something going on in the el Reg offices to see who can draw the biggest response.

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Alert

what really annoys me...

is not being able to post comments or even flame Orlowski's articles... and they are pure flamebait with regular "freetard" jibes at Linux users.

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Happy

MS-Only Web Portal

Anyone want to bet it checks for the bowser type whether it needs to or not?

Somebody's relative wanted to be a "web-guru"

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Gates Horns

Socialist Party Smoke Screen

The Socialist Party (PS) in government has long been in bed with Microsoft. A great part of this government's "technology jump" initiative compromised of subsidizing Windows labtops for school children, much to the joy of manufacturers like Toshiba.

Meanwhile schools were closed down and teachers let go. Also, schools that have temporary classrooms, or whole temporary installations, made out of pre-fabricated material - and that have been like this for over 30 years - continue to decay. There was a news report illustrating this sad situation during this winter when they showed decaying classrooms with no heating, with teachers and students unable to concentrate on the task at hand, but there were no lack of labtop computers in the classroom.

Then there's also the issue of the "Magalhães", what is essentially a plagiarism of the "One Labtop per Child" initiative in which they basically use a Windows XP netbook in a ruggedized casing which is assembled in Portugal (not built, like our media loves to tout) and then given off as an example of Portuguese ingenuity.

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