[Linux-aus] NT govt eyes Linux in $35M desktop overhaul

anthony hornby anthony.hornby at cdu.edu.au
Thu May 12 06:49:02 UTC 2005

Thought this was of interest to the group, I was alerted to it by Sam
Franklin, one of the DarLUG guys:


NT govt eyes Linux in $35M desktop overhaul

Rodney Gedda

11/05/2005 11:14:29

Northern Territory's department of corporate and information systems
(DCIS) has issued a white paper requesting proposals for its second
generation whole of government desktop outsourcing contract which
includes provisions for an open source solution.

The document was released on May 10 and states that the existing
contract with CSC will cease in June 2006 so DCIS can refocus the
desktop contracts to "substantially lower the overall cost to

"NTG is currently reviewing a range of operating systems for its future
personal computing platform. These include Windows, Linux and thin
client systems," the document states.

DCIS has seen a wide range of "predominantly partisan" reports on the
relative merits of Windows, open source and thin client environments and
is assessing these reports in conjunction with agency experience in
using each of the operating systems.

Round one of NT's desktop outsourcing adventure was valued at $35
million but DCIS expects to reduce total outgoings for desktop
contracts, as currently operating, to "reduce significantly" over the
next contract period. Furthermore, the number of client devices - now at
8200 desktops and 1870 notebooks - to increase as a result of more
adoption of mobile devices like PDAs and tablet PCs.

In somewhat of an anomaly for a government procurement guideline, the
white paper specifically states "to avoid future incompatibilities" all
hardware and peripherals procured must "be able to connect to and
operate under open source operating systems".

The NT government has "a range of open source technologies in production
across a number of agencies and is expecting, in the near term, to
increase the use of open source technologies". The pace and extent of
the uptake, however, is "not known at this stage".

The document also states that Microsoft Windows and Office operating
environments are "likely remain predominant" over the next two to three
years due to "legacy applications that rely on the Windows operating
system", DCIS plans to promote increased use of a Web computing model
for its enterprise applications.

In terms of licensing, DCIS is open to outsourcing licence management to
a desktop service provider or establishing a range of enterprise

"Of particular interest is NTG's approach to its Microsoft operating
system and office automation licences," the white paper states. "Service
providers and agencies are invited to make submissions in relation to
the management of NTG's software licensing, including the merits of
entering into an enterprise agreement for Microsoft products."

By assessing the document exchange profile between public sector
employees, agencies, and external parties, DCIS has concluded that
"government document exchange is largely internal".

"The vast majority of communication and collaboration is internal to
government, therefore enabling NTG to consider open source solutions for
office automation and collaboration software," the white paper states.

This paves the way for solutions around the OpenOffice.org productivity
suite to be put forward.

DCIS ICT Tender Office director Brad Irvine could not comment on the
white paper, but will do the final tendering process once the final
strategy is known in July.

Other objectives of the new DCIS sourcing strategy is to increase local
small to medium enterprise participation in outsourced services,
enhancing their capabilities to serve both NTG and other markets.

Mr Anthony Hornby RHCE BIT ALIATEC
Library Systems & Technology Coordinator
Charles Darwin University | CRICOS 300K
anthony.hornby at cdu.edu.au | office +61 8 89 466011

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