[Linux-aus] [Fwd: Re: [xxxxxxx] FW: Re: S.A. Parliament - Ubuntu Matter of Interest]

James Purser purserj at k-sit.com
Sun Dec 3 10:05:05 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-12-03 at 11:42 +1030, Brenda Aynsley wrote:
> Would anyone on these lists care to argue the case in the interest of 
> educating professional ICT practitioners who are not across the issue?
I'll  bite.

> ++++++++++++++++
> "My one cent worth on open source software......
> Open source software is not really free as Matt said. The cost of free 
> open source software is migration, maintenance and reliability issues.

There are going to be costs involved with implementing any platform.
When we talk about Free it is more in the sense of freedom to build on
whats come before.

> That is why it is currently used mostly for running non-critical or 
> highly expensive infrastructure (which require less reliability). So it 
> remains largely with enthusiasts and much of the commercial use is found 
>   to be delivering non critical web content, internet services and other 
> non critical internet-related services.

I'm sorry but this is just plain wrong. Free and Open Source Software
can be found running everything from simple web servers to CG Render
farms through to massive super computer clusters.

>  These are only the areas where 
> level of reliability of free open source software is good enough to be 
> used. Where more reliable services are required, it is more of Unix 
> flavours which are more often used than Linux.

I might suggest that you have a chat with someone from Yahoo or Google,
who rely on Linux to power their search engines.

>  There are plenty of GUI's 
> which work well with Unix or any Linux versions used at the backend. So 
> the most used server have  Unix/Linux flavours and destop level 
> softwares are either Novell or Microsoft or even legacy DOS used in some 
> countries. To replace an operating system there are some main areas 
> whihc need first attention when migrating to open source software. Costs 
> include change of hardware, retraining staff, additional expert 
> maintenance staff, buying online support 24/7, design and
> implementation of addtional redundancy to have 100% backup in case of
> breakdown.

Okay lets tackle this one point by point:

1) Replacing Hardware:

	Depending on what you are doing you may not even have to replace your
hardware. However I would like to point out that even switching from
different versions of Windows (such as NT4->2000->2003) will usually
require a hardware upgrade.

2) Retraining Staff/Additional Staff:
	As with any new system there will be training involved. This is not a
special case for Free and Open Source Software.

3) Support:

	Again, this is no different than purchasing support from Microsoft or
Sun or IBM (who do a great line in linux support by the way).

4) Redundancy:

	Once more with feeling, redundancy is something you should have for any
mission critical system.

>  This is why the Sun software (I am taking this only as a
> successful business model example) with its well designed GUI has been 
> made free and they are selling training and support for princely sums.

A note, the Sun GUI is actually a Free and Open Source Project called
Gnome. This was originally developed for Linux based operating systems
before being ported to work with Solaris and other Unixes.
> Everybody has a right to make money.... Don't They? How much is the 
> question. The proponent of open source software does make a business 
> case before switching to open source and also have to keep in mind the 
> longevity of such change.
> Availability of expertise and also cost effectively will be a major 
> factor in such decisions. So if anyone is a policy maker who reads this 
> email should do more research into such decisions regarding open software.

I would welcome a report into the availability of skilled ICT workers
with a focus on FOSS.

> Also.... each flavour of Unix/Linux is different and some are more 
> reliable in some areas than others. This demands careful planning when 
> switching and planning its long time support. Each business/organisation 
> has different operational procedures and may need different scale of 
> reliability and operational flexibility in the operation of its computer 
> systems, which will also affect the choice of software used.
> Unfortunately Microsoft has set the path for unreliable and inefficient
> software writing...... Well, we shall feel this for a long time to come,
> even in open source software development.

Tarring the whole ICT sector with one brush because Microsoft has a
legacy of being unreliable is not helpful.

Many of the issues raised in this email pertain not specifically to Free
and Open Source Software but to platform development in general. I would
encourage the poster to do more investigation into what is on offer
through FOSS and sit down and talk with both advocates and business that
rely upon FOSS to operate.

There, thats my two cents worth, if anyone else wants to join in please
James Purser
Producer/Presenter - Open Source On The Air
A LocalFOSS Production
irc: #localfoss on irc.freenode.net
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