[Linux-aus] New Federal Govt's Education/PC plans

Randall Crook rcrook at vtown.com.au
Mon Dec 3 09:08:21 UTC 2007

Senectus . wrote:
> We (the industry in general not Lin-Aus) spend a lot of time and
> energy telling people that there are all sorts of dodgy/illegal/scammy
> people out there that will offer and promise you all sorts of things
> that you should not believe because if it seems too good to be true
> then it probably is.
> Not to mention the fact that a Gov network is more than likely going
> to have some pretty stringent rules and policies on installing rouge
> software on their machines...
> I still think that this is a major reason that OSS hasn't been as
> eagerly taken up as I think it should be.
I am currently working for a large govt dept. And with literally
thousands on desktops running losedoze as well as lotus notes, Novel
networking (Yes they are still using it) and three types Office products.

Think of the time and cost involved in purely the retraining of
thousands of "Users" in Open Source Software.... Then there is the 
millions of documents and files that would need to be converted to Open
formats. They still use Lotus Suite for a large number of the files...
Sigh, Open Office wont even open these documents. The Cost of just
migrating the data would be enormous. And this is when you consider you
are not paying for software licences. Man power Costs alone would be
prohibitive. And this is just One Department.

Which IT Manager in any department would be willing to go to his
minister and say "With four years of hard work to retraining 17000
employee in any where up to 10 Software products and Thousands of man
hours for data migration at a great cost, we can save the department
millions a year in software licences."?

There is a glimmer of hope though. The department does have a Unix/Linux
Enterprise Services Division. Yes they use linux, but exclusively in the
Server arena.

Think we need to look more at the area of data migration and User
migration before we think about trying to get the Govt. to use Linux on
the desktop. And so far my own experience in Data Migration and Data
inter-operability in the Open Source Area as fairly sad. Just try to
move your own mail files and address books between the different major
Mail clients Under linux or even share them between them. Nuff Said.

Easy Data Migration and more User compatibility in the Open Source arena
Is going to be essential to converting Government Departments to FOSS.
Licensing Costs per year are peanuts compared to the cost of the man
hours that would be needed to migrate both the users and data. I think
some might be under the impression that all the data the govts. hold is
in big data bases socked away on servers... That is not the real truth
of things. If the dept. I am currently working for is any indication
then there may literally be hundreds of millions of documents in 100s of
different file formats across all of the govt. departments. Think of the
poor admins who would have to gather, convert then reformat all of them.

Just my 2 cents worth.


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