[Linux-aus] Young Aussies say pirated software is OK

Glen Turner gdt at gdt.id.au
Wed Feb 18 22:02:55 EST 2009

Arthur Marsh wrote:

> Aren't IT services at South Australian TAFE colleges out-sourced to EDS?

That confuses administration and teaching.  Even if TAFE internally use
SAP or PeopleSoft that doesn't prevent them teaching MYOB.

> Do EDS offer managed GNU/Linux IT services?

Yes. The big firms have been supporting Linux for some years now.

> Should bidders for government funded IT services be required to have 
> competence to deliver solutions based on Free software?

It would depend on the particular work being bidded for. Hopefully
the next time a tender for desktop support is written it will
include Ubuntu and RHEL.  I can't see that any of the firms that
currently bid for such large business would have any trouble filling
the requirement. The point would be more to not make the support
an expensive ex-contract item.

> The other invisible elephant in the use of software is how costs of 
> Microsoft software are met - it is automatically assumed that there will 
> be licensing (and maintenance, including extra staff, hardware...) costs 
> and the costs are passed on in such a way as to obscure their 
> blood-sucking effect on the local economy.

Ah. Here's the problem -- if you don't want a headcount-based license
fee then you need to somehow count machines.  And since the use
of not-Microsoft software varies considerably by profession the
count of machines would need to be more like a census than a

At the prices a large business pays for Microsoft licenses the cost
of the census would run at about 20% of the total costs.

Note that I totally agree about the lack of incentive arising from
headcount-based license fees. The trick is to negotiate an alternative
with an implementation cost which is not large and which you can
convince Microsoft to accept.

> Arthur (imagining billboard posters with slogans such as "Free as in 
> Freedom" and "Don't fear the penguin").

IHMO all vendor-PR signage in inappropriate unless you are a vendor.
I particularly wince when I see Microsoft and Cisco posters in
state government offices (as I recently did). These imply an unhealthy
lack of objective evaluation.

  Glen Turner

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