debate about Free software for the ACT Government
doug at charvolant.org
Tue Apr 23 21:43:04 EST 2002
On 2002.04.23 20:44 Richard Cottrill wrote:
> It sounds like it could be a great idea. If the government were to take
> of the cash it spends on proprietary, closed, for-cost software, and
> it on development/support for free software it uses then Canberra wins in
> many ways - like working towards a critical mass of
> that is necessary for the IT enterprises it keeps bleating about.
Just to put my skeptics hat on for a moment. Has anybody tried to do a
proper calculation of total cost of ownership to show that there actually
would be savings from moving across to free software? (Yes, yes, I know
that Microsoft makes this claim. But as far as I can see this is just PR
flack work. About as convincing as the claims from free software advocates
that no license fee == savings.)
Just to sketch out the factors that might have to be considered, and I'm
sure others can add to this:
Cost of training.
Help desk support, plus the cost of hiring semi-competent people.
Benefit of being able to make proficiency in something part of the job
Benefit of providing staff with something they percieve as improving their
Cost of Outlook viruses. :-)
Cost of installation.
Cost of hardware.
Cost of outages.
Administration cost. This would include such anything from the ability to
remotely administer a network to the cost/benefit of being able to isolate
and fix a problem as opposed to just re-installing
Programmer's wage rates for vertical application software.
Reliability of application software (The Linux kernel may be solid as a
rock, but most application software on both platforms crashes
And so on ...
What would be interesting would be if there was a way of actually
calculating some of this out for various scenarios. With a bit of luck, a
reasonably disinterested party has already done this.
Doug Palmer http://www.charvolant.org/~doug doug at charvolant.org
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