debate about Free software for the ACT Government

Alex Satrapa grail at
Wed Apr 24 23:03:50 EST 2002

At 09:43  23/04/02 +1000, Doug Palmer wrote:
>Benefit of being able to make proficiency in something part of the job 

Compaq produced the A+ certification, which is a level below a MCSA (I'm 
not sure I'm usign the right words here).

Red Hat have produced the RHCE, but I'm not sure that this would be 
suitable for someone you want to stick on level 1 helpdesk.  The Linux 
(Open Unix-Like) world needs something similar to the A+, so that people 
can be confident that the staff they are hiring for level 1 helpdesk will 
actually be useful.  Mind you, level 1 helpdesk is more about copping flak 
from irate users, than about actually being of any practical use, but it 
always helps to be able to know what you're talking about ;)

>Cost of Outlook viruses. :-)

Easiest and cheapest way for a Microsoft shop to avoid virus infection is 
to stop using Outlook.

>Cost of installation.

1 windows box = 8 hours. 2 windows boxen = 16 hours.  It's a linear scale, 
since you have to sit in front of the box, shuffling CDs and clicking 
dialog buttons all day.  God forbid you install one of the service packs 
out of order, 'cos then you have to start all over again.

1 Debian box = 30mins. 2 Debian boxen = 45 minutes.  It's linear after 
that, since you still have to manually enter in stuff like disk 
partitions.  Package installation could be scripted.

Both these time estimates assume that you've had time to think about what 
you want to have installed, so you have a plan.

>Cost of outages.

I've only had outages on my Linux boxen when hard drives, motherboards or 
power supplies fail.  My windows boxen suffer random problems, mostly due 
to applications misbehaving or altering registry entries they really 
shouldn't be altering.

>Administration cost.

A Debian box that is still network-enabled can be remotely administered 
over the proverbial piece of wet string.  Remotely administering a Windows 
box requires enough bandwidth to handle VNC, PC Anywhere or Microsoft's 
remote management console.

>  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

My own personal experience has been that Unix-like systems report more 
detail about problems than Windows systems.  Windows will say "something 
went wrong", a Unix system will provide detail such as, "Could not open 
file blah.tmp for writing, disk full at line 832".

>Programmer's wage rates for vertical application software.

MCSE's are cheaper than Unix equivalents - Microsoft and Unisys have said 
so! (

>Reliability of application software (The Linux kernel may be solid as a 
>rock, but most application software on both platforms crashes 
>distressingly often.)

I don't remember the last time I had to reboot my Linux mail server due to 
a failure in Postfix, Apache, Zope, Tomcat, Netscape, Mozilla, ...

My Windows desktop has to be rebooted three times a day thanks to Microsoft 
Messenger, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word.


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