debate about Free software for the ACT Government

Doug Palmer doug at
Wed Apr 24 22:01:49 EST 2002

On 2002.04.24 23:03 Alex Satrapa wrote:
> At 09:43  23/04/02 +1000, Doug Palmer wrote:
>> Benefit of being able to make proficiency in something part of the job 
>> criteria.
> Compaq produced the A+ certification, which is a level below a MCSA (I'm 
> not sure I'm usign the right words here).

I was actually thinking more on the application side. For an 
archaeologist, say, having "familiar with Microsoft Office" in a set of 
selection criteria doesn't sound too unreasonable. But "familiar with 
OpenOffice" seems like a bit of hurdle. Being able to do this cuts down on 
the amount of time and resources needed to get someone up and working.

>> Cost of Outlook viruses. :-)
> Easiest and cheapest way for a Microsoft shop to avoid virus infection 
> is to stop using Outlook.

This is true. But, other than being one of the finest viral hosts devised 
by human intelligence, Outlook is a very good program to use. I don't know 
of any free software alternative that even comes close. Until someone 
comes up with a decent alternative, it'll be very hard to wean people off 

>> 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.

Other people have pointed out that this is just plain wrong. I'd just like 
to add that, even without ghost, I've installed 4 Win2k and 4 NT servers 
in half a day; it seemed pretty easy to cycle around the boxes at the time.

<Stuff that I secretly agree with, even though I'd like to see some hard 

>> Programmer's wage rates for vertical application software.
> MCSE's are cheaper than Unix equivalents - Microsoft and Unisys have 
> said so! (

Do MCSEs learn _any_ real programming?

I was thinking more along the lines of finding people who could program 
Windows UIs as opposed to (say) GNOME UIs.

>> 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.

Umm. You appear to be comparing a server system with a desktop system 
here. I'm used to Win2k servers staying up forever too. How about 
comparing apples with apples?

On the desktop side, I'm _used_ to balsa, netscape, StarOffice, xcdroast 
and pan -- the apps that come to mind -- bombing out on me at regular 
intervals. I've even had the GIMP lock up and don't get me started about 
gnumeric. And, at that point, do I really care whether the system needs to 
be rebooted or a program has crashed? My work has just evaporated into a 
cloud of digital butterflies both times.

(It's only fair to say that I'm not used to Office2k on Win2k bombing out. 
But I hardly put it under the same sort of pressure that I put on Linux 

Doug Palmer   doug at

More information about the linux mailing list