[clug] Any Public Service organisations using Linix desktop and Open Office?

David david at tulloh.id.au
Thu Jul 3 05:26:18 GMT 2008

Daniel Rose wrote:
> ...
> All change carries risk.  In the short term there are big costs involved
> in the change, such as the IT staff turnover, and the time required to
> make the changes.  The "missing" or "broken" features of the new
> environment will be noticed by staff right away, whereas the features
> and other benefits that FOSS might have will take longer to be
> discovered by each staff member without expensive training.
> In general, one could argue that in business you need to take risks to
> make money.  It's not just that the Government executives are
> risk-averse for selfish career reasons, it's more that they are not
> running for-profit entities.  In general this is a good thing,
> Government departments should not use public money in risky endeavours.
> Now the cost per seat from MS for OEM/Select/academic/Govt pricing is so
> low as a fraction of the desk/phone/PC/wages cost that there's a fairly
> small percentage savings to be made financially.  In any case, if the
> business unit uses the must spend budgeting system (or whatever the
> proper name is!) then they will only need to find something else to buy
> instead so as not to have a smaller budget next year.
> ...

As much as I would like to see wholesale government adoption of Linux
I'm not sure that it's going to happen any time soon and I'm not sure
that's a bad thing.

I tend to look at change in general as a gradual process.  If the aim is
to convert a substantial government department like Defence to running
Linux desktops I think you need to approach it gradually.

1. People at home.
2. Small and medium businesses.
3. Small government departments (eg. ABARE, ~150 staff)
4. Medium government departments (eg. ABS, ~4000 staff)
5. Large government departments

I'm not saying that you have to achieve 100% of step one before step
two, but I can't see a large government department switching before a
medium sized one.

The idea of a sudden switch also seems unlikely.  I suspect a switch to
ODF followed by a gradual roll out across teams would be safer.  Most
government departments would have some kind of small Linux presence
already eroding at the edges.


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