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

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Thu Jul 3 07:01:14 GMT 2008

On 03/07/2008, at 16:28 , Kim Holburn wrote:

> I don't see how you can say that.  It's not only not cheap, when  
> you add all the crap like AV, anti-malware, decent software  
> firewall and applications in, it's not cheap, it's not simple.   
> It's not simple to install, it's not even simple to manage the  
> licenses.

Ah, but here's where the magic of corporate accounting comes into play.

The licence for Windows comes with the Dell/HP/whatevernamebrand  
computer. That's an invisible cost, which is paid from the hardware  
budget (which is where the money comes from for the OEM computer).

The licence for everything else comes from the IT budget. They've  
paid for a site licence, which means there is no per-machine cost. So  
again, the cost per computer is invisible. Even worse, there is  
absolutely no saving to be made by replacing anything less than 100%  
of the computers with the alternative.

In fact, the incremental cost of replacing a Windows box with a Linux  
box can become higher, since first the site licence cost is amortised  
over fewer machines, but also the site licence cost goes up on a per- 
computer basis when buying a site licence to cover fewer computers.

> When you add up all things like: OS, Applications, protection,  
> licensing negotiation and compliance.  I don't believe it's low at  
> all.

That's the catch, you have to find some way to associate the relevant  
costs with each computer, then prove that replacing something less  
than 100% of the Windows licences with something else will actually  
save money.

Then there's the training costs for retraining staff to use the new  
operating system and OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office.

> Why not?  Regulating say that document standards must be open in  
> the sense that there must be at least 2 completely different office  
> suites that can read and edit the same documents, a second source  
> in other words.

There already are 2 completely different office suites that can read  
and edit Microsoft Word documents. Just produce a sufficiently simple  
Microsoft Word document, and even Apple's Textedit application can  
edit it cleanly.

This leads to the idea of somehow producing a "compliance metric"  
through which to measure (in one dimension) the compliance to the  
chosen document standard.

> Or they could regulate that the public must be able to interact  
> with a department without using Microsoft products.

That can be solved by distributing forms as Adobe PDF. PDF allows for  
documents to be used as form, to be filled out and sent back to the  
department for example. Still doesn't address the issue of Microsoft  
owning the Australian Government.

> Regulation doesn't have to be anti-Microsoft, it just has to  
> mandate real open and interoperable standards.

There's this neat new standard ISO DIS 29500. It's a real standard  
that is open, and IIRC received almost unanimous support from all  
member countries.


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