[clug] AGIMO seeks comments (again) on productivity software file formats

Steve Walsh steve at nerdvana.org.au
Fri Feb 17 03:25:25 MST 2012

On 02/17/2012 08:27 PM, Paul Wayper wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On 02/17/2012 12:24 PM, Alex (Maxious) Sadleir wrote:
>> Last time on the AGIMO Blog:
>> http://www.zdnet.com.au/agimo-faces-down-office-standard-critics-339308747.htm
> My comment is: John Sheridan says:
> [our job is] "not to choose a more perfect standard and then move 265,000 PCs
> to it"
> Which really reads:
> "Microsoft has achieved vendor lock-in exactly the way you all told us they
> would, and now we're going to hand them all the money they want because we're
> afraid of the cost of change."

No, I'm sure it reads

[our job is] "not to choose a more perfect standard and then move 265,000 PCs to it"

Agimo isn't a "super desktop deployment team", they're a department 
formed to do various things, only a small part of which is the MS 
licensing. They also run ICON, Fedlink and MCN (with Finance), they 
advise various departments on things like the WoG ICT arrangements 
opt-out policy 
and even try to source secure datacentres.

Have a read of http://agimo.govspace.gov.au/about/ sometime and see what 
they do.

> And the problem we have is that we lack a lot of the shiny presentations that
> make Microsoft seems so credible, and a lot of the integration that is really
> vendor lock-in.  Microsoft sells vendor lock-in as a feature: if you buy our
> products, all your stuff will work together.  And that sounds wonderfully
> tempting to a CIO who hasn't also been a sysadmin or on desktop support -
> because it's about as realistic as "and you can write your documents in
> Microsoft Word and then publish them directly as HTML!".

Yes, this would be a problem. It would be a horrendous problem. 
Insurmountable, in fact. If the community was the one providing the 
training, the support and all the little commercial extras and addons.

But we're not.

Companies like Red Hat, Oracle (love them or hate them), HP, IBM, 
Unisys, Squiz Interactive etc, are the ones that should be trying to 
push open source to AGIMO. Yes, squiz worked with AGIMO to produce the 
web publishing and web content accessibility guidelines whitebook. But 
we have the PM&C website still running on Coldfusion.

This comes back to points I've raised before (hold off on hitting that 
delete key for a second), we have 165k public servants. I can remember 
someone ruminating at CLUG one time that only about half the people in 
the APS actually do any work, so let's halve that to 87.5k people.

AGIMO decide to ditch MS Office, and roll out Libre office. So, that's 
87,500 people that now need to undertake a basic bit of training so they 
know how to mail merge, hack up the XML to do that thing that is only a 
two button click on Office, etc. Call it $250 a head, so that's 
$21,875,000 for that bit of training.

Let's be fair and say another 20k of those now need some mysql training 
so they can rebuild all those crappy little access databases they use. 
call that $500 (cheap, I know, but stay with me and keep your finger off 
the delete key). $10,000,000 right there.

Now, every time some starts in the APS, every second person will need to 
do training (keeping up the "only half" principle). I'm going to ignore 
the lost productivity as half the public service decamps for 3 weeks to 
complete training here as it's initially rolled out. And if only half 
the people in the APS do work, that means everything grinds to a halt 
for that period.

Everyone in IT will need to do some inkscape training so they can do the 
pretty diagrams to send off to vendors. Call that $750 for 40,000 
people, or $30,000,000

So. 165,000 people cost $85,800,000 in MS licences.

87,500 people cost $0 in licences, and a paltry $61,875,000 in training. 
Think of the boon for the training industries! Why won't someone think 
of the training industries!

The point I'm trying to make here is that you cannot say to AGIMO "Open 
source is totally free! you don't have to pay a cent!" when they have to 
think about having 87,500 people having the tools, training and support 
they need to their job.

It might sound great to get every government CIO into a room, give them 
a slick demonstration of how easy it is to configure software raid in 
anaconda, demonstrate how postfix, exim and sendmail work out of the 
box, and the best part is they don't need to expensive support 
contracts, because their staff can just email the local LUG, but that 
just won't fly;

from: Peter.<redacted>@<redacted>.gov.au
subject" <redacted> <redacted> on <redacted> [SEC: TOP SECRET]

Hi guys

I've installed <redacted> onto our <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> with 
<redacted> Gb of <redacted> and <redacted> Gb of <redacted> . Whenever I 
try to <redacted> the <redacted> , I get a whole bunch of log files with 
the below in them;

<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> <redacted> 
<redacted> <redacted>

Has anyone using version <redacted> of <redacted> seen this happen on 
<redacted> hardware?


Peter <redacted>
Department of <redacted> and <redacted>

Just not the same, is it?

> I kind of agree with Bruce Perens here - we need to talk to these people more
> - - but it's a terribly difficult job, since the FOSS community doesn't have an
> actual hierarchy or public relations bureau and CIOs at the moment don't
> understand why a random guy in a business shirt and well-clipped beard is
> bothering them about how freedom and zero cost are worth more than an
> interoperable straitjacket when they've got a meeting in five minutes with the
> head of Microsoft Asia-Pacific.

That seems like a pretty wide reaching generalisation, Paul. Do you have 
any indications that MSFT is shipping zone managers around to negotiate 
site licence deals, even with AGIMO?

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