Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Jul 2010 19:43 UTC
Microsoft U.K. government staff suggested replacing Microsoft Corp. operating systems on computers with free alternatives in response to a call for ideas for Prime Minister David Cameron's cost-cutting drive.
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RE[5]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
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I would argue that the retraining cost of the IT staff would be minimal; part of their job entails keeping up with the latest trends and constantly up-skilling. I've yet to go into a IT setting where at least half the staff isn't dabbling or using Linux full time on their computer at home with some sort of server/client setup. About the only thing you'll want to do in the case is maybe formalise the education to fill in the gaps but I don't see it being all that complex to be entirely honest.

I wish that was the case, but government contracts are amongst the lowest paid work around.
So IT roles within the government I work tend to be split into two camps:

* highly specialised consultants who are heavily paid but generally only employed for the duration of any given project

* and in house IT staff who are under-paid, over-worked, and often the dregs of the IT sector (as any sane person who loves IT gets fed up and leave the public sector to more engaging roles with better pay)

Staff like the former will be little help once the transition to Linux is complete as they'll be too expensive to keep around.
And staff like the latter are unlikely to be the same Linux-curious employees that you'd experience in many private sector IT departments.

I know I paint a negative picture of government employees and I'm making a number of generalisations. Obviously there's good and bad employees in every company, but the general trend I have experience is definitely true to the above.

The biggest problem I see is moving templates, macro's and so forth over to but like anything there will be some initial pain and suffering - as long as you keep your eye on the end target you'll pull through the transition ok. The problem is that far too many projects are given up on half way through because it is 'too tough' - which is pretty disappointing if you ask me.

This is true.
But not just macros, Access databases, bespoke VB6 applications, etc.

It's not impossible to port all of this across, but it's not cheap nor a quick process.

As much as I'd love to see government lose it's dependence on Microsoft, I also have to concede that it just doesn't make any sense at the moment.

What I'd prefer to see is the expensive Windows Sever infrastructure moved over to Linux (or BSD even). There is more likely to be savings there than on the workstations.

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