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[2]: Not likely
by Laurence on Sun 11th Jul 2010 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Not likely"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"Move like this requires stronger drivers than just cost savings


Not in the current economic situation it doesn't.
"


Even in the current economic situation as the sort term costs for switching to Linux would be more expensive:
* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff
* rebuilding thousands of workstations
* testing thousands of applications
* and the massive amount of man hours wasted on red tape, meetings and project management.

And lets not forget that the current workstations already have XP licences - so it's not as if they have to pay that much at the moment.


The real saving in switching to Linux will be the long term. But governments (and particularly Britain's local and national governments) are notoriously bad for taking the long term plan - regardless of how much smarter and/or cheaper it works out.


Having worked in local government for many years, I really can't see this change happening. At best it will be a consideration, but more likely it's nothing more than a "pie in the sky" idea.

Edited 2010-07-11 23:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Not likely
by deathshadow on Sun 11th Jul 2010 23:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

I was going to post this big long rant, but you covered everything I was going to say.

Of course with my experiences with linux as a desktop OS, I don't see it as a good long term plan either given what a total tinkertoy it remains with every application stuck in 'catch-up' mode or being pale comparisons to their commercial counterparts.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[4]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:41 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I was going to post this big long rant, but you covered everything I was going to say.


Hey look you were voted down.

I remember how your early skepticism of HTML5 video was also voted down, especially if you brought up the issue of DRM. I guess now that Hulu and YouTube have stated that they need Flash for protected video it seems that it was for the best to have your opinion buried from public view.

Vote me down too please you fucking pussies, I only care if Deathshadow reads this.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[4]: Not likely
by ssa2204 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:17 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22

I was going to post this big long rant, but you covered everything I was going to say.

Of course with my experiences with linux as a desktop OS, I don't see it as a good long term plan either given what a total tinkertoy it remains with every application stuck in 'catch-up' mode or being pale comparisons to their commercial counterparts.


Agreed. What we have here are people that think there are actually alternatives, because as you say some "tinkertoy" application was made, that is in fact playing catch up. Problem here is that some of the catch up is still years behind, and/or barely functional

What we have are ignorant people that think something with 3% of the functionality can easily replace what simply works. The idea of replacing an Active Directory domain with Linux is just asinine. I just find it incredible to think that that continuing piece of shit called Open Office could be anywhere compared to MS Office.

This is such a idiotic argument to begin with, it is like deciding that the VW Beetle would make a good workhouse for a construction team. Yeah, theoretically this will work, but.....

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Not likely
by dylansmrjones on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:13 in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff
* rebuilding thousands of workstations
* testing thousands of applications
* and the massive amount of man hours wasted on red tape, meetings and project management.


These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

Retraining the IT-staff can be quite expensive, but there are other and cheaper solutions. And planned correctly the expensive will be self-financed in less than four years. Considering how much money is wasted on inefficient proprietary solutions due to incompetent planning there is simply no basis for claiming particularly high costs for switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 04:45 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

Retraining the IT-staff can be quite expensive, but there are other and cheaper solutions. And planned correctly the expensive will be self-financed in less than four years. Considering how much money is wasted on inefficient proprietary solutions due to incompetent planning there is simply no basis for claiming particularly high costs for switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD.


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.

The biggest problem I see is moving templates, macro's and so forth over to OpenOffice.org 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.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:22 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

What's happening at our organisation is they've frozen non-essential upgrades.
So users who are running Office 2003 on XP will not be upgraded to Office 2007+ and/or Win7 unless their job critically depends upon it.

This has a three-fold effect:
* it reduces costs in having to buy new licences for newer software,
* reduces the need for hardware upgrades (to keep up with the increasing footprints of newer software)
* and reduces the need for training (as few people are upgrading and those who do, are more less likely to need new training as they've specifically requested for the upgrade)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Not likely
by l3v1 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06


* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff


I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today. The computing field is not a static industry, it's in constant change, and that should be calculated in work plans for longer periods of time. There is no 50 year long operating cycle here, IT staff and users/workers should be expected to be willing and able to adapt to changing scenarios. If one's reasons are the stiffness of their workforce, then they have the wrong management combined with the wrong workers. I know I sound a bit over the top, but I stand by it.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:57 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today. The computing field is not a static industry, it's in constant change, and that should be calculated in work plans for longer periods of time. There is no 50 year long operating cycle here, IT staff and users/workers should be expected to be willing and able to adapt to changing scenarios. If one's reasons are the stiffness of their workforce, then they have the wrong management combined with the wrong workers. I know I sound a bit over the top, but I stand by it.


I agree with you in principle, but unfortunately in the real world such reasons are a fact of life.

I'd love to see Linux pushed more on workstations as there are many benefits which haven't been discussed here yet. But to switch thousands of users (many of who struggle with MS Word, let alone Excel and Windows on a wider scale) would be a huge strain on the budget as you would have to train them.

While I appreciate that Windows and MS Office isn't a stationary platform, at the moment (and at least where I work) they are. Workstations are NOT being upgraded from XP and MS Office is only being upgraded to 2007 upon special request (and after a great deal of bureaucratic BS).

Maybe when budgets increase and governments are looking to upgrade their infrastructure, maybe then switching to Linux might became more financially viable. But if and when that happens, Linux will lose the cost-saving driving force it has now.

So the point I was making is switching workstations to Linux isn't the cheapest solution just because of XP licenses. Realistically, no action and no upgrades are cheaper.

However, it's a completely different ball game when you talk about server infrastructure. THAT is where Linux can make the biggest savings for a government depending on expensive Windows Server licenses. However I can't see much happening there either as the more likely outcome will be that the IT department (and their hardware) will be outsourced and sold off; Which again does work out a great deal more expensive in the long run, but as I've said in this discussion before - our government are more interested in short term gains than what makes the most sense in the long term. And add to that the governments love for distancing itself from responsibility and liability. After all, if you don't own the IT department then you don't get the blame when technology inevitably crashes.


I'd love to be the Chief Executive and Chief Councilor of my local authority for just one day - as there is so much I would change. However that is as likely to happen as the Conservatives are to back track on their sale of public services.

</rant>

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Tue 13th Jul 2010 01:29 in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26



I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today.


It's easy for you to say that when you are talking about someone else's wallet.

I've seen how fast retraining costs can escalate and how inflexible office workers can be. You can't expect organizations to ignore these issues in favor of funding software that you value.

Reply Parent Score: 2