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[3]: Not likely
by dylansmrjones on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:13 UTC 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

Ridiculous
by MeatAndTaters on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:28 in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
MeatAndTaters Member since:
2005-11-16

Have you ever actually been inside a business? You're going to go tell the Accounting department that you're taking away Excel? Are you nuts? This is so ridiculous it sounds like Slashdot circa 2001.... StarOffice, yeah! ApplixWare, yeah!

HR just LOVES getting resumes in .odt format. What the hell is this? Move to the back of the employment line, Junior.....

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:34 in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


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 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.

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.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:10 in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


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.


There are word templates and excel macros that will turn to garbly gook in Open Office. Some of these templates and macros cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop

Real Estate is an area where such templates are used extensively and you would be crazy to push the typical RE business into switching to OpenOffice with the expectation that they convert all their custom legal templates to odf.

Your typical Real Estate agent will piss away the cost of MS Office at a couple business lunches.

If you want to push open source then that is fine but drop this silly notion that it is in the best interest of every business to switch.

Reply Parent Score: 2

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[5]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:22 in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

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)


Unfortunately there are idiots who run businesses who don't see software and hardware investment in the same way they see investing in smoozing with customers, sales rep cars etc. as being critical. It is truly amazing how in an organisation the productivity drops like a stone but they'll focus on upgrading everything else in the organisation except for the software and hardware. It is time for business owners to wake up and actually realise that just because the customer can't see it doesn't mean that such investments are useless - the investment is but one component in a larger machinery and understanding how a minor change can bring improvements in productivity is paramount to ensuring that your company stays on the cutting edge of competitiveness.

Reply Parent Score: 3