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[4]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
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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.


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