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Australian NSW Government Making Way for Linux 92

Posted by timothy
from the step-aside-please-step-aside dept.
seralick writes "Australian IT has reported that the Australian NSW government has established 'Australia's first whole-of-government panel to supply open source software and services to its departments and agencies.' Basically they have opened the way for the wide spread goverment usage of Linux software and services."
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Australian NSW Government Making Way for Linux

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  • Mmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:49AM (#12141938)
    The prime contractors include IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Dell and Novell

    Isn't this just trading one monolith for another?

    Yes, the source may be open now, but as the NSW government gets more reliant on the company, the more one can expect the code to become proprietry.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morlark (814687) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:50AM (#12141944) Homepage
    I think it's a bit late for that now. Governments around the world are starting to realise that Linux is a viable alternative to Windows.
    This reminds me of what's happening with the Computing Society at my university. The society is a strong supporter of Linux, so Microsoft has been offering us free software. They have yet to mention what the catch is, so we'll have to see how it all turns out.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mboverload (657893) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:51AM (#12141954) Journal
    Don't even get your hopes up. They will bribe the officials just like they do in all the other stories we have heard.
  • Not really. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:52AM (#12141958) Homepage
    If they are licensing via the GPL, and they are using Linux (which runs on open standards and doesn't play well on proprietary standards), then I very much doubt this. The code will remain open.
  • Easy math (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:13AM (#12142026)
    MS: one monolith
    IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Dell and Novell: ehm, more than one, so how can you speak of a monolith?

    And btw., one of the benefits of OSS is that you don't get locked in like you do with say an all out Windows shop. Sure, it might be inconvenient to switch to an other vendor, an other service provider, but at least it is possible without giving up your current solution.
  • Re:Mmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:15AM (#12142033) Homepage
    but as the NSW government gets more reliant on the company, the more one can expect the code to become proprietry.

    This is the entire reason the GPL has become so popular in the first place. It ensures you always have [i]some[/i] escape from such a situation.
  • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:20AM (#12142050) Journal
    The panel was formed to save government agencies the time and trouble of running open tenders. It was also formed to provide Linux-based services.

    Yes, perhaps this may lock out smaller companies or organizations, but it does promote open source usage by making it simpler to get.

    The main goal, as I see it, is to break the Microsoft stranglehold. If it requires the use of larger companies at the expense of smaller ones, so be it. If Linux captures a large share of the market, through these designated companies, then smaller players can come in and compete directly based on technical merit.

    If Ubuntu is better than SuSE is, let it compete against SuSE. But Ubuntu doesn't have much chance to compete against the might of Microsoft without the help of Novell, IBM and others.
  • Re:Mmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:27AM (#12142076)
    >The prime contractors include IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Dell and Novell
    Isn't this just trading one monolith for another?

    "Monolith" implies a single structure, if not company. There are 5 listed above, and several others.

  • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plierhead (570797) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:58AM (#12142139) Journal
    I wouldn't get out the champagne just yet. Selling to Government is a science all of its own, and one which many companies simply don't attempt as it is so expensive and frustrating. You will still find that the elaborate procurement steps government typically goes through will place far more emphasis on, say, how many other government clients you may have than, say, what computer operating system is used. And your proposal will still be reviewed by a bunch of dreary civil servants who, at worst, will be out and out corrupt and will go for the vendor who flies them to the Gold Coast for a "workshop", and at best, will often go for the MS solution because they have WIndows on their PC at home, use it for doing their genealogy research in the evenings and like it.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paua Fritter (448250) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @05:59AM (#12142144)

    There probably wont be any catch.

    They wan't you familiar with and happy to use windows products when you hit the job market.

    That is the catch

  • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @06:33AM (#12142242)
    I never thought I'd see this. I wonder if Bill Gates will fly in and offer massive discounting for govt depts, like he did for Telstra?

    A very good point.

    I want Governments to be driving Open Source adoption in their departments because they realise the benefits that it gives, not pretending to do so in the hope that they can get better discounts out of Microsoft.

    It it is the latter, then we still have a very long way to go since the masses will equate Linux as being a barganing tool rather than a serious alternative.

  • Re:Crikey! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @07:27AM (#12142344) Journal
    Today must be Australia Day.
    Either that, or all the Australian news is aired during the night after all the important prime-time news is finished.


    Australia is on the other side of the world. When it's evening in North America it's the following morning there.

    Welcome to Planet Earth.
  • by jtangen (861406) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @07:45AM (#12142421)
    Australians have tended to be rather anti-Windoze (see also http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/04/04/16/2311215.s html?tid=137&tid=175 [slashdot.org]). Odd that Apple is dragging their heels with iTMS Oz.
  • by tweek (18111) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:12AM (#12142806) Homepage Journal
    And wonder why in the hell there needs to be a freaking panel on opensource software in any government.

    I've read the articles left and right about hinderances to government implementing non-COTS environments but in the end it's just software!

    I don't remember these kinds of panels and hububaloo about implementing Windows here and there. Was there an implementation panel to provide service and support for Windows when it was brought into the Australian government?

    I'm all for open source as I like getting a paycheck but some of these "program" and "panels" and committees strike me as another sign of government waste.

    Where's the benifit of using an opensource solution when it takes a panel to advise to implement? It's just annoying that people want to make this into something that requires an army of consultants and panelists to do when it's really about just buying software.

  • Re:Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Atmchicago (555403) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @11:21AM (#12144008) Homepage

    since the masses will equate Linux as being a barganing tool rather than a serious alternative.

    Maybe so, but that would definitely be based on flawed logic. If Linux can be used as a bargaining tool, it is because it has the potential to be used as a replacement for Microsoft's products. If Linux was not a viable alternative, it wouldn't be a viable bargaining tool either. Microsoft would just say "Sure! Go ahead and use Linux, you'll be running back to us in a year when you realize that it doesn't work."

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