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Penguin Not Taking Flight Down Under 294

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the flightless-birds dept.
Bill Bennett writes "New Zealand Reseller News reports that Linux adoption down under is three times lower than North America. From the article: 'Adoption of open source software is slow in the Australasian region according to a report from analyst firm Forrester. Only 18% of the businesses in Australia and New Zealand surveyed for the report were using Linux, while 11% were considering its use. Analyst Sam Higgins says the low rate - three times lower than North America - is because open source is caught between two worlds. He says customers have been conditioned to buy software from vendors and their approved partners.'"
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Penguin Not Taking Flight Down Under

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  • Sheep (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekd (14774) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:46AM (#14497365) Homepage
    He says customers have been conditioned to buy software from vendors and their approved partners.

    Who would have thought there'd be sheep in New Zealand?

    Seriously, if they want to waste their money, I guess it's good for me. Less competition.

    • Re:Sheep (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's got more to do with the fact that New Zealand companies are inept and about half the outsourced IT firms are a bunch of complete fucking cowboys. I've been hired by companies to design websites only to discover that I know considerably more about system administration than their IT services provider. To this day I have an email address with one local small business that should be forwarding to me that regularly stops working every month or so and I have to go hound people to get it working again.

      Linu
      • MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Informative)

        by cralewyth (934970)
        This is so true. I know of a nz high school student who knows more about his school network/computers in general than the admins seem to... Perhaps it's a problem of computer literacy, rather than simply non-availability or whatever.
        • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          High school? Doesn't this happen in like, every high school, not just NZ? The secondary school IT administration all over is far from top-notch. They're the guys with diplomas but no degrees who just happened to know someone with pull in the school system who knew they liked computers.
          Sorry if this offends anyone. It's just from my experiences, and by no means is it a hard and fast rule.
  • If you take two separate monkey clans and observe their behavior, you will find that once a certain number of one clan starts doing something specific (like washing food in a stream before consumption), that the second group, without any contact with the first group will also start doing the same thing automatically. It is called critical mass, and it explains why it takes a long time for something to initially occur, but once a certain number of monkeys start doing it that it automatically spreads to othe
    • f you take two separate monkey clans and observe their behavior, you will find that once a certain number of one clan starts doing something specific (like washing food in a stream before consumption), that the second group, without any contact with the first group will also start doing the same thing automatically. It is called critical mass, and it explains why it takes a long time for something to initially occur, but once a certain number of monkeys start doing it that it automatically spreads to other
      • Interesting, but obviously impossible.

        Atheist. Obviously it's yet another proof of Intelligent Design.

      • My monkey brain just got a stuck on this idea, that I know a lot of the major corporations in Australia are based in the US so those statistics just didn't seem to make any sence. But then Australasia just shrank to be Australia and New Zealand, so I assume they managed shrink the statistical distribution in a similar manner and the size of the companies to boot (a business is a business even if it is a contractor working from home using a desktop).

        Can some one direct me to those companies in Australia th

    • by gibodean (224873) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:03AM (#14497438)
      If the monkey clans don't have any contact, how is it explained that the second group seems to be copying the first group ? Is it behaviour that would just be expected to evolve independantly by each group just due to monkey psychology ?
      Or more likely that there is contact (visual of the stream at least), it's just that the researchers didn't see it....
    • by MightyPez (734706) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:34AM (#14497525)
      A phenomenon that has been debunked. Check the following articles in the Skeptical Inquirer: "The Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon" and "Watson and the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon," by Ron Amundson, SI, Summer 1985, pp. 348-356; and SI, Spring 1987, pp. 303-304.
    • A penguin taking flight? Penguins aren't supposed to 'take flight' -- They're, um, flightless birds. Penguins NOT taking flight is normal, natural, fully expected and probably for the best. Better analogies anyone?

      Maybe Australian Fairy Penguins [wikipedia.org] are the problem in the battle for mindshare. What hard-hitting business-person can seriously urge their adoption in a competitive market?

    • Not applicable here, we're dealing with a monkey clan and a sheep clan.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Penguin Not Taking Flight Down Under

    Sounds like my dick.

    :::Sorry, I almost spiiled my beer on keyboard..still laughting at title

  • Needs to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:49AM (#14497383) Journal
    OSS != Linux
    Linux is a subset of OSS

    The article pretty much uses OSS & Linux interchangeably, which isn't the case.

    Anyways, with that in mind, what exactly does the author mean by "Trojan Horse"?
    The report shows that 50% of organisations using open source software are paying for support and cite that as one of the main challenges for implementation.

    Higgins says some software developers use open source as a professional services Trojan horse.
    • free software, lucrative support contract for if it breaks probably.
    • What they mean is that the consultants can come in and say that the cost of the software is $0.

      Of course, the consulting fees for implementation are large, but perhaps not quite as much in total as the cost for licenses of < insert off the shelf s'ware > + implementation.

      Back many moons ago when I was in a large consulting firm we would often discount the software as heavily as possible. Our money was made, and all our targets/bonuses were based on how many hours we could charge, so we really didn't c
    • by jd (1658) <imipak@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @03:32AM (#14497694) Homepage Journal
      I'm not convinced. We've seen similar remarks from the Gartner Group for the US, despite all evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, it is still common enough practice in large companies for admins to install something stable (like Linux, a *BSD, or whatever) in place of a Windows server, but not to tell their bosses. So long as nothing goes wrong, everyone's happy - the system will crash less often and handle more users, so CEOs and the like are not going to make any enquiries as to what is being used.

      For all we know, 100% of all companies in Australia and New Zealand are using Linux and/or a *BSD for their web server, mail server, ftp server, print server(s), DNS/DHCP server, etc. The only ones of those you can test are the ones with a public interface, and I'll bet you anything you like that these market researchers don't have a copy of nmap handy, even to test those.

      It is very hard to determine actual uptake of Linux, until it reaches a critical threshold of acceptability in a region, because it is so easy for it to stay under the radar.

      For smaller companies, the bosses may well know about Linux installs but not want to admit to them, fearing looking bad or being perceived as cheap. Again, that's not going to change until Linux is deened acceptable enough. No sane boss is ever going to say something that puts their end-of-year bonus at risk.

      Finally, on the results aspect, it also depends on how the question was asked. It is easy for studies to ask questions in a way that forces the response. If you answer a particular way three times in a row, you're likely to answer the same way on the fourth question without thinking about it. Studies are extremely difficult to do well. This is especially significant when someone with a vested interest in a result pays for the study, as it is (by the nature of the beast) extremely easy to ensure the results match what the sponsor wants to see.

      (I don't believe a single study on the dangers of smoking, sponsored by a tobacco company, ever established even the remotest possibility of there being a connection between product and result. I've even seen surveys showing sugar isn't a factor in tooth decay... sponsored by sugar companies.)

      The bit about trojan horses is indicative that there's something more to this than meets the eye. The implication is that people have been "gifting" companies with Open Source, only to slam them with high service charges, perhaps for maintenance or administration. (eg: a company might provide Linux servers and not pass on the license fee, but charge double for all technical support calls.) Either that OR the reader is supposed to believe that is the case.

      The "trojan horse" is really just a play on Microsoft's "Total Cost of Ownership" attack on Linux, where Redmond accused the Penguin of being more expensive when all costs were factored in over time. I can't see Microsoft themselves going after a market that they'd barely notice even if it did switch overnight, but I'd be willing to bet that those sponsoring and/or running this study have read Microsoft's claims and phrased questions accordingly.

      Sadly, I know of no country where manipulating market research constitutes conspiring to defraud. If anything, most countries seem to encourage deceptive use of market research to the point where it is simply not possible to trust any results that are produced, even though it is hazardous (in that you're not listening to the user's requirements) to not have such information. However, because it is statistical, such studies can always produce results anywhere in the distribution function, including the extreme tail end. The sample size is generally very small and the confidence limits are usually not stated, so there is nothing anyone can do to really fight the claims. All that can be done is to find a group with greater influence and get them to falsify - err, produce - a counter-claim.

      Either that, or conduct a real, in-depth, self-vali

    • by woods (17108)
      The implication is that some software developers and consultants convince a company to use open source by citing its low/no initial cost, and not being forthright about the ability of the client to actually run the software themselves without assistance.

      The software then provides a constant revenue stream to the developer/consultant in the form of support, which the customer only realizes once they've already welcomed the software into their organization.
    • Speaking of OSS... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wylf (657051)

      On the matter of OSS and Australia, Things are happening to make (F)OSS adoption a bit easier for those new to the area. The Australian Service for Knowledge of Open Source Software ASK-OSS [mq.edu.au] is a government funded grant thingy (they call it an "initiative") aimed to provide a knowledge gateway specifically for the Australian higher education sector.

      The website's just gone live so information's a bit thin on the ground, but there is definitely movement down here!

    • They've bought the line that its more expensive to support OSS than it is to license AND support Windows.
  • Three times lower? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anakron (899671)
    North America's adoption rate is three times higher than 11-18%?
    33-54%??
    Really?
    If that's true, that's pretty good!
    Can somebody confirm?
    • I can believe it for businesses, in the server department. Apache is rather popular, I hear. Home desktop users are another story entirely, I would assume.
    • I'd like to know what "three times lower" is supposed to mean. 1/3 as much?

      Anyway, I think this is not a reflection of the relative cluelessness of us ockers, but that we don't have as many big companies. Smaller operations everywhere tend to use MS. There's lots of Linux in government, the big companies we do have, and universities.

      • by wagadog (545179)
        Smaller operations in the US use Linux -- and nearly all of the schools in NZ outside of U. Auckland use MS almost exclusively. And Auckland primarily only uses it for servers and in EE/CS. Then NZ government runs its day-to-day operations almost exclusively on MS, and even putting through a white paper saying "maybe open source should be considered" nearly got one minister let go.

        Having lived and worked in NZ for 7 years, I can say for a fact that there are three or four issues contributing to the lack

    • Can somebody confirm?

      I've contacted Netcraft, and am awaiting a response...
  • 'Ay, Digger! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:55AM (#14497404) Journal
    Maybe sh**ty download links from Bigpond Telestra - during the peak open source adoption phase - had something to do with it?

    Try and download an ISO without local mirrors in Sydney?
    • One Word: Bittorrent
    • Don't estimate our crappy bandwidth's effect on this situation. Until recently former Government monopoly, now just privately owned, Governmentally enforced monopoly, Telcom NZ, insisted 128Kb/s was a broadband service. Try downloading fedora at 128K!
    • Or maybe that Telstra is the only ISP in the world that puts the knowledge of Microsoft Windows and its management within the company above the knowledge of ISP services and their management for user facing activities.

      This observation is based on their job ads in the UK from a year ago after they bought PSI Net. They had the Windows stuff for internal use way ahead of anything ISP related on the job spec. Similarly, they are one of the very few large ISPs which are still beating the nearly dead Clarify hell
  • Flightless? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:55AM (#14497407)
    According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] it seems that this isn't exactly a recent problem, penguins have been flightless for over 40 million years...
    • Also according to that very same Wikipedia article in the very same sentence where they state they're flightless, they mention that pengiuns only naturally exist in the southern hemisphere! So the title is totally broken: both wrong about flight and redundant about being down under.
    • Clearly a libelous entry. The Ostrich [msn.com] was clearly jealous over all the attention the Penguin was getting from geeks, so decided to start a FUD campaign on Wikipedia, claiming that penguins are flightless. That's the problem with letting anyone edit!
  • What I have found (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oc-beta (941915) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:57AM (#14497411)
    I have found that the adoption of Open Source software directly ties into the amount of money that a SMB is likely to make. For example in the UK, adoption is probably among the highest. However, SMB's are wortha bout 25% of their counterparts across the pond. In Austrailia the same holds true, SMB's are typically of higher value. Therefore, adoption of Open Source software is less. I know that there are exceptions to this rule, and some very wealthy companies use Open Source software, but 80% will follow this rule.
  • by Rinkhals (930763) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @01:58AM (#14497418)
    If it's anything like it is in South Africa, there will be a strong perception that "Windows is for serious professionals on the cutting edge, other OSes are for everybody else."

    Notwithstanding that Ubuntu (the word, the concept and the distro) originates in South Africa.

    Nevermind....
  • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:00AM (#14497428) Journal
    When I was in Australia a few years ago, I found that internet penetration simply wasn't as good as Canada. Sure, the major cities were well connected, but many of the smaller ones suffered from absolute shitty service, connectios, availability, prices, or any combination thereof. Even in the cities the prices weren't all that great. Hell, dialing a local number by landline still costs per call (which really sucks for dialup especially when crappy connection=random disconnects).

    Open-soure in my mind often tends to depend a lot on a decent connection to the 'net. Downloading CD ISO images, installing packages/updates from apt/etc, downloading packages or source files, reading online documentation, etc.

    It could be that "down under" is simply being hindered by a case of lacking resources, mainly comparatively crappy internet service.
    • When I was in Australia a few years ago, I found that internet penetration simply wasn't as good as Canada

      Australia has a half privatised government run organisation called Telstra that runs almost all of it's land based communications. The current and previous CEO's appear to be ones that were thrown away by US companies, and have been more interested in "changing the culture", creating new executive jobs for freinds and getting the company ready for a full sale rather than communications. This sort of

    • Offtopic, but in response to parent:
      In regards to your statement that "dialing a local number by landline still costs per call":
      My guess is that they are just using a different payment system, as most European countries do.
      You do pay for local calls as well, but in every case, only the calling party is charged. (In the case of western Europe, not too much)
      Coming to the US, I was surprised by the fact that they force two people to pay for each call and can get away with it.
      To me, using the phone in the US se
      • Even more offtopic... I think you're confusing mobile charges with landline charges in the US. The way it works here for landlines is that you get unlimited local calls, and you pay nothing for incoming calls. For mobile phones, you pay for the minutes of airtime you use, both for incoming and outgoing, but calls to a mobile from a landline cost no more than any other local call. In Europe, calls to mobiles are more expensive, but you don't usually pay to receive calls on your mobile. I think this is the re
    • by mcbridematt (544099) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @03:23AM (#14497655) Homepage Journal
      Its much better now than what you said it was. Heck, I can max out my connection 24/7 by downloading from my ISPs mirrors and not count a megabyte against my monthly 20GB quota. Many other non-'Group of the Four' ISP's are same.

      The reasons why Australian interwebs access is crap:
      1) Telstra controls some part of the connection delivered to >98% of all broadband users, including ones wholesaled from them.
      2) Until Ziggy and Alston were kicked out, Telstra was a bloated company.
      3) Sol and his Amigos came in with a decent plan to clean the company up and deliver superior services. Unfortunately, they decided to keep those services to their own monopoly. Those plans, excluding a nationwide (proprietary because it involves crap you'd usually only find in america, i.e everything Sprint and Verizon sell in the US) WCDMA 850 network are now on hold because Telstra can't be bothered wholesaling.
      4) Keep in mind Telstra's share price is at it's lowest ever and many shareholders are rightfully pissed.
      5) The only thing that got broadband going in Australia was the stupid $29.95 200mb 256/64 plans. Due to Telstras wholesale pricing (which they have been smacked for over these exact plans before), ISPs make almost nothing on them.
      6) .... as a result, every time Telstra changes its prices, ISPs have been forced to kill any chance of unlimited plans. In the days of when cable was the only choice (and besides that, only a few suburbs in the major cities have cable since they stopped rolling it out due to fights with city councils) for broadband access, Telstra introduced capped plans to replace unlimited ones. The whole industry soon dropped unlimited plans because 'Telstra basically made us'.
      7) The 'Group of Four', Telstra, Optus/Singtel, MCI and AAPT/Telecom NZ carry most traffic domestically but refuse to let anybody else enter into the arrangement to protect their ailing business. Don't give me this bullshit about MCI etc. having peering policies because even though others do carry more traffic than at least one of the group (apparently Primus does more traffic than AAPT) have been refused entry. Ironically, it was a competition regulator decision which created the 'Group of Four' in the first place and the four have been lobbying to keep it that way ever since.
      8) ... in the mean time PIPE Networks and other peering exchanges are routing away loads of traffic per minute from the group of four. With arguably better QoS depending on who you are with, too.

      And yes, Australia is an exclusive M$ shop. Broadband penetration has nothing to do with Linux/OSS usage.
      And I am quite happy with my 512/512 DSL for $69.95 per month with Internode thank you very much. While I can only pull 20GB worth down from non-ISP mirrors, I frankly don't give a shit that I'm not leeching pr0n at 100mbps like they do in Sweeden or whatever.

      * IMHO CDMA would be decent (consumer choice) it if wasn't used as a consumer lock in tool, a.k.a ESN based authentication. For example, Hutchison (using a license of the Orange brand) runs a CDMA network in a few cities. Outside those cities their phones roam onto Telstra CDMA. Since neither of them will sign up ESN's from each other, loads of Orange CDMA phones are sitting unused, and most likely loads are already in landfill. Similarly, Palm Treo users who reguarly visit the bush can't import a Sprint or Verizon CDMA Treo. End rant. Don't flame me about how CDMA voice quality is superior blah blah blah, because Qualcomm invented it as a lock in tool to appease the mobile industry. Pure and simple.
    • I thought I would pitch in from sunny New Zealand... which, for all you Americans out there, is NOT a part of Australia. Unfortunately, we lag behind even Australia when it comes to our internet. Oh mighty gods of the internet, why has Al Gore forsaken us?

      I agree that the reason Linux hasn't been taken up as here much as overseas is quite likely due to poor internet. Our telephone company is a monopoly. We have broadband speeds here that are almost at dialup speed, most of the plans run at 30kbps. They
    • internet penetration simply wasn't as good as Canada

      Well, nothing has changed there. In Toronto I have 5 Mbit/sec (can get faster if I want) for CAD$50/month, unlimited data. During recent weeks in Australia, depending on location, the fastest available was 19.2kbps (country Victoria), 128kbps over ISDN (Hobart commuting distance), and the fastest connection I used was Melbourne CBD at 512kbps.

      The latter service is a 'business' plan at A$170/month, but 512kbps ADSL is now available for as little as $29.95 [iprimus.com.au]

      • The good ISPs (eg. Internode and friends) are starting to dump Telstra and move to Agile's network. Because of this we're getting ADSL2 rolled out. Makes you realise how expensive Telstra's bandwidth is when you can get a net connection 40 times as fast for the same price.
  • by Meetch (756616) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:00AM (#14497430)
    Explanation by example:

    A guy I used to know developed a product in Australia, and could not sell the product or the business to anyone.

    So he moved his family and business to America. Some 3 years later the product was being sold by his American company to Australians, amongst others, and his business was purchased by one of the bigger companies for $US 20 million.

    Then he and his family moved back to Australia.

    It seems for some stupid reason that Australian businesses want to buy products from overseas companies, America being a popular choice. It also seems that obviously they don't want "free" stuff, because there's "no such thing as a free lunch" down-under. As a culture, we are wary of gotchas, too much for our own good. I believe it to be nothing more than an over-cautious approach to new things without obviously proven major backing.

    I'm interested in hearing other peoples' takes on this...

    • by LardBrattish (703549) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:34AM (#14497528) Homepage
      I think it's another manifestation of the famous "cultural cringe" where Australians seem to think themselves unable to create anything worthwhile.

      With respect to OSS you may well be right about the no free lunch thing. I've had IT support staff at a government department tell me that they are "not allowed to use free software" when the government has recently made it the policy that FOSS must be evaluated before software is purchased. I have seen cases where inferior software (and not just easy to pick on stuff like Windows & IIS either) was used because it was commercial and therefore supported - even though access to the high priced support was limited to God knows who but it wasn't the people that used the software...

      1. Buy expensive poor quality software
      2. Pay for but don't use a support contract
      3. Resist all attempts to bring in a superior FOSS equivalent
      4. ???
      5. Profit?!

    • most countries have these complexes. this is not restricted to software - we have clothes and furniture manufactured in latvia, then sent to other countries where it is re-labeled, re-imported and sold for ten times the original price. and there is a market for this.

      now, opensource software has allowed a couple of software projects to raise their heads locally (www.zabbix.com, for example) and even companies have lately been more and more positive towards local software (this also has something to do with a
    • by toby (759) * on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @03:50AM (#14497767) Homepage Journal
      I'd say you're pretty much right. M$ and most other US companies treat "the rest of the world" (Australia part of it) as a dumping ground for their junk, from movies to cars to wars to junk food to book and coffee chains... (Why the heck would an Australian buy their morning coffee from an American company instead of from the corner café? Can't Australians make coffee?)

      Australia has the unfortunate tendency to blindly accept these imports - software being a significant and costly example. The so-called "Free Trade Agreement" [tradewatchoz.org] codifies and enforces this disastrous situation (thankyou Mr Howard [alp.org.au]), right down to "fixing" our patent system and making our continent safe for US multinationals. The inevitable, if unmentionable, corollary is that local interests (such as the independent developer you mentioned) are completely compromised, as everyone knew they would be (hence the widespread protests).

      Yet there are many talented Australians doing great work in Open Source. Thanks perhaps to its proximity to high-tech government and defense users, Canberra has produced many of the best known names in Linux and other free software projects - including Andrew Tridgell [samba.org], Nick Piggin, and many others - and remains a hotbed of hardcore kernel hackers. In Victoria there are active Open Source representative groups [osv.org.au] and many intelligent supporters. However none of this has influenced public policy as much as one might hope.

      Yes, much more activism and lobbying is going to be required to eject Microjunk from the default purchasing roster, and from the IT mindset. But I am not sure things are so much better in the US - perhaps the mindless M$-centric view has simply been all-too-successfully exported. Just one more indignity ensuing from a decade of Conservative rule. The destruction wrought by the Howard Government was a major factor in my belief that the country was hopelessly regressing, and my decision to leave Australia for a more progressive and much less US-centric society. If they ever get rid of that government, and restore egalitarian policies, maybe I'll go back.

    • I totally agree. I'm a kiwi currently working in Sydney and besides all the sheep jokes, I've noticed what you mentioned above. I believe this is because of the "fantastic" back end support and SLA's, etc that closed source developers offer whereas I haven't seen any OSS companies that do. This is important in Australia because more else than anywhere I've been in the world, Australians in general don't want to take responsibility - they'd rather purchase an app and pass the buck (gimme SLA's and agree t
  • They're a bunch of criminals down there, they probably just use pirated copies of Windows and other copyrighted material.

    Now excuse me while i go watch my newly downloaded Stargate Atlantis episode.
  • by uncamarty (245075) <ook&iprimus,com,au> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:10AM (#14497462)
    The REAL reason that Linux hasn't 'taken flight' here in AU is good old Aussie logic.
    1. Penguins can't fly
    2. Penguins can sorta fly - if they're underwater
    3. Ordinary PCs have an inbuilt water incompatibility.
    4. Have you seen the size of the penguins here? They're tiny! How can they be expected to hold any decent processing power, the poor little things?
    5. The upgrade path is simply murder...


  • Yeah... but (Score:4, Informative)

    by WasterDave (20047) <davepNO@SPAMzedkep.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:14AM (#14497477)
    New Zealand has a very large number of very small companies. It's much more common for companies to "outsource" things like email, webhosting etc. and, generally speaking, not bother with servers at all. Of course 90% of the people that provide these services do it on Linux boxes but, of course, they don't show up in the stats.

    Dave
  • We're transitioning all our servers away from mixed Microsoft/Linux to entirely Linux over the next little while. We're using Novell.

    Most people on the desktop will still slave away under Windows - finance refused to let me have a Mac.

  • 2 main reasons. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by marcushnk (90744) <senectus@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:38AM (#14497538) Journal
    I work for a largish reseller/supplier/hosting and support services IT
    company in Australia.
    The slow roll out of Linux in Australia I believe is directly
    attributable to two things:
    1) IT staff are not trained to support this "new" beast in the market,
    and if not trained can not offer support.
    2) the sales guys all think it's a load of "hippie love" and can't
    understand how there can be any money made from it. Those that do
    understand are very few and far between, but don't care anyway because
    the proprietary software sellers are offering larger bonus's for
    selling their gear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:40AM (#14497541)
    I am seriously not surprised, everything is slow down here in Australia. The only environment I have seen OSS used widely is in university (UNSW).

    I tried to convert my current workgroup from using Photoshop to GIMP, because seriously, we DON'T NEED Photoshop to adjust colour levels and crop images, but I was told that, no, we WILL use Photoshop because all softwares used at work require proper licenses. At which point I simply gave up trying to explain. Same with converting from IE to Firefox, although I have been more successful there, thanks to the unpatched IE flaws and nifty features in Firefox. The boss is still using Avant browser though, not believing me when I told him that the Avant browser is only as secure as IE.

    Other trends down under:

    Computers using AMD processors are still rare in major IT retailers, see www.ht.com.au and www.csw.com.au. Not so long ago, a colleague was looking at getting a PC and he was convinced that a 3 GHz Celeron must be better than an A64 3000+, since the latter only runs at 1.8/2.0 GHz!

    Gadgets that have been out for months or even years overseas sometimes never even make it to Australia. I remember when I had to get a Shuttle XPC from overseas when the nForce2 version came out, because most shops have never even heard of Shuttle or SFF then. Of course, now they are pretty popular... but I am still crossing my fingers and hoping that Nokia 770 will make it down here soon.

    Lastly, I think most Australian still don't realise that no WMD were found in Iraq, while the rest don't even realise we participated in the war...
  • Size of Economy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Redge (318694) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:44AM (#14497549) Journal
    Australia is small in comparison to the US and Europe - stating the obvious I know... But very relevant.

    I work in IT for a Medium sized company - by Medium I mean 500 staff. I have 4 citrix servers, 1 file and print server and 1 database server and 1 exchange server. WIndows 2000 AD. I have an ISA server on the edge and a couple of PC's with server OS installed on it doing various little "things" inside the network.

    We just got VMWARE ESX to try and get rid of the PC's.

    The 3 main applications we use are Windows based... There is no alternative for 1 of them... we would have to write our own. We have no Linux skills internally - we would have to hire in or skillup. We have no money to spend on a large scale development project to give us the software we need to change over. We can't afford the duplicate hardware to allow the parallel running required to make the change over a smooth as possible.

    Granted all this can be staggered BUT... I recently asked the owners of the company to give me $200 000 to put in a complete DR solution and they said no - without even considering it. Imagine asking for a million dollars to change the whole network over.... and they ask WHY? - and I say: Linux is a better philosophy for running a computer network, and we'll save money - HOW much? I don't know, but we will. HOW long will it take to see the savings? Years and years.

    Somebody up the back is now mentioning the savings on license costs... Sure - if you were building a network for a brand new company this would be considerable - for an already establised MS shop, these costs are annoying yet manageable.

    I am very impressed with Linux (the VMWARE ESX version anyway). I have played with Linux before and I knew there were things about it that were better than MS - but it's not until it's in production on enterprise level hardware that you really appreciate it's simplicity and robustness. And it doesn't crash - ever.

    It's simple really - there are probably 200 companies in Australia that have 3000 staff or more (not counting government departments), of those 200 companies maybe half of them are doing something with Linux because they can AFFORD to - they have the budget and the staff.

    All the rest of us struggle on with what we've got - and if what you've got works - and your $100 million a year in turn over company keeps making money - how do you justify the change?

  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:56AM (#14497572)

    Its quite easy. Read the article and read especially the fact that people want to buy. So first step is stopping to offer downloads for free and offer Linux in a box.

    Next step is to look at whom you are targeting. The people in New Zealand have hardly ever seen a penguin in their life. So replace that Tux with a friendly looking Kiwi bird and you'll get much more attention from the people there.

    I guess those 2 small steps will double the impact of Linux in New Zealand.

  • by hta (7593) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @03:23AM (#14497658) Homepage Journal
    United States of America: 24797 registered users, 86.73 users/Mpop
    Australia: 2338 registered users, 120.90 users/Mpop
    New Zealand: 687 registered users, 177.06 users/Mpop

    A lot more Linux users per capita Down Under than Out West.

    The Linux Counter [li.org] has more.

    My rule of thumb is that perhaps 1 out of 200 Linux users register with the counter - but there doesn't seem to be a reason for Australians to register in larger droves than the Americans.

    Guess they just don't tell their bosses about it....

    Get Counted! [li.org]
  • by rimu guy (665008) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @03:32AM (#14497698) Homepage

    The publically available summary [forrester.com] of the research doesn't give much information on whom was surveyed. Perhaps the survey group was primarily composed of small businesses, which make up the largest number of enterprises here. Those businesses would likely not be using servers, which is where you'd expect to find more Linux users (cf. the desktop).

    The survey aside, there are lots of companies [nzoss.org.nz] using Linux in New Zealand (including yours truly [rimuhosting.com]). In a week's time we are hosting one of the [linux.org.au] three biggest Linux conferences right here in Dunedin. And even companies like Microsoft are making the most of Linux [stuff.co.nz] down here.

    The end is perhaps not quite nigh.

    --
    One of those rare antipodean companies using Linux [rimuhosting.com]

  • is hosted where???
  • What is meant by "three times lower"?

    It doesn't make any grammatical or mathematical sense, because there's no value higher than 18% to multiply by 3 that results in 18%. These figures are meaningless as the article presents them.

    This isn't exactly important in the context of this story, but it's a lazy and ambiguous form of writing that seems to be coming up a lot in what might be expected to be reliable sources. It's sad that slashdot editors don't pick up on this sort of thing, but it's even

  • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @04:01AM (#14497804) Homepage
    To help put the story in perspective, New Zealand's population [cia.gov] is 4 million, 0.067% of the population of the world.

    Australia's population [cia.gov] is 20 million, 0.33% of the population of the world.
  • About Australia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by typidemon (729497) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @04:03AM (#14497812)

    Australian management is very slow to respond to anything new. Unless it has proven fiscal success in America and/or Europe (preferably both!), they are just not interested.

    Critical mass has a lot to do with this. Australian business simply can not afford to take economic risks for a marginal success. Seeing what works and what doesn't in larger population bases gives at least a basic idea about what should happen here.

    Interest in technology or design/engineering concepts that are yet to be proven only seems to arrive because of a managerial import from America or Europe (CEO/CTO).

    Lastly, on the point of OSS; I can't think of a single medium (or larger) business that I have been involved with that didn't use some sort of OSS. Chances are that most of the IT Managers in this survey are not aware of the open source nature of all of their applications or they surveyed many small business owners.

    That being said, *nix on the desktop (even corporate desktop) is almost a joke in this country. Even if a business makes a economic decision to move to *nix, the reality of the situation here will quickly move them back into reality.

    Microsoft is practically ubiquitous in homes around the country; even Apple is very rare. This has a direct effect on the expense on transitioning your workforce to a new operating system, chances are nobody you employ (other than your IT staff) have any experience with *nix.

    A smaller, but longer term problem comes to human resources. People become more expensive to hire (you need to train them) and thus more costly to loose. This leads to a secondary effect of keeping people who are woeful to your business, simply because they know the system. It is a sorry state.

    It will change, probably 5-10 years after the US/Euro, but then we will be behind somewhere else ...

  • It depends on how deeply they look at the company and who they asked. From the outside my company (50-100 people) is a Microsoft partner, and uses Windows exclusively on the desktop.

    But taking a closer look, we use a lot of open source software internally, every machine has Firefox, Eclipse, Ant & Tomcat installed. We have a few Linux servers: proxy, bugzilla and our main file server but not everyone knows (or cares) what OS those servers run.

  • The company I work for (in Australia) would take Linux a lot further if the majority of software producers would support Linux. We run Linux on most of our routers and servers however, we would probably take it as far as the desktop in the office network if the 3rd party software we use would run on Linux. I'm not talking about e-mail, or word processing software I'm talking about online banking interfaces etc. Every few months or so we install another piece of software somewhere that only runs on Windows.
  • by paul.schulz (75696) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @06:25AM (#14498229) Homepage
    Without buying the Forrester report, it's hard to know what exactly the article is commenting on. On the other hand there are some real reasons why Linux is going to continue to find it difficult to obtain more acceptance in Australasia.. although I guess the problems will be more Australian then New Zealand.

    - Bundling of Microsoft Operating System with new PC Hardware.

    It is not possible for the public to by a PC (including laptops) from any of the mainline retail outlets without Microsoft Windows on it. Individuals can buy parts and assemble their own PC without paying the 'Microsoft Tax' but don't expect any system support. I have used Intel Celeron systems that have been sold as 'working systems' which appear to operate fine under Microsoft XP, but systematically lock up under Linux when stress tested. (This makes Linux look bad.)

    - Microsoft Licensing in Education Sector (Schools etc.)

    In some places in Australia, it is rumoured that the Windows licensing arrangements for an educational institutions is done on a per PC bases, whether that PC is running Windows, Mac OSX, BSD or Linux. (I'm happy to be proved wrong...) This means that there is no monetory advantage to Schools installing anything else other than Microsoft Networks. These licensing arrangements are negotiated state-by-state, rather than school-by-school.

    - System Administrators in Schools

    These are typically teachers who have (off their own back) taken on this role. They do what they know. The installation and configuration of computers is given to the lowest bidding service provider, and the typical installation today is Microsoft XP and Ghost.

    There are exceptions though, but it needs support from the Education adminstrators to remove barriers (see previous point).

    - Business Solution Providers

    These people are generally not interested in providing anything that would company specific. Australian providers (business services, telecommunications) are generally lazy and will generally on-sell a foriegn solution then invest in a local product. There are, as always, exceptions, but these companies have to work particular hard to prosper.

    - Lack of local promotion of OSS and Linux Solutions

    There are no brand name companies in Australia who have gotten behind Linux in any meaningful way to Mr and Ms Jo Bloggs on the street. At no time are they given a choise, or presented with an alternative to the status quo, and the media is happy to promote the next round of anti-viral and anti-spyware products, when one option is to use a system that doesn't require these 'fixes'.

    (There are possibly a lot more reasons..)

    All this means that there is a huge gap between those that use, develop and understand FLOSS software in the community, and the business, education and public decision makers. Hopefully the Gardiner report had something to say about this as well.

    Just my $0.02 worth.
  • Excuse me "Penguin Not Taking Flight Down Under"? What happened with us agreeing with usability experts that news titles in the Internet should be self-descriptive and less abstract?

    How am I to guess the article was about OSS adoption in New Zealand being low..? It could be about pengiuns having problem swimming for all stuff I've read on Slashdot.
  • by Biomechanical (829805) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @07:37AM (#14498430) Homepage

    Here in Australia, and I'd have to guess that it's similar in New Zealand, there is a certain mindset of most people that reflects the greater consumerism ideal around the world of,

    "Why should I know how to use this? It should just do what it's supposed to do."

    This leads to several problems which are continuously and vigorously pounded upon by anyone who both has a clue and is making money out of the current status quo.

    It's hard to put into precise words but basically, most people here are sheep - no pun intended - or, if you wanted a slightly noisier example, cattle.

    They want their television shows to watch, cars to work, dinner on the table at a certain time, and computers to function enough so that email can be read and letters written.

    When it comes to how a computer works, some people will become almost violent in their protests of "I don't need to know that!", despite the fact that they want to know why they just paid money for someone to clean up their spyware encrusted hard drive, and heaven help the poor soul who suggests that the ignorant user try something else.

    "This is how I've always done it", "I can't learn something new", "Free is crap", "Well how come Microsoft is so popular", "I'm sure that the government would say something about that", "What's the catch", "Why does hosting cost so much here then if it's so easy", "I'd never use that", "Why is my computer so slow", "How come you can't make this go faster? It's better than the old one right?"

    IT in Australia is in a fucked up state because the majority of people who don't use computers don't know, or care, how computers indirectly influence their lives, and the majority of those that do use computers don't want to know anything more than what they need to do to send an email, play a game, or balance their taxes.

    If a virus hits, "Oh well, the salesman said this virus program thing would keep me safe there" - an unpatched copy of Norton's Anti-Virus from 2001.

    If their dial-up is dropping out - while trying to send or recieve a multi-megabyte email that you've told isn't going to work - because they've got a shitty internal windows driver-run modem then it's the ISP's fault because, "I only just bought this last week. Why are you kicking me off-line all the time? I want to talk to your manager. You guaranteed unlimited internet."

    If they've got DSL - which is 256/64 "for the kids and their games" and the little snot's bitchin' to them and ultimately to me because it's "laggy" - and there's a problem at the exchange, it's the job of the guy in the call centre to physically go out and hand wire them back into the net because "it's really critical I get this email to my friend!"

    Some of these examples may sound familiar to some of you. I deal with this crap often, working in IT as a tech support guy and having family and relatives that own various sorts of computers. My Dad got a computer fairly recently. I forced him to get an iMac, predominantly because he knows absolutely fuck-all about how a computer works and I am fed up supporting every little fucking glitch on everyone else's Windows-running PC.

    I use Linux. I have it set up to be simple for someone who's used a computer to simply load a browser and surf the net, while I'm fixing their piece of crap.

    "This is nice." they say.
    "I can show you how to use this on your computer if you like. I'll set it up, and it can be almost exactly like what you used before. There's none of those viruses to worry about that you hear on the news, and look, it's got that card game you like." I reply.
    "Oh, uh, no, I don't know how to use this."
    "You don't know how to use Windows either."
    "Yeah but, Bob gives me a hand sometimes, and a reboot sometimes fixes things, and I can take this to the shop to get fixed too."

    Fucking cattle. If there isn't money involved then they don't have a yard stick to measure what's happening. I hear so many peopl

  • Sure, it's three times more in North America, but when you're dealing with percentages as large as these, that is misleading. If one were 1% and the other were 3%, that would be ok. But when Australia's figure is 18%, and North America's (not stated in the article) is presumably about 54%, it's the difference between a majority and a small minority, which is far more significant than "three times more" would suggest.

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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