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The U.K.'s National Health Service Licenses JDS 124

deputydink writes "Recently the NHS licensed from Sun 5000 seats of its JDS system for tactical deployments within the health care service, adding that it deemed JDS a viable desktop alternative for certain types of user communities. The NHS has already deployed JDS in its back-office. This could be the high profile boost for JDS subscription services that Sun needs."
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The U.K.'s National Health Service Licenses JDS

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  • Yikes. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:11AM (#10106902)
    As an ex Sun guy with plenty of JDS experience let me just say this is farking insane unless these tactical deployments are not mission critical deployments. For desktop use by admins or execs, that's cool but I wouldn't want anyone in the emergency room using it.
    • Re:Yikes. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:16AM (#10106916)

      As an ex Sun guy with plenty of JDS experience let me just say this is farking insane unless these tactical deployments are not mission critical deployments.

      Don't worry, I imagine the deployments will be standard desktop use. However, from the article:

      An NHS representative could not elaborate on exactly where in the agency's sprawling system, incorporating tens of thousands of users, the software would be deployed.

      This makes me concerned that the NHS administration is adopting the classic 'head up arse' approach to IT administration, buying 'cool' new kit before they have any clue what they will be using it for.

      • This makes me concerned that the NHS administration is adopting the classic 'head up arse' approach to IT administration, buying 'cool' new kit before they have any clue what they will be using it for.

        I get the impression the representative is not a CIO or even one that really understands the technical side of things. He probably came to the media armed with just enough information to satisfy the masses.

        I'm sure there is a very detailed plan, just not one we are privy to.
        • Re:Yikes. (Score:5, Funny)

          by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:16AM (#10107177)
          I'm sure there is a very detailed plan, just not one we are privy to.

          Not a troll, but you're not very familiar with UK governement IT projects, are you?
          • Not at all, sir. :)
            • Re:Yikes. (Score:3, Informative)

              by jimicus ( 737525 )
              I sincerely hope the NHS IT project doesn't follow this course. But, for yours and other non-UK citizens benefit, there follows an explanation of how UK government IT projects are usually run.

              Such projects usually start with great, noble intentions. They may be a tad ambitious, but that's about the worst thing about them.

              The contract goes out to tender, and bids are taken. Eventually, supplier(s) are chosen.

              Then the requirements change, usually because they weren't very clear to begin with, or they were
              • The contract goes out to tender, and bids are taken. Eventually, supplier(s) are chosen.
                And that's where it all starts to go horridly pear shaped - the supplier is almost always either EDS or Aceventura (the former Android Consulting), both of whom are noted for talking a good system and producing nice powerpoint presentations.
                • Prediction: This will be modded -1 Flamebait because it's pretty scathing.

                  I hear what you're saying, but in my experience most UK government departments are at least three-parts crippled with petty beaurocracy devised by sad, pathetic little people who have decided to vest what little power they have into Making Things Work A Particular Way.

                  Not that this way is any better, it's just a demonstration of their power. It may be as small as a form which has to be filled in. I've seen cases where it actually d
          • Your implied comment on UK govt IT projects is valid, but in this case there is a very detailed plan. Of course, this doesn't mean it will bear any resemblance to reality, or that this purchase is part of this plan.

            The NHS National Information Technology Plan []

    • Re:Yikes. (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      For desktop use by admins or execs, that's cool but I wouldn't want anyone in the emergency room using it.

      I would say just the opposite -- admins and execs like to run things other than StarOffice and gnome craplets. The ER would likely be running a single data entry application that could be developed for Linux.
    • Re:Yikes. (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Isn't anyone else feeling bad about how companies like sun and red hat make tons of cash while the open source developers do most of the real work for almost nothing?
      Dont tell me about rare examples like mysql.

      (Of course, now noone will get my point and they'll mod me down as a troll)
      • Re:Yikes. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GORby_ ( 101822 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:54AM (#10107529) Homepage
        Why would we feel bad about that? It's not as if the companies are violating the GPL or that kind of things by doing that. Everybody who wants to make money that way can do that... in fact, why not just start selling your own linux distro tomorrow.

        Isn't it so that Sun for example may well be making money on open source, but has also made possible by releasing the source code for their office suite? Red hat has also done some good things.

        Furthermore, the developpers that do the work for (almost) nothing do that of their own choice, and if they wouldn't like that someone else would profit from that, they wouldn't work on open source software. The fact that some large companies make money with open source is even a good thing, since that kind of industry backing will make linux and open source a more credible alternative for closed source software in some cases.

        All this support from those large companies is certainly good for extending the user base, which IMHO gives those aforementioned developers a good feeling, because more people are able to enjoy their work.
      • Re:Yikes. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:06AM (#10107549) Homepage
        1. Isn't anyone else feeling bad about how companies like sun and red hat make tons of cash while the open source developers do most of the real work for almost nothing?

        No. I don't.

        First, they're not making much if anything.

        Second, much of the payback of open source is in collaboration; I craft a stick to scratch an itch, and you improve on it so we both benifit. If you sell that improved stick for a profit, I still get the improvements free.^

        The amount of waste and rework involved in closed + propriatory software is amazing, so using that instead of OSS has a steep cost.

        I don't feel bad about Microsoft or Corel loosing out when OpenOffice is used, let alone when FreeBSD or Linux are used instead of OSX or Windows.

        1. (^. OK, not me.)
      • Re:Yikes. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I see your point, but no -- it's not a problem.

        The whole point of free software is freedom, and that includes the freedom for other people to try and profit from your work. The only freedom not granted by the GPL is the freedom to change the license; the only freedom not granted by the BSD license is the freedom to remove copyright notices.

        For programmers who agree with you that money should be shared as well as code, licenses such as the AFPL exist which forbid commercial exploitation. It should be not
      • The developers who put out GPL software are free to sell their software as well but most decide not to. Newsflash, most of them are NOT into OSS for the money and they put their software under the GPL fully well knowing that businesses would using there software to make money. If they have a problem with that they can go proprietary.

        Secondly your going to complain about Red Hat making cash after all they've done for the community and all of the GPL OSS they've put out year after year? Do you have any idea
    • Re:Yikes. (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As an ex Sun guy with plenty of JDS experience..

      Right, and as an ex NASA astronuat with plenty of space experience let me just say that you are full of Grade A Premium Cow Shit.
    • Believe me, mission critical reliability doesn't seem to be important to most NHS hospitals. At one hospital where I work we regularly (several times a year) have day long outages of the key health-care IT systems (i.e. the records access systems used by doctors in the ER and on the wards). Often the network outage is triggered by something which shouldn't (like a routine scheduled generator test). At other places, the terminals on the wards, are just that - VT420 terminals. Where these have expired, they
  • IT and the NHS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suckmysav ( 763172 ) < minus city> on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:12AM (#10106904) Journal
    Given the NHS's spectacular track record in failed IT projects, I have grave concerns that this has as much a chance of ending up being a PR nightmare as it it does a triumph where Sun is concerned.
    • As long as EDS aren't involved, there's still a chance it might just work. Well, I wouldn't bet on it but stranger things have happened.
    • Sure, but any Peter Principled IT goober actually looking for a bloated piece of malware crap that will keep his department busy for years to come now knows exactly where to go. All publicity is good publicity, and never underestimate the cynicism inherent in large IT purchasing decisions. BOFHs need to build empires too.
  • Just a question- (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thewldisntenuff ( 778302 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:14AM (#10106909) Homepage
    How does one define "tactical deployments"?

    Are we talking ER situations? Homeland Defense/Emergency offices? I mean, the article leaves little mention, just stating that they are to be used in "tactical deployments"?

    Any docs out there who can explain?

    • Re:Just a question- (Score:5, Informative)

      by cimmer ( 809369 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:32AM (#10106968)
      Tactics are components of an overall strategy. Strategy wins the war, tactics will win the battles. In this case, "tactical deployments" probably means "we don't really know how well this is going to work, we certainly are not going to risk our mission critical functions (and jobs) on this, so we'll figure out where to use it and let you know how things pan out".
    • Re:Just a question- (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MmmDee ( 800731 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:45AM (#10107001)
      I think the term, "tactical deployment" as used here simply means installing and verifying the software works at the customer's facility. To my knowledge, there is no such term used in the medical community. This [] link just shows as an example company using the term as I described (from a google search).
      • It would actually appear, that in this sense, it's far more than verification of the software's functionality.

        Using the "Vision to Reality" method we provide complete command of your IT initiative from inception to vendor negotiation to complete company transition and all projects are set price.

        Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but I get the sense of comprehensive implementation consulting marketed as distinct steps in an overall strategy (hence the whole tactical spin). Of course, that could be my Marin
    • by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:07AM (#10107052)
      Well, where I work a 'Tactical Deployment' is when a user takes vacation or a sick day and I reimage their box with a newer OS. There's a lot of folks who cling dearly to their old familiar software.

      They don't even know what hit them.
    • Re:Just a question- (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stevelinton ( 4044 ) <> on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:41AM (#10107116) Homepage
      I would guess this will be deployed in the NHS administrative structures, rather than in hospitals or GP surgeries. There are loads of parts of the NHS where they need lots of seats to run a few specific applications rather than general computing:

      * the NHS direct call centre operation
      * the huge adminstration that tracks monitors and pays for
      all non-hospital NHS prescriptions
      * central and regional management and support -- allocating money
    • Tactical deployment means finding 5000 machines in the whole of the NHS that will actually install and boot JDS.
    • Homeland Defense/Emergency offices?
      Which part of "United Kingdom's National Health Service" do you think relates to the military? (And while I'm at it, we don't have a "Homeland Defense" or even a "Homeland Defence" department).
    • The most obvious tactic is to demonstrate to a certain other supplier of desktop IT systems that they are not indispensible.

      As Newham (local government in part of London) did.

      Newham's anticipated savings and level of support with their eventual systems are reported to have made sharp alterations as a result of that tactic.

      These will not be the first Linux desktops in the NHS and its contractors (most GPs are not directly part of the NHS but are contractors to it althoguh the latest Great Idea is to co

      • There's a pretty poor level of IT knowledge throughout the NHS hierarchy as far as I can see. Well, maybe not so much a poor level, as a very poor breadth. Many little things annoy me, such as how NHS sites (such as QMAS for those who know what I'm talking about) are explicitly geared towards IE, even when they work fine with other browsers. Our Clinical Systems supplier is proudly announcing an enhanced partnership with Microsoft, and the PCTs (Primary Care Trust - regional organizational bodies for loca
        • Lets tell the Audit Commission that FLOSS is one of the key antidotes to lock-in, uncontrolled expense and failure, and then see how much code we can get added to OSCAR-McMaster and GNUMed and VistA to make them UK solutions.

          I was involved with Read 3.1 and at one point with the IPU oversight of the Mayo Clinic integration work - Read 3 and the CAPS SNOMED codesets. The intention was that every Read 2 code would be in Read 3, and that all the SNOMED concepts and all the Read concepts would be combined i

      • In Soviet Russia, Kremlin watchers used to decode gnomic utterances
        I think you'll find it was actually the other way round.
    • Pretentious suits love to use military jargon as it makes them feel tough and important. Not one of them would know what an actual "tactical deployment" looks like if it bit them in the ass, and they'd shit themselves and cry for their mommies if they were ever actually under fire, but there's precious little chance of that actually happening, so ...
  • by cimmer ( 809369 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:17AM (#10106920)
    I find it pretty interesting that Sun was able to score this deal in an area where security is such an important aspect. Or perhaps that's why they were able to do so? Either way, it seems like a solid jab for the open source community.
    • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:38AM (#10106982)
      Its probably one of the reasons in part why Sun instead of say Red Hat or SuSE would have got the contract. Once the decision to go with Linux was made you look at who will provide the support, and being the Health Service and the 'tactical deployment' description, I would assume that would mean a 24/7 on-site support ability. By this point it comes down pretty much to IBM or Sun. There's a good chance the NHS has a prior relationship with one of them, if not both, so the past experience with that coupled with what the decision makers knew of their reputation with the ultimate leveler, the cost, is what will draw the final decision. While IBM is no slouch when it comes to security, they are moving an unaltered Red Hat or SuSE, both of which have frequent security bulletins, while Sun also has a decent record of security, and modifies Linux to create the JDS, which at the very least could give the impression that it might be the more secure of the two.
      • ... Red Hat or SuSE, both of which have frequent security bulletins

        But anyone with half a brain in their IT department would know that is a good thing. And they should have evaulated those systems as a matter of course. I'm sure both companies would offer 24/7 support if you paid them for it.

        I don't run JDS - I can't because it has the suckiest hardware support since Corel Linux and I wouldn't due the licence - so I have no idea of how good their security bulletins are. What I do know is that if there a

        • If it's an old version, then there would be less bugs, wouldn't there?
          • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:04AM (#10107758)
            Not necessarily. For example Mozilla 1.4.1 might be more stable than Mozilla 1.7.2 but it doesn't contain a whole bucketload of security fixes that have happened in the last year (e.g. the XPI onload exploit, removing support for certain protocols). It wouldn't surprise me if hundreds of major and minor security fixes have gone into Mozilla since then.

            And that's just one package. The same could be said for glibc, GNOME, XFree, CUPs, Samba, Apache - you name it.

            Likewise, the kernel is 2.4.19 based and therefore wouldn't pick up any driver or security fixes that have appeared since. Perhaps Sun / SuSE have retrofitted critical patches, you're still left with a heavily forked and obsolete kernel used by no one else. There have been eight 2.4.x releases since, and already most other dists are on 2.6.x with a 2.4.x fallback if need be.

            And perhaps the update mechanism itself is less friendly than other systems causing users to ignore it. It's fairly trivial to update SuSE or RH, but apparantly you have to type your serial number to update in JDS. Who is going to bother with that?

            Also, JDS has a bunch of proprietary Sun code sitting on top for network deployment & management. Who's to say what remote exploits are lurking within it since no one has had the chance to review it?

            So old doesn't imply secure. Of course the same could be said for Red Hat, but to be honest, their QA and hardware support is miles better, upgrading is easy, and their tools are open source and can be reviewed by any one.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        The Linux part of JDS is an unaltered *ancient* SuSE system (SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop: hybrid of 8.1 and 8.2). Except if you count the replacement of the grub splash and the fb look as a modification.The only real modifications by Sun are on XFree and Gnome (backports and enhancements).
        • Then again, SuSE == Novell these days, and that name has a good rep in the corporate world, from back when Microsoft didn't care that PCs could be networked, and left all of that to third parties like Banyan, Sun, various universities and especially Novell.

          The third-party market practically died with Windows 95, but still.
    • Given that Linux is getting higher security certifications than Windows is (now that we've got companies with enough money invested to make the process worthwhile), I'd say that Windows is (or should be) he underdog when security is paramount.

      The last thing you want to hear in the middle of an emergency resuscitation is: "I can't pull the chart up, I've got a virus!"

    • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:32AM (#10107478)
      "I find it pretty interesting that Sun was able to score this deal in an area where security is such an important aspect"

      You mis-spelled "cost".

      But here we don't have HIPPAA, and everyone in the NHS runs windows computers with viruses on them (not as much of an exaggeration as you think), it's common for whole departments to lose their computing facilities when a new virus hits, it's common for confidential information to make its way from a virus-infected computer to the internet. Many [most?] computers are never patched, and while they've got a firewall "around" the whole lot, everyone who's got laptops in their office (many doctors use tablet PCs) knows how effective one exterior firewall is.

      They were once trying to roll-out an entire public-key cryptosystem in one go, which was the last time security was mentioned. I don't know if they were going to install a separate "prescription-signing" computer in each doctor's office, or install something on their Windows machine, but either way the talk is of extremely high cost, and extremely low value. Perhaps all the years of removing "non-medical" administrative positions are taking their toll, but more likely it's this way because everything related to UK government is that way.

      Of course, people on slashdot will say that nothing should be connected to the internet, but then medical researchers are just the same as physics researchers -- websites and email addresses and newsgroups are very useful tools for doing research. And the surgeries in the shetland-end of nowhere with dial-up access to the mainland probably aren't going to have security of any sort, indeed I doubt that anyone has the funds to implement "military grade" 2-unconnected-networks security.

      They just signed another contract for a quintillion windows licenses a year ago for both government and the NHS, if that gives any idea of their preferred platform
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I find it pretty interesting that Sun was able to score this deal in an area where security is such an important aspect.

      The desktop isn't really the critical security component. It's the servers that store the medical records. Those are Oracle databases and Sun Java App Servers for the central service. Individual hospitals are free to use whatever they like (though I suppose the NHS has mandatory security standards).

      While there needs to be a security mechanism within hospitals, even there medical

  • by akedia ( 665196 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:17AM (#10106922)
    I work as a network administrator for a national architectural research institution. Recently, we replaced several dozen aging Windows XP workstations with Sun thin-clients running the JDS system for to run the proprietary topographic software our employees use and I am very impressed. The integrated system managment tools are bar-none the best I've ever used, and a distributed system offers users much more power than they would ever need, without the extra cost of running an NT-based domain. Sun really has built an excellent product.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You will notice that this is on the desktop, not just on the server end. Linux is ready for the desktop, it is just a matter of training people to use it. And if they have never touched a computer, Gnome is easier to use then Windoze.

  • Mozilla on JDS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by z3021017 ( 806883 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:20AM (#10106928)
    I just hope they updated the integrated Mozilla browser!

    The last time I used JDS, the version of Mozilla preinstalled was 1.4, which did not support NTLM proxy authentication and thus I had major issues getting the computer on the Internet.

    In the end, I just installed Firefox.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, because you really want your surgeon to be browsing tranny porn while operating on you.
    • Re:Mozilla on JDS (Score:5, Informative)

      by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:13AM (#10107069)
      Well if you recall, Mozilla 1.0, 1.4, and 1.7 were all 'extra stable' codebases, designed for vendor repackaging and forking.

      It would be unwise for Sun to run Mozilla 1.5 or 1.6, because in between the 'extra stable' releases a lot of things change and (historically) break.

      Once a year or so, the code gets the big projects landed and the tree gets a more thorough debugging than normal, any forks happen (camino, netscape, galeon), and a 'benchmark' release is made.
    • Don't worry, the next JDS release will include Mozilla 1.7 (and Gnome 2.6 and many other new versions).

    • I'd suggest that a truly secure desktop has no business on the internet at all, so the choice browser is moot (except for the corporate intranet).

      That's how it goes at my place of work - the secure network has a bona fide airgap between it and the rest of the world.

  • JDS Back Office ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tonyr60 ( 32153 ) * on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:35AM (#10106974)
    "The NHS has already deployed JDS in its back-office."

    Probably not, although I hesitate to suggest that a /. article is wrong. More likely that they deployed JES (Java Enterprise Server)
    • Re:JDS Back Office ? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Chembryl ( 596546 )
      Its misleading at best.

      Having applied for a job updating the patient care record system for the NHS, I can tell you that only in the London region (via Syntegra consulting) are they using Java in the back office for sure. The north of England's regions on the otherhand are most definately (via Accenture) transfering over to .NET.

      • In Scotland, the Common Services Agency (the IT agency that supports the NHS) used Solaris fairly extensively for back-end stuff (or did, 2 years ago). They seemed fairly open (sorry...!) to open-source, especially on the desktop, mainly due to concerns over per-seat-licensing costs. I'd guess they'd be pretty open to JDS/JES at this point?

        (As an aside, wouldn't it be great if the NHS developed, I dunno, national strategies, rrather than adopting different platforms for different regions?)

  • Could be a ploy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:01AM (#10107038)
    To get the best deal out of MS ala Telstra Australia.
    • Yeah, I immediately thought that also.

      Even if it is, it's still a plus for Sun and open source in general - people will begin to realise that if MS begins offering discounts for sticking with them, then the alternatives must be pretty dang good.
    • although, how many more places can get away with this tactic? If MS realise someone is not serious about a Linux deployment and decides not to go so low in price. I guess it could end in one of two ways, if the company goes with the Linux deployment and its a failure, good for MS, or its a success then its bad for MS. How scared are they?
      • Re:Could be a ploy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by darkonc ( 47285 ) <stephen_samuel@b ... m ['gre' in gap]> on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:34AM (#10107221) Homepage Journal
        In serious negotiations, you're best off if you're seriously willing to go with the alternative. If you've done your homework, and you're pretty sure that you could do an equivalent (or better) deployment with non-MS software, then you can hold off until MS offers you enough incentives to stay with them, or go with the alternative. In either case you then win.

        If, on the other hand, MS realizes that you're bluffing, (and they'll probably get real good at sussing out badly designed deployments, if they haven't already), they might just deide to play hardball.

        The deployments that have caused MS to really cut their prices were deployments where the customer was very serious about going to a non-MS solution.
        In the Munich case, they went Linux in spite of MS's price cutting, In the British case, they had already done a (successful) pilot.

        Now, if I were the CIO of a large company, I would definitely look at doing a couple of pilot projects. Worst case, I might get MS to drop their prices by a few extra points. Best case, I might find that the Open Source is a huge step better than the MS product, and worth changing to at any price.

    • there's only so much road to go down that route.

      for example, if the country has a wide installed base of microsoft products, and the unit pricing of the software (XP, office) gets disclosed, as it probably will eventually, "small" users could start trying Linux just out of spite.

      Remember, just a few corporations and the government are "Big" in any given country.
    • Re:Could be a ploy (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I doubt it. The UK Government is not just in-bed with Microsoft, they're positivly bending over and grabing their ankles. Tony Blair turned up at Microsoft HQ for the freaking Windows XP launch, damnit! No, I don't think this is a ploy to prod Microsoft into cheaper software. One 'phone call would do that. This appears to be a geniune software evaluation from within the IT dept. at the NHS. It's about time someone yelled "Rape!".
  • Two key issues... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:13AM (#10107068) Journal
    while deploying alternate desktop environs in a health-care setup:

    1. Printing: Best way forward is internet printing. Very difficult to get the right drivers working the right way on each desktop, but for internet printing.

    2. Drivers for medical devices: Most devices come with Windows drivers only. Hardware mfrs. and Linux distors really need to take some effort here. By the way, this is a weal area for Windows versions as well. Every new OS release or Service Pack screws up some or other device driver or dll, and some app stops working!

    Currently I use Windows on those m/cs that are interfaced to these devices or printers. There's no major issue with plain Linux distros and no major advantage having JDS instead.

    • Re:Two key issues... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jimicus ( 737525 )
      2. Drivers for medical devices: Most devices come with Windows drivers only.

      I don't work in the NHS, but IME when an organisation the size of the NHS (one of the biggest employers in the country) says "we want it to work in Linux", the answer is not "We don't support Linux".
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:58AM (#10107142)
    5K desktops does not seem like that big of a number to me. Didn't they already sign a deal for 100K desktops someplace?

    Don't get me wrong. I am glad there are 5K more linux desktops in the world but Sun was hinting at much bigger numbers.
    • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:11AM (#10107169)
      You're absolutely right. Which makes me think this is a pilot. Maybe it's to put the frighteners on Microsoft to get a better deal, maybe it's serious.

      However, it can't have escaped NHS management attention that a high-profile pilot of Linux on the desktop is an excellent way to negotiate discounts on Windows. Given the quantities involved, it is possible that the discounts could be worth considerably more than 5000 "throwaway" JDS licenses.
  • Isn't that Suse running a Gnome GUI.. Or is this something new?
  • Just to confirm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <[drsmithy] [at] []> on Monday August 30, 2004 @05:41AM (#10107383)
    Sun selling software by subscription = good.

    Microsoft selling software by subscription = bad.

    Correct ?

    • Just to clarify (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcast ( 461910 )
      Any business model anywhere that leads to Linux deployments = good.

      Any business model anywhere that leads to Windows deployments = bad.

      So Linux = good, while Windows = bad. But: it's not true that the sales model isn't the issue. Proprietary software is bad in many ways; how, exactly, it will bite you depends on the exact licensing model used. So to discuss Windows = bad at any length, you have to discuss why Windows + (this sales model, whether that be ``sell packaged goods + free support'', subscript
  • by Phil Hands ( 2365 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:44AM (#10107914) Homepage
    Hm, Sun's Java runtime == Open Source? I think not.

    StarOffice == Open Source? I think not.

    If we'd stuck to calling Free Software, Free Software, we wouldn't have to put up with this nonsense, but as it is we have a situation where people are in the throws of defining new government policy in the UK stating that the default purchasing policy in the UK should include "Open Source" software, despite the fact that nobody involved seems to have any clear idea what Open Source means.

    That allows Sun to come in and say something like "StarOffice is Open Source becasue you get to see some of the source" and the NHS folks presumably say "Fair enough, where do we sign for a site license?"

    I'm surprised Microsoft don't go totally ape about this, but then again, they probably think that JDS is open source too. It wouldn't surprise me if the Sun sales folks think that it's Open Source, in the same way that most SUSE sales folks used to think that SuSE was Open Source, despite the old YaST license.

    • Remember ... Sun didn't write the original article, nor the article on /. Sun's image is regularly damaged by mistatements like this and the negative opinions they generate.

      As someone who works for Sun I'll just say that as with -any- reasonably large company there are people who don't understand the distinctions between "available source code" and "Open Source".

      However, a large number do. And many software sales people you might speak to would realize that while many (most ... probably 99%) of the pieces
      • I certinly wasn't trying to imply that Sun's employees are daft.

        The underlying issue that I have a problem with is the clueless customers, especially the British government at present, who decide that they should adopt an Open Source purchasing policy (on the grounds that it prevents vendor lock-in, say), and then invite Sun to tender JDS, and IBM to tender WebSphere, neither of which qualify.

        Even more depressing is when they justify their decision to ignore their own policy on the basis that they need to
    • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:44PM (#10112013) Homepage Journal
      If we'd stuck to calling Free Software, Free Software, we wouldn't have to put up with this nonsense

      Oh poppycock! 99.99% of the world has never seen "The GNU Revised English Dictionary", let alone opened it up to read its particular definition of "free". Most people using English terms and phrases will be using a more traditional dictionary such as Webster's or Oxford's.

      You can bitch all you want about the poor state of English having only one word for "free" and two for "freedom", but it is the language people will most likely be using when they run across the phrase "Free Software". No amount of linguistic redaction can change this.

      The fact of the matter is that people will confuse "Free Software" with something other than what RMS intended. You cannot change this. Go tell your Grandma that a piece of software is "free", and the very last thing she will think is that it confers the right to redistribute modifications of the source code. Ask her if Internet Explorer is free, and she will most likely say yes. After all, it *IS* free. The FSF's intended definition just isn't being transmitted successfully by capitalizing the word "Free".

      Yes, people get confused with the term "Open Source Software". No, it's not the most precise term in the universe. But it's far more accurate and unambiguous than "Free Software".
      • You are missing my point.

        Proprietary vendors are perfectly happy to associate themselves with the term Open, and will happily imply that the fact that something is based on Open Standards probably means that it's Open Source, and so eligible for funding under a government Open Source initaitive. This certainly seems to be part of the intent behind MS's adoption of XML for some things.

        Those same proprietary vendors are much less likely to be willing to have the word "free" associated with software that th
  • It is interesting to note that everyone here assumes that NHS has licensed the current version of JDS vs. getting a license for a later version that likely has better hardware support... and that's assuming they are going with Linux. It is already public knowledge that JDS is being ported to Solaris [].

    [Yes, I know. It wouldn't be /. without rampant assumptions being made.]

  • An article about Linux and they don't even mention it.

    Sun's Linux distribution is not Linux anymore?

"Unibus timeout fatal trap program lost sorry" - An error message printed by DEC's RSTS operating system for the PDP-11