[nSLUG] Re: Any nsluggers in Valley?

Bob Ashley ashley at chebucto.ns.ca
Mon Aug 29 09:51:43 ADT 2005


Thanks, Michael for putting your oar in water on this topic. I really
appreciate
 your time in sharing these helpful ideas. Now, admittedly, one or two passages
are over my low-altitude head, but I think I get your drift. I interleaved a
couple of queries below.


Quoting Michael Taylor <mctaylor at privacy.nb.ca>:

> Yes, while I no longer live in the Valley, you can find two very small
> pockets of Linux users in this area, primarily around Greenwood (CFB 
> Greenwood) and Wolfville (Acadia University).

Thanks. I'll follow up once I move to the Valley.
 
> Replacing Exchange with Sendmail or Exim will have problems, because 
> Exchange implementation also typically includes a Directory Service 
> (Active Directory, "Global Address Book") which would to be also included 
> and synchronized with account maintenance issues. I haven't even touched 
> on the other Group-ware functionality such as Calendaring.

Your mention of the Apache option is clear, but I'm afraid I don't have the
mental equipment to comprehend the implications that go along with the above
paragraph. Is there a clarifying scenario that might show how things could go
wrong here?

> Desktop OS license costs are normally considered the a "computer tax" or 
> just the cost of doing business, and since many small organizations do 
> not do centralized OS lifecycle updating of all systems but do OS 
> upgrade through hardware replacement purchasing, desktop OS licenses 
> are nearly moot. What can make a small office feel pain, is Client 
> Access License (CALs) and Server OS licenses and Business Services 
> Application licenses. But in my opinion, the real cost (or drain) is 
> in license auditing and enforcement, or fines / settlements for 
> non-compliance. My small IT group saves approximately 0.25 FTE by not 
> having to do much license auditing for our distributed office environment.

Looks like I've got plenty of research to do! The "computer tax" angle makes
sense to
me, but I need to find out more about CALs, license auditing and enforcement. A
quick, perhaps dumb, question: What does 0.25 FTE stand for?  

> One of the most resonant areas of government groups "winning" with 
> open source is by using Open Source, is the prevention of vendor lock-in. 
> So many small businesses and small government departments feel that 
> they could be or are being held hostage by Value Added Resellers (VARs) 
> the idea that a vendor can be directed to deliver services using open 
> source, and cannot prevent a never ending spiral of maintenance contracts. 
> I think books could and should be written on this topic, but I think to 
> a total non-technical person, this is the easiest and perhaps biggest 
> plus of using Open Source Software. If VARs use Open Source, then awarding 
> a tender or contract to company does not mean you have to continue to 
> pay ransom to them if you want the system to keep working. If the 
> company fails to deliver, they are replaced, without the spectre of 
> "propriatary code" or the company's "intellectual property" even if
> the development was paid for by the client.

Yes, the "ransom" concept I do understand. Taking it to a higher level, it
speaks to what is or what isn't advancing basic democracy. The freedom to
choose. I also see future challenges when it comes to e-voting. Is it truly
democratic if governments are barred from examining the code associated with
vote-counting? How do you audit a closed source system? 

> Anyhow, moving on. The last thing is you need support of the other IT 
> people, a lone star "selling" Open Source could be thought as trying to 
> steal jobs or upset the current "production environment." If the IT staff 
> feel they are being empowered; given more and better tools to centralize 
> control and deliver a rock solid, reliable computing environment that they 
> can be proud of and take the credit for, then they will hopefully support 
> your efforts to make them over-achievers that can go home at the end of 
> the day and not the fall-guy of the office who has to stay late every 
> night to reboot the servers to apply services packs or reinstall Windows 
> on Reception's desktop PC.

Well, I'm a general administrator, not an IT person, so my job would deal more
in team building than team execution. But your point registers with impact all
the same. And, too, you do address building team spirit and what you say makes
clear, good sense. 

I really appreciate your insights! 

Bob





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