[nSLUG] Open Source Desktop Apps

Carrie Forbes flunkiejunkie at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 21:03:47 ADT 2009

Hello fellas,

This is my first time posting, but I work for the province, and need
to help clarify a few things. First, there is no CIO 'committee', it
is a new department. There are major changes underway in restructuring
the internal IT structure, and this is the group who will oversee it.
You also need to understand that they are concerned with internal
matters - the IT needs of the bureaucracy and it's work - not public

Now, that said, someone mentioned that open source is used. I am
working with an e-learning company that developed a linux based
program, and the IT group developed a linux server in order to house
it. When working with vendors, and 3rd parties, the province operates
on what makes sense for the end goal. In my case, building the server
met the objective. Cost is always a key consideration, and if open
source can keep the bottom line low and meet security/privacy
policies, then absolutely, it will be used. It also depends on the
department - some are more advanced in their use of technology, and
others are sadly behind. We have 30 year employees who have never
migrated from Corel to MS - they will not move from their comfort
zone. Can you see these folks using Open Office?

As with any large organization, we have big contracts with enterprise
corporations such as SAP. The investment in these kinds of systems
involves years of implementation, and are bound by strict procurement
rules. If the province made a commitment, it will mean they are
obligated to fulfill it without room to experiment or freely try out
competition. The question I have is what context were these comments
about the unsustainability made? Was it for internal operations?
Because that may very well be true in certain areas given the current
circumstances I've described.

Given that the average age of a gov't worker is 49, there is a general
resistance to embrace technology. This is rapidly changing with the
new generation entering the workforce, and I'm confident this will
mean a rapid move towards using new tools as expectations are also
changing. The new government isn't familiar with the inner workings
yet, and writing them would be futile, since they are concerned with
public policy - not in-house stuff. If you can clarify your concerns,
and spell out what aspects you think this will affect, I may be able
to have someone at CIO address them.


PS - I am not truly an IT professional, but have an interest in Linux
and open source technology. I also have worked a lot with the IT
teams, and know a lot about the challenges they face.

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 7:51 PM, Douglas Guptill<dguptill at accesswave.ca> wrote:
> Hi Jim:
> Two more links:
>  http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2009/07/enterprise-it-hits-bottom-open-source-holds-intervention
>  http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090729005107&newsLang=en
> Carry on bravely,
> Douglas.
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