[nSLUG] Open Source Desktop Apps

Carrie Forbes flunkiejunkie at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 16:46:44 ADT 2009


Wow! Glad to hear Minister Steele was quick to respond. I'm also glad
that I was able to provide a bit of context that helped.

...As for Corel, I've heard it's a hangover from a time when
governments had an arrangement with the company, primarily since it
was a Canadian product. I'm currently using Corel, MS, and Open Office
as well as Google docs with several different areas. And, you're right
- the lawyers prefer Wordperfect! ;-)

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 10:56 PM, Daniel Morrison<draker at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for your reply, Carrie -- all very reasonable.
>
> I think you hit the nail on the head in saying that some depts. are
> more advanced than others. Ultimately, free software often gets
> deployed by techies like us where it does the best job, regardless of
> official policy, and so some depts. incorporate free software sooner
> than others.
>
> So there must be many conversations on this topic at different levels
> in different departments, in which surely any point of view may be
> expressed.
>
> Mr. Steele was kind enough to reply promptly to my email, confirming
> at least that the creation of a high-level committee that would have
> made the alleged statement is a rumour. He suggested it may all stem
> from a misunderstanding over an IT person considering the possible
> risks of certain software (certainly always advisable to examine
> risk). He went on to say that he does recognize open source software,
> and uses some himself.
>
> So I think we can lay to rest the concern that the province has
> mandated any shift to proprietary software, and the free takeover can
> continue as planned, one dept. at a time :)
>
> -D.
>
> PS: I also had to smile at the "Corel vs. Office" comment. I bet that
> what they find in Corel is WordPerfect, considered by many to be
> vastly superior to Word. So I understand. I think they're more likely
> to switch to openoffice.org than to Word.... but still. Wordperfect is
> good. There are OpenOffice.org feature requests to add 'Reveal Codes'
> to Openoffice Writer. I'm not sure it will ever be possible, though.
>
> 2009/8/5 Carrie Forbes <flunkiejunkie at gmail.com>:
>> 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
>> policy.
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> Cheers,
>> Carrie
>>
>> 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.
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