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Microsoft's Bulk Deal With New Zealand Collapses

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the door-off-hinges dept.

Government 166

vik writes "The latest 3-year, pan-government deal that Microsoft has been establishing with the New Zealand government since 2000 has collapsed, opening the doors to the wider use of open source software in government. The NZ State Services Commission (already a prize-winning user of open source) says in a statement that it '...became apparent during discussions that a formal agreement with Microsoft is no longer appropriate.' Having lost their discount, individual government departments will now have to put their IT requirements out to tender individually."

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166 comments

RIP (1, Insightful)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093291)

Another nail in MSs coffin?

Re:RIP (0)

Chlorine Trifluoride (1517149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093331)

Another tree cut down to begin making the lumber that will eventually become the MS coffin.

Re:RIP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28093381)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. Maybe if you Linux nerds would stop eating toe cheeze [youtube.com] and start working on making your shit OS more user-friendly so that somebody won't have to spend months having to learn a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, but we know that'll never happen.

Re:RIP (0, Offtopic)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093465)

I like my toe cheeze and CLI, you insensitive clod!

Re:RIP (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093473)

Maybe microsoft should work on making windows more user friendly so you don't have to spend hours in the dos cli configuring irq numbers and io addresses, dealing with constant crashes and manually installing networking support just so they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with..

Oh wait, it's not 1993 anymore...

Linux these days is generally much easier to install than windows, and proprietary unix was always much easier than windows (because like macos, it came bundled with hardware designed to run it)

Re:RIP (-1, Troll)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093517)

You do realize that post was just a flamebait, right?

*Insert your favourite, most creative Linux vs. Windows argument here*

Re:RIP (0, Flamebait)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093567)

What if you have an unattended install, how hard is windows to install then?

Re:RIP (0, Troll)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093861)

I pity your troll status (alas I have no mod points). It's a fair point though - anyone using nLite and/or vLite to create an unattended installation disk can't say that windows is difficult to install. It's generally a good idea to use it anyway, otherwise the faffing around with service packs + updates is annoying (which appears to be what people are moaning about 99% of the time).

Re:RIP (2, Informative)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094997)

How does nLite ease the installation of Windows?
The act of using nLite to create your custom unattended install is more complex than just doing an attended install in the first place.

Unless you have someone else create your nLited disk for you, but then, you could have somebody else do the Windows install, too.

So your point is moot....

Re:RIP (1, Flamebait)

slyn (1111419) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096219)

It depends on who's doing the slipstream.

I was able to get a fully updated, SP3 XP unattended install with DriverPacks for everything in less than an hour my first time ever working with the programs.

Doing an attended install means no million restarts due to the install disk I have only being up to SP1, not having to mess around with drivers, and not having to mess with the activation key.

If I wanted to go even further I could have set it up to autoinstall Firefox, Foxit Reader, and OpenOffice by doing a browse and finding the installers for each.

Now of course this preparation work is extra when compared to say, Linux or OS X, but any slashdotter worth his salt with a Windows install can make a slipstreamed disk that does an unattended install without any particular headaches, and the end result is a XP or Vista (if your using vLite) disk that is actually easier to install than Linux or OS X.

Re:RIP (1)

loutr (626763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095033)

anyone using nLite and/or vLite to create an unattended installation disk can't say that windows is difficult to install.

Sure, if you can make it through nLite configuration forms, you'll have no trouble installing Windows. But installing Ubuntu is still easier than creating a nLite install medium, and quicker too, and did I mention you could browse the web while waiting through the installation process ? ;)

Re:RIP (2, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094249)

and proprietary unix was always much easier than windows

Nope. UNIX was/is much easier to maintain when setup half decent. Keeping 10 workstations running was peanuts compared to Windows. To install it you needed to know your stuff. No deceptive comfy pillow was supplied. Ever installed SunOS 4? Ever added a 3rd party SCSI disk?

Re:RIP (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095005)

I'm sure it is great in the Enterprise market, but in the home and SMB markets? It is a royal can of suck. I'm sorry, but it's true. if you would like proof go to Bestbuy.com, Staples.com, and Walmart.com and buy any of the following WITHOUT doing research. You see home and SMB customers will NEVER do research, or spend hours trawling some forum to find out if device foo works on distro barr. They just walk into one of the above stores and buy based on price and features. Now try buying an all in one printer, a USB TV Tuner, and a Wifi USB stick. Remember-NO RESEARCH. Now go to distro foo and see if device barr you just got at Walmart works. I'll wait-

What is that? It don't work? Welcome to my reality. Pretty much zip you buy at the above stores works for the consumer. It is actually easy to explain. It is because Red Hat and Novell and the other companies writing Linux drivers only care about server and enterprise support. And as much as you'd like to believe it, I'm afraid that unless real money is spent on consumer hardware support those drivers aren't going to be written by some guy in his basement. Real support takes real money that simply isn't being spent on Linux. That is why even Ubuntu, the darling of the Linux community, is seeing a 400% [laptopmag.com] higher return rate than Windows. For an OEM that is a dealbreaker.

So can we please just stop that "Linux is ready for home users" BS already? Unless your average home user consists of someone with a server and a $1000 enterprise network printer the facts just don't support it. There is simply way too much hardware being sold that has no support whatsoever in Linux. And you will never ever get Joe SMB or Sally home user to trawl forums and do research just to go buy a doodad at Walmart. It just isn't going to happen and you are deluding yourself if you believe it ever will. If you want the home and SMB markets you need at least 80% of the doodads that are sold at Walmart, Staples, and Best Buy to "just work".

And please don't say "But but but... they won't support us or open their specs!". Welcome to reality, where life is hard and nobody cares. The SMB and home users certainly doesn't give a shit about "free as in beer or freedom" when nothing they own or pick up at Walmart actually works. And they don't care about your excuses either. To them your "free OS" is "free as in worthless" if they can't print. Sorry, but it is true. On servers, it is a different ballgame. Linux is rock solid stable with excellent support. I would recommend Linux without a doubt for a server setup. But for home users it just sucks. Sorry.

Re:RIP (2, Interesting)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096283)

Put the Lexmark down and step away from 1998. Your 4 paragraphs detailing one area where Windows is better than Linux (and only due to market considerations, not technical considerations) is amusing but overall pointless. I've personally set up about 50 desktop linux installations for friends and family who want to use me as their "computer guy". You have a (very small) point in that you can't just pick up ANY hardware and have it work in Linux, only about 90% of it works immediately. You're completely wrong about people being too stupid to realize that they have to buy something that works with their computer in order to, ya know, use it with their computer. By your logic Macs wouldn't exist simply due to not being 100% compatible with your pet OS.

You keep on spreading that FUD, but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy the ease of maintenance on my household's 2 linux desktops, 3 linux laptops and my linux server. Hell, I've even completely replaced cable TV with internet video.

A quick re-read of your post basically comes down to this bit of logic: Linux is not ready for the desktop because a few hardware companies have not yet blessed it as ready for the desktop. Linux is inferior to Windows because Lexmark says so, and that's the bottom line, nothing you can do about it but not be good enough.

See how goofy that sounds? As it turns out, it's just as silly in practice, as none of the few vendors that are actually Linux hostile have a monopoly in their market, thus any part you need is available at a reasonable (for the item) cost.

Re:RIP (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28098801)

I'm in the computer repair business (sole proprietor). I'm looking into starting a company along the same lines with three colleagues, one of which is a big fan of Linux and OpenOffice, and another of which is a fan of Vista and Microsoft Office.

We have had a massive bitch of a time convincing Vista dude why we'd prefer OO for in-house use (main selling point: it's compatible with office dox and its free). We literally had to sit down for a half hour and run him through it.

Ultimately, the end user likes things simple. Plug & Play gave them the idea of "Plug it in and it should work; if it doesn't then something's broke". You can't ask basic users to mess with tar.gz files or hunt down drivers that didn't come with the OS.

For Linux to succeed it has to be idiot proof for the end user, and it's not there yet.

RIP M$ more shilling aand nonsense (1)

omb (759389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097855)

I am writing this on an HP Presario V6000 with Brother MFC240 printer on SuSE 10.3 11.0 11.1 and all works
out of the box bought at Staples and MediaMarkt.

The reason some stuff dosnt work is it is carp or a one-week remaindered junk line WallMart bought up.

What about asking "will it work with linux" and getting an undertaking to take it back if it dosnt.

I cant speak too highly of Brother support, and their MFC's dont cost more than a tomer cartridge. Dont use
the wrong refill inks, they need dye inks with 10% flush added. If they sold replacement heads they would
last 10 years. Do not buy Lexmark or GDI printers. They can do very high colour quality and are fully programmable
for paper type and ink-dry time. The fax functionality is also fully programmable

On the laptop I have WiFi and Bluetooth and an external USB SIDE disk, 2G, replaced 320G SIDE internal
so I hardly use my desktop unless I need more than 2 CPUs.

If I need to run some Windows only stuff I have Wine that runs Office an VISIO and AutoCAD just fine using
a windows partition I share with a VMWare Windows install where I can run the BMW ETK + TIS for my car and
test web pages for IE tolerance.

Re:RIP (4, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28099395)

Now try buying an all in one printer, a USB TV Tuner, and a Wifi USB stick. Remember-NO RESEARCH. Now go to distro foo and see if device barr you just got at Walmart works.

Having bought an overpriced prebuilt many years ago, I've been through all that and more. I still remember the five hour delay while Windows Update downloaded a 30MB bloated, shitty sound card driver over dialup because the OEM install CD didn't bother to include one. It worked on Knoppix "out of the box". Guess windows just isn't ready for the desktop.

Re:RIP (5, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093915)

This is getting fucking tiresome. At first I gave this argument (user friendliness) some thought, of course Linux is different so it has to be either easier or more difficult, no two OSs are exactly equal. Then after hearing this argument about a thousand times between showing everybody from coworkers to friends to my own mother, whom isn't the youngest hen in the pen to put it gently, how to use Ubuntu I come to realise that most of the times it's because you are so fucking lazy. In my experience most people reject it simply because it's different, and different is scary, it's unknown. When my mother asks me for help I refuse to help her, instead I tell her "let's pretent that you have psychic powers and with that you just 'know' where to look for the answer", while I survey. Most times she, being 60+, finds whatever she's looking for. For example if she would ask me how to change the layout of the document she's working with in OOo I'd tell her, "What would be the 'category' of this action? Would it fit more into e.g. changing views or handling files or editing the contents?". Naturally where I'm going with this is to show her that she doesn't need to be scared, she can, with some common sense and an eager index finger, check for it in the logical places she can imagine.

In my experience it's not so difficult to teach a person with low Windows knowledge to do the same fundamental actions in another OS, Ubuntu being my preferred alternative for these. The tasks these people do are virtually the same. What is difficult is to teach the thick headed thinks-he-knows-his-computer guy, that has learned some semi advanced tweaking and configuring in Windows, to start "all over". To me it's clear, these people push it away not because they can't, but because they thought they could and when they realise that Windows has tought them very little (since little hacking is necessary) about general OS structure and configuration. I'm saying this because the first time I really forced myself to give Linux a chance I started off, on recommendation from friends using Linux, with Slackware. As a thick headed thought-I-knew-my-computer I'd tell you one thing: I was fucking lost. This failed, that failed -- and I can tell you that from a Windows users perspective the word "sound server" was very confusing. But as I moved further and further away from the Windows concept (what I thought was how an OS was built) I began learning how OSs function in reality. Of course the hardware resources of your soundcard may only be accessable by one application, which is why you need a sound server to distribute/gather/tunnel the stream, but Windows never even hinted this very fundamental fact about hardware/software interaction. Also I have to add that this was many years ago and long before Mark Shuttleworth first spoke the word Ubuntu, nowadays the sound server example might be nullified by Ubuntu as well. But it wouldn't matter, my point is that you find it difficult because you find it difficult, not because it is difficult, if you understand what I mean. So you see there are 3 types of users, the one that knows, the one that doesn't know and last and worst the one that thinks he knows, don't be the latter, nobody likes this guy.

Re:RIP (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094683)

It's not only laziness. I've tried installing Linux on various PCs over the years, and out of 8-9 tries, got to the desktop only ONCE. Last try, ubuntu 8.10, gives me "snow " when it's time to launch the gnome desktop. On all those machines, XP runs perfectly.

I'm changing PCs soon, and will try once again. I'm growing afraid that, if the basic OS install gives me so many problems, I'll never get to install apps, though. I don't know if it's my skill level (I've fairly used to installin gXP, and a newbie in Linux), code quality (especially drivers), or documentation... Probably a bit of everything; so I'm partly to blame , but still. I won't be recommending/installing Linux for others till I'm confident I can do it for myself.

Re:RIP (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095147)

Just out of curiosity, what type of computers do you buy?

I've installed Linux on everything from standard name-brand systems, to the most mongrel, hacked together pieces of random crap you could imagine.

I virtually _always_ get to the desktop. The only time I can remember that I didn't was when I installed Debian for the second time, after not having done it for a while, and forgot to install the package that includes the "startx" command. (I hate GUI login screens on Linux, so I didn't use any ?dm)
But that was really easy to fix, as I just had to install the xclients package.

These people that say they can't get the desktop to come up baffle me. I can honestly say I've _never_ seen that situation, and I've been dealing with Linux for well over a decade. The only thing I can think of is that you're using such a bizarre, esoteric hardware setup that virtually nobody ever sees in real life. But you've done this 8-9 times over the years. What are the chances that every computer you've owned has this type of setup? Virtually nil.

So, it makes no sense to me. Not saying it couldn't happen, but I have no frame of reference to relate to.

Re:RIP (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095357)

latest try was on an MSI pizza-box style PC, with an i815 IGP chipset, an oldish CPU (Celeron or via), and no extension card whatsoever: some RAM, 1 HD, 1CD drive, and that's it.

Re:RIP (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095733)

And this was the Ubuntu 8.10 attempt?

I've got a machine that's very similar hardware-wise to that. I'm going to try installing on it and see what happens.

Re:RIP (2, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095367)

Thank you for proving my point. While you are using Windows you have little knowledge of how important driver support is, you take it for granted, just like my sound server example. You don't know that it's important to check for supported hardware because whatever you stick inside your PC has been supported so far.

You're saying that you're about to change PC equipment. Before you decide what you want google around for those pieces of hardware and make sure there are stable Linux drivers that support them. It doesn't necessarily need to be old equipment so don't sweat it just yet. Do this and I promise you that you will have the most painless OS installation you've ever experienced, no exaduration. Your initial thought might be "how annoying", but then again if you had low level knowledge (and wanted Linux) you'd probably end up buying a complete setup from a vendor that supplies Linux support, but you're not. If you were an advanced user you'd find no problem in doing this quick research. If however you're the middle person with, let's call it phantom knowledge, you'd try to do what the advanced guy is doing with the ambitions of the low level guy, getting you absolutely nowhere. The only way of learning this is by doing, so do yourself a favor and set yourself on the path of becoming an advanced user, it really doesn't hurt.

As I said, if you're really up for it the only thing you need to do is check for Linux support for the hardware you're going to buy, the same way as you've been ignoring Mac products due to incompability (or other more obvious issues not mentioned).

Oh and about "laziness". You can disagree with me all you want, and you probably should, but I've seen and helped so many people with similar/related problems and my conclusion is, even they'd disagree as well, that they've simply been lazy. They know google, they know english, they have fingers, and most importantly they have a question. Don't tell me that's not being lazy. :)

Re:RIP (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28098063)

It's not only laziness. I've tried installing Linux on various PCs over the years, and out of 8-9 tries, got to the desktop only ONCE. Last try, ubuntu 8.10, gives me "snow " when it's time to launch the gnome desktop.

Now that is scary. Back in the mid-'90s when I was playing around with various Linux distros on a machine with a no-name motherboard and SiS-based graphics card, I didn't get great results (the colour was 16-bit at best) but I never ONCE got snow.

And over the years since (and manymany Linux installs down the track) I have had 100% success in getting X11 to work. Go figure.

Re:RIP (0, Troll)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095229)

Sure, its laziness, but we're all lazy. Sometimes we want a computer to act like a device that just works, without hassle, at all.

Now, I know that's a pipe dream of a utopian future we'll probably never have. But, when things go wrong, consider the difference between Windows and Linux - with Windows you type a search in google and get some results that nearly always apply to you, do what they say and you're done. With Linux, type a search into google and you get a load of results, too many results, some fixing your problem... but for a different distro, some requiring you to have a lot more knowledge and skill that an ordinary user should have to use a modern computer, and some just obscure and wrong.

That's the difference, that's why you have to go extra to help people out with Linux instead of treating them like n00bs. Until we get support sites for distros that really are helpful to the common user (hmm.. perhaps an Ubuntu wiki of common issues, solutions, and so on) then we'll have to take up the slack and help people out.

Mind you, I have to help out my Windows-using friends as well :(

Re:RIP (2, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095805)

Mind you, I have to help out my Windows-using friends as well :(

You didn't hear? The best IT friend excuse was formed, it goes by: "I'm sorry man, I never learned Vista so I can't help you. :(". Seriously though it's the best excuse I've found for bailing out of those people-taking-advantage-of-your-juicy-brain situations.

Back to the topic though. I understand your argument about scattered and misleading information, but this is a self solving problem caused by the small magnitude of Linux. As Linux grows, so will this problem shrink. However there are still many detailed and very helpful resources for your distro, if you're using any major distro. My favourite being gentoo wiki [gentoo-wiki.com] . Apart from you have the regular Ubuntu resources, launchpad, ubuntuforums etc. In addition to this you have great independent resources such as linuxquestions.org [linuxquestions.org]

I like to use Ubuntu a lot, as you might notice, in my examples. Not because it's "the master distro", not at all actually. But it's unique in a way where "automagic" is a key word. This is what the common user wants, and we will see more ubuntu-like distros coming as time goes. For now I support Ubuntu as much as I support FOSS simply because it's a milestone in FOSS development that has already made it to history, any person whom doesn't recognize that fact is lying to himself. You don't have to promote it, you don't have to use it, you don't even have to like it, but you should never lie about what it is.

Re:RIP (5, Insightful)

fwarren (579763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096485)

Sure, its laziness, but we're all lazy. Sometimes we want a computer to act like a device that just works, without hassle, at all.

It is a lie. Repeat after me. "A Computer is NOT an appliance".

Some things are not inherently simple. A blender is simple, a toaster is simple. A telecsope is NOT simple. You have to adjust where you are pointing it and the focus, know about lenses.

Things are moving along. Compare an SLR camera from 20 years ago to a push and click digital camera of today. There are still things to learn but the simple "point and click" "appliance" camera of today is a very powerful camera.

Microsoft has done everyone a diservice by saying that a computer IS an appliance. Take any group of hardware and add $200 of Microsoft products and you will have a working system. Easy to use and secure.

Everyeone wants to do word processing, but they don't want to lean how their OS stores files...so they can't find what they saved an hour from now. Everyone wants to send email, but they don't know how to read an error message that tells them why their email could not be delivered.

Short of running a kiosk, we are not anywhere near the "appliance" stage of PC computing. Anyone saying otherwise should be swiftly kicked in the balls. Even if he is a geek with funny haircut and wears glasses.

Re:RIP (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093987)

But Linux is great to reduce software procurement costs as a bargaining tool.

Currently there is a similar debate in Spain.

Re:RIP (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097477)

That's called "free market competition", not "bargaining tool".

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28095803)

Linux is ready, but the people (the masses) are not ready yet.

Re:RIP (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093611)

Even if it's planting a seed that will grow into a tree that will eventually become the MS coffin -- it's still a good thing.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28093891)

They have ents in NZ, you insensitive clod!

Re:RIP (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093333)

Maybe not a nail:

SSC spokesperson Marian Mortensen says government looks for three things in its negotiations: value for money, fitness for purpose and strategic benefit.

Mortensen says open source will be "part fo [sic] the mix, definitely". However, she adds, such choices will be made by individual agencies.

There's something, anyway, but it might not be much. It's up to the individual agencies.

Re:RIP (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093577)

It's likely a positioning move to get steeper discounts.

What would put another nail in MS's coffin would be them calling the bluff and forcing NZ to take on quite a bit of Open source software. Once past the "OMG it's different then what we have always used" stage, it might be more then enough to the government agencies and lead to more OSS adoption.

Re:RIP (1)

bobsdesk (1308623) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095007)

You guy's still argue over this! Bashing MS so last year. The future is Google, they own the internet. At least Bill Gates recognized that, albeit, too late.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28095747)

Another nail in MSs coffin?

Offtopic? Surely this is another sign that Micro$oft are losing both ground and respect, and the OP couldn't be more ON topic. It has nothing to do with Linux fanboy-ism, just a recognition that people are now aware that there are alternatives to MS, and these alternatives may be better (cheaper, faster etc) for some people and organisations.

Linux (3, Funny)

p!ngu (854287) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093313)

Doors open! Get 'em, boys!

Re:Linux (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094043)

Remember that David only defeats Goliath in the movies. In real life, David usually ends up with a slingshot shoved up his ass.

Re:Linux (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28094297)

True enough, but the global Linux community is considerably larger than Microsoft so the particular placement of that slingshot is open for debate.

Re:Linux (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097409)

Sure... Remember Microsoft against IBM (Goliath ended up with the sligshot soved up its ass twice), Google against Digital...

Just to name a few...

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28094585)

It's likely the NZ gov will spend more money for the tendering process and trying to support Nth variations of Linux in an impossible attempt to standardize. Not that MS is the best company, but they have become the de facto Industry Standard for Desktop OS's. Enterprise server OS's are different matter. I would bet this is an attempt by NZ to get a better price out of MS not to move to open source.

Re:Linux (2, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095777)

How can people make stuff up, like this? I mean, really, HOW?

Supposing that they go with BSD. It is ALREADY standards compliant, and secure. The government need only decide which programs are necessary for their uses, and MAYBE have them tailored and tweaked for thier purposes. Nothing more than what is necessary for any MS system.

Every single step required to put that BSD system to work for the government, would be required for an "equivalent" MS system. Or, Solaris, or Linux, or whatever. You seem to suggest that using MS systems eliminates some of the tedious work? I hardly think so.

Training is the single expense that will probably be higher with an open source system - but that is a ONE TIME expense, which is more than offset by the money saved (ie, not sent to Redmond)

More and more governments are switching to open source. Those that insist on proprietary continue to be embarassed. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13639_3-10129373-42.html [cnet.com] http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Royal-Navy-Catches-a-Virus-from-Russia-With-Love-05256/ [defenseindustrydaily.com]

Yay! (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093315)

All I can say is Yay!

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28095301)

So when you get back from work and open the front door you might say "Yay, yay yay!"? Does that get tiresome?

Open Formats (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093319)

The individual departments should be required to use open formats where open formats exist. It's far past the time governments should be held hostage with proprietary formats.

Re:Open Formats (3, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093397)

I agree that should be the number one short-term goal for governments of the world. The only problem is, what do you do about issues like OOXML, which is a standard, and which MS supports in name, but which isn't actually supported by anyone? Gaming the standards system has become too easy and corrupting standards has no penalty.

What ever happened to the good ol' days when you put up an RFC and a reference implementation and everyone tried to make sure new stuff worked with the old stuff? If there had been a reference implementation (ahem ... OO.o), we wouldn't have the weasel ODF support in MS Office SP2.

Re:Open Formats (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093503)

If there had been a reference implementation (ahem ... OO.o), we wouldn't have the weasel ODF support in MS Office SP2.

What "if"? OO.o pretty much is the reference implementation of ODF, or am I missing something?

Re:Open Formats (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093655)

As far as I know, it wasn't completely ODF1.0 compliant in the beginning and wasn't offered up officially as a reference implementation. I think it should have been, obviously.

Re:Open Formats (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094681)

Well, not all reference implementations are completely compliant. They should be, I know, but they aren't necessarily. I don't think sendmail, for instance, was originally 100% compliant with the RFCs that sendmail was offered up as a reference implementation of.

And, no, not the same as Office not being a complete implementation of OOXML. OOXML, as spec'd, cannot be implemented by anyone other than Microsoft. At all. The missing ODF compliance in OO.o is very minor compared to that nonsense.

Re:Open Formats (3, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094239)

I agree that should be the number one short-term goal for governments of the world. The only problem is, what do you do about issues like OOXML, which is a standard, and which MS supports in name, but which isn't actually supported by anyone? Gaming the standards system has become too easy and corrupting standards has no penalty.

I know I have posted something similar like this before. However I believe it bears repeating.

The Norwegian Government, in a moment of clarity, decided to embrace open standards. From January 1 2009 all departments, institutions, schools and public sites; should deliver and accept all documents that are ODF, PDF or HTML (which ever is appropriate for the information in question). This doesn't bare those sites and institutions from putting up, or accepting, Microsoft document formats; but at everything have to be there in Open Standards first and foremost.

Re:Open Formats (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094951)

The Norwegian Government, in a moment of clarity, decided to embrace open standards. From January 1 2009 all departments, institutions, schools and public sites; should deliver and accept all documents that are ODF, PDF or HTML (which ever is appropriate for the information in question). This doesn't bare those sites and institutions from putting up, or accepting, Microsoft document formats; but at everything have to be there in Open Standards first and foremost.

You'll forgive my cynicism, I trust, but does that actually happen or is it on the statute books but neither followed nor enforced? I'd be particularly interested to know if they make a lot of things available in ODF format.

Re:Open Formats (1)

catman (1412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095565)

To quote the press release:
ODF (ISO/IEC 26300) is to be used to publish documents to which the user should be able to make changes after downloading, e.g. public forms to be filled out by the user. This format is also made obligatory.

The government's web site in English is at http://www.regjeringen.no/en.html?id=4 [regjeringen.no]

I didn't dig much, but all I could find was either html or pdf. There's a hearing document out mandating open standard formats for communication between local governments as well. And more on topic: Under a previous, non-Labour government, Microsoft tried to get schools to subscribe to a Windows-only system where MS was going to get paid for every computer in the school - including Macs and Linux machines. The government put its foot down and each school district now negotiates for itself.

Re:Open Formats (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28099515)

If the purchaser is actually serious about open standards, then it will reject OOXML for three reasons: (a) it is not an open standard; (b) there is no conforming implementation, even by Microsoft; (c) in spite of the bizarre stance taken by ISO, it isn't a standard of any sort since no complete specification exists, much less has been voted on by ISO. Microsoft may well be able to trot out OOXML for organizations that want to go with Microsoft and just need an excuse, but this won't work with any organization that cares, nor should it survive legal scrutiny.

We'll see.... (3, Interesting)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093327)

I'd be happily surprised if a National government was the one to embrace Free software and start the process of eventually seeing it used in schools, which then flows to the work place and homes... But we'll see... I would be very surprised if the government picked open source.

Re:We'll see.... (1)

faceleg (1557741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095729)

If they pick up Open Source, I will vote for them in the next election. ......kidding. I'd be SHOCKED if they converted even 10% of their software to open source.

Re:We'll see.... (2, Interesting)

Umangme (1337019) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096025)

Well, just so you know, not very far from home (for me at least) there is this semi-Utopian place [wordpress.com] where people say "Windows? What's that?".

But everyone is still going to fuss because it is communist... and Linux is now being seen as a communist thing... and only Obama can change things... yes I know. It is still a ray of hope in a world of darkness. It should be worth mentioning, though, that this state elects a communist government every five years, and have the option not to and had the world's first elected communist government.

*Bang* goes the hammer... (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093337)

Hopefully to be pounded in by Linux :) Seriously... where's the Micro$oft of olde, which would rush in with massive software discounts to lock in the client? I wonder what they have up their sleeve this time. As is said, better an enemy whose methods you know than one with those unknown.

Re:*Bang* goes the hammer... (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093373)

Wait ... hammer's don't go "bang" ... and they don't get pounded in either! Something's fishy about this post. I think we need Inspector General Taco to come take a look at this; we may need to bring in the NSA to crack this one.

Re:*Bang* goes the hammer... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093605)

Wait ... hammer's don't go "bang" ...

Maxwell's silver one does.

A small win, but MS has lobbyists (5, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093343)

Before you all rejoice in hallelujah glory please remember that:
1) MS is a powerful marketing organisation with a single control center. It has millions to spend on lobbying. Instead of one central purchasing order they will go after each state/county and government organisation parallely and independently.
2) To take advantage of this situation the FOSS/Open Source has NO marketing budget or marketing plan except for some backdoor geeks.
3) Lobbyists that MS hires far outmatch the abilities of what FOSS can bring up....
Let's face facts ok?
We have been a good, in fact excellent opening in a battle. The enemy has taken a big kick in its balls and is down for a few moments.
But, we lack the control center and resources of taking advantage of it.
If i were Red Hat or Ubuntu (in a corporate sense), i would be in NZ now talking to the main permanent secretaries and other pukes down there to hammer down an initial PoC for Linux/Open office.
And yes i would offer a central help center staffed by real people who can train the department's IT staff and/or assist them in installing, fixing bugs, training staff, etc all the things Microsoft will do.
And yes, i would sign a one-year contract with them offering them a FREE software with paid support.
But, as FOSS supporter do i have a centralized marketing budget, people, resources to make it happen?
NOOOO.
Its likea Sniper going against an entire armoured division. Yeah it sounds gung-ho, but that does not win a war gentlemen. We need the three C's of marketing. Command, Control and a Corporate willing to take risks and Money.
Once we have that in form of Red Hat or corporate Ubuntu we can talk about a Master Plan on taking down MS...
Until then shut up the vodka bottles. Its too early to celebrate.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093393)

Instead of one central purchasing order they will go after each state/county and government organisation parallely and independently.

And they'll say "Whoa, you're thinking of using what filthy hippy app? You know that it's AIR-QUOTE compatible with Office, right? All the cool counties are going to go Office - do you want to talk to them or not?"

I think all that's up for discussion is whether they actually make air-quotes, or just say it out loud.

open for business (2, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096255)

Instead of one central purchasing order they will go after each state/county and government organisation parallely and independently.

And they'll say "Whoa, you're thinking of using what filthy hippy app? ...

The 1990's called, they want their talking points back. Notice that after all these years, the best MSFTers can do to counter RMS is to call him names? Can't handle any of the ideas or technologies, can they?

We've known for decades that FOSS is about making money. Some discussions which might make the point that FOSS concepts dovetail with that:

and so on...

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093499)

I think it would take an established IT organisation to get behind FOSS for it to be accepted in the market place. The only such organisation I have experience with won't have a bar of it. All their people are trained on windows.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093691)

That's the problem.
That's EXACTLY the problem.
Open Source is owned by none giving it NO respect in corporate sense.
IT departments have been saying this for many years.
To be considered for real, open source must be "adopted" by a corporate entity which has the financial muscle acumen and the willingness to take risks.
This is exactly what our Company Law allows us to do: taking risks without risking our pensions!
Why hasn't anyone created a for-profit corporation which can "adopt" open source and whose charter says it will give back any profits back to the open source community? In a way a shell corporation for all the excellent stuff?
Damn, Red Hat is nowhere near it and all other IT cos are not willing...

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093761)

Pure FUD. There are a number of companies which will offer you support on your Open Source software, including redhate. The availability of the support contract was enough to fill your requirements. The problem now is vendor lock-in.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093887)

...yet none of them are on the bid in NZ. Surprising isn't it?
Visibility my friend, is the first lesson in marketing.
You gotta be out there selling yourself. You can't wait here and expect NZ to find and come to you.
I bought Diskeeper instead of the better/free/competitor products when it came to defragging my drives. Why? Marketing.
Which is why i think an iPhone is better than a Nokia E95. Even you maybe.
Why?

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094199)

...yet none of them are on the bid in NZ. Surprising isn't it?

No, but not for the reasons you describe. It's called simple bribery and collusion, and it has to do with Microsoft, and big bags of money. If the corporations didn't come along with complete programs for these government pinheads to look like they were doing their jobs, they might actually have to do them.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096651)

That is what i was referring to by money!
MS has a unified source of income and is able to spend it on caviar and Limos for the pukes.
OSS cannot.
Oh please, you are not expecting a civil servant to put public good over his career???

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28093945)

Excellent point.

I had hoped that IBM would fill this position, but for the last year, I've been working for a Fortune 100 company, and we use IBM as our IT support organization. After what I've seen here, I would NEVER trust IBM to manage a system. They are (at least those who have been working on our systems) totally incompetent.

I don't know whether Redhat is good or not, but none of the large companies I've worked for would ever consider hiring a company like Redhat, unfortunately.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093657)

1) MS is a powerful marketing organisation with a single control center. It has millions to spend on lobbying. Instead of one central purchasing order they will go after each state/county and government organisation parallely and independently

I agree to a point: I personally don't think that Microsoft has the domain knowledge to after individual provinces or localities in New Zealand, but then I may be underestimating Microsoft's presence in NZ.

2) To take advantage of this situation the FOSS/Open Source has NO marketing budget or marketing plan except for some backdoor geeks.

Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, Mandriva, Sun, IBM, etc. all have marketing budgets. With the sole exception of IBM, none have as large a marketing budget as Microsoft, at least not by themselves.

3) Lobbyists that MS hires far outmatch the abilities of what FOSS can bring up....

There is no "open source lobbying" organization. ("FOSS" and "FLOSS" are ugly terms, IMHO). But certainly there are individual groups that, together, are extremely power, each from different angles. From the "online freedom" aspect, you have the EFF. From the "Linux is good" dept., we have The Linux Foundation. There are several organizations pushing open standards. IBM pushes open standards and open source. And there are tons of other examples. Together, these organizations outweigh Microsoft's lobbying efforts.

And there is no "we": Open source represents a bunch of diverse elements with diverse agendas. That's why open source is winning (yes, I said it: we are winning!). Many individuals and organizations with many agendas easily outweigh the one agenda and one organization, no matter how big or how much money said agenda and organization are.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094223)

Think about guerilla warfare. They cannot win this as long as there are enough attacks which require wasteful counter-action resources. Microsoft can't win all the time but has to. Otherwise open source gets a bridgehead. Fighting open source makes open source stronger.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096759)

You are basing your opinion on emotions. Facts state otherwise.
Guerilla warfare has never, ever won a regular army on regular terms.
Its a mosquito that bites a fly. Yes it can annoy the lion, but the lion eventually develops a thicker skin.
Please don't start by saying partisan warfare in Russia drew the Nazis out. Because they did't. And neither did the french. All they did was to betray jews.
Historically, regular armies have won with massive resurces.
Partisan warfare can annoy but can't compete with a regular army on a regular battlefield.

Well, duh!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28097449)

"Guerilla warfare has never, ever won a regular army on regular terms."

Yup, and a regular army has never won against a guerrilla army on guerrilla terms.

And the lion gets malaria.

Elephants will be eaten alive by hugely swarming army ants.

And a regular army cannot compete on an irregular battlefield (read Terry Pratchett's "Nightwatch" for a fairly realistic account of how an army in irregular battlefields will lose).

Re:Well, duh!!! (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28098091)

Microsoft fights in regular battlefields. Exclusively.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (3, Informative)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094899)

Microsoft is quite present here in New Zealand. On a few occasions I have mentioned that I run linux on my desktop PC to IT tutors / teachers; the responses have varied from "what's that?" to "isn't linux just for servers?"(that one was today)

In fact, barely anybody else that I know is familiar with linux; everybody assumes it's Microsoft as far as the eye can see - how can there be possibly something better out there if everybody still uses MS?

There was one person I tried to introduce to linux, and to my distress the result wasn't exactly glamorous - after spending half a day figuratively breaking through brick walls with my forehead to configure PulseAudio with his 5.1 surround system, grr, I find out that ATI had decided to dump support for his relatively new card, grrrr.

So X is pulverized completely and he has a filesystem he can't access on a brand new hard drive that's good to kill small bugs with or stop paper from blowing away. I tried to explain to him that this was ATI's doing, not the fault of Linux.... Seems he'll never give FOSS another chance after that.

All in all there's many walls to break through to get linux out there, and many of them come back to Microsoft doing what it does best, which to be blunt is using it's inflated wealth and influence to overstay its welcome.

At any rate, we need to tighten a lot of loose screws before we can really get Linux out there. I hope and pray that Ubuntu considers changing the fixed release cycles so there isn't something major broken with every new release, as the OS has the potential to go far. But I digress...

At the end of the day, the less I see of Microsoft in my blessed country the better. My uncle works in government in New Zealand, and the laptop that Microsoft pilfered down through the grime channels to him has made his job a bit harder - in his words, "Computers are supposed to get smaller and faster, this thing is huge, heavy and slow". So yes, Microsoft is indeed hampering productivity here; this news gets a begrudging thumbs-up from me to a government I like as much as the smell of a long-dead seal.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095413)

There was one person I tried to introduce to linux, and to my distress the result wasn't exactly glamorous - after spending half a day figuratively breaking through brick walls with my forehead to configure PulseAudio with his 5.1 surround system

People working in government offices (or most businesses for that matter) don't have any need for technologies like these. What may present issues for consumers have little relevance to professional usage situations. Millions of people are sitting in front of vanilla machines with Intel motherboards and graphics.

There are lots of reasons why supporting Linux on consumer devices can be difficult; few of those apply to professional settings with IT staffs. For them the bigger issue is software compatibility, particularly with home-grown or vertical applications that only run on Windows. Some of these applications might run fine with something like Wine or Mono, but I doubt many admins in Windows-only shops spend any time testing to see how difficult it might be to convert to Linux.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28095697)

I personally don't think that Microsoft has the domain knowledge to after individual provinces or localities in New Zealand, but then I may be underestimating Microsoft's presence in NZ.

You are, Microsoft itself isn't exceptionally strong, but there are a number of partners with good evangelists that have their foot in the door pretty much everywhere.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

helios17 (617082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28099529)

If you think the corporates have any interest in marketing GNU/Linux or Free software, please take a minute and educate yourselves. This was a real eye-opener for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG9HhXBFDUM [youtube.com]

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093771)

Lets also realize that Open Source isn't the only alternative to Microsoft.

You got IBM. Yea Yea IBM is a big supporter of Open Source Software (Enough to influence the FSF to add verbiage in GPL 3 to add the commercial use exception, to its anti-TiVoization clause), However not all their products are Open Source and they may not push the open source projects for the need that New Zealand needs. Perhaps a Nice AIX, Lotus, Informix combination. Or how about Oracle solution Solaris, Oracle and Star Office (The closed source version of open Office). Heck With Microsoft lost it just may mean that New Zealand will still go with Microsoft products but threw an other vendor say via a Dell or a HP.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093833)

IBM is strong on servers / mainframes. That's their bread and butter. Unfortunately, Websphere Studio Application Developer and Rational Software Architect can't be used to write the daily memos and do mathematical worksheets.
Star Office is closed. Shut down. So forget it.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

ykiwi (211385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093791)

Yup - except we don't have states in New Zealand. Or counties - unless you count Counties-Manukau, which is a Region.

We do have Government Departments, and Microsoft will have to go after each one, like any other vendor. That means tendering and the like. I imagine that many solutions will be provided by big vendors such as Gen-i and IBM. There are plenty of folk around to support roll outs.

Lobbyists get relatively little influence over here as well - they can be involved in the process like anybody else, but it is pretty transparent. The OSS folk are pretty good and pretty influential here - here's hoping they can keep pushing.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094071)

Ever heard of partisan and guerilla warfare?

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096617)

Ever heard of partisan warfare defeating a regular army in a regular battlefield?

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (1)

fatgeek (1562509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094325)

I don't think it is appropriate to describe the NZOSS and other Open Source groups in New Zealand as "backdoor geeks". There are some very professional, well organised geeks promoting Open Source Software in New Zealand many of whom are running commercial businesses some of significant size for the New Zealand IT industry. Not that I wish to diss in anyway the great work being done by the backdoor geeks out there.

Re:A small win, but MS has lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096967)

Somehow referring to these decision makers as "pukes" is supposed to help?

More diverse or just trickier? (2, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093349)

So the NZ gov will not make a contract with MS centrally, leaving individual dept's to tender individually. Well, it just means that the central States Service Commission with it's liking of FOSS will no longer have as much influence on software purchases, leaving possibly less open-minded dept CIO's to make contracts. At a higher price due to lower volume? No great loss for Microsoft there. It may even be a winner for them.

Re:More diverse or just trickier? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094021)

FYI we don't care about Microsofts loss, we only care about the gain of FOSS. :)

Re:More diverse or just trickier? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094207)

FYI neither do I care for Microsoft, but if you carefully read what I said, you will find that I was pointing to the possibility of MS actually GAINING from the loss of the central contract.

Re:More diverse or just trickier? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28095075)

I did, and I'm not attacking you so chill. I'm merely pointing out that we shouldn't care if Microsoft is losing or "GAINING" anything, but instead focusing on the gain for FOSS. :)

Is New Zealand any where near Vancouver? (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093391)

Re:Is New Zealand any where near Vancouver? (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093485)

In longitude it is pretty close.

Re:Is New Zealand any where near Vancouver? (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093561)

I'm not sure if this is funny, informative or just dull.

anyone here with a 3-sided coin so I can decide?

Re:Is New Zealand any where near Vancouver? (1)

catman (1412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097063)

It's very near to the antipode of Norway: http://www.friprog.no/In-English/ [friprog.no] That's a very small agency under the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform.

They want better deal (5, Interesting)

paziek (1329929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28093453)

I bet they just want better deal, and think this will help. Who knows, they are probably right about that.

pgoat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28094553)

the same operation >and I 4robably

Nothing will change though (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28094637)

NZ will still buy all software from MS, just at much more inflated prices. Buying OSS from a zoo of little guys is just too much hassle for IT and the buyers.

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28097151)

about who can 8ant racist? How is _Jesus Up The

Sad Irony (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097605)

I pull up this story about Microsoft vs Linux and Slashdot is showing me an advert about OpenSuse from Novell.

Epic Sigh

Re:Sad Irony (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28098613)

I pull up this story about Microsoft vs Linux and Slashdot is showing me an advert about OpenSuse from Novell. Epic Sigh

The ad is OpenSolaris for me. I win!

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