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A Public Funded "Microsoft Shop?"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-firefox-for-you dept.

Medicine 490

An anonymous reader writes "I work at a public hospital in the computer / technical department and (amongst others) was recently outraged by an email that was sent around our department: '(XXXX) District Health Board — Information Services is strategically a Microsoft shop and when talking to staff / customers we are to support this strategy. I no longer want to see comments promoting other Operating Systems.' We have also been told to remove Firefox found on anyone's computer unless they have specific authorisation from management to have it installed under special circumstances. Now, I could somewhat understand this if I was working in a company that sold and promoted the use of Microsoft software for financial gain, but I work in the publicly / government funded health system. Several of the IT big-wigs at the DHB are seemingly blindly pro-Microsoft and seem all too quick to shrug off other, perhaps more efficient alternatives. As a taxpayer, I want nothing more than to see our health systems improve and run more efficiently. I am not foolish enough to say all our problems would be solved overnight by changing away from Microsoft's infrastructure, but I am convinced that if we took less than half the money we spend on licensing Microsoft's software alone and invested that in training users for an open source system, we would be far better off in the long run. I would very much like to hear Slashdot's ideas / opinions on this 'Strategic Direction' and the silencing of our technical opinions."

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Bill Gates is Jesus Christ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358730)

He just wants us to have more sick people so he can heal them with his glowing palms.

hmm... (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358734)

It's entirely possible that your hospital signed a deal with Microsoft...by exclusively using their products, they would get a discount.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time...

Re:hmm... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358898)

Yes, it would be the first time. Microsoft doesn't offer any kind of licensing that requires an organization to use their software exclusively. If they did they would open themselves up to a whole new round of anti-trust litigation.

Re:hmm... (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358930)

No, but they can *wink*wink* *nudge*nudge* take an executive on a nice golf vacation if the organization does not use anything else.

Re:hmm... (1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358946)

Good point.

Going back to the story submitter...maybe your bosses are just morons? Sorry, I got nothing...parent AC made a good point.

Re:hmm... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358916)

Being a "microsoft shop" one thing. obnoxiously pushing it to the exclusion of all else is another. This situation also seems to go a bit beyond just an internal standard and also seems to include evangelism and active hostility to anything else. It's Taliban vs. Amish.

Re:hmm... (4, Funny)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359012)

Taliban vs Amish

FIGHT!

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359136)

You just say that because both of these groups will never see your message.

Re:hmm... (4, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358940)

Our University uses the Microsoft Consolidated Campus Agreement. We pay around $2 per client for a Windows upgrade OS and Office. It doesn't have to be total buy-in throughout the university either...departments can sign up or not. Apple has something similar, but at this point your whole university has to sign up or you don't get the deal. This is a nod to the size of Apple vs Microsoft I think.

As far as a hospital standardizing on a single OS and software infrastructure, people often forget that there's a benefit to standardization. Even if you can save money by using open source this or that, you're essentially throwing a wrench in the works if you don't do it in the right place. IE, Windows -- all centrally updateable and manageable with MS tools. Firefox has an msi made by a third party to play nice with AD group policy software distribution, but as far as I know, centrally managing it (specifying options, bookmarks, etc) isn't possible (please correct me if I'm wrong).

You can be a Microsoft desktop shop, but have your application and database servers run UNIX or Linux and you probably won't have too many interoperability issues. We're one of the universities that is trying out the Google Apps system for students, faculty, and staff, even though we have a growing population of centralized Exchange users (email, calendaring, IM, VOIP, etc). We're working on interoperability now, but it would likely be easier if we went one way or the other.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359168)

$2 per client for windows or office upgrade is a good price. I would probably have a better opinion about microsoft if this was the general public price.

Re:hmm... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359064)

yeah, basically all those motions you hear of countries leaving MS? Some of them actually do it. Many just go through the motions to get a discount. You can always tell.

My work was all "We're pro firefox, pro open source, lets get openoffice working for our international purposes and also get rid of our lotus notes dependence and get set to move to linux".

Suddenly it's "lets get windows 7 and IE!". It's clear my work thought it was a prudent business decision to take the short term decisino.

Re:hmm... (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359212)

It probably also makes it a lot easier on the IT support staff. They don't have to deal with a million different browsers, OS's, etc. They can just learn the MS stuff and sit on their asses never learning anything else.

MS Wromtongues Infecting Your Corporate Overlords? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358742)

Here's a question I asked Canonical's Matt Asay [slashdot.org] which provoked this response [slashdot.org] :

Adoption stories and influences
by eldavojohn (898314)"Every so often I see an adoption story about so-and-so taking up some open source solution [slashdot.org] and sometimes I think 'Wow, French government? Now it's really going to take off. This is it. It's time.' And then I wait. And wait. Are these stories at all positive for the project? I mean, you would think with states and governments using Ubuntu or Red Hat that it would catch on like wildfire if the savings are there so why isn't that happening? I know Microsoft sends out a lot of Wormtongues to stick in the ears of important people. Do you plan on targeting governments in a similar manner? Does/will Canonical work on making a presence in things like the EU Commissions where we've seen corporations collecting members in their pockets?"
Matt: No, we have no plans to turn Wormtongue. We do, however, have aspirations to play Frodo. :-)

Ultimately, governments (good ones, anyway) are established to reflect the voice of their citizens. At Canonical, we believe that real, lasting change happens from the bottom up, as citizens within government and IT and those served by it clamor for change. We try to help this along by working with government organizations, including open source-friendly lobbying groups, to promote free markets and expanded choice through free and open-source software, but I personally believe that individuals will make the difference.

Change can be expensive, whether in terms of cost or bother, and so as individuals or organizations we generally try to avoid it. But people are now starting to feel enough pain - be it software costs, inefficient use of hardware, viruses and other malware, etc. - that Linux and open-source software, generally, are getting plenty of attention. The cure, in other words, now outweighs the effort of applying it. Yes, Microsoft will do its part to thwart this progress,but even so I've seen broad and ever-increasing government adoption of open source. It's just that most of it doesn't get reported.

Don't lose heart and, in particular, don't lose "voice." We're being heard. The worst thing we could do is to slacken our pace now.

Basically seems to be the answer I constantly get. "No, we're not sinking to that level. If we had that money there are a lot more productive things to spend it on."

And they're basically right. People should use open source because they choose it. Not because someone told them to. When the change comes from within and is organic, then it stays and prospers and grows.

I would not recommend that you make this suggestion to your boss unless your job is one resembling Chief of IT at your job. A public hospital really isn't a great place to experiment with open source. If you feel a need to be vocal about this just wait until IE becomes a pain due to a virus or zero day exploit and suggest Firefox as a slightly safer alternative. If you want to discuss other operating systems, you're probably best off looking for other parts of your city's public works that use Linux and asking your IT guys why your counterparts found it so successful. Or point out that if it's good enough for the DoD to use, surely it's good enough for a public hospital. I don't know what kind of scheduling and patient programs you guys are running that might only work in Microsoft. Yes, MS Exchange is a problem without a great complete open source replacement. I don't know your details. But the last thing open source needs is "John Smith died because MS Exchange stopped working on his doctor's computer. The culprit? <evil voice>Open Source Software!</evil voice>"

I am not foolish enough to say all our problems would be solved overnight by changing away from Microsoft's infrastructure, but I am convinced that if we took less than half the money we spend on licensing Microsoft's software alone and invested that in training users for an open source system, we would be far better off in the long run.

Draw up a business plan and do a concept of operations on a pilot at home then. As long as it won't risk your job or your credibility, something done like that on your free time can't hurt. Just be prepared for it to be rejected because of the Microsoft "consultant" at the top sweet talking your boss' boss' boss' boss.

Re:MS Wromtongues Infecting Your Corporate Overlor (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358962)

"John Smith died because MS Exchange stopped working on his doctor's computer. The culprit? <evil voice>Open Source Software!</evil voice>"

Really? My God! That's terrible!

Re:MS Wromtongues Infecting Your Corporate Overlor (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359006)

There is nothing "experimental" about open source in hospitals. There are several HIS and hospital management open source solutions that are quite good, throw in some open office in the mix and you have a very cheaply run hospital.

search and replace doesn't make your comment worse (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359186)

Hey, check out what happens when I search and replace.

People should use locked-in proprietary stuff, such as Microsoft products, because they choose it. Not because someone told them to. When the change comes from within and is organic, then it stays and prospers and grows.

A public hospital really isn't a great place to experiment with Microsoft. If you feel a need to be vocal about this just wait until Firefox becomes a pain due to memory-hoggage and suggest MSIE as a slightly smaller alternative.

If you want to discuss other operating systems, you're probably best off looking for other parts of your city's public works that use Windows and asking your IT guys why your counterparts found it so successful

But the last thing Microsoft needs is "John Smith died because everything stopped working on his doctor's computer.

Interesting, huh? The arguments are exactly the same, no matter which side you take.

What are you looking for, really? (3, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358750)

It seems to me that all you're really looking for here on ./ is validation of your own opinion. What's that going to accomplish, really?

Look, I'm not much of a MS fan either, but I just don't see what it is you really want.

Re:What are you looking for, really? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358866)

It seems to me that all you're really looking for here on ./ is validation of your own opinion.

This is the sole purpose of "Ask Slashdot".

Re:What are you looking for, really? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358978)

He probably feels guilty about killing John Smith [slashdot.org] .

Re:What are you looking for, really? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359164)

I basically saw this type of situation in the post as well.

I worked for the Government for a long while and it was the same type of environment, but locked down more for security than anything else. While their were OSS alternatives all over the place, we made due with the tools that had already been audited.

Owning my own business now, and knowing a bit about HIPAA (father-in-law works for ACS-HCS as a HIPPA specialist), I can see why the "pro-msft" face looks that way. They're attempting to decrease their software footprint - and the vulnerabilities that come with them.

Is Firefox more safe than IE8? Possibly, maybe... But if they just have to plug a few holes in one system vs the next with more, it makes like easier - and safer for everyone involved.

I think the real question is: Why are you running in a HIPAA environment with users that have permissions to install software? Now that's crazy.

As for the "Support Microsoft" attitude, I think there are bigger things happening than you know of(actually, I know it). The feelings and grumblings of the employees can certainly affect how a bid goes for anything. If you bring in a vendor and all the IT guys are pounding on said vendor - you think the guy is going to be nice and find ways for you all to save money - or pad his wallet due to how you're treating him? Microsoft has some pretty interesting stuff in the works that you may not know about. Is it the greatest company that ever was? Nope, but it's OS' run a lot of your equipment, servers, etc. If you idiots do nothing but moan about how bad MSFT is while the hospital is considering moving to Win7, Server 2008 or considering one of the larger projects - what do you think the administration is going to do about your attitudes before bringing MSFT in? I'd slap you around too.

If you really want an eye-opening experience, I suggest you work for an all government program where you have no rights, you can't use any software not approved by the gov, etc.

Crying about your situation isn't going to get any sympathy from me. I've been in worse, and know all about the security problems on Hospital WANs. Shut up, fix your network and get it running at 100%, then ask to bring in one system to compare to a working, security complaint workstation/network. Moaning about how crappy something is when it's not fully patched, has 8 years of crap on it and has too many GPO's that conflict with each other is going to get an eye roll from anyone that knows anything.

time to look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358754)

for a new job.

Make noise politically (2, Interesting)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358756)

As a taxpayer, I want nothing more than to see our health systems improve and run more efficiently.

This is the sort of thing that should be raised with your senator or congressman. Assuming they're not in the pocket of MS already. People need to get governments round to the idea that open source is good for them. In Europe we're a bit more keen to run with such strategies and I would imagine someone ending up fired for that sort of email.

Take it to the board (4, Insightful)

Ropati (111673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358770)

If the hospital is tax payer funded, then you have every right as a taxpayer to take this memo to the board.

I would suggest that you gather a number of like minded taxpayers (and voters) and make a visit to the board to explain your stance.

You might want to do some research and find that your IT director got a free beer (golf trip) out of this. Fodder for the meeting.

Re:Take it to the board (2, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359108)

The hospital Executive Committee (or Board of Directors) will usually listen to the CIO (who generally is a member of the committee/board).

Re:Take it to the board (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359134)

If the hospital is tax payer funded, then you have every right as a taxpayer to take this memo to the board.

I would suggest that you gather a number of like minded taxpayers (and voters) and make a visit to the board to explain your stance.

You might want to do some research and find that your IT director got a free beer (golf trip) out of this. Fodder for the meeting.

You might have the right to do this; but consider the consequences; i.e. is it worth potentially losing your job or getting shunted aside? Poking a dog in the eye gets its attention but also may provoke a response that harms you. Accusing someone of malfeasance really puts you in a good position.

Generally, when forced to publicly defend their position, leadership tends to strengthen their support of their position and finds ways to discredit the opposition. At any rate; that doesn't get them to consider open source but just makes it more of an enemy.

A far better way, IMHO, is first to define how OSS can do the job better - not just cheaper, but really better. Change is hard; and changing just to save money, especially when it involves systems that currently are viewed as working, is ngh on impossible. So, if you are serious about this:

1. Determine the requirements of current systems and how well the current solutions meet those requirements; a cost benefit analysis will also show if ot is truly worth switching.

2. Identify an area where OSS software can do that better without impacting any other areas; implicit in this is who will provide support or add needed features? "The community" is not the right answer.

3. Propose a small scale pilot to see if the solution will really work and be better.

4. If 3 is successful, then you can look at a doing cost /benefit analysis for a broader rollout; and then getting support for switching.

This type of approach builds support for your concept rather than creating an adversarial relationship from the start.

One of the issues facing OSS is the zealot's desire to have it be everywhere simply because *they* believe it is a better way. That's nice, but in the real world people need to be convinced and it needs to be better than what currently is in use. People simply want solutions that work.

Guess what (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358774)

Microsoft is cheaper.

Sorry, but it's true. You can either spend thousands of hours managing Linux and it's terrible interfaces, or get Microsoft that does it already for you.

There's a reason why Linux doesn't succeed when it's free: it costs more in the long run.

Re:Guess what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358816)

FUD.

Re:Guess what (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358818)

Sorry Mr. Ballmer...

Re:Guess what (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358842)

I'm going to respond under the assumption that you aren't a troll. I can see where you are coming from, but Linux's interface and general functionality isn't bad...it's just complicated. If you get someone running a Linux infrastructure that knows what they are doing, it will be as good if not better than Windows. The problem is finding someone who knows what they are doing.

Then again, that's a problem in general with IT...

Re:Guess what (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358992)

And hacking into the registry isn't complicated? Trying to sort through the bizarre and dizzying array of options, often thrown in the most obtuse places, in the Exchange System Manager isn't?

Computers are complex things. A good IT guy shouldn't have his ass chained to any one system. Only lazy or inept IT people get cold shivers at seeing a text login.

I'm not going to say anything in particular about this situation. Obviously management controls the show, and if they're pro-Microsoft, you've got two choices, do what you're told or get another job. But in general, anyone who thinks Microsoft's offerings are really that much easier than *nix must have horseshoes up his ass.

Re:Guess what (3, Informative)

ryanov (193048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358870)

The command line is a fine interface, and if you're not a jackass, it's much quicker than hunting through any set of menus.

Re:Guess what (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359002)

I first dumped Microsoft's browser when other browsers better handled obnoxious and broken websites.

This choice was later validated when I noticed coworkers losing days of productivity to browse-by malware infestations from seemingly legitimate professional websites.

This isn't just about Linux, but everyone one of Microsoft's competitors in any area that Microsoft might choose to throw their weight around in.

Attempting to turn this into a "Linux is hard whine" is a highly dishonest attempt at distraction.

Re:Guess what (0, Offtopic)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359072)

M$ has DOS emulation.

Re:Guess what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359152)

Doctors and Nurses are not Computer Nerds! Get a clue until Linux has a GUI worth a crap and drops so much dependency on the command line it will always be a Geeks OS.

Chicken Butt? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358880)

Your mom is cheaper than a $5 crack whore.

Sorry but it's true. You could spend thousands of hours massaging her 'interface,' or get a better whore that does it all for you.

There's a reason your mom can't get laid even though she puts out for free: the venereal diseases you'll get from her will cost more in the long run.

Leak the email (1, Interesting)

mgessner (46612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358782)

Let the public know. I doubt many of the citizens would take a side, but you could be putting pressure on the IT directors to justify why they spend so much money.

Of course, they might contact Microsoft, who would bring out their own "independent" (read: Microsoft-funded) studies that show that, in the long run, Microsoft is cheaper than open source.

But perhaps in this time of economic trouble, a friendly journalist might take your side and decide they want to screw with the government for wasting taxpayer $$.

Good luck.

Re:Leak the email (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358814)

Just make sure that the email you leak is the same one that everybody else got.

Re:Leak the email (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359190)

fraud, waste and abuse? I think you better be prepared to lose your job.

Your management (3, Insightful)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358788)

also have reason to prevent scope creep to contain support costs. Firefox may well be easier to support than IE, but IE alone will be easier to support than IE+FF.

Re:Your management (2, Insightful)

calibre-not-output (1736770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358892)

But as long as they are actively taking measures to enforce the use of a specific browser, why enforce the use of the worst modern browser out there? Ease of support may be used as an argument, but it certainly isn't a valid reason to push IE instead of, say, Google Chrome or Firefox. If you're going to push a standard, push a good one.

Of course, they have a deal with the vendor of the crap standard, so there you have it.

Re:Your management (0)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358950)

Because IE is already installed everywhere.

Re:Your management (1, Flamebait)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358982)

Well that being a hospital I would hope that there is a HUGE ANTI CHROME sentiment. CHROME IS SPYWARE!

And I am sorry. IE8 is not ALL that bad. IE6 was the biggest piece of shit ever, and I am sure the taste is still in the air. But IE8 isn't really that bad. Sure as shit better than the SPYWARE that chrome is.

Re:Your management (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359128)

Choosing a piece of software based on the idea that "it's not ALL that bad" is asinine... almost like marrying a woman/man because "they aren't THAT bad".

Chrome's a trial beta basically, so it's not even in the picture.

Re:Your management (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359194)

Ummm, perhaps because it's a HOSPITAL and not a bloody internet cafe ? Does "better" or "worse" really matter when the most IE will be used for is to host custom written JAVA applets or ActiveX controls ?

Re:Your management (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358952)

The correct answer would be to make the usage of IE verboten to mitigate the risk of running afoul of HIPAA regulations due to vulnerabilities in IE (especially if the supported computer environment is significantly aged, as publicly funded entities tend to deal with, and still running Windows 2000 which supports no later than IE6.)

Re:Your management (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359042)

> but IE alone will be easier to support than IE+FF.

No it won't. The people choosing a better product for the sake of their own efficiency will be invisible in terms of "support cost". They are supporting themselves. They are supporting themselves because they are sick of centralized IT not addressing their real needs. This is just a replay of the whole rise of PCs.

Individuals may circumvent centralized IT management when it becomes more of a hinderance than help.

Have you asked why? (4, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358790)

Have you enquired as to why they've implemented this policy? If so, it would be useful information for people to suggest counterarguments. If not, wouldn't that be a better starting point than posting in impotent rage?

It's entirely possible they have a good (depending on viewpoint) reason for this beyond your implication of shilling for MS.

Re:Have you asked why? (-1, Flamebait)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358864)

Most likely the higher-up is either a contractor sponsored by Microsoft or Microsoft made a deal with them. Especially when they are Microsoft MVP's or the like or they recently got certified as a Gold Partner they are not allowed (by contract) to implement non-Microsoft solutions by penalty of losing their titles, partnerships and sponsorships as well as a host of customers brought on strategically by Microsoft.

Re:Have you asked why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358876)

If I had to guess why, they got too many doses of inept lobbying by the sort of people who write things like "MS Wromtongues Infecting Your Corporate Overlords?" (I kid you not, this is a real title of a post above) promising sunshine and lolipops for everyone if they would just switch to open source.

The Gamble (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358822)

I find myself in similar situations every day, where I see a lot of inefficient and wasteful decisions and policies.

The thing is, you have to choose your battles. Ask yourself a brutally realistic question: Do you think you can make a difference? Is there any chance at all that you could change someone's mind about this?

The bad news is, probably not. And if you're not willing to work hard for it, you're really better off just sucking it up and going along with it, no matter how brainless the edicts are. Play it safe, keep your job, don't make waves.

The good news is, if you are willing to pitch this battle, if you are willing to work hard, putting together the necessary information and documentation in such a way to actually demonstrate to the powers-that-be that there is a Better Way, possibly even volunteering to take on a huge chunk of the work yourself, and do your damned best to ensure that your bosses look really good in the process, that you can not only get what you want, but you can look really good in a highly visible way in the process. That's how to get promoted into places where you're not just fighting these battles, but actually making the decisions.

Or you may get fired because someone can't handle you disagreeing with them, no matter how stupid they're being. That's the gamble, the risk versus reward. I can't tell you which path to take, because I don't know all of the politics of your particular situation, but I hope it all turns out well, no matter which road you go down.

Other Possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358832)

User Training is often not a viable option -- time spent there means business lost, and many public sector services have statutory or lawful time requirements. Understand that it is very frequently not a simple cash conversion formula - and even the blindingly pro-Microsoft have probably examined at the very least the cost structure involved in other options. Similarly, browser choice (although flat out removal is pretty harsh) can have to do with internal web-app support. Frankly, many of our less technical users do not recognize the difference in browsers, or understand how to validate using their AD credentials using browsers other than IE. You should temper your judgment with the recognition that there is at least the possibility that more is going on.

I am concerned that anyone in public sector is expressing a preference at all. Theoretically you should not endorse any product, free, open source, or paid.

Corrected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358836)

Information Services is strategically a Microsoft shop and when talking to staff / customers we are to support this strategy. I no longer want to see comments promoting other Operating Systems.

Information Services is strategically a public service that should use the most effective and efficient tool for the job! Comments championing a specific commercial vendor when alternatives should (in the public interest) be considered will be taken as an indication of gross incompetence and indication the commenter is resigning from public service.

Bossy Overlords (4, Funny)

dreadlord76 (562584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358838)

>> I would very much like to hear Slashdot's ideas / opinions on this 'Strategic Direction' and the silencing of our technical opinions."
Let see, this is slashdot.

What do we have here:
Bossy overlords
Bossy overlords against Free Software
Bossy overlords against Free Software and Pro Microsoft
Bossy overlords against Free Software, Pro Microsoft, and wasting public funds
Bossy overlords against Free Software, Pro Microsoft, and wasting public funds
The underdog who wants to challenge the Bossy overlords against Free Software, Pro Microsoft, and wasting public funds
The underdog who wants to challenge the Bossy overlords against Free Software, Pro Microsoft, and wasting public funds, and censoring the underdog

Multiple choice opinions:
1. "Just do your job!"
2. "We hate Microsoft!"
3. "You da Man!"
4. "Profit!"

Champion Team vs Team of Champions (4, Insightful)

craznar (710808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358848)

In large scale companies or departments - everyone using the wrong thing is more efficient that everyone using a different thing. Standard operating environments can suck ... but in the end save money.

Savings only in the long run (2, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358862)

Yes it would cost less in the long run, but in the short to medium term they'll be running around like headless chickens outside their comfort zone (sorry for the mixed metaphors).

For right now: If these guys are 'strategically' a Microsoft shop, then there's little you can do at your pay grade. Suck it up or leave.

And as much as I hate being tied to IE, I (putting my IT manager hat on) can see why I wouldn't want an unsupported browser on my network. And Mozilla doesn't make it easy to deploy Firefox across an enterprise (no group policy, no MSI -- I know about 3rd party tools but those don't really count)

And who knows, maybe your bosses are the nasty types who see the fact that IE performs poorly on modern websites as a 'feature'.

A clear case... (2, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358872)

It seems to be a clear case of management by magazine, or management influenced by some free launch event. Make proper recommendations. Respectfully document your objections while providing alternatives. Then, in a few years, when the company is facing public scrutiny for being a financial failure, someone will come across your correspondance and you'll have the unique satisfaction of being able to say "I told 'em so."

Look (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358874)

Free/Open software is fine, and I won't argue the point that it's short-sighted for an IT shop to stick their head in the MS sand, but there are other, very good reasons for wanting to promote a unified network/front, especially when dealing with users. Ease of management is of course the biggie, but in general, you don't want users trying to install every piece of software their brother-in-law tells them about. If you say, "Oh yeah, throw Firefox on, whatever", then they're may assume you have the same cavalier attitude towards, say, Limewire, or AntiSpyware 2010.

If you want your company to explore/promote Free/Open software, then this needs to be done from within, with the support of management, in a controlled manner. Not by telling users they should just install Ubuntu on their laptop over the weekend.

Happened here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358878)

A few years ago my department was an "IBM shop". The managers dismissed any other technology (Sun, Linux, HP) because IBM was our strategy.

It was miserable. We ended up buying anything IBM branded. We paid millions for Tivoli, pSeries, IBM branded storage, IBM everything. In hindsight it cost a lot for not a lot of return. In fact, going with the biggest vendor means that you pay the most because they have no reason to work with you. It was this arrogance on the part of IBM that made us look at other technologies.

The idiot managers and decision makers that actually say anything like "we are a ----- shop" are pawns of that vendor's sales people.

These sorts of folks should be reported to the Ethics department. Blind adherence to a vendor probably even violates some laws. At the very least it's financially irresponsible to align completely with a single vendor. At the worst it's an ethics or violation of duty.

Paid for (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358882)

The silence was paid for. Microsoft probably gave them a really great deal, in exchange for going exclusively MS. MS does it for visibility. I don't think it's stifling anything. Major IT decisions about an organization are made at the top, not by the users. That's the way things work the best. The same person or people who made the MS decision, are the same ones who would undo it, as well. So, who exactly are you trying to convince? If you don't like the policy, apply for the VP IT job. I'd also like to point out that at this point, you have little to no information on which to think that going all MS is a BAD idea. Perhaps it's a very good thing for your organization, financially, or otherwise. You don't sound like you're in a position to know any of the decision making points for this organization, in fact. Why does everybody who can use a mouse think that they're qualified to offer their opinion on large IT infrastructure decisions?

Efficiency ? (3, Insightful)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358888)

You're speaking of "efficiency". I assume you're speaking of FireFox as an example. But there's is nothing more efficient about an IT organization supporting more than one tool for the same purpose, based on the preference of a user (or an admin). If you can lay out how a company or IT organization would improve efficiency by supporting FireFox, along side IE (because you MUST support IE since many 3rd party apps use the IE engine embedded), I'd love to see it. I might even elect you to office.

As always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358900)

Licensing costs are a cost, but are one of the smallest costs of running an organization. A Windows license costs, what, $80/person? What would training them for Linux cost? In two-four years, what does training their replacement cost? How much more do you pay for competent *nix admins?

For desktop users, the cost of Windows is insignificant compared to the costs of human beings and the costs of switching, or even testing to see if switching makes sense, is often a waste of money.

Even if Linux is "good enough" for their work, it's not worth switching.

Firefox is a stranger case. I can think of technical reasons an organization might not choose to support it, (minority overall, the union of IE exploits and Firefox exploits is greater than IE exploits alone, doesn't support group policy) but it seems odd to have it as a policy.

IMO, this is a case of "shut the fuck up, you've talked this to death, we've made a decision, now get to work"

Efficiency (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358902)

it is funny you say that... Efficiency.
Open Source is great and it has its place in the world, but if you are looking for an efficient work place where IT only has one set tools to maintain and support, then mixing your OS's, software, browsers, etc., it not the way to go.

I work at Government Lab and I am in charge of a number of Enterprise Level systems. While Mac and Linux are used exclusively in my personal life and home business, Windows is what is used at the office. Not because of my love for Microsoft, but because we can globally control the desktops, the applications used on the desktops, who has access to the systems, etc. It makes our lives easier and we are more efficient at our jobs. Need all 2000 desktops patched? Fire up SMS and have it installed tonight. Need to yank access for a terminated employee? Disable their account in AD and their access to the Domain and email are now gone. Is it perfect? HELL NO! But it is a lot easier than when we had to support the minority systems of 5 flavors of Linux and 3 Mac OS's along side the Windows desktops.

Who to blame? (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358912)

An email like that probably didn't come about spontaneously.

"I no longer want to see comments promoting other Operating Systems". Sounds like somebody wouldn't shut up. I would suspect that some open-source fans in the organization just couldn't let it go when their pet project's architects chose Microsoft products for delivery.

There's a fine line between promoting and being a big old pain in the ass.

make them feel your pain (1)

Huckminster (1647429) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358922)

First you should figure out if for some odd reason running MS is mission critical (like "we absolutely must have MS Office"). Second, crunch the numbers and figure out just how much they could save by switching. If you're as right as you think you are, it will be a large number. Don't just give them a number though - figure out some health-care equipment or service that costs that much money. Then get some big-wigs in a room and tell them you're going to give them that health-care equipment/service for FREE. Or some such other audacious strategy.

When in doubt... (1)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358926)

It usually boils down to money and politics.

Somebody somewhere in the upper mgmt area must be getting some kind of kickback or pat on the back, for being so pro-Microsoft (despite the cost of licensing fees).

The selfishness of upper mgmt is leading to division - hence your situation. They are not concerned about the best interests of everybody involved here; just themselves.

Sad situation. But we all know money talks, so maybe you can show to the right person(s) how much extra money the pro-microsoft stance is really costing them (TCO) and they may change their tune. Perhaps putting it in terms of their vested interests, such as, "with all the money we will be saving on open source, maybe we can all get a raise!" would be more effective.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Ethics (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358934)

Approach this from an ethics point of view. While I've never worked in the public sector, my understanding is that they have much stricter policies and laws governing conflicts of interest, fair bidding practices, vendor selection, etc.

In private businesses, I've heard people come out and say they prefer one product over another based upon the receipt of stock options from their favorite vendor. But its my understanding that in a public entity this could lead to jail.

Re:Ethics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359166)

I'd mod you up if I could. I work at a big private medical center, and we have pretty strict policies too. We have to fill out conflict of interest disclosure forms as part of our university obligations, and provide this information any time we submit publications or give talks. I'm not sure the hospital requires these, but it should.

Anyone making involved in making a decision about a big software purchase should have to disclose any significant financial ties to or gifts from corporate entities. This should be a no-brainer in a public institution.

Are you in Washington State? (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358936)

If you are in Washington state/King County, then you bow to Microsoft's every whim. I have worked at companies that had close relationships with Microsoft and had similar emails and conversations happen when Steve Ballmer came through and saw Linux books on my shelf.

As a state/county/city, it's appalling when we could save millions when our state is in debt but we bend over vackwards for a company that incorporates in Nevada to avoid paying state taxes. Some would say the people they employ more than makes up for it but they do there best to keep everyone as temporary employees and rotate them out every 6 months to also avoid paying benefits.

If you are in any other state, call up your local news agencies, phone Oprah, call newspapers and phone a REPUBLICAN cogressman (they will make noise right now because they are not in power).

Lack of control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358938)

There are those who want to get their pay without working -- even if this mean sabotaging their employer or, worse, sabotaging and doing it while betraying the public (whom they should serve).

This is particularly vicious because, in promoting formats like OOXML instead of the more interoperable ODF, they turned really into M$ shops -- in the sense they now obey M$... kinda like hatching eggs for another species. It's not just a matter of this or that OS, it's a problem of lack of control.

In such a scenario, either high management has been taken over -- or middle has been, rendering the high part insulated.

Politicians allowing all that are in for later persecution when an opposing party enters office.

IMHO those at high positions who accept private interference in government are unfit for new positions in future elections. Let's vote them out of history.

On the take... (0, Troll)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358954)

Im sick and tired of this. It replicates along the whole industry and spans countries, crosses the barrier between private and public sectors: some IT managers, the more blindly promicrosoft the more likely, are on the take.

INVESTIGATE NOW.

Think strategically for a moment - PLEASE. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358970)

As an IT Director (who came up through a 17 year career as an IT support person), I'm increasingly frustrated by IT admins who just don't see the big picture.

Using the Firefox example:

YES, it is absolutely true that Firefox is superior to IE on a user-by-user basis, in 90% of the cases.

YES, most exploits are written to take advantage of IE (or, rather, its various bloat that accumulates).

NO, the corporate management tools for Firefox are in no way comparable to what is commercially available to IE.

Without question, a *current* version of IE which is *properly patched* is superior (security-wise) to a 6 month old, unpatched version of Firefox.

I'm able to control my IE deployments down to a microscopic level, all from a single scree (and tied in to many of my other deployed applications). I'm not able to do that with Firefox. I'll gut it out and take my chances with the IE that I can control (including to blackhole communications at a moments notice if there's a problem), rather than Firefox which I cannot.

The first 8 years of my life were spend as a CAD systems admin (Unix systems). I run Squid. I love open source. But don't even begin to tell me that because you're looking at "what browser is superior for Joe's computer" that you can plan a corporate infrastructure.

Re:Think strategically for a moment - PLEASE. (0, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359056)

I'm able to control my IE deployments down to a microscopic level, all from a single scree (and tied in to many of my other deployed applications). I'm not able to do that with Firefox. I'll gut it out and take my chances with the IE that I can control (including to blackhole communications at a moments notice if there's a problem), rather than Firefox which I cannot.

http://www.frontmotion.com/ [frontmotion.com]

The only reason to use IE any more is because you have some custom web app that requires it. IE sucks. It has to be the slowest, most convoluted browser out there now.

Re:Think strategically for a moment - PLEASE. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359112)

Without question, a *current* version of IE which is *properly patched* is superior (security-wise) to a 6 month old, unpatched version of Firefox. /quote?

Sorry, gonna have to call BS on that one. A cursory visit through Secunia advisories will make it painfully obvious that your current, properly patched IE is roughly equivalent to the alternative you propose. that is to say, not especially secure. Also, standardization and centralization of group policy doesn't need to be sacrificed by a few scripts (or systems management software) to keep non-MS applications up to date.

So much HATE and FUD (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31358974)

Slashdot has become nothing but a hub of Microsoft haters and fear mongering. You all have become what you once hated FUD monkeys.

Re:So much HATE and FUD (0, Troll)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359062)

Like most others we are dragged into the politicized software industry, but we are not the ones that caused this politicization. MS & Co are responsible for this, while you buy their products, they buy your political leaders.

See it all the time (0, Troll)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31358994)

I see this all the time as I do consulting. I've never heard/seen proof anyone has a contractual relationship.

Way back in the 80's there was a saying: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM"

It's a similar idea. As a CTO or IT Director, unless you want to spend all your days doing analysis on each type of software you might need, you need to come up with rules on selection and support.

And no one is ever going to get fired for sticking with MS products by default.

The problem with this, of course, is that MS doesn't have best of breed products in many cases.

Some things they do work pretty well (Windows, IIS, SQL Server, Office).

While other MS technologies suck (Frontpage, Visual SourceSafe, Visual Studio, Zune, Windows Mobile).

If you are forced to use the sucky technology simply because someone wants to stick with their overly simple rule, you can fight it, but it's going to be an uphill battle.

You're better off picking one or two battles and trying to win those. Then wait for your CTO or IT Director gets replaced, 'cause they probably don't know what they are doing.

(By the way, this is my opinion. Feel free to express your opinion, but simply telling me my opinion is wrong doesn't add anything to the conversation.)

Re:See it all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359126)

Really? Bashing Zune, which is one of their BETTER pieces of software? It spanks iTunes something fierce.

Follow the money... (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359000)

The staff probably has stocks in or other perks from MS.

What did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359008)

I am with Linus on this one
Linus is right
The man makes sense
He is absolutely correct on this one

Do Your Job (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359016)

Do your job. Do it well. Advance. Get into a position of influence and authority. Change the policies.

This isn't a war worth waging. You have to ask yourself if this is something worth losing your job over because that is what is possible if you stir things up. Sure, they may not fire you for "recommending non-Microsoft software" but, if you piss off and annoy enough people (or just the wrong person), they'll find a reason to let you go ("not being a team player", for example).

There are things worth stirring the pot over but this just isn't one of them. I agree with your general stance - government agencies being locked into Microsoft strikes me as a very bad idea - but it's not worth the fight. Just do your job and do it well, get promoted into a position of influence, and try to change policy when you're in a position to do so. Until then, pick your battles.

And, if you knew me, you'd find it hysterical that _I_ am suggesting not starting a fight over something... :)

This isn't about efficiency. (1)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359018)

It's about liability, again.

I think I know your boss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359020)

Is your company based in Marriottsville, MD, by chance? If so, I used to work for your CIO. He's on the take.

Don't worry, he'll be gone in a few years. That's his MO.

You can't always get what you want... (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359024)

Comments like this (FTFA): " I no longer want to see comments promoting other Operating Systems" trigger my orneriness response.

It's a hospital, not a software store. What operating system the employees chose to advocate has nothing to do with the operation of the place. If I worked there, I think I'd be likely to start carrying my lunch in one of these: http://shop.canonical.com/product_info.php?products_id=123 [canonical.com]
and my coffee cup would be one of these: http://shop.canonical.com/product_info.php?products_id=203 [canonical.com]

Re:You can't always get what you want... (3, Interesting)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359202)

It's still an IT shop. If I had made choices in my job (which I run a large section of IT where I am so I do) and some young dude was going around undermining my decisions (like say telling the customers how my choices suck and there's better stuff out there) I might send an email like that as well.

Not everyone agrees with everyone. But there is still a food-chain at most jobs. And you might not agree with management, but it doesn't give you the right to undermine them either. Not saying that happened here, but it looks like a good possibility.

Comparison to Another HIT Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359030)

I worked at a private healthcare institution where Microsoft was the de-facto standard on all machines. Some of the software that was mission critical would only work with Microsoft software (i.e. IE 6 or Windows XP). Even when Microsoft issued upgrades (IE 7, Vista, etc.) they couldn't upgrade those programs until the third party vendor updated their software. They allow Firefox (and all the IT staff encourages it for everything that will work with it), and some of the IT staff even have Macs.
    When it comes to maintaining the systems, however, they want to get a relatively uniform installation. Lots of the same machine, with the same software, so that it's easy to manage when the doctors/nurses/receptionists call in with "I can't do X."
    There's a reason to have everything standardized, and there's a reason for that standard to be based on Microsoft products, but there's no reason that no other products be considered. This shop uses the best tools for the job, which often have MS dependencies. But sometimes it's perl scripts and grep.
    In your case, I would make some noise saying "if I find a better, cheaper alternative, is it still taboo to consider non-MS software?"

It's quite simple, really... (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359034)

Draft up a cool, collected, reasonable and complete summary of what open source software that you would like to see implemented and WHY you think it should be implemented. You think firefox is a better solution? Then put it in and say why. Start with small, minor, easy and most importantly good solutions (When I say good, I mean one that has very little if any chance for difficulty...). Firefox is a good example, because it's typically a drop in replacement, will be fast, and has little if any downsides. Switching the email backbone from Exchange to an OS alternative is not a good first step. Write this document, including any projected cost savings, and send it to the manager/director. Include in the beginning of the email a blurb about basically "I know you said you don't want to here about open source. I am just writing this so that I can clear my conscience about making proper recomendations. This will be the last input from me unless I am specifically asked"... Send it in. If they do nothing, your conscience is clean since you did everything that was in your power to get the situation turned towards open source. If they do something, then you win... The bottom line is they get to make the decisions. DON'T go around their backs, or they will just get pissed off at you and fire you (or worse). DON'T try to belittle their experience (Don't go around screaming that "MS Sucks". Instead pick and choose your battles, and show that the MS product is good, but this one is better!). And most importantly don't overstep your own role... If you're a developer, start by asking for open source tools that will help make you personally more productive (and leave it there for a while). If you're a sys-admin, start with tools that'll make you more productive, and show tools that will make your life easier and better (Such as the switch from IE to FF saving on the security front). If you're a help desk worker, keep your ideas to your self...

Play the high road, and don't play the "But Microsoft sucks in comparison" card. It won't work. MS is big for a reason (And business guys tend to value company size over product quality anyway)... Make them make the decisions...

There's an old saying. You can never go wrong, as long as you went with IBM. Back in the 70's and 80's (when my Father was telling me stories about AT&T), if you had a project to do and used IBM, and if failed, well that's just tough luck (It was seen that if IBM couldn't do it, it couldn't be done). If you used an unknown, and it failed, the weight for the failure falls on you. That's likely the mentality here (Substitute MS for IBM). They know that there may be better alternatives, but they are just playing CYA... Sure it'll cost more money, but they can "justify" the extra money as reason enough...

Just my $0.02

Don't you? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359044)

> Now, I could somewhat understand this if I was working in a company that
> sold and promoted the use of Microsoft software for financial gain...

Sounds rather like you do (the question is, whose financial gain?)

Take it one step at a time (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359046)

If you go to your CIO saying "if we took less than half the money we spend on licensing Microsoft's software alone and invested that in training users for an open source system, we would be far better off in the long run" you will be ignored. Rip and replace never goes as smoothly as the pamphlets promise. Fine one application with measurable improvements over your existing system and make an ROI case for that one small change. Earn the credibility by being sympathetic to your CIO or IT Director's objectives.

Re:Take it one step at a time (1)

weiserfireman (917228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359130)

I wish I had mod points today. This is worth at least 5.

Name them (1)

waa (159514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359052)

I say name them.
Call them out on it. Let the taxpayers know that their money is being wasted.
How about an anonymous "letter to the editor" of your local newspaper?

Suck it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359060)

The organization wants a standard and it is expensive to carry multiple standards. If you don't like the decision, you are always free to find other employment.

Two words... (1)

wzinc (612701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359132)

Run. :-)

A problem with the OPs thinking (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359146)

As a taxpayer, I want nothing more than to see our health systems improve and run more efficiently.

The OP is not working for the "DHB" as a taxpayer. He is not even a a decision maker in the IT department of the DHB. If he does not like the situation, he can publicize it (and probably get a yawn from most everyone). His technical opinion is to be expressed to his boss, but it is the boss' technical opinion that matters.

Like so many people, the OP has forgotten that a business is a voluntary dictatorship. The boss' set the business' direction and if the employee doesn't like it, the employee can voice his objections to the boss and possibly be fired or the employee can quit.

Once the OP is no longer an employee, he is free to pursue his desires as a taxpayer, but will probably meet with much the same level of success.

In case you haven't thought about it already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359156)

Shut up and conform. You don't need to create a bigger support nightmare for the IT dept.
We pay your bills, if you don't like it --- LEAVE.

- The Management.

It's above your pay grade (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359176)

There are legitimate technical and economic reasons to be a monolithic shop.

There are legitimate technical and economic reasons to be a heterogeneous shop.

Sometimes these decisions are made for reasons other than what is in the best interest of the company or its stakeholders.

For good or bad, those decisions are above your pay grade. I recommend either biting the bullet or resigning and then putting on your taxpayer hat, and taking it up with the elected official who is in charge of the hospital or who appoints those in charge of the hospital. If it turns out there is good reason for their decision you will have given up your job for nothing.

Whiny System/Network Admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359178)

They've probably heard, ad nauseum, from bitchy admins go on and on and on about how "Microsoft sucks and we want to move to Linux."

It's entirely possible that they got tired of hearing the bitching and decided to just head it off at the pass by saying "we're a Microsoft shop, period." If you don't agree with the decision, make a case for switching over, complete with cost analysis. If you complain without offering a viable solution, you're just part of the problem. Another alternative is to work someplace else. Yet another alternative is to accept the decision, become more of a team player and add Microsoft certifications to your repertoire.

Policy isn't your job (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359192)

As a front-lines IT grunt, it's your job to implement policy. It isn't your job to mouth off about it throughout the company outside your management chain to try and get it changed. That would be insubordination.

Feel more than welcome to complain internally within your group. But when talking to customers (end customers, and the other, non-IT staff in the organization) it is reasonable to expect you, employee (in your capacity as such), not to publicly disparage the policies of your employer. It's not professional, and I'm pretty sure it's sufficient grounds to fire you unless you are protected from such by some other arrangement (civil service laws, union, etc.)

You can talk to whatever legislative body pays the bills and ask them to encourage open source, you can talk to the media as a private citizen, you can do a lot of things. But you can't necessarily do those things at work, and you can't do them in your capacity as an employee. This goes for any employer.

SirWired

If you don't like it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31359206)

...find another job. You are unaware if MS has made large donations to the hospital or other factors that may be involved. Either way, it's not your call and if you don't like the restrictions find a job that you do like.

As others said public hospitals are very conservative and not the typical place to experiment with open source. Besides it it is a public not for profit hospital, Microsoft's non-profit licensing is very cheap to the point that it might as well be free.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359216)

Are you saying that this linux can run on a computer without windows underneath it, at all ? As in, without a boot disk, without any drivers, and without any services ? That sounds preposterous to me. If it were true (and I doubt it), then companies would be selling computers without a windows. This clearly is not happening, so there must be some error in your calculations. I hope you realise that windows is more than just Office ? Its a whole system that runs the computer from start to finish, and that is a very difficult thing to acheive. A lot of people dont realise this. Microsoft just spent $9 billion and many years to create Vista, so it does not sound reasonable that some new alternative could just snap into existence overnight like that. It would take billions of dollars and a massive effort to achieve. IBM tried, and spent a huge amount of money developing OS/2 but could never keep up with Windows. Apple tried to create their own system for years, but finally gave up recently and moved to Intel and Microsoft. Its just not possible that a freeware like the Linux could be extended to the point where it runs the entire computer fron start to finish, without using some of the more critical parts of windows. Not possible. I think you need to re-examine your assumptions.
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