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New Zealand Government Open Source with Novell

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the open-country dept.

Novell 162

quikflik writes "New Zealand Computerworld magazine reports an 'All-of-government' open source deal with Novell. The deal allows government agencies access to Novell Open Source software and support - and probably some other Novell products too considering the Inland Revenue Department have been using them for a while. Still .. is an incumbant vendor always the best? If you were a government, which linux distribution would you choose?"

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162 comments

Linux From Scratch (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887686)

Roll your own.. just like joints.. rolling your own is always better.

-whakawhaka

Re:Linux From Scratch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887742)

dude google wtf? 1 -.9 -.1 = 2.77555756 × 10^-17? [google.com]

If I were a government... (0, Offtopic)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887691)

Well, if I were a government, I'd probably choose Redhat Linux because it is red and soft and can fit snugly on my head.

Government #2, same question.

Re:If I were a government... (0, Offtopic)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887910)

"SENTENCE first - VERDICT afterwards," said the Queen.

"Nonsense!" said Alice loudly.

"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

- Alice In Wonderland

They say Lewis Carroll was a serious dope fiend, his mind totally scrambled on opium, when he concocted "Alice in Wonderland." A place where the sentence comes first and the verdict afterward, where people who protest the madness are sentenced to death themselves - what lunacy!

If only Carroll had lived a bit longer. If only he'd visited Cuba in 1959 when every paper from the New York Times to the London Observer - when every pundit from Walter Lippman to Ed Murrow, every author from Jean Paul Sartre to Norman Mailer, every TV host from Jack Paar to Ed Sullivan were touting the judicial outrages, mass larceny and firing-squad orgies instituted by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara as the most glorious events since VJ day.

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary," Carroll would have heard from the chief executioner, named Ernesto "Che" Guevara. "These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the paredon (The Wall)!"

To be fair, Ed Sullivan later recanted. He saw through the murderous farce and was not above a public act of contrition. Indeed, two years later he featured several recently liberated Bay of Pigs freedom fighters - some hobbling on crutches, others missing limbs - on his show for a fund raising where he declared them heroes and led the thunderous applause himself. I sure miss Ed Sullivan.

This from the AP [February 2004 ]:

"At The Sundance Film Festival Robert Redford's film on Che Guevara "The Motorcycle Diaries" received a standing ovation." They say this was the only film so raptly received.

For the first year of Castro's glorious revolution Che Guevara was his main executioner -- a combination Beria and Himmler, with a major exception: Che's slaughter of (bound and gagged) Cubans (Che was himself an Argentine) exceeded Heinrich Himmler's prewar slaughter of Germans -- to scale, that is.

Nazi Germany became the modern standard for political evil even before World War II. Yet in 1938, according to both William Shirer and John Toland, the Nazi regime held no more than 20,000 political prisoners. Political executions up to the time might have reached a couple thousand, and most of these were of renegade Nazis themselves during the indiscriminate butchery known as the "Night of the Long Knives." The famous Kristallnacht that horrified civilized opinion worldwide caused a grand total of 71 deaths. This in a nation of 70 million.

Cuba was a nation of 6.5 million in 1959. Within three months in power, Castro and Che had shamed the Nazi prewar incarceration and murder rate. One defector claims that Che signed 500 death warrants, another says over 600. Cuban journalist Luis Ortega, who knew Che as early as 1954, writes in his book "Yo Soy El Che!" that Guevara sent 1,897 men to the firing squad. In his book "Che Guevara: A Biography," Daniel James writes that Che himself admitted to ordering "several thousand" executions during the first few years of the Castro regime.

So the scope of the mass murder is unclear. So the exact number of widows and orphans is in dispute. So the number of gagged and blindfolded men who Che sent - without trials - to be bound to a stake and blown apart by bullets runs from the hundreds to the thousands.

But the mass executioner gets a standing ovation by the same people in the U.S who oppose capitol punishment! Is there a psychiatrist in the house?!

The first three months of the Cuban Revolution saw 568 firing squad executions. Even the New York Times admits it. The preceding "trials" shocked and nauseated all who witnessed them. They were shameless farces, sickening charades. Ask Barry Farber. He was there.

But vengeance - much less justice - had nothing to do with this bloodbath. Che's murderous method in La Cabana fortress in 1959 was exactly Stalin's murderous method in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Like Stalin's massacre of the Polish officer corps in the Katyn forest, like Stalin's Great Terror against his own officer corps a few years earlier, Che's firing squad marathons were a perfectly rational and cold-blooded exercise that served their purpose ideally. His bloodbath decapitated - literally and figuratively the first ranks of Cuba's Contras.

Five years earlier, while a communist hobo in Guatemala, Che had seen the Guatemalan officer corps rise against the Red regime of Jacobo Arbenz and send him hightailing to Czechoslovakia.

Che didn't want a repeat in Cuba. Equally important, his massacre cowed and terrorized. These were all public trials. And the executions, right down to the final shattering of the skull with the coup de grace from a massive .45 slug fired at five paces, were public too. Guevara made it a policy for his men to parade the families and friends of the executed before the blood-, bone- and brain-spattered paredon (The Wall, and Pink Floyd had nothing to do with this one).

The Red Terror had come to Cuba. "We will make our hearts cruel, hard, and immovable ... we will not quiver at the sight of a sea of enemy blood. Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies in scores of thousands; let them drown themselves in their own blood! Let there be floods of the blood of the bourgeois - more blood, as much as possible."

This from Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Soviet Cheka in 1918:

        "Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!"

This from Che Guevara's "Motorcycle Diaries," the very diaries just made into a heartwarming film by Robert Redford - again, the only film to get that whoopin' hollerin' standing ovation at last month's Sundance Film Festival. Seems that Redford omitted this inconvenient portion of Che's diaries form his touching film.

The "acrid odor of gunpowder and blood" never reached Guevara's nostril from actual combat. It always came from the close-range murder of bound, gagged and blindfolded men. He was a true Chekist: "Always interrogate your prisoners at night," Che commanded his prosecutorial goons. "A man is easier to cow at night, his mental resistance is always lower."

Che specialized in psychological torture. Many prisoners were yanked out of their cells, bound, blindfolded and stood against The Wall. The seconds ticked off. The condemned could hear the rifle bolts snapping ..... finally - FUEGO!!

BLAM!! But the shots were blanks. In his book, "Tocayo," Cuban freedom fighter Tony Navarro describes how he watched a man returned to his cell after such an ordeal. He'd left bravely, grim-faced as he shook hands with his fellow condemned. He came back mentally shattered, curling up in a corner of the squalid cell for days.

A real cutup, this Che Guevara. And now the same crowd moaning and wailing about the judicial rights of Guantanamo prisoners give this sadist a standing ovation and adorn themselves with his T-shirt! Again, is there a psychiatrist in the house?!

Che made "Alice in Wonderland's" Red Queen look like Oliver Wendell Holmes. His models were Lenin, Dzerzhinsky and Stalin. The Cheka came to Cuba with Guevara.

But in actual combat, his imbecilities defy belief. Compared to Che "The Lionhearted" Guevara, Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" comes across like Hannibal.

His performance during the Bay of Pigs invasion says it all. The invasion plan included a CIA squad dispatching three rowboats off the coast of western Cuba (350 miles from the true invasion site) loaded with time-release Roman candles, bottle rockets, mirrors and a tape recording of battle.

The wily Che immediately deciphered the imperialist scheme! That little feint 300 miles away at the Bay of Pigs was a transparent ruse! The REAL invasion was coming here in Pinar Del Rio! Che stormed over with several thousand troops, dug in, locked, loaded and waited for the "Yankee/mercenary" attack. They braced themselves as the sparklers, smoke bombs and mirrors did their stuff just offshore.

Three days later the (literal) smoke and mirror show expended itself and Che's men marched back to Havana. Not surprisingly, the masterful Comandante had managed to wound himself in this heated battle against a tape recorder. The bullet pierced Che's chin and excited above his temple, just missing his brain. The scar is visible in all post-April '61 pictures of the gallant Che (the picture we see on posters and T-shirts was shot a year earlier.)

Cuban novelist Guillermo Cabrera Infante, a Fidelista at the time, speculates the wound may have come from a botched suicide attempt.

"No way!" say Che hagiographers John Lee Anderson, Carlos Castaneda and Paco Taibo. They insist it was an accident, Che's own pistol going off just under his face.

Fine, Che groupies. Maybe you're right. Maybe we're being unduly harsh on the man. Maybe the humiliation of being tricked into missing the major battle against imperialist mercenaries by an amplified tape recording and a few Roman candles wasn't enough to prompt suicide.

Instead, the sight of the bottle rocket's red glare and the sound of tape-recorded bombs bursting in air roused Che to a Pattonesque fury. He drew his pistol and prepared to lead the charge against the Yankee juggernaut. "Arriba muchachos!" he bellowed as his men sprung from their trenches with bayonets gleaming and charged a tape recorder. With the amplified soundtrack from "The Sands of Iwo Jima" blaring in the background Che stood atop a the tank turret and turned to his men. "Let's wipe 'em out!" he yelled while waving his pistol overhead in the manner of Clevon Little in "Blazing Saddles."

Then he managed to shoot himself through the chin. Fine.

I've called him cowardly. Yet in all fairness, we don't know. For the simple reason that the century's most celebrated guerrilla fighter never fought in a guerrilla war or anything even approximating one. The few puerile skirmishes again Batista's army in Cuba would have been shrugged off as a slow night by any Cripp or Blood. In Cuba Che couldn't fight anyone to fight against him. In the Congo he couldn't find any to fight with him. In Bolivia he finally started getting a tiny taste of both. In short order he was betrayed, brought to ground and routed.

Sadly, Guevara's legacy of terror and torture persists to this day and throughout the world. I refer to the professors who assign his writings.

I defy anyone to actually finish a Guevara book. I defy them to hack their way through the first five pages. Che's gibberish makes Babs Streisand sound like Cicero. He makes Hillary's ghostwriters read like Dave Barry. Beside him Al Gore and Hillary Rodham shine as the wackiest of cutups.

Food, drink, good cheer, bonhomie, roistering, fellowship - Guevara recoiled from these like Dracula from a cross. He went through life with a perpetual scowl, like Bella Abzug ... almost like Eleanor Clift.

As a professional duty I tortured myself with Che Guevara's writings. I finished glassy-eyed, dazed, almost catatonic. Nothing written by a first-year philosophy major (or a Total Quality Management guru) could be more banal, jargon-ridden, depressing or idiotic. A specimen:

        "The past makes itself felt not only in the individual consciousness - in which the residue of an education systematically oriented toward isolating the individual still weighs heavily - but also through the very character of this transition period in which commodity relations still persist, although this is still a subjective aspiration, not yet systematized."

Slap yourself and let's continue:

        "To the extent that we achieve concrete successes on a theoretical plane - or, vice versa, to the extent that we draw theoretical conclusions of a broad character on the basis of our concrete research -we will have made a valuable contribution to Marxism-Leninism, and to the cause of humanity."

Splash some cold water on your face and stick with me for just a little more:

        "It is still necessary to deepen his conscious participation, individual and collective, in all the mechanisms of management and production, and to link this to the idea of the need for technical and ideological education, so that we see how closely interdependent these processes are and how their advancement is parallel. In this way he will reach total consciousness of his social being, which is equivalent to his full realization as a human creature, once the chains of alienation are broken."

Dude, this dork's image sells beer huggers and vodka! Again, is there a psychiatrist in the house?!

Throughout his diaries Che whines about deserters from his "guerilla" ranks (bored adolescents, petty crooks and winos playing army on the weekend). Can you BLAME them? Imagine sharing a campfire with some yo-yo droning on and on about "subjective aspirations not yet systematized" and "closely interdependent processes and total consciousness of social being" - and who also reeked like a polecat(foremost among the bourgeois debauchments disdained by Che were baths).

These hapless "deserters" were hunted down like animals, trussed up and brought back to a dispassionate Che, who put a pistol to their heads and blew their skulls apart without a second thought.

After days spent listening to Che and smelling him, perhaps this meant relief.

Nurse Ratched, Doug Neidermeyer, Col. Klink, Maj. Frank Burns - next to Guevara they're all the heartiest of partiers. Here's the guy who helped turn the hemisphere's party capital into a vast forced labor and prison camp - into the place with the highest (youth) emigration and suicide rate in the hemisphere, probably in the world. In 1961 Che even established a special concentration camp at Guanacahibes in extreme Western Cuba for "delinquents." This "delinquency" involved drinking, vagrancy, disrespect for authorities, laziness and playing loud music.

And Che's image adorns Grunge bands, jet-set models and spring break revelers! Again, is there a psychiatrist in the house?!

Who can blame Fidel for ducking into the nearest closet when this yo-yo came calling? Call Fidel everything in the book (as I have) but don't call him stupid. Guevara's inane twaddle must have driven him nuts. The one place where I can't fault Fidel, the one place I actually empathize with him, is in his craving to rid himself of this insufferable Argentine jackass.

That the Bolivian mission was clearly suicidal was obvious to anyone with half a brain. Fidel and Raul weren't about to join him down there -you can bet your sweet bippy on that.

But sure enough! Guevara saluted and was on his way post haste. Two months later he was dead. Bingo! Fidel scored another bulls-eye. He rid himself of the Argentine nuisance and his glorious revolution had a young handsome martyr for the adulation of imbeciles worldwide. Nice work.

Che Guevara was monumentally vain and epically stupid. He was shallow, boorish, cruel and cowardly. He was full of himself, a consummate fraud and an intellectual vacuum. He was intoxicated with a few vapid slogans, spoke in clichés and was a glutton for publicity.

But ah! He did come out nice in a couple of publicity photos, high cheekbones and all! And we wonder why he's a hit on Slashdot.

kiwi (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887694)

foish and chups eh gill?

Re:kiwi (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887722)

Translation :
[australian that think it's the kiwis with the funny accent]
foish and chups eh gill
[kiwi]
you mean fish and chips ay girl?
or as you would say it, feeesh and cheeps aaaay geerl

while we're on subject of australia
what happened with the ashes
or the tri nations
and oooooo, the netball
or, getting pwned by being america's little baby boy country :P

Re:kiwi (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887804)

Don't you just *love* interstate rivalry...

Re:kiwi (1)

Koushiro (612241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887820)

International! International! :(

Re:kiwi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887861)

International? You mean New Zealand isn't an Australian state?

Then why are there soo many of them on the dole over here?

Re:kiwi (1)

david.gilbert (605443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888063)

Say what you will, taunt us even, but we will never forget The Incident [wikipedia.org] !

Re:kiwi (1)

shrewd (830067) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887813)

oh god, it's a new zealander.... why the fuck do they always have a fucking chip on their sholder, shit he's looking this way... turn around or something... i don't fucking know maybe if we ignore him he'll go away and not inform us about his fabulous country and their 'many' sporting/scientific/cultural superiorities over Australia... which is an inferior country in every way...


oh fuck he's commming!

Re:kiwi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887864)

It's a fecking chup, you n00b.

Re:kiwi hate (1)

mikek3332002 (912228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887857)

at least we don't want to ban DHMO

Re:kiwi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887904)

Don't you mean...

SuSE? Sweet bro!

GNU (5, Funny)

SSJ_Ramon (226740) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888200)

Does this mean that it's GNU/Zealand now?

[ducks]

linux (2)

Ruede (824831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887695)

debian :)

Re:linux (1)

lynzh (820948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887719)

Linux Slackware, Just do it! But on a more serious note, Slackware; Because I love the fact that things don't get configured by themselves. Most slackware stuff needs to be done manually.

Re:linux (2, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887724)

I have to admit that Debian is a really cool distro. It's my favourite desktop distro as well.

However, that doesn't cut it in the server room sometimes. I've had plenty of trouble trying to wean Debian "sarge" onto some types of servers (esp. blades) from manufacturers who don't support Linux or the BSDs on their hardware. In some cases I have had to do backflips to pry free OSes on. For many businesses this is too much hassle and too much of a risk. Add the fact that if they used Debian or BSD or whatever free-soft-distro-of-the-month is, they have no one to yell and scream at when something goes wrong. Some enterprises are going to have their vendor support their Linux, thank you very much. Having no one to scream at and blame when your business is dying from malfunctioning network drivers is not the way a CEO wants to go down.

In that sense, Debian doesn't quite cut it at an enterprise level (but it's still a kick-ass distro).

-march=new-zealand -O2 -fomit-untuned-distro -pipe (0)

ali3nxx (830931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887799)

Gentoo Linux could definitely fill the gap required by the New Zealand government. Considering the countries support for the GNU/Linux and opensource in general I would suspect there would be a university LUG which could support a gentoo infrastructure aswell as the very large and active user community which flocks around Gentoo Linux. At the very least such a rollout would provide the most performance per hardware dollar and a roadmap for greater possibilities were portability and consolidation would be advantageous. Being the among the very first distributions to provide amd64 and emt64 cpu support aswell as OSDL's linux refrence platform Gentoo Linux has proven it's resolve for infrastructre systems of high importance with gentoo portage providing administration with the tools to adapt and readapt in use systems as required over the duration of thier service cycle. Not being required to completely reinstall gentoo workstations and servers for major operating system upgrades highlights as a definite advantage for production environments aswell. I'm aware of a couple large data warehousing corporations that utilize gentoo for mission critical informix and oracle servers wgere every application is current to stable versions and secure without the downtime associated with maintainance of some other distros. The superb level of portability and agility which is offered by gentoo, when wielded by adminstration with skill and aptitude; most definitely outweighs the advantages offered by settling for canned sardines for many enterprise systems administrators, engineers and businesses.

Re:-march=new-zealand -O2 -fomit-untuned-distro -p (1)

Handpaper (566373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888069)

Amen to all that. It runs on everything, optimises itself for everything and has the simplest software installation method I've ever seen (no .DLL or .rpm hell here, all dependencies satisfied).
I would advise providing a local distfiles mirror though - several thousand govt machines running 'emerge -uD world' would totally clobber NZ's little pipe.

Re:linux (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888181)

Add the fact that if they used Debian or BSD or whatever free-soft-distro-of-the-month is, they have no one to yell and scream at when something goes wrong.

You might want to verify this statement with HP [hp.com] . Last I checked they will take your money and offer support for debian.


There may be other companies as well, But, no suport for debian is an out right myth, no matter what type of support you are talking about.

Mods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887842)

From TFS:

If you were a government, which linux distribution would you choose?

So how is the parent REDUNDANT?

Re:Mods? (1)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887880)

Apparently it's so blindingly obvious that Debian is the right choice that it's redundant by default.

Novell SUE Linux 10.0 (1, Troll)

Flaming Foobar (597181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887698)

I'm sure it's a pure coincidence that this coincides with the release of Novell SUSE Linux 10.0 [novell.com] .

Re:Novell SUE Linux 10.0 (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887704)

SUE Linux? Is that a distribution specifically tailored for lawyers?

Re:Novell SUE Linux 10.0 (1)

Musteval (817324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887767)

No, actually it's the private distro that SCO uses internally.

Re:Novell SUE Linux 10.0 (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887889)

That would be RatHat ;)

Re:Novell SUSE Linux 10.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887856)

SuSE Linux is just Novell's way of opening new doors to big goverment contracts & getting headlines.

Actidentally, SuSE is an excelent distro, and we can't neglect OpenSUSE

Re:Novell SUE Linux 10.0 (1)

poolmeister (872753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888079)

Why would it?... Considering the desktop rollout (which I assume you're referring to) will unboubtedly be Novell Linux Desktop not SUSE Linux.

Not Windows!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887699)

not very pc of them really 8-)

on more serious note, I have noticed out IRD has been one of the better government departments and it doesnt suprise me to see that they have been using more intelligent choices for their work than others...

NZ govt ftw

Re:Not Windows!! (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887914)

they[new zealand IRS] have been using more intelligent choices for their work than others.

That is because that is the moneymaking side of gouvernment. On the spending side it doesn't matter much how dumb you are, you can spend the money anyhow.

Going with the devil you know (4, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887703)

There is a lot to be said for sticking with your current vendor and infrastructure. First, the cost of switching is a huge factor when making a platform switch. If it were a piece of cake, then sure, go with the vendor that gives you the most bang for your buck, but real life is hardly like that.

Going with what you know is always a better solution than going with an unknown. The key, of course, is planning. Whatever you do, the goal of all your short term actions should guide you towards your long term goals.

Re:Going with the devil you know (1)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887716)

What a load of meaningless platitudes.

If you want the most bang for the buck get a free distibution like Debian.

Re:Going with the devil you know (-1, Troll)

kuiken (115647) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887775)

Debian is not an option for goverments.
Sure the IT guys have a few debian boxes around the place.
But for mission critical stuff it just cant be done, no PHB in the world will accept a system without any support contract.

Re:Going with the devil you know (4, Informative)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887803)

Nonsense. There are companies that install and maintain Debian specifically for Government like http://togaware.com/ [togaware.com]

Re:Going with the devil you know (4, Informative)

kuiken (115647) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887833)

Its not just about debian beeing supported its about the whole platform.
Oracle wont support any installation on debian
hardware vendors will offer no support either.

Re:Going with the devil you know (5, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887824)

the distro costs _NOTHING_, zero, zip, nada...

the deal is for tech support, migration, development of custom apps...

even if they go debian or slack or fedora... they'll still have to pay for tech support.

this "distro X is free, so is more bang for the buck" speech is what scares companies away from migrating to open plataforms. the ones who fell for this got severelly burned once they saw the cost of the support.

if you want to convince someone to migrate, be honest. say "the software is free, but related costs exists and they're as high as microsoft's one. what you really get for your cash is the freedom to choose vendor, the assurance that your data will still be available in 20 years, etc., etc., etc.."

Actually, I think it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888008)

that your long term goals should guide your short term actions.

a home made one... (4, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887711)

that's what public universities are for.

put the students and the faculty working in the distro. create tech support incubator companies.

gives a boost to the local industry, trains new ppl, brings new ideas, tailor the software according to local needs/culture, keeps the money in the country...

Re:a home made one... (1, Funny)

rustbear (852420) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887755)

Yep, i totally agree. There's nothing like crucial government tax software written by students...

Re:a home made one... (2, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887888)

what's the alternative ? crucial government tax software written by microsoft ???

Re:a home made one... (4, Insightful)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887796)

You'd trust your critical systems to a bunch of unpaid volunteers? It's better to trust a real linux distri... Oh wait...

Re:a home made one... (2, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887953)

Yes because everyone at Novell works for free.

Re:a home made one... (1)

root-a-begger (854073) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888029)

Rolling your own is an interesting option. Using a less popular distro would have certainly cost NZ more in initial R&D, so the Suse choice is pragmatic. I could certainly name a few of my best choices: tinysofa.org and freebsd.org. But as always, big government made decisions without consulting me. I think we should all applaud the NZ gov for making such a decision and for choosing Suse/Novel in order to better control the outcome for them as I doubt RedHat would be as open to outside input on the future of the distro. -- you'll get no sig out of me!!!

Elaborate, maybe they are reading here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888135)

This would be especially true if there was not an acceptable translation to the local language(s) available. Though Linux has been translated to many languages, I sincerely doubt it has been translated into every language and some countries have different languages for everything from everyday conversations to business and politics. Students could be kept busy for quite a while just translating man pages, sample config files, etc even after the primary interfaces were translated. In fact they would be the most important to it becoming a truely "home grown" version. (Might be amusing to be a fly on the wall when they translate some of the comments in the code.) Even more students could be kept busy with translating contributions (more documentation) back to the OSS community.

This would of course require coders learning technical writing and technical writers learning to code. Gui design for ease of use might be different for a different language as well, that is not just a simple translation of button labels.

Students having gone through these processes could start many different cottage industries once they graduate or go to work the government or industry making use of the resulting distribution. The cottage industries could include self-help training books, custom programs, support, new distributions, etc.

The above comments don't even begin to cover what the parent suggests in just a few lines. They seem obvious to me but I am just a clueless AC and not a Linux expert nor a professional coder or designer. Someone knowledgeable want to chime in or is this better left to another "ask Slashdot" article?

Which distro? (2, Insightful)

Anti-Trend (857000) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887712)

If you were a government, which linux distribution would you choose?

Gee, this won't start flame wars. :P But in any case, I might personally choose Mandriva Linux, since they are a very non-proprietary Linux vendor who's practices jive well with the spirit of the GPL. Mandriva is definately one of the most desktop-ready distros out there, strikes a good balance between the stability and freshness of packages, and has a huge amount of community-contributed software available for it. It's also a good distro to ease ex-Windows users and admins into, as it has a great many powerful GUI tools.

Of course, there's always a 100% community distro like Debian, or if they had the resources they could even roll their own in-house distro. That would certainly ensure a custom fit, wouldn't it? Of course, since they're going OSS, there's nothing saying they can't go that route later down the road.

-AT

Good for Linux (4, Insightful)

skingers6894 (816110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887713)

This is an example where Novell is good for Linux. It's much easier for a government to "stick with Novell" than "jump to open source". It sounds safer somehow even if the end result is the same for Linux.

If I were a government... (5, Interesting)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887720)

If I were a government looking for a software platform I would most definately choose Novell. You get the level of support that you need with the advantage that you are getting an open platform on which to work. If you have trouble with your Novell linux you can easily get Redhat in to take over, bring in consultants to help out or even set up a department to do it yourself.

But we all know that, right? Is anyone on Slashdot actually thinking that choosing SLES over, say RHEL or (god forbid) a custom Gentoo approach is a bad decision?

My personal opinion is that Novell / SuSE is a better approach than RedHat since Novell has a better desktop product (actually, a better range of desktop offerings) to go along with its server software.

Re:If I were a government... (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887892)

Red Hat's administration software is probably superior to Novell's, and I find SuSE lacking in some areas, but regardless... if Novell keeps performing how they have been for the past 3 to 5 quarters, in say 5 years there will be no more Novell. Novell is a highly mismanaged company, literally riddled with problems. The investors of Novell are pretty much demanding a revamp in management and there has been speculation that a bigger fish might wind up just buying Novell.

If Novell finds that linux isn't making the money its supposed to be, they'll sell off the Suse division and move into the next big tech area like they've done so many times before. In case you haven't noticed, not much has gotten better in SuSE since Novell bought it, they are still riding out the benefits from the previous owners (with the exception of a few things Nat has worked on). This is probably one of the reasons that (according to netcraft) Fedora overtook the number of SuSE servers in only a little over a year or so and now is only rivaled by Debian and its bigger brother RHEL (just in case you were wondering, desptie the increase of Fedora use, there was not a symmetric decrease from RHEL, i.e. it wasn't just people switching from RHEL to Fedora).

Anyway, moral of the story is that they are buying OSS from a financially unstable company likely to make a rash decision in the near future, which will only lead to a larger perception that OSS companies are fragmented and can't support their products, or some other nonsense for the MS FUD machine.
Regards,
Steve

i would.... (1)

diztort (910437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887725)

I would nuke my adverseries and enforced M$ stuff on them, no really. Why doesn't a goverment let its IT section make a distro on their own, specialy crafted for their usage patterns? That should make better use of their spy department...

Why, Debian of course ... (4, Informative)

hherb (229558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887731)

A government is spending taxpayers money. They should feel obliged to get the biggest band for buck long term. Since most of the costs will probably go into ongoing system maintenance, there is hardly another distribution that can beat the Debian packaging system - especially regarding long term consistency.

The other benefit not going with a specific commercial distro with their proprietary (even if open!) quirks, but rather with generic Debian is that you will find it easier to get qualified administrators too - that has at least been the experience with our medical centre's IT infrastructure

Re:Why, Debian of course ... (0)

tmasky (862064) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887790)

I never advocate Debian because of the lack of signed packages. Big security risk in my opinion.

Poison a Debian package repository and you have mass ownage.

Plus, the lack of stable releases. You can arguably use "testing" and there are good reasons to. I just hate the idea of using a release publicly stated as being in a "testing" state on enterprise production hardware =(

Also, there's the issue of support with proprietary software on Linux. There's always support for RedHat and SLES.. never Debian.

Re:Why, Debian of course ... (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887853)

I think that's changed in Unstable, and presumably Testing as well. Right after the current Stable shipped, I had a big hassle with updating keys, and complaints by my systems that packages were unsigned. It wasn't hard to fix, but the systems complained loudly until I did. So I don't think that particular objection applies anymore.

RedHat and Suse, as you point out, are the best-supported by Oracle... as far as I know, they're the only vendor that anyone really cares about. :-)

Re:Why, Debian of course ... (3, Informative)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888001)

Ahem? [debian.org]

I know the reason (2, Funny)

dzafez (897002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887733)

Since there are no licenses, OpenSource is much sheeper.

Re:I know the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887823)

Es lung es they don't turn beck on thiir kemuttmint. Thiir netorius for doung ueeees.

Ooh, I know this game (3, Funny)

a.different.perspect (817184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887826)

New Zealand refused to have the wool pulled over their eyes by Microsoft's sheared source initiative. And it wasn't a matter of knit-picking: closed source is baadly restrictive and, between ewe and me, good for mutton in the quality department. Butt enough rambling.

Re:Ooh, I know this game (0)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887900)

Keep your mouth shut. I can't herd those jokes anymore.

Re:Ooh, I know this game (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887911)

The correct collective noun for sheep is mob. Herds are for cattle.

Re:Ooh, I know this game (1)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888168)

Keep your mouth shut. I can't mob those jokes anymore.

Re:Ooh, I know this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887972)

Watch out, or the mob will hunt you down and fleece you.

Re:Ooh, I know this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888044)

Well, if Microsoft try to ram through their own tuppeny-ha'penny solutions to fleece customers, ewe can expect open source enthusiasts to flock together in opposition. Microsoft will always up the ante, reasoning they may as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb while attempting to dip into their potential customers pockets, and accuse the opposition as being ovine followers of discredited ideas. Others will refuse to have the wool pulled over their eyes, and refuse to listen to Microsoft's yarns knitted together out of desperation - they will be mutton jeff (deaf) to Microsoft's bleating entreaties and simply say "Baa humbug". The two sides will metaphorically circle each other, daggers drawn until a resolution occurs.

If Microsoft is the sheep, and Novell are the wellington boots, who is the farmer?

Re:Ooh, I know this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888091)

If Microsoft is the sheep, and Novell are the wellington boots, who is the farmer?

The Kiwis.

One-way ticket (1)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887736)

Could be a smart move. I guess the CEO of Novell will shortly be needing to flee to somewhere a long way away after his "investors" have finished with him.

The people, the government, and software (5, Insightful)

mikaelhg (47691) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887766)

I'm not "a government" but instead work for one.

When we buy general-purpose servers, we go for reasonable quality, good hardware replacement support services, and distribution-hardware compatibility partnerships, such as the Red Hat - HP one.

The question "what is it we really need to provide" which ultimately leads to "which distribution should we use" is not a trivial one. However, the one surefire way to botch things up is to put "we should use X" question before the "what do we want" question.

A general tone in the government IT is that a push towards Linux is good around the board for us customers because it changes the market landscape back to normal after Microsoft has tipped it over for a while. "Horses for courses" is a tried and tested way for humans to work together, and malignant monopolies can prevent and have prevented us from working together.

However, what we're really waiting for is for the established actors in the Linux market, such as Red Hat and Novell, to bring out real corporate desktop products with all associated support services. I'm not talking about the current workstation products, but instead of locked-down, managed desktop environments WITH the fringe benefit of X11, which means that we can add local applications on local application servers without having to install them on the desktops, and benefit from a more headquaters-controlled but still locally fixable environment.

We're seeing the Red Hat Network product being worked on, and ultimately the openness of Linux architecture will be a huge boon for citizen activists who can add efficiency to government directly by fixing software applications and creating better ones.

Vehicle registration software working slowly? You can fix it directly by optimizing the GUI libraries.

If I were a government... (2, Interesting)

boxxa (925862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887772)

At home and in my office I run SuSE linux. I can adapt it to run any application stable to perform the business needs and also it can be adapted to virtually any working environment. Also, the user interface is very friendly with Yast but I think that the true distro that would excel the others is the one that will provide large deployments with the support for their users while they learn the new software and help them work the software into their existing operations, which from the article, Novell seems to provide pretty well.

Mix and Match to Strengths and Weakness (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887786)

Simple look at the needs of the Organization and choose a mixture:
1. OpenBSD for the Bastion Side, Firewalls, IDS, Routers.
2. Linux for File Shares, DB's and apps. {Suse, Redhat}
3. Client Side: Xandros, knoptics

Each item would be rated against a check list of items.

Redhat is not the one (5, Interesting)

harryoyster (814652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887794)

Having been working in an Redhat enterprise linux environment for so many years we have recently began to shift all servers over to novel. Since that time we have had less issues and the overall support from novel has been awesome to say the least. PLUS in our case it costs significantly less than the same Redhat licensing fees (redhat network etc). We have also several slackware and debian boxes doing other things. Go Novel, Say no to redhat.

Re:Redhat is not the one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887865)

Considering how much you use them, i'd of thought you'd have learned how to SPELL Novell by now ;)

A further note regarding the situation... (4, Informative)

tmasky (862064) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887806)

To my knowledge, there isn't _one_ RedHat partner in New Zealand. Let alone any presence from any other commercial dist.

Jumping on this, Novell New Zealand has quite successfully been pushing their product and support. Without really any competitor, they're taking over the public and private sector by storm.

So yeah. No suprise regarding the outcome of preferential Linux vendor choice =)

Re:A further note regarding the situation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887873)

what all 30 users??, get serious -> Im a NZ'r and any IT "announcement" from NZ has to be a joke... you can run the whole of NZ govt on a pop up toaster.... we have seen waves off bizzaire NZ govt endorsements... remember Maurice Williamson "Minister of Microsoft" - he once sat in a room with Bill and was so overcome he forced govt depts to "only use Microsoft".... This is like Novell announcing that they have discovered antibiotics!!

If I were a government, (2, Insightful)

linforcer (923749) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887817)

I'd choose the one with the biggest company backing it, because that's what governments tend to do, and well, surprise, surprise, what did New Zealand do?

Criticism (4, Informative)

Domstersch (737775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887836)

There has already been a fair bit of (poorly researched) criticism of this plan - a good example pointed out to me by the guys at the New Zealand Open Source Society was this article in New Zealand's National Business Review:

Open source in government: A delusional cheer from the Greens [nbr.co.nz]

Among the more irrational claims made against OS in this article is:
Even in servers, its strongest point of contention, Linux holds only a very minor share of the market.
Looks like someone hadn't seen that Netcraft doesn't confirm it [slashdot.org] (assuming Apache is mostly run on Linux, right?).

Re:Criticism (3, Informative)

dacaffinator (750403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887859)

The thing about the NBR is, well to be blunt, they're all clueless rich wankers.

why is it such a problem? (1)

xmodem_and_rommon (884879) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887863)

I only skimmed the site you linked, but can someone explain to me why a particular OS having a small market share should in itself have anything to do with whether or not you choose it?

Factors like interoperability, scalability, security, performance, and support are important. Things like the raw number, or percentage, of people using a given product should be completely irrelevant to whether or not the product is chosen.

Re:Criticism (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887893)

assuming Apache is mostly run on Linux, right?

I do not know that it can be assumed that Apache is mostly run on Linux. Apache websites are running on several Unix and Unix-like OS's including Solaris, the various BSDs, and Linux.

Re:Criticism (1)

Domstersch (737775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887921)

That's very true. The general gist of the article was against OSS, so I'm not sure that journalist would be any happier with Solaris or BSD based servers. Still, it's pretty funny that the NBR journalist has overlooked the fact that an Open Source (oh, sorry, the NBR article says I'm not allowed to use Proper Noun Case) webserver is behind the majority of sites on the internet, regardless of their operating system. And I just love the way he paints OSS as a solution for the irrational, tree-hugging, hippie, communist, ... Green Party.

Why only one? (2, Insightful)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887838)

It may not be as simple as selecting one single vendor, but I'd be inclined to deal with the problem in the following way. For a start, choose something that's supported by more than one vendor. You're pretty much obliged to do this to avoid vendor lock-in, right? And we want to avoid that. So, given that it's available from more than one viable vendor, choose two vendors and give your subordinates the leeway to select one or the other on a case by case basis. That way your suppliers keep each other on their toes, rather than resting on the fact that switching vendors is going to cause you more hassle than it's worth. A federal government is going to be sufficiently large that they don't have to offer an exclusive contract to attract tenders. Well, maybe not New Zealand, but most federal governments.

-march=new-zealand -O2 -fomit-untuned-distro -pipe (0)

ali3nxx (830931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887844)

Gentoo Linux could definitely fill the gap required by the New Zealand government. Considering the countries support for the GNU/Linux and opensource in general I would suspect there would be a university LUG which could support a gentoo infrastructure aswell as the very large and active user community which flocks around Gentoo Linux. At the very least such a rollout would provide the most performance per hardware dollar and a roadmap for greater possibilities were portability and consolidation would be advantageous. Being the among the very first distributions to provide amd64 and emt64 cpu support aswell as OSDL's linux refrence platform Gentoo Linux has proven it's resolve for infrastructre systems of high importance with gentoo portage providing administration with the tools to adapt and readapt in use systems as required over the duration of thier service cycle. Not being required to completely reinstall gentoo workstations and servers for major operating system upgrades highlights as a definite advantage for production environments aswell. I'm aware of a couple large data warehousing corporations that utilize gentoo for mission critical informix and oracle servers wgere every application is current to stable versions and secure without the downtime associated with maintainance of some other distros. The superb level of portability and agility which is offered by gentoo, when wielded by adminstration with skill and aptitude; most definitely outweighs the advantages offered by settling for canned sardines for many enterprise systems administrators, engineers and businesses

Re:-march=new-zealand -O2 -fomit-untuned-distro -p (1)

imroy (755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887945)

Of course Gentoo! Because everyone knows that production servers need to run really fast [funroll-loops.org] . You don't get that with generic binaries.

Re:-march=new-zealand -O2 -fomit-untuned-distro -p (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888061)

NZ Inland Revenue have already been using Gentoo for a while. It's probable that an internal enthusiastic fanbase is what led to this whole of govt agreement. who'da thought - now I am being opportunistically reamed up the backside by pirates who use the same distro as me.

It's all about support (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887870)

As a government, or pretty much anybody with a lot to loose, you'd want to go with a distribution that...

A) Can give support when you need it.
B) Can reasonably guarantee that it will do so for the next decade.

This pretty much leaves just Red Hat and Novell.
From then on it's probably a matter of weighing benefits vs. price during negotiations.

Re:It's all about support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888006)

"with a lot to loose"

Fly, be free! LOLOL!!!11!!!1

Re:It's all about support (1)

Ricin (236107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888071)

Exactly. I'd put it more bluntly: they want someone to blame, somewhere where the buck stops if things go bad. They're a government not a [L][U]UG. So they'll go SuSE because that's what Novell offers.

Not a bad idea. (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887886)

It's good for open source, it's good for Novell and it's good for the New Zealand government. After all, open source software may not come with any licensing fees, but somebody still has to install it, make sure it all works as expected and maintain it for you afterwards. Also, a lot of people had their doubts as to whether Novell's new open source business plan was going to work. Hell, I used to be a CNE and just a short while ago I thought M$ had pretty much succeeded in making the company irrelevant. Now it looks like I may have been wrong about that. You think maybe it'd be smart to start studying for some of their exams again? Just to add some color to your CV, of course. ;-)

Hetrogenity (-1, Redundant)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887916)

Let the people choose and support their own software. A hetrogenous network is more secure not less. POP3, IMAP, SMTP, iCal, TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SAMBA, NFS, XML, CVS, LDAP, OpenDocument, MS-Document etc. These are the technologies that you choose from, not the applications or the OS.

I would prescribe investing in training in both MS and a Linux distribution for the support staff, providing a base install of Ubuntu and the option of installing a Windows if you really can't get on with it. Make sure there is a local wiki with how to connect to various servers and let those that can choose the OS and applications that they feel the most comfortable with. If the new consultant uses FreeBSD / Mac OS X let them connect to your network and connect to the servers using the credentials that the infrastructure guys provide.

Thinking you can protect the network from the inside by locking off features or limiting the OS that you can use is short sighted, it only stops thoese who don't know how to circumvent these measures and thats not who you are trying to stop.

People need to learn to be more afraid of a homogenous network as its the hunting ground of vendor lock-ins and security holes.

Use tax money locally (2, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887927)

What distro? The one you can get best LOCAL support for. Why send off tax dollars to some MegaCorp in the US if you can create LOCAL jobs and support LOCAL companies?

Re:Use tax money locally (1)

TuataraShoes (600303) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888058)

The Novell resources that are called upon will primarily be people in New Zealand. This is a first world country with local people at all levels of business and technical expertise. Novell New Zealand will no doubt be hiring more people (New Zealand citizens, residents, tax payers) to support this project.

Of course, some of the money will go to the USA. This buys the benefits of the security of dealing with a larger more stable (one hopes) corporate entity.

incumbant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13887959)

Still .. is an incumbant vendor always the best?

That depends entirely on what "incumbant" means. My guess would be "incumbent", but who knows. "Get a spelling checker" is another guess.

Distro choice (1, Funny)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887960)

I'd roll my own and then convince the government to pay me a gigantic support contract.

Then when they have problems with openoffice or mozilla, i'd tell them to go complain to the project developers.

Ben

Where does this all lead? (4, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13887979)

There is obviously a trend towards open source platforms and away from proprietary platforms. On that we can probably all agree. The question I have is, what happens next? Assume 2 or 3 Linux distributions end up becoming widespread and dominant. Assume Windows becomes just one of many rather than being ubiquitous. Let's think outside the box and assume that even Apple ekes out more than a 3% share of the desktop. What is the impact of this on application developers? Sure, the "generic" apps like those found in the various Office products will continue to evolve, copy each other, exchange data with each other, and be the primary application most people use in their jobs. But what about the specialty applications: audio/video editing, medical and scientific applications, airline reservation systems, tax preparation software, web content creation, etc, etc? Do "best-in-class" applications emerge for each of these niches - tied to a single platform? Does the whole world switch to open source so the platform doesn't matter? My big fear is we end up like it was in the 1970's all over again where you are forced to choose a platform to get the particular application you need. And if you need multiple applications, you end up supporting multiple platforms. Yes, standards that address interoperability can help in this regard, but if you want best-in-class you will not have much choice, and we all know that supporting multiple platforms is more work than supporting one.

It has already lead to (1)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888097)

cross platform development tools and web apps.

People who make applications like the ones you describe like to use those where possible to maximize the potential users of the software they create.

You're about 20 years late, son (1)

rfc1394 (155777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888233)

My big fear is we end up like it was in the 1970's all over again where you are forced to choose a platform to get the particular application you need.
Uh, this has been the standard in PC applications ever since we have had PCs. If you wanted to do spreadsheets you had to have an Apple ][ in order to use Visicalc (until 1-2-3 came out and buried it), if you wanted a database you had to have an IBM compatible (with MSDos or PCDos) to run DBase II (and later DBase III), then if you wanted software that runs on Windows you had to have that.

Quite frankly, people buy computers to solve problems. You don't necessarily want to run a payroll application, you just want to issue checks faster and less expensively than having clerks do so manually. The software is the means to provide the solution, and the O/S and computer are the platform needed to deliver it. Even if the solution can only be done using a computer, the computer is not the solution, the computer and underlying platforms are the vehicle to deliver the solution.

For example from over ten years ago, if your 'problem' is to be able to play DOOM, your means necessary (the 'vehicle') to provide the solution is an IBM Compatible (nothing from Apple would cut it) at least a 386 (because a 286 is inadequate to run the game) and at least 4 meg of memory. Being able to play the game is the solution; the software, the OS and the hardware is, and always has been, simply is the means in this case, the vehicle used to deliver that solution. Now there are clone versions of Doom (and other First-person shooters) available, one can use other software to solve the problem of getting that experience. But the computer and software were simply the means to solve the problem, they were not the solution itself except to the extent they are the only possible means to solve the problem.

Complaining that the particular software wanted dictates hardware or underlying OS purchases comes about 20 years too late. It also applies to development of applications; the most popular operating systems get the vast majority of development. The roads of the software world are littered with the bones of the corpses of dead companies that bet on OS/2 as a platform and died with the mirage it ended up becoming when IBM's lack of marketing and Windows 95 killed it.

Custom Gentoo created by government IT department (1)

Jessta (666101) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888053)

I'd have the IT department put together a distrobution based on Gentoo.
This would allow the IT department to have an exact idea of what is in the system and exactly how it's going to work.
This would require the IT staff to have the expertise to properly support this setup without external support. But most governments should already have such resources.
- Jesse McNelis

great news (1)

suezz (804747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888088)

this is great news we need more victories like this. I don't care what distribution they chose as along as it isn't Microsoft.

now they will be kicking themselves for not doing it sooner. we need to stop this distribution fighting. I chose Ubuntu personally but I personally find it very hard to chose because there are so many that are high quality.

when something like this happens we all win.

co34 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13888131)

Governments Play Safe (2, Insightful)

TheEvilOverlord (684773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888196)

It's all very well saying "they should use debian" or "OMG LFS!!!"

As an IT contractor I've worked inside government, and the culture is very different compared to the commercial world. Government jobs are jobs for life. There is nothing that encourages the learning of new skills, and the only real way to lose your job is through misconduct or negligence. Thus the over-riding concern is about not taking responsibility for anything, and the path known is always better than the unknown. There is no grass-roots techs to push change from the bottom-up, that's risky. Change only comes from the top down, and we all know the top tends to listen to M$.

The only thing that pushes governments towards open source is cost, big IT budgets make bad headlines: "that money could have paid for X number of teachers/doctors/etc"

Due to being public bodies most governments have strict rules on who they buy services from (and usually for good reason) have to be ISO9000 approved, and all that jazz. This usually precludes using anyone but the really big suppilers who can afford such things. This also covers the government, as if it all goes www.titsup.com then they can blame the supplier, and have some tangible "proof" that it was a reasonable choice. Plus there is someone to sue if something really nasty happens.

The fact that it's being chosen at all is a miricle, so be happy, rejoice! These customised Linux provider/support companies are the only way the penguin is going to see high level public service.

Debian all the way! (1)

Progressive4Peace (905985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13888199)

I would choose Debian, hands down... When you go with a corporate-branded distro, you have the potential for vender lock-in. Look at Red Hat - many organizations which depended on its free distribution (which ended with Red Hat 9) now have to pony up large sums of money to get its RHEL or are forced to go with the fairly buggy and IMHO unstable Fedora.

Debian's stable, community-supported, free as in beer AND in free speech, and won't be going away any time soon. Some complain about Debian's slow release process, but in an organization with hundreds of PCs you don't want to be forced to upgrade each of them every year or so in order to continue receiving security updates.
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