Despite Financial Destruction, Greece Not Favoring Open Source Software

from the all-inclusive dept

As you may have heard, Greece isn't having the best fiscal time of things these days. Oddly, as Glyn Moody noted previously, such dire straits haven't really gotten the country to focus on the important things when it comes to the internet and technology. Now, unless a few open source software groups get their way, it appears that the country with money problems will once again turn a blind eye to open source software in upcoming government purchases.
The ministry published a request for tender in November, seeking suppliers of 26,400 laptops, 1760 servers and 1760 wifi access routers. The value of the contract is set at just over 15 million euro. The purchase will be partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The ministry is asking for laptops and servers that can run either a ubiquitous proprietary operating system or Linux. But, say the Greek Linux User Group (Greeklug) and Eel/lak, a Greek open source advocacy organisation founded by 25 universities and research centres, the technical requirements clearly favour proprietary solutions over open source. "The specification is a copy of the proprietary vendor's e-mail and office software."
As someone who gets to deal with government bid contracts, I can assure you that this is extremely common. It's often the case that these kind of request for bids begin with an end product in mind and then develop the bid language to conform to that product. For anyone who wants to actually put together their own effective solution for consideration, it's incredibly annoying. But for a country with the kind of money problems that would make a homeless guy with an addiction to gambling on crack consumption laugh, to linguistically exclude an open source and less expensive software option is simply dumb.

Unfortunately, Greeklug and Eel/lak aren't expecting the Greek government to listen, so they may have to take their complaints elsewhere.
Both are also appealing to the European Commission, hoping that Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will pressure the ministry to correct the tender request. "To give free and open source a fair chance, the technical specification will have to be improved", the groups plead.
We'll see if that route works. Regardless, to have money trouble and not consider open source software is just plain irresponsible.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:56am

    Wouldn't it be faster just to bribe someone?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:03am

    Let's not forget that this is a country that, amongst the economic disaster that their citizens are in, decided that going after a torrent site was top priority because people couldn't afford to pay for movies.

     

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    lfroen (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:04am

    What money has to do here?

    Yea, open source is nice, but we're talking about insignificant amount of money anyway.
    Let's see:
    * laptops are irrelevant here - they always come with software included, be it Windows, Linux or OSX. BTW - Windows code is open for auditing (at least in US).
    * routers technically can't be sold without internal firmware (just like any other device with embedded cpu this days).
    * server side software can be open source, but that's really depends on what kind of "server" we're talking about. If we're talking about making Outlook work - Exchange is really a must; no open source alternative doesn't come even close.

    So, as usually happen here, posts about technical subjects are plagued with factual errors. Next time - try writing about laws/patents/copyright/etc and leave bits and volts aside.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:29am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      The latest Windows costs around 125 for the basic package if you haven't taken up the offer. I'd argue that obtaining a hardware-based open-source router is going to be an interesting challenge.

      Not to detract from your point entirely, but even small savings matter in Greece and Spain.

       

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        lfroen (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:57am

        Re: Re: What money has to do here?

        >> The latest Windows costs around 125 for the basic package
        False. This is retail price. OEMs pay something like $10-$50.

        >> I'd argue that obtaining a hardware-based open-source router is going to be an interesting challenge
        More like science fiction. Everything Cisco/H3C/Broadcom cell is proprietary to the last screw.

        >> but even small savings matter in Greece and Spain
        Let's see _how_ small we're talking about here. While open source offerings are "open" they all do have price. Someone gonna provide all this. Admin still would like to get paid no matter what OS you choose.
        Please check prices @ RedHat before talking about "savings".

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:10am

          Re: Re: Re: What money has to do here?

          Since you have maintenance costs anyway, wouldn't it be wiser to do savings anyway?

          By the way, the cost of free software can inject money in the Greek economy (software developed by Greek engineers), whereas proprietary software injects money in foreign economy (Microsoft and Apple are US-based companies, and Greek IT development companies are only a small subset of all such companies). Maybe Greece should think of supporting its local economy before foreign countries' markets.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:28am

          Re: Re: Re: What money has to do here?

          False. This is retail price. OEMs pay something like $10-$50.
          Maybe...if you're Dell.

          More like science fiction. Everything Cisco/H3C/Broadcom cell is proprietary to the last screw.
          ...You're probably right, though I'd be interested to see what an Open-source router would look like.

          And for your final point, again, even smaller savings matter, because that means that someone is probably still in a job, if even 25,000 is saved.

           

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          The dude, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:38am

          Re: Re: Re: What money has to do here?

          Red Hat? What about centos, slackware, fedora, mageia?, RH isnt the only linux distro usable as a server, as for support i am sure there are more than enough people on Greece capable to offer enterprise level support for linux (which benefits the country instead of hiring some foreign multinational which only cares about their own interests anyway)

           

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:17am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      "laptops are irrelevant here - they always come with software included, be it Windows, Linux or OSX. BTW - Windows code is open for auditing (at least in US)."

      First, as someone who bids on these kind of contracts in the US, you CAN in fact find HP/Dell/Lenovo client machines that come without an OS loaded, so that isn't correct. That said, even for a vast majority of the machines where the OS is preloaded, Linux machines cost less. That's the point.

      "routers technically can't be sold without internal firmware (just like any other device with embedded cpu this days)."

      Again, the question is what that firmware is that's preloaded.

      "server side software can be open source, but that's really depends on what kind of "server" we're talking about. If we're talking about making Outlook work - Exchange is really a must; no open source alternative doesn't come even close."

      Again, you're making my point for me. The smart thing for Greece to do wouldn't be to say, "Give me a server to make Outlook work". The smart thing would be to say, "Give me a server that gives me the best marriage between effective email and cost." and then see what people come up with. Pretending like Outlook is the only email client available is EXACTLY the problem....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

        Re: Re: What money has to do here?

        However, how to import the already using Exchange mailbox to Linux mail server is a major challenge. And how about the migration of policies?

        Also note that when the current IT infrastructure is pure Windows only one, adding Linux will increase the management difficulty by multi-fold. (It must leave the infrastructures in "mixed" state because there's also tailor-made government systems that I also presume running Windows. Replacing them would takes time and much much more money than the savings of Windows-stripped laptops and servers) How to make the existing government staff learn "another technology" is another problem... And you can't rightfully fire them because learning Linux was never part of their job's requirement in the first place.

        I'll say that when the infrastructure is already "Windows only", attempting to mix it with *nix "to save money" is wrong in the first place.

         

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      Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:39am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      "* laptops are irrelevant here - they always come with software included, be it Windows, Linux or OSX. BTW - Windows code is open for auditing (at least in US)."

      Well there is a rather large (around $100-$300) difference in a laptop that comes with Windows (and other software) and one that comes with Linux, but hey let's go with say a $50 savings per laptop. So, $50 * 26,400 = $1,320,000 saved by buying laptops with linux, over a basic Windows laptop.

      "Yea, open source is nice, but we're talking about insignificant amount of money anyway. "

      It is thinking like that that gets governments and companies in trouble in the first place. A million here a million there, it doesn't matter. Your not talking about real money till you start talking trillions. Well guess what it takes millions to make trillions and the more millions you save the slower you get to trillions.

      "* server side software can be open source, but that's really depends on what kind of "server" we're talking about. If we're talking about making Outlook work - Exchange is really a must; no open source alternative doesn't come even close."

      Outlook can be made to function quite well with a number of open source projects most with 90+% compatibility. Outlook even works with Novell's Groupwise fairly well. However, there are a lot of alternatives to Outlook as well that work extremely well, and with a lot less of the administration headaches as well.


      Oh, and for the record I am an IT Consultant with more than 30 years in the business, so I do know a little bit about this. I have worked with many, companies. Some I migrate to Open Source or alternative solutions, some stay with traditional solutions. This mostly boils down to the answer to one question. "How much do you want to spend on IT?" Or the question I am most often asked. "How can I cut my IT budget in half? It is killing my business." Once a proper needs analysis is done, and pre-conceived notions are set aside Open source (and other non-traditional) solutions become serious contenders in a lot of different arenas.

      Some businesses can afford to dump a seemingly endless amount of money in to IT, others can't afford to do that. The answer to saving money in IT doesn't lie in Microsoft, Apple, SaaS, or cloud. The answer comes when you get the right tools for the jobs you need to do.

      You don't need a shop full of mechanics tools to open a can of beans, yet that is often the approach when it comes to IT. Get the most expensive because it has 10,000 features. They never stop to consider, they only need 100 of those features and there is a lot of software that has the 100 they need and 9,000 additional ones as well and costs little to nothing.

      "So, as usually happen here, posts about technical subjects are plagued with factual errors. Next time - try writing about laws/patents/copyright/etc and leave bits and volts aside."

      So, I don't see any factual errors by the author of the article here. However, I have some issues with your post.

       

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      The dude, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:44am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      Not everybody can be a non plus ultra guru like you, have some understanding oh great IT master!

       

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 6:31am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      Yea, open source is nice, but we're talking about insignificant amount of money anyway.

      If the money is so insignificant, can you imagine that Microsoft wouldn't throw a hissy fit if they discovered that Greece was using over 28,000 unlicensed copies of their operating systems?

       

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      weneedhelp (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:45am

      Re: What money has to do here?

      "but we're talking about insignificant amount of money anyway."

      Spoken like a true politician. Sure its not YOUR money, so you consider it insignificant.

      26,400 laptops - The amount of effort to track and keep licenses of 26000 new computers, on top of the ones in production is cost prohibitive. That why MS offers Enterprise licensing. Not a worry at all with open source.
      Knock 50 bucks off the price of a laptop to get it with no os and thats over a million dollars.



      Email - There are other email clients - You need to look into your assumption a little more:
      http://www.openlogic.com/wazi/bid/188167/A-Comparison-of-Enterprise-Mail-Servers-Open-Source- and-Otherwise
      and while others may not have the functionality of Exchange... I ask, why are you eating steak when you should be eating Ramen noodles?


      "So, as usually happen here" (Nice engrish) So as usually happens here is some assclown thinks he/she knows a thing or 2 about something and wants to try and jab at TD.

      Oh and BTW, even if they are getting the laptops at 600 bucks a shot, its still 15,840,000.

      1760 servers - @ 1000 a pop = 1,760,000
      17,600,000 - Yeah thats insignificant. /s Tell that to the Greek PPL.

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

      Re: What money has to do here?

      So you've audited the Windows code?

      If you haven't then you're the one spreading misinformed lies.

      Collectively, Greece has more labor than cash. That means that any alternative that requires a bit more work for the sake of avoiding payments to foreign corporations should be favored.

      That could include ripping out whatever dependencies force them to use a particular brand of software for whatever purpose (including mail).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:17am

    Its normal for bureaucrats to spend money they don't have, just in Greeces case they are spending everyone elses money.

     

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      Michael, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:55am

      Re:

      The difference here is that "everyone else" in Greece has no money right now. Their economy has collapsed almost entirely. They cannot just dip a bit further into the tax pool - it has dried up.

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:18am

    I think Greece has bigger things to worry about than what software is on their government computers. How much money will it save compared with the levels of debt that has needed bailout after bailout?

    Actually collecting tax would be a good start.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:23am

      Re:

      Just because there's waste happening elsewhere and there are far larger problems, that doesn't mean it's not worth taking seriously. The amount you spend on a coffee every day on the way to work might be insignificant compared to your mortgage or credit card repayments. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reconsider your daily wait in the line at Starbucks if cash is getting tight.

       

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        lfroen (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:55am

        Re: Re:

        >> The amount you spend on a coffee every day on the way to work might be insignificant compared to your mortgage or credit card repayments. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reconsider your daily wait in the line at Starbucks if cash is getting tight.

        Actually, it does. If that Starbucks makes you feel good, but by cutting you save virtually nothing - don't do it. Start cutting where significant expenses occur.

         

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          That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          While I agree that working on trimming down the larger expenses is important when someone is trying to cut down on spending, smaller expenses are almost as important, as the smaller expenses can add up rather quickly. So swapping out the starbucks coffee for a generic can add up to a good amount in savings over time, without being very difficult to manage.

           

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          Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          " If that Starbucks makes you feel good, but by cutting you save virtually nothing - don't do it. Start cutting where significant expenses occur."

          Have you ever talked to a finance coach? Sure big costs count, but it is often all the little costs that sink the financial boat.

          Let's use your Starbucks example. Say you stop everyday at Starbucks and get your $5 cup of whatever. $5 a visit * 30 days is $150 a month or more than $1,800 a year! For many people that is a car payment or a weeks vacation for the family or maybe additional money that is put into an IRA or 401K for retirement.

          Now I don't know about you, but I will get my cup of coffee at work or spend .30 on it at home and have that money to spend on a vacation.

          I am not saying you shouldn't spend money on things that make you feel good, but you do need to consider how much things are really costing you over time.

          Cutting out that Starbucks, or those couple of sodas you buy every day can make a huge difference when you add those savings up over time.

          When you are in a financial crunch the first thing to go is the disposable income. The dollar here, and five dollars there all add up to save HUGE amounts of money.

           

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            PaulT (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "For many people that is a car payment or a weeks vacation for the family"

            Yeah exactly. It seems trivial, and if you can afford it and it makes you happy, go for it. You earned it - enjoy. The problems come when you start complaining about not being able to make the payment or afford the holiday, but also won't evaluate expenses like the Starbucks because they're "too trivial" or "make you happy".

            You'd probably be happier with the holiday, and spending money you can't afford just because it's easier or makes you feel better for 20 minutes is a dangerous trap to fall into. It might seem silly, but in the long term it can make a difference - just as Greece making intelligent decisions with long term effects on their IT infrastructure costs might, even if it's not the major problem they're facing.

             

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            JEDIDIAH, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

            Big Red Herring

            It's not the single Starbucks transaction. It's ALL of the transactions you make that are like a single Starbucks transaction. That's why being cost conscious in general can be quite effective. Avoiding Starbucks isn't just about a single transaction, it's about your entire approach to spending money.

            Focusing on how small Starbucks seems just distracts from the big picture.

             

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If that Starbucks makes you feel good, but by cutting you save virtually nothing - don't do it.


          In isolation, yes. But if you add all your "little" expenses together, they add up much faster than you'd think. When time are tight, you cut back on this kind of spending not because any individual purchase is hurting you, but because all those insignificant purchases gang up on you.

          So they all have to go.

          Of course, if you really must have a daily coffee or your life is miserable then go for it, but do so with the understanding that you are going to suffer in some other area for it.

           

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:52am

    Let them have Windows 8... then the riots can be happening outside and inside the government offices.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:56am

    There are good open source stuff out there but some things simply can't beat the proprietary solutions... Yet. And sometimes those proprietary solutions force you to use other proprietary solutions even though the open source path is way better. And there's usage. I know how frustrating it is to work with OpenOffice when everybody else is using docx and the likes (and honestly the M$ solution is better so far).

    So yes, it's not a simple choice. But I do agree with the point of the article.

     

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      The dude, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:34am

      Re:

      OpenOffice? When was the last time you used an alternative office suite? OpenOffice is quite old by now.

       

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        Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re:

        Precisely, we had to use OpenOffice till the beginning of 2012. Government does not keep up with updates and new alternatives.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Isn't that a general trend? I know several companies operating with unix code (PIDs), MS DOS (for stock-accounting in stores) and Internet explorer 6 (for relatively tech-dependent companies with too much script depending on IE6). "If it ain't broken, don't fix it".

          Open source projects are still very new compared to the need for renewal of software and it is a bit behind the 2003 office or modern windows in some areas still. That office has lost a lot in performance and won a little in addons, scripting, functionality and to a very limited extend graphics doesn't make the question any easier (2003 office or 2013 office or libre office or google docs or something completely different?)

          The way most companies do today is hiring a company to "maintain and develop" specifically tailored software packages for the company. It is mostly a question of the people hired and how their preferences are in terms of software, what the company ends up getting.

          The far overshadowing problem is that with too fractioned a choice of software, it becomes far too expensive in administration of licenses. Open software sometimes lack certain functionality needed and if only proprietary solutions exist for that, open software can cause too fractioned a selection of software and therefore be more expensive. A saying in IT is "Nobody gets fired for choosing Microsoft products" and that is unfortunately relatively true as of today.

           

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            Ruben, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Open source projects are still very new compared to the need for renewal of software and it is a bit behind the 2003 office or modern windows in some areas still. That office has lost a lot in performance and won a little in addons, scripting, functionality and to a very limited extend graphics doesn't make the question any easier (2003 office or 2013 office or libre office or google docs or something completely different?)

            Are you referring to desktop linux? I hope so, because if not, Debian, Red Hat, MySql, and Apache would like a word with you.

            I really think desktop linux is coming into its own. Mint is an awesome distro. The disaster that is Windows 8 combined with Steam for Linux will drive a lot of users over to linux. Got an older system with XP and don't want to shell out for Win7? Go ahead and install Mint with XFCE and you've got a modern OS that performs pretty well on older hardware.

            I'm a network administrator and I can't see Windows releases beyond 8 as anything more than niche players. The metro interface is a huge impediment to productivity. Their intent was noble, bringing parity between the desktop, tablet, and phone interface, but they failed miserably from a business productivity perspective.

             

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        weneedhelp (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Somebody needs a tickle... no wait... wrong place.

        Considering we are on Office 2010, OpenOffice 3.4.1 was released 2012-08-23

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice

         

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      Mr. Apllegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      Having worked as an IT consultant for over 30 years now, I can say a lot of it is a matter of attitude.

      I use Open Source exclusively at home and in my business. I have to deal with a lot of businesses who use Word, Excel, Outlook, Acrobat... I have almost zero issues with any of them. Granted I have more technical knowledge than most, but it really isn't that hard to do.

      The question is more about 'flash' (not the Adobe version) than function. Word and Excel look better than LibreOffice, but most of the functionality is there and it is rare that I have any real problems when sharing docs.

       

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        Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re:

        Which endorses what I think. Maybe it was either bad implemented here or it's not updated fast enough. The open source software we had installed here would not read or edit M$ proprietary file from 2007 and beyond. Nor the database software would read Access stuff.

        While I see your point it may still be an issue for Govt implementation due to the (seemingly) inherent inefficiency of Govt activities, including IT.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:31am

    Governmental funding decisions rarely take into account cost analysis, they are usually based upon what is in it for the politician making the decision.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      they always take cost analysis into account, and that is WHY they chose NOT to go with Linux.

      It is clear, (although many will say otherwise) that the cost benefit of OSS over commercial alternatives holds any great advantage, if any.

      sure Linux is free at the start, but you have to maintain it, and keep it operational, and fact is there are few fewer Linux techs than there are able Windows techs.

      A Linux tech is a hobbyist who thinks he knows how to build a spread sheet but really does not know much beyond what he is interested it.

      whereas you can find windows techs (and good ones) everywhere. Also the overall finish and quality of Linux just looks cheep, that is because IT IS.

      Linux has nothing the commercial alternatives cannot offer, as OS requires it to be developed commercially first so they can use that idea.

      There have been some European countries that have been blinded by the Linux fanboys, and have invested in Linux systems only to ditch it soon after wards. (TCO to high).

      You really do get what you pay for in software, that applies equally to something touted as being free, you get what you pay for, and free = poor quality and little support and no responsibility.

      Free is just too high a price to pay, Good move Greece.

       

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        Ruben, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        A Linux tech is a hobbyist who thinks he knows how to build a spread sheet but really does not know much beyond what he is interested it.

        Really? There are MSP's which support linux, just like they do for windows. Furthermore, in larger environments, the person you're looking for isn't a technician, it's an administrator.

        You really do get what you pay for in software, that applies equally to something touted as being free, you get what you pay for, and free = poor quality and little support and no responsibility.

        LOL

        Red Hat and Oracle might have something to say about that. You're just spouting nonsense at this point.

        Your views of free software and the open source movement seem to be about a decade old.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 2:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Furthermore, in larger environments, the person you're looking for isn't a technician, it's an administrator."

          I'd love to see him in a room trying to explain to an RHCA or someone running one of Google's datacentres and have him explain to them how they're just hobbyists who know nothing and how Linux is just a toy. That would be entertaining.

           

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        PaulT (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 2:48am

        Re: Re:

        Why do the most clearly ignorant people always pretend they speak from a knowledgeable position? You haven't got a clue what you're talking about, yet here you are launching insults at people who actually know things.

         

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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Ah...the age old open source vs. closed source argument.

    Switching to open source will only be cheaper in the initial purchase. The cost will quickly ramp up from there. Everyone seems to forget that the cost of the hardware/software is just a part of the full cost. You also have to factor in training and support. I, for one would not want to be the one in charge of having to train and support all 26,000 end users of those new laptops running open source software. That'll get real expensive, real quick. Switching from one version of MS Word to another is difficult--going from Word to Open Office would be a nightmare. Plus can your IT/IS departments handle the switch in server/networking software? How much will it cost in time and money to train them? How many will you have to fire/lay off? How many will you have to hire? What software do you need to run? Can you get open source alternatives? Do those alternatives actually work? Or are they buggy pieces of crap with little documentation or support?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong advocate of open source software and use it every day. But I would never advocate any IT department switching to open source merely based on initial cost. Any switch has to be done with eyes open knowing the changes you'll have to make and all the added costs that those changes and the extra support you need will add.

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      That... And it's extremely hard to make open source stuff talk to proprietary and vice-versa...

       

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        The dude, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re:

        It's extremely hard to make them talk because one of the sides doesnt adheres to standards and creates their own way of doing things (guess which side).

         

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      Your concerns are the same concerns I hear a lot - mostly based on a couple of fallacies - e.g. "all or nothing" switches (e.g. switching all desktop end users when someone's merely found ways to save money on servers), assumption of starting from zero knowledge (many of those MS workers might be Linux/OSS experts in non-paid roles already or from previous employment), no consideration of overall savings in both ongoing licencing costs and worker efficiency (I'm not sure if it's changed, but studies used to show that a skilled *NIX admin could manage several times more machines to the same level of efficiency as a Windows admin).

      "Or are they buggy pieces of crap with little documentation or support?"

      There are many proprietary pieces of software that fall into that category, especially if you don't commit to ongoing paid support contracts or they started life as proprietary products that don't get actively developed.

      Now, I'm all for going in with eyes wide open and considering all the best options - but that works both ways. You have to consider all costs - but then you don't necessarily have to retrain 20,000 office drones to get savings from open source server alternatives, either. Fine, your staff prefer MS Office - but does that mean they'll even notice if you switch the backend of their network infrastructure as to not require MS licences?

      That's almost beside the point of the article, though. The question isn't "why doesn't Greece just shift everything to open source?". The question is "why aren't they allowed to seriously consider it to begin with?" If they seriously evaluate everything and come out with an MS recommendation, fine. But, this seems to be the sort of case where someone already has an MS contract in mind, and wants his cut...

       

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      Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      Yes there are always additional costs besides software purchase and hardware purchase. You have to consider maintenance costs, support costs, training costs....

      However, as an IT consultant, I can tell you that I have literally cut IT budgets in half (yes that includes all the hard and soft costs) by using open source software (and other means). One company I consult for went from an annual budget for IT (Hardware, Software and Support) of just over $750,000/Yr to $432,000/yr and after 3 years there budget was cut to $388,000, so the cost reductions are sustainable. User productivity is also up.

      In many cases open source software is better supported than the proprietary software it replaces, and there are no annual support contracts either. Sometimes you have to pay an expert an hourly rate but more often than not you can post a question and get it answered very quickly.

      Sure there is crap open source out there, but there is also a lot of very valuable and highly stable software out there too.

      Your IT pros need a different skill set too, but if you do a honest needs assessment, put the proper people and software in place you can save a lot of money.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      exactly Well said..

      oh and I can hear them tapping out their 'excuses' and 'why your wrong' already..

      but ignore them, they are extremists who cannot see beyond some time later today.

      It's free, and it looks like it's free, it looks cheap and for good reason. If you are not required to create a product that people are willing to pay for, then you are not likely to create something people are willing to pay for.

      And with Linux, free is just too high a price to pay for when you DONT get with it.

       

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    Beta (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    in other news...

    "...To have money trouble and not consider open source software is just plain irresponsible."

    We're talking about Greece.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:37am

      Re: in other news...

      To have money trouble and not considering actually enforcing tax collection is just plain irresponsible.

      "In mother Greece money pay you to make your employer work."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Well their economy is shot not sure why they aren't going open source. Last I remember there's not some huge software maker in Greece so its not like they'd be screwing some large software company in Greece.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:21am

    why is their economy shot, it would not be because of the US of A's screwing up of the economy for most of the world !!!!


    Good Ol US of A...

    We're talking about America here !!! lol

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Good old Linux, you cant give it away !!!!!!

    free is just too high a price to pay..

     

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      Ruben, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      Why would that be?

      Can you support your assertion there?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      Sorry to crash your party, but Linux is doing fine. Linux has already won in the mobile space with Android. Valve is coming to Linux. Some new consoles are already being built on Linux or Android.

      But carry on living on your little jail. I hear it is very beautiful, as long as you don't touch the electric fence.

       

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    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    At least pretend

    They should at least pretend to look at open source so Microsoft swoops in with some deeply discounted licenses.

     

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    Bob, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    ERDF Funding

    The key point to this story is the ERDF funding and the complexity of actually getting it. In general you spend some money and the EU gives you some matched funding - putting "free software" into this mix causes all sorts of problems.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

      Re: ERDF Funding

      ERDF funding is a disgrace and the system around it truely needs extreme amounts of reform before it is even acceptable. I do not even think free software is close to an issue in this case. Getting to the end of the rainbow where the pot filled with gold awaits is the journey. Actual programming skills is absolutely void in the process if your lawyers are good at cooperationg with the programmers.

      As far as I know it is not unusual that the cost of making a bid on a project is higher than the pay from the project itself. That they are not wondering why only up to 10 companies actually make bids on those kinds of projects is mindblowing.

       

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