Story: Microsoft wins £500m NHS contractTotal Replies: 2
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Nov 03, 2004
10:26 AM EDT
could today get any worse?

9 years? where the hell does that number come from? this is insane

me thinks we should call November 3rd "unenlightenment day"


I come from and live in England. I am ashamed yet again over the the way the UK gov' conducts business. I read a news story recently that said that the Home Office was supporting the use of Open SOurce software. And many reports in the media said the NHS contract was a done deal with Sun. I refer you to the following stories: http://management.silicon.com/government/0,39024677,39123620... http://www.computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/hardware/desktop...

Then there was the "oh did we say xbillion? well it's gone up, now it's xxbillion" story and suddenly Bill's in there. Now, I've just been in hospital, came out today as it happens, and I can tell you that on the wards (in a major City Hospital) the computers are often OLD. Win95/early 98 standard hardware. There will be a significant hardware upgrade bill not included in the "mere" 500 Million MS are charging. This at a time when the Linux thin client solution is being proved (within a few miles of said hospital) to be hugely effective in reducing IT costs and more or less removing the need for the endless MS "you must have a faster computer to keep up with the new release" loop. THe LUG I attend had a talk by the IT head from this school, they were facing the prospect of not merely being unable to go with the next upgrade of Windows/Office but would have to sell their computers in order to try to pay the MS bill. (The standard MS contract with UK schools is "per Intel based machine" not "per copy of WIndows" - sneaky!) This school being a gramma school is outside of the mandatory MS licensing scheme so they decided to go with Linux. They use the LTSP solution and now only have 1 WIndows based server (for the MIS), every thing else is Linux. They have a few servers and a couple of hundred work stations , mostly diskless, and once the students got over the "why isn't it windows?" and realised that "but it wouldn't open on my pc at home" was not going to be a viable excuse for not doing homework, they accepted it, and some are now taking further interest. It works, it engages people in a learning experience, it broadens minds.

http://www.ogc.gov.uk/oss/Report-v8d.htm This is the government report where it reviews the "proof of concept" of switching to Open Source.

I would humbly suggest that if Linux and Open Source software is going to be effective in Public Sector/NGO's/Charity Sector that there HAS to be a radical rethink on what IT companies charge for support. Or, there has to be a reasonably priced (not £/$100's if not £/$1000's per day) training available that is recognised as a reliable standard. I

Nov 03, 2004
12:57 PM EDT
This is one reason I tire so easily seeing the same claims in multiple instances where Linux is just around the corner on this site. Some are so obviously shams that it is embarrassing to see them published even once! Most are seeking leverage to reduce the cost of the system they have all but decided to remain tied to. Yet again and again these lame stories are bandied about as if they had some real significance.

I prefer seeing real but albeit small numbers in actual cases where Linux has been installed. Too often the hints of movement towards open source are more a means of gaining visibility than any underlying reality.

Let me see the real. Promises are too easily made and forgotten. In some cases only to have those promises to be remade, e.g. SCO's threats and Sun/HP/Dell/IBM latest and greatest moves (excuse me if I left any out).

Nov 03, 2004
3:01 PM EDT
Well the dirty story becomes a bit clearer, i.e. open source used to save cash with MS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3979933.stm

This could get quite expensive when just about every renewer strongly considers Linux or other open source options. For example, here is a short quote from the artivle: The NHS has struck a discounted deal with computer giant Microsoft to renew its license for desktop products.

But it is more sticky than that and some parts are to MS' s long term interest, but it could greatly irate some ISV's that now work with MS.

Some choice quotes: "...NHS computer systems could cost as much as £31bn- five times the original estimate." Remember that? But: "...[MS] would be investing £40m to develop health specific software applications ..." and "... NHS will be able to use up to 900,000 licenses compared to the current 500,000, at no extra cost."

So this is a multifaceted deal with many by standers getting their throats slit. Moreover, there might be a deal where the software might have a NHS copyright that could give them a cut of world wide sales. Oh the greed aroused from the change falling from the skies just by convincing others to use your tested software on the trusted MS OS.

See there is more happening that first seemed apparent!

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