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Microsoft Funded Study Cinches 10yr Deal 517

Genevish writes "According to an article in the Register, Microsoft and the Newham Council in London have signed an agreement making Microsoft the preferred vendor for the council, instead of the original hybrid MS / Open Source plan. The council was very careful in choosing Microsoft, having an independent study done and all. The only problem is that the study was, you guessed it, not independent at all but funded by Microsoft. Their decision even had the journalists at the press conference laughing."
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Microsoft Funded Study Cinches 10yr Deal

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  • Dang... (Score:5, Funny)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:23PM (#10002712) Homepage Journal
    article is up for 10 minutes and no posts? Everyone still laughing at their keyboards or what?
    • umm (Score:3, Funny)

      by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) *
      It still says this article is from The Mysterious Future.... I can reply to current threads, but not start one of my own....
    • Re:Dang... (Score:5, Funny)

      by calypso15 ( 767323 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:58PM (#10003179) Homepage
      article is up for 10 minutes and no posts? Everyone still laughing at their keyboards or what?

      Frothing at the mouth and convulsing is more likely. Good thing I'm so apathetic.
    • Re:Dang... (Score:5, Funny)

      by joeldg ( 518249 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:00PM (#10003200) Homepage
      I read it as "Microsoft funds independant study" and just about blew coffee all over my monitor.

      Coffee in through the nose is not good coffee.

    • I still can't, for the life of me, see how MS can say with a straight face that something that costs money is cheaper than something that doesn't cost anything?

      I'm not talking about home desktops which frankly they would be lying through their teeth if they actually tried to pull that one out saying they're cheaper. But I'm talking about large corporations with IT departments.

      IT wouldn't be spending yearly cash on service contracts and the like with open source, wouldn't they instead just HIRE their support? Hire IT pros that KNOW how to program and configure and support and fix the open source servers/databases? You pay for the IT people anyway, why pay in addition to that for service contracts?

      You have company X. They need a new server infrastructure. They hire the people that will build the system from the ground up with open source solutions. They don't buy any software, not even Redhat. They use open source, build the databases, the os, the web server etc etc. The only they they buy is the hardware to run it on.

      After they build it, you keep them as your IT department to maintain everything. No service contracts...not even to Redhat or SUSE or anyone. Now, how is that more expensive than the MS solution?

      I obviously am out of my league here and have no idea how any of this works, I'm just wondering. Can anyone set me straight here?
      • Begin it now. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by headkase ( 533448 )
        Reminds me of a poem reproduced here:

        Until one is committed, there is hesitancy.
        the chance to draw back,
        always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of
        initiative (and creation).
        There is one elemental truth,
        the ignornance of which kills countless ideas
        and splendid plans---
        that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
        then Providence moves all.
        All sorts of things occur to help one
        that would never otherwise have occurred.
        A whole stream of events issue from the decision,
        raising in one's favor all
      • by jhoffoss ( 73895 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:33PM (#10003580) Journal
        * A generic company's IT staff probably (maybe?) is not competent enough to support adequately a company-wide Open Source initiative.
        * Said staff is not going to support an Open Source intiative that will put them out of a job.
        * Company's generally like having third-party support contracts. That means it's someone else's fault, and they can sue said someone if they f*** up. At most, a company can only fire an individual employee if they make a config change that destroys a database, say.
        * What happens if an employee can't figure it out? One of these support contractors will either: not take a contract, or double their rates, if they're expected to come in, figure out what someone else hacked up, and solve that problem. This increases the overall cost because you just hired admins at 80g+ and helpdesk at 50g+, and then you have to pay out for a support contract anyway.

        The sad truth is there are so many mediocre admins/contractors/etc that get by with a "good enough" attitude, that it doesn't surprise me if some companys decide Win32 is cheaper.

        In the same breath, if a company does it right, trains their staff (or pays for their training), and has foresight enough to see through a project like an Open Source conversion, then they will come out on top, IMO. In addition, they will be much more nimble, technology-wise, because of their more advanced and competent IT staff.

        This is, of course, all pure speculation and opinion on my part, but this is /. so this is no surprise.

        • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar AT iglou DOT com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @04:02PM (#10005391)
          Company's generally like having third-party support contracts.

          AAAARGHH!!!! []
      • I still can't, for the life of me, see how MS can say with a straight face that something that costs money is cheaper than something that doesn't cost anything?

        It is pretty easy to say that when you look at the total cost of ownership (TCO). For software, expecially on a network, the price of the software is maybe 1/3 of the total cost to use it. Note the difference in words: price vs. cost. Price is how much money is spent to buy something. Cost is how much money is spent to use it. Part of the cost is t
        • by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:03PM (#10003960)

          Did all of these employees go to training classes on MS Office?

          Probably not.

          So saying that switching to OOo always requires training is a bit of FUD.

          • Re:Cost of Training? (Score:5, Informative)

            by silicon not in the v ( 669585 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @04:06PM (#10005450) Journal
            You know what? I would have thought OOo would be a no-brainer if it was all I heard it was cracked up to be because MS Office seems way too expensive. I hadn't used Open Office before, though, so I didn't really know first-hand how it was.

            Just recently, I installed OOo on one of our computers at home. My wife works with Excel every day at work--a lot of crunching numbers, auditing, complex formulas. I turned her loose on the spreadsheet app and watched as she ran it through a test. She put in some sample data and then entered a formula to do a VLOOKUP on some of the data. This is a basic formula she uses every day at work. OOo has a VLOOKUP function, but it just barfed and reported an error for the value in that cell. We looked up the parameters for that function in Open Office, and it did have one more parameter to enter, but we filled in that extra value and tried the thing several different ways and couldn't get it to report anything other than an error.

            Second story. A friend of ours had to use our computer to do some stuff with an Excel file (list of about 1,000 contacts--name, address, etc.) before merging into Publisher to print postcards to these people. He didn't need any formulas; just needed to sort the contacts--by zip code or by name or whatever. He ran the sort he wanted, and it seemed good, except as he was getting through the output, he found that it had barfed on even that. It had partially sorted the list, but a lot of it was still random and there were parts of the list that hadn't been sorted at all, so he had to go through manually sorting a bunch of them.

            So, from personal experience, if you are just going to look at static data in a spreadsheet and not do anything to it, OOo might be fine, but to...I don't know...actually USE it, OOo just doesn't work. Not something you can just teach people in a one-day training course. So how are companies supposed to switch to all open source applications when some won't even do the job needed? Maybe they could go with Linux and Crossover Office in this case, but keep a sense of reality people.

            I did get to use the word processing app, and that worked fine--didn't run into any weird problems there, but the spreadsheet app was garbage.

            I'm not trolling or flaming on this. I like open source and really wanted Open Office to work. I'll keep using open source programs where they are effective, but it has to pass that functional test.
      • I disagree with the parent post. Support contracts are very important for large enterprise customers. I have succeeded in putting in a largish server based network of Linux RedHat Enterprise in a UK government customer. I use a large organisation for support which can then back off to RH if needbe. It is very important in gov't project methodologies that individuals do not become a single point of failure in the system.

        Farming out support to an organisation that has varied skillsets with people in dif

  • Groklaw, a day late (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:24PM (#10002730)
    Here [], posted yesterday.

    I think the shark Slashdot jumped a while ago must have died and left its rotting, stinking carcass somewhere....

  • by absurdist ( 758409 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:24PM (#10002735)
    ...when the journalists have a better grasp of reality than the so-called leaders on the town council...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:25PM (#10002744)
    when munich goes through the paces for about a year or two. the TCO will no longer be theoretical for a large government body, but real.

    i have no vested interest in getting linux or microsoft onto desktops or servers, but all i've seen is microsoft spreading propaganda and other FUD about linux and open source.

    remind me again, how you save money going ms office instead of open office?

    every government has corruption and greased palms, this is just another example.
    • by blunte ( 183182 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:56PM (#10003137)
      MS's only hope at a valid argument for why MS Office is cheaper than OO is something like "well since we know you're already using MS Office, if you moved to OO you would save on the license, but you it would cost you $$$ in retraining your users."

      Of course that's based on the incorrect assumption that most users actually USE many of the features of MS Office. Most typical office drones could use Wordpad and never know the difference (between MS Office), except that Wordpad wouldn't do wacky automatic shit to them that they'd have to keep manually undoing.

      Even the MS argument, valid as it may be for their twisted scenario, would break down after one upgrade cycle. OO license savings + retraining cost might theoretically be > than MS Office license cost, but come next upgrade cycle, there will no longer be a retraining issue. So then it will simply be a question of Free versus $$.

      It all reminds me of the illogical (but hopeful) arguments a child will give for why they must have something, or why they must not do something. It's somewhat comical when it's a child, but it's really sad and embarassing when it's an "adult" corporation. Something about it reminds me of politics too...
      • by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:37PM (#10003631)

        Of course that's based on the incorrect assumption that most users actually USE many of the features of MS Office.

        But what about Clippy? Surely people can't do without Clippy!

      • by shadow_slicer ( 607649 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:02PM (#10003945)
        "Of course that's based on the incorrect assumption that most users actually USE many of the features of MS Office."

        Did you miss the part of the article where they mentioned the 100 custom office-based applications that they would need to port?
        • Did you miss the part of the article where they mentioned the 100 custom office-based applications that they would need to port?

          Whatever. Some ambitious intern wrote some VBA macros. I'm sure he'll be happy to port them to javascript or whatever OOo uses now for automation.

      • by ad0gg ( 594412 )
        Your assumption about not having to retrain is completely wrong. For the technical side of business, I hardly use office, hell on my home computer I don't even have office installed and just use notepad since its good enough to edit my resume. Maybe even use wordpad if I needed to add some text styling.

        I was like you and didn't realize people use all that built in crap until I saw a business dev guy creating a excel spreedsheet. He's memorized every hotkey, he doesn't even touch the mouse. I asked whe

    • by archen ( 447353 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:56PM (#10003155)
      Well maybe they want to waste money being a government body and all? You know what's really sad about this was a proposed Hybrid solution was rejected. You know, like Linux isn't perfect, and Microsoft isn't perfect, so you use whatever makes sense? Personally I like Linux, but don't advocate it's use in every situation. It just doesn't make sense on desktops in a lot of places, but does a good job on servers. Hell, just switching to Open Office would be a great start in most places to save ass loads of money.

      So I guess that's probably my issue with all of this. Each "study" takes the black and white approach. You do all Linux, or you do all MS... never seems to be much about stuff like running MS software off of a postgres database and the like.

      And I don't know if Munich will have a lower TCO or not. But they'll probably give less money to MS and spend more money on their own staff, so that's a win in it's own right.
    • Munich is migrating because of the 'openness' and unknown cost of having a Microsoft solution after 10 years. The initial cost of the Linux migration is much higher than upgrading to the offered Microsoft solution, to the extent that IBM has decided to partially subsidize it. Custom applications need to be ported and maintained, Linux engineers have to be found, staff have to be retrained, and no doubt IBM/Suse support contracts are not cheap either.

      No one knows what the long term cost will be, because not
    • Since Munich is getting their stuff through a distributor and probably don't want to have anything to support on their own, they are probably paying for the operating systems, software packages and any "extra" support plan.

      Organizations don't get the option of using something for free with NO VENDOR SUPPORT rather than paying a fee and getting a fully supported product.
    • by mpe ( 36238 )
      when munich goes through the paces for about a year or two. the TCO will no longer be theoretical for a large government body, but real.

      Assuming that Microsoft won't use every method it can to prevent this happening. The last thing they would want is any real data. Which would tend to show that TCO studies are academic exercised. Even if those carrying out the study do make an attempt to carry out a total cost of ownership study.
  • by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:25PM (#10002745)
    "Even the reporters were laughing" - that's not such a rare amazing feat, y'know. Reporters in these events are rude and boisterous. It's like a locker room. This is like saying "Even the hyenas were laughing".
  • by tekiegreg ( 674773 ) * <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:45PM (#10002971) Homepage Journal
    One final point to note is that Newham will be using Internet Explorer. Steel explained that this is because Microsoft is very serious about addressing security concerns

    As if I weren't chuckling a little throughout the article, I almost wet my pants on that line. Sure Microsoft is serious about addressing the security concerns, but there's JUST SO DAMN MANY!!! Finding all those security holes would be a computing task akin to solving RC-72 [] only difference is, in 300,000 days RC-72 will be solved and MS will probably STILL have security holes in whatever OS is running then.
    • "Microsoft is very serious about addressing security concerns"

      Just like everyone remember Microsoft about 2-3 years back saying they are now (then) becoming serious about security and it'll show very soon. Those 2-3 years have passed and what have changed? Not much.
    • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:12PM (#10003345) Journal
      It's not just that there are so many....

      Let me put it this way. I'm serious about my grades, but my GPA is a 2.89. whoops.

      The real reason they chose MS in regards to security, is that when something goes wrong, they can blame MS.
      You can't really blame an OS group since they didn't sell the thing to you.
      It's the blame game, and it's how govt works.
      • You can always blame Microsoft but the contracts you sign to do business with them allows them to abdicate all responsibility.

        Read the EULA. You can't sue them. If it makes your computer burst into flame instead of word processing you *still* can't sue them. If you can prove that they *intentionally* coded it that way, you still can't sue them except *maybe* on false advertising but even *then* the EULA has something to say on the matter and it sure as hell isn't in your favor.

        Just because the MS name is stamped on it does *not* mean you can sue them when something goes wrong. Users, companies and governments have fallen for this crock. You can't sue MS any more than you can sue "Open Source".

        Ultimately you have *no* guarantee that it works or that it will be fixed in a timely manner. The guarantee that Open Source gives you is that if it comes down to fixing it yourself or hiring someone to fix it, you're free to do so. With MS your *only* option is to hope and wait for your issue to become a priority for MS and there are no competitive bids to fix your problem.
    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:07PM (#10003999) Homepage
      Microsoft needs to spend less time addressing security concerns and more time addressing security.

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:47PM (#10003010) Journal
    Everyone remembers the (somewhat unfair) 2nd line of the stanza and forgets the extension, but I think it applies here, with no disrespect really intended to teachers...

    Those that can, do.
    Those that can't, teach.
    Those that can't teach, administrate.

    I think that sums it up...

  • by ClippyHater ( 638515 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:48PM (#10003014) Journal
    The unwashed masses had a glimpse of what life was like in the /. Subscriber's world. Whoooaaaah!
  • Here they are (Score:3, Informative)

    by stateofmind ( 756903 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:48PM (#10003021)
    Email them with the subject "Ha ha" :) []

  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:49PM (#10003031) Journal
    Microsoft not only are getting license fees, but consulting fees.

    Isn't this illegal? If this is classed as consultation I am sure that there is somethign to stop conflicts of interest.

    The guy responsible is Contact: Richard Steel, Head of ICT Tel 020 8430 4301 You can petition here sensibly.

    Details of the settlement from the minutes of the council: ?CommitteeId=294&CF=Cabinet&MeetingID=2149&DF=22/0 4/2004&Ver=4#AI2970

    From the Newham Council website (where you can oned_vehicle_form.jsp? report an abandoned car...). This guy should loose his job, and there should be a public investigation, as there is call for one in this instance, we are not talking peanuts here, millions of pounds that will be invested into systems that are inheretly costly and have huge running costs - not to mention the costs of viruses. Newham have had thier fair share of virus related incidents (news on website).

    (what happened to this stoy on /.?)
    • by mattypants ( 169026 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:12PM (#10003337)
      Decision: The Mayor in consultation with the Cabinet agreed:

      ... (iv) to agree to waive Standing Order 8 (requirements for all contracts over £25,000 to be subject to formal tendering) to enable the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Microsoft to be concluded despite the absence of any formal tendering for the reasons set out in the report;
      (viii) to note the information in the exempt report related to this item.
      So, it seems that MS bypassed the usual tendering process by means of their own funded report... and the council can't make public the findings of their experience.
  • This is too good.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:49PM (#10003036) Homepage
    On the risks of Open Source:

    Open source vendors are currently experiencing more vulnerabilities and receiving more security advisories than Microsoft

    Let me get this straight.... because OSS publishes and fixes their bugs, rather than MS' security through obsecurity (don't publish security advisories), OSS gets docked more points??!
    • by nologin ( 256407 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:17PM (#10003407) Homepage
      Hmm. If I remember correctly, a bug that was in a tool used in 9 Linux distributions (for example) was also counted as 9 vulnerabilities as opposed to just one.

      Take the numbers out of context and they really lose all of their meaning. Hence, the study comes to its conclusions with a lot more spin than relevant fact.

    • by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:38PM (#10003655)
      You also forgot MS' new strategy of lumping 2 or 4 or 40 security holes into one "vulnerability".

      Some OSS vendors do this too, but not to the same extent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:49PM (#10003040)
    Bring in a competing vendor and make your current partner aware of this to get a better deal. All these "studies" are just a smokescreen.
  • by liam193 ( 571414 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:50PM (#10003049)
    One final point to note is that Newham will be using Internet Explorer. Steel explained that this is because Microsoft is very serious about addressing security concerns. ®

    Where is the business sense? Very serious about addressing security concerns? You don't select a product to run your production apps based on someone being very serious. When it comes to security concerns, you select a product based on the product's track record with security.

    I don't care if you like MS products or not; the statement above is not gounds for any business decision. When will people learn to evaluate products correctly. If MS wins on security, then say they win on security. If they don't, don't say they are very serious about getting there. Tell them they haven't done a good enough job yet and they need to prove it first.

    • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:08PM (#10003295)

      Where is the business sense? Very serious about addressing security concerns? You don't select a product to run your production apps based on someone being very serious. When it comes to security concerns, you select a product based on the product's track record with security.

      CIOs unfortunately have no business sense, when it comes to evaluating when to use open vs. closed source.

      The problem is that a purchasing process that (presumably) makes sense when you are buying widgets or consumables breaks down when applied to software. If there is no vendor to make a pitch for it, (or if the vendors that do exist aren't huge money vacuums, beacuse they sell expertise instead of binaries) then it doesn't get considered properly.

      High level managers understand contracts, quantities, maintenance contracts. They don't understand software. But they make the decisions.

  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:52PM (#10003076)
    The council has an independent consultant suggest mixing OSS and commercial. Microsoft comes up with it's "study" showing the cost/security "advantages" of sticking with Microsoft. The council then goes into high-level, high-pressure negotiations and comes out with a great deal (except for the fact they are so going to be 0wned, big time).

    They've set the new template for Microsoft negotiations. Of course, if they actually cared about the community they supposedly represent, they'd have actually followed through with the initial suggestion. But that's asking way too much.

    • Of course, the original "independent" consultant specialized in OSS setups.

      Sounds to me like two villains each presented their best shot, and Newham decided which one to go with.
      • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:30PM (#10003551)
        explicitly for trials of OSS. And in the end, they suggested a mix of OSS and proprietary software. They just pointed out the elements that would be more secure, effective and cost-efficient as OSS. Hardly villainous behavior.

        The Microsoft-funded analysts on the other hand found any use of non-Microsoft software would be both insecure and expensive. They even suggested IE as the browser of choice "because Microsoft is very serious about addressing security concerns". In a world where "Internet Explorer" and security are intrinsically oppositional terms, that is clearly villainous behavior.

  • by MikeMacK ( 788889 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:52PM (#10003084)
    Can we all mod down the Newham Council for trolling?
  • by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:53PM (#10003085)
    All the way to the bank.
  • by rumblin'rabbit ( 711865 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:54PM (#10003106) Journal
    Even when open source is not chosen, it's having an effect. This article clearly shows how open source is lowering costs for customers, and driving Microsoft to make important improvements.

    Poor Microsoft. They've never really been exposed to competitve pressures before.

  • by i_r_sensitive ( 697893 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:54PM (#10003107)
    1) Lies

    2) Damned Lies

    3) Microsoft Funded TCO studies

  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:55PM (#10003123)
    Apparently it was this last statement where Microsoft said it was a better choice over open source because it was cheaper and more secure that caused the crowd of journalists to suddenly laugh out loud.
  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:56PM (#10003150)
    Maybe the bad press of the incident combined with the ever-growing list of XP SP2 application breakage will cause Newham to rethink their agreement.

    You know, the funny thing is that if they had gone with Linux (RH, Suse/Novell, etc) they'd get a new, updated OS every 2 to 3 years if they wanted it. With the 10 year MS deal, they'll get Longhorn (maybe), but nothing else most likely. So at the end of the deal, they'll be like all those NT4 users were a few months back. Sad...
  • by johnhennessy ( 94737 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:56PM (#10003154)

    Microsoft must really be begining to feel the heat if they are starting to push for 10 year contracts. I'll concede that a sense of permanance is good in IT (and especially local authority), but 10 years (in any industry) is a very, very, very long time to be betting on one horse.

    Just look back at 1994 and see what has changed sense - and what hasn't changed. All the world has changed, except for Microsoft.

    I just hope that Newham Council survuve this contract. Repeat after me: Microsoft doesn't scale. There is (believe it or not) a reason why it appears cheaper than all that nice Peoplesoft/Oracle/IBM - its not as good.
  • by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:58PM (#10003175) Homepage
    From the article, Netproject's Eddie Bleasdale says his consultancy was used as a negotiating tool to get a better deal out of Microsoft. He argues that the council never really intended to deploy an open source solution at all - because it doesn't have the expertise to do so. This wouldn't be the first time. How many times have we seen governments and large corporations fake the move to OSS only to get a better deal from MS?
    • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:10PM (#10003324) Homepage Journal
      True. But that's a great thing. It shows that Linux is reintroducing competition into the IT marketspace. Once more governments catch on, they'll all be running Linux pilots in the hope of forcing Microsoft to drop their prices. If anything it will hurt Microsofts bottom line, and some are bound to decide to jump ship anyway.

      Someone posted in some other forum on this very issue that this is also great for another reason: It proves to everyone looking that Linux is a serious contended worth considering - why else would Microsoft see a need to fund an "independent" study AND massively drop their prices to prevent a move?

      So see this as free marketing: Microsoft is telling the world that Linux is good enough for large government deployments.

  • Taxpayer Dollars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:00PM (#10003197) Homepage Journal

    If I were a British taxpayer (yes I know the term is redundant), I'd have to think that either:

    1. Newham knowingly allowed a sales pitch to be used as if it were logical unbiased analysis (in which case they're idiots)
    2. they didn't know (in which case they're idiots)
    3. they did know but didn't care (in which case they're not good stewards of the public's money)
    4. they found out and but didn't demand a greater discount from MS (in which case they're not good stewards of the public's money).
    Anyway, I hope other public entities take the proper opportunity to be more aggressive with Microsoft in negotiating lower prices given the new competitive landscape afforded by open source solutions.
  • Security (Score:5, Interesting)

    by I_am_Rambi ( 536614 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:01PM (#10003214) Homepage
    One final point to note is that Newham will be using Internet Explorer. Steel explained that this is because Microsoft is very serious about addressing security concerns.

    Aren't alot of the security concerns because of IE. That had me laughing. Firefox 5 secuirty issues vs IE 1459879683 security issues and still counting for IE.
  • A factor... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HogGeek ( 456673 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:03PM (#10003233)
    I belive is TCO studies include the cost of administrators, Correct me if I'm wrong...

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic, but from my experience a mediocre UN*X/Linux administrator draws a higher salary than a "expert" Windows administrator. But on the other hand a good UN*X/Linux administrator can do "more", in less time, than the MS Administrators I know...
    • Re:A factor... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) *
      Exactly. Find me a UN*X-guy wh's willing to walk to each machine in an organization, they can all do what they have to from their desks. And while Windows admins struggle with .BATs and registry files to automate administration, the UN*X guy has phat shell scripts that can do much more.

      The problem I always see with Windows organizations is that they have to make a million compromises to make certain legacy apps work, usually negating most features of their 'advanced' OS. You see places using FAT32 on their
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:03PM (#10003234)
    The only problem is that the study was, you guessed it, not independent at all but funded by Microsoft.

    No one claimed it was independent. There were actually two studies: one by an avowed open source advocacy consulting firm (which was hoping to score a consulting gig charging Newham for 'coverting' to open source) and one by CapGemini, which was indeed openly commissioned by Microsoft.

    I'd suggest both studies might have had an ax to grind, making the reality a lot more mundane than the tin-foil-hat-wearing slashdotters would want to acknowledge.
  • 10 year deal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Westech ( 710854 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:05PM (#10003256) Journal
    I can't understand why anyone would enter into a 10 year deal for anything software related. Things just change way too fast in this industry. 10 years ago Netscape and Lycos were dominating the net, Windows 3.1 was the latest and greatest os, and open source wasn't even on the radar. Who knows where we'll be 10 years from now.
  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:09PM (#10003316) Homepage

    Newham is traditionally one of the UK's 'loony left' local govts -- marxist/socialists who have little knowledge of or interest in government, but a lot of greed and a lot of the kind of ideals and emotions people normally grow out of at age 15. Honestly, if you haven't witnessed UK politics, you really can't imagine it.

    It's interesting how the ones with the biggest fanciest and even most seriously-held ideals are often the most corrupt in their actual manner of business... that goes for a lot more than just UK borough councils.

  • by Aceto3for5 ( 806224 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:11PM (#10003333)
    The british are a very polite and refined people, who dont like to make a fuss over things. At the board meeting to decide the proper software to use, the chairman, noting the lack of natural light, said "Gentleman what the council needs is to install windows in here". Of course the overzealous microsoft representative leaped up, shook hands with him and went off to tell the master of his victory. The proper and refined council, not wanting to be rude, just decided to let it slide.
  • by kwashiorkor ( 105138 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:13PM (#10003354)
    Microsoft and the Newham Council have signed a ten year agreement - worth at least - making Microsoft the council's software provider of choice.

    If that's only £5m over the 10 year span, then whoopity freaking do. Then they probably only have a handful of file servers and maybe 300 workstations to support.

    This smells like a "the sky is falling" bs hype story to me.

    If it's £5m/year for 10 years, then it really is a big deal and I'd be very confused by the decision as well. (Well, not really. Graft graft graft)
  • TCO TCSMOW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:29PM (#10003542)
    The problem with TCO and Operating Systems is that your are not comparing Apples to Apples, I can easilly Justify that Windows is more expensive then Linux and I can Justify that Linux is more expensive then windows. All I have to do is adjust the implementation around. So if there is a 1000 person company w. 20 or 30 systems per branch then put 1 Administrator at each branch and install software on each PC with different software for every person. Then usually Windows will have lower TCO because the cost for administration will be less for windows vs. linux because a Windows administrator is a dime a dozen, and any problem with windows will get fixed quite quickly with the administrator who is already on salary. But if you take a master application server(s) and install all your application on the servers then have each person use a thin client or a low end pc configured as a thin client. And have 1 or 2 Administrators for the software and a couple of service companies that are in the areas of the branches to repair hardware (which should fail less often because you are not overusing the processor and harddrives), now in this case Linux is the winner here because most GUI applications are X based and and be displayed remotely over SSH and the application servers can be administrated by 1 or 2 people, W linux you dont get killed by license fees for every user allowing growth to be more affordable.
  • I live in the borough next to Newham. Just to give a sense of scale I can walk to Newham in 10 minutes. And you can cross it by tube in less time. Although driving across it can take over an hour.

    I also work 50% of the time in Newham.

    It is mainly crumbling Victorian buildings with streets barely wide enoungh to drive the essential service vehicles (ambulances, refuse trucks, etc) let alone cars, busses and delivery vehicles.

    It is also one of the key boroughs in Londons 2012 Olympic bid.

    Now rather than spending money on IT why aren't they investing further in the things that the residents need. Repairing the schools, hospitals, policing.

    You have to assume that this funding is from central government as the local council taxes wouldn't provide for this and would hopefully see a revolt amongst voters come the local elections (if they ever found out about it). Given it is such a poor and deprived area an OSS it project for the region would have been a superb idea possibly even run as a charity and gaining tax free status.

    Hopefully the government audit office will investigate deal as smacks of improprietry.

  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:55PM (#10003873) Journal
    Basically how it worked is that the study concluded that Linux cant do that neat thing where you flip the tablet screen around and the screen rotates because no-one could find/install the software for it. Then they thought about some of the servers/database type things but microsoft said they would give them 30% off if they didnt use any open source software. 5 million quid later and all the social workers are happily playing solitare on their new tablets and saying "yeah im sorry we cant really help you we dont have the budget."

  • Won de fucking ful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:24PM (#10004216) Journal
    So hundreds of OAPs can't aford to pay their council tax because it's so high they can't live if they do. Then a council pulls this bullshit?

    I'm sorry but this is out of order. Microsoft is no longer just hurting the software market, it's helping old ladies freeze to death or become seriously ill.

    If you're going to bullshit and scam someone go after the stupid, not the people who will have to pass this onto the old ladies who can't help but be in this situation..

    I'm going to be writing to the council and to my local council and just point out how pissed off this makes me.

    Guess we need a new title for Bill "I kill old ladies" Gates now huh.. /Me waits for this to get modded down by MS fanboy without a clue of the current problems with OAPs and council tax
  • by mormop ( 415983 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @03:03PM (#10004660)
    Write to the OGC and /or your MP and state (in a sane, rational and well argued way) your reasons for disagreeing with Newhams decision. Newham is required not to obtain the lowest price but the best value which is not always the same thing.

    You may feel like saying that anyone who signs a 10 year contract in as volatile a sector as IT is an arsehole and I would whole heartedly agree but there are many other reasons why this arrangement stinks, e.g. depriving the public sector of a valuable study that could provide real long term savings, providing an open standards based infrastructure that could be integrated with any future system specced by the EU etc. so go for it guys and girls, get creative!

    I will be starting tonight and unless the brain death victim that signed on the line can prove otherwise it'll be harder to support these sort of actions in future contract negotiations.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle