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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Cheats!

From: Ian Lynch
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Cheats!
Date: Sat, 04 Feb 2006 00:50:51 +0000

On Fri, 2006-02-03 at 20:42 +0000, David M wrote:
> <delurk>
> On Mon, 2006-01-30 at 19:58 +0000, Ian Lynch wrote:
> > In the case of the NHS, they pay more to MS for 3 years licenses than 
> > it cost to buy Star Division and do all the subsequent development on 
> > OpenOffice.org. If the customers are big enough to exert that much 
> > muscle, its pretty certain that the amounts they are paying in license 
> > fees would pay for any development work needed to fix any problem. 
> Interesting thought, I'd never thought of it that way..
> Do you have a source for the NHS license figures?

Not sure of the current figure but there was a big publicity thing two
or three years back about the NHS "saving" masses for the taxpayer by
getting MS to do a bulk license agreement for £70m. I complained to the
National Audit Office because the deal was never tendered. The excuse
was that it was an extension to existing licenses but technically that
isn't true because the licenses bought on an individual basis that this
deal was consolidating have different end-user terms to the Enterprise
agreement. But who has millions to take it to court? Both MS and the
government put a positive spin on this to say how wonderful they both
are ;-)

Try goggling NHS Microsoft and licenses and see what comes up. My point
was that even if the licenses are discounted to £70m, its still far more
expensive than spending £70m on developing existing OS products. And
education, defence, social security etc all benefit.

> It's maybe a bit of an apples/oranges comparison, but it could be a
> useful figure to have around?
> Heck, if the NHS is really spending that much on software, it almost
> begs the question as to why they don't set up their own (arms-length, if
> need be) software development division, costing less overall (possibly
> providing future sales potential), and soaking up large numbers of
> underemployed IT professionals in the meantime?

Or simply put out bounties to the open source community to develop what
they want developed. It would stimulate employment and small business
growth in this country so there would be another spin off - the
government would get close to that investment back in tax.

> Now, I wonder what free OS they could base their systems around, I think
> the German Government has an idea or two about that..?

I don't blame them for not immediately switching, I do blame them for
not planning such a switch. Even if they didn't actually do it, MS would
be frantic to keep the business and reduce the prices much further. So
its a no-brainer. In fact the goverments own guidelines on obtaining
best value imply they have an obligation to adopt such strategies.

Ian Lynch <address@hidden>

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