JDS may help Brits stay healthier, cheaper

Richard Granger, the director general IT for the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) was complaining barely over a week ago about a company that he referred to delicately as a "west coast software company. . .who makes spreadsheet software."

His complaint? That for a purchase of 800,000 licenses such as he was discussing, the "west coast software company" wasn't willing to offer the NHS more than "just a few percentage points discount." For an organization with one million employees, Granger figured the NHS would get a better deal than that.

Now, at a Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group event this week, Granger will be announcing that the NHS is due to begin trials of the Java Desktop System (JDS). His hope? That it will drive cost out of the NHS and thus allow more funds to be directed toward the frontline health service.

The British taxpayer could save millions of pounds thanks to the JDS' combo of SuSE Linux AG, a browser, StarOffice, and Ximian Inc.'s GNOME.

"Our evaluation of the Java Desktop System holds the promise of allowing a greater share of NHS funding to flow directly towards improved levels of Patient Service," said Granger in a statement. "If this solution were to prove effective we could save the NHS and the Taxpayer many millions of pounds whilst at the same time using rich and innovative software technology."

"The cost of software is going to become several orders of magnitude lower than it is now," he continued. Adding, in a reference that again sounds like it was aimed at Redmond: "I don't value the IP in the same way they do."

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