Not much govt interest in Linux site

The IT manager of a potential reference site for Linux in the public sector, Rob Herries, of Housing New Zealand, says the organisation "doesn't get asked very much" about Linux and the open-source approach by other government agencies.

The IT manager of a potential reference site for Linux in the public sector, Rob Herries (pictured), of Housing New Zealand, says the organisation “doesn’t get asked very much” about Linux and the open-source approach by other government agencies.

His comments follow e-government unit chief Brendan Boyle and Deidre Butler, convenor of Govis, the government information managers’ forum, last week reporting no clamour for open source information, in contrast to a demand for such information in Australia.

Herries ascribes the low level of interest to a focus among government agencies on front-end applications and tools “like web portals”, rather than on infrastructural elements like the operating system. “To me that [software infrastructure] is critical,” he says.

Housing has been a partial Linux user since 1998, and its IT department is putting a case before management to convert the rest of its applications currently on Hewlett-Packard’s Unix variant HP-UX, to Red Hat Linux. This will take it out of vulnerability to “proprietary” software and bring reduced cost, Herries says.

He cautions, however, that even some Linux distributors and application vendors are becoming more commercially minded. Red Hat has produced an “advanced server” version of its operating system, carrying an annual support charge, and Oracle is certifying some of its most important applications, such as the 9i database system, only to work with the advanced server version and not other versions of Red Hat.

  • More of Housing NZ and others’ views on Linux and open source in Computerworld's leading-edge technologies feature next week.

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