Gates pushes hometown to Linux

It's ironic that in his zeal to equip his new $US53 million home with the latest and greatest technology Microsoft mogul Bill Gates drove his hometown into the arms of another operating system. The official paperwork filed with the city clerk in Medina, Washington, (pop. 3,082) concerning the Gates homestead - 40,000 pages of it - had the city's filing cabinets bursting at the seams. Medina solved the problem with a Linux-based document management system that cost 10% of the equivalent Windows NT solution.

It's ironic that in his zeal to equip his new $US53 million home with the latest and greatest technology - not to mention every modern convenience known to man, woman and child - Microsoft mogul Bill Gates drove his hometown into the arms of another operating system.

The official paperwork filed with the city clerk in Medina, Washington, (pop. 3,082) concerning the Gates homestead had the city's file cabinets bursting at the seams. Of the 10 file cabinets housed in the old ferry terminal-turned-town hall set on the shores of Lake Washington, four were completely filled with upward of 40,000 pages of building permits, blueprints and change work orders all pertaining to the Gates estate.

Factoring in future growth and recognising that they physically had no more room for storing municipal paperwork, the town fathers had to decide on whether to spring for a new town hall or a document management system. The latter being the more prudent choice, the town looked into NT document management systems that might fit in nicely with the town's Microsoft LAN. But what the town came up with was a product that runs on Caldera's version of Linux. This product rang in at less than 10% of the price of its NT counterparts, says Ray Jones, president of Archive Retrieval, a Kirkland, Washington, systems integrator. Archive Retrieval last month built and installed the city's new document management system, called The Archive.

"When I asked the guys at town hall if they minded that the idle screen would display a big Caldera logo, they told me I could point it toward the window so everybody walking by could see it," Jones says.

Sorry, Bill. No hometown advantage here.

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