[LINK] RTA plans desktop open source
brd at austarmetro.com.au
Tue Feb 10 09:48:33 EST 2004
RTA plans desktop open source
FEBRUARY 10, 2004
THE NSW Roads and Traffic Authority is about to embark on what may be the
biggest roll-out of a desktop open source system in NSW.
The department is in the final stages of assessing a project that would
result in the Sun Microsystems open source StarOffice productivity suite
being deployed on the desktops of 1500 front-counter staff.
The pilot is expected to begin in the first half of this year.
An organisation-wide roll-out of an open-source-derived email system to
more of the organisation's 5500 desktops is possible.
As the RTA has traditionally been a Microsoft and Novell shop, the pilot is
likely to unsettle many IT vendors.
Most public sector and corporate Linux projects are Unix replacements, so
the emergence of a major desktop Linux project poses a real threat to
Microsoft's dominance of the desktop.
Telstra announced its Linux desktop project, Project Firefly, last year.
Chief information officer Jeff Smith said in September that the telco had
250 desktops in a pilot program running a combination of Linux, the Gnome
graphical user interface, the Mozilla browser and StarOffice.
When the trial is complete, the system is expected to roll out rapidly. Mr
Smith said at the time that he expected the proposals could result in a
total cost of ownership reduction of 40 per cent.
The RTA's proposed new mail and desktop system will give frontline staff
their first view of email and the department's intranet.
Currently, staff do not have access to these applications.
The RTA is experienced in open-source, having already piloted a number of
systems, including one from Oracle.
An RTA spokesman said the staged deployment of the messaging and desktop
system was contingent on achieving total cost of ownership benefits.
"This is expected to be resolved in the first half of 2004 and roll-out is
expected to follow," he said.
The pilot will last a couple of months at least.
The spokesman confirmed the product set would include open source and
commercially supported open standard software elements.
"The new systems will provide a level of interworking with existing systems
commensurate with business needs and will be targeted at user groups," the
The RTA's large-scale pilot coincides with NSW Commerce and IT Minister
John Della Bosca's comments that he would use policy rather than
legislation to create a "level playing field" for open source adoption in
the NSW government sector.
In any government tender process where an evaluation of an open source
versus proprietary solution produced roughly the same results, businesses
would be encouraged to go down the open source road, Mr Della Bosca said
Sun Microsystems has already taken advantage of the Government's desire for
open source, signing a four-year whole-of-government common-use contract in
The contract includes Sun's Java system and StarOffice productivity suite.
A Bus Station is where buses stop. A Train Station is where trains stop. On
my desk, there is a Work Station
-- Jojn Watte
brd at austarmetro.com.au
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