Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Our politicians are charged with a heavy responsibility -- spend as little
of the taxpayers money as possible to the greatest effect.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Now, when it comes to IT and the Internet, we all know how easy it is to
make a wrong decision and blow large wads of money on something that either
doesn't do the job or traps you into a vicious and expensive upgrade cycle.
So would it make sense to listen to the cries of those who suggest that
the nation's government ought to be steering away from Microsoft products
and into the world of open-source software?
At first glance it seems hard to deny that the suggestion has merit.
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After all, Microsoft can't even spell Net (they keep putting a full-stop
at the start of the word) and their security record is nothing short of
Then there's the issue of price -- as we've seen in recent months, MS are
really putting the fiscal squeeze on customers by changing their licensing
policies for large buyers.
Just how much is the government giving to Microsoft for the privilege of
using its software -- and how much more is it spending on IT staff who must
be working 18 hours a day just applying security patches of late?
Surely switching to open-source would save the taxpayer a small fortune,
increase the security of our politician's data, and provide that warm fuzzy
feeling that giving a monopoly the one-finger salute tends to offer.
Unfortunately it's often not that simple.
There's a little thing called TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) which sometimes
drags a gray curtain over the golden shimmer of free software.
Believe it or not, it's quite possible that using open-source software might
actually cost more than using Microsoft's shonky wares, even with all its
What I want to know is -- has the government done (or does it plan to,) a
cost/benefit analysis to establish whether open-source software is a viable
option? And if not, why not?
It's our money and it's about time the government proved that it's using it
responsibly by providing the proof that its decision to stick with Microsoft
is the right one.
There is an open letter to Paul Swain on
this site which (as of
this morning) carries 85 names and which asks the government to investigate
the open-source option. If you support this move -- go check it out.
So now we have .info top level domains (TLDs) -- did you notice?
There's hardly been a hiss and a roar involved with the launch of sites carrying
this new TLD has there?
I tried a few of the .info names that I thought might have been snapped up and put
to immediate use -- but nothing. Nobody home at
doesn't seem ready for the big-time.
One of the few .info sites I've found that point back to New Zealand is
There appear to be a lot of local sites that haven't registered their .info
equivalent. Included in the list of those without a .info are:
NZHerald, NZoom, SearchNZ.
Xtra.info has already been allocated to a trademark holder from Germany
and, strangely enough, NewZealand.info has gone to a Hazim Jameel (no website
yet though) from Sheffield who claims to have a trademark granted on 2040-01-02
Danny de Hek will be pleased to learn that NewZealandNZ.info is still
available though :-)
You can check to see if your favourite .info domain name has been allocated
by using this page.
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Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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