Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 17 April 2002
Note: the comments below are the unabridged
submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.
From: Philip S For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: New computer WITH win 2k - $3000...wheres the rest go? Ok, looking at computer prices if you walked into a shop and bought a pc then you can easily get a new pc for $3000 with windows 2000, considering what would be needed I do not think you would need to buy the fastest pc's they have there, or do the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry reguarly spend their time using 3d studio max and playing high end computer games? One would think that if they have been able to be running fine on windows 3.1 that their computers would have only been low end pentiums or 486's. Bottom of the line that you can buy at the moment would be 800/900Mhz if you can find it. I see one retail store is selling 1.3Ghz Celeron, 128meg ram, 40gig hdd, 15" monitor, cd writer, etc etc for a little over $1800. Add on another 128meg ram for windows 2k to run smoothly perhaps, a copy of windows 2000, copy of microsoft office...now since they are buying in bulk they can get this cheaper, so $1000 for that (I know for a fact I can buy that myself for a bit under a grand). So that brings the computer up to $2800, now they are buying in bulk remember so that should hopefully bring the cost of the pc's down to lets just use a round figure of $2500. Thats a computer faster than probably needed might I add. So say there's 1000 they need to buy, using round figures, then thats $2,500,000. Ok now where is that other $7,500,000? That is a hell of a lot of money to pay for computers to be set up in my opinion. Or have they bought a Cray super computer for a server to use a couple of million on? I recon I could sell faster computers, cheaper price, and then with a bunch of computer friends charge $2,500,000 for it to be set up totalling around half the price they have said. Its a shame I didn't get the job, cause then I'd be buying a new Porsche instead of $2.5k 10yr+ Prelude next week :) From: Peter For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Foreign Affairs to OSS I agree - moving to Open Source like Linux would be a smart move. Although the software is low / no cost, there is still lots of cost installing / administering the systems. But the key thing is - this money is spent in NZ and on NZ IT people, maintaining and enhancing our local expertise. If our government won't support local service providers, who will? Peter (and no, I don't work in IT.) From: Paul Warner For : Right Of Reply (for publication) Subj: Replacement PCs The worst thing about this story is that local PC vendors have once again beem locked out Govt department and the money goes to Compaq/HP most likely the Govt departments will be the expensive dumping ground for old products that Compaq can't sell in the 1st world From: Oliver Bassett For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Is $11,000 For A New PC Excessive? I agree with a lot of the points you make and think an Open Source Solution would be cheaper alternative initially, however support costs would be higher as would training costs. The average Open Source system even with training is more difficult to operate than a Windows System. The vendors are improving their systems but there is still a reasonable way to go. Now in regards to the costs, I believe from reading the article on stuff that this includes other costs as well, e.g. Telecommunications between all the embassies around the world, Database Licensing Costs, the costs in hiring a Database Consultant to create the backend for this database of kiwi's and also Software developers for the front end. On top of this there could and probably are lots of other things that just aren't mentioned in the Stuff article that this money is being spent on. This is a full IT Infrastructure Upgrade not just a desktop PC upgrade. This needs to be taken into account when you are things about where $10,000,000 dollars is being spent. I do work in IT and feel that it is unfair/unrealistic to just suggest that the money is being spent on solely the Desktop PC's and the Training surrounding them. Regards Oliver Bassett From: Camryn Brown For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: $11,000 $11,000 per PC sounds even less reasonable when you should consider economies of scale. Surely a 900 PC order should give enough clout to warrant a decent discount. Anyway, why buy when you can rent? Most large organisations don't own their PCs - just transfer the expense and risk to someone else via rental From: Geoff McCaughan For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: $11k PCs I agree that they should be using Open Source software, and as for the person who said this sort of software is "hard to use" - I say rubbish. Any kind of software is "hard to use" until you're used to it, and an unfamiliar person trying to get Windows to do what they want will find the system "hard to use", and the same is true with every other system. As to hardware costs, it's really not realistic to try to work out a cost per PC in a project like this. As you say there will be networking, installation and software costs, plus big expensive servers, printers and whatnot. Another aspect that hasn't been considered, given the secure nature of at least some of this installation, is that some of the hardware may be Tempest rated hugh security systems which bumps up the price a lot. If that's the case, then even more reason why they should avoid M$ software. From: Andrew For : Right Of Reply (for publication) Subj: is $11k too much for a PC? get a mac? Please note that the network will be the first non-security department to use the CCIP standards of 168 bit triple DES encrypted email. Therefore, any useful information is classified SENSITIVE. As this is a broken standard, these messages can be decoded within an hour on the Echelon network. Your typical Borg PC could decypher the message within 2 days. For $11k, you could get 2 iMacs with microsoft monopoly office and highly secure eliptical encryption built into the OS. Why bother with a single PC that's slower and more expensive to support? From: Chris For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Re: Is $11,000 For A New PC Excessive? Firstly, i dont think your calculations are correct. I dont think $11,000 per PC would be the figure. This 10 million is likely to include all the supporting hardware to go with the refit i.e. servers, network gear, support contracts etc... Secondly, Linux! I see your arguement for retraining ... but you miss the point that a lot of the staff will be running Windows 2000, at the very least, at home and probably already know how to use it. It is a given that some will not however. Support of linux desktops is significantly higher than windows, you cant get IE for linux (something some would argue is not a bad thing ... but i prefer to use a browser that works and that everyone codes for) and last but not least you dont have a huge company with mountians of resources to fix a major problem that occurs if and when it does. I would hate to see a security issue turn up in my open source linux installation and then have to rely on some back yard nerds to 'get around' to fixing it. Anway ... i dont think the $11,000 cost per pc is correct. From: John For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Open Source I work in IT and have done so for years, The problem with open source as i see it is that there is a serious lacking of people that are able to fix problems properly. specifically i am talking about linux there are platforms that are well supportedother than windows, I tend to lean toward windows in a majority of the many aspects of computing, because of the fact that you know that you have support for the product (even if it does cost you). There are alot of 'cowboys' when it comes to supporting open source software, the problem as i see it is that there is not one central administration company. there needs to be a central control not just any man and his dog that can write a bit of software and it gets added to a distro, which will add to the instability. From: Elizabeth Beaufort For : Right Of Reply (for publication) Subj: $11,000 PCs Comment on your web site incorrectly says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade is spending almost $10 million on new PCs at a cost of $11,000 per PC. The project referred to is in fact an upgrade of the Ministry's systems from Windows 3.11 to Windows 2000 and the rollout at the Ministry in Wellington and our 48 posts around the world. The upgrade or replacement of PCs is funded under our regular replacement cycle. The $9.8 million project covers:Hit Reload For Latest Comments
The Ministry's IT systems are old and technical support for them is no longer available. This upgrade is essential to reduce the risks associated with using old technology and enable us to participate in e-government initiatives, communicate effectively with others and develop new tools to allow the Ministry to work smarter.
- upgrading of core systems (MS Office suite and Windows Operating System and replacement of servers in Wellington and at 48 overseas sites)
- upgrading of the document management system.
- porting of the financial management system to the new environment
- upgrade and/or migration of several databases and non- core applications to W2K compatible versions
- rollout of the new standardised contacts database
- installation at all sites
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