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Every Cloud... 10 October 2002 Edition
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It looks as if we're still suffering the fallout of the "Tech Wreck" of 2000, with a new five-year low being registered almost every second day on the US stockmarket.

While some of this can be attributed to uncertainty over a potential war between the USA and Iraq, most of it is simply the legacy of too many people believing too much hype and spending too much "virtual money" during the period when Yahoo shares were worth more than their weight in gold.

If you're in the Internet or IT industries this is bad news.

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One of the easiest places for a company to cut costs in the short-term is in its IT department.

It's pretty easy to defer replacement of those aging PCs for another year or two and, given the risks associated with large software projects, it's often prudent to "play safe" when future revenues are uncertain.

So what's an IT worker or company to do when faced with what appears to be a rather bleak outlook?

Readers Say
(updated irregularly)
  • Linux in Business... - Peter
  • OSS Support... - Peter
  • newzealand.biz... - Patrick
  • Answers to Linux Questions... - Peter H
  • disagree with your comments... - Nathan
  • Linux Vs XP hardware... - David
  • Windows XP recommended... - Stan
  • Have Your Say

    Maybe it's a good time to brush up on your Linux skills? After all, if companies are going to start slashing their IT budget, maybe they'll be looking closely at the costs associated with using Microsoft's products and its draconian licensing terms.

    I suspect that any company capable of forging a position in the market as the leading purveyor of Open Source Systems (OSS) and providing the software, the installation, the training and the support, will do very well over the next 3-5 years.

    Switching from Windows to Linux will mean that many of those scheduled hardware upgrades can be deferred. Unlike Windows XP, Linux doesn't need acres of RAM, a mega-meaty CPU and a hard-drive the size of a small country.

    There are growing number of surveys and reports around which indicate that the total cost of ownership for Linux and OSS is as low as 50% that of a Microsoft-based system. Those figures are appealing when you know that revenues will be static or shrinking but shareholders will still be demanding increased profits and returns.

    Unfortunately, the jump to OSS still requires more than a dash of bravery from IT management.

    And just where does the manager of a medium to large company turn if they want to replace all their Microsoft systems with OSS in a reasonable timeframe?

    Who's going to provide the 24/7 on-site support they currently get for their MS software?

    Who's prepared to stand up and take the blame when problems occur?

    Who can be sued when promises are broken and expectations are not met?

    What third-party technical training resources are available to bring a company's own IT staff up to speed with OSS tools and systems?

    They say that many a fortune is made during a recession/depression. I wonder if there's a really strong opportunity looming here?

    I received a lot of feedback on yesterday's story regarding the NZ Government's wresting of NewZealand.biz from its otherwise legal owner.

    For some reason, all of it was marked "not for publication." My goodness, has it really got so bad that even Aardvark's readers are afraid to speak out publicly against the excesses of government?

    And if the government is simply acting to protect the image of NZ, why hasn't it seen fit to go after Aotearoa.biz -- or are they just paying lip-service to The Treaty?

    If you want to have your say on the contents of today's column then please do so. Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the readers' comments section.

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    Security Alerts
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    Flaw in Word can allow file theft (TheAge - 13/09/2002)

    File-name flaw threatens PGP users (ZDNet - 06/09/2002)

    Microsoft reveals security hole (NewsFactor - 02/09/2002)

    Microsoft plugs critical Office holes
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    Virus pursues your credit card details (ZDNet - 02/10/2002)

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