Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
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
If you're in the Internet or IT industries this is bad news.
Check Out The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project
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?
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
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
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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