Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spending Taxpayer Dollars

One of the things that amazes me about other Governmental agencies is the huge disconnect they seem to have in regards to where the money is coming from to pay for their computers and infrastructure. People are upset about their property taxes going up, and then go to their jobs and install licensed software without review, and purchase client/server applications and hardware which everyone knows has the highest total cost of ownership. It's shocking beyond your dreams how much money other agencies are spending unnecessarily.

In my almost 15 years of working for Largo, I have always developed plans and tried to implement ideas that find the right balance between functionality and being respectful to those people that are paying the bills, the taxpayers.

Under the watchful and thoughtful eye of myself and our staff, we received approval last night for our new thin client purchase which will be deployed to our entire City. Our current NCD Explora 451 terminals will be retired after a 10 year duty cycle and replaced with a quantity of 560, HP 5725 thin clients. Our price was around $625 each, including upgrade to 1GB memory, 2GB flash drive, optical mouse, PCI expansion slot and ATI video card. Every attempt was made to purchase devices to have the longest possible duty cycle and lowest possible TCO. Duty cycle should fall somewhere between 7 and 10 years. If they last 10 years, that's $62.50 per desktop per year for hardware. What would shorten the duty cycle closer to 7 years would be something coming in technology that we cannot even envision at this time. All of you know how quickly things change.

HP was very excited about our experimental work with 3D desktops to thin clients, and made the required changes to their Debian Linux build to support ATI video cards which can be added to the PCI expansion slot. All employees will have fast and stable devices that support 3D desktops, and 3D software and we can deploy to them software on any operating systems that are the best fit.

Thank you to everyone that has emailed me with your thoughts as they have helped during this R&D process. Also, thank you to everyone that has made software changes to allow your software to run better on thin clients and via remote display. The user experience is improving all the time, and hopefully the taxpayers are happy too.

PS: As of May 1st, our dress code changed and my 15 years of wearing a tie to work has ended. If I seem to have an extra happy kick to my step, you will know why. :)


Anonymous said...

Dave, I enjoy reading your blog, and dream of such a setup in our corporate environment. Such a dream includes smart cards for single signon / no passwords (just a PIN), ease of migrating (people switch desks alot) - just put your card in another machine and there is your X session. I applaud your years of work on putting open source programs to use in Government. Slowly, it seems, other agencies and states are following suit.
-Chris from Dallas TX

Anonymous said...


Can you point to some docs on Largo's
use of thin client technology? Except
for the early reports on NewsForge and
the like, I haven't found much recent
reporting on how Largo has gotten on
since those "early" years.

Tony K - Memorial U of Newfoundland