Monday, April 28, 2008

Support Your Local Governmental IT Staff

The IT services provided for Governmental workers is mostly "internal". This is especially true at a City level. When your taxpayer dollars are spent upgrading a park or adding a bike trail you see it and it has value. Mostly, IT dollars spent are barely seen by the taxpayers. So that's why I feel it's especially important to keep these costs to a minimum and use open source software as much as possible.

It's disheartening to see the number of people in the 23-40-ish age group that have been brainwashed all of these years that if you don't have a personal computer running MS Windows on your desktop that you being hindered. These people are so used to creating islands of data and being able to implement poor techniques that they get angered when their work flow is reviewed for movement to centralized servers. Even when we meet with people, they cannot give you exact things that have been hindered, it's more about how they feel instead of any logical conclusions. So almost weekly around here we seem to have uncomfortable meetings with people that are complaining. We spend more time having these meetings than it would take to learn a slightly different way of working. It seems the most vocal, usually have the lowest skills and just don't want to admit it. What's ironic is that in their mind, it's OK to have training classes to learn Office 2007 with its new interface, but not worth learning the differences in OpenOffice. Lately the question has been posed to these people: If we spend $500,000+ to install Office for year one, will you be able to produce work faster or reduce staff size? Of course no one can guarantee this is the case.

The point that I am making is that if you find out your local Government is using open source software, go to your commission meetings and make sure that you speak and show support for them. Tell your elected officials that you want files saved in file formats that will open without proprietary software. Tell them that purchases of these unneeded proprietary packages is taking money from your wallet and providing you with no improvement in quality of life. So many Goverment agencies have forgotten that we work for *you*!

8 comments:

Ethan Anderson said...

Gives a new meaning to The Microsoft Tax, doesn't it?

Dave Richards said...

Yes, it is. The reason I mention 23-40 is because those people over 40 remember the days of software choice. Where you would actually review software from various companies and then pick out the best one for your needs. You would kind of have a WordPerfect vs Office vs Lotus type thing going on and pick one. They also remember and have used centralized computers and it bothers them less. The under 23 crowd seems more in tune with what is new, and cool. They aren't so connected to a desktop and use cell phones and handhelds more. They also know more about open source, Openoffice and use web based applications.

DOUGman said...

Kinda off-topic but true nonetheless. At the office it was decided upon to upgrade everyone from Office 2003 to Office 2007, when I already showed them using OpenOffice would be a better choice when comparing license costs and training costs/time. Still to this day, people cannot figure out how to use Office 2007 fully and management wonders why. Also, people wonder how I can do my job using non-microsoft software on my Ubuntu desktop.

Joe Cipolla said...

As a resident of Largo and reader of your blog, I support your initiatives. I was surprised to find that architectures such as this were in my own back yard. I expected governments, especially at the city level, to be setup with MS Small Business or something similar. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Could not of said it any better.

From a neighborly
City employee.

Markus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Brim over I to but I dream the post should secure more info then it has.

Anonymous said...

Again a honesty a possessions post. Thanks your achates