[Scottish] Help - Need some good arguments

Colin McKinnon colin.mckinnon at ntlworld.com
Mon Feb 9 22:24:08 GMT 2004

On Monday 09 February 2004 13:01, Paxton, Darren wrote:
> What about also demonstrating compatibility with MS systems, potentially
> things like OpenOffice and the like. I know this is a big sticking point of
> a lot of organisations considering a switch.
> From: Huard, Elise - D C&W Consultant
> [mailto:Elise.Huard at sbs.siemens.co.uk]
> Sent: 09 February 2004 12:47
> To: 'SLUG-list'
> Subject: RE: [Scottish] Help - Need some good arguments
> Well, a few screen prints and maybe a wee demo ... show them it's as pretty
> > From: 	Philip Ward[SMTP:PhilWard at bigfoot.com]
> >
> > I need your argumentative help. I've built a LInux Terminal Server
> > based Cyber Cafe for our Church community project, but a couple of
> > influential board of management members have cried "It's not
> > Microsoft, we hate it!" It looks like my work is to be tossed out and

I think you've missed the biggest points:

1) you have delivered a working solution

2) you have the skills to maintain the system

Certainly cost is a major issue: take the time to cost out a comparable 
installation using Microsoft products. Don't forget anti-virus, firewall, 
anti-spyware and internet 'safety' products (you have installed squidguard?). 

Include the ongoing cost of upgrading the software and hardware to accomodate 
it (OS upgrade every 3 years, application upgrade every 4 years). Try to put 
a figure on the hidden costs of admin time; I reckon that in the last 6 
months (Blaster, Welchia, MyDoom) have directly or indirectly cost me about 
half a day for each Microsoft PC in my work. I would expect to pay at least 
£25/hour for someone to do this adequately for me. Although these machines 
are driven by technically literate people, I will still spend a significant 
amount of time fixing broken configs/installs just because the machines have 
lost the plot or the users have done something stupid. 

Putting machines into a public facing scenario also requires a great deal of 
specialised hardening. (The most effective way I've seen of doing this was to 
use Ghost to create disk images which are restored at regular intervals - 
obviously, the images need to be maintained properly). 

Committees are talking shops, but don't be misled - if you play them at their 
own game, you stand a good chance of losing, don't be argumentative - talk 
the proponents and ask them how they would advise you to solve the problems 
of locking down the machines, remote management, egress filtering, but cost 
out the tangibles and as much as you can of the intangibles then ask the 
board if:

1) they want to spend this much money replacing a proven system
2) if they can quantify exactly what they would gain by spending the money
3) justify why the money should be spent on dismantling something which 

(it DOES deliver, doesn't it?)

Another good way to make them stop and think (but make sure you've wayed up 
your opposition first) is good old-fashioned spoiling - ask the cheif 
Microsoft proponent to produce a Microsoft machine so that the board can see 
for themselves in a straight comparison. Meanwhile get together a CD of 
(tame) porn warez and virus to demonstrate why the systems need to be managed 
and secure.



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