[NH LoCo] I'm writing an opinion piece for the Concord Monitor -- care to weigh in?

mark prgrmr at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 01:58:51 GMT 2010

On Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 7:06 PM, Susan Cragin <susancragin at earthlink.net>wrote:

> The Concord Monitor has in the past given my articles good exposure, the
> state is desperate to cut costs, and this could be a good thing for
> open-source.
The state employs several dozen programmers and the expected accompanying
management personnel.  Going from prior job postings, many of those
programmers work in COBOL.  Presumably that's for their back-office
applications, but not necessarily all of them.  From a current job listing:


we can see they are already using a mix of open source and proprietary
software. Actually, we can see that they are using open source software from
just the URL. While I am an open source advocate, I really don't think the
state's bang-for-the-buck is to be found in undergoing a desktop software
switch, even if they are paying full retail for their Windows programs &
support, which I doubt.  The retraining would take over a year and the
cumulative costs would be projected to take at least a year from the
project's completion to achieve any ROI, if not longer. There's no political
will out there right now to gamble like that.

The cities are, for the most part, even more cash-strapped, and are using
specialized applications too, but without the programming staffs, so now you
are faced with dealing with proprietary applications that may or may not run
on Linux.  I think the only place you can reasonably expect a realistic
opportunity to make a switch-over on the desktop are the school systems:
little or no specialize applications, and smaller staffs which mean low
retraining costs and shorter retraining cycles.

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