WOW! New Hampshire Gets FLOSS

“it is in the public interest that the state of New Hampshire consider using open source software in its public computing functions.”

That’s from the preamble of a bill that just passed through both houses in the state’s legislature. The preamble is concise and eloquent touching on everything that’s wrong with Wintel without mentioning M$ and “partners” by name. The writing is on the wall. Monopoly can take a hike in NH.

The “amended analysis” is short an to the point:
“This bill requires state agencies to consider open source software when acquiring software and promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies. This bill also directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on principles of open government data.”

Let’s hope this is just the beginning of software freedom in IT in New Hampshire and other states. Monopoly has no place in IT anywhere and least of all in IT that is supposed to be working for the common good of residents. IT cannot serve two masters, M$ and the residents. The bill seeks to cut costs and ensure reliability of the systems of government.

Those who argue the cost of monopoly is trivial are in disagreement with NH:
“The cost of obtaining software for the state’s computer systems has become a significant expense to the state;”

Those who argue that M$ sets the standard are in disagreement with NH:
“It is necessary for the functioning of the state that computer data owned by the state be permanently available to the state throughout its useful life;” Note: They are concerned with the life of data not the life of M$’s software or Wintel’s hardware. For the greater certainty:” To guarantee the succession and permanence of public data, it is necessary that the state’s accessibility to that data be independent of the goodwill of the state’s computer system suppliers and the conditions imposed by these suppliers;” Oh, M$, I feel your pain. 🙂 They actually use the term “platform-neutral”:“It is in the public interest to ensure interoperability of computer systems through the use of software and products that promote open, platform-neutral standards;”

Icing on the cake: ” It is also in the public interest that the state be free, to the greatest extent possible, of conditions imposed by parties outside the state’s control on how, and for how long, the state may use the software it has acquired; and

(g) It is not in the public interest and it is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy for the state to use software that, in addition to its stated function, also transmits data to, or allows control and modification of its systems by, parties outside of the state’s control.”

Doesn’t that just sound like the Four Freedoms echoing in the halls of government?

If the most thick-skulled fan of lock-in still does not get it:
“II. The general court further finds that:

(a) The acquisition and widespread deployment of open source software can significantly reduce the state’s costs of obtaining and maintaining software;

(b) Open source software guarantees that its encoding of data is not tied to a single provider;

(c) Open source software enables interoperability through adherence to open, platform-neutral standards;

(d) Open source software contains no restrictions on how, or for how long, it may be used; and

(e) Since open source software fully discloses its internal operations, it can be audited, at any time and by anyone of the state’s choosing, for internal functions that are contrary to the public’s interests and rights.”

Estimates are that using FLOSS will cut expenditures by $300K per annum which funds will be allocated to staff who will work for NH.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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29 Responses to WOW! New Hampshire Gets FLOSS

  1. Clarence Moon says:

    “The world is a better place”

    There is some very small, but non-zero probability of all of those dominoes falling as hoped and coming to the desired end, Mr. Pogson, but you should appreciate just how small that probability is. There is a time factor to consider as well.

    One of the major problems that I see is the notion that “suppliers would spring into action”. The numbers being tossed around, namely $300K or so, doesn’t seem to be enough scratch to soothe any sort of supplier itch, at least not enough to get much of a ball rolling.

  2. oldman says:

    “The world is a better place”

    And that flock of flying pigs is now sighted over New Hampshire.

  3. Clarence Moon, ignoring networking wrote, “What chance is there for Linux sweeping New Hamshire?”

    Let’s see:

    1. NH’s leadership recommend and promote FLOSS
    2. Employees do their part
    3. Suppliers spring in to action
    4. Local businesses support FLOSS
    5. Employees’ friends and families spread the word outside the workplace
    6. Local retailers see increased demand for GNU/Linux from consumers
    7. Distributors and OEMs see increased demand for FLOSS on PCs
    8. The world is a better place
  4. Clarence Moon says:

    Lost in all this chatter is the fact that the entire New Hampshire project is way less than 1% of the money being tossed about in the Munich migration effort which has only resulted in a few thousand Linux units to date. What chance is there for Linux sweeping New Hamshire?

  5. Kozmcrae says:

    “Lets come back in a few years and see,”

    Yes, let’s.

  6. oldman says:

    “So that would put New Hampshire in the not most people part of your Venn Diagram.”

    Lets come back in a few years and see,

  7. kozmcrae says:

    “People do not migrate to pure desktop Linux unless they want to, and whether you want to admit it or not, most people dont want to.”

    So that would put New Hampshire in the not most people part of your Venn Diagram.

  8. oldman wrote, “As far as android, that is an appliance not a computer, so there is not administration needed.”

    2. (Computers) an electronic device for performing
    calculations automatically. It consists of a clock to
    provide voltage pulses to synchronize the operations of
    the devices within the computer, a central processing
    unit, where the arithmetical and logical operations are
    performed on data, a random-access memory, where the
    programs and data are stored for rapid access, devices to
    input data and output results, and various other
    peripheral devices of widely varied function, as well as
    circuitry to support the main operations.

    Android/Linux runs computers oldman, even desktop boxes. I haven’t read of it being on server or mainframe yet but it definitely runs personal computers of all kinds: the usual tablets and smart phones but also the ARMed Trimslice box and x86 boxes. Intel has a recipe.

  9. Ivan says:

    “Some here seem to assume that using that other OS is “conservative”.”

    Some here seem to assume that software has politics. Here’s a tip, it doesn’t. Some software is just better than other software.

    Oh, Koz, New Hampshire is not conservative as evidenced by Rick ‘Frothy Mix’ Santorum’s and Newt ‘I’ll just use these charitable donations to fund my campaign’ Gingrich’s sound trouncing during their recent primary.

  10. oldman says:

    “The world does not need Wintel.”

    Yet it find it useful whether you like it or not.

  11. oldman says:

    “You wish, Clarence. People migrate to GNU/Linux to reduce costs. ”

    Actually you are over simplifying Pog. Businesses dont just migrate to linux and FOSS. It has to meet business needs and fit into an organizational IT strategy. the up front cost is only one factor, and potentially not even a major factor in the determination to use FOSS and or Linux.

    People do not migrate to pure desktop Linux unless they want to, and whether you want to admit it or not, most people dont want to.

    “When I administer GNU/Linux systems everything is easier, smoother, and more reliable than with that other OS. That’s why my wife now uses GNU/Linux on her three PCs and Android/Linux on her smart phone. ”

    You wife uses Linux because YOU are there as her sysadmin. I guarantee you that were you not as adept as you are she would still be using windows.

    As far as android, that is an appliance not a computer, so there is not administration needed.

  12. Clarence Moon wrote, “When Linux replaces Windows, there is an assumption on the part of the buyer that they will have to invest in a higher level of support to substitute for the expected ease of use of Windows.”

    You wish, Clarence. People migrate to GNU/Linux to reduce costs. For example, in the schools I migrated, we replaced expensive and sluggish itinerant IT support (hours, mileage, travel-time) with in-house support at no extra cost. In Largo, Dave Richards estimates they cut support costs by half using GNU/Linux. A school division in Saskatchewan using Solaris increased seats three-fold without increasing staff and got better use of staff at the same time.

    NH is clearly trying not to fire anyone. If they did fire the M$-only dolts or retrained the staff they had they could do more with less. The expenditure clearly looks like added functionality, by the way, not business as usual.

    ‘The entire solution cost Olive Healthcare about Rs 1 lakh, while for Windows, each operating system license, along with basic software like MS Office and anti-virus, cost the company Rs 22,000. Parekh states, “To this, add the cost for other applications, plus Client Access Licenses (CALs) and Terminal Server CALs, server software, etc, for each system. This would work out to about Rs 25 lakh. With Linux, you pay about Rs 2,000 per system and we implement the solution, provide training to employees, and support for a year. The support service can be continued at Rs 500 per machine, per year.” ‘

    So, a real-world organization crunched the numbers. Training for the IT staff to implement this? Four hours. So the capital cost ratios of migrating to the next M$ OS or GNU/Linux were 10:1 in favour of GNU/Linux and the support was “Rs500 per machine, per year”, almost inconsequential compared to purchasing a licence for that other OS.

    see Olive Healthcare Slashes IT Costs by Migrating to Desktop Linux

    Now, a business can hire someone at top dollar to migrate to GNU/Linux but why would they do that when it’s clearly unnecessary? When I administer GNU/Linux systems everything is easier, smoother, and more reliable than with that other OS. That’s why my wife now uses GNU/Linux on her three PCs and Android/Linux on her smart phone. The world does not need Wintel.

  13. Clarence Moon says:

    “The projections from NH show $300K per annum savings”

    At an increased staff cost of about the same amount, Mr. Pogson. Ignoring the validity of either of these estimates, you will have to admit that the notion of “self-administration” is a big part of the appeal of Windows, whether it is justified or not. When Linux replaces Windows, there is an assumption on the part of the buyer that they will have to invest in a higher level of support to substitute for the expected ease of use of Windows.

    Don’t go off on a rant about how Windows is not so easy to administrate, I don’t disagree. But I point to the existence of the belief that this is so to show that it is a factor in decision making.

    You can preach all day long here about how Linux has a better economic argument in many instances than Windows, but you are talking to deaf ears. Either the listener already believes you but has no opportunity to affect commerce with their beliefs or they see many alternative issues that you do not include in your analyses.

    I think that, at the end of the day, the victory will go to those who have a more sound financial interest in one solution or another and who take the time and effort to present their best case to those who actually buy something. As a successful commercial enterprise, Microsoft has the wherewithal to send sales agents to buyer sites and deliver their message or to indulge in broader market advertising and other promotions. Not so in most cases with Linux. No one actually profits and so no one really cares.

  14. Clarence Moon wrote some stuff, unsupportable stuff at that, :“the economics of change argue strongly against Linux on a long term basis. Even the projections from New Hampshire show them spending more in future years.”

    The projections from NH show $300K per annum savings. They chose to replace that expenditure with manpower to support their e-government strategy. Clearly, if they go mostly-FLOSS, they could cut some of their support costs for that other OS. The $300K is mostly licensing.

    Migrations that I have done broke even immediately, just on savings on capital cost. Many organizations with more complex migrations plan on breaking even in the first year.

    e.g. “The use of proprietary systems in particular ties up valuable resources and creates considerable administrative overhead. IT managers increasingly tend to replace such proprietary platforms with the x86 64-bit platform which offers considerable cost savings and enhanced performance while reducing complexity and making system administration easier. Companies that decide to move to Linux can break even after less than twelve months!”

    see SAP on Linux – Linux Migration

    Indeed, organizations that migrate to GNU/Linux may do it more economically than those that migrate to “7”.
    “the Gendarmerie has been able to reduced its annual IT budget by 70 percent without having to reduce its capabilities.

    Since 2004, he says that the Gendarmerie has saved up to €50 million on licensing and maintenance costs as a result of the migration strategy. He believes that the move from Windows to Ubuntu posed fewer challenges than the organization would have faced if it had updated to Windows Vista. “
    see French police: we saved millions of euros by adopting Ubuntu

  15. Some here seem to assume that using that other OS is “conservative”. Conservative of what? M$’s profits? Insecurity? Re-re-reboots? In the real world, people prefer keeping control of costs, security and smooth operation. They get that from GNU/Linux, the conservative OS.

  16. kozmcrae says:

    If you want an example of a liberal state look no further than New Hampshire’s neighbor, Vermont.

  17. kozmcrae says:

    “Really? New Hampshire is “a hard core conservative” state?”


  18. Clarence Moon says:

    Don’t count on Koz to offer a useful and concise summary of issues, Ivan. From his basement window perch he is unable to see far enough to truly discern the landscape. New Hampshire is true blue, as they say, and relatively progressive in spite of their craggy hills and chilly climate.

    Mr. Pogson’s own beloved Manitoba is, at a glance, about the same sort of Liberal/Progressive/Democrat sort of place. I have never been there, but it sounds like it might be pretty cold there most of the year, as well. Not to mention the bear attacks that require everyone to travel about heavily armed.

    How all that relates to Linux is a little uncertain in my mind. Koz seems to imply that a fiscal conservative is essentially a cheapskate and hence will select Linux due to its being zero price. I think that is a rather retarded view to take since the economics of change argue strongly against Linux on a long term basis. Even the projections from New Hampshire show them spending more in future years.

    I think that Linux needs a progressive, if not liberal or even socialistic, attitude to prosper. Users have to have a long view of things to see where going off the deep end with Linux might lead to a better future. They have to see past the immediate concerns of the unknown and the hassle of change. Unfortunately for Linux, there isn’t much of a reward that even the progressives can plainly see for doing all of that effort and so Windows remains king of the hill.

  19. Ivan says:

    Really? New Hampshire is “a hard core conservative” state? Yet they allow same sex marriage and have raised taxes in the last four years. Two things the “hard core conservatives” are dead set against.

    I wonder, if you paint New Hampshire as “hard core conservative” what do you paint South Dakota as?

  20. kozmcrae says:

    “Mr. Andrew, your reading comprehension skills are sadly lacking if that is the conclusion that you draw from my post.”

    The conclusion I draw from your post is that an entire state is moving to open source and you are trying your very best to belittle it. Your effort is wasted here Clarence. You look silly as you attempt to trivialize bigger and bigger events in the world of open source.

    You still use the old foil of taking each event as if it were the only good thing to happen in the open source movement.

    New Hampshire is a hard core conservative state. If they recognize the advantages of open source then others are sure to follow. You will, no doubt, belittle each one of them in detail too.

  21. Andrew says:

    Mr. Moon, no insult intended. But since you seem to know the names of the technical support people (Moe, Larry & Curly) you’re in a better position to make such statement. My misunderstanding is in the deer hunting part.

  22. oiaohm says:

    Opps should have put a round 1000 different

  23. oiaohm says:

    I should remember Clarence Moon does not read complete documents. Not just point at the abnormality.

    The Department of Information Technology states this bill may decrease state expenditures by $33,160 in FY 2012, $17,490 in FY 2013, $2,565 in FY 2014, and may increase state expenditures by $14,441 in FY 2015.

    Reported difference 2014 to 2015 17006

    “The Department estimates the costs associated with the developer, business analyst, and technical support specialist will increase state expenditures by $266,840 in FY 2012, by $282,510 in FY 2013, by $297,435 in FY 2014, and by $313,441 in FY 2015”

    16006 difference between 2014 and 2015. That is wages.

    Sorry to say there is 1006 not explained for the 2014-2015.

    Lets just say the figures are not exactly adding up.

    I had thought of exactly what you said Clarence Moon.

  24. Clarence Moon says:

    Mr. Andrew, your reading comprehension skills are sadly lacking if that is the conclusion that you draw from my post. Otherwise, you seem to be struggling to simply find some sort of insult to cast. Is it really worth such trouble?

    Try offering something more proactive.

  25. Andrew says:

    I understand correctly, and you probably have a lot of insight into the inner workings of NH state IT.

    Therefore, if the three people supporting this project own guns and hunt deer they’re technically naivete.


  26. Clarence Moon says:

    New Hampshire is a sort of anachronism in the USA these days, that is excluding the piece of the state that commutes daily to Boston and only lives in NH in the evenings. It is called the Granite State and their motto is “Live Free or Die!” and they fondly remember the old days when Washington was the president and it was OK to keep a few slaves around to do the heavy lifting.

    One can just see the technical naivete oozing out of this document. The increase in 2015, if you are really puzzled, apparently is the difference in the salaries that they suggest will be necessary that year for the trio charged with the mission to carry the open source flag into battle. Namely the developer, the business analyst, and the support guy.

    These salaries, grow beyond the anticipated savings that year, if you follow their estimates.

    Absent the new trio of Larry, Curly, and Moe, one is left to wonder if the current plan has zero staff count and so relies on the good will of their software vendors to keep their systems running.

    New Hampshire is rural enough and cold enough to perhaps lure Mr. Pogson into town to perhaps do all three jobs at once. As I remember from my college days in Boston and trips to a friend’s farm there, they all have guns and do a lot of deer hunting. No gun registration laws, either, I bet.

  27. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon First stage migration to Linux is done on Windows.

    Reading the bill suggest something interesting.

    “may increase state expenditures by $14,441 in FY 2015.”

    What are they planning for 2015.

  28. Clarence Moon says:

    And the world and New Hampshire will be changed not one whit. IT managers and purchasing managers will continue to buy what they are most comfortable with. Doubtless there is some Linux already being purchased in NH, if they go along with the national and world averages, and it will continue to be purchased. Where the selection has been Windows based, it will continue to be.

    $300K isn’t much of a motive in this day and age.

  29. Conzo says:

    Montana next?

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