Australia – Why Should The Government Of A Country Of 24million People Spend $6billion On IT, $250 per capita per annum?

Could it be that they are using That Other OS almost exclusively and spending the taxpayers’ money“In 2014, the Australian government’s ICT spending reached A$5.8 billion, representing 8.5% of the total ICT spend. It is forecasted to grow to A$6.2 billion by 2018. IT services represents the largest spending category valued at A$2.75 billion but the strongest 5-year CAGR growth is for software at 7.0%.”
See Australian Government ICT Spending is set to exceed A$6.2 billion by 2018
foolishly on software they could acquire for very little cost and upgrading hardware too often to compensate for software bloat, slowing down, and malware?

It’s just a thought. Imagine what I could have done wasting that much money on IT in typical schools:

  • replace PCs every other year, whether they needed it or not,
  • provide every student with a PC with its own private Internet connection, or
  • buy a whole rack of servers annually, just because we could afford it…

Instead we had way more IT than most schools because we got hardware from the recycling bins of businesses and Free Software from Debian. We did exactly the same sorts of things governments need to do: store, find, create, modify and present documents, run databases and servers.

When will the government of Australia wake up? When will the voters and taxpayers demand they wake up?

PS: Yesterday, Sunday, 2015-05-17, 1.83% of page-views from Australia were made with GNU/Linux. Last Wednesday, 2015-05-13, the share was 1.37%. Some people in Australia have a clue. They should tell their friends and their politicians.

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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10 Responses to Australia – Why Should The Government Of A Country Of 24million People Spend $6billion On IT, $250 per capita per annum?

  1. Bob Parker says:

    Decades ago the Australian Tax Office allowed Linux computers to file tax returns online. The reason the facility was removed no doubt was because Microsoft found someone in the ATO to bribe. There has never been any shortage of high level corruption in that organisation.

  2. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr notice what I said about the Australian National Archives. This also applies to Centlink and many other key Services.

    There is a big problem for Windows. The reality its closed source so it cannot be formally audited and modified to Government requirements. This makes Windows Server highly not suitable for over 90 of government operations.

    Robert Pogson is also right about CAL being a issue. Yes at times Australian government departments have found themselves in breach.

    Its stupid things like network printers if you install printer driver by group policy opps breach. If you install printer driver manually or by puppet(ie third party) not breach. CAL just get stupid.

    Kurkosdr if I could remember the name I would be able to pull in a Linux Australia Conference video by the head of Australian Government IT operations. Windows as a back end is only used by Australian Government where there is no other choice due to many factors. CAL, Security risks…..

    But what about the backend? None of us has any experience for that matter (no, school “backends” don’t count), so giving advice to the Australian government for choosing this OS or that OS for their government backend is silly. Just admit you don’t have enough experience or qualifications in that and shouldn’t make recommendations.
    Sorry kurkosdr only place Robert and Australian Government IT disagree is Linux Desktop. In fact Australian Governement IT has not made up mind on what Desktop or even if they should bother with a Desktop OS for a majority of staff. Yes insanity go into Medicare/Centerlink office and person behind desk using styles on a ipad to enter all your data..

    kurkosdr reality MS Trolls like you need to drop the idea that companies and governments think Windows is worth it. Australian government is going through a process of getting rid of Windows servers. Yes this is where that government CMS stuff comes in. Also Australian government hosted Alfresco to nuke out need for sharepoint.

    The 3 Major reasons why Australian government runs Windows servers.
    1) Terminal servers for client access computers that simple reset.
    2)ADS Limitations in Samba.

    Notice something no Web-serving no Database hosting. Back end roles given to Windows are minor.

  3. kurkosdr says:

    On a related not, I see that M$ is below 11% of active websites, according to NetCraft. I’d take that to mean the world thinks they’re 90% useless, if not 100% useless.

    Yes, when it comes to servers, Windows may not offer much benefit. But it still has a respectable worldwide percentage, especially considering it’s price. It’s the Mac of servers, if you will. Despite the huge price, people find enough benefits in it to justify the price.

    But what about the backend? None of us has any experience for that matter (no, school “backends” don’t count), so giving advice to the Australian government for choosing this OS or that OS for their government backend is silly. Just admit you don’t have enough experience or qualifications in that and shouldn’t make recommendations.

  4. kurkosdr wrote, “FOSSies should stop pretending Windows is useless in servers and backend”.

    One word, “Client Access Licence, CAL”. TOOS is useless without it. Just read the EULA. It prevents getting the maximum usage out of the hardware and software acquired without paying per client. How lame is that? With GNU/Linux, you have permission to run it any way you want up down or sideways with as many clients as you want. That may not matter too much in a small LAN but a big outfit like a government is going to pay for this that and the other over and over again for no additional benefit than what GNU/Linux offers.

    Another word, “price”. Whatever information processing a government does is theirs. They should not have to pay M$ one cent for it. The government owns the hardware, the networks, the employees of the government… M$ does not. M$ should have zero benefit from the work the government does with IT. M$ is doing nothing to earn even one licensing fee from a government. A government should not be a slave of M$ nor should a government make its people a slave of M$. That makes no sense. The purpose of a government is to do the things that can’t be done efficiently by a loose collection of individuals: supply utilities, defence, rule of law… None of those roles involve enriching M$ by one cent. It’s not necessary, useful, even negative, putting Australians out of work. Why should Australian taxpayers enrich M$’s salesmen and programmers?

    On a related not, I see that M$ is below 11% of active websites, according to NetCraft. I’d take that to mean the world thinks they’re 90% useless, if not 100% useless.

  5. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr Australia is a super confused mess. The major Audit department of the Tax Office here runs purely on Desktop Linux yet you don’t have a program to submit your Tax return from Linux.—linux/

    Yes most of the Tax audit tools a Windows, Mac and Linux. Some are Linux only.

    Yet then most Australian schools public or otherwise only teach either Windows or Mac.

    kurkosdr if we are taking about Australian Government less than 15 percent of Servers are Windows and that Percentage is dropping. There are yearly stats published. Like Centerlink Australia all bar terminal servers they are 100 percent Linux in the server room. This applies to Heathcare and so on in Australia.

    The server room in the Australian government is mostly won over to Linux. Yes mopping up legacy crap it all that is left.

    The fact they don’t means they find benefits in Windows.
    This is a huge presume.

    Lets ignore that Australian National archives are Linux. So everything produced on Windows has to be converted for storage in the National archive to standard formats by servers running Linux (why everything in the national archives in software has a mandatory source code requirement where possible). Lets also ignore the fact that Windows in Australia cannot do everything.

    Main reason why using Windows or Linux alone is not workable in Australia for everything is the fact the government acquirement policy is a confused mess with no mandatory requirements on acquirements to support list of OS solutions. You know its wrong than in when Windows 7 was released you could tax write off a MS Windows volume license so you could get a copy of Windows XP to run some of the Australian governments software and then you could also write off a copy of SUSE or Redhat Linux so you could run other Government software.

    Companies usage is mostly based on Education so avoiding staff retraining and what the Government they are in is using.

    You want a Single OS that can interface with Everything Australian Government forget it as it does not exist. Linux, Windows, OS X, Android and I OS now you can interface with every government department. Miss 1 and custom application that you may require will not run. Yep a machine of each you can technically write off on tax return if you can present the correct grounds.

  6. kurkosdr says:

    Because the Australian government is not smart enough to take their advice from a tiny blog run by a non-professional-programer ex-teacher?

    Governments have those things called “backend-end” systems (not just the thin-clients you see when you file your taxes), and you do not have any kinds of hands-on experience about those systems (hint: they are much different that setting up some school server), so you are not in a position to make recommendations.

    However, Desktop Linux works in school PCs, in fact, I think at least 50% of the computer class should be spent teaching some FOSS operating system, not just the OS of a proprietary corp (which however is also useful for the job market). I never understood why some schools send their children out with knowledge of one OS. Seriously? One OS? It’s like studying books in only one language.

    But, back on topic, FOSSies should stop pretending Windows is useless in servers and backend. Hint: Windows has significant share there too (look it up). In governments and companies. Don’t those companies want to save money by going to Desktop Linux? The fact they don’t means they find benefits in Windows.

  7. “the US-based IT company”

    Really. What US-based IT companies do we know that deal with banks and such globally? Hmmm… What kind of journalism is it that does not name a principal to a crime???

  8. ram says:

    At the federal and state levels, and all too often at the local council level, the SOLE criteria for government procurements is how much of a bribe/kickback/backhander the officials get. It is true of software, and everything else.

    This is why Australia is turning into a third world “failed resource state”. Systemic high level corruption! Similar to Africa with respect to mineral resources and climate. Also similar to Africa with respect to politics. Comparable to Nigeria and Zimbabwe when it comes to corruption.

  9. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson this is from 2011. Some key points 40 percent of Australian government departments in 2011 did not use any FOSS at all officially. At this stage they are now officially required to consider but not mandated to use. Yes Australia has it own government cloud hosting then when you did deeper its hosted with the help of Amazon. Yes open source but overseas hosting. Robert Pogson Australia IT makes you just curse.

    Some of the spends make sense.,budget-funds-australia8217s-biggest-supercomputer.aspx
    Even that Australia is small in population it is large in land area and predicting weather cost is based on land area you are predicting for not population.
    Like this is 12 million dollars per year and that is still technically too small. About 60 million per year needs to be put into weather forecasting.

    1 to 10 percent of the Australian government IT budget goes into Australian governement super computers for public/company support

    Then you have to remember Australian government operates locations like Pinegap that is about 10 percent+ of the IT budget for signal processing.

    If you follow everything through about 2 billion dollars of the Australia IT budget is explainable and even going FOSS would not be reduced as those systems are FOSS. 4 billion is going into desktop computer hardware and software for desktop computers.

    Yes 8.5 percent of Australian total spend in IT is in fact done by our government this could possible become 10 percent.

    So if the Australian governement decides to choose a OS for a Desktop it effects directly 5+ percent of the market. And indirectly closer to 70 percent of the market by those who have to interact with them.

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