Department of Defense

Migrate to Linux and Open Desktop Suite during Consolidation

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Computer (IT) equipment (HW) would not need to be updated with the frequency that is common with Microsoft (MS) products if this idea were followed: Each newly-installed MS operating system (OS) is usually coupled with new desktop (PC) HW. When aligning and/or consolidating IT (at time of organizational merger), significant cost savings would be realized by choosing an OS that would not need new HW. PCs often run the MS OS and MS Office productivity suites that have licensing cost of hundreds of dollars per computer, per year. A reluctance to learn something new and staying with the status quo was justification for MS in the past. Many employees who did not grow-up using IT will be retiring, en-masse, over the next several years. Any lack of (elder) confidence in using alternate-but-similar interfaces (GUIs) should be of little concern. At time of agency merger, replace PC installations of Windows and MS Office with a lower-cost choice: Open Source software that is virtually free and has little proprietary technology. Much of the open source software runs well on hardware that is too old (or “slow”) for Microsoft Windows/Office. “Open” is a standard that the USG has recently emphasized. The Linux OS can run well on a variety of hardware and with the “clouds” that vendors have been marketing for COOP (disaster recovery) and for cost savings. Up-front costs and yearly maintenance are lower without MS. There is only a very small learning curve when adopting this open option. Any compromises would be insignificant. We can’t afford MS pricing for routine office tasks. Federal economic recovery stimulus has (largely) ended. There’s no need to stimulate US companies like Microsoft, Dell, and HP. Without competition from “open” providers, we would have a “sole source” (expensive) acquisition. Please include “open,” “low-cost,” and/or “must run on current hardware” in selection criteria. One such option would be Linux desktop OS coupled with a low-cost suite like OpenOffice.

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Idea No. 7881