Avoiding Microsoft Systems with Enterprise-Scale Free Software

5th April 2001

A paper presented at the DECUS Symposium 2001 in Sydney, Australia.

Dan Shearer was intending to present a paper of the same title, however he fell ill and was not able to attend. A few people were disappointed, so this paper was created during the conference and presented to fill the gap. Credit for the provocative title should go to Dan.

Formats available:

You are welcome to send comments and feedback, which I will add to this page if I like them. If you are viewing this on the DECUS symposium proceedings CD, you may wish to see my web site copy for updates.

Text added to this paper after the presentation is in italics.

Avoiding Microsoft Systems with Enterprise-Scale Free Software

by James Cameron
Software Engineer





Software Development Team Models

[Software development of products using teams of engineers requires that these teams be organised in order to create. The internet has changed the means by which teams can organise, and this has led to the boom in open source.]

Open Source

[What is Open Source software, and how is it different to other forms of software?]

Why Use Open Source?

[Now that we know what Open Source is, why would an enterprise want to use it? Note that organisations already use Open Source without realising it; such as sendmail and bind in UNIX.]

What Kernel to use?

[Any enterprise system is built from many components. At the lowest level, above the hardware, is the kernel of the operating system. Some organisations use a proprietary kernel with open source software layered on top. Some go for an open source kernel as well. What are the choices in kernels relevant to DECUS members?]

Infrastructure Software

[Infrastructure software has other more popular names; what I'm talking about here is software that enterprises use to create their network infrastructure. When this software stops, the business is significantly affected. The number in parenthesis is how many different implementations of each component I am aware of.]

Network Server Software

[Software that provides network service to client programs. Again, the numbers in parenthesis are a count of the many different but compatible implementations I'm aware of.]

Application Software

[Client side software, for users. Outside the scope of this paper, but just for interest here is a short list.]

Integration Methods

[As previously stated, an enterprise does not need to go all the way to Open Source. There are other ways to use Open Source software.]

Support Options

[Enterprise level infrastructure is often mission critical. Support is where the money is for Open Source. On the one hand, it can't easily be funded by software product sales. On the other hand, since the source code is public, anybody can provide support.]

How I Use Open Source

[Examples of how I have used open source. Half of these are enterprise scale.]

Compaq #1 Stealth Server

Compaq #2 Stealth Server

Telecommuter Gateway

Community Technology Centre

[Federally funded Networking the Nation project for the creation of an internet telecentre at Gilgandra and Tooraweenah. These have changed to become community technology centres. They consist of a Linux gateway and a number of public workstations running the legacy Microsoft Windows operating system.]

Rural Computing Project

Web Sites

[No presentation is complete without a list of web sites to find further information.]