NORVIEW 828 Open Source Initiatives

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Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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1

N
ORVIEW 82
8




Open Source

I
nitiatives


Members share the solutions and issues they have experienced, researched and
implemented during this November 2010 web session. NOREX retains the original,
unedited version in order to facilitate future networking.


Contact your NOREX Member
Care Team for
assistance.




*Please note that this is a transcript of an audio conference and it may contain misspellings and grammatical errors.


The names of participants have been abbreviated, and their organizations have been deleted from this transcript.



Open Source for mission
-
critical

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8

Documented strategy on Open Source

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10

Candidates for Open Source transition

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12

Interaction between your organization and Open Source community

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13

Open Source for internally developed applications

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.............

14

Open Source and Linux

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15

Open S
ource VoIP phone system

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16

Member Open Source Gold Nuggets

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2

N
OREX

WebForum Transcript

Open Source

Issues

November 2
3
, 2010




Moderator
:
Welcome to our
Open Source

initiatives WebForum.
Thank you for joining
us. We have
a smaller group today so we will start by asking each organization to share
any
Open Source

initiatives they have implemented.



Keith C
.
:
We have four in here. I think I am going to let Dan go ahead and kind of fill
you in on where we are going and why we

are going that direction.


Dan M
.
:
Good morning. Right now, we are using Ubuntu Linux on the back end of our
servers to deploy desktops in a cloud fashion to our users across America here. We are
using
NoM
achine clients to facilitate that desktop there in the cloud. We are using that
through
SSA (
?), so it is all secure. We are using Google for our email services, and we
are using Postini to secure that, too. All of our users are using HTTPS to access their

email, so that is all secure on the browser end, too. We are also developing the new
company internet in
Joomla
, which is also an
Open Source
, Linux
-
based solution. You
can build it on Windows if you would like to. We are using LAMP servers. We also have
our systems connected to our Windows systems on the back end here, too, so that our
users can also use the Windows servers through our cloud.


Moderator
:

Great, thank you, Dan.
There is
a

l
ot

going on in the
Open Source

world at
your organization
. Can you

briefly share

what
_____

does, for folks who have not heard
of your organization?


Dan M.:
We primarily take care of people with intellectual disabilities. Obviously, we
work for the IT department, so we take care of the business side of things.

We are
in 13
different states and about, I would say, give or take 50 some plus agencies. We are also
in other countries, but they are run by their own management.


Moderator
:

So how many desktops do you support
?


Dan M.:
Give or take about 1500 desktops.


Modera
tor
:

Thank you, good information
.

We open this up to other organizations.
Could you share what you are looking at in
Open Source
?


Henry B
.
:
No, not Google Mail. But we are looking at some
Open Source
. What I was
trying to get my arms around a little bit is, if any of the other folks that are on the call
have any kind of a road map as far as evaluation or criteria factors for if and when to
use
Open Source
. If it is in the public sector, all the better
. I am trying to develop a
position for the county as far as when it is appropriate to really look at
Open Source


3

products, whether they are ready for mission
-
critical apps, whether they are more
utilitarian, or, you know, is it fair game for just about an
ything.


Keith C
.
:
Right now, mission
-
critical apps are usually run on servers. Well, right now,
throughout the company, I believe that probably 65 percent of the servers are running
Linux on the back end. Well if you are running a mission
-
critical app on
Linux, and you
use such as a VDI or connectivity in the cloud like we are using, all our apps are running
on really safe, secure, proven hardware, and our desktops are running just an image of
something to get us there. We could care less whether they cras
h and burn today or
not,


Dan M.:
I think that
Open Source

for you, pretty much a solution for anything you are
looking for. I guess the main question is, do you have the technical knowledge on staff
to be able to, you know, develop that solution and deplo
y it successfully. I think that is
the biggest thing that I would
want.


Henry B.:
Yes, that is certainly a consideration in house. The other thing that we are
trying to get to is, what are some of the gotchas, what are some of the very specific
criteria t
hat other folks out there have developed and used to determine, you know,
when
Open Source

products should really be your primary option. As opposed to the
old, Gee, you know, they are cheaper or sometimes free, let's go that route.
What I am
looking for i
s

if anybody out there has a formula that they have used to determine if and
when
Open Source

is the more appropriate route, other than just the old traditional,
Hey, it is cheaper.


Dan M.:
For me, it is the total cost of ownership that you would want to
look at. So, in
the end, you want to ask yourself, you know, if I pay a third party company to come up
with a solution for me and deploy it for me and it is easy for me to manage, and it is
going to cost me a quarter of a million dollars, if the
Open Sourc
e

version of that in the
end costs you less, then I would probably lean toward to the
Open Source

version. But
if the third party can do it for less than what it is going to cost you to develop and
deploy, then I would go with the total costs being lower being your solution.


Henry B.:
On the downside, what kind of gotchas, what kind of problems parti
cularly on
the support side, are you familiar with as far as, you know, maybe some stories of
utilizing
Open Source

that have not gone as well as expected.


Dan M.:
Well, I do not know of any off the top of my head that have not gone as well as
expected. B
ut I think for the most part, you need to have somebody on staff who can go
out and find these solutions that are out there for any problems that arise. There are a
lot of threads out there in the
Open Source

world where people will share solutions that
th
ey have come up with for different problems that come up. But there have not been
very many issues in the last five years that I can remember that I did not find an answer
for, you know, through Google, within the first hour of knowing there was a problem.



4

Henry B.:
Yes, that is one of the concerns when you are working in the public sector, is
that support by community, particularly for mission
-
critical apps. It does not give people
the warm and fuzzies as far as the same kind of assuredness that you would

get from a
software development house that, you know, has an established help desk and has a
problem reporting and
escalation

procedure, particularly for the mission
-
critical apps.


Dan M.:
Yes, and definitely that is something to think about. For me, tho
ugh, like I said,
in the last five years, there have only been two things that I have run across that I have
not found something that is leading me down the right path within an hour of having the
problem. We have used third party vendors before with help
desks, and I have called
them. They can take 24 hours to get to back to you, and they can take even more time
to come up with an actual solution.


Henry B.:
Right. I think it just feels, to the end user, at least, like a more structured
support environment

than getting out on the web and hoping that somebody who has
the answer is out there and is willing to step up at a critical moment, right?


Dan M.:
Yes. For us, we have a help desk here that people call, and then we find the
solutions within our
department. The end user, for us, they feel like their issue is being
address
ed

immediately.


Henry B.:
OK. So, to the end user, you are the face, right?


Dan M.:
That is correct, yes.


Tom K
.

(
Same Company as Dan and Keith
):
Just to add to the
Open Source

support.
If you look at a software house that might have, at the high end, they might have 500
people in their support line or their support department, supporting a certain product, for
basically any product that is out there on the
Open Source
, you are
looking at several
times that number of people who are developing that on the
Open Source
. So it does
not matter the cost and experience, once you have experienced going online and
knowing that there are 5000 people out there looking at this, and the 300 p
eople who
have encountered it put solutions out there.


Henry B.:
Yes. It is just that it is less formal and less structured.


Tom K.:
Less touchy
-
feely, yes.


Henry B.:
Yes, those folks out there that, you know, may or may not have a solution for
you and
so forth are not tied to an SLA, and they are not tied to certain responsibility or
doing that. They are doing it probably out of the willingness to be part of a support
community.


Moderator
:

Let's
here from another in the

public sector
.

AJ, are you on?



5

AJ M
.
:
Yes, well, it is funny, because I consult

a lot with both local and feds,

technologists and stuff, and there seems to be a lot of momentum behind Drupal and
Alfresco for content management. Then, you know, one of my favorite
Open Source

applications
, or two of them, actually. One of them is Open Office, which is about ten
years old now, which is a quite mature application that has been quite successful. I think
Oracle
now
has the reins over them. Ubuntu, which is a Linux client and a lot of people
us
e for personal use, has been a rock solid client and has also gotten a lot of
momentum as an alternative to Wintel

type software and that kind of thing. It is
interesting, I think, especially in the federal arena, as budgets get cut and people are
looking
for more creative ways of doing Enterprise applications,
Open Source

is
definitely getting the attention of a lot of folks. But I think the same issues that were
identified earlier by the other participants of the WebForum, that you know, security,
support
;

it all comes down to that. Then, just the perception of
Open Source

versus a
_____ product which is, you know, something that has been sort of marketed to
C
-
level
and senior managers as a traditional paradigm of acquisition, if you will.


Henry B.:
That is a good point, about the perception piece, because particularly for
mission
-
critical apps, people at the
C
-
level

may be willing to, you know, pay a little bit
more to have that structure and, in their mind, professional support environment.


AJ M.:
I agree.


Moderator
:

Great. Great start, folks. Would others, please, like to share their
environments, anything they have that is
Open Source
? I am going to call on a few. If
you just have no comment, that is fine. I will just call on those that I know ar
e on.
Marilyn, you are on?


Marilyn P
.
:
Yes, but I am basically just using this as a starting point to get somewhere. I
think it is a responsibility to look at these alternative and creative solutions with the
economy like it is.


Moderator
:

Thank you. Gre
at, we hope that you get some good information today. Is
Keith on? Some
Open Source

use there at
______
?


Keith K
.
:
Yes, most of our stuff is backed
up (
?) on the server side of things. I also use
a satellite server for patch management, upgrade management
, ____. But we have a
pretty robust
[inaudible]. What I was saying is, we have a pretty robust Linux and
UNIX

environment, and we use, mainly for the OS, the server, the back end servers. We also
use a satellite server to manage our upgrade schedules and m
aintenance, patch
management, maintenance for the Linux environment.


Howard R
.
:
W
e have done a little bit with Google Docs, for both collaboration and we
have also built some applications that face the dealer, mostly data collection type stuff.
We do that as an alternative to .NET applications.
I
t saves money and time. But, like
Marily
n, I am interested in hearing more and would like to do more, and I am trying to
understand what options are available


6

Moderator
:

Absolutely. We will work toward th
at during this conversation.
Any
comments, Bobby, on
Open Source

at your organization?


Bobb
y H
.
:
We have done a couple things. We looked at our entire infrastructure from a
Microsoft perspective, and then tried to look at areas of savings, because at this point,
we are going to have to basically upgrade and migrate the Windows. So one of the
thi
ngs that we have already started is, we have virtualized, or we are in the process of
virtualizing, our whole data center. Everything that can possibly be put on Linux, we are
doing that. We are converting that as we go. Then, we are actually using Linux a
s the
physical servers. We have also migrated our ERP to Linux servers, and then we are just
now starting to test Google Mail and Google Apps, which we already feel pretty
comfortable that we will migrate to. But kind of what some of the other people allud
ed to
is, about a year we actually created a Linux server, Linux Exchange using Zimbra, and
some clients using Ubuntu, and looked at doing like an Open Office, basically doing an
Open Source

desktop and
Open Source

servers Unfortunately, for some of the
en
gineering applications that we have, we just did not have a way to mainly do that. So,
we have ended up with a Microsoft desktop, but basically everything else we can do
behind the scenes is in Linux or
Open Source
. We are doing it primarily for cost
savin
gs.


Tom K.:
We ran into the same thing. There are always a number of Windows
-
centric
applications out there that you are not going to get away from. We have got strictly
Ubuntu desktops across the organization. What we have in those cases is we have set
u
p a Windows terminal server. Or in our case, our
PeopleSoft programmers
, and then
for people who run some of our other software that is Windows based, they log in
to a
terminal server, like AutoCAD
, things like that. So we provide them access to a terminal
server within our environment where they can run their Windows apps, but their local
desktop is still an Ubuntu desktop.


Bobby H.:
We have our own software engineers for our own product, and so there is
where the big problem comes in. About 80
%
, or 85 of

the 300 computers that we have,
are engineering computers, and they are all utilizing .N
et

type stuff that we have
developed in house. So that is rea
lly where...


Tom K.:
That goes back to what we discussed earlier. I believe Henry asked, how do
you decid
e when to go to
Open Source
? The real simple answer is, here, we have
always held a guideline that the users have to be able to do their work. If they can do
their work efficiently and functionally in a Linux environment or an
Open Source

environment, we g
o that way. Not all places are going to be like that. I mean, not all
functions work in that environment, so we make the other environments available. But
you have to pick and
choose where you can go
Open Source
, if everybody can do their
job, great, and i
f not, then you have to be flexible. You have to look at it as an overall
model where you plug and play Linux in or
Open Source

or Open Office wherever you
can and still have room for your conditional environment as well.


Moderator
:

Thank you, Tom.

Is
Jeff on?


7

Jeff P
.
:
Yes, I am on. We use
Open Source

at various levels. I do not want to say we
have anything that is just heavily mission
-
critical on it. We have used it, and are
continuing to work toward, replacing things like WebSphere, those type environ
ments.
We do use a Linux operating system where possible, but we are a heavy Windows
environment right now, so you know, we have not put it to a lot of things. But back to the
other question about establishing how you choose to go, that is one of the thing
s that I
am
mishing (
?) with right now, and we are working on a strategy. At least my initial
approach in some of the work that I am doing is, you know, have a lot of different levels
of maturity depending on what space. Like, you talk about a Linux operat
ing system,
that is pretty mature. Open Office, we do use that where people do not really need a
heavy computing environment or strong Word environment, we use that. But the way I
am looking at it is that, through our process here, when we go to pick a sol
ution, we go
to an RFP, we go to, you know, looking at multiple vendors and multiple solutions. My
goal with the strategy will be that, we will identify the different categories, all right, I
would say technology spaces, and kind of rate how strong we thin
k they are and where
we think
--
like for instance, Linux, to me, would be fine to be used in a mission
-
critical
environment. It is just a matter of what you can run on it. So that would be one that we
would rate high and say, it is definitely a viable optio
n to look at in that situation. Then,
work toward building that grid to what level maturity we think the different solutions are
for the different spaces. For instance, we use some
Open Source

code, just where you
bring in some code and you use it and adop
t it as being your own for certain situations
and applications. But then, beyond that, the strategy would be that you look at
Open
Source

as just another solution. Then, like he was saying, based on the needs of you
customers and, you know, how mission
-
cri
tical it is and what kind of support you think
you can provide, then you pick the right solution based on that. You look at the TCO,
and it becomes just another option, just like any other purchased software option.
Anyway, that is the way that we are look
ing at it.


Moderator
:

Thank you, Jeff. I am going to call on a couple more organizations if they
would like to comment. Vincent, are you on?


Vincent Z
.
:
Yes, I am here. Well, we are not doing much, in fact. I think we have a few
servers, you know, just L
AMP servers that we are using for our
R&
D, but we are not
doing much. I think we have a lot of files that we need to exchange with some clients,
and going into an Open Office kind of solution is not going to be easy for us. So I think
on the server side, w
e are mostly working with Oracle and Microsoft servers, ____
change (
?) and all that. I was just wondering what people are doing here, which is nice,
and that is why I wanted to join the call. I do not think we have a lot of internalized
support (
?), I gue
ss. We have a hard time moving to Exchange 2007, so I do not see
how we can move to an
Open Source

email client, etc.


Moderator
:

T
hank you. We hope you get some good information from the call. Finally,
is John on?


John B
.
:
We currently have an initiativ
e where we are building an In Auction system for
securities, and we have taken the decision to do it all through
Open Source
. I think

8

another user mentioned using J
oomla

as a front end piece of that, and so we are
exploring that and then m
ating
it to
essentially

a home grown auction engine that w
ould
be put together with the Joomla

on the front end. So, that is what we are looking at.
Then, we are also considering moving our office to
Open Source

client applications
such as, you know, simple things lik
e switching to Firefox or using Thunderbird or other
Open Source

alternatives, to get away from having a hybrid environment. When I came
on board, they had several Mac users and several Windows users that do not like to
play well together, and so we are ex
ploring the option of trying to move toward clients
that are kind of platform independent. That is where we are.


Moderator
:

Let's
take a poll of p
articipant status using
Open Source
.





TOPIC:
Open Source

for mission
-
critical


Moderator:

We are going to go to Henry's next topic. Should
Open Source

software be
considered as an option for mission
-
critical applications and why?


Henry

B.:
I think a lot of it goes back to the perceived support by committee, or support
by something other than
structured support contract. I think that makes people a little
skittish, particularly for mission
-
critical apps. I sense that the business community would
not be thrilled to know that if they called our help desk for a problem with a mission
-
critical app,

our help desk then gets on Google and tries to find a solution. A little bit
loose as far as a formal support structure.


Bobby H.:
Let me throw in my two cents on this. I agree with you to a point. I think it
depends upon what your mission
-
critical thing

is. For example, in our case, we run our
ERP software on Linux. Our ERP software, of course, is mission
-
critical, because we
are a manufacturing company. So, we actually have a subscription with Red Hat for
service. So, in that particular case
...


Henry B
.:
That is certainly different. We are in the same boat. We are using Linux and
using Red Hat. But beyond that, and that is kind of the poster boy for as structured of a
support environment as you are probably going to find out there for
Open Source
. But
o
thers that are less structured, I think, may make people a little bit nervous, you know,
when there is a problem.


Bobby H.:
Well, and I think that would be unique to you, as far as what do you guys
conside
r your critical apps. For us we utilize Solid Work
s and AutoCAD and for our
engineering that is pretty important. In other companies that probably is not a

9

worthwhile type of application. So I guess it really hinges on what is critical for you guys.
Of course being in the public sector you have a whole bu
nch.


Henry B.:
A county of our size, we are the largest county in the country, and we have
over 10 million constituents.

We have a lot of online


Man:

We beat you in space!
_______

County is the largest county by distance.


Henry B
.
:
By square miles, right? I think we are up to about 10.3 million constituents
and we have a lot of online applications and a lot of
ecommerce
, a lot of ways for
people to get online whether it is vital records or it is tax assessment stuff, so some of
those

things where not only is it a mission critical app because of the functionality but it
is a mission critical app because of the volume. So obviously down time or something
less than structured problem resolution methodologies are risky.


Dan M.:
Once agai
n I will reiterate that you will really need somebody with technical
know how on staff in order to run
Open Source

if you want to have the assuredness that
you are going to be able to find solutions immediately for your issues. If you don’t have
them on st
aff you are going to be in trouble.


Keith C.:
A question for the county there; don’t you have MCS or whatever certified
engineers for Microsoft on staff?


Henry B.:
Yes, there are, on the tech side. Again we are more the strategic side. There
is another
side that is pretty much data center operations and that is where those folks
live.


Keith C.:
It is the same difference, you just swap out the Microsoft certified engineer for
a Linux certified engineer and you are accomplishing the same goal as in house
support. The Microsoft certified engineer in order to get help from Microsoft you may be
on a 24
-
hour standby call in order to get that support. Like Tom has said there are
probably 3
-
5 times the amount in the community out there on Linux support than ther
e
is for specific Microsoft support.


Henry B.:
I think that argument is valid when it comes to Windows verses Linux. I am
not sure that it is as valid when you compare perhaps other COTS or perhaps custom
developed mission critical apps to their
Open Sou
rce

counterparts
.


Moderator
:
I put a poll up folks and four people have taken it.
Open Source

considered
for mission critical apps; yes, no or not sure.






10

Moderator:

Thanks for participating in it.
We

have got most everyone on the web
portion participating with 37% yes, 12.5 no and 50% not sure on that.
Any

more
comments on mission critical before we move on?


AJ
M
.
:

I think one of the other concerns is also
training

and the velocity of change of the
O
pen Source
. It is a completely different business model than the proprietary closed
source software. So we are talking about community based verses proprietary support
and what about the roadmap and the velocity of change?
Open Source

tends to morph
very q
uickly which might be very nerve wracking for C
-
level decision makers.


Keith C.:
I would agree with you in one way but the whole dynamics of the technology
is morph
i
ng into something totally different than it was ten years ago. From a C
-
level
perspective
, I am on a C
-
level perspective, if you aren’t watching and moving with the
changes you are going to be left behind in the dust in another five years.


AJ M.:
I agree; the rate of change has doubled since this last 50 years into the next 50
years.
So a te
chnology generation might be weeks instead of years as it was in the
past. To play devil’s advocate as a local government constituent or a local government
stakeholder what is the fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers for us to decide when
we procure
O
pen Source

verses closed source software?


Henry B.:
I think the argument there, and it is the age old argument when you are
dealing with local government, one is protecting the taxpayer dollars by way of providing
them all of the services and keeping thos
e services up to the degree possible verses
spending the taxpayer dollars in a responsible way. Sometimes these are at odds.


TOPIC: Documented strategy on
Open Source


Moderator
:
Good comments folks. Jeff

has our next topic
. Has anyone had a
document s
trategy for where what, why and how they will use
Open Source

or not? Jeff
you shared a little bit of this in your introduction. This
is

what you are looking for. Is it
documented, something that you can share with other organization on the strategy or a
roadmap?


Keith C.:
I started this with documentation about five years ago on moving that
direction. Again it is a strategy that morphs i
nto something new and different but at that
particular time we were looking at expanding fr
o
m 12 to 1800 computers. When we put
it

down in dollars and cents on a spreadsheet and this was presented to the senior
leaders they took one look at it and said; we

can’t afford not to move to the
Open
Source

environment. Now we are five years down the road. We are saving tremendous
dollars by moving that direction.
Now documentation is five years ago but again it was
noting more than laying out where you are at toda
y, what the costs are and what the
future costs are going to be if you keep moving with your current model.


Jeff P
.
:
What did you use as part of that, and from a financial standpoint obviously I can
only imagine what the spreadsheet looked like, right. Wh
at did you use by way of

11

management and risk mitigation of the traditional risks that are thought about by the C
-
level community when looking at
Open Source
? How did you alleviate the concern?
How did you alleviate the perception?


Keith C.:
Again the perc
eption was that the C
-
leaders had to buy in to our strategy. One
of the biggest things that we had, somebody had mentioned about the trend or the
growth of Open Office. We got into Open Office five years ago when it wasn’t as mature
as it is today. Now peo
ple are looking at it and saying; oh boy, smart decision. We are
there and as most of the
Microsoft

people know that the change from Office XP to Office
7 was a drastic change.
Part of that was training, change management and making sure
that the senior le
aders bought it in and were using it.
Guess

who were the first people to
change in our organization to our new strategy and technology? The C
-
leaders.


Henry B.:
I would say that is probably unusual from an executive standpoint because
typically the techni
cal leaders aren’t going to want their C
-
level folks being on the
bleeding edge if you are trying something new.
My

question was more along the lines of
if we looked back yes it happened that you were successful. How did you get people on
board? Most good
decisions require some level of risk. How did you get people,
decision makers, to buy off on that level of risk?


Bobby H.:
When we looked at ours it really c
a
me down to kind of a dollars and cents
and where it makes sense. I will give you two examples. O
ne is we did look at Open
Office really hard. It was eventually decided not to go with it but the whole thing was
doll
ars and cents. If we can share $400 per desktop from upgrading then that is just the
licensing costs. You times that by 300 computers. Now

you are talking about hard
figures and the C
-
level guys look at that. If they are willing to say; we can get Open
Office for free verses this and it does everything that we want it to do. So that is one
way. Another approach is based on what you are repl
acing it with. For example we are
looking at going to Google Mail from Exchange 2003.
We

know we have to upgrade one
way or another. We built our spreadsheets and ____ the cost and effect. The biggest
thing though as a positive of going to Google, not only was there a cost savings per
user over a five year period but we honestly don’t have a
clean disaster recovery
strategy. That is something that we are actually working on now for email. So if your
email server went down we are totally out of the water.
They saw that as kind of a fix, if
you will, for the disaster recovery. So to them there w
as even more value from the
disaster recovery perspective because we didn’t have to build more servers up and put
them in our co
-
location and all of those sorts of things. When a disaster occurred we
didn’t have to have people work on email first. Now we a
re working on our other critical
apps. So it kind of took that out o the equation.


Keith C.:
I would agree with you. As we looked at the whole split of what we were doing
email was a portion of everything else that we were doing. So two choices were being
made. What were we going to use for email; we chose Google Mail probably about four
years ago

and moved everything to Google Mail. That alleviated a whole bunch of
hassle on the back end back
-
ups, the disaster recovery and everything. Then the other
strategy by moving to the Open Office product, that would run in a Linux environment.

12

By utilizing
again one of the
Open Source

products, I have heard it mentioned, we are
using Ubuntu 10.4 for servers and Ubuntu 10.10 for desktops. It is fantastic with very
little downtime. It just performs. For those of you that want to get your feet wet, grab an
old
computer someplace, download and install Ubuntu 10.10 and see what
it

will do for
you.


Moderator
:
Thanks Keith. Well Jeff, I don’t know if you are still on.
Is

there anything
that you want to add before I move on?


Jeff P.:
The only thing that I would a
sk for that is what I would really want more about
would be an in the different spaces I was discussing earlier like you have got a certain
rating for _____, certain maturity level for Open Office, a certain maturity level for the
different WebSphere repla
cements and things like that.
Does

anybody have
a
maturity
level rating of the different spaces and different tools that they use or their experiences?
Anything that they want to share along those lines would be good.


Moderator
:
Great.


AJ M.:
I just sh
ared a link with the presenter, a terrific article in today’s Datamation. It is
called “
50
Open Source

Apps for use in the Cloud
.” You may want to take a look at it.
It

is a really good article for reference.


Moderator
:
Thanks AJ. I will make sure that l
ink is in the transcript. It is Cloud
http://bitly.gih. I will make sure that I have it.


http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/arti
cle.php/3914336/50
-
Open
-
Source
-
Apps
-
You
-
Can
-
Use
-
in
-
the
-
Cloud.htm


AJ M.:
I used a URL shortener because it was such a long URL. I didn’t want to
overwhelm you with it.


Keith C.:
As we mentioned Google again the perception of having this wonderful secure
system that is never going to break or you have supports to, we have been using
Google for four years. It has changed probably a couple dozen times in that four years
with very few hiccups in the Google environment. It is the same thing for our private
clo
ud. We have changed the system several times. We

upgraded Open Office several
times on that system. We basically have 10 blades. We stick an image out there and
reboot the systems.
It

is all run in the new image.


Moderator
:
Thank you Keith. Anyone specif
ic to what Jeff was asking about? OK Jeff, I
am going to move us on to Kevin.


TOPIC:
Candidates for
Open Source

transition


Moderator:

If you are first trying to identify candidates for
Open Source

transition would
you attempt the transition of an entir
e stack to replace another proprietary stack or

13

perhaps target specific apps? You bring up some examples of patching on an existing
OS as a strategy.


Kevin
R
.:
We aren’t using
Open Source

at all right now.
We

are basically trying to figure
out a strategy of how we approach it, of what would be good candidates for transition
over to
Open Source

if we found something that looked like it made sense, you know
some people suggested maybe using
Open Source

applicati
on that would run on
multiple operating systems as a way to ease into it.
We

are all
Windows

right now.
So

basically how do people approach this rather than just go whole hog and hope that it
works.


Bobby H.:
What we did
similarly

to what it sounds like y
ou are trying to do is we kind of
picked off the layers. We attacked the things that IT had direct control over you we
started out with our web servers. Then we started working on our servers, our non
-
critical servers first, and kind of pieced together and

learned the knowledge there. Then
from there we migrated into all of the servers and then looking at desktops and things
like that. So we kind of migrated, started out small and then kind of the snowball rolled
down the hill and got bigger and bigger as i
t went down the hill.


Moderator
:
Kevin, where would you like to be able to start?


Kevin R.:
I don’t know. We were looking at some simple things. We are doing some
wiki internally, for instance, that might be a good place to start. We can run that on the
Windows

servers so that way the current platform guys don’t have the windows ____
start runnin
g wiki services and then we can probably replace the operating system on
their _____ for instance. Thoughts like that or some people are looking at content
management systems internally for some of our internal _____ as a way to get into it.


AJ M.:
Again

the article that I shared has a lot of information on different applications
by, I guess, layers if you will. It includes wikis, collaboration, content management and
so forth. Certainly if you have some executive sponsorship to start some
Open Source

pro
jects it could probably avalanche to something greater.


Kevin R.:
We do have that opening right now so I figured I would take advantage.


TOPIC: Interaction between your organization and
Open Source

community


Moderator
:
Getting the support on that product via the
Open Source

community or
sharing with the
Open Source

community and how that works from a security
perspective? Those are conversations that I know members have had in the past.
Comments please?


Dan M.
:

We are d
eveloping and we are going to deploy a Joomla
I
nternet here. I went
out and found a local user group and I joined up with them. One of their members
actually co
-
authored the O’ Reilly book on Joomla. So I got the security tips from him for
building a nice
secure Joomla server. I also got a lot of tips form that group on what I

14

need to do to ensure a successful deployment of Joomla. So I bring that back and then I
go to the stakeholders with that information and we deploy from there.
That is usually
how I do

it. I find the community and I go to them. Then I make that bridge.


AJ M.:
I think you hit the nail right on the head. It is all about networking and tapping
into this
community

of users that are in your jurisdiction or close to you and sharing
informati
on exchange with them on best practices and so forth, doing a meet
-
up of
some kind and bringing those people together on a recurring basis where you can share
informational experiences and things of that nature. It is very rich.


TOPIC:
Open Source

for i
nternally developed applications


Moderator
:
Great points thank you. Richard has the next topic.
Has

anyone
Open
Source
d any internally developed apps?
If

so are they using repositories like

gi
t
h
ub or
Google, that would be a hosting resource I believe, or

are they hosting the source code
internally? Also what
Open Source

license are you using? Is anyone using
github
?
I
hadn’t heard of
github
. I am sure others on certainly have. Why is it so quiet?


https://github.com/


Keith C.:
From the GPL licensing standards out there a lot of major companies have
been behind some of the
Open Source

products that we have used. For instance
Canonical is behind Ubuntu. Oracle was behind the Open Office product. Usually what
they will do

is they will try to tap into those environments to build stuff out there. There
are other people that are building little clip
-
ons out there such a G
-
labels or little
programs that will run inside of our environment which are really nice. But for us to si
t
down and say; we are going to develop something and put it back in the community, we
are users. I guess we are takers; we are not givers at this point. We just don’t have the
resources to do any development.


Dan M.:
To piggyback on that we do a little
bit of development is just for in house so we
don’t really give it out to the community. Like we have built a ticket request system for
IT purchases and things like that when people want
to

purchase from the IT department.
That was all built off of a lamp

stack so we do a little bit of development in house. We
aren’t not at t
he

point where we would be willing to share that with anybody else.


Moderator
:

Dan, do you think that is pretty common for most folks? Who is out there
giving out in the
Open Source

world? Are they more in the education arena or different
industries?


Keith C.:
As you look at the titles and the names people are out there trying to make a
name for themselves so they are developing little apps, little add
-
ons. For instance if
you go out into OpenOffice.org you can see otx
-
es that hundreds of people have built
and a
re trying to get their name out there and simply say; oh we built this little add on
that you can download and install. It is kind of like a little macro. They work quite well
but again somebody is probably trying to build a name for themselves.


15

Moderator
:
W
ho would like to bring up another topic?


TOPIC:
Open Source

and Linux


Keith C.:
I submitted one. I just submitted it.
It

was talking about Asterisk which is an
Open Source

environment for VoIP systems.
That

is OK. Time is running short here but
one of the things that I want to mention about
Open Source

and Linux, and I will let Dan
address this, is the technology growth in this environment is going to
supersede

a lot of
the stuff in any other environment tha
t is happening in the Linux kernel that is being
developed. Dan, do you want to talk about this latest development?


Dan M.:
Just recently somebody from the community developed a patch for the Linux
kernel that has significantly improved its use of multip
le core processors for the desktop
user. It is going to be kind of a game changer. They are going to release it with the new
kernel, the patch that is coming out.
So

that is going to be something to really look
forward to. It is night and day the differenc
e that you will see as you do multiple tasks
and how it uses the multiple cores, the different processors. Another thing to add on too,
as far as the
Open Source

goes I graduated college about six years ago from the
University of Omaha Nebraska here. We we
re really pushing
Open Source

at the
university at the time that I graduated. So I look at it like this; the more people that are
graduating from environments where they are pushing
Open Source

form the
professors down to the students, the more people that

are going to be going out into the
career field that are going to be looking for these kinds of solutions verses a more
traditional IBM,
Microsoft

platform kind of solution.


AJ M.:
Yes, I agree with you the educational institutions are very big on
Open S
ource
,
probably because of budgetary reasons and that kind of thing, a more progressive
attitude towards technology. There might be an intergenerational play here as well.
This

is the first time in history that three generations are working side by side. Y
ou have got
millennials, X’ers and boomers. Their take on software and software development might
be completely different. Where the millennials might be embracing
Open Source

and
the decision making boomers might be more into the traditional paradigm of s
oftware
acquisition and so forth.


Dan M.:
I totally agree with you.


Moderator
:
Great points.


Keith C.:
Well I am a non
-
traditionalist. I am an old boomer that is pushing the edge.


Moderator
:
Keep pushing, Keith! You keep us on our toes.






16

TOPIC:
Open Source

VoIP phone system


Keith C.:
I

submitted the topic on Asterisk which is a VoIP phone system. Is anybody
using Asterisk or have you added on to Asterisk or do you know anything about
Asterisk?


ht
tp://www.asterisk.org/


Moderator
:
Is it pretty new Keith?


Keith C.:
No, it is really an old
Open Source

product and actually several companies
have taken Asterisk and used it as their base. Cisco is using Asterisk as their base VoIP
system.


Bobby H.:
I have actually used the first versions of five on Cisco VoIP. In a previous life
we were one of the early adopters of the Linux Cisco VoIP and it worked wonderfully. I
haven’t used it in probably four or five years now.


Moderator
:
You might be someone t
o talk to offline in a little bit more detail for you
Keith. Would that be all right Bobby?


Bobby H.:
Yes ma’am.


Keith C.:
I know at the Omaha roundtable there was a company here that was using
Cisco. They had stated that they are going to quit using Cis
co and move back just to the
Asterisk infrastructure.


AJ M.:
Here we use Mitel. That decision was made pretty much before I came on
board. That is what we
have

stuck with.


Keith C.:
If you Google Asterisk VoIP system you will see hundreds of hits.


AJ M.:
Right now we are looking at deploying a new phone system to replace our
analog phone system at our main corporate office here.
We

are looking at many
different options, Asterisk being one of them and Cisco being another. We are just trying
to find t
he pitfalls and the total cost of ownership of which one we are going to end up
picking in the end.


Bobby H.:
We have looked at Mitel, Shoretel, Cisco and Avaya for our VoIP system.
This goes back three years. Cisco really hinges on your rep, how far the
y want the
business. At that time our rep wasn’t very good so that is why Cisco lost to Mitel. The
rep that I have now
,

she would give it away free just to get Mitel out of here.


Dan M.:
We were looking at Alexander open systems for the Cisco deployment.

The
Asterisk deployment obviously would be in house. We have five Linux technicians that
are very knowledgeable on staff and we are going to have two Cisco people that are

17

very knowledgeable. I think you really need those two as a basis if you are going t
o do
any kind of Asterisk deployment. Then we were thinking about official Asterisk training
certification for maybe two staff if we were going to go that route. I haven’t been able to
decide which is cheaper yet. It is more expensive to deploy the Cisco v
ersion but I don’t
know, management
-
wise in the end which one is going to be the least expensive TCO.


http://www.aos5.com/


Bobby H.:
They really nail you on the licensing.


Keith C.:
I think what they do is they hit
you with the support costs later on which really
kills you. They are up to 20
-
25% of the base cost every year after
that in incremental
value
.
So you pay for the system about every four years.


Dan M.:
Yes and if you make any significant changes in the Cisco arena you have to
rebuy everything too.


Moderator
:
Thanks again for participating today.


End of discussion.




























Copyright 2010, by NOREX, Inc.


5505 Cottonwood Lane


Prior Lake, MN 55372 The opinions expressed in
this NORVIEW are those of NOREX members, not necessarily those of NOREX, Inc.


18

Member
Open Source

Gold Nuggets


H
ow
Keith C., Tom K., Dan M.’s organization is using Open Source.



Interesting discussions in

general
. The link provided.

http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3914336/50
-
Open
-
Source
-
Apps
-
You
-
Can
-
Use
-
in
-
the
-
Cloud
.htm



That organizations have found been able to justify various
Open Source

solutions as a
responsible direction for mission
-
critical systems.