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Tax collects Linux for open source analytics

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Despite its strong ties to proprietary software vendors, the Australian Taxation Office has finally dipped its toes into open source by establishing a Linux-based system for information analytics.

Tax has had a Teradata warehouse for 10 years but the change program initiated by chief knowledge officer Philip Hind in November last year is a "series of activities to enhance the ATO's ability to collect and analyse data", assistant commissioner of information management John Body told Computerworld.

As a result the ATO invested in Teradata's Warehouse Miner, SAS Enterprise Miner, and hired CSIRO's principal computer scientist for enterprise data mining Dr Graham Williams who pioneered open source analytics for organizations like the Health Insurance Commission and NRMA.

Tax implemented the system in March and now has a number of open source products for analytics running on a Debian GNU/Linux stand-alone server. A spokesperson for the ATO said part of the advantage of the GNU/Linux environment is that it ships with a large collection of basic tools that interoperate, like Emacs, Vim, Perl and cvs.

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