Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Microsoft contract win put down to Linux skills shortage

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft

Microsoft may find a monopoly on developers will help it maintain its grip on the software market in the face of Linux alternatives.

Redmond is currently touting the roll-out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) of Microsoft's server and back-end technology in its e-commerce driven online portal as a win over Linux, the platform on which the site originally ran.

But Richard Carlson, Head of Business Systems, RICS, said that the decision to go with Microsoft was taken very early on before the job was put out to tender - on the basis that RICS' in-house developers were in the main Microsoft coders.

'There was no religious argument that we went through,' said Carlson. 'As the head of IT I had to make an objective strategic decision.

'Really it was down to we had a lack of skills in-house. We have very good Microsoft skills, but with Linux we were less comfortable.

We had to ask whether our developers can do this under Linux? Do they want this technology? How does it affect their career development?

Carlson said he saw the site upgrade as starting from the ground up and that there was no sense of eschewing Linux in favour of Microsoft: the tender for the contract went out on the understanding the systems would be Microsoft-based in the first place.

He described the original site as a 'brochure' site: a single point solution that simply hosted information for others to view with 'everything in one pot'.

But the new site is vastly more complicated - including contextual areas or zones where users have access to different services depending on their status, complex information gathering tools linked in with Microsoft back-end systems, and e-commerce facilities - essentially to sell RICS books and conference tickets.

Microsoft Commerce Server 2002 and Content Management Server 2002 handle front end processes and content. These have been linked into back-office systems, using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004

'There were two main functions [for the new site]. One, we needed the provision of monitoring and managing information, and two, our commercial activities. Also we needed to be able to integrate these into our back end systems,' said Carlson.

Existing back end systems were already built using Microsoft SQL 2000 in the main - another reason for the early decision to go with Microsoft for the online system.

Nick McGrath, head of platform strategy for Microsoft in the UK, said to expect a strong dominance of Microsoft-skilled programmers in the future too: 'Most go where there is a mainstream of code,' he said, and described Linux as an 'exceptionally complex technology'.

This could prove a barrier to Linux adoption in the public sector which is being heavily targeted by Linux vendors but which is traditionally a Microsoft shop. Although attracted by access to code and the economic efficiencies of moving to 'free' software due to limited budgets, they may think twice when it comes to adopting new technologies with which their in-house developers are uncomfortable.

Matt Whipp at pcpro.

More in Tux Machines

Linux 3.16.y.z extended stable support

The Ubuntu kernel team is pleased to announce that we will be providing extended stable support for the Linux 3.16 kernel until April 2016 as a third party effort maintained on our infrastructure. The team will pick up stable maintenance where Greg KH left off with v3.16.7 [1]. Thank you, Greg. In addition to the Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" release, the Debian 8 "Jessie" release will also be based on this kernel [2]. Since the regular support for "Jessie" will go beyond April 2016, after this date Ben Hutchings (or myself) will continue the Linux 3.16 kernel maintenance. Read more

Linux accessory adds web access to dumb cameras

Lumera Labs is aiming to Kickstarter an open source Linux camera attachment for one-click transfers to the cloud via WiFi, plus GPS tagging, HDR, and 3D. We’ve seen a number of pricey, Internet-ready smart cameras, such as the $1,200, Android-based Samsung Galaxy NX, but what if you’re rather fond of your high-quality dumb camera, but wish it was instantly connected to the web? Montreal startup Lumera Labs aims to fill this need with an open source camera attachment called the Lumera that can “support and hold any kind of camera with any type of lens,” thereby providing one-click uploads to web services. Read more

Meet systemd, the controversial project taking over a Linux distro near you

If Linus Torvalds doesn’t have any big issues with the design of systemd, perhaps it’s not all bad. If you’d like a calm look at why a Linux distribution might want to go with systemd, Debian’s systemd discussion document is good reading. Read more

GNOME 3.15.1

GNOME development continues apace; here is the first snapshot of the GNOME 3.15 development cycle, the 3.15.1 release. To compile GNOME 3.15.1, you can use the jhbuild [1] modulesets [2] (which use the exact tarball versions from the official release). [1] http://library.gnome.org/devel/jhbuild/ [2] http://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.15.1/ The release notes that describe the changes between 3.14.1 and 3.15.1 are available. Go read them to learn what's new in this release: core - http://download.gnome.org/core/3.15/3.15.1/NEWS apps - http://download.gnome.org/apps/3.15/3.15.1/NEWS The GNOME 3.15.1 release is available here: core sources - http://download.gnome.org/core/3.15/3.15.1 apps sources - http://download.gnome.org/apps/3.15/3.15.1 Read more