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

Opera Data Breach, Security of Personal Data

  • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen
    Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.
  • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules
    Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked. But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer. And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

Android Leftovers

FOSS and Linux Events

  • On speaking at community conferences
    Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.
  • TPM Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016
    Although trusted platform modules (TPMs) have been the subject of some controversy over the years, it is quite likely that they have important roles to play in preventing firmware-based attacks, protecting user keys, and so on. However, some work is required to enable TPMs to successfully play these roles, including getting TPM support into bootloaders, securely distributing known-good hashes, and providing robust and repeatable handling of upgrades. In short, given the ever-more-hostile environments that our systems must operate in, it seems quite likely that much help will be needed, including from TPMs. For more details, see the TPM Microconference wiki page.
  • More translations added to the SFD countdown
    Software Freedom Day is celebrated all around the world and as usual our community helps us to provide marketing materials in their specific languages. While the wiki is rather simple to translate, the Countdown remains a bit more complicated and time consuming to localize. One needs to edit the SVG file and generate roughly a 100 pictures, then upload them to the wiki. Still this doesn’t scare the SFD teams around the world and we are happy to announce three more languages are ready to be used: French, Chinese and German!

Second FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Restores Support for 'nat global' in IPFW

Glen Barber from the FreeBSD project announced the availability of the second RC (Release Candidate) development build of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system. Read more