Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Linux Gets Hawaii's Records House in Order

Filed under
Linux

Lester Nakamura tries to pride himself on always keeping an open mind. But when he went searching for a long-term solution to the state of Hawaii's bookkeeping needs, Nakamura said he quickly concluded that an open-source system was the only choice.

Up to that time-in 2002-the state's Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs had labored under a financial analysis program called FAMIS (Family Accounting and Management Information System)-a rickety COBOL application that could generate only a fixed set of budgetary reports, which were updated monthly and then printed out for state officials for review.

Reports routinely took weeks to assemble. If anyone requested a nonstandard report, a COBOL programmer had to write a new program to generate it.

In a state that prides itself for service and hospitality, "this was not a user-friendly system," said Nakamura, administrator for Hawaii's Information and Communication Services Division, in Honolulu.

In 2002, exasperated state officials turned to the Linux operating system to change that. They wanted all budget and expenditure data in one data mart, with a front-end application that lets users download data to their PCs and crunch numbers as they see fit.

Moreover, they did not want to shackle themselves for another decade or so to a proprietary system such as FAMIS. An open-source platform would offer stability yet still evolve with the state's needs.

"We wanted to use as much of the resources as we already had in place, and where we had to buy infrastructure we wanted it to be as economical as possible," said Wayne Sasaki, a branch manager in the Department of Accounting and General Services who worked on the project with Nakamura. "So we started talking about Linux. The goal with Linux was cost."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

In wake of Anonabox, more crowdsourced Tor router projects make their pitch

Last week, Ars reported on the story of Anonabox, an effort by a California developer to create an affordable privacy-protecting device based on the open source OpenWRT wireless router software and the Tor Project’s eponymous Internet traffic encryption and anonymization software. Anonabox was pulled from Kickstarter after accusations that the project misrepresented its product and failed to meet some basic security concerns—though its developers still plan to release their project for sale through their own website. But Anonabox’s brief campaign on Kickstarter has demonstrated demand for a simple, inexpensive way to hide Internet traffic from prying eyes. And there are a number of other projects attempting to do what Anonabox promised. On Kickstarter competitor Indiegogo there’s a project called Invizbox that looks almost identical to Anonabox—except for the approach its team is taking to building and marketing the device. Read more

Debian Now Defaults To Xfce On Non-x86 Desktops

Back in September Debian switched back to the GNOME desktop by default in place of Xfce for the upcoming Debian 8.0 "Jessie" release. However, as of today, the non-x86 versions of Debian have flip-flopped once again back to Xfce. Debian switched back to GNOME in September over reasons dealing with accessibility, systemd integration, and other factors when seeing what was the best fit to be the default for Debian 8 Jessie. However, now for platforms aside from x86 and x86_64, Xfce has returned to the default over poor experiences in using the GNOME Shell. Read more

Phoenix Is Trying To Be An Open Version Of Apple's Swift

Apple unveiled the Swift programming language at this year's WWDC event but sadly it's still not clear whether Apple will "open up" the language to let it appear on non-Apple platforms. Swift is built atop LLVM and designed to be Apple's successor to Objective-C in many regards while suppoorting C/Obj-C/Obj-C++ all within a single program. With non-Apple folks being interested in the language, it didn't take long before an open-source project started up around it. Ind.ie has today announced their Phoenix project that aims to be a free and open version of Apple's Swift programming language. The work is being led by Greg Casamento who is also the leader of GNUStep, the common open-source implementation of Apple's Cocoa frameworks. Read more

Google Chromebook quietly takes aim at the enterprise

Google's Chromebook is a cheap alternative to a more expensive Windows or Mac PC or laptop, but up until recently it lacked any specific administrative oversight tools for enterprise IT. While IT might have liked the price tag, they may have worried about the lack of an integrated tool suite for managing a fleet of Chromebooks. That's changed with release of Chromebook for Work, a new program designed to give IT that control they crave for Chromebooks. Read more