> Quoting Paul Mc Auley (paul at peema.org):
>> > Palace coup? It's worth remembering that quite frequently the directive is
> > handed down from on high. The people who make the decision are frequently
> > not the same people who will have to maintain it.
>> Almost always, in fact. There's an art to presenting properly
> documentation of alternatives so as to guide management, and most
> technical people never even try to master it. Therefore, they fall into
> a default condition of being implementation serfs -- IT janitors.
_Someone_ in IT has to put a proposal to "management". It is not the cleaning lady who is asked, though it seems at times that at least she would put a proposal forward. IT often just kick it out to consultants.
Except in a crazy firm, "management" do not like making decisions on something they know nothing about.
> > | 1. In its new-ish Windows Small Business Server 2003 incarnation, it
> > | now Sucks Less<tm>, being fairly competitively priced and (reportedly)
> > I find myself wondering what exactly this means, is it just that the
> > pricing is rather more iceberg like with the bulk of the cost lurking
> > just out of sight in the form of CALs and license renewal?
>> I've heard that it's fairly compelling, actually -- assuming you regard
> control of your IT infrastructure as being of no value.
I wonder how often the alternatives are actually costed properly?
> This is why the ultimate winning argument isn't that Linux and open
> source are cheaper, nor that it's more reliable, nor that it's more
> secure. Microsoft Corp. and other proprietary-software vendors can at
> least make a case for their offerings in each of those areas, sufficient
> to maintain market share. The larger point is control. See:
> "Effective Advocacy" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Linux_PR>> > | 2. Because the executives are MS-Outlook addicts, and nothing else
> > | integrates as thoroughly with MS-Outlook than does MS-Exchange Server.
> > The frequent requirement is for a mail client with little or no evident
> > learning curve.
>> I'm tired of hearing this bogus argument, and long ago FAQed it, thus:
>http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#tactical-stupidity>> Please note: I'm not complaining about you posting it. You're quite
> right that one hears incessantly about the "training costs" of switching
> to a different but functionally equivalent e-mail system with
> near-indistinguishable graphical client software, or a different "office
> suite", etc.
To be fair to Microsoft, they sent out IBM's book on designing GUI interfaces with every copy of Windows SDK 3.0. This literally spelled out to every programmer how to implement GUIs consistently - most Windows applications had consistent GUIs, and provided they were followed, there was little of a learning curve even between different types of applications.
Anyone who uses Autocad infrequently (which does not follow the Windows guidelines) bitches about how hard it is to use.
> But it's corporate drivel: All of us who've worked in business for a
> number of years have gone through multiple occasions where we were
> suddenly called upon to use different (but still commodity-type)
> business software (either within a firm or upon arriving somewhere new),
> and, once we determined that the company _was_ going that direction and
> we could either adapt or get fired, we decided the former was
>> And guess what? All graphical e-mail clients commonly found in
> companies are basically about the same, just as all popular office
> suites commonly found in companies. Using basic functionality in a
> second one, after you've learned any one, doesn't take a "learning
> curve". The people who talk about that, as an objection to a proposed
> change, are implicitly saying "I think the company may not be committed
> to this proposal, and that I can sink it (to indulge my personal
> preferences) if I complain loudly enough about the supposed cost to my
>> A sensible boss would say "I know you'd rather not learn to use a
> different piece of software, but that's what we're going to do, at this
> point. If you feel you can't be productive with the new program, let me
> know, and we'll see if we can get somebody else."
A better boss would show them a few key tricks that the application had, which would enhance the staff's inbuilt love of change. People like change, they just fear the unknown. The classic behavioural experiment was productivity going up in a factory when the lighting level was increased, but gradually dropping back to the original level; the lighting level was returned to the original level, and productivity again went back up.
Is it the training departments trying to ensure their existence?
> > There's also a degree of inertia, if somebody is used to O or OE, they
> > don't want to have to get to grips with something new.
Wrong, they don't like boredom, but they fear they may not be able to deal with the new application because no-one told them it was easy-peasy, or showed their shop steward (or whatever representative) the application in use.
> > 5. The fully integrated shared everythingness of it all.
>> This is what I was getting at in point #2, but yes.
At the user level, they may like a public email address book (which does not need Exchange) but want their own private email address book and do NOT like someone setting meetings for them or even knowing what meetings they themselves have scheduled.
Integrated at the application level is another matter: they like a single name for the proposed email system, like "Exchange", and don't like postfix + Cyrus + Sophos etc., so you have to lie and tell them it is called "Linux" (one reason why I suspect Apache is an easy sell).
> > 6. Easier to get the staff.
>> And to need it. ;->
>> > 7. Support.
>> Very funny.
Their pet nightmare, when they assess the life expectancy of their IT guy reeking of drink & smoke after POTD
> > In these times of watching the bottom line, the best weapon is to turn the
> > TCO gun on MSX and come up with some per/head/annum costs....
>> As mentioned, I think that's not at all the right argument.
Ciaran, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
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