| Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 11:58:42 +0100
| From: Ken Guest <ilug at ken.guest.cx>
|[ ... ]
| I'd emphasise the other advantages of FOSS:
|[ ... ]
| 2// no forced upgrades - get to choose your own upgrade
| cycles (both hardware and software)
I'm not disagreeing with Ken's point, but please allow me
to present what the company I work could claim to be a
at present, most of our servers are Debian 3.0 on Dell kit
of about the same vintage; i.e., it all dates back to c.1999.
the reason for the old s/w is the IT guys _refuse_ to install
anything which isn't in Debian stable. (there is, b.t.w.,
not much evidence security/recommended Patches are regularly
applied; i.e., much of the s/w is still original 3.0 stuff.
one specific case I know they refused to install a security
patch because it called "beta" and not in Debian stable.)
the servers are going to be upgraded to Sarge (Debian 3.1),
now that it is Debian stable. however, IT have sold the
management the claim “the h/w cannot run it“ — and so some
new servers are being purchased. at least to me it seems
highly likely that claim is B*S* and what the problem really
is is that on-site support of the h/w is now very expensive?
conclusion? well, you can either think of this as faulty
analysis (conflating h/w support with the s/w's h/w
requirements); or the IT guys just want new kit to play with
(I hope that isn't the case!); or — perhaps most likely? —
that as h/w ages. the support costs eventually mean new h/w
is cheaper ... which sounds like a “forced upgrade” (of h/w).
then, the old age of the s/w presents its own problems.
e.g., last I checked (admittedly a _long_ time ago!),
I was unable to find a pre-built version of FireFox which
ran on Debian 3.0 (at least as installed at the company);
and I cringe at the thought of trying to build it. (I can
go and on about the problems/hassles this ancient s/w causes,
but this posting is long enough as it is .... and my keyboard
is acting up! ;-\ )
speculation? well, if you don't keep the s/w broadly up-to-
date (which doesn't mean cutting edge; e.g., my system at home
is still SUSE 9.1 and I don't yet see a reason to upgrade, but
I do regularly apply the key patches), then eventually a point
is reached where using improved/better (not necessarily new)
s/w becomes a very serious hassle. this also sounds like a
“forced upgrade” (of s/w).
OTOH, the upgrading is essentially at the time of the
company's own chosing, which is precisely Ken's point.
again, I am not disagreeing with anything Ken has said.
nor am I condoning the way the infrastructure at the company
I work for is run; I think there are some serious questions
about the policies (at the very least). but, the point is,
people can and do get into situations when using FLOSS which
at least smell like “forced upgrade” of h/w and/or s/w.
| Ken Guest
| Irish Linux Users' Group webmaster, www.linux.ie
| Mobile: +353 86 8252 141
Experienced (20+ yrs) kernel/software Eng: | Brian Foster Montpellier,
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