A departement moving to Linux...

Merrill Oveson moveson at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 23:02:38 MST 2006

The LDS Church!
I told Eric Deena in 2002 that the church should install Linux for all
its units (wards and branches).
I told him it could save billions in software costs, he said "Well billions,
probably not, but millions, ok."
(All the clerks need is openOffice, the rest is custom programmed from the
church MIS/FIS.)
At which point, I stared at him blankly, as if to say, "Ok, then let's save
Maybe that day is soon at hand.

On another note....
Some time back when I was the financial clerk and the new FIS software was
about to be released....
I sent in an email requesting that the new software be based around an
RDBMS, i.e. mysql or postgres and that default port be changed.
Then those who understood sql could get a prompt on the new port and query
the database themselves without having to rely on the front-end reports.
Those who didn't understand the port or sql wouldn't have a clue as to what
this meant so they couldn't go in anyway.
Lastly, the database user would only be given read privs.
With the old system too many times I had to count by hand in order to give
the bishop the information he wanted.

Alas, I was released before I ever got to see the new system.  As I
understand it, it is not based on an RDBMS.  correct?

One vision of mine is that the unit systems would be one that functioned
like an information appliance based on linux.  The church would set up the
entire computer then ship it to the units, at this point the unit would
merely need to plug it in.

Another vision, is one where the computers don't store any information on
the unit computer but instead rely on the church's central computers and
communicate via a super secure internet connection.  Possible?
(So many times, I had to mail letters all across the globe to people who had
changed wards, which letters contained all monetary contributions made by
that individual while in our ward.  As if I wasn't busy enough!  When I was
released I had forgotten what it was like to attend sunday school and
priesthood.  And it was nice to be able to go home after church and enjoy
the holidays.  The clerks now say things are much much better!)


On 2/17/06, Bryan Sant <bryan.sant at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/17/06, Doran L. Barton <fozz at iodynamics.com> wrote:
> > All in all, this is a major landmark accomplishment and I applaud the
> > company. Who is the company?
> The LDS Church -> FCH Division -> Engineering Department.  About 110
> engineers.
> > I'm curious why the company chose SUSE over other distributions. How
> much
> > control will the IT team have over what is installed on these systems
> and
> > whether or not software updates are applied?
> The Church has always been friendly to Novell and IBM.  IBM and Novell
> have a psudo partnership with Linux.  Choosing SLES was the natural
> choice (this was done before I even worked here).  Since we're using
> SLES, we might as well use SUSE right?  And the rest is history.
> Aside from that though, SUSE/SLES has serious local corporate support
> -- and big organizations (the LDS Church is the largest employer in
> Utah) like that.
> Like many here, I cut my teeth on Redhat.  So it's hard for me to see
> SLES as anything other than Redhat done wrong.  Seriously though, I
> have major complaints with SLES out of the box (I'll save that for
> another post).
> > I'm sure the decision to do it this way is rooted in IT management -
> people
> > who don't want to deal with managing a diversified heterogeneous
> network. In
> > the past, whenever I've wanted to run Linux on my desktop at a company,
> the
> > IT people have always been quick to say, "Do what you want... but don't
> > expect any support from us!"
> Typically IT management comes to me when they have problems with
> Linux, so I'm not worried about them saying, "We won't support your
> setup".  OK.  If they *did*, that would be infinite recursion...  We'd
> run out of stack space and the universe would segfault :-).
> > Again, I think it all comes back to resource management. The IT
> department
> > probably does not want the responsibility of maintaining lots of
> different
> > machines running different operating systems.
> This is true, but they've been supporting Windows thus far anyway.
> You are right toughy -- It will reduce complexity (and thus cost) to
> focus on Linux only.
> > This is precisely why most Linux vendors are excited about the corporate
> > desktop. For what _most_ people do, Linux works well and it's definitely
> > easier to manage from an IT perspective.
> Right.  Just for the curious, the major components in our world are:
> GroupWise, IntelliJ, CVS, and OOo.  Because these things work equally
> well on Windows and Linux, the transition was super easy.  I pitty
> those who are moving away from more entrenched environments.
> -Bryan
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