A departement moving to Linux...
smorrey at gmail.com
Sat Feb 18 00:50:35 MST 2006
@The comment on MIS/FIS my uncle is one of the developers for that
software. I have been trying to evangelize linux to him for several
years now. Sadly I can't seem to get him to take the plunge.
That new software BTW is based around FoxBase and the old stuff was
based around DBase III or IV, IIRC.
On 2/18/06, Michael Torrie <torriem at chem.byu.edu> wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-02-17 at 23:02 -0700, Merrill Oveson wrote:
> > 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."
> I beg to differ with that sentiment. In 2002, and even at this very
> moment I think that switching all the units to linux might save money up
> front, but cost more in the long run. Maybe I can organize a few
> coherent thoughts below.
> > (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
> > millions."
> > Maybe that day is soon at hand.
> I can think of several advantages that Linux would have for the church
> in this situation:
> - Lower up-front-cost
> - Ability to easily remote-administer. One admin could potentially
> administer 1000 linux boxes easily.
> - Less worry about viruses and worms
> I can also think of several disadvantages:
> - Not every unit is networked. Many are dial-up. This pretty much
> eliminates any chance of remote administration
> - They'd need to hire quite a few linux admins.
> - Because of the fact that units aren't always on-line, the church
> would need to really have local linux experts on tap. While I'm sure
> there are many here in Provo, it gets a little more sparse the farther
> out you get. Whereas pretty much every ward clerk's son can probably
> re-install or fix windows (I use the term "fix" extremely loosely). So
> while windows know-how is arguably lower-quality, it is available in
> much higher quantities. Since this is the church we're talking about,
> labor is essentially free out in the units.
> > 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.
> I think the data is considered a little too sensitive (confidential) to
> give you this kind of thing.
> > 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.
> Wasn't the old MIS and FIS systems actually based on a relational
> database engine? I can't remember the name of the engine but it was
> very popular at the time. And people did write programs that could
> access the database directly. I remember seeing programs that could
> quickly print ward lists and things.
> > 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?
> I'm sure there's a relational database engine under the hood.
> The whole system is written in Java. The user interface is, well,
> interesting. Certainly different. It grows on you I suppose. They
> made some very interesting UI decisions and use a tabbed-display.
> > 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.
> This is a good idea, except that you'll run into problems trying to ship
> these things around the globe. It's hard enough to get a simple letter
> through the post intact to some countries where branches exist. A
> computer would be difficult. I guess fedex does go everywhere these
> days, if the movies are to be trusted. But I'm sure in some countries
> even Fedex would have problems keeping a computer from getting stolen.
> The customs problems remain. Even carrying a computer to these far-
> flung units would be difficult. Some countries charge 100% duty on
> things like computers and they don't do it according to the price you
> claim you paid for it; they make up a number based on what they think it
> might be worth in their country, or on how much money they think they
> can take from you.
> Because of the potential problems with regards to customs and tax
> regimes, monies collected as offerings or tithes typically stay in the
> country they were collected (except for the US of course). For example,
> all Canadian tithes and offerings go to what the government considers a
> Canadian church.
> > 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?
> Sure it is possible. In the developing world? Probably even there.
> But it will be a very slow and gradual thing for the church.
> > (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!)
> > thoughts??
> > 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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