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posted by n1 on Monday April 21 2014, @02:19AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the survival-of-the-fittest dept.

It seems likely that everyone here has heard the old saw "No one ever got fired for buying|using Microsoft". Well, times change.
The government of the Italian province of South Tyrol wants to save money and, noting Munich's savings of over 10 million euros, it sees Free Software as a solution. (The freedom thing isn't lost on them either.)

Governor Arno Kompatscher says "We've started to review our license costs. If there are free and open source alternatives, and where the costs and risks of changing are justified, we will switch to these." The new policy is meant to reduce IT costs. Should this fail, the region must resort to reduce its workforce, in order to balance the region's budget.

Did you catch the nuance? If you are a gov't employee and they can't change software because you aren't adaptable enough to use something other than Windows, you can plan on being the first one out the door. Hat tip to Robert Pogson for just the right spin on this story.

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The CPU [Computer Professional Union] 76 comments

Computing is notorious for not having a worthwhile professional association. Some practitioners join the IEEE, the IET or the ACM. However, membership typically costs hundreds of dollars per year and offers little practical help to computer professionals working in small companies. If you're working for government or a large corporation or you're a super programmer in a well funded start-up then you probably have a union or you don't need a union. However, if you're the sole techie in a small business, appreciation for your dedication is just the start. What happens when you're asked to do something unethical or illegal? Where do you turn when a job goes sour? How do you avoid the problem? How can you avoid really toxic employers?

Rather than paying hundreds of dollars per year for talks and conferences, you require local experts who have first-hand experience of local employers and local employment problems. How can this be achieved reliably and cost-effectively? This is where our expertise should shine. Firstly, union entry should be at least as stringent as the conceirge union. Secondly, there should be a web-of-trust within each metropolitan region (and ideally between regions). In the best case, the network distance between all members should be four or less. Thirdly, an obligatory website should incur less hits than SoylentNews and therefore an upper bound for costs can be established for a volunteer effort. Essentially, it should be possible to run a union from donations of US$3000 per year or significantly less. Indeed, the major cost to members would be food and drink expenses when informally meeting other members.

So who wants to join a computer professional union with sensible fees and obligations?


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Clev on Monday April 21 2014, @02:50AM

    by Clev (2946) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:50AM (#33820)
    I'm not totally against this. I've worked with people who interface with computers by following a checklist, and if Windows rearranges their icons, they're in a panic until IT can come "fix" it for them.

    If people can't adapt to, say, going from MS Office to LibreOffice, they probably weren't all that productive to begin with.
    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday April 21 2014, @03:00AM

      by tathra (3367) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:00AM (#33822)

      i dont plan on reading the article, but if they arent giving people any training on any new system, then this is royally fucked up. you cant just throw somebody in front of new software that they've never seen and expect them to be able to use it. any transition needs to include at least familiarization training (realistically there needs to be at least enough training for the employee to do the job) on company time. if a company is saying they cant change software because "the employees dont know how to use it" then they're being disingenuous, and the truth is that they "cant" change because they dont want to pay for the training time.

      in any employer/employee contract, its the employer's responsibility to ensure that the employee is actually able to do the work, which includes training.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by aristarchus on Monday April 21 2014, @03:42AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:42AM (#33838) Journal

        you cant just throw somebody in front of new software that they've never seen and expect them to be able to use it

        And just why the piddle not? If the software is at all well designed regarding user interface, any educated intelligent employee ought to be able to figure it out even without training. Or have we become that stupid? "Who moved my mouse?" (Or am I thinking of Scotty in the Star Trek movie about whales, talking into the mouse. . . how quaint!)

        --
        #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
        • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday April 21 2014, @03:51AM

          by tathra (3367) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:51AM (#33842)

          And just why the piddle not?

          i preemptively answered that in the last question of my post:

          in any employer/employee contract, its the employer's responsibility to ensure that the employee is actually able to do the work, which includes training.

          yes, you actually can just sit somebody in front of software and unless they're a moron they should be able to figure it out, but the employer/employee relationship is unique, and if you're an employer you cant do that to your employees. if you let employers get away without giving training, then they will, which hurts everyone - employees because now its that much harder to get employed and learn new skills, and employers because it ensures there's less people capable of doing the work properly.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Angry Jesus on Monday April 21 2014, @04:33AM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday April 21 2014, @04:33AM (#33852)

            What? Don't you know, only randian uber-men deserve to have jobs?!!

            After all, if I think I can do it, anyone else who can't do it is just subhuman leeching scum!

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Monday April 21 2014, @05:09AM

            by anubi (2828) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:09AM (#33856) Journal

            About that new software training... that one threw me too.

            I had been using one CAD system, circuit analysis system, and PCB layout system for several years. It all ran under DOS, and schematic capture and circuit analyzer would run off a floppy disk, which was neat because I wasn't a manager and did not rank having my own PC at work.

            The new management team hired by my company brought with them a new CAD system that was all networked and required a much more sophisticated machine to run. It came with a shelf-full of manuals. I had no idea how to run it. I would try, but the system they provided me to run it ( 386-SX running doublespace under WIN2.1 ) was giving me fits under ViewLogic. I would click the mouse and sometimes it would do something, sometimes it wouldn't, but most of the time I got a general protection fault and had to reboot. My productivity went to shit. They gladly posted how far behind I was getting up on a wall. They thought giving me 40 hours to learn it was going to work. It didn't. I ended up losing my aerospace career over this.

            I developed a really shitty attitude when I realized just how little all the experience in circuit design I had meant to them, when it was all to easy to just lay the older guys off.

            The bright side? I haven't paid duck squat in income tax in years. Which is just as good as I am having a damn hard time figuring out tax forms as well.

            My interest was in topologies for microcontrollers and efficient energy transfer in thermal and magnetic circuits; I have very little drive in me to argue with a computer how to connect a part to a net. Or how to not delete the part when I am trying to move it. If their latest whiz-bang software cannot capture even a simple little circuit for me, then its useless, and if I cannot figure out how to use their whiz-bang software, I am useless too.

            Incidentally, although I loved my old DOS tools, I am now on Eagle 6.5 ( professional ), which works great, and that neat SPICE version that Linear Technology released. However, I still maintain the machine that runs my old DOS stuff, albeit it now runs out of a memory designed for a camera instead of its old IDE drive.

            --
            "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:11AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:11AM (#33865)

              PCB layout system[...]ran under DOS
              PADS, I'm guessing.

              I am now on [Cadsoft] Eagle
              Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor (It's an initialism; all caps: EAGLE).

              which works great
              A DOS guy might say that; Windoze guys always found it completely counter-intuitive at first.

              I assume that your Mom told you "Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been".
              ...and I'm assuming that you know NOT to reuse library parts made by someone else when you are using that DRM'd product LEST YOU LOSE EVERYTHING. [soylentnews.org]

              that neat SPICE version that Linear Technology released
              Since 2003, Mike Engelhardt has made very sure that LTspice always runs under WINE.
              Software developers take note: **THAT** is how you get to be an industry standard.
              (You could do even better: Make it FOSS and native on every platform.)

              -- gewg_

              • (Score: 1) by anubi on Monday April 21 2014, @08:37AM

                by anubi (2828) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:37AM (#33883) Journal

                Spot-on, Gewg. Pads PWORK for DOS. Version 6. It would accept Futurenet netlists.

                The main problem I had with PADS is it came with a dongle - a little pink thing that required my printer port, and later broke. A company based in Florida sold me a program that got me running again, as PADS was pushing their windows offerings and from what I could tell had abandoned their DOS stuff.

                It was a little tricky to get it going, as it wants the environment variables set up a certain way. It had a particularly infuriating malfunction if I failed to set it up right... it would work but the gerbers had errors in them. The EAGLE software I have is a lot more robust in that aspect.

                Incidentally, I am a "paid-up" user for three licenses of the professional version 6.5 ( upgraded from 4.16 ). I am aware I cannot open files in later versions with earlier versions, but what is it I do to cause EAGLE's DRM to kick in? I was under the belief that the DRM was a license file. So far EAGLE has been very robust with me, causing me very few problems - and those it did cause were my own misunderstanding. If this thing is not reliable, I need to know before I build too much stuff using it.

                Right now, my primary "large" project is some thermal energy transfer research I am doing where I am using a few Arduino-based processors. Once I develop this, my intentions are to drop the whole shebang onto the 'net.
                 
                Some of my client base goes back 20 years, and I have no intention of telling some soul that trusted me that I cannot support the thing I did for him because I no longer have access to the very files I made for him under his patronage. I know big companies often tell the little guy that they won't support old stuff, however if I built something for somebody twenty years ago, I will still support it. For however long God keeps me here.

                --
                "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:50PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:50PM (#34105)

                  a dongle[...]broke
                  No dongleware for me. I allow myself to learn from the mistakes of others.
                  A particularly bad example was reported by a guy in s.e.d a decade back:
                  The cleaning crew came in and moved his computer (read: shoved it backwards).
                  The stack of dongles he had sticking out the back went CRUNCH.
                  Until he sorted that out, his software was useless.
                  No, thanks. Those guys can keep their dongles and their software.

                  I was under the belief that the DRM was a license file
                  Back in the day, guys who published a project article in the electronics mags would make available the files needed to create the boards for those.
                  The EAGLE crippleware demo was adequate to do those small things without paying, so it became a sort of standard.
                  Of course, there were some pirates who used a cracked version to get more capabilities than 3" x 4" and 2 copper layers.

                  Cadsoft got greedy in 2006 and decided **We want every single cent we can wrangle--and screw any attempts at that *let's be the industry standard* thing**.
                  They made sure that every change to every file created with their product would have a serial number descriptor added.
                  They had a list of rogue serial numbers and if you reused a sym/pac/dev that had been made with one of those, your work product became infected; when the app bitched because of a match with their database, your file became locked.

                  You didn't have to do anything wrong YOURSELF.
                  If you reused something you believed was legit and it turned out that that had been touched by one of the rogue copies of the app, YOU got punished for the acts of someone else.
                  The DRM was completely occult, of course; not mentioned anywhere in the license agreement.
                  As I mentioned in the other thread, paid-up users asked Cadsoft to unlock their DRM-locked files and the company said NO.
                  The only way to avoid this is to do everything yourself down to the most minute detail (library components).
                  ...or just USE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY NON-EVIL PEOPLE.

                  By the time this stuff happened, I was no longer using that product but had used it previously and had given a company's cash to Cadsoft for their stuff.
                  As such, I had financed behavior that I find to be evil.
                  I was and still am very angry about that.

                  GODWIN ALERT:
                  It's about this time in the discussion that some authoritarian/hyper-Free-Market someone says that it is perfectly OK for the company to punish people for the acts of others.
                  I compare it to Nazis occupiers rounding up 10 random townspeople to kill for every one of their guys who dies under dubious circumstances.

                  No dongles and no DRMware for me. There are Free(dom) Software tools that do those tasks.
                  Several years back, an electronics lab respin of Ubuntu and of Fedora appeared that were even bootable from a CD.
                  It's pretty clear that you don't/didn't hang out at sci.electronics.design/sci.electronics.cad.

                  my client base goes back 20 years
                  As I like to say, "Too soon old; too late wise".
                  I managed to dodge that bullet by getting off of EULAware.
                  Condolences on being an ongoing and unwitting party to evil--but then, I assume that you know of the business practices of M$ and accept those as well.

                  For however long God keeps me here
                  Sounds like your god stuck you with some software produced by evil people.
                  He has quite a sense of humor.
                  I'm now reminded of the zealot's line, "Kill them all; God will know his own".

                  -- gewg_

            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday April 21 2014, @12:33PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Monday April 21 2014, @12:33PM (#33925)

              when it was all to easy to just lay the older guys off

              They set you up to fail. That way, when they got rid of you for their real reason (probably saving money on health insurance costs, and not wanting an underling getting paid more than they got), you couldn't sue them.

              That's how a cold-hearted business mind works.

              --
              Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @05:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @05:18AM (#33859)

          well designed
          That's the rumor. 8-) [google.com]
          (Previously, it was only "equal".) [google.com]

          ought to be able to figure it
          Didn't we get past this argument with the arrival of the WIMP thing? [wikipedia.org]

          Or have we become that stupid?
          When it comes to Windoze-only users, be careful what you ask. [google.com]

          -- gewg_

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday April 21 2014, @05:34AM

          by Tork (3914) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:34AM (#33860)
          If the work these workers do is anything like what I do for a living then they don't just sit there and use one app for a living, they use a bunch of programs to help them throughout the day. The primary app I use is available on Linux, but if you suddenly plunked me in it to use I'd be slowed down until I figured out how to navigate the file system (i.e. where to plunk files on my own computer, etc.), something sorta like Notepad where I can take scratch notes, calculator, picture viewer, etc. Could I do all that? Sure. Is it as easy as you describe? Um, no. We are using computers, not appliances. All the little things I've done to make my day go more smoothly have been taken away from me and I'm having to start moving forward again. Heck, just putting me on a fresh install of Windows will do a fair amount of damage to my productivity.

          No, we haven't become that stupid, just the opposite actually.
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Monday April 21 2014, @05:15AM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:15AM (#33858) Journal

        We routinely expect people to go from one car to another and figure it out as they go. Same for appliances and various utensils. Why not for practically identical software. Honestly, just how different are two word processors these days? MS Office and LibreOffice are NOT all that different.

        If all else fails, 'Help' does the same thing in proprietary or free applications.

        All the same, since they mention costs of switching, it is likely that they consider some form of increased support for a time to be par for the course.

        • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Monday April 21 2014, @05:52AM

          by davester666 (155) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:52AM (#33861)

          Really? Help in open source software is generally a joke.

          And unfortunately for the bean counters, lots and lots of people don't really understand how computers want us to use them. They remember going to specific places, finding specific things there, then doing something [clicking, right clicking, typing] and the right thing happens. Then they move on to the next thing they are working on.

          You need a different perspective on using computers from what most people have, to be able to sit down at a new Linux box, with little or no training, and be at all productive using it when you have only used say, Windows XP, Word and Excel for the past 10-15 years.

          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday April 21 2014, @06:20AM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday April 21 2014, @06:20AM (#33867) Journal

            LibreOffice seems to have pretty good help and is no more different from MS Office than one version of MS Office is from another. Throw in Thunderbird (which is not that different from Outlook Express) and Firefox or Chrome (which many use on Windows already) and you've covered most of what those people stuck on XP used daily.

            • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Monday April 21 2014, @04:50PM

              by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday April 21 2014, @04:50PM (#34040) Journal

              Try putting an Excel or Access jockey, who is used to being able to cook up VBA on the fly to make it do pretty much anything, onto the bad joke that is BASE script and get back to me.

              As someone who has been working in the trenches for damned near 30 years I hate to burst the FOSS fans bubble but....LO is piss poor, it really is. With Sun Office ALL the work went into Writer, the rest pretty much got scraps, which is why their versions of Access and Excel (and to a lesser degree Powerpoint) are frankly back at Office 97 levels in 2014, the money just wasn't spent there. Now will the ODF fix this? Who knows but even if they dedicate themselves to this you are still looking at several years simply because of how little the previous company spent, it would be like being brought in to revive a car company whose truck line is top notch but whose cars are so far behind the times they are at the level of a 74 Pacer in 2014, there is a HELL of a lot of work to be done. Sure having the truck is nice but not everybody needs a truck and in fact many have different needs that the truck just don't fill.

              Does this mean LO doesn't have its place? nope because home users spend a good 90% of their time writing docs so for that demographic its just perfect, but home users and business users? Two different beasts completely and I have a feeling that they are gonna take a pretty severe hit in productivity when they have to start hiring to have all these custom programs made that were previously done in Excel and Access, because those tools in LO simply aren't up to the task.

              --
              ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sjames on Monday April 21 2014, @05:49PM

                by sjames (2882) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:49PM (#34073) Journal

                Other local governments and businesses have already made the transition and haven't seen those big hits at all. It seems they aren't actually a problem in practice.

                I have actually used both.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @07:44PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @07:44PM (#34123)

                  Other local governments and businesses have already made the transition
                  Partial list:
                  Burlington Coat Factory (since last century)
                  City of Largo, Florida (since last century)
                  Ernie Ball, Inc. (since last century)
                  City of Garden Grove, CA (partial; started last century)
                  Autonomous region of Extremadura, Spain (80,000 seats switched to Linux in one weekend)
                  Public school system of Brazil (500,000 seats)
                  Panasonic, Inc. (300,000 seats)
                  Munich (over 95 percent FOSS and still converting stuff)

                  All it takes is leadership and a competent IT staff; everything else follows.

                  and haven't seen those big hits at all
                  98 percent of people can use FOSS do 100 percent of the tasks they previously did with EULAware.
                  Now, if you have locked yourself into specific single-platform apps, expect to wear chains for eternity like Jacob Marley.

                  Not having to defrag, reboot for no good reason, install/update/run anti-whatever apps (then decrypt what those say--and repair brokenness when they misbehave) leaves you time to become familiar with your software by using it to do USEFUL things.

                  -- gewg_

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tibman on Monday April 21 2014, @01:47PM

            by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 21 2014, @01:47PM (#33950)

            Help in closed source software is a joke. Pressing F1 always results in facepalm. It is far better/faster to just google the thing you want to do. If F1 is a reference manual then it is probably okay. But most of the time it is a thick tomb of fluff that someone wrote to justify their job (no offense to any technical writers out there). I stopped using the built-in help right around the early-2000's. Help in the form of a howto is usually what you need. IMO of course : )

            --
            SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
            • (Score: 2) by kebes on Monday April 21 2014, @03:38PM

              by kebes (1505) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:38PM (#34016)
              I fully agree.

              But I think crappy help documentation is only part of the problem. Maybe only a symptom. I think our current paradigm of software-help is wrong. Consider what often happens when you are trying to figure out how to do something with a piece of software. Whether you use the built-in help or the web, you end up doing something like:
              1. Type some search terms
              2. Scan through the search results
              3. Click into some entries, read through them quickly
              4. Identify a candidate solution
              5. Follow the steps described in the solution (click this Menu item, look for this option, etc.)
              6. If it didn't work, go back to a previous step and try some more...

              This seems silly. In particular, it seems rather ridiculous to have a web-page open, and then to be searching through your GUI app for the button/item that the document is referring to; especially when one considers possible version or setup inconsistencies. (This is of course better with commandline tools, where you can copy-paste something from the web.) It would be better if you could simply activate the presented solution. I'm not suggesting giving your web-browser complete access to your computer... Consider instead if every button/item in the GUI were (behind the scenes) intelligently tagged, and linked to various help-topics. So, you use some kind of built-in search, type what you're trying to do... and you see various entries pop-up. Importantly, those entries don't explain what button to press, they actually perform the task. In other words, the help system is more like a way to search and activate all the functionality that is available inside the application.

              The only downside I can think of (besides implementation effort) is that this prevents users from learning where a given option is located. However, I think that a user who wanted to use a function repeatedly would put in the effort to find out where the option is located (the search-activate function could also highlight the button it's activating on your behalf). Moreover, the search-activate system could itself become a viable way to access functionality. You could learn what words to type (maybe just a couple characters required) to activate the functionality you wanted. This is potentially much more efficient than searching through dozens of GUI panels, even for common tasks.

              There have been occasional forays into such ideas (such as the the Enso software, the Firefox Ubiquity [mozilla.org] plug-in, or Unity's searchable menubar), but I've never seen an application that fully developed this idea: where every single GUI element is tagged and thus can be activated using a (pseudo-natural-language) search interface. One difficulty is the developer effort required to make it all work. On the other hand, I believe the right solution is to have an online database of help-entries. Users can then submit entries for fixing common problems or performing particular sequences of steps, essentially providing a way to share simple user macros. (Obviously some vetting process is necessary.) So when you search, you're searching through everyone else's problems/solutions, and you're able to activate/try a particular solution with a single click.
            • (Score: 1) by paddym on Monday April 21 2014, @06:36PM

              by paddym (196) on Monday April 21 2014, @06:36PM (#34097)

              Have to agree with how ridiculous F1 is. It's like they decided to fire up old netscape on some modem-network to find the answer. You can pull the real help from some server in Japan faster than to grep a file somewhere on your computer. And the best part is how the help never is useful because all the stuff in there is how things should work, not what to do when they don't work the way they should.

              It's right up there with that "search the web to find a program to open this file". 1 extra mouse button every time I open an unidentifiable file. I often thought of starting a Microsoft Power magazine to have back stories for all these weird things that happen in windows that are still there. "And woe to ye who actually searches the web for a program to open a new file. Ye shall find nothing but misery as a constant reminder of why the gods wanted to integrate Internet Explorer into the operating system yet were banned to do so by the anti-Trust."

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:39AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:39AM (#33869)

          they consider some form of increased support for a time to be par for the course
          Munich did a lot of hand-holding with each and every user, making sure that e.g. macros and templates were converted. [google.com]

          When calculating OS licensing, app licensing, CALs, etc, etc, etc, it quickly became a wash on costs.
          Now, (don't) repeat those costs every few years; using $0 FOSS actually becomes cheaper.

          Munich is still ~4 percent Windoze.
          (When they started, their goal was 80 percent FOSS; they zipped right by that mark.)
          They have some legacy crap like SAP that they haven't yet replaced with FOSS apps.
          If they got their ultimate wish, they would have control of 100 percent of the code they run.

          -- gewg_

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday April 21 2014, @11:48AM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday April 21 2014, @11:48AM (#33909) Homepage Journal

        you cant just throw somebody in front of new software that they've never seen and expect them to be able to use it.

        Nonsense, employers do it all the time. Plus, moving from XP or W7 to W8 is a much bigger change than changing to KDE, and going from familiar menus (which MS always rearranged with every "upgrade") in Office to that damned ribbon is MUCH more of a change than from MS Office to Oo.

        Often my employer did offer training and it was usually 100% useless. For example, when they went from Quattro to Excel they offered training. No sooner had I taken the training than they upgraded to a newer Excel, which was more like Quattro than the Excel they trained me on. I got training in dBase which didn't teach me anything reading the manual had.

        I sure am glad I'm retired.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday April 21 2014, @02:58PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:58PM (#33996)

        I've never, ever been offered any training for Windows 95, 98, XP, or 7, and I've never heard of any companies doing so, even now with Win8.

        Why is it that Windows gets a pass on needing training, but any time someone mentions switching to Linux, people come out of the woodwork and talk about "training costs"?

    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday April 21 2014, @03:39AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:39AM (#33835) Homepage Journal

      If people can't adapt to, say, going from MS Office to LibreOffice, they probably weren't all that productive to begin with.

      That doesn't follow at all. Only secretaries are hired for their document-writing skills. Everybody else has some other real skills, and writing-up a document is only an incidental part of their job. Tig welders aren't less productive at welding, just because they don't know what format they should save documents in.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 1) by The Archon V2.0 on Monday April 21 2014, @03:10AM

    by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:10AM (#33823)

    If you read the rest of the two paragraphs Frankensteined into one for the summary, you read this:

    > "We are of course eager to promote the local IT sector. Our aim is to find areas and niches that can be covered by local IT enterprises with free and open source solutions. We are emphasising areas where we, as a regional administration, have special skills above and beyond IT."

    That sounds a hell of a lot to me like "we're outsourcing almost everything". Keeping your job isn't going to be a matter of learning Linux or whatever, it's going to be learning it and then winning the resume cattle call that whatever contract-winning company has. Less pay and benefits? Well, they ARE the lowest bidder....

    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday April 21 2014, @03:49AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:49AM (#33840) Journal

      winning the resume cattle call

      Mixed metaphors, or semaphore? Resume pool, OK, that could be a gamble. But call, for a position, as in a "casting call"? However, I totally lose it with "cattle call". This is a call to all cattle, as in "calling all cattle, we are going to be moving out in five minutes!" Not a call to select which cattle qualify to become Microsoft meat patties! Business, Theatre, and Cowboys, all in one short phrase. My hat is of to you, most excellent Soylenter!

      --
      #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @02:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @02:08PM (#33959)

        ...?

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cattle+call [thefreedictionary.com]

        "An audition in which a large number of often inexperienced actors or performers try out."

        The poster's mixing metaphors but not that badly.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Monday April 21 2014, @09:20AM

      by isostatic (365) on Monday April 21 2014, @09:20AM (#33890) Journal

      I guess it depends if TUPE applies. Italy isn't great in its tupe protections, but wholesale outsourcing of the entire it department should apply.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mendax on Monday April 21 2014, @03:11AM

    by mendax (2840) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:11AM (#33824)

    I'll use any system put in front of my so long as I can do my job and have enough time to figure out how to use it and/or receive sufficient training. Frankly, anyone who doesn't have the brains to figure out how to use a new Windoze GUI (i.e., that awful Windoze 8) or the GUI with some decent Linux distribution should not be in front of a computer. (However, don't tell my mother I said that!)

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Hairyfeet on Monday April 21 2014, @03:22AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday April 21 2014, @03:22AM (#33828) Journal

    Everyone here should probably know that ANYTHING by Robert Pogson should be taken with a fucking TRUCKLOAD of salt because the man is certifiably batshit. How batshit? The man has Voldemort syndrome [tmrepository.com]. I swear to God its true, its so bad that some of us that post on Linux insider has made a game out of it, see if you can trick crazy pogson into saying the "M" word...nobody has managed to pull it off. not in 5 fricking years has he EVER said Microsoft or Windows, its "The other OS" like a fucking ninja hit team led by Bill gates will murder him if he says the word.

    So just remember when you are dealing with Pogson you are dealing with a guy that probably has a penguin shrine in his home and has his car blessed by St. iGNUcious, just saying.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Monday April 21 2014, @04:09AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Monday April 21 2014, @04:09AM (#33844) Journal

      Oh Lord - if only I still had some mod points!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @04:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @04:28AM (#33851)

      a fucking TRUCKLOAD of salt
      You really don't get the "a grain of salt" metaphor, do you?
      Hint: You went the wrong direction with the quantity.

      not in 5 fricking years has he EVER said Microsoft or Windows
      Why would he advertise for the competition?
      When M$ says "Linux", it's accompanied with "cancer".

      certifiably batshit
      We'll let everyone judge for himself.
      Something I wrote previously: [soylentnews.org]

      Blogger and Linux advocate Robert Pogson taught high school in the Great White North in one of the poorest communities north of the Rio Grande.

      He started with a pile of disused Lose95 boxes infected to the gunwales, without a COA anywhere to be found, zero budget, and with no Linux experience.
      The cost of shipping anything to that remote area was ridiculously expensive.
      Your situation can't possibly be any worse.

      One thing he found was that every year there were a few kids who wanted to learn even more than the basics.
      He channeled that energy and that made his workload lighter.
      M$ teaches dependency--specifically corporate dependency; don't fall into that trap and don't teach the kids that.

      You are reminding me of story of the ponytail.
      http://tinyurl.com/KenStarks-vs-WindozeSupportGuy [tinyurl.com] (orig) [blogspot.com]

      -- gewg_

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @11:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @11:07AM (#33901)

        The path to refuting "Voldemort syndrome" is not likely to include "M$" and "Lose95."

        Look, Pogson has taken a perfectly reasonable statement by the South Tyrolian governor, and allowed his anti-Microsoft fantasy to turn it into a projected David-vs-Goliath campaign. The actual statement, any reasonable reader understands that Kompatscher is trying to save money by reducing licensing costs. (-- notice the period, indicating the completion of a thought) If they can not balance the budget by reducing licensing costs, then they will reduce staff. (new thought, indicating a second strategy for balancing the budget)

        It's like saying "I'm trying to pay off my credit card debt by cutting out latte's. If that doesn't work, then I'll cut back on beer." That doesn't mean I've been drinking latte-flavored beer - it means I've prioritized categories in which to reduce expenses.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mojo chan on Monday April 21 2014, @09:11AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Monday April 21 2014, @09:11AM (#33887)

      Indeed, TFS is obviously bullshit. Budgets are limited, local government is making cuts to staffing all over and these guys found a way to keep some people in work by switching to a cheaper OS. It's not a threat, it's a simple statement of fact - if their plan fails they will have to go back to cutting jobs because there is no money.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 21 2014, @02:21PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:21PM (#33973)

      Glad to see that coming up with a catchy buzzword "diagnosis" is all it takes to prove "insanity" these days.

      And you cite a site defining "Voldemort(tm)" (no use of the word "syndrome" anywhere on that page, by the way) as being what this one guy has, specifically referencing Microsoft. That's about as honest as writing a Wikipedia article with the specific aim to support your viewpoint.

      P.S: The whole purpose of that site is to denigrate "freetards"? Thanks; you get the Prejudicial Holier-Than-Thou Asshole trophy of the day.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Monday April 21 2014, @05:07PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday April 21 2014, @05:07PM (#34053) Journal

        Slurping that koolaid, huh pal? And that website is made BECAUSE FREETARDS USE TROPES that are JUST AS PREDICTABLE as ANYTHING on TVTropes! If you take the top 20 TMs you can break down ANY FOSSie post and have it 100% covered, from shills/trolls/vampires [tmrepository.com] to circle of loon [tmrepository.com], from stable ABI nonsense [tmrepository.com] to works for me [tmrepository.com], its ALL TROPES because they use the same tired old bullshit over and over AND OVER.

        If you want to be butthurt that its so easy to point out the tropes how about NOT USING TROPES that are frankly older than Stallman's neckbeard,mmmkay?

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 21 2014, @10:16PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 21 2014, @10:16PM (#34174)

          Yes, because anyone who disagrees with you in brainwashed. Obviously.

          Just because you repeat the same argument doesn't make it necessarily wrong. And calling someone who disagrees with you an idiot doesn't help anything, either. From a five minute skim of a few random entries on that site, it doesn't appear to offer any constructive criticism, only FLOSS-bashing. Very enlightened, pointing out the failings of your opponent in a maximally scornful way, dressed up in faux-psychological terminology and a holier-than-thou bow on top.

          Protip: You leading off with calling us "freetards" makes me instantly skeptical of anything you say.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
          • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 21 2014, @10:21PM

            by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 21 2014, @10:21PM (#34178)

            Good lord, this site reads like a how-to guide of fallacious arguments and hypocrisy. I don't even know where to start.

            The real joke, though, is any argument I made, you would slap one of these labels on and consider it dismissed.

            --
            "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
            • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:34AM

              by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:34AM (#34249) Journal

              If you use nothing but tropes? Damned straight I'll dismiss it because they are TALKING POINTS and NOT a discussion. Its NO different than when you are dealing with a religious zealot that keeps going back to the dogma when in doubt, from Scientology with their dianetics to Christians that just keep spewing bible passages, its NOT discussion, its TALKING POINTS.

              So damned straight if you start spewing those same lame memes like "works for me" or "stable ABI nonsense" you can expect me to call it out for what it is, dogma. This is why I have always separated a FOSS advocate from a FOSSie, because a FOSS advocate can rationally discuss the pros and cons of any system with authority while a FOSSie like Pogson with his Voldemort syndrome can't do anything but run back to the great book of GNU for more dogma.

              --
              ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
              • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:35PM

                by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:35PM (#34440)

                Is it still dogma if it's true? Obviously not all of it, but...

                "Lame memes" is in the eye of the beholder. Using the same preaching-to-the-choir with vehement opponents won't work...usually you can never change someone's mind unless they're already thinking about changing it.

                This is why I have always separated a FOSS advocate from a FOSSie, because a FOSS advocate can rationally discuss the pros and cons of any system with authority

                Hmm. Well, thanks for that, at least. With the vitriol present on that site, I wasn't expecting to hear such an admission.

                Computers suck in general. Open and closed source both have their pros and cons and most of the arguments we have between them turn out to be the same ones, really. I'll admit I probably have more faith in open source than I really should, but part of that is a reaction to closed-source controlling most of the market/world. We all fall victim to our knee-jerk reactions, even when we try not to. Or maybe I'm just not sufficiently enlightened :-)

                --
                "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
                • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday April 22 2014, @08:34PM

                  by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Tuesday April 22 2014, @08:34PM (#34581) Journal

                  The vitriol is the result of FOSSies, who like moonies ONLY speak in dogma. You get anecdotes with zero proof, you get "UseDistroX" where X will always be a Distro you haven't named, you get "Works For Me" with again zero proof or even a screencap showing they actually have it working, its all complete and total bullshit.

                  This is why I say there is a difference between a FOSS advocate and a FOSSie, and I have NO problems with FOSS advocates BTW, because instead of resorting to lame memes they say "I personally like X and here is why" dot dot dot where the dots are their explanation of why it works for them. They are quick to point out any difficulties they had in setup, any ongoing issues, and they don't pretend that Linux is a magical pixie dust panacea for all that ails because as you rightly pointed out ALL OSES SUCK to one degree or another. Hell I have written an "Ode to hating of Vista" and "Win 8 why you so dumb?" with long lists of the boneheaded shit that is in that OS, because again nothing is perfect.

                  That is NOT however what you get from a FOSSie, instead it is NEVER the OS, ITS YOU. Either you aren't "buying the right hardware" which if you have to buy special hardware its not a WINDOWS replacement, its a MAC, the God fucking awful "GUIs" that are nothing but CLI screen scrapers are perfect because "CLI makes you smart TM", and the one I have heard most often which is fucking hilarious is "If they would only embrace the power of CLI". CLI is nothing but a 1970s GUI designed for repitive tasks and scripting, not the fucking force LOL.

                  Trust me friend, you are NOT a FOSSie. Go over to LinuxInsider and spend a little time talking to Pogson or KiVolt and find out what a FOSSie is. I bet my last dollar within 30 minutes of speaking with them you'l go "Holy shit, the fuckers are batshit insane!" BTW that whole Voldemort thing? NOT A JOKE, in over FIVE YEARS we have never gotten pogson to say Microsoft, Windows, or even MS or MSFT, its ALWAYS "The other OS" or once in a blue moon you can get the lamer "M$" from him, he really IS that batshit, like Ballmer has a ninja hit tam waiting to strike if he EVAR types the words...I wish I was fucking joking man, I'm not, the FOSSie faction is THAT religious about GNU, to them its a fucking cult man. This is why I am quick to call out a FOSSie, because just as we saw in TFS where he took two completely unrelated concepts, 1.- We need to save money so we'll use a cheaper product, and 2.- if this doesn't save enough money we are gonna have to let people go, and turned that into another "little guy triumphs over the Redmond Satan!" propaganda bullshit.

                  but please do not take MY word for it, head on over to Linux Insider and look up any article by ms Noyes. Pogson ALWAYS is a major contributor to those and it doesn't matter what the topic is, you'll get it turned into a religious "GNU VS Satan" line along with as I said the Voldemort thing, even if he has to tapdance around the word Microsoft so fucking hard it makes him sound like he's completely mad. Full disclosure....you'll see also in any article by ms Noyes comments filled with hatred for me because I am the "resident Windows guy" that she uses for an alternative spin on the topic. It was made QUITE clear from the outset that that was my job, she wanted the Windows side of the articles for balance, but go look at the comments because its fricking hilarious how butthurt the FOSSie faction gets with ANY form of dissent. I have been called "shillstrollsvampires TM" and much worse more times than I can count because with the FOSSie faction the ONLY answer allowed is "GNU is great and perfect and MSFT kills babies!".

                  --
                  ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Monday April 21 2014, @06:56AM

    by hankwang (100) on Monday April 21 2014, @06:56AM (#33874) Homepage

    If the local government thinks they can fulfill the same governmental tasks with fewer people and costs than they do today, it sounds to me like there is some dead wood in the organization that could be removed regardless of OS.

    • (Score: 1) by Jesus_666 on Monday April 21 2014, @11:44AM

      by Jesus_666 (3044) on Monday April 21 2014, @11:44AM (#33907)
      Or they can't afford their current workforce anymore and see slashing licence costs as a way to keep firings to a minimum. Regional governments are chronically underfunded and South Tyrol probably wants to avoid being both underfunded and understaffed as much as possible.
    • (Score: 1) by opinionated_science on Monday April 21 2014, @11:49AM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday April 21 2014, @11:49AM (#33910)

      perhaps we should all consider that anything a government does should be for the public benefit, since the public is PAYING for that service.

      Do we think that public money should be supporting corporations maintain the status quo, or perhaps employing local people to adapt and refine FOSS software to solve the government tasks?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @08:41AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @08:41AM (#33884)

    That means they're just trying to get a discount from Micro$oft, nothing more.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @10:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @10:49AM (#33898)

    The new policy is meant to reduce IT costs. Should this fail, the region must resort to reduce its workforce, in order to balance the region's budget.

    If you are a gov't employee and they can't change software because you aren't adaptable enough to use something other than Windows, you can plan on being the first one out the door.

    That's absolutely not what Kompatscher is saying. He's saying, if they can't find enough cost savings through license fees to balance the budget, then they will move on to staff reductions. It says quite a lot that he even thinks he can find salary-scale cost savings in their current license structure, but that's a very different message than "convert or lose your job."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @01:44PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @01:44PM (#33946)

      Having recently priced out a modest lab not using MSDN. Lets just say the MS cost was a large chunk of that lab. The hardware was literally cheaper than the software. This was not your ordinary desktop computers either. I am talking 4way socket 8 cpu XEON cpus 500+ gig memory each...

      Basically be able to move to 'free stuff' or we will find someone who can. MS better get its licensing act together or will see more and more of this.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Monday April 21 2014, @02:15PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:15PM (#33967)

      I was going to say that the summary did a very poor job of convincing me...then I read the article and I'm still not convinced.

      At the risk of being naive, I think the submitter is reading a bit too much between the lines that may not be there.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by n1 on Monday April 21 2014, @03:26PM

        by n1 (993) on Monday April 21 2014, @03:26PM (#34012) Journal

        I'll openly admit that I wasn't totally convinced by the title or the implication either. However, I thought it was clear enough this was the submitters opinion and the statement from the article stood by itself, if read properly. I think it was mostly wishful thinking on the part of the submitter. Possibly not the best editorial decision I have made.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:57PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @06:57PM (#34107)

          it was clear enough this was the submitters opinion

          Had you left in my usual *Windoze* spelling, it would have been even more obvious. 8-)

          -- gewg_