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[News] [Rival] UK-based Company Promotes Free Software, Newham Stuck in 2001

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Can free, open source software make us more desirable?

,----[ Quote ]
| The sociobiology of humankind is predicated on an evolutionary 
| or 'reproductive fitness' approach to analysing human behaviour. 
| This has never been articulated more succinctly than by Scott Adams, the 
| author of Dilbert, who devoted a whole chapter to the topic in his 
| book - 'Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century'.  


Newly in Newham

,----[ Quote ]
| Striking, too, were the serried ranks of LCD screens in Richard's 
| department – although the effect was rather spoiled by the fact that they 
| were all running Windows, mostly XP. One interesting fact that emerged from 
| our meeting was that future plans include skipping Windows Vista for most 
| users, and moving straight to Windows 7 – just like most of the saner part of 
| the Windows computing world.      



Newham and Microsoft prepare another MOU

,----[ Quote ]
| Steel had claimed the first MOU had been superseded when we put it to him
| that the original deal had failed to meet its key objectives. He insisted the
| objectives had been met. After we published evidence that the original MOU
| had not met its objectives, Steel tried to discredit your humble
| correspondent in his blog. He also shared confidential reports for
| publication in an apparently desperate attempt to find ways to show how the
| Microsoft deal could be justified.
| The reports were benchmarks produced by the Society of IT Managers, of which
| Steel is now president. The MOU had achieved all its objectives bar some
| spurious commitment to develop with Microsoft a methodology for measuring the
| performance of the Microsoft deal, said Steel. This done, "We had therefore
| agreed new actions with Microsoft in a progress review last year," Steel
| repeated in his blog. But the original agreement had stipulated that the
| Microsoft deal would propel Newham into the top performing quartile of UK
| councils and that this would be demonstrated in benchmarks drawn up by the
| UK's independent Audit Commission. Councillors opted Microsoft over Open
| Source on this promise in 2004. The deal has failed to meet this objective.


War of words breaks out over Microsoft MOU

,----[ Quote ]
| The salutary lesson to draw from our dealings, Richard, is not whether you
| can trust the press. It is rather a lesson in managing expectations, a
| process every CIO should know well.  
| The expectations you invested in your 2004 deal with Microsoft, as enshrined
| in the memorandum of understanding, were also unrealistic.
| To recap, the original MOU said the use of Microsoft software would "improve
| Common Performance Assessment results and Star Ratings" measured by the Audit
| Commission.  
| The analysis presented in the INQUIRER on Friday demonstrated that this
| expectation had not been met.
| When we asked you about this on Friday you told us there was a new MOU. Now
| you accuse us of twisting your words.
| How would you prefer to describe what happened to the original agreement? If
| it has not been scrapped, perhaps it has been decommissioned, recycled, sold
| on eBay?  
| Having been told you had drawn up a second MOU with Microsoft, we were
| clearly interested to learn what new terms you had agreed in the public
| interest. You said it was confidential. But the first MOU was deemed fit for
| publication under FOI rules.  
| You also said the first MOU was only ever a three year deal. But the document
| was accepted by a Council vote as part of a 10-year deal.
| Now four years since you signed the original agreement it is proper for us to
| ask how well the public money you are giving Microsoft is spent.


Newham has a cow over Microsoft MOU

,----[ Quote
| However, Newham has supplied the INQUIRER with internal studies that it says
| do demonstrate that its decision to commit to Microsoft was justified. The
| studies were performed by Socitm, a private public sector consulting firm of
| which Newham COI Steele is a vice president. the INQUIRER will report on
| these findings in due course.
| Meanwhile, the original MOU is enlightening. As well as claiming the deal
| would enable Newham to achieve high rankings in Audit Commission assessments,
| it committed Newham to moving all "competitive technology" to Microsoft,
| regardless of the feasibility of such a move.
| It also required Steele to promote Microsoft software.
| See attached file: Memorandum of Understanding.doc


London council dumps Microsoft, may go open source instead

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| NEWHAM LONDON Borough Council has scrapped the controversial 10-year
| Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with Microsoft in 2004 and drawn
| up a new agreement with a new set of deliverables.


Government faces crunch on Microsoft mega-deal

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| Rumour has it that Microsoft hasn't been feeling appreciated in the public
| sector, thinking its customers don't know what a good deal they've been
| getting since the MOU was first negotiated in 2002. BECTA, the procurement
| quango for the education sector, has recommended schools don't upgrade to
| Microsoft Vista and Office 2007.
| [...]
| "There's a big anti-Microsoft lobby growing on the green agenda" he said,
| especially among local councils who were beginning to realise that PC's were
| power hungry and expensive to maintain. They were taking interest in
| think-client computers instead.


Lawmaker blasts U.K. government on Microsoft policy

,----[ Quote ]
| A member of Parliament of the United Kingdom has launched a stinging
| attack on the U.K. government's IT strategy, saying that it has given
| Microsoft too much control.
| John Pugh, who is a member of Parliament, or MP, for Southport and a
| member of the Public Accounts Committee, was speaking in an
| adjournment debate on Tuesday that he had called. The aim of the
| debate, he said, was to explore the alternatives to using Microsoft
| software, including open source.
| [...]

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