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Re: AYT? Support network, anyone up to?

George Bonser <grep@oriole.sbay.org> writes:

> Just to give an example of what Linux is up against:

[Good example deleted]

Where I used to work 3 years ago (MacMillan Bloedel, Canada's largest
forestry company) was mostly an HP-3000 shop, with some HP-9000 HP/UX
Unix machines, some Tandems, and they were just getting into Windows

Now they have many more Windows NT boxes, and there are a few "secret"
Linux boxes hidden away in the corners.  Those were put in by one fairly
senior guy in the IS department who has been using Linux way before I
was (he's also a ham radio type).

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of Unix expertise on staff.  Most of
the staff is struggling with switching from writing COBOL apps to
Visual Basic and Windows NT apps.  They are just getting into
"Intranet" stuff (I set up the original Intranet there, back before
anybody coined the term)

I think it would be a real uphill struggle to replace Windows NT and
HP in that environment.  Both Microsoft and HP have full time reps
dedicated to selling stuff into the company.  The amount of marketing
information and hype that Microsoft kicks out to the developers is
truly amazing.  I have a lot of respect for Microsoft - I mean, how
good they must be at marketing to brainwash these developers so

Even so, most people don't really "trust" Microsoft.  But they aren't
going to jump ship until everyone else does first.

(Is it any wonder I quit?)

Anyways, there is still lots of opportunity to sell into these
markets.  There is lots of resistance to Linux on the in-house
developer level (just because they don't know it).  They won't be into
Linux until they replace their "VB Developers Journal" subscription
with a "Linux Journal" subscription.  This isn't going to happen very
soon (until they are pushed).

Fortunately for Linux, the IS department is not universally loved.
They've made a lot of enemies in the past.  The decision makers quite
often go outside the IS department to do things.  The forestry
industry is quite capital intensive - so many they purchase many
"capital projects" (bundled in with big mill upgrades) which the IS
department isn't initially involved in.  The decision makers do
realize that Linux is a good technical solution in many cases (the
trade rags have said so).

So selling "black box" systems - or outsourced subsystems - is
possible.  But this requires somebody to stand behind it and to do the
actual work.  In most cases, this is lacking for Linux based
solutions.  Most big consulting companies have built strong
relationships with commercial vendors (or they are commercial
vendors), so it is proprietary solutions that get sold into business.

I don't think we will have much success selling Linux solutions into
environments where people are not ready to accept them (as in your
Samba example).  But there is still plenty of work in other areas.


 - Jim

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