Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The unstable Supercity

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    He seems to be saying Open Source not suitable for for large projects.

    No, you had to work hard to read it that way. He's saying that you need to take care with any IT project, as they have a habit of spiraling out of control when they get too large. The key line is "At least your failure will be cheaper" with open source. Open source is just as ready and suitable as closed source for large projects.

    The Internet largely runs on open source software.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    The software development industry uses open source software all the time at small scale, with great success. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can build larger projects on its back.

    I misinterpreted this?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    That last sentence does seem to support your interpretation, yes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    The Internet largely runs on open source software.

    Damn straight.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Here's the thing. After reading all the posts I get the impression that what we need is a Ministry of Information Technology and employ our brightest and best engineers to come up with a National standard for Government information systems, that is scale-able to local needs, that just talk to each other. They could work as one to alleviate all our concerns in this area.
    What could possibly go wrong?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Nasi Goreng, in reply to Jimmy Southgate,

    Does anybody see the irony in the top two payment contracts made by Auckland Council? Yes, that is for six months only.

    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/mediacentre/Documents/supplierspendreportfinal.pdf

    You also need to factor into the cost of the overseas trips to understand how the vendor can ensure a mutually beneficial outcome, so it is not all salaries and consultants.

    Does anybody know if McCall is still feeding at the public trough or did he exit with Foley?

    Since Mar 2016 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    The software development industry uses open source software all the time at small scale, with great success. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can build larger projects on its back.

    I misinterpreted this?

    Yeah, you did, taking it out of the context. Nigel says that open source won't solve all your ills, if your project is a big one . Neither will closed source. It's poor project management that causes the issues, and not knowing what you want/need from the start, not the type of software you use (differing individual products have higher or lower learning curves/issue ratio.

    He's right, as IBM proved with INCIS - big arse project with continually changing requirements. If they'd used open source, the result would have been the same. It would have cost a lot less though.

    With closed source, your customisation has to be done by fully accredited "partners" of the software publisher, who get special training in how to tweak and write addons, because everybody needs software to be customised to their business unless, as John Holley suggested, you change your business to suit the software (never a good idea IMHO - it'll bite you in the end). And even partners don't get to view the source code. They get privileged access to the API's but that's about it.

    With open source, you can hire any competent programmer who knows the language the source is written in and they can do the customising you need, right in the code.

    Open source is not just about free as in beer, but also Free as in speech. </tirade>

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nasi Goreng,

    Does anybody see the irony in the top two payment contracts made by Auckland Council? Yes, that is for six months only.

    SAP at nearly $22m? Wowsers.

    Wellington-Based Absolute IT at nearly $5m? Tell me about them.

    And WTF are we paying MBIE nearly $5 million for?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Nigel McNie,

    Hi folks. Looks like my words were somewhat confusing. nzlemming has my position basically right. I don't consider open source to be some kind of antidote _for large projects_. It's a very good strategy for smaller projects, but it won't counteract the problems you will encounter when the project gets too large. Cheers!

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2012 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wouldn't mind shares in Madison Recruitment either.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And WTF are we paying MBIE nearly $5 million for?

    Heir straiteners?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Absolute IT (head office in AKL) and Madison are recruiters and provide temps/perm/contractors to Council.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to John Holley,

    Absolute IT (head office in AKL) and Madison are recruiters and provide temps/perm/contractors to Council.

    Is the $5m likely to be all for recruitment services? Crikey.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Is the $5m likely to be all for recruitment services? Crikey.

    I'm not surprised by the numbers, given the number of contractors and conslutants (deliberate) that have gone through Auckland Council, and sometimes contractors are paid via the recruitment company and the company deals with tax and the like, so that could be some of it. #beentheredonethat

    But, yes, recruitment costs via agencies are eyewatering, to say the least. I would guess that, having selected AbsoluteIT and Madison, they signed preferred supplier contracts so that they didn't have to do tenders every time they wanted a new contractor. Government procurement is arse, much of the time.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Nigel McNie,

    nzlemming has my position basically right.

    Heh, your old man and I have had many a beer discussing this very matter ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And WTF are we paying MBIE nearly $5 million for?

    Committee meetings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to nzlemming,

    Government procurement is arse, much of the time.

    To be fair Govt procurement is horrendously hamstrung by regs. Often the folks doing the actual work know they are pissing money down the proverbial, but they have no option to do otherwise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Nigel McNie, in reply to nzlemming,

    Dad has filled me in now. He says you owe him a beer ;) but he also told me to say that just to wind you up :)

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2012 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Roger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The Hawke's Bay Region has recently developed a single region-wide open source GIS platform that seems to be working well and has delivered significant savings:

    https://hbviewer.nz

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Roger,

    Looks great, but where's the source?

    Also, it looks to me to be a viewer tool. By GIS, I'm thinking of something like ArcGIS or MapInfo that allow a user to manage and analyse geospatial data.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    like ArcGIS or MapInfo

    or R

    My computer is currently calculating world population by timezone in the background, using shapefiles of timezones against shapefiles of locations of populations and population information, then adding it all up (this is just a hobby project thing, but it is analysing geospatial data together with other data).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think an example of the sort of stuff they might want to do is find all the water lines that are coming up for maintenance, determine which properties they serve and export a list of the people to send notification to, all without getting a programmer/DBA in to write a custom query.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To be fair Govt procurement is horrendously hamstrung by regs. Often the folks doing the actual work know they are pissing money down the proverbial, but they have no option to do otherwise.

    Namely the requirement that the contractors have to have a physical nationwide presence.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Nasi Goreng, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    What happened to the compliance and accountability processes at Auckland Council that allowed Foley to repeatedly force through these poor decisions over such a long period? There are many, many projects that will never see the light of day so the false claims the benefits of this spending are yet to be realized need to have a harsh light upon them.

    As mentioned elsewhere senior managers either walked or were walked but $1,240,000,000 doesn't get vaporized without process failures and lack of accountability throughout the organisation. The highest levels of the senior team must have seen the impact to the bottom line, e.g. our rates.

    Since Mar 2016 • 2 posts Report Reply

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