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It's a Monday morning and I really don't need this. An email from our chief bean counter. And it's copied to the Boss …:==============================================
I had lunch with Ian Smith, the Director of Technology at Barricade Network Services, at the weekend (after I'd thrashed him at a round of golf, mind you). Anyway he was enthusing about how his developers were saving the company mega-bucks. Said they were switching to open sauce software. Asked me if we were still using closed sauce. To be honest I don't know what sauce we're using but I suppose it must be closed. Can you let me know what our sauce usage is? If it's closed then why aren't we opening it?
Please have a think about this, if we can cut some budget here then we should be taking all this very seriously.
Chief Finance Officer
I hate this. I know that the Boss will be on to me straightaway. He can't stand any of the other big boys talking to me. Don't know what he's scared of. What I tell them or what they tell me.
And here's another one:==============================================
I just remembered something else that might be significant. He said that they'd switched to only using software that was licensed under the Canoe Public Licence. This means free, apparently. He was a bit sloshed by this point (a few gins too many), so when I asked him what it meant he just winked and said 'Canoe's Not Eunuchs'. Booze talk or is there some masonic secret handshake thing going on?
Chief Finance Officer
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three...He's faster than expected. Here's a message from the Boss:==============================================
Joe, I know this Smith character. He's a prize dick. And Paul's got the wrong end of the stick. He means open source. Have a look at this, will you, and report back to me before you send anything to Paul. Cheers. Oh, and have a look at this Canoe stuff, sounds interesting.===============================================
It's a real battle of brains here sometimes. While I'm wondering how to respond to the Boss, another missive arrives from our accountant in chief:===============================================
Why are we still using Excel? Ian said his guys were using ExEmell. Why do I get the feeling we've taken our eye off the ball here?
Chief Finance Office
Looks like the Boss can hold back no longer. He knows that he can out-tech an accountant any day. That's why he's the Boss, obviously:===============================================
I think you've got the wrong end of the stick, old man. HP sauce? Do you think my people are drinking bottles of ketchup or brown sauce or something? It's open SOURCE not SAUCE, and it's to do about how you publish your software code.
But I agree with you on the costs front. I've got Joe looking at the Canoe Public Licence and this ExEmell spreadsheet stuff. We'll keep you posted.===============================================
Now, if that doesn't make Paul feel three inches tall nothing will.
Now it's my turn …===============================================
A canoe's a sort of boat, a bit like a Kayak, and nothing to do with open source. I think he's talking about the GNU Public Licence (GNU's not Unix, not Canoe's not Euncuhs. It's basically a set of free software tools and a software licensing scheme).
There's also no such thing as a product called ExEmell. He's talking about XML, it's a way of sharing structured information, and we're already using it in our software.===============================================
Now that feels good.
Here comes the response:===============================================
Thanks for that. Of course. GNU not canoe, can't see how I missed it. Or XML. I've got an idea though on this open source software. Why don't we install Linux on all the machines we've got. Should save a fortune in fees to Microsoft.===============================================
Sometimes this is too easy...===============================================
If we do that then it means the users having to ditch Office, Internet Explorer, Solitaire and having to find Linux versions of Tetris and so on. It'll be a big project. We've got no problem with any of this down here, but you'll have to get the tech support people on side (it'll start another gang war though - remember the fights when we installed the first Linux box? Billy had to take three months off work with that broken arm).===============================================
Quick as a flash that fine-tuned business machine of a brain comes into play. Unfortunately it's another one of the Boss's brain waves:===============================================
How about we install Linux under Windows? Then everybody can have the applications they're used to and we get to save money.===============================================
I wait a full five minutes to see if he figures out what he's just said. I enjoy that third cup of morning coffee before firing off my reply:===============================================
You'd still have to pay the licence costs for Windows, so how would it save money?===============================================
The phone rings a second after I hit the send button. It's the Boss, what a surprise.
"Bollocks! I just fired off an email to Ian Smith telling that was what we're going to do. I hate that prick. I also copied Paul on it. What do I do?"
You know, some days are I just feel happy to be alive …