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NewsForge: Largo Loves Linux More Than Ever

Dec 10, 2002, 20:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)

"We're back in Largo, Florida, checking on advances in the Linux-based network they use to run the city's computers that we wrote about last year. True to Largo's 'City of Progress' motto, these guys have not been standing still. Now they're talking about Linux-based terminals in all the city's police cars. Microsoft has tried--and failed--to bring them into the proprietary fold. And, possibly most important, we have an amazing cost figure that ought to make you ask your local politicians why their IT operations aren't as efficient as Largo's.

"Last time we visited, we spoke mostly with hands-on sysadmins Dave Richards and Mike Pearlman. This time we're also chatting with their boss, IT Manager/CIO Harold A. Schomaker, who is more than a little proud of their latest ultra-cool deal: finding a whole bunch of the NCD thin clients they prefer--which sell new for around $750--on eBay for prices ranging from 50 cents to $5. No, they aren't the latest model, but who cares? These things have no moving parts; the super-cheap used ones are more than adequate to run a KDE desktop and all the apps a typical city employee needs; and with a 10 year expected life it doesn't matter if they're a few years old.

"I watch Harold close a winning bid session--for $5 per unit. Does he gloat a little? Sure. I promise not to reveal the URL of the auctions he's in, but even if I do he's not terribly worried; he says eBay is a great sales medium for things like cameras and laptops that everyone uses, but isn't so great (for sellers) when it comes to highly specialized gear like thin clients, especially in lots of 10 to 50 units each..."

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