Outofpaper
One software designers attempt to grow up.

By Alexander Somma
I'm curently setting up a system for a hotel in montreal. Originally I set it up as a wicked dual seat Linux compute - one computer with two screens, two mice and two keyboards conected! Unfortunately now the developers of a electronic door key system want to have it switched over to windows. What folows is an email outlining the situation (I have removed all refrences as to what companies are involved:


I have recently been informed by the developers of your door key system that they have aditional requirments than thows stipulated in there produce overview,

"Our door key system operates on a standard PC platform as an application server running Windows 2000. The system, can be fully networked on a standard Ethernet or Token Ring network using a TCP/IP protocol. Multiple application server architectures are easily supported and can be configured in accordance with specific customer needs and networks requirements."

They informed me that in addition to working over a standard Ethernet or Token Ring network using TCP/IP protocol they also need to have all computers running Windows and the they require a Windows Domain managed with windows 2000 or Windows 2003 computer due to the fact that their development environment has this setup. Unfortunately, switching the computers over to Windows provides us with an additional cost, that of another computer, because Microsoft Windows does not
support multi seat systems - computers that allow more than one person using them at once.

The switching of the front desk setup to Windows is a simple matter, though extremely unfortunate, in that an additional computer will cost approximately 500 dollars and copies of WindowsXP cost around 250 dollars. The Windows Domain, on the other hand, is more troubling. This is not because it is a complicated matter to setup, but due to the fact that it will cost around 1000 dollars! This cost is money that will go almost directly to Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/pricing.mspx
please note the prices listed on Microsoft's site are in US dollars I will be able to approximately match this price in Canadian for a legal licence) or what we in the IT industry call a "Microsoft Tax".

I have tried to save your hotel these additional costs. I have explained to the developers of the door key system that Linux (the system that is currently running at the front desk) can do anything that Windows can, including managing a Windows Domain. I explained that in addition to
this, Linux was more stable and would require therefore far less maintenance and that this would make it even more cost effective. They explained that they currently need both Windows running at the front desk (due to the fact that they developed the system on Windows) and a Windows Domain being served from a Windows 2000 or later system (again due to the fact that this was their development environment).

Please email as to how you wish to proceed with this situation. For more information regarding Windows Domains and how Linux supports them: http://faq.midrange.com/data/cache/298.html