Aussie CIOs get clearer vista on open source

Local chief information officers at a Sydney conference this week were more interested in talking about open source and standards-based software than Microsoft's new operating system. At the 10th annual CIO Week conference, two of the key speakers said they were welcoming open source software into the enterprise.

Local chief information officers at a Sydney conference this week were more interested in talking about open source and standards-based software than Microsoft's new operating system.

At the 10th annual CIO Week conference, two of the key speakers said they were welcoming open source software into the enterprise.

On Tuesday, David Backley, the CIO and chief information security officer of Australia's fourth-largest bank Westpac, walked the audience through his journey with major outsourcer IBM. Backley told delegates that six years into the 10-year deal, he has realised that open source software is at a stage where it has to be taken seriously.

"We are looking far more seriously at the use of collaborative technologies and open source. We really do need to respond as an organisation to the open source movement."

"Open source software is inside a lot of the packages that we buy. Organisations are bringing it in and we need to accept them and accept that we need to do something about it," said Backley.

Wotif.com's Paul Young told ZDNet Australia that he decided to base the company's infrastructure on Red Hat Linux five years ago and since that time, his developers have contributed code back into the open source community.

According to Young, the need for specific desktop operating systems was becoming less important as more applications become browser-based.

"[Windows Vista] makes absolutely no difference to us whatsoever. I believe the hardware and the operating system is an abstraction. If you look at what a lot of people do, they use e-mail and they use a browser and that is 90 percent of their online life."

"Unless there is something revolutionary that comes out, what is the critical reason that we would take this operating system upgrade? I don't see it," said Young.

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