The NSW state government yesterday went to
market for its desktop, notebook and small server needs for at
least the next three years, designating the ability to purchase
Linux-based systems as "highly desirable".
The state will soon appoint a limited number of vendors to a
series of panels which will supply the (substantial) hardware
needs of all NSW agencies from November this year until October
2009, with two possible two year extensions.
"This new arrangement will replace the government's existing
Contract ITS2000 for personal computers, notebooks, servers and
Contract 2100 for computer maintenance services," the government
said in tender documents issued today. ITS2000 commenced in 2001 and expires 31 October this year.
The Linux needs were listed in the section detailing the
state's hardware requirements, with "can supply Linux at
customer's request" being a highly desirable characteristic of
potential suppliers of desktop and notebook systems.
Microsoft's far more popular Windows XP home operating system
was also specified. The state listed Windows Server in addition
to Linux and Novell's Netware operating system among its
requirements in its server requirements.
The NSW government's Linux requirement is unusual given that
the open source operating system has struggled to gain acceptance
on the desktops of Australian organisations. It is, however,
widely used in server environments.
However, the move also continues a trend by the state to signal
its interest in Linux, and comes as earlier this year suppliers
such as IBM, Novell and CSC were signed to a panel to supply NSW
agencies with Linux and open source services.
The NSW government is one of the largest purchasers
of IT hardware in Australia.
"This is a significant request for tender as government
agencies and other eligible customers spend approximately AU$175
million per annum on the range of products listed below," the
state's tender documents said.
For example, the NSW Department of Education and Training has
a managed desktop fleet of 160,000, with the NSW Department of
Health clocking in at a substantial 45,000.
With the new arrangements floated yesterday, the state will
attempt to achieve savings, as well as streamline the procurement
process for agencies and industry.
The news comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission has recently stipulated Intel's latest Core 2 Duo
processors must be at the heart of its own desktop refresh
However, the NSW government has more modest
requirements based on Intel's Pentium 4 architecture or AMD
equivalent running at 3GHz for desktops, with slower CPU speeds
of 1.5GHz for laptops.
Previous suppliers to the state under the old ITS2000 contract
expiring 31 October had included Acer, ASI Solutions, Auspac,
Dell, HP, Hypec, IBM, Optima, Panasonic, Pioneer, Todaytech and
The state will hold a briefing this Thursday in Sydney for