Unisys wants AU$250k open source advocate

The Australian arm of IT services multinational Unisys has placed an advertisement for an evangelist to plug open source software locally, with a potential pay packet of AU$250,000 per year.

The Australian arm of IT services multinational Unisys has placed an advertisement for an evangelist to plug open source software locally, with a potential pay packet of AU$250,000 per year.

The advertisement, understood to belong to Unisys, was recently posted on Seek, with its description calling for an open source architect whose job it would be to promote "vendor agnostic solutions" such as JBOSS, MySQL, Oracle Fusion and IBM Websphere, although not all of those are open source solutions.

The candidate is expected to become the Asia-Pacific expert for open source within the firm and would be required to talk meaningfully about open source at the CXO level.

Unisys appears to be on a global mission to ramp up its exposure in the open source field. "Other open source architects are being appointed to ensure there is coverage in all the major markets," the job advertisement states. Separately, it is understood that Unisys has hired up to 40 other similar level recruits around the world.

However, Unisys would not confirm with ZDNet.com.au that it had placed the ad. "We're not in a position to talk about our open source strategy yet," a spokesperson said.

CNET News' open source blogger and general manager of open source content management company, Alfresco, Matt Asay recently said that all major systems integrators, including Accenture, CSC, and Unisys were rapidly expanding expertise beyond Linux to cover open-source databases, middleware and applications.

Systems integrators are capitalising on the view that open source is suffering due to a lack of professional support.

In a 2007 survey by open source security company Barracuda Networks, 65 per cent of respondents cited a lack of vendor professional services as an inhibitor to open source — a sentiment that is shared by some of the Australian federal government's top chief information officers in Canberra, where Unisys has been ramping up its operations after winning deals with the Departments of Immigration and Defence.

The ATO's Bill Gibson, Centrelink's CIO John Wadeson and Department of Defence CIO, Greg Farr all recently told ZDNet.com.au that open source was unlikely to find a place in government for that reason.

"For our really big core stuff, we really need the support we get. We buy the support, so we're not likely to see massive open source right through the place," Wadeson told ZDNet.com.au.

"Open source that is supported is interesting to me, but obviously we can't have a product where we have a problem and we don't have readily available support," Defence's Farr said.