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August 19, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Gives New Orleans a $100 Million Gift
- Become Part of Our MEC 2002 Focus Group!
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, has entered into a preliminary agreement with Microsoft in which the company will provide $100 million worth of computer software and services to City Hall and the police department at no cost. The massive gift comes with just one catch: After the software and services are up and running, New Orleans must let Microsoft use the city as a model for marketing the products to other municipalities. Greg Meffert, the city's technology officer, says that New Orleans will eventually need to purchase some software from the company but that the cost will be "miniscule."
Coming as it does during a period of heated exchange about governmental use of open-source software solutions in the United States and worldwide, Microsoft's gift is somewhat controversial. However, New Orleans officials say that the gift will save the city enormous amounts of money and give Microsoft the real-world experience it needs to sell similar plans to other cities. And because the software and services are a gift, New Orleans won't need to open the project to public bids.
To meet New Orleans' needs, Microsoft will port a system—the Offender Data Information System—that it originally developed for the state of Oklahoma. The system will link the city with dozens of law enforcement agencies, jails, and court systems countrywide, and provide online mug shots, warrants and other information. New Orleans' current system is ancient, close to capacity, and in danger of a "meltdown," according to city officials. One system crash could forever destroy critical data, they say.
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
If you're attending MEC 2002 and work at a company with more than 3000 employees, join our focus group on October 9, 2002. We'll give you a free lunch and $100! To be considered for this focus group, please email us at mailto:[email protected] by August 23. Please include your full name, job title, and email address.
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