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Bonhams to migrate to open source

John Riley

Auction firm Bonhams is embracing open source, the company's global CIO, Roland Whitehead, told the Triple i Convention.

It is phasing out Microsoft Exchange and has no plans to migrate to Windows 2003. The auctioneer is planning to stop using Microsoft Word. In future all documents will go through Bonhams' core system using PDF files.

The only reason Whitehead is not installing Open Office is because of the legacy of Excel macros in the business.

Open source has significantly reduced Bonhams' costs. Whitehead said he had deployed a new auction system for £500,000, which he claims has more features than proprietary systems costing millions of pounds.

The move to open source has a downside. "We live with an element of risk," he said. "We rely on our own resources and on our own people." This puts a premium on training, he said.

But Whitehead maintained that open source is more fun for his staff, who are in regular contact with developers, and this helps retain good people.

Whitehead also told delegates he did not worry about total cost of ownership calculations. "TCO sucks," he said. "We ignore it because it is the bits you can't identify that really cost."


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