Have your say at computerweekly.com
On the untrained use of touch-pads by children
In response to the letter about money being spent on IT in schools without the provision of proper back-up (Computer Weekly, 9 March)
I have been reading the letter about infants complaining about aching hands when using laptop touchpads.
They are lucky to have computers. I seem to remember having the same problem when I was young back in the dark ages while using a pen and holding it too tight!
I survived and I am sure they will.
Martin Hall, financial director, O Seaman & Son
On running Linux and controlling 'people costs'
In response to David Hurley's comments on whether Linux can rival Windows (Computer Weekly, 2 March)
David Hurley makes some interesting comments about switching to Linux, picking up especially on the fact that Stuart Cohen said, "Many users run only one application."
Although I agree with Hurley that many users run much more than one application, most of the examples Hurley selects are also available on Linux. The main place Hurley's argument would have merit is where companies have in-house applications written in Visual Studio or complex VBA automations.
I take issue, however, with his comment that the majority of costs are people costs, and the implication that you cannot save with Linux here.
It is lunacy to consider running more than one server application per server with Windows. With Linux, the only applications that need their own dedicated servers are DNS and firewall. The first because it is a memory hog and the latter because anything other than security software is a security liability. A company migrating to Linux could easily halve the number of servers they need. If you add to this the fact that the typical Linux administrator is responsible for many more servers than his Windows opposite number, the potential for saving on salaries is high, even if you are paying the Linux guy twice as much.
And as for Microsoft's world-class applications - I spent my own money on a copy of Corel Perfectoffice, rather than accept a free copy of Microsoft Office from my employer.
On the waning role of the IT director
In response to Mike Norris, who said the role of the IT director is waning (Computer Weekly, 9 March)
Historically, it has not been easy for chief information officers to demonstrate the value of IT,
especially when presenting to those who may not understand or care how things are done, just that they get done.
However, as corporate governance appears on the agenda of every chief executive and chief financial officer, CIOs may find they hold the key to the compliant company of the future,
rather than simply providing a service to the business at the most effective cost.
No one can deny that IT and corporate governance are linked. IT governance could provide CIOs with the opportunity to help ensure the legality of their organisation and to take a bigger and more strategic role in the running of the business. But they will also find their own heads on the block if it all goes wrong. Therefore, they should act on IT governance now - ensuring that IT operations are run efficiently to support and regulate the business - or face the consequences of another Enron or Parmalat.
Solutions exist to help CIOs govern IT operations throughout the enterprise - giving them measurement as well as visibility and control over IT performance to prove that IT is aligned with the business and delivering return on investment. For CIOs, IT governance and its link to corporate governance is an opportunity not to be missed, unless they want Mike Norris' predictions to be realised.
David Harrison, managing director UK, Mercury
This was first published in March 2004