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  UCLA CIO 'Humbled' By Open Source Quality
LinuxMedNews Posted by I. Valdes on Sunday November 17, 2002 @ 06:42 PM
from the OSHCA dept.
Mike McCoy, MD is Chief Information Officer of UCLA's sprawling medical center and a champion of Free and Open Source medical software. His keynote speech at the recent OSHCA was remarkable. The following are excerpts from the speech. Errors in quoting him are mine, apologies in advance. ...I am humbled by the quality of open source software. [Medical software] Vendors have awful software behind the scenes because they don't have a review process. Vendor companies frequently have 500 employees: 495 in sales, the rest in support...Most companies cannot afford to maintain quality sources themselves... Digg this article

"Vendor schemes are becoming more elaborate. It is hard to understand what to pay Microsoft, because their licenses have become so complicated...if vendors would focus on great service, they would make more money...Functionality of medical software is miserable...if only it was a matter of money and it isn't. My budget is $60 million a year but there isn't much I want to buy..."

"...I am humbled by the quality of open source software. [Medical Software] Vendors have awful software behind the scenes because they don't have a review process. Vendor companies frequently have 500 employees: 495 in sales, the rest in support. Most companies cannot afford to maintain quality sources themselves..."

"I am concerned about the follow-the-herd 'upgrading' to Windows...Companies with good software on Unix migrate to Windows and the transformation is truly grotesque...IDX corp. has converted from Unix to Windows. It was in a nice little Unix box. Solid, reliable and inexpensive. We bought the Windows 'upgrade'. It runs on a cluster of 20 NT servers with about the same level of service..."

"...Many CIO's don't have the nerve [to use open source medical software]. They don't survive the consultantocracy. There is an incestuous relationship between consultants and commercial software vendors. Consultants love complex, long-term relationships..."

"Why should medical software cost millions of dollars to install?...There are longer term risks with closed source, like the sunsetting of products, and having no option other than to buy software that a bought-out vendor says you must buy. This isn't apparent at first...Microsoft can now 'dial a profit' [with their new licensing scheme]...people are going to pay to keep Microsofts profits up. The entire University of California means nothing to Microsoft, we have no bargaining position...We hope to make UCLA independent of Microsoft so that we can make business decisions...Consultants never recommend open source solutions...Linux systems run for years non-stop on nice little boxes. I can't imagine what a 1000 bed hospital would look like on Windows. Sometimes the CIO's don't know what OS their systems are running on...[Medical] open source developers should focus on little useful tools rather than boiling the ocean. You can be an open source advocate by using open source, not developing open source. Just use it...When UCLA is all open source, that is going to be a powerful message."

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
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    Re: UCLA CIO 'Humbled' By Open Source Quality
    by Will Ross on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @ 06:08 AM
    My favorite moment from Dr. McCoy's keynote speech was, after describing his combined roots as both a hacker and a physician, when he said "I am a medical software salesman's worst nightmare." [wr]
    [ Reply to this ]
    • Re: UCLA CIO 'Humbled' By Open Source Quality
      by Christian Heller on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @ 02:00 PM
      I guess everybody could just dream of a CIO like him (Dr. Mike McCoy). He's just a "great guy", if I may say so.

      It was soo interesting and sometimes funny to listen to his stories, when we all were out to the pubs in the evening.

      I wish there were more managers who really know what they are talking about and who would not let consultants decide about important things of their own company.

      Christian
      [ Reply to this ]
    • Re: UCLA CIO 'Humbled' By Open Source Quality
      by I. Valdes on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @ 04:23 PM
      It was a truly remarkable speech. I'm glad to know that there are people in leadership positions with such insight that keep their heads. A remarkably good conference as well. Speaker after speaker that was just fantastic. -- IV
      [ Reply to this ]

     
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