10 August, 2006

Ah, Futility

A lesson in how government IT just doesn't work:

Step 1: Component makes request for some kind of web-based calendaring system. It doesn't have to be much, they want something to make their current appointment process a little more streamlined and user-friendly. Perfectly understandable.

Step 2: Lowly contractor is told to look at products. Yup, that lowly contractor would be me. I look at several that meet our current technology capabilities, and finally settle on a nice, open-source product that runs on PHP and MySQL.

Step 3: Higher ups in my group and the requesting component review the product. They like it, and the few minor problems that pop up are corrected, since I have the source code at my disposal.

Step 4: Request a security review. Security denies request to install the software. Claim that open-source is the work of the devil unsafe and provides no 24/7 support in case of problem. Also, fall back on ancient (1999ish) order from the Powers-That-Be that "thou shalt not use open-source", ignoring the fact that the previously mentioned PHP and MySQL are, in fact, OS.

Step 5: Appeal case to people with higher paygrades; also, find other components in need of calendar to add to business case.

Step 6: Find out real reason that the initial request was denied. To summarize the BS: Sure, they say they hate open-source and blah blah blah, but in fact it turns out that the Windows group (which is completely not affiliated in any way with any group that has been doing anything so far) has a product they want to make everyone use. And, to summarize the summary, the Windows group paid a lot of money for a POS product, and must now justify their expense by forcing it on other people.

Step 7: Review the Windows group's product for compatibility with our needs. Guess what, it sucks.

Step 8: Spend time staring at computer monitor, weeping over the futility of the situation.

Step 9: Six to twelve months later, finally install the product that I wanted in the first place. Fully maximizing the inconvenience to all parties involved.

*sigh* Although I'm still waiting for step 9 to happen.

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