Letters to the editor

Re: The MFP saga continues (Oct. 2)

In your story, you say the inquiry “”will also examine why the city acquired 10,000 Oracle Corp. database enterprise software licences — a number

a city auditor report says is a ‘fraction’ of what it actually needed.”” The City of Toronto did not acquire 10,000 database licences — it acquired 2,500 database licences to bring its total number of database licences to 10,000.

To get the city up to its required 10,000 licenced users, it signed a contract with Oracle Canada for $2.9 million-worth of licence migration fees and new licences. Another $700,000 of support for the new licences was also purchased, bringing the total to about $3.6 million. The balance of the City of Toronto contract with MFP for Oracle database — excluding financing charges — was for five years-worth of support on the 10,000 licenced users.

Oracle has been caught up by its association with MFP, and a lack of understanding with regard to Oracle’s involvement. At no time has the City of Toronto accused Oracle Canada of any wrongdoing, and the relationship continues to be strong. The City has not asked Oracle Canada for any refunds. Oracle holds its relationship with the City of Toronto in high regard, and is committed to working with the city for many years to come.

Paul Stulberg
Director, Corporate Communications
Oracle Canada


Re: The MFP saga continues (Oct. 2)

I think you guys need to do some investigative work and clarify the statement you continually repeat in your article.

Based on the following comments in the many recent articles you are publishing about the MFP leasing agreement with the City you state “”It will also examine why the city acquired 10,000 Oracle Corp. database enterprise software licences — a number a city auditor report says is a ‘fraction’ of what it actually needed.””

Maybe the city auditor was misquoted or you need to revisit this, but I’m certain you’re going to find that the city never needed the 10,000 seats. I think your readers require clarification on this point.

Better yet, maybe you should be asking Oracle how many other clients in Canada have executed such an agreement. Maybe there are other stories worth investigation.

Chris Bergman


Jennifer Brown replies:

To clarify, the intent was to state that according to audit reports from the city, “”at no time since 1999 has the city needed more than a fraction of the 10,000 enterprise licences purchased.”” (possibly less than 1,000).

Statements in the audit committee’s reports emphasize that “”by any measure the purchase of 10,000 enterprise licences was excessive and unnecessary.””

We continue to follow this story as both the police investigation and the inquiry continue.


Re: IBM beefs up productivity in Domino, Notes releases (Oct. 2)

As a reluctant user of Notes R5, I laugh at all these productivity improvements. First IBM should be fixing the myriad bugs and dumb GUI before adding new features. How about making the GUI more like Outlook? The best example is when sending a message, the SENT folder contains a copy of the message. When that is moved to the appropriate folder in Outlook, it is one step. In Notes it is five. How’s that for productivity?

Howard Russo
Senior Software Developer
Keycorp Canada Inc.


Re: Where wireless works (Oct. 2)

Perhaps this is an isolated incident, but I am led to believe that in the Vancouver Airport, you use the kiosk to save time. But then you stand in line for 45 minutes to get to an agent to check your bags and verify your ticket? When questioned, all Air Canada personnel would do was throw up their hands. On the funny side, one agent quipped that she used to start her day with a drink. Now she drinks all day long!

Paul Decosta


Re: What the world needs now is Michael Cowpland (Sept. 26)

I was very excited when a Canadian company took the charge to bring Linux to the desktop. It was very sad when we as a nation lost faith in Cowpland. The demise of Corel and Cowpland was an eerie reminder of what happened back when we as a nation developed the Avro Arrow. I am glad that Xandros has taken on the challenge to carry the torch, but I would have been very proud if Corel had been successful in bringing Linux to the masses.

Kevin Power


Re: What the world needs now is Michael Cowpland (Sept. 26)

Thanks for the nice article, but actually I was speaking at the Yankee Group last week on an SMS panel comprised of Microsoft, IBM, Xerox, RIM and Zim. Zim will be very visible shortly with SMS Office, our enterprise/retail software.

It also looks like the bundling deals that Steve Houck has been doing at Corel will ignite their sales soon. And Sun is now using Corel desktop Linux (under a spin-off name) as the core of their future strategy.

Michael Cowpland


Re: DuPont defines the elements of outsourcing (Sept. 25)

Your headline on DuPont outsourcing looked so attractive I read the story. It turned out to be less about successes than disasters. Recently, I looked at DuPont’s profit and loss situation and would have appreciated more about what they think the effects of the outsourcing have been. Secondly, I would also have appreciated more on how they structure their outsourcing activities and the rationale behind it.

Age old (old age?) companies like DuPont, GM, GE and Ford seem to have approached it in various ways, if at all. You might try another story on what DuPont’s overall impression is and where they think they are heading and how.

Monty Squire


Re: Error messages I’d like to see (Sept. 20)

I enjoy your columns. You have a gift for getting to the point. But can we talk about the next step of software engineering?

Your list of amusing messages will add ways of characterizing a company’s technical misgivings. We presently have “”Blue Screen of Death”” to help us describe our dilemma and it helps us distance ourselves a little from the pain of it all.

It’s about time in the world of software failure that software repair receives some automated attention while keeping the user in control to accept or reject the solutions presented.

Gary Parkinson


This is a great subscription. I read it daily!

Glenn A. Sargant
Chief Informatics Officer
Government of Nunavut
Department of Finance
Informatics Planning and Systems Development Branch

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of ITBusiness.ca. Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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