interesting story on real world use of open source
Colorado’s Department of Human Services is one of the hardest-working agencies in the state. The second-largest agency in Colorado, it oversees 64 county departments of social and human services, ranging from the state’s public mental health system to veterans’ nursing homes and thousands of community-based service providers. County-administered programs, such as public assistance and child welfare services, are also supervised by the department.
CDHS has three large systems to administer and support: the County Financial Management System; Trails, a child welfare system; and the Colorado Benefits Management System. The systems provide an array of services, including food and child welfare assistance and disbursement of funds.
Colorado wanted to standardize computers throughout all the counties.
“We recognized that loading applications on computers worked well, but it was a hard job to manage in 64 counties,” said Ron Cash, infrastructure manager at CDHS. The department had to install and support these core applications on about 5,000 computers statewide.
In 2002, CDHS partnered with Dynamics Research to develop a plan that would let the state deploy these core applications to the counties using a Citrix metaframe environment built on Novell Portal Service 1.5, which was later upgraded to Novell exteNd portal. A Web portal solution freed the department from managing distributed applications on desktops and worrying about dedicated network connections.