Location: CrawshawSchool
Time: early Winter start time of 7pm


This was a very interesting meeting with Shay McAulay from the Hamilton City Council giving a presentation on the use of Linux within the City Council. A lot of insight was gained into what looks like a tightly run network operation for the city council. Thanks a lot Shay! The meeting was followed by a quick question and answer session.

Hardware Platforms

The general trend is to move from Windows clients and Solaris/Linux servers to just Windows (frontend) and Linux (backend). There are still Legacy library apps on Solaris, but the trend is to having the applications running on a Java platform on a Linux cluster (RedHat Enterprise edition). Standardised hardware and disk imaging allows servers to be replaced by spares with a minimum of downtime. Linux running on the Compaq servers gives more bang for much less buck than the solaris platform and support it replaced.

Linux use

Combination of reasons given for linux use:

Cheaper costs
redhat enterprise licenses costs were comparable to windows, but no extra/hidden costs were involved, making the "TCO" less.
code red virus introduced to network by laptop user (although detected and the port disabled within a minute), various email viruses (mostly controlled before more than 5-10% of clients infected)
Patch management
Microsoft patch for "Blaster" adversely affected Citrix servers. Microsoft patches now require extended testing on identically configured machines before being deployed.
Service separation/transparency
management like the fact that with linux, you can see exactly what is (or isn't) running on a particular machine.


The city council has a large wide area network, comprising many sites:

  • central
  • 5 libraries (+ flagstaff in the future) (catalogs/issuing databases, as well as own networks)
  • zoo (about to move off dialup?)
  • cricket ground and waikato stadium
  • parks/gardens operations
  • water treatment plant
  • refuse services
  • Founders Theatre
  • Museum

Most of the sites are linked by fibre. The NOC is also connected to the central city closed-circuit fibre network and the traffic lights network. VLANs are used extensively which helps immensely in quickly locating suspicious behaviour/disabling ports. Most machines are on an internal private address range.

Future Plans:

  • More backend stuff migrated to linux.
  • More stuff online for ratepayers/residents... possibilities include payment of rates, fines, dog licensing fees...
  • Use of SMS gateway for providing information to/from council staff in areas such as dog control (finding out registered address), security (aid in responding to alarms), engineering services, etc
  • VoIP for all desktop users, office staff
  • More investigation of LinuxOnTheDesktop

see also OldMeetingTopics

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