Suse Linux powers SA tax collection
More than two years ago the South African Revenue Service (SARS) began a process to migrate its desktops to Linux by calling for a proof on concept. Two years on the desktop migration has not happened but the tax-collection arm of government has made some progress towards wider open source use, including wide use of Suse Linux. We take a look at exactly what has been going on.
According to Sita’s Free and Open Source Programme, although SARS’ is still working on a desktop Linux strategy – a thin-client network – the department has a number of open source deployments. Most of these are in the development and backoffice environment.
SARS already runs all of its production SAP systems on Suse Enterprise Linux. Other systems such as the department’s production DB2 databases, Advanced Tax Processor (ATP) and Service Manager, are running on AIX but SARS ran proof of concept (POC) projects in 2008 to establish the feasibility of running Adabas/Natural systems on Suse Linux.
Current Websphere Message Broker and MQ implementations are also being run on Suse Linux as well as portions of the department’s contact centre setup which is being hosted on a Sun box running Suse Linux. That contact centre system also uses Terracotta, an open source JVM-level clustering software for Java. Portions of SARS’ filing-season applications make use of the JBOSS application server.
When it comes to development, SARS uses Eclipse Workbench, an open source development environment and the ATP and Service Manager use the Python programming language and the Glassfish Java Enterprise Edition application server.
On the desktop SARS is investigating the options for establishing a thin-client Linux network and has a proposed proof of concept project in place to investigate this.