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History - Chapter 9 Arrangements with vendors

The earliest arrangements with vendors were negotiated by individual members of CAUDIT, frequently a member of the Executive, who had a particular interest in the product for which some arrangement was being sought. Latterly all negotiations have been conducted by Steve Johnston, with the assistance of members and their staff with specific expertise, when appropriate.

A very early agreement was one with Digital Equipment Corporation (long since ceased to exist) for a 45% discount on all equipment defined (loosely) as related to the SPEARNet (networking) project. This arose out of discussions between those members who happened to attend a DECWorld event in Boston in February 1986 and DEC staff. The sgreement was sometimes treated quite flexibly to include (almost) any workstation equipment, allowing universities to purchase, for example, DECStations (a Unix-based workstation) for highly favourable prices. These could then be used as Unix servers, at a much lower price than that of DECServers, the official product for that purpose. Even earlier, from memory, was an agreement to supply all Digital software for a very reasonable annual fee, to universities.

Agreements for the supply of hardware were quite rare, and more recently all agreements have been for software or services.

Other quite early agreements included one with Oracle, arranged largely by Ian Hunter while still Computer Centre Director at James Cook University and one with IBM for their Tivoli system, arranged principally by John Edwards (La Trobe University).

John Noad prepared a report as a result of the Conditions of Use Project, on Requirements for CAUDIT Negotiated University Software Licences which was certainly adhered to for some time.

One of the longer-standing agreements, still in place today having commenced in 1998 Is the Ovum Agreement, negotiated, once again, by John Edwards. Under this agreement, provided there are sufficient subscribers (the required number appears to have reduced over the years) those who do subscribe are able to access all the material created by Ovum and make it available to a restricted number of people. A more expensive option, taken up by very few, typically through the Library, allows access to the same material for all staff and students of the Institution. The number of subscribers has gradually reduced, but is still quite a significant number, who appear to consider it a valuable offer.