Duke ITAC - April 11, 1996 Minutes

Information Technology Advisory Committee


April 11, 1996

Thomas A. DiPrete

The meeting began with announcements:

Both Oracle and Sybase were asked to submit proposals for a campus site license, and both responded recently. Oracle said that it had a policy not to provide site licenses, rather it charged based on the number of individual users. There was a discussion of what constituted a user. Both Oracle and Sybase are eager to work with Duke.

Mike Pickett made an announcement re: desk top system specifications that will be put out on the web as systems that OIT will recommend and support: high, midlevel, and low desktop, laptop and server systems for MAC and for PC. Also announcements concerning supported software suites would be posted. These will be out in the next 3-5 days. Mike asked for feedback from ITAC.

There followed a discussion concerning the process for deciding what to include. Mike responded that OIT encouraged departments to consider puchasing from the bookstore, because of the support provided by bookstore and through Duke Computer Repair. A recent study of local stores in the Chronicle showed that bookstore prices were competitive or better than other local discount stores.

The new IBM mainframe has been installed. It provides both space and speed advantages over the old system. The upgrade has allowed workers in payroll, accounts payable, and other administrative offices to do their work with less delays.

Next there was a discussion concerning the remote acess subcommittee The committee membership is almost finalized. A charge was passed out. There were no A&S members yet; suggestions are needed. Looking also for Med Ctr and for Engineering, and for grad student representatives.

There is a need to coordinate the work process redesign efforts. Dr. Trask agreed. A letter was sent by ITAC the Deans council about the need to coordinate the technical aspects of the work process redesign committee. Dr. Trask has agreed to chair a committee to accomplish this function (the Systems Integration Coordinating Committee) . A core team of technical people will be included on the committee. Mike Pickett will chair the core group.

Student computer recommendations:

Betty thanked people for input on the recommendation. She got lots of feedback on price. We have agreed on the desktop. The recommendation makes comments about the advantages of portables, but doesn't make specific recommendations about portables at this point. There were some suggestions that the discussion be expanded to include a balanced view of the advantages and disadvantages of laptops. There was also some discussion about whether the letter should go to graduate and professional students. The conclusion of this discussion was that the letter should only go to undergraduate students.

Electronic Mail:

A meeting was called a few weeks ago and a proposal was drafted and passed out. Comments are welcome. Major issues:

  • cc:Mail has some stability problems. It is generally thought of as the best client system but it does have delivery problems. These problems may be fixed in the next couple of releases (versions 6 and 7). Lotus was rumored to be creating an IMAP version of cc:Mail, but this appears not to be true, at least for now. The question of whether users should be encouraged to leave cc:Mail was discussed. Landon said that the Med Ctr would definitely not go off cc:Mail for the forseeable future.
  • There are two cultures at the university. The Administration and the Med Ctr use CC mail, while the academic side uses a variety of platforms: Pine, Eudora, Simeon, Pegasus, and Elm, though Elm is declining in popularity.
  • A discussion about future trends ensued. IMAP is viewed as the ideal protocal. Both Pine and Simeon support the IMAPstandard. Pine is a character-based and Simeon grapical. Eudora should have an IMAP version by late 1996. OIT expects either Eudora or Simeon to emerge as the clear leader, which would then allow a recommendation that cc:Mail users migrate to one or the other of these two packages. Another possible leader may be Netscape mail, if an IMAP version is created. Mike Pickett asked for comments about the email proposal.

The meeting then turned to a discusion of the draft report of the undergraduate computing committee. Tom DiPrete summarized the report for the committee. There was some discussion about the rationale behind the subcommittee's decision not to recommend that the university require all undergraduates to have computers. In particular, the financial implications of such a recommendation were discussed. Members of ITAC were asked to send suggestions for revisions to Tom and other members of the subcommittee.

A brief discussion took place at the end of the meeting concerning how to best synthesize the reports of the various subcommittees for inclusion in a final strategic planning report.