Wendy, spokesman and policy counsel for the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC), says he just wants to make sure government agencies don’t unduly favor open-source or free programs over proprietary software. “We want a process that is not based on automatic preferences,” Wendy said. Here is an article on how to connect securely with ssh. Neither distance nor firewalls need keep you from your servers.
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PCLinuxOnline hosts a series of articles on the Debian-based Mepis Linux LiveCD distribution. First is an overview of the distro, followed by a full review. Finally, Mepis creator Warren Woodford is interviewed.
As of 2003-07-12, LinuxInstall decided to change “RELEASE NUMBER” for LinuxInstall.org as following.
Freedom is a great software feature. Some people think it is a required feature for software to have to even use it.
Why should governments not be allowed to demand freedom if it is important to them?
Som companies need to change business models. Tough, its called capatalism, where companies need to adapt to survive.
What ISC really are saying is that companies selling proprietary software to governments should get special treatment. That governments should ignore the freedom feature.
…for software that can easily be replaced by another alternative with minimum hassle. Open document formats should be mandated at the very least. Governments should not be locked in to a certain piece of software because the format the data is stored in is proprietary.
The legislation should also be extended to schools and even colleges IMHO. Certain companies take advantage of schools and offer them software at ridiculously discounted rates. This ends up locking the students in. The practice of discounting software for students should be altogether banned too. This skews the market and prevents others who already sell their software at low prices from being able to take advantage of their typically lower prices. Their prices are just matched or beaten, and they cannot do the same because they do not have such deep pockets.
Also, deals with all public institutions in matters such as software (and hardware) aquisition should be published.
I think I have said enough. at the end of the day, I shouldn’t have to be asked to give someone in the government a file in Excel format, when i am using Openoffice. There should be an open standard format that government standardises on that is accessible to all software developers, whether open source or proprietary.
I think the tendency to treat data formats as IP is also a major issue. The only reason for binary formats which cannot be read by other programs is to prevent interoperability. In my mind, this means that the Excel file on your computer is partly owned by Microsoft. You are not supposed to be able to use it if Microsoft removes the right for you to use their software. Its like someone licensing the use of a drum to you, then the moment they decide you cannot use the drum anymore, you cannot take out whatever you put in.
I totally disagree with the idea of mandating standards and using government policy to push one type of software over the other. I think the growth of open-source software is truly a market driven phenomen. I think most people set ideology aside when making software choices and pick the best product for the job. OSS may fill that role or a closed source software maker may do the job, practicality should come before ideology.
I agree with Mr. Wendy that legislating a preference for either open source or proprietary software seems strange. But Microsoft’s position is quite entrenched because of the network effects of their desktop monopoly – you buy your PC loaded with Windows because that’s what the OEM offers; they offer only that because that’s the OS that runs the desktop software which everyone uses, it features the browser that web sites support, and it’s the OS that companies have standardized on for support. That might be OK if Microsoft was a benevolent monopolist, but they aren’t (I’m not sure one has ever existed). So some short-term effort to break this entrenchment may be worthwhile *if* it would lead to the benefits of greater choice and competition, and I think it would.
Your argument fails on the basis that the assumptions made to reach your conclusion are incorrect. In order for the market to determine the issue, there must be a fully functional and competitive market. There is not. The market is distorted by MS’s monopoly. Therefore, the market is not able to determine the outcome.
I have no problem with the government intervening in the market to ensure that competition is restored. If the market is perceived by government as the ideal for maximising wealth, then the government has a duty to step in where the market is failing, and restore the market as best it can. One of the things it can do is to remove barriers to entry, such as not using proprietory document/file formats itself.
Another justification for requiring the use of open formats is security/sovereignty. How can a sovereign government, that values its sovereignty, save all its data in a format that lives or dies at the whim of a company in the USA. Given the value of electronic data these days, it is ceding a large amount of the government’s sovereignty to Redmond. Doesn’t sound good to me.
In my view your argument fails on the basis of a flawed assumption. Open-source is not a market driven phenomenon, if anything, it is a market-failure driven phenomenon.
I believe a market-failure driven phenomen is a market driven phenomenon. Ultimately the market is investigating alternatives to Redmond without the intervention of the governemnt. The weak anti-trust settlement demonstrates that while the government here in the US has failed to reign in Microsoft the market is moving toward Linux servers and desktop products where they are most appropriate. I think my original statement stands that the market is deciding this one. And I also agree that open document standards are important for governments because they are the most interchangeable, not because they are an alternative to some evil “American Corporation”