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United States Microsoft

More on Massachusetts' Push for Open Source 310

pbaumgar writes "With more than $32 billion in sales last year, Microsoft Corp. doesn't usually worry about losing one customer. But this one may be different. In a memo sent last month, Massachusetts Administration and Finance Secretary Eric Kriss instructed the state's chief technology officer to adopt a policy of 'open standards, open source' for all future spending on information technology." Follow-up to this story.
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More on Massachusetts' Push for Open Source

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  • by BizidyDizidy ( 689383 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @06:55PM (#7256484)
    I'm not saying I'm an MS-apologist, but shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis? A Blanket policy against MS, without allowing for a competitive bidding process or even alternative analysis doesn't seem right.

    I know you all want OSS to win, but not by cheating. Shouldn't all have to compete on a level field, especially when we're the ones paying for it?
    • Maybe the "Open Source" bit is a little excessive, but "Open Standards" is fair enough. And if the state has determined that only Open Source will ensure that software meets Open Standards, then so be it.
      • Let's put it this way...

        Why pay for something when there is a product that is equally good for free? Would you want your government buying $500 hammers when you were able to get one just as good if not better for free.

        To me, this isn't just a choice for the tax payers, it's a choice for common sense.
        • I think this response is getting a little tired. OSS easily might be the best solution, but no solution is completely free as in beer, especially when it comes to a rollout of this scope.
          • Of course, the implementation of the software costs money. I don't think anyone is trying to pretend that Free Software will somehow install and maintain itself. But do you really think it costs more to roll out? If so, please explain. Otherwise, I would assert that saving several hundred dollars per seat on software is a significant up-front savings... and that the process of getting that software up and running in-house is constant at worst and favors Free Software at best.

            In any case, the call for "op
    • A cost-only approach ignores other issues such as security and reliability, which clearly are a major factor for a finance dept. and here open standards/open source have a far better track record than closed source. Not only that, the bidding, in cases such as these, would likely be open to any open souce supplier, of which there are many. There's no cheating here, just a better long term strategy based on evidence availible at the present time.
      • How are security and reliability not cost related issues? If I'm hacked, what does that do to my expenses, uptimes, etc. Same if my server is down every 20 min. I'm in no way saying that MS should have ANY unfair advantage - compare both on the same playing field.
        • how do you determine the cost of private information being made public? do you use the RIAA strategy of $150,000 per file made public?

          making everything about cost is a stupid dogma imo. I know there are some ultra-capitalists who'd like everything to be determined by the bottom line, but I think most people realise that some values such as security can stand on their own merits without need for cost-justification.
    • by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:03PM (#7256545)
      There are occasionally reasons for such a blanket statement. Consider what he wanted: Open Source, Open Standards. There is no claim for free software, only open software.

      I do not know, but there is a distinct possibility that the reason for this has a little to do with price and a lot to do with risk.

      If the system follows open standards, other systems can be used along-side it reliably, meaning an upgrade won't mean upgrading the entire network. Also, it means that products can be replaced, in case a business fails or other problems develop, and their files can still be used.

      Also, using open source means that, in a worst case scenario, the program can be fixed. For most businesses and individuals, this isn't an issue, but governments are very much about worst case scenarios. They have to plan for the worst that can happen, or it'll be really bad when the worst does happen. Using open source means MicroSoft cannot pull the rug from under their feet by refusing to fix serious errors.
    • "And despite Microsoft's lobbying, a Pentagon report concluded that open source was often cheaper and more secure, and that its use, if anything, should expand."

      First off, I think it should be illegal for any corporate entity to lobby the government; regardless, there's plenty of proof that using OSS alone, ignoring initial cost, is still cheaper in the long run (also see this story [slashdot.org])
    • cost analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:04PM (#7256550)
      Actually, according to the article, it seems that cost analysis was exactly one of the reasons this policy is being pushed. Also, this is not a blanket policy against MS; it is a blanket policy of open source. If MS wants to open the source of some of their products then they have as much opportunity as anyone else to compete for Massachussetts' money.
      • Insightful?

        Gah.

        Listen - this reply is entirely disingenuous, in the context of this discussion.

        My contention is that total cost v. total benefit should be the primary consideration. So, consider a situation where a MS product would win; it's then ridiculous to say that if all factors were considered, MS should be banned for just this reason. In fact, it shows that this policy isn't entirely mindful of the true situation.

        As an example, what if I was hiring at my company and you interviewed. Afterwards I
        • "My contention is that total cost v. total benefit should be the primary consideration."

          Except that there are more important things in government than how much something costs.

          Let's say your state is like most and maintains an online database of legislation, past and present. As a concerned voter, you would like to see what your elected representatives are up to. What would you rather have: A more expensive solution that lets you review bills in an open format (plaintext, PostScript, etc.) or a cheape
          • Goodness sakes. How can you copy a piece of text without reading it? I suppose maybe the gulf lies in understanding.

            Is your example an example of cost? Hmm, doesn't seem to be.

            Maybe it's an example of benefit? Hold on, it sounds like you might be getting somewhere.

            I wish I had mentioned benefits in my post, thank you for helping me out.

            On a less jackass note, this gets EXACTLY back to a cost benefit analysis. Is this functionality you describe worth 10 million dollars? What about 10 billion? 10 trillion
            • "Is your example an example of cost? Hmm, doesn't seem to be."

              Judging from your original post, "cost" to you is synonymous with "price tag." Hence my use of the words "cheaper" and "more expensive."

              "Maybe it's an example of benefit? Hold on, it sounds like you might be getting somewhere."

              The benefit is access to government, something generally not associated with price tags (unless you're a die-hard cynical Marxist). It's also something that rarely gets mentioned in the competitive bids you referred
              • Good heavens bud.

                Judging from your original post, "cost" to you is synonymous with "price tag." Hence my use of the words "cheaper" and "more expensive."

                You obviously misjudged my original post, I reread it and can't find anything that might give you that opinion.

                None of the above. I'm not one that feels that a price tag could (or should) be associated with free ("as in speech") access to government, and there is only one choice that is acceptable in a republican form of government.

                Oh, for heavens

                • How about this: as long as costs are in the same ballpark, then the Massachussets govt. should favor Open Source over MS products. Talking about "trillions" is ridiculous - if there is a price advantage to MS it won't magnitudes cheaper!

                  Let's put the question another way: how much is freedom from vedor lock-in worth? How much does maintaining the monopoly cost? It's not always about the lowest cost of purchase, too, but about long-term costs. Remember that a monopoly can lead to inflated prices quickly!

                  I
        • I hope you'll agree that this situation is ridiculous: If I've decided you're the best candidate, why should a quality that DOESN'T detract from you being the best candidate disqualify you.

          This is the whole issue: should the Mass government be forced into a best canidate that may force you to pay more over the long run, and have only certain features, vs you hiring the programmers to implement features, if you need them. But that is a tangent: the basic thing is: What are the qualifications to being the

    • by El ( 94934 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:11PM (#7256588)
      shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis?


      Yes, they should, but I think the principle here is that "What we don't know may cost us money in the future." This policy is not anti-Microsoft, it is anti-closed source and anti-lockin. Clearly, Microsoft's business strategy is to do everything possible to keep customers locked into their proprietary software; this can only make it more expensive in the future. Open Source's business strategy is to comoditize software and make the money on service and support. This is a much more competive model based on very small margins, and thus can only be cheaper -- provided the Open Source software provides the functionality you need. If it doesn't, it may be cheaper and easier for Mass to hire a consultant to add that functionality to the open source than to beg and plead with Microsoft to add it in, say, the Longhorn time frame (which appears to have been pushed back from 2002 to 2006 so far, somebody please correct me if I'm exagerating).

      • I'm a big fan of open source, but I don't agree with exclusive mandates. While some applications are undoubtably top of their class (eg. apache, sendmail, linux[as a server], mozilla/firebird etc.), others have yet to reach a stable, user-friendly state.

        While many /.ers are techno-literate, the average computer user is still a long way from understanding the workings of the computers and software they use. That is to say, they're not going to be able to tweak the product, run through a manual install or an
    • not the only issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spetiam ( 671180 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:12PM (#7256595) Journal

      cost analysis isn't the only issue. the MA reasoning may be that they want OSS for the freedom of information quality. think about it, if the gov't is using closed source software, for instance, to tally votes, and someone files a FOIA request, they can't exactly get the propriety information (ie, source code).

      it almost seems that OSS is absolutely necessary in order for a gov't to be able to comply with the FOIA.

    • by ljavelin ( 41345 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:12PM (#7256597)
      The Massachusetts policy, as drafted, doesn't preclude the use of closed-source or proprietary systems. Many news articles seem to miss this important point, making it sound like it's a closed-source mandate.

      Instead, the policy states that a preference should be given to open standards (such as open-standard document types, SSL, SQL, Postscript, email standards, open-source products, the RFCs, etc).

      The policy as drafted also clearly states that when proprietary systems are judged to be superior to their closed system counterparts (in terms of direct and indirect costs, features, compatability with existing systems, reliability, etc), the proprietary options must be selected.

      It's pretty simple, but some people are against it because it can in fact hurt segments of the software and IT consulting industries.

      In any case, right now, the policy says that with all things being equal, open source is preferred.

    • I'm not saying I'm an MS-apologist, but shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis? A Blanket policy against MS, without allowing for a competitive bidding process or even alternative analysis doesn't seem right.

      Large organizations, and particularly large government organizations, typically have approved specification lists that control what is and is not acceptable to purchase. Large propriatary suppliers such as Microsoft lobby very hard (directly and indirectly, as t

      • Well, I hope this is the case.

        For instance, I use Windows, but I also use Thunderbird, Firebird, and OpenOffice. For each of those, I've tried to decide based on ease of use, ease of transition, interoperability, etc.

        However, I fear that you might be overly optimistic. IIRC, the MA government has some reason for bitterness towards MS (involvement in anti-trust lawsuit), and it's entirely possible that this is an attempt to sanction them theirselves. If this is the case, to any degree, that constitutes an
    • I'm not saying I'm an MS-apologist, but shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis?

      The decision should in part be based on cost analysis but it should also consider immeasurable concepts like freedom and liberty and fairness.

      The government isn't a business. They are your representatives. They are the legislators. They are the executive. They are the police. They are the judges. They are the cleaners. They are the social workers. The government comprises all the peo

      • The government isn't a business. They are your representatives. They are the legislators. They are the executive. They are the police. They are the judges. They are the cleaners. They are the social workers. The government comprises all the people who work for you, the taxpayers.

        So any decision the government makes has to consider more than pure dollars and cents. They have an entire country to think about, both now and for the future. One of your representatives has decided that free software has non-tang

    • A Blanket policy against MS, without allowing for a competitive bidding process or even alternative analysis doesn't seem right.


      It's not a policy that Microsoft can't work around. Microsoft is free to submit a package that includs Microsoft Linux, Microsoft OpenOffice couupled with Microsoft's 'world-class' support.

    • I'm not saying I'm an MS-apologist, but shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis? A Blanket policy against MS, without allowing for a competitive bidding process or even alternative analysis doesn't seem right.

      The article mentions that one of the primary reasons for choosing FOSS over Microsoft software was that of cost.

      Other little things like accessibility, access to the code, and reliability were taken into account as well.

      Though you didn't, I see a lot of kn

    • shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis?

      Cost analysis, like every other decision making process is subject to interpitation. In this case, the winner of the cost analysis will be the organization that does the best job of influencing the parameters of the cost analysis to favor their product.

      Since that is the case I think other criterea need to be considered - including the issue of proprietary protocols, closed source, file systems and file formats. In my opinion t
      • >Cost analysis, like every other decision making
        >process is subject to interpitation.

        I interpret this as a strategy for the State of Massachussetts to acquire deep discounts on Microsoft products. If a heavy player starts making noise about switching, that's just so that Ballmer will get on his jet and come do the grovelling thing.
    • by Tangurena ( 576827 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @08:00PM (#7256826)
      Perhaps you should read an EULA sometime. Especially the bit about where the software vendor is not liable for anything: errors, crashes, defective security or lost data. The direction Microsoft is heading is to clearly make the data stored in the files the property of Microsoft. Just look at what Palladium (or whatever the replacement is called this week) is supposed to promise: remote disablement of software and the data inside it. You want to sue us? We will disable your software and the data inside it until you bend over and drop your pants. And how will the government be able to defend itself from that sort of abuse? Simple, just don't buy it. And that is what Massachussetts is saying: we don't want to pay for that risk.
      • You want to sue us? We will disable your software and the data inside it until you bend over and drop your pants. And how will the government be able to defend itself from that sort of abuse?

        Ok, so MS can threaten them with their extra 'leet backdoors. The goverment has all the guns. If Ballmer and Gates had AR-15s jammed in their ears, I do believe they would pull their peckers out of the goverment's ass in a hurry,

        A software company threatening the goverment with IT armageddon is laughable.
    • I'm not saying I'm an MS-apologist, but shouldn't decisions based on taxpayer money usually be based on cost analysis? A Blanket policy against MS, without allowing for a competitive bidding process or even alternative analysis doesn't seem right.

      Nobody is preventing Microsoft from putting in a bid in this case. The requirements simply specify that the products must be Open Source Software.

      Personally, I don't see any problem with an organization specifying certain features or requirements in their softw

    • You talk about fairness. That is an interesting term to use in a case like this.

      The problem here is that Microsoft is a monopoly and monopolies are inherently unfair. Microsoft was in fact found guilty of being a monopoly, but powerful forces in Washington let Microsoft off the hook. At first that seemed like a break for Microsoft, but in the long run, I think it will prove even worse for Microsoft than it was for the computer industry as a whole.

      I use and like Microsoft products. But monopolies are inher
    • Aside from the comic aspects of worrying about the cost-effectiveness and not using Microsoft software, the critical aspect is not the software and source so much as the problem of accessible data storage standards. Where your data and electronically stored documents are stashed in formats that cannot be opened legally without a license from some software company, the public is potentially closed away data and documents that their taxes paid for. For years it has been more or less winked at when one rival
    • "Competitive bidding" in government is not what you think it is with regards to IT.

      For example, say you have a large computer company. Management at a government agency wants to purchase a bunch of servers from that company. So the large computer company submits a bid, and then two resellers (or "business partners", "system builders", etc) also submit bids (for the same hardware.

      The result is that management gets to buy from whomever they want.

      Another example would be to rig the requirements. Lets say th
    • No. The rule does not discriminate against any vendor. It is a rule about what kind of goods government will procure, not about what vendor they are procured from. Microsoft is perfectly welcome to offer open-source solutions.

      When the government buys combat boots, the boots have to meet a government spec. That means Nike can't sell them Air Jordans instead. Is that unfair? No; Nike is free to bid on the item requested.
      • Thank the Lord in Heaven for your post. No one else on this thread has pointed that out.

        Seriously though, your answer does not address my real point. I contend that the reason behind this "spec" is largely a grudge on the part of MA against MS. Further, I argue that it is not a necessary spec (for instance, army boots being waterproof), but a spec that only contributes to an overall decision (well, this army boot is a little heavier, but more durable). In the latter case, it would be improper for the gov

  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <giles.jonesNO@SPAMzen.co.uk> on Sunday October 19, 2003 @06:58PM (#7256504)
    After all humans are supposed to be adaptable, so why not switch to a system that can do the same for peanuts?
  • Essential? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loconet ( 415875 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:02PM (#7256533) Homepage
    "Microsoft's risk of losing the public sector market altogether is small, at least for now.

    The company's products are just too essential, and many open source alternatives too ineffective for many of the kinds of big database jobs governments require.
    "


    What MS database is so esential to the "big database jobs" government requires? Access? SQL Server? .. give me a break. Talk about being vague and inacurate.
    • Re:Essential? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 )
      Go Google for Bev Harris Microsoft access. It quickly becomes apparent that Microsoft Access is used in a rather bizarre way in the Diebold voting machines. There are details at Scoop [scoop.co.nz]. I'm not completely convinced, but I am alarmed by tthe deisgn of the Diebold machines - they really do seemed to be designed to allow officials to throw an election. In what seems to be a radical departure from proper database design, the Diebold database is radically DEnormalized with votes recored in 3 databases. While
  • simplistic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by littlerubberfeet ( 453565 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:03PM (#7256538)
    Most of the article is no-shit, no-brainer stuff, but a quote interested me: "The momentum is unstoppable at this point," said Scott Handy, vice president of Linux strategy and market development at IBM. I think this is what scares Redmond the most, is the momentum and speed with which Linux is spreading. Major companies are likely to follow suite (no pun intended) if the goverment starts to switch. And some foreign governments seem eager not to be dependent on an American company. Aside from starting the sentance with "and", this is another good point, with a growing mistrust of the US abroad, many foreign governments are likely to adopt open-sourced alternatives. The is that cost factor too. Namibia defineatly cannot afford $300,000 in MS software to run the already poor and corrupt goverment. The can afford two people to impliment Linux though. "Politically, there are only pros, but in terms of government employee productivity there are quite a few cons," said Schadler, the Forrester researcher. I must agree on some levels. Until my iMac and AOL grandomther can use Linux, it won't be widely implimented. Not everyone "gets" technology, or has a BS in comp sci, or even knows the difference between AOL and the internet.
    • Until my iMac and AOL grandomther can use Linux, it won't be widely implimented.

      Your family might be rich if your grandmother can afford iMac. On the other side, your family is not rich if you grandmother cannot afford any ISP but AOL.

      Jokes aside, Linux runs perfectly fine on iMac. The list of distros include:

      • Gentoo - the fastest one on PPC;
      • YDL - the specialized on PPC only;
      • Red Hat - for most of average people it IS the linux;
      • Debian;
      • Suse;
      • Slackware;

      As for AOL, yes, no AOL client for Linux yet, b

    • "The momentum is unstoppable at this point," said Scott Handy, vice president of Linux strategy and market development at IBM

      Tonight on ITV (1st or 2nd most watched TV channel in the UK) there was an IBM advert all about Linux. Not at peak time, but around 9:30pm (so would have a reasonable audience).

      Non-technical people all over the UK are now saying "Lin...what?" (and probably asking geeks what it is).

    • but in terms of government employee productivity there are quite a few cons

      This makes the basic assumption that there are any productive members of the Goverment. This assumption is not nessisarily true

  • by bakreule ( 95098 ) <bkreulen@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:03PM (#7256547) Homepage
    It's about M$ complaining about being excluded from even bidding...

    "It says that's bad for technology companies and bad for taxpayers, who may get stuck paying for inferior, more expensive products."

    Isn't this our line??? Isn't this what we say when we say that everyone should consider Linux?

    • Isn't this our line??? Isn't this what we say when we say that everyone should consider Linux?

      First they ignore you, then they deride you, then they steal your lines, then ...

    • by Corgha ( 60478 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:19PM (#7256634)
      It's also worth noting that Microsoft is not actually excluded from bidding. They are welcome to provide their own open source solution to win the government contract.

      Now, they may be unwilling to do so, but that's their problem. If they don't want to attempt to fulfill the requirements of the request for bids, they don't get a shot at the juicy government contract.
      • Exactly. Open source doesn't have to mean free as in beer. Microsoft could write and sell open source software if they wanted to.
        • Exactly. Open source doesn't have to mean free as in beer. Microsoft could write and sell open source software if they wanted to.

          Your statement rests on the assumption that all users who then bought that software would keep it to themselves, and not give it away to others.

          This might work for one or two people... but after a very short time, someone would share that software out.

          So they're left with two choices: charge the full non-recoverable engineering cost for the Open Source software, and take their
      • I think it's quite a clever way of saying "we want Linux" (if you said that, it could probably be contested as uncompetitive).
    • No, you're grossly misinterpreting the Massachusetts policy.

      Microsoft isn't excluded from bidding, as proprietary, closed-source products are not prohibited. ONLY if all things are equal is a preference given to open "products".

      Microsoft can bid, and they can win if they prove that their product is superior than open source alternatives. However, if they are virtual equals, open source must win by policy.

  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:06PM (#7256561) Homepage
    If a government picks a Windows solution, it is very hard to make sure that everyone can communicate with it (.doc files being a prime example).*

    If government picks an open source (or at least an open standards solution - which just as effectivly denies them picking Microsoft who have at best shoddy compliance, although it would allow them to pick Apple) solution then everyone can communicate with it.

    That way the pubilc that the government is there to serve can choose to run any platform they like, be it closed or open - and thats where the choice should be. Government shouldn't be making that choise for them by using a platform that doesn't interoperate well.

    *This also goes for things like web services - deployments of ASP.net using ActiveX content on Windows aren't the most compatible things in the world. It also goes for in house software - any work paid for by the taxpayer should be available to the taxpayer, and if it's developed on Windows it will only run on Windows, denying the people of their right to use it on their platform of chocie.
    • Thinking along the same lines..

      It really disgusts me to see this for the "minmum computer requirements" for SERVE, the new online voting that the federal government has been developing:

      Minimum Computer Requirements
      1. a Windows-based computer (Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT or XP)

      2. a connection to the Internet (dial-up modem, cable, DSL, LAN, WAN, etc.)

      3. one of the following Internet browsers:
      - Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 5.5 and above
      - Netscape Navigator, version 6.x and above

      If you
  • Microsoft says it knows it won't win every contract, but it opposes any type of mandate preventing proprietary software from even being considered. It says that's bad for technology companies and bad for taxpayers, who may get stuck paying for inferior, more expensive products.

    And who is a better expert on such products than Microsoft? :)
  • Yes, we all want OSDN "stuff" to win out in as many possible applicable sectors, buisness, personal, government, etc. because we believe is is The Right Way on many levels.

    I concur with folks expressing the opinion that legislating Open Source alternatives into government budgets is incorrect, because it is on principle - at no time should we ever, as a society, legislate any single thing as the "right way". Only GM for cars? Only Apple for music? Only MS-terminals for voting? We'd all revolt against this.
    • If it's determined that the courts really need to oversee the purchasing policies of every government agency, there needs to be another condition that goes along with "Someone needs to file for a public injunction against a government agency buying Microsoft products to force the question of 'were alternatives considered?'"

      Someone needs to file for a public injunction against a government agency using open source products to force the question of "were alternatives considered?

      The people who are in the d
  • by keynet ( 581695 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:28PM (#7256684)
    These are the same arguments they had with Peru a year or so ago. And the replies are the same. Public money must buy stuff that the public can access at the lowest additional cost. It must be able to be repaired, developed, modified and upgraded by any competent person, not just an M$ one. Being secure in some vague sense of that word might also be good
  • by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:45PM (#7256769)
    Why don't they simply mandate open and free protocols and file formats. It would essentially be the same as there is no way that Microsoft would open theirs up. At the same time, Microsoft could not (with a straight face) complain that the government is being unfair if that were the case. This also has the benefit that those that need/want/find more beneficial closed source products can still do so.
    • Why don't they simply mandate open and free protocols and file formats. It would essentially be the same as there is no way that Microsoft would open theirs up. At the same time, Microsoft could not (with a straight face) complain that the government is being unfair if that were the case. This also has the benefit that those that need/want/find more beneficial closed source products can still do so.

      Agreed. One 'gotcha';

      MS Office uses XML...is it open? MS networks run on TCP/IP...is it open? If MS pro

  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Sunday October 19, 2003 @07:54PM (#7256797)
    As a user and developer of open source technologies, I feel it's much more important to push open source into governments than it is to convince businesses and large corporations to make the move.

    The government represents us. They spend a helluva lot of citizens' tax dollars, and it is quite logical for us to encourage them to use inexpensive technologies where they can. Also, considering what a tremendous security risk it can be to have a government running a single platform, it's good to encourage diversity in the government's information systems.

    As for businesses using Linux and open source... I can't see why people care so much. I run a small business and rely on Linux to save costs and make efficient use of old hardware, and this gives me a competitive advantage. Why should we, as a community, go out of our way to tell businesses what's best for them? Let capitalism sort it out right? Dog eat dog and all that :)
  • by petermdodge ( 710869 ) <petermdodgeNO@SPAMcanada.com> on Sunday October 19, 2003 @08:35PM (#7257041) Homepage
    I approve of Open-Source in the public sector for one fundamental reason. The People (used in the broad collective sense) should be able to know what their government is doing and how their doing it, and with the source freely available, it's a lot easier to do a much more detailed analysis of their software side (not to mention more legal) than poking around with their M$ products.

    I say more power to Massachusetts. One MS beats down another ^_^
  • This is refreshing! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @10:06PM (#7257477)
    Here is the state of MA's recommended browser list: http://www.mtpc.org/browsers.htm
    Standards Compliant Browser list: (no particular order)
    1. Internet Explorer versions: 5, 5.5, 6 (6 being the most compliant version)
    2. IE 5 Macintosh Edition
    3. Netscape 6.2 Available for a small variety of operating systems.
    4. Mozilla Open source browser which Netscape 6.x is base on. Also available for many operating systems.
    5. Opera 6 Also available for many operating systems.
    6. Konqueror Full featured Linux browser for the K desktop environment.
    7. IBM Web Browser IBM's OS2/Warp browser based on Mozilla (see above)
    Nice to see mozilla and konqueror get some respect!

    Meanwhile, the university where i work is slipping into the grasp of the borg from redmond. maybe i should start looking for jobs in MA state government...

  • It would seem to me that a political outsider in office committed to poring over the books, combined with a fiscal crisis, would provide some kind of opportunity to advance the cause of free (beer / speech) software.

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