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Canadian Federal Government Mulling Open Source?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the free-as-in-moose dept.

Government 117

An anonymous reader points out a CBC report discussing a request from the Canadian government for information about open source software and free proprietary software. Evan Leibovitch, an advocate for open source, says the government's interest was spurred by a desire to reduce expenditures during the recession. "...Leibovitch said he hopes the request will lead to government policies that give 'a level playing field' to vendors of open-source software services, who provide technical and administrative support to companies that use open-source programs. He alleges these service providers currently face barriers when competing with proprietary software vendors in the government procurement process. ... When the government purchases software, it often assumes that it will have to pay for a licence and asks software vendors to bid for the contract, McOrmond said. Vendors of open source software services don't respond to that initial call for tender because they have no licences to sell. But then, the government might ask for a separate round of bids for providing support services for the software, which open-source vendors could provide."

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Stereotypes (3, Funny)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853441)

It may not be PC, and I reckon I'll be labelled a troll, but the word on the streets is the Canadians use more common sense than us.

Re:Stereotypes (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853515)

You haven't seen our kitten-eating Prime Minister then. Here he is [wordpress.com] , just prior to eating lunch. :)

Re:Stereotypes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26854611)

I didn't realize they went that far to try to make him look human!!

Re:Stereotypes (1)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26857137)

It kind of backfired. Whenever I see that picture, I see Doctor Evil's cat.

Re:Stereotypes (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855161)

That was lame. I was expecting to see a kitty walking across the PM's dinner plate.

Re:Stereotypes (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853525)

As someone who is completely unbiased on this subject I have to agree with you.

--
I *might* be from Canada

Re:Stereotypes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26854185)

>I *might* be from Canada

I *can* see Canada from my house

Re:Stereotypes (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854885)

I can see Canada inside my House. Multiple times.

I've got A world map on the wall, a TV, and the Internets.

Now all I need is a Canadian girlfriend. Then I can... ehem...... see... Canada... from the inside. ;)

Re:Stereotypes (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855171)

"oooo, that's nasty." - Cleveland

Guess who's a Mormon? (0, Offtopic)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853609)

Growing up in southern California, there were a lot of Mormons in the neighborhood and at school. I always wondered at the need for validation as they would trot up and say, "Did you know the guy that created 'Battlestar Galatica' is a Mormon, and the guy that plays the boss on 'WKRP' is one, and guess who else is...?" and so it went. There were rumors that Bill Cosby was secretly baptized and that Michael Jackson was "taking the discussion" (bet you they are glad they dodge that bullet and he went JW).

It seemed every new rumor provided further vindication that they were right.

Off topic? No, completely on topic.

It seems that at least once a week, someone trots out the breathless news that government agency X from country Y is looking at Open Source/*nix/or is taking the RMS Holy Discussions of Conversion.

Face it, it's as obnoxious as all those little Mormon Missionary Wannabes.

Find your validation from within.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853619)

Oh, go fetch a tree.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853673)

Face it, it's as obnoxious as all those little Mormon Missionary Wannabes. Find your validation from within.

Your analogy is slightly off because the little Mormon Missionary Wannabes were mostly born into it and don't know any better.
Open Source Zealots have mostly chosen their belief system based on the fact that open source is free and it usually does the same job as closed software.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (2)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853713)

Doesn't matter how someone came by their religion, proselytizing is always annoying.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (2)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853749)

Proselytizing is always annoying only if you don't agree with the subject matter. For example, I can listen to Richard Dawkins proselytize about science all day, but I don't want someone trying to convert me to homeopathy.
Because this is /. there is an assumption that open source is generally considered a good thing.

But... What do I know? Just a random AC here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853931)

Proselytizing is always annoying only if you don't agree with the subject matter.

Disagreed. I like Open Source. It could be said that I am idealistic left wing CS student and would love a world with much wider OS adaptation. So I agree with the subject matter. That doesn't mean that bringing it up constantly wouldn't begin to annoy me.

I also am atheist and occasionally proselytize too, but seeing so many atheists bringing the subject up constantly on the internet annoys me (and not only because it gives the rest of us a bad reputation). There are several political issues that I agree with but I still hate people bringing them up at every possible occasion.

So... Yeah.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855477)

However there is a difference between proselytizing and lobbying. If you want to engender change, you need to be able to discuss it openly.

Re:Guess who's a Mormon? (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856719)

Yeah, you should quit proselytizing your lack of beliefs. Begone, quit preaching.

Re:Stereotypes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853685)

Canadians use more common sense than us.

In general I don't agree.

Though, I would agree that Canadian chiks make more sense ;)

Re:Stereotypes (2, Funny)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854375)

There's been an abundance for the last eight years, the cost has dropped substantially.

Very good idea... (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853451)

Most likely, it'll just end up with them getting better offers from Microsoft and other companies - but a policy of promoting open source as a preferred quality in software is still at least a good philosophy to promote.

There's likely still too much of a practical dependence on folks who will only be comfortable with the idea of using Windows to just do any major switch - but the change in policy to demand a more even playing field will likely reap great rewards, as it has with many other nations making similar decisions.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Very good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853509)

I think that can't be it because they could always bid $0.

Re:Very good idea... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853627)

There's likely still too much of a practical dependence on folks who will only be comfortable with the idea of using Windows to just do any major switch

To expand on your point:

I used to work for a department of the Canadian federal government (in IT). We used quite a bit of open source.

But there were plenty of people that didn't. Including some people in IT. There were quite a few people, far into their careers, that were set in their ways (like most places). In this instance, that refers to using and administering Windows.

Since they are part of a union, they aren't going anywhere for another 10-25 years (people under 30 are more likely to know both).

What I've said is not only based on my observations, but is really grounded in a conversation I once had with an IT manager. This conversation sticks out in my mind because it is the first (and only) time I discussed the issue of MSCE entrenchment with an entrenched MSCE.

There is a reason I only had the conversation once. I instantly knew nothing was going to change, and saw little point in ever bringing it up again. MSCEs are not just loyal, but are invested in Microsoft. Turfing Windows means turfing/converting them too!

Re:Very good idea... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855225)

Even if people feel "attached" to Windows, you can still push an open source policy by embracing VLC Player, OpenOffice, and other open applications. If the people bitch tell them, "We listened to you. We compromised and met you halfway by not switching to Linux and staying with Windows, but now you need to meet us halfway. OpenOffice and other programs are free alternatives, and in this economy we must do everything we can to save money."

Re:Very good idea... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855243)

>>>MSCEs are not just loyal, but are invested in Microsoft. Turfing Windows means turfing/converting them too!

Any good MSCE ought to be able to learn multiple operating systems (Amiga,Mac,Wintel,Linux). I suspect any unwillingness is due to laziness rather than inability.

Re:Very good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26856017)

who said anything about them being good?

Re:Very good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26856131)

Since any jackass who can figure out how to turn on a power switch can become an MSCE, I'd suggest that, yes, it is due to inability.

Re:Very good idea... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856161)

"I suspect any unwillingness is due to laziness rather than inability." Which is exactly the point. People ARE lazy, and they are quite happy for Bill Goats or his successor to do all of their thinking. They are more than willing to put up with idiotic non-functioning security measures which are advised by lackwit "experts", because the alternative would require them to exercise the grey matter they carry around on their shoulders. If people WEREN'T lazy, America wouldn't be the most obese nation on earth......

Re:Very good idea... (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853751)

I sent in my responses yesterday. After reading their questions I can say it is a good thing they sent out an RFI.

Re:Very good idea... (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853757)

Most likely, it'll just end up with them getting better offers from Microsoft and other companies

Which, incidentally, is the real news here. Did you notice the shift? A couple of years ago they'd just shrug it off, now a government migrating to Linux is credible enough to seriously consider.

Stage 1 complete.

All stages at the same time (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856421)

Stage 1 complete.

I'd say Microsoft is well past ignoring Linux; at least well past completely ignoring Linux.

They're well into fighting it, and ridiculing it as part of the fight. And ignoring it in fewer and fewer places.

Doh! (2, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856429)

Stage 1 complete.

Doh! Parent was obviously talking about installing Gentoo ;-)

Re:Very good idea... (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26858371)

Did you notice the shift? A couple of years ago they'd just shrug it off,

You mean this?

Let's see there is a position paper [tbs-sct.gc.ca] , a FAQ [tbs-sct.gc.ca] , a list of open source providers [ic.gc.ca] (from Industry Canada), and resources from Public Works and Goverment Services resource entitled Software Acquisition Reference Centre [pwgsc.gc.ca] .

It may not gather a lot of steam in terms of office desktops, too many MSCE-certified types are employed as Computer System [csgroup.ca] Administrators, called "CS'es" because of the abbreviation of their job classification who are not experienced Linux administrators, but I think areas such as embedded systems, and servers, systems that don't have user's calling a helpdesk for technical support, are likely areas where the adoption over time is possible.

Presently groups tend to be isolated or have insightful, competent management willing to fight to their use Open Source / Free Software within the Government of Canada, but those are rare, internally led experiences, often from smaller, newer teams of people already with appropriate skills.

One side-effect is that if government adopts Open Source Software, it may change their closed culture of treating soft resources as scarce, and actually promote sharing within departments across geographical regions and groups, as well as inter-departmental sharing of resources, which could have a significant impact on reducing spending on custom development. Personally, I think the cultural changes of infusing Open Source could be vastly worth more than the lisense / CALs they would not have to buy.

One example is not accepting binary / executable only deliverables from an private-sector contractor, in an Open Source culture that appears insane and unsafe, but too often currently binary deliverables are used as leverage into a form of black-mail which makes the government department at the mercy of the contractor(s).

Re:Very good idea... (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853917)

I was born in Canada and have to deal with the Canadian border about once a year and they are pretty money grubbing, so they might move towards Open Source just to save a buck, but the border guards are a bunch of clowns too, bugging the less incriminating people because they are the easiest to bully and fine, so they might have too much trouble figuring it out. Canada is a great country mind you, just not the border, at the Sweetgrass/Coutts checkpoint.

Re:Very good idea... (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855597)

Right, and they hand out coffee and hugs at the U.S. border crossing? Those are very unpleasant people.

Re:Very good idea... (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26857377)

I completely agree with you, in the past it was usually the American border that gave us the hard time, but the worst experience in my entire life is brought to you courtesy of the Canadian border, I drove all day and night and got to the border, I was clear to go and my truck stalled and wouldn't start, all I need was a little jump, well they search the entire vehicle and found nothing, questioned me and found nothing, finally the young kid who must have been one of the newest border guards got all kinds of mad and threatened me with fines and jail and so and I had to ask him what he wanted me to say, well after all of it the little punk fined me $975 for "illegally importing the vehicle" and laughed about it with all his buddies behind the desks. Yes border people are unpleasant, but I don't think the American side would fine for no reason, I do not think that they are money grubbers like socialist Canada, I could be wrong and would like to know if I am. I wrote an appeal and am still working on it, but since that summer in Canada and the border experience I am going to try and become a citizen of the US (instead of just a permanent residence) I think the government here still has a chance.

Green Party Platform (4, Interesting)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854053)

Open Source software was part of the Green Party's very thorough and thoughtful election campaign. Too bad most Canadians never bothered to read it.

I see it still features on their web site [greenparty.ca] as a current issue. With a minority government in power and the threat of a coalition or vote of non-confidence always looming, it's hard to say how much pull the Greens really have, having failed yet again to win a seat in parliament.

Re:Green Party Platform (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855313)

Without a seat in parliament, I'm going to go out on a limb and say effectively none.

Aikon-

Re:Green Party Platform (1)

ArmchairGeneral (1244800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855697)

Very true, I see a lot of reluctance of people to accept a new way of thinking, yet they are so tired of the old. I'm not saying the Greens are an ideal party, but some of their ideas are well thought out. I'd be happy to see them have a few seats though, introduce some new legislation.

Re:Green Party Platform (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856297)

>Without a seat in parliament, I'm going to go out on a limb and
>say effectively none.

The main influence that the Green Party has is that they tend to act as a bit of an anchor to stop the NDP from drifting too far away from a reasonable environmental policy. Many of the people who vote Green used to vote NDP, so the New Democrats are somewhat aware that they need to make an effort to stop more of their base from migrating to the Green Party.

Re:Green Party Platform (1)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855517)

I know most of the people in my family did not vote for the greens because of their name, not their platform.

Re:Green Party Platform (1)

chdig (1050302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856141)

The leader of the Greens had called Canadians stupid [youtube.com] , compared the government's environmental plan to Chamberlain's appeasement of the nazis before WWII, and then ran a loud mouth campaign that ended up in few votes.

It's very easy to stand up on a pulpit without any responsibility to a real chunk of the electorate, and spout out ideas. With three political parties already established in Canada, it'd be far more constructive if the Greens worked from within one or more of them, than haplessly going it on their own.

As for software, it seems obvious that Microsoft has developed an MS-centric culture within governmental offices, and the best way in for open-source might be to do the same -- change the culture from the inside. Encourage individual gov't offices to change, and let the idea of now proven open-source components filter up to the politicians.

Re:Green Party Platform (3, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856317)

That "clip" takes Ms May's comment badly out of context. There are many problems with the current leader of the Green Party, but this is comment is not one of them. It is amazing what one can mash up with a bit of video editing software.

Mulling.... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853477)

Mulling simply indicates the early stages of contract renewals, not necessarily a tug on the tiller.

SameOldSameol...unless they wake up before signing day and understand that it actually takes money to renew a contract, in which case, given the times, 'free' has a nice ring to it.

CANLinux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853491)

and i wonder if my pressure and exposure at the numbers might entice anyone to go open source LIKE OMG get rid a XP NOW.
ya know in long run its a massive savings and like russia and cuba ya can make your own flavour like beaver linux, or
mapleleaf linux
canlinux is a good one LOL

about 1 billion or more saved a year GET AT IT BOYS and gain some respect in the world.

Re:CANLinux (5, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854187)

I am only responding to your last statement. As a Canadian who has visited many areas of both the US and Europe, I can tell you that Americans are the only people who DON'T respect Canadians. You are AC, so I don't know what nationality you are, but if you are American, believe me, you guys are some of the LEAST respected people in the world.

Yes, I have some Karma to burn!

Re:CANLinux (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854581)

Americans are the only people who DON'T respect Canadians.

If this is because of manipulation by the fourth estate, then I can say that several countries may still be practising this today.

Here in little Sg, my country's newspaper used to skew towards bad news for other countries, and good news for the home country.

you guys are some of the LEAST respected people in the world.

Similarly, when we Sg'reans travel overseas, some of us are well-behaved, but some of us display downright ugly behavior. Yes, some of us are downright arrogant due to our status as compared to our neighboring countries, forgetting that credit goes to our grandparents' (and not us) for building up the nation.

Re:CANLinux (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855577)

Ha!
This is so true that Americans tend to sew canadian flags to their backpacks.
In fact, I even met some Americans to ask me precisely in which city I was from in Canada. Why? They wanted to make sure they had something intelligent to say if they had to lie their way into making people believe they really were from Canada. But they couldn't bother to look at a canadian map or even a wiki article before leaving?

Re:CANLinux (2, Insightful)

freezin fat guy (713417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855701)

As a Canadian who has visited many areas of both the US and Europe, I can tell you that Americans are the only people who DON'T respect Canadians.

Unless you're talking to Europeans who are knowledgeable about our enormous carbon emissions

Re:CANLinux (3, Insightful)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856469)

Let me start by observing that anyone who generalizes based upon nationality is falling into a trap. People are people; shaped by their environment, sure, but incredibly diverse in nature. I've met my share of people from all over the world. Some were asshats, some were kind and generous almost to a fault. Personally, I never noticed that any particular nation had a monopoly on one extreme or the other.

As to American attitudes towards Canadians? I can't speak to your personal experience. I can say that I grew up in northern Minnesota just 100 miles from the border. We used to have Canadians down for skiing trips all the time. When they came down, they were ready to party hard. The running joke was that only a Canuck could out drink a jackpine savage (our local version of a backwoods redneck, a community which I am still proud to consider myself a member). :)

Unfortunately, some Canadians gave the rest of you a bad name by being belligerent drunks. Should I have assumed that all Canadians were asshats because of that? Or would you rather that I just regard those individuals as jerks and not representative of Canadians as a whole?

To quote the punchline to a very old joke, "Can't we all just get along?!?" :)

Tell you what. In the words of Arlo Guthrie, let's start a movement. Instead of protesting war and stuff, we'll just aim at learning to respect and trust each other. I won't judge all Canadians by a small handful of drunks if you'll accept that not all Americans are rude jerks. Then all we have to do is find a Brit who isn't a soccer hooligan (should be pretty easy, actually) and we've got ourselves an honest to God English speaking love fest going. Add in a Quebecois or two, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and a Mexican and we'll have the start of a North Atlantic love-in! Then we add a Brazilian and a Namibian and we've got the South Atlantic covered! W00t! Can you see how it could grow? :)

Hey, I can dream, can't I? :D

Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853493)

I just do not understand why a government "just mulling Open Source" as the headline says, is news worthy. It's just a gimmick. For this to even have a chance, Open Source Software would be alive and well in Canadian schools but this isn't the case.

Rem,ember this is one country without a domestic car concern...the only such country in the entire so called G8! Canada? Give me a break!

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853545)

How do you define "a domestic car concern" ?

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853651)

I suppose he thinks that stuff in Windsor is all foreign-owned?

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853665)

Oh yes it is.

Just tell me one that is Canadian own like GM of U.S.A.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853693)

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853743)

Man, do you know what you are talking about? You link to *GM*. GM is of the USA period. Decisions about the so called General Motors Canada are made in the USA. Got it?

This might interest you. General Motors Canada refused the Canadian version of the Auto Industry bailout. You might want to know why....because the decision was made in (you guessed it)...the USA! This is the company you are saying is Canadian?

Secondly any Canadian bailout waited for the US version because the folks in the USA call the shots. Get your facts man.

I guess you will say that Toyota that has major manufacturing operations in Cambridge Ontario [cambridgetoyota.com] is Canadian! Give me a break and please be serious.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853823)

Man! you must hate Canada!! Don't fool yourself. The Chinese will take over everything anyway!!

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854305)

do you know what you are talking about? You link to *GM*. GM is of the USA period.

Not entirely [canadianeconomy.gc.ca] . Like it or not, your country needs the rest of the world more than the rest of the world needs you.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

GraZZ (9716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856027)

What you're describing is the can be attributed to the effects of the emerging North-American Union rather than Canada being a weak auto market. If our the US and Canada hadn't been so buddy-buddy in 1918 then Canada wouldn't have allowed GM to acquire McLaughlin Motors of Oshawa [wikipedia.org] (now headquarters of GM Canada) and they would have been our automaker.

If the EU had existed pre WWII do you think that there would be as many automakers in Europe as there are today? I bet the UK and German automakers would have taken over and you'd be laughing at France and Italy for not having "domestic car concerns".

Believe me, GM Canada *is* a Canadian auto-maker as much as Toyota of Canada (btw, you linked a dealership there). Do the Canadian people get to control what it does as part of a global corporation? No more than the USA gets to control GM when they're not on the verge of bankruptcy.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854087)

You linked to a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM.

GM Canada counts towards Canada's GDP but towards the United States of America's GNP

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26854349)

Apparently as something you can find in the United Kingdom.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854481)

I just do not understand why a government "just mulling Open Source" as the headline says, is news worthy. It's just a gimmick.

May I suggest reading the article instead of the Slashdot headline? For those similarly disinclined to click the link:

Public Works and Government Services Canada is accepting submissions about "no-charge licensed software" until Feb. 19 through Merx, a government website that allows vendors to bid on contracts ... The Merx posting is the first time the government has ever made such a formal request for information about this type of software, Public Works confirmed Thursday.

In this case, the government has specified that the request will not result in the awarding of any contract but will be used to put together guidelines related to the planning, purchase, use and disposal of such software within the government.

I'll allow others to respond to your non sequiturs concerning the state of higher education in Canada, and the domestic auto industry.

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (3, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854789)

Rem,ember this is one country without a domestic car concern...the only such country in the entire so called G8! Canada? Give me a break!

I don't get it. What does Canada not having a 'domestic car concern' have to do with their adoption of Open Source?

Could you put this in a car analogy for me?

Re:Do not bite, it's a gimmick! (3, Informative)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856085)

> Rem,ember this is one country without a domestic > car concern...the only such country in the entire > so called G8! Canada? Give me a break!

You are aware of something called the auto pact. Basically the deal is that we agreed to allow Canadian makers to be taken over in exchange for complete integration into the north american market. So our branch plants of automakers represent approximately double the number of employees, per capita of population in comparison to the US.

We didn't get the names, but we got the jobs. Canadians used their noggins for what was important to them. And the most popular segment in the late nineties was the Chrysler Mini-van, which was designed and built in Canada from day 1 until today, where it is now sold as a VW Touran.

As for being alone in the G8... Name me a British automobile brand that is still in British hands, and still in business. Show me a Russian car you can buy in North America (nope, no Lada's) Please attempt to find an affordable Italian Car in North America. Fiat doesn't exist here. Your choices are: Alfa, Lambo, Ferrari, ... If those count, then check out: T-Rex, http://www.auto123.com/en/car-reviews/new/2008-t-rex-1400r-road-test-video?printable=1&artid=91050 [auto123.com] or zenn http://www.zenncars.com/ [zenncars.com] there are a half-dozen other boutique style manufacturers.

Further, there are many non G8 countries with automobile brands, such as Korea, Sweden, India, China, Brazil, etc... So what's your point?

P.S. Canada's Bombardier is:
#1 manufacturer of train wagons in the world, to the point where folks are considering anti-monopoly rules.
#3 manufacture of aircraft, after Boeing, and Airbus.
oh, and they started out in Snow mobiles, and are still big there.

So on the one hand, there are other G8 countries without meaningful presence in one of the largest auto markets in the world (North America), on the other hand, some G8 countries' manufacturers' are economically insignificant. On the third hand, the presence/absence of an auto brand says little about the overall economy... and many non G8 countries have auto brands. So It's hard to see how that could be a condition of entry into the club.

Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (3, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853517)

If it's Debian-based: Ehbuntu
If it's RPM-based: Toque

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

robbrit (1408421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853575)

If it's Gentoo-based you could install things with ehmerge.

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853871)

Well... we used to have Corel in Ottawa... but we all know what happened to them

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855693)

Corel is still around. I drive past their office building several times a week.

It's a very cute little gold block on the side of the highway.

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

hkmarks (1080097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855873)

And as it happens, the government, or at least parts of it, still use WordPerfect extensively.

I can't anymore for some reason, but my kingdom for Reveal Codes.

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26858141)

And as it happens, the government, or at least parts of it, still use WordPerfect extensively.

Actually I don't know any Canadian federal department that still uses WordPerfect, heck I don't even know if the last version works under Windows XP. That's not to say some underfunded group like Indian and Northern Affairs Canada [ainc-inac.gc.ca] , Parks Canada [pc.gc.ca] , or Canadian Wildlife Service [ec.gc.ca] doesn't.

Treasury Board [tbs-sct.gc.ca] and nearly everyone in Ottawa (nation's capital) uses MS Office as a corporate standard.

The department I've associated with uses MS Office nationally, but my small group uses OpenOffice internally. I don't even run MS-Window on my desktop or laptop.

Environment Canada, Department of National Defence, Communications Security Establishment, and I believe the Coast Guard have groups or divisions that use Linux or *BSD (OpenBSD for certain), and tools like KDE, GNOME, Apache, Tomcat, Perl, PHP, GCC, netfilter, pf, OpenSSH, Squid, bind, and plenty of other common open source / Free Software for desktops (think engineering workstatons, not too many office PCs), and servers.

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26858041)

Don't remind us about how depressing things are in Ottawa for tech.

Somehow we ended up we two scabs (Corel, Xandros) and no heroes. Nortel imploded, Cognos was bought up by IBM.

Open source in Canada's federal would be sweet. But they should use this oppurtunity to help incite free software developpement. Encourage a company to form and offer a "Government of Canada Linux", something that could also be used in the provinces, so they're all on the same page using open standards. Tighten it with SELinux, examine your code, base it off of Debian Stable, and go from there.

Actually, right now I just heard that the government of nunavut (my employer) wants to move to have more IT in the government by 2012 (for the heath dept). Right now's a great time to offer a fully billingual (the Inuit can add in inuktituk) distro to cater to the government.

I'd do it myself, but who am I kidding?

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855525)

iglubuntu

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26856657)

or the Helpful Operating System for Every Resident.

I'd install HOSER.

Re:Oh, Canada, what shall we call it? (1)

lazy_nihilist (1220868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26858887)

Lets call it Canux :-)

Give it time... (2)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853537)

Give it time, they may be "mulling it over", but by the time Microsoft spreads a bit of cash and fud they'll be back in the fold... The more things change, the more the corruption remains the same...

Re:Give it time... (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854619)

by the time Microsoft spreads a bit of cash and fud they'll be back in the fold... The more things change, the more the corruption remains the same...

It's not corruption. It's "business entertainment expenses". And "above board price bidding". And so forth.

No offense, but it's strictly business. And they're really great at it.

Have we done our part in helping people who uses Linux? Or we simply ignore them?

Re:Give it time... (2, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855657)

of course we've done our part.
We've told them to "RTFM"....

We've told them "you don't really need that program anyway, use this crappy open source version instead"....

We've told them "Well if it doesn't work just go into the CLI and type in blah blah blah and then recompile and use this other weird ass workaround"......

We've told them "well next time make sure your device works with linux before you buy that amazingly popular peripheral"......

We've told them "Well this open source program does MOST of the same things as that proprietary one does, it'll interface with your mp3 player for the most part, all you'll lose is this one thing..".......

and on, and on, and on.

as was so eloquently pointed out a week or so ago, most open source programs are 90% complete, because thats the easy part of writing it. the actual writing of the app and making it do the common things. Then there's the last 10% which is making it easy to use, designing a good UI, and writing the documentation.....

which is where most FOSS does a dramatic and very steep dive into the ground.

Businesses don't want "community support".
They want to have someone on staff who can fix it, and if not, they want someone to call.

Which is why Red Hat and the like ARE IN BUSINESS TODAY.

If you don't have that, don't expect a government to come running to your FOSS program, regardless of what it is.

Re:Give it time... (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856373)

Thank you very much for your reply! Yes, I get your point - Red Hat GUARANTEES a level of support for businesses.

It was my fault that I conveyed the wrong meaning in my question. It seemed like "Have we humans done our part to support Linux in business and government? Or do we simply tell them to F-Off and RTFM?" Your answer answered these two questions correctly.

I've actually meant to ask "Have we personally done our part to help newbies who dared to install Linux and had problems? Or do we dismiss their silly questions?" But who could have understood me?!

Elegy for *BSD (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26853543)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

small correction (1)

beefsprocket (1152865) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853567)

sp. Eric Leibovitch should be Evan Leibovitch, I know him and think he'd appreciate the correction ;-)

Oh, now they're going to get it (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853573)

They're going to get a visit from the chair throwing monkey dancing CEO in the MS corporate jet. Probably playing Flight of the Valkyries as they swoop in from the south.

Re:Oh, now they're going to get it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853629)

They're going to get a visit from the chair throwing monkey...

I love the smell of vinyl chair upholstery in the morning.

Re:Oh, now they're going to get it (1)

Rusty pipe (1471075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855287)

Old, but still funny. :)

Re:Oh, now they're going to get it (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855663)

no, not really.

Typo: Evan not Eric! (2, Informative)

kbahey (102895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853775)

It is Evan Leibovitch, not Eric!

Fix the typo in the summary.

Re:Typo: Evan not Eric! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855199)

Eric might be his evil twin.

Re:Typo: Evan not Eric! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26858555)

Evan vs. Eric only a typo?
Sure, the letters are like all next to each other!

Canada Gov use lots of Linux machines already (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26853887)

Canada is primarily a Windows shop, but there are many Solaris, BSD and Linux server machines all over the place. Desktop use is very limited, but there are some. The primary problem with desktop use is Active Directory and Exchange. Lately, MS Outlook works fine on Crossover and Active Directory is handled well by Samba Winbind, so the barriers are falling.

Man, are you stupid or what? (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26854869)

In the one game, that you would absolutely and totally win every time, you don't play, because of such a silly problem?

You have licenses to sell. Licenses for $0.00! Is that so hard? And if they are not accepting that, then give them some fantasy value, that is much lower that everyone else, but still above their bullshit limit. After all, it's not illegal to sell open source. No matter how you turn it... There is a way to always win this thing, but you do take it? Come on!

Some people just have to be hit with a cluestick... many times... ;)

Re:Man, are you stupid or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26857249)

Thank you! Why are you the only person to raise this obvious point?

As a canadian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855345)

As a techy canadian this news is wonderful! I am so VERY happy to hear this!

Now all they have to do is mandate all contract work for the gov't is done under GPL (or equivalent).

I would love to see canada develop infrastucture that can be developed in concert with other nations ... and support developing countries that need help doing this work.

Bravo!

This will NEVER happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855365)

I worked for the IS department at Revenue Canada and I can tell you that this will never happen. Their requirements are more demanding than most large corporations. Their is no way they will put something out to tender without someone who will back the product. Being able to 'go on the web and use a community website' won't cut it. They have a lot of specialized software that they developed 'in house' and they won't be sharing that with anyone. Before anything was loaded, including patches and updates, onto a server or laptop it was tested to see how it would 'react' with some of our software. What we really should be campaigning for is real product liability laws that negate EULA's and demand real capabilities from software companies. Yes, it can be done. We have better development environments and testing methods than ever. This would benefit ALL of us, not just government and industry.

Funny thing Re:This will NEVER happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855885)

Even though they shell out a lot of money for these contracts, we almost never actually get to use them. As a developer, when I've had DB2 problems and tried to get assistance, even though my area has bought the requisite contract, when we try and pursue getting some assistance, we get stonewalled within the agency. We can never actually get back to the vendor to get the support we need. The one time I have heard of an area managing to get support, a contractor was hired and brought in (not the vendor). So we have these massive support contracts that aren't used.

I work for them [cra-arc.gc.ca] too, previously IT, now development.

Heavier liability laws won't do much for us. However being able to take responsibility for things within the government would go a long way. The biggest problem I've seen with our hierarchy is that no one, not one soul, is willing to stand up and take responsibility for anything. As a result of that, nothing gets done. If a vendor can't or won't fix something, the solution isn't to shrug and say it can't be done, but to work around the problem.

We have better development environments and testing methods than ever.

And this is _not_ the result of strong-arm legislation, it's the result of completely open development processes and personal responsibility.

Being able to 'go on the web and use a community website' won't cut it.

Except that this is exactly how we got the better tools in the first place.

Before anything was loaded, including patches and updates, onto a server or laptop it was tested to see how it would 'react' with some of our software.

Actually, that's not precisely true. Yes we do 'certify' our hardware and software in house, however, it is largely not tested. It is just evaluated based on it's described merits against the requirements that need to be met. Thinking that it is tested is a misunderstanding common amongst the regional IT support teams. (One that I was subject to as well until I managed to corner a certifier one day and find out what the deal was).

-- AC

P.S. Yes I'm aware of the irony of talking about personal responsibility and posting AC <sigh>.

P.S. Funny Thing Re:This will NEVER happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26856109)

One more thing to add to the above, I'm working on getting into best practices. What I would like to see is the GoC [www.gc.ca] follow the US Military's model [slashdot.org] and have an installation of sourceforge available for hosting in house software.

Beyond that I'm hoping to lobby the government to release it's software open source. All of it. Why? Eg: What's the point in being subject to tax laws, when you can't see how those tax laws are being implemented. The government is for the people and our tax software is not a national secret. It should be open available for review to every Canadian. Beyond that, in following with our peace-keeping history, we should be willing to stand up and share our software with the world. (This is not some egotistical rant about how great our software is, I know what problems it has. But by sharing we can get help improving it, and help others by sharing what we have.)

If the software isn't a required part of national secrets, why shouldn't we be willing to work with the rest of the world in developing a better automated bureaucracy?

Link to RFI: No-Charge License Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26855557)

Here's the direct link for any of you wanting to provide information:
Merx Letter of Interest: RFI - NO CHARGE LICENSED SOFTWARE [merx.com]

And the search: (one hit)
Merx Opportunities (search) [merx.com]

Caveat: I'm a developer for the Government of Canada. I'm using open source tools (eclipse/java/jboss), but I currently have no power to release any of what I've developed as open source. I'm working on it, but progress is bureaucratically slow. (I'd have said glacially, but these days that's actually in reverse).

Re:Link to RFI: No-Charge License Software (2, Interesting)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856201)

You are not alone... Some people in the federal public service have managed it, might want to talk to them... outlicensing:

http://documentation.wikia.com/wiki/METRo [wikia.com]

http://metpx.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

http://iti-iit.cnrc-nrc.gc.ca/colloq/0708/07-10-25-print_e.html [cnrc-nrc.gc.ca]

usage: http://openconcept.ca/blog/mgifford/what_people_arent_saying_about_nrcan_wiki_and_gcpedia [openconcept.ca]

Not Really News (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26855783)

Linux is used all over the Government. As are lots of other open source pieces of software. This study is primaraly to get it moved toward the desktop. That is to make the PHB more confortable with it.

Gov employees to brain dead to relearn anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26856497)

It will never ever happen in our lifetime and here is why.

The average Canadian Gov. employee is not choosen for brains.
a) They are chosen because they have an in.
b) They have a personality that will be submissive to the system.
Once in:
a) They don't rock the boat and never stand up for anything or anyone. Exception to find a way to help protect their boss by finding a blame path/tree
b) They look out for number one. Keep their head low mantra.
c) Get through their career never taking the blame for anything. As soon as they are in, they look for another under them or contract a fall guy. They actually plan projects based on someone else to take the fall from the beginning. Without this aspect factored in, the project is not desirable. Preferably a contractor as then they just replace them and away they go again. Picking another Gov employee may not work as easily, because they are the same as them, making sure they do the above ass covering. Extra work and risk if they use a fellow worker. Unless of course that person is competing for a promotion with them.

At the mid management level
a) They have learned and mastered all the above steps and are a leader in those techniques.
b) Never do the work yourself. Your job is to keep blame away from you or Dept.
c) Never make a decision they can't pin on someone else or another Dept., but take full credit if it works. Even though they did nothing.
d) Only sign off on anything once it looks to be a successful project. Always keep most responsibility below them. Find a reason to change the responsible signature to theirs once successfully complete. Never sign anything linking to failure. It's why things stall so often at this level.
e) Always look to busy to take on risk, unless that risk offers a bigger benefit ratio and they have their fall guy in place.

Note: Shifting work and any possible blame is how and why Gov. employees contract work out so much. The costs also comes out of project money. This way it looks like they do more work with fewer Gov. employees. Looks better to the public because where the money is spent is buried in paper.

Upper management, excluding Deputy ministers
a) All of the above. That's how they got where they are. It's certainly not based on actual ability beyond the politics of the positions they have held before.
b) Make sure it is a politician that takes the fall as they change often, your assistant, or a Dept manager (Of course shit runs down hill from there). At this level, project credit doesn't matter. Political optics does. At this level, they are only protecting the fat pay cheque, benefits, retirement plan and social status. It's all that matters.
Oh wait that describes all Gov employees that make it to retirement.

All the reasons above this is what spells doom for any open source software ever succeeding. There is no tangible blame tree and no legal course to offload blame. There is no benefit to them. Cost is not a factor and never is, the blame tree is all that matters. Paying for software license automatically gives you a blame tree by default. If there is a problem, you turn it over to the Gov. lawyers and out of your hands.

Last but not least. My contracting experience with Gov has shown me that change is the last thing anyone wants. Change means risk. On top of that, the people that are in Gov. are selected to specifically not be movers or shakers. That is the last thing a boss wants to hire and the last thing the underling wants to get involved in. The mentality of everything above I described is ingrained in the Gov. culture. Innovation is almost impossible. There is to much jeopardy to their job position and to a far lesser degree, their job security. Not likely to get fired, but it's a career ender for ever again moving up in pay or position beyond their inflation plus, adjusted salary. It's a dead horse in the gate.

Idea has a structural flaw (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26856501)

Read the summary closely:

But then, the government might ask for a separate round of bids for providing support services for the software, which open-source vendors could provide.

Think about what this means. I may be reading too much into the word "separate" here, but hear me out.

If the government first buys software, then buys support, then the ability of open-source vendors to make a real bid is constrained by the choice of software made in round one.

If open-source vendors compete to support the same platform, then advocating the use of that platform in round one is basically being the pioneer with the arrows in the back: you bear the cost of enabling both your own business and the business of your competitors. I see some incentive problems lurking in the shadows there.

I think it would make more sense to have a single bidding round where every party offers solutions consisting of software and support. That's the thing the customer really wants, and that would make everyone compete without screwed up incentives.

Am I talking crack, or do you think I'm on to something?

Canadian government (1)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26858675)

This seems like a good thing. I'm all for more open source software in government.

Our current government is however composed of half-wit partisan hacks. Genuinely bush-light.

"...government's interest was spurred by a desire to reduce expenditures during the recession."

They say and do mind-blowingly stupid things like that while presenting their spending stimulus bill.
They will look for ways to reduce government spending while looking for ways to increase government spending.

Heck of a job Harper.
God help us all.

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