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Microsoft Lobby Denies the State of Chile Access To Free Software

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the lockin-leverage-legislate dept.

Microsoft 159

walterbyrd writes: Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software. "An independent member of the Chilean Parliament, Vlado Mirosevic, pushed a bill that would allow the state to consider free software when the authorities needed to purchase or renew licenses. ... A while later, the same member of the Parliament, Daniel Farcas, proposed another bill that actually nullified the effects of the previous one that had just been adopted. To make things even more interesting, some of the people who voted in favor of the first law also voted in favor of the second one. ... The new bill is even more egregious, because it aggressively pushes for the adoption of proprietary software. Companies that choose to use proprietary software will receive certain tax breaks, which makes it very hard for free software to get adopted."

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Or you could blame Chile's MPs (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723233)

Who kowtowed to any lobbyist, regardless of which one it happens to be.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (4, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#47723269)

If they're anything like American legislators they just let the lobbyists write the laws so they are free to put on an act of serving their constituents.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47723361)

It is difficult to tell from either the summary or TFA if that is even true. The summary is horribly written (what is a "prolific magazine"?) and uses the word "bill" and "law" interchangeably. ALL countries that have income tax allow software purchases to be deducted, so I don't see why that is thrown in. These tax deductions apply to Open Source (which is not necessarily zero priced) as well as proprietary software. TFA would be far better if it had more facts, and focused less on trying to generate outrage.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#47723593)

Plus, just in the summary, two MPs are conflated, and following that, we have the idea being pushed that legislation to promote free software in government is somehow hobbled by more legislation to provide businesses with tax credits to offset software purchase costs?

Last I knew, the Chilean government wasn't a federation of businesses, and the second bill just makes commercial software look more like free software (in terms of purchase/license cost) to businesses.

Seems to me that the second bill could also be used to offset purchase costs of free software that comes with support, making it an extremely lucrative option.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47723899)

Chile is often held up as being one of the more libertarian governments. As such it seems logical that it would often appear to be a federation of businesses.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 months ago | (#47725493)

Chile is often held up as being one of the more libertarian governments. As such it seems logical that it would often appear to be a federation of businesses.

Some people are always claiming libertarian governments would mean big businesses would run everything. But if that were true, you have to wonder why big businesses never support libertarian ideas, but prefer big government instead.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (1, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 months ago | (#47726045)

Big business does push for libertarian ideas, such as the idea that government stay off their back. Big business wants a small weak government in general, a government where they can control the regulations. The only time you see big business backing a bigger government is in areas where they prefer the workers to pay the bill or where they can take advantage of government as a customer (such as big military for big profits).

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723273)

Huh, turns out I can blame both. Unexpected, I know, but I tried it, and I swear it worked.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723311)

Yeah, well I was responding to the tone of the summary that suggested that Microsoft was entirely at fault(as if lobbying in Chile were illegal or something), and didn't even make any room for the people actually pulling the vote. You can play as complex and nuanced a perspective as you want. I'm not opposed to that at all.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 3 months ago | (#47725363)

I guess I think of it as if you leave your front door open, how much blame must you accept when thieves come in and take your stuff?

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (0)

DwayneWithAnO (3751997) | about 3 months ago | (#47723423)

Or we can blame both of them.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723447)

Oh come on, someone posted this exact sentiment over 20 minutes ago. I even replied to them, so you can't pretend it's because you don't see ACs. I'll repeat my reply for your benefit though:

Nuance is good. Please be nuanced about blame allocation, just don't let elected officials slide.

Re:Or you could blame Chile's MPs (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47724871)

Who kowtowed to any lobbyist, regardless of which one it happens to be.

Precisely! But when is this actually going to happen though? Clearly these politicians are corrupt and you can pay them to pass whatever laws you want. Going to every lobbyist and telling them not to offer bribes to politicians because the politicians will take them achieves nothing, the people of these countries need to stand up to corrupt politicians! If they weren't corrupt in the first place then lobbyists would have no power anyway.

Easy to lobby when funded by the taxpayer (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723241)

I wonder how much of MY money that I am forced to give Microsoft went on harming technological advancement for all this time.

Re:Easy to lobby when funded by the taxpayer (-1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723301)

You know, screw your libertarian paranoid fantasies. Just fuck them right in the ass. We have an entire, rather expensive department of our government purposefully dedicated to meddling in the affairs of other nations(the State department), and several others that join in on the fun(The CIA, Energy, NSA, not to mention "Defense").

But you're worried that somehow there's been this specific misallocation of public funds to help Microsoft lobby, as if they don't have plenty of profits to put towards that end in-and-of themselves. And you can't even go as far as alleging a mechanism. You just go straight to "out to get me".

Get off the conspiracy train. There isn't some collusion of various actors to maximize how much you(or Chile) is screwed over. That only exists in your head.

Re:Easy to lobby when funded by the taxpayer (1)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47723621)

Actually I think he was referring to money he spent on stuff that either contained a Microsoft Product or payed patent royalties to MS. I could be wrong though.

Re:Easy to lobby when funded by the taxpayer (-1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723663)

Yeah, okay, the government buys things, the people they buy things from spend money too. Some people who the government buys things from are (doubtlessly, as statistical inference) literally Nazis(or if you prefer direct breach of ethics to grandiosity of wrongness, murderers). Why are lobbyists a bigger deal than Nazis?

Money circulates, and proposing that no dollar bill that passes through your fingers eventually goes to an evil causes is essentially impossible, especially when operating on trillion dollar budget scales.

Re:Easy to lobby when funded by the taxpayer (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 months ago | (#47723991)

Any is too much.

Publicly Funded Governments (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723303)

should always equal OSS/Free/Libre software.

- Usually better software quality.
- Prevents monetary kickbacks.
- No stupid license fees (an evil in itself)

In this regard, I am in agreement with RMS.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723347)

And while that's probably a moderately popular opinion among people who work with software for a living, not IT workers get to vote on things too, and they don't care so much.

Democracy isn't meritocracy. And no one has invented a system of meritocracy that doesn't devolve into plutocracy or autocracy rather quickly.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47723487)

All government data needs to be open to auditing. Thus any government data needs to be stored in open formats that can be examined and manipulated with tools that can be sourced from multiple parties. Furthermore, the government should not be in the business of helping entrench particular software monopolies.

The nature of the binaries being run is really just a side show.

It's the DATA that needs to be open.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723635)

That's a nice theory too. It's got a good reason for being wanted.

But what about military secrets?
What about ongoing stings of organized crime syndicates, and the undercover police who might threatened?

Are these exceptions? How many lives is this principle worth?

If(instead) these are valid exceptions, what objective criteria would you use to separate the valid secrets from the invalid?

People have been trying to solve the problem you just laid down a simplistic solution to for decades now.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 months ago | (#47723715)

But what about military secrets?
What about ongoing stings of organized crime syndicates, and the undercover police who might threatened?

Both eventually become open records to the public anyway (after an expiration date, naturally), so aside from keeping such exceptional data sufficiently isolated from the public until their expiration dates (which happens anyway), what do you think detracts from GP's philosophy as per data format?

Back in the Bad Old Days, everything was typewritten on paper... a completely open data format. So...

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47723893)

Sure, but now you're talking about what does happen. GGP was talking about what should happen, and I was challenging them to consider edge cases rather than laying out a simplistic ideology that "always works".

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725449)

But what about military secrets? What about ongoing stings of organized crime syndicates, and the undercover police who might threatened?

Just because the data format may be open does not mean that the data itself is open for the public.

Secret data is even more important to be stored in an open format. If stored in a closed format, and the format drops out of use, what do you do? Failing to convert formats means you lose valuable data, and converting formats may require the help of people who have no business accessing the secret data. If you always use an open format, you always have the choice to maintain your own software to handle it or write your own software to convert it.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47726021)

If stored in a closed format, and the format drops out of use, what do you do?

Has that even happened ever? You can open ancient MS Word documents in LibreOffice, every now and then you come across a formatting bug but that's hardly a big deal.

Failing to convert formats means you lose valuable data

No it means theoretically there is the possibility that some day you could lose valuable data, but it's actually highly unlikely because in reality you can still load up a copy of Word for Windows on Windows 3.1 in a VM. If you're suggesting they may be able to somehow scrub the internet of all software that can read those documents I'd say that's pretty ridiculous.

But even then that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, the topic is about the software, not the format. You can use pretty much any software you want and when you archive your documents you can do it to PDF or HTML if you want.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47725291)

Pretty much every word processor can save to HTML or PDF so archive it as that.

Re: Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725347)

Fine, how about paper?

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 months ago | (#47723531)

There are many reasons why proprietary software is sometimes the better choice. In some cases the TCO will be lower, or the software is easier to use for office workers (like it or not, Windows / Office is pretty much what employees will already be familiar with). It may be easier to find support staff for some proprietary software. And in some cases, the proprietary software will simply be of better quality, more reliable, or a better functional fit. Also, I fail to see why license fees are evil.

With that said, I think governments should use open standards for data, document storage and interfaces where available, and avoid products (proprietary or otherwise) that do not support such standards.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47723661)

Agreed. They should avoid being locked into a certain vendor.

Also, there certainly is plenty of reasons to vote against OSS solutions - take the whole RH7 disaster with GNOME 3 - if you are running it in a virtual environment for users (say, like a terminal server), GNOME 3 (which is the default) is no go (doesn't play nice in virtual) so you're left with Microsoft.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 3 months ago | (#47724493)

Wait, GNOME3 does not play nice in a virtual environment so you are left with Microsoft??? where did that come from?

Dont use Gnome3, I never use a gui on a server but if you are making a terminal server as you say then use any of the other WM's From KDE to FVWM, there are lots of WM choices and you are not just stuck with the default. Well with linux you are not stuck with the default, cant say the same for Windows.

See http://xwinman.org/ [xwinman.org]

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47724679)

You are stuck with either GNOME or KDE for RHEL, and most users are going to expect GNOME. We also run into where our users have to emulate the users' environments, which often means GNOME for the GUI. Third, there are a lot of situations where a GUI is required (say, the default installer for a lot of things, like Documentum, Matlab, Oracle, etc). Trying to get people not to use the default GUI is near impossible.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723833)

There are many reasons why proprietary software is sometimes the better choice

Free software is about ethics. If governments are using unethical software to save money, then they themselves are unethical. Proprietary software gives the users no chance to see the source code, or to hire others to modify it; you're usually beholden to a single source. There's no chance to educate yourself as to what the software does, so who knows what it's doing without you knowing?

Governments should not be promoting such a thing. They should be promoting openness and sharing. If they need software and there is no free software that does the job, they should have it created.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724255)

"Free software is about ethics." To you.

To most it's about the best tool for the job, which is almost always the one that creates the fewest headaches. Everything you mention falls into the equation I'm sure, somewhere between "Default GUI color scheme" and "Company mascot".

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724399)

"Free software is about ethics." To you.

No, it is about ethics. When you have a government that is supposed to be for the people using software that they have no real control or understanding of, and that they can't modify without the permission of some company, then you have a real ethical problem on your hand. Not only is it nothing more than corporate welfare, but who the hell knows what the software is doing?

Governments should promote the common good, and education and knowledge are a common good. Locked-down proprietary software is not the common good.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47725057)

How is that different (bearing in mind an acceptable response is that "it isn't any different") from anything else? Whether that's physical goods, food, hardware, engineering documents for construction projects, etc ... ? Do you know what goes into the concrete in the bridges and roads you drive on? In the food you eat? Or even how the hardware in the various computers you use works? If this indeed is an "ethical issue" then it is a lot wider spread than software and was around long before governments were buying and using software.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725237)

Its a Government, even with OSS they still have no control or understanding. Governments rarely pay or employ sufficiently skilled people to get the benefit of the ssoftware source code actually being available.

It's about Maintenance (and _then_ ethics) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724557)

Free Software is stuff that you're allowed to maintain, or get anyone you want to, to maintain it.

Proprietary software is stuff that you're not allowed to maintain, because it's usually a few orders of magnitude more difficult (if you don't have the source, then you have to patch binaries) and also possibly illegal (copyright law, you're making a derived work) and often a contract violation (if you licensed it rather than purchasing a copy, and most EULAs specifically forbid the user from maintaining the software).

The ethics aspect comes into play when you're choosing whether someone else is able to get maintenance, versus them being totally fucked. Most people would say that it's unfair to stick an unwitting victim with the "you are totally fucked" option without them first understanding how deeply they'll be fucked. Most "regular people" don't know anything about software maintenance, the expenses, and the laws. So they think they're merely buying something, whereas all us techies know it's far more complicated than that, since most software ends up needing maintenance.

If you think most voters are extremely smart (or average smart but happen to have lots of experience in software maintenance), then it's reasonable to defend the practice of those peoples' governments buying into proprietary software: Joe Sixpack thought carefully before he voted for people who have a leaning toward that kind of behavior.

The strange thing is that I often hear voters being described differently. Thus, I think those people are probably being victimized unwittingly. And since I don't like to be victimized unwittingly, I consider it unethical to do that to other people. But my ethics are very simple. Some people might have some good rationalizations for why it's ok to harm the unsuspecting.

Re:It's about Maintenance (and _then_ ethics) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725111)

I think we have reached the limit on the number of people claiming to be "victimized" whether they know it or not. Social media has turned facts into lies and opinion into facts. We are building a generation of people who have shaped their worldview using opinions published as facts and the number of likes their comments earn in their favorite forums and web sites. Forums that are no more than echo chambers that create a false impression of wide acceptance of the message being espoused. It's been said that individuals can be rational and intelligent beings and that is true. However, put these same individuals into a group and that rationality and intelligence decreases as the number of people joining the group increases.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 3 months ago | (#47725243)

That is a religious argument. personally I would prefer my government to stay out of religion. Software is a tool, governments concerns should be using the best tool for the job with the least cost. Hopefully that is free software, if not then that is fine too.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (3, Interesting)

Kabukiwookie (2677869) | about 3 months ago | (#47724003)

In some cases the TCO will be lower,

That is true, but only when looking at TCO in the short term. In the longer term, proprietary software will always turn out more expensive. Either because licencing fees go up or the business eventually goes out of business and expensive projects will need to be started to replace the functionality of the now unsupported software. Using free open source software, means that the user always has access to the technology and is able to ensure the product continues to perform the function that it was intended to perform, which in turn improves business continuity.

Unfortunately, most people don't plan beyond the next couple of years and short term gains have become more important than long term continuity.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725265)

That is just BS, Many software items have very well defined lifetimes where TCO can easily be calculated for the entire life and proprietary can definitely be cheaper. The mindset that OSS is always cheaper is the sort of idiotic preconceived view of the world that is as bad as managers that always buy IBM or Microsoft.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#47725049)

With that said, I think governments should use open standards for data, document storage and interfaces where available, and avoid products (proprietary or otherwise) that do not support such standards.

As long as the products really do support the standard and the standard doesn't allow blobs of proprietary data formats.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724453)

Completly wrong. Anyone that advocates free software has no idea what is envolved in creating software in the real world.
It is exactly the same mindset of those militant vegetarians that think it is possible to make the whole world stop eating cows because they want.

"Usually better software quality."
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Any time I had necessity for specific kinds of software I always tried both the real thing (pirated) and OSS alternative.
The first very thing to note, 99% of the guys that develop software have no idea how to proper implement user interfaces (this is when they try to be original, some other time they just copy the proprietary solution they are trying to emulate).
Talking about software where the interface is very important, here's some classic examples: Gimp vs Photoshop, Blender vs Maya.

Second thing to note, there's no way a couple bearded guys hacking way code in their free time can compete with teams that work full time on the proprietary software. That means than when we talk about complex software, the open source solution 99% of the cases will be lagging behind in terms of features/bugs. A example, Mono. Compare the performance of any executable running on Mono with the same code compiled with VS. Just for fun, I've recently talked with a guy that told me that until recently Mono had only one guy assigned to mantain the Linux port. I cannot vouch if it is true, but if it is, well, that certainly explains why they could never compete with MS solution.

"Prevents monetary kickbacks." Not really, those will always exist, even using free software. If something suddently stops working in your machine and don't have anyone fluent in the software you're using. Many times the source code is a huge mess, I've seen horrible things both in open source code (and closed too of course!).

I've worked with huge open source codebases. Every single time the same thing happens, only the insider guys know the code base by heart. No true documentation exists except documentation for end users. If you can't get a hold of one of the insider guys (and even if you can, many times you can expect 3 or 4 days until you get a mail back), then prepare for weeks studying uncommented code full of hacks.
Completely different when you work in a enviroment where people actually have someone dedicated to document the whole thing so that newcomers can easily understand how the project works internally.

"No stupid license fees (an evil in itself)"
Yeah, let's not pay for people's work!
The only reason professional software can afford to be developed at fast pace and be maintained/upgraded is because huge teams work on them full time, compared to open source, where it is mostly driven by people working on spare time.
What are you, some kind of communist or an hippie?

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724503)

Completly wrong. Anyone that advocates free software has no idea what is envolved in creating software in the real world.

I help work on free software, and I advocate free software. That is the real world. Or do I live in a fake world? If so, you're communicating with an extraterrestrial being.

Free software is an ethical issue. Governments should not use proprietary software; it's unethical.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

redeIm (3779401) | about 3 months ago | (#47724519)

What are you, some kind of communist or an hippie?

Copyright (a government-enforced monopoly over ideas that infringes upon free speech and real private property rights) makes a nation more communist-like than a nation that's otherwise the same but without copyright. Let the free market decide whether or not someone succeeds and can make money from software. If they can't, then they sure as hell don't deserve the ability to stop people from copying certain data using their own equipment.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 3 months ago | (#47725189)

That is BS. publicly funded Government departments Priorities should be first and foremost to ensure they are getting best value for money, if that is OSS/Free software then great, license fees are a tiny part of the cost of most software and while they are an important consideration the overall cost and effectiveness is far more important. Also plenty of OSS sucks (just like plenty of Closed source software does), and NO open source doesn't prevent kickbacks as it still needs to be supported and inevitably this comes down to commercial companies.

Re:Publicly Funded Governments (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47725211)

But you can never really achieve that until you have won the battle on mandating open hardware. Even if you do manage to get them to use FOSS that will still almost certainly be using closed drivers somewhere along the line, even if you could get all fully open drivers it's still going to be interfacing with closed hardware.

Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (1, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 3 months ago | (#47723327)

So Microsoft has to resort to such legal tactics in order to get people to use Microsoft software.

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723437)

I'd argue that using windows is easier for most people than it is using Linux.
Not to mention, they would need to retrain all their personal to use linux, make their own variant for security purpose and then actually Support that version of linux. In the end, that would cost too much.

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (5, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 3 months ago | (#47723613)

I'd argue that using windows is easier for most people than it is using Linux....

Why is Microsoft afraid of allowing the marketplace to decide?

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47723745)

Only because of the "devil you know" argument. It's similar to QWERTY: we can't convert until everybody else does first.

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (2)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 3 months ago | (#47723851)

I'd argue that using windows is easier for most people than it is using Linux.

After Windows 8, that's quite debatable.

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (5, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 3 months ago | (#47724171)

> I'd argue that using windows is easier for most people than it is using Linux.

Why? When I want to launch a browser, I click the browser icon. What is so difficult? When I want to print, I can clink the printer icon. And so on. I would say it is *much* easier to go from Win7 to Gnome2, than from Win7 to Win8. People keep posting about Linux being difficult to use. Why? What is so difficult about it?

> Not to mention, they would need to retrain all their personal to use linux

You mean like having to retrain people to use Win8? Win8 is radically different than previous versions of Windows. How about retraining people to that "ribbon" crap in ms-office. Why is it: if somebody does not want to learn the new MS whatever, that person is lazy and stupid. But, nobody should suffer the burden of learning Linux?

> make their own variant for security purpose

What?

> and then actually Support that version of linux. In the end, that would cost too much.

What makes you think so? What makes you think supporting Linux would cost more than supporting Windows?

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725581)

We've had this discussion for years, and yet people like you keep questioning things despite the fact all the evidence and answers are there.

Do you honestly think, if Linux was superior to Windows in all the right ways, it would have achieved something better than single digits in terms of desktop usage? Shit it doesn't even have any mindshare in terms of public knowledge. Or are you gonna blame Microsoft again as usual, taking the stance that it must be something OTHER than the quality of Linux and its distro that's caused it to stagnate on the desktop? Because that's just being hopelessly ignorant and not facing reality.

Why? When I want to launch a browser, I click the browser icon. What is so difficult? When I want to print, I can clink the printer icon. And so on. I would say it is *much* easier to go from Win7 to Gnome2, than from Win7 to Win8. People keep posting about Linux being difficult to use. Why? What is so difficult about it?

The issue of use goes further ahead than just clicking an icon. What if you try to go to a web site with a particular Flash widget you want to use, but it fails to work because it requires at least Flash 13 and the main Linux Flash plugin was abandoned at Flash 11? Yes, this is a problem at times that does occur. Maybe not for you, but it has for me and my wife.

Or what about if you can't print in borderless mode because the people who made the printer drivers for your printer in Linux didn't add a GUI option for it? But it worked in Windows? Well maybe I should just keep using Windows like everyone else. There are reasons for sticking with the status quo. Again, don't tell me that borderless mode is useless or unimportant if you've never had a need for it. Because again, my wife and I have, and Linux didn't provide what we needed despite my searching.

You mean like having to retrain people to use Win8? Win8 is radically different than previous versions of Windows. How about retraining people to that "ribbon" crap in ms-office. Why is it: if somebody does not want to learn the new MS whatever, that person is lazy and stupid. But, nobody should suffer the burden of learning Linux?

In Windows 8 the desktop is still there, the desktop conventions are still there. The start screen can be fixed via Classic Shell (which is free), although it shouldn't require such an addon I agree. But in the end it's still Windows, it still runs the applications people expect and rely upon, which is more than I can say for Linux. A little bit learnt from Win 7->8 compared to changing the entire operating system. As for the ribbon, that was introduced in 2007. Surely people have accustomed to it by now. You can't keep referring to the past as most people don't hold a grudge that long. Maybe Linux fanboys are different...

What makes you think so? What makes you think supporting Linux would cost more than supporting Windows?

You can find Windows admins a dime a dozen, and with that selection on offer it's easy to pick the good ones as well. I don't know ANYONE who uses Linux as a primary desktop operating system, much less admins available.

Why must we keep explaining this? Can't you just accept Linux, on the desktop, has deficiencies? Not all of those are of its doing, but rather Microsoft's dominance, but they do add up to make it less desirable than Windows for most people regardless. Just accept this as a fact of life and fucking MOVE ON already.

Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 3 months ago | (#47725687)

> Do you honestly think, if Linux was superior to Windows in all the right ways, it would have achieved something better than single digits in terms of desktop usage?

Mostly it's about apps. Windows hugely wins on apps. Since windows has the huge majority of market share, everybody writes apps for windows. Nobody runs a PC just to run the OS.

> The issue of use goes further ahead than just clicking an icon. What if you try to go to a web site with a particular Flash widget you want to use, but it fails to work because it requires at least Flash 13 and the main Linux Flash plugin was abandoned at Flash 11? Yes, this is a problem at times that does occur. Maybe not for you, but it has for me and my wife.
> Or what about if you can't print in borderless mode because the people who made the printer drivers for your printer in Linux didn't add a GUI option for it?

Minor annoyance. Windows has tons of them.

> In Windows 8 the desktop is still there, the desktop conventions are still there.

Windows 8 is completely different, and it sucks. That is not just my opinion. Sales have been in the toilet, even with MS trying to force it on everybody.

> You can find Windows admins a dime a dozen, and with that selection on offer it's easy to pick the good ones as well. I don't know ANYONE who uses Linux as a primary desktop operating system, much less admins available.

Sorry about your ignorance. I used Linux desktop at my last job - a contract job at IBM. I know lots of people who use Linux desktop.

> Why must we keep explaining this? Can't you just accept Linux, on the desktop, has deficiencies?

And Windows doesn't? You MS shills just keep parroting the same crap you did ten years ago. "Linux is sooooo hard to use" etc. Ten years ago, maybe you had something of a point. Lots has changed since then. Desktop Linux has become much better, and windows has gotten much worse.

> Not all of those are of its doing, but rather Microsoft's dominance, but they do add up to make it less desirable than Windows for most people regardless. Just accept this as a fact of life and fucking MOVE ON already.

WTF are you posting about? I was asking what is hard to use about Linux. In Linux you launch your apps, and close your apps, in very much the same way as has been traditionally done in Windows, or MacOS. You MS shills constantly blather on about Linux being so difficult, as you have to be a software engineer to use Linux. But you cannot really defend your silly memes.

Lincoln to the rescue (-1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47723335)

Just start a company that charges $0.01 for each OSS title.

PS. Please Diecrosoft

Details? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723341)

Not to be a party-pooper but there isn't anything at all in the article about what "the Microsoft lobby" actually did or not. Only that a politician that were against the free software support law from the start managed to get a contrary law passed a while later.

Re:Details? (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47723389)

I'm with you on this. TFA should be labeled, "opinion."

Re:Details? (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#47723645)

...not even that. From TFS, you can deduce that the second piece of legislation isn't even contrary, but is just equally beneficial to ALL software instead of being tailored to encourage adoption of free software.

So the summary could be rewritten as: "Free Software Lobby fails to prevent the use of Closed Software in Government and Business."

Re:Details? (1)

Keith111 (1862190) | about 3 months ago | (#47723923)

This is Slashdot. If it's software related and negative, everyone blames Microsoft whether they are involved or not. It seems to me like the government wanted free stuff so it stands to reason that the people who create stuff for their livelihood would not like that. I mean... that's the whole point in people not liking piracy. Just cause you put it into law doesn't mean it's morally right... kind of like legal tax evasion for churches.

Re:Details? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 3 months ago | (#47724159)

Only that a politician that were against the free software support law from the start managed to get a contrary law passed a while later.

And that politician apparently had a name change between these two events, so I guess he might have gone through some life altering event which could explain it?

Re:Details? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 3 months ago | (#47725405)

It's amazing what an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas can do for one's point of view...

Chilean Software Industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723355)

Perhaps a Chilean company could make a custom package and provide support for the OSS to be considered. Problem solved.

It seems like... (3, Interesting)

toonces33 (841696) | about 3 months ago | (#47723365)

The legislators were mainly interested in getting a price break from Microsoft, and they found a way to do it.

Well, wait,,,, (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#47723387)

By my understanding, tax breaks being offered on something only mean that you effectively only get some percentage of the money back that you spent on that thing.

But if you aren't spending any of your money on that thing in the first place, even if it would give you a tax break, aren't you still further ahead than if you did spend the money when you can only get part of it back?

Re:Well, wait,,,, (2)

Kabukiwookie (2677869) | about 3 months ago | (#47724019)

Correct.

It will lower the threshold to continue or start using proprietary software though. It's about the market share first, the money follows later once you've cornered the market.

Can you trust the Free Software cult on this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723391)

I pretty much don't. "Certain tax breaks" is a choice of words that could mean any tax deduction of expenses. "Would allow the state" can well be a euphemism for "forces the state". Sadly, I don't trust the FSF crowd to use words reasonably.

I have an idea (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#47723411)

Instead of lobbying, lower your damn prices. At my US company we're sure as hell not paying $450 a seat for the corporate single license version with Access and Publisher. It's not my damn vault they lost billions on Windows 8 and the Xbone and need to make it elsewhere.

Re:I have an idea (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 3 months ago | (#47723431)

Actually, that per-seat license does make it your damn VAULT.

Re:I have an idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#47723823)

Freudian typo :P We actually don't have a vault anymore; Microsoft took it.

corrupt politicians forbid libre software (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723417)

Isn't there a US law that forbids US companies from engaging in foreign corrupt acts, even if those acts are the norm there? Or is applying money toward foreign politics exempt just like for domestic politics?

Re:corrupt politicians forbid libre software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723453)

Doesn't Microsoft run all their licensing operations out of Ireland?

Re:corrupt politicians forbid libre software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723535)

Don't rich people get what they want regardless of how it impacts poor people?

Writing Comprehension (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723419)

So Vlado Mirosevic changed his name into Daniel Farcas just so he could push the response bill? That's really clever! (Missed it? It says in TFA and TFS that the _same_ MP, but with a different name, pushed this).

Also, I smell hoax, FUD, what have you. One name sounds Serbian, the other Romanian. In Chile. We guys barely made it out of the area, much less into overseas ruling positions.

Re: Writing Comprehension (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723525)

Immigration has always relatively open in Chile. Most of the people in Chile in fact is of foreign origin (my family included). Very similar to the us in that sense. So having a lady name that is nor Spanish is not unusual (and btw, Spanish are also "foreigners").

not a Holy war (0)

johnwerneken (74428) | about 3 months ago | (#47723449)

Free software can be problematic also.

For one, serious use isn't free...enterprise use requires growing or renting expertise. Many of the major stuff, such as Mozilla, are supported by groups that actually do at least in part require funding.

For another, all open licenses are not the same - can matter depending on what one intends to do

Yet another, sometimes unintended consequences like Heartbleed are included equally 'free' yea right.

Then there are things like shooter games and windows vs linux.

Finally, some of the commercial stuff works well in some respects,; Chrome is not bad on security although personally I do not like it's approach to customizations and store aps (Chrome is not exactly free it's part of the driving forward of the Googlezillan Empire)

Also, some political entities, being supposedly sovereign, actually support intellectual property in the sense that Windows or Nvidia or HP drivers are not penetrable by ordinary mortals, but at least most of the time developed in a coherent manner. I myself prefer the idea that inventors/investors/first movers will do at least as well without DMCA, but not everyone agrees.

Re:not a Holy war (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 3 months ago | (#47724631)

Free software can be problematic also.

For one, serious use isn't free...enterprise use requires growing or renting expertise. Many of the major stuff, such as Mozilla, are supported by groups that actually do at least in part require funding.

They dont need expertise in windows? Both require someone to make it work.

For another, all open licenses are not the same - can matter depending on what one intends to do

True, but no one reads the Microsoft Licensing agreement. If legal ever did read it they would not allow the software to be installed. I know because I did a search and replace on the word Microsoft in their licensing agreement and then submitted it to legal. Legal put a stop to the install because we could not agree to the licensing terms of the software. They were surprised when I let them know it was Microsoft and eventually allowed the install.

Yet another, sometimes unintended consequences like Heartbleed are included equally 'free' yea right.

Ill take heartbleed security issue with the SSL cryptography over the millions of windows viruses any day.

Then there are things like shooter games and windows vs linux.

I really dont care which. Windows has it's uses as does Linux. Not sure I understand what you are trying to say here.

Finally, some of the commercial stuff works well in some respects,; Chrome is not bad on security although personally I do not like it's approach to customizations and store aps (Chrome is not exactly free it's part of the driving forward of the Googlezillan Empire)

You are right, some of the commercial apps are great and well worth the $$ you pay for them. However, the decision should be made on a technical level by the IT people who know what they are doing and not by a politician who can not even spell IT.

Also, some political entities, being supposedly sovereign, actually support intellectual property in the sense that Windows or Nvidia or HP drivers are not penetrable by ordinary mortals, but at least most of the time developed in a coherent manner. I myself prefer the idea that inventors/investors/first movers will do at least as well without DMCA, but not everyone agrees.

But laws saying what software can be used or dictating the OS to use is just stupid. That is not a matter for government it is a matter that should be decided by the IT departments in government. Laws saying that the data storage formats have to be open and available for review would be good but that does not appear to be what is going on here.

'the same member' typo...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723511)

"An independent member of the Chilean Parliament, Vlado Mirosevic, pushed a bill that would allow the state to consider free software when the authorities needed to purchase or renew licenses. ... A while later, the same member of the Parliament, Daniel Farcas, proposed another bill that actually nullified the effects of the previous one that had just been adopted."

The 'same member'...did Vlado change his name to Daniel after he pushed through the first law or is someone an idiot?

What "Munich Linux debacle"?? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723519)

Munich isn't ditching Linux.

Not often that SN gets the drop on /., they must be improving.

http://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/08/21/0836239

Re:What "Munich Linux debacle"?? (4, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | about 3 months ago | (#47724381)

Exactly!

There's a vice-mayor that heard stories of some city workers having trouble with the compatibility of certain file formats and he wants an investigation into it.

This says nothing about the Linux OS or something else OSS being ditched, it doesn't even mean he's getting his investigation!

Wow (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47723539)

You know, if anyone was actually bribed in the process of that, it would be VERY illegal back here in the USA. Just sayin'...

Old ways (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723623)

Nobody bribes the old way.

Your spouse get consulting job, your son gets contract to discover effects of Moon's light on frogs population.
That's how is done, just look at the transfer of government money into lucrative contracts for private companies.

Re:Wow (2)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 3 months ago | (#47723625)

Bribery is not illegal in the US, we call it campaign contributions.

Re:Wow (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47724023)

Bribing foreign officials is, especially if you do business with the US government. It means fewer bribes *cough* I mean... campaign contributions... for our guys!

so to put it in argumentative terms (1, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#47723655)

Linux: we're faster, cheaper, and just as easy to install and use as windows, plus we come with an ecosystem of thousands of applications that do exactly what yours do, but are also free.

Microsoft: You make an excellent point, and we certainly wish we had time for a formal rebuttal but for right now we're too busy shoveling cash into foreign governments and municipalities. you see, with the departure of steve ballmer, our failed cellular endeavor, our failed search engine, our failed cloud computing service, our failed apps store, our failed windows 8, our failed mp3 player, and our recent mass firing we had to do something. Just dont think about how this relates to the restructuring. it doesnt really, we're the same company as before, just a bit more immediate and desperate.

The real problem is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47723685)

America brands itself as Valhalla for capitalism. An environment where a good business can triumph, rewarding the owners and punishing the weak and lazy.

Problem is that the whole thing is a lie.

America has dirty hands. Litigation or sub-rosa dealings are the norm at the expense of true enterprise. Lobbyists encourage lawmakers to enact rules which prohibit or hamper competition. Businesses engage in 'glass parking lot' lawsuits to bleed competitors and consumers dry.

The hopeful entrepreneur would be wise to remember this -- if you have a great idea, there will be many others who will try to take it from you by force or more you in legislation until you run out of cash.

Chile is America? South America I guess (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47723805)

> America brands itself ...

Chile is America now? This article is about politics is Chile.

Huffpost loses misleading tagline championship! (2)

clovis (4684) | about 3 months ago | (#47723791)

This just out: Slashdot publishes an article with the title "Microsoft Lobby Denies the State of Chile Access to Free Software".
Anyone reading the article sees that no such thing has happened.
Huffpost slides into second place for misleading tagline, but still retains "sideboob" title.

Can you say payoff (1)

Jed Cavins (2991585) | about 3 months ago | (#47724035)

a large sum of money can buy a whole lotta law

Excuse me (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724049)

"Munich and Linux debacle"? Looks like you misspelt "success story" there, and nevermind the political backstabbing.

the same member of the Parliament (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724337)

An independent member of the Chilean Parliament, Vlado Mirosevic, pushed a bill that would allow the state to consider free software when the authorities needed to purchase or renew licenses. ... A while later, the same member of the Parliament, Daniel Farcas, proposed another bill that actually nullified the effects of the previous one that had just been adopted.

Are Vlado Mirosevi and Daniel Farcas the same person? Or maybe Vlado Mirosevi and Daniel Farcas are the names of the Parliaments, and one unnamed politician belongs to both Parliaments? Politics are so confusing...

Mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724561)

We at the Mob (hmm, Microsoft...)

it's a shame... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724603)

It's a shame. I am a chilean software engineer. The way that we are making the rich richer... it's unbelievable. It's rubbish. There still a lot of poor people here.
When I look at the german LiMux project... I just say we are light years from that. Micro$oft $uck$ big time here, now and forever.

Cheers
DIEGO URRA

fuck you microsoft (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 3 months ago | (#47724673)

i hope you choke and die on your state sanctioned monopoly

Bilingual speaker here! * (4, Informative)

williamyf (227051) | about 3 months ago | (#47724675)

My two cents here:

I read the linked English article, as well as the article in Spanish that they reference ("Ubuntizando.com"), as well as the original article in Spanish. **

The original article (in Ubuntizando) says NOTHING about the name of the legislator that did the counter-proposal, or anything about any alleged tax breaks. Is mostly derivative and incomplete. From this point onwards, I will reference only the article in "biobiochile"

The second article cites two others which I did not read (I have a limited amount of time). BioBioChile interviews only the "Pro-Free-Software***" (Mirosevic) legislator, and not the other (Farcas) who, as the summary clearly states, was the one who voted against Free Software****. Is only logical that the guy launched a counter-proposal. The only surprising thing is the turn-around time (24h).

Even more, the article (in biobiochile), indicates, in the words of Mirosevic himself***** "Half the people [referring to the other legislators, "diputados", or congressmen for those in the US] had no idea what we were talking about. I do not mean of the concept of Free software, but of software itself, but as we calculated, the rest followed those of us who understood". Is only logical, that they voted on the second initiative again whitout a clear understanding, either folowing party guidelines, or swayed by the 10 legislators that submitted the second motion.

From the way of writing (the subtle nuances are often lost in machine translation), starting with the title of the article itself ("Microsoft Raped Us"), I feel the magazine is "Amarillista" (think tabloid/sensationalist). And Slashdot is just being Slashdot, with the added hurdle of the language barrier.

While I am no big fan (nor am I an enemy) of Microsoft, I am less a fan of tabloids and crappy reporting, hence this comment

* For the record, 296/300 in my ToEFL way back when.

** Is in biobiochile.com, never heard of any of them, here is the link, for what is worth:
http://www.biobiochile.cl/2014/08/19/diputado-mirosevic-revela-sabotaje-a-proyecto-que-fomentaba-software-libre-microsoft-nos-violo.shtml

*** Again to recap, the pro-free-software resolution was voted by 64 yes, 1 no and 12 abstentions.

**** Free as in beer, "Libre in Spanish"

***** “La mitad de la gente no tenía idea de qué estábamos hablando. No digo del concepto software libre, más bien de los softwares, pero como habíamos calculado, el resto siguió a los que sí habían entendido”, relató Mirosevic a la publicación.

Re:Bilingual speaker here! * (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725721)

This is the original Spanish article:

http://www.elmostrador.cl/negocios/2014/08/18/el-lobby-de-microsoft-en-un-mercado-de-36-mil-millones-de-pesos-y-la-perdida-de-inocencia-del-diputado-vlado-mirosevic/

Re:Bilingual speaker here! * (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725753)

I dont understand this observation:
**** Free as in beer, "Libre in Spanish"
"Libre" is free as in freedom.
"Gratis" is free as in beer.

Politicians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47724691)

To be a politician is to be bought.

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47725327)

Are you fucking kidding me? You have to own the whole fucking world? When are people going to understand you cannot take money with you when you die?

Fuck it can we just shot off all the nukes now and start over?

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