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"Software Choice" Campaigns Against Open Source

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the doublethink-different dept.

United States 410

Verizon Guy writes: "News.com is reporting that a group called The Initiative for Software Choice, led by the CompTIA, but backed primarily by Microsoft and Intel, is lobbying against Open Source-only laws in for example, the State of California government and the government of Peru. While their goals don't specifically mention open source, they do mention that publicly-funded research should steer clear of licenses such as the GPL. Interesting read."

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eat an ass (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068897)

This Brought TO YOU by CLOT. Happy Troll Tuesday bitches!

Re:eat an ass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069061)

What do CLIT/CLOT stand for?

<something> Logged-In/Out Trolls?

Software Choice! HA! (3, Insightful)

program21 (469995) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068903)

Interesting that a group calling itself Software Choice is trying to tell people not to choose certain software.

Re:Software Choice! HA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068964)

This just another example of Corporate greed!!!!

Re:Software Choice! HA! (5, Insightful)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069027)

Interesting that the groups associated with Open Source are attempting to limit a states choice options in software (i.e.: Open Source only laws).

Let the market rule. Some Open Source products rule. Some stink. Some proprietary products rule. Some stink. A law forbidding you from looking at Open Source products would be "bad". A law prohibiting you from considering non-Open Source products is just as bad if not worse.

Re:Software Choice! HA! (1)

boomer_rehfield (579777) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069067)

I didn't consider it until you mentioned it, but if we do push open source as the only solution, and they buy into it (so to speak), what happens when the uninformed users come across a poorly written piece of open source software? They will more than likely post the negative label on Open Source rather than that individual program. I'm not saying don't push, but thinking about it this way, it could have a negative effect in the long run and maybe the choice IS good.

Re:Software Choice! HA! (2)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069092)

Its not always about the market. Politicians are notoriously ignorant in the ways of Software and technology. If you let them choose they will simply pick the one that buys them the bigger condo.

Sure, consider everything. But be sure to understand the implications of tying yourself to one vendor. Open source by nature of its openness does not lock you into the "upgrade doom cycle." Close source does lock you in because how often is the bug fix only found in the upgrade?? And how many closed source packages (m$) use open file standards. Sure m$ can save in open formats, but you can't make that choice your default.

Re:Software Choice! HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069126)

Hi how are things in Redmond? I don't think any "Open Source" law would stop the use of proprietary products. What it would stop would be exclusive licensing deals that drive up the cost of software.

since no one is here... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068905)

I guess I will double up on this ass. This is a dead penis bird joint. Props to all my niggaz up in this hizouse!

REPOST! Move along people, nothing to see here. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068906)

Original. [slashdot.org]

Fudge packers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068907)

You're all just a bunch of arse-bandit, fudge packing, tacosnotting faggots.

As a dear friend of mine once said - Slashdot, News for turds, stuff that splatters.

Re:Fudge packers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068916)

Push in yer stool, guv'na?

orwell is ROTFLAO (-1, Troll)

klaa2 (191653) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068913)

liars and thieves liars and thieves, just add these guys to antique dealers, car dealers, mattress outlets, vacums, sears ..

No story here... (4, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068923)

This isn't a campaign against *open source* but rather a campaign against *open source only laws*. I can fully agree with that. Freedom of choice.

Stop loading the headlines.

Re:No story here... (1, Troll)

aminorex (141494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068940)

Open source only laws are the embodiment of fiscal
responsibility. You oppose fiscal responsibility,
and favor instead featherbedding and corruption?

Re:No story here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068981)

Open source itself is all about choices.
"Open source only" laws are all about limiting choices.
It is OS fanboy-ism taken to it's most ridiculous extreme.

Re:No story here... (3, Insightful)

taliver (174409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068982)

Open source only laws are the embodiment of fiscal
responsibility


Not true. Fiscal responsibilty in government institutions comes from extremely well written specifications and a closed, low bid system with underwriting. Not allowing a closed source shop to compete certainly does not help fiscal responsibility.

I'm all for open source, but I really don't believe anybody should be strong armed into releasing their code. Remember, freedom of speech should also be freedom not to speak as well.

Re:No story here... (5, Interesting)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069019)

If open source costs more in man hours (don't be foolish....you know as well as I it can), retraining and possibly hardware, it could very well mean it could cost more than say sticking with Microsoft or IBM OS/390. Cost is more then just the cost of the software. That said, I do prefer Open Source, but not necessarily because of cost.

With Open Source, the answer is always out there, usually. It isn't always so when trying to navigate a vendors website. With Open Source,if Red Hat, SuSE or say Debian doesn't have an answer for your problem, someone else usually does!

I am against Open Source only laws because I want to choose what is best for the situation in question. MySQL is not yet an acceptable replacement for a well done installation of Oracle. Also, when storing massive amounts of info in a database, I want someone to guarantee some sort of stability or performance. I want something others of used (yeah I know, others have used MySQL, but I still would not trust it with a critical database) and has been proven. That's one case. In others, well, I hate to say it, others use microsoft. Granted I know that there are word processors on Linux, but there are certain things you do. You don't want to retrain everyone on a Word Processor....ever. My point, Open Source only laws, while good for Linux and in my opinion a great number of things in the public sector, would prevent you from going to something that may be new and revolutionary. Choice between Open Source and Closed Source products should be maintained. Saying your not being fiscally responsible by not choosing open source is like giving the coffee away for free and having to pay 10 bucks for the cream and sugar. If you can't get all three (ie someone who's already there and isn't going to cost more, who knows Linux and available hardware are the cream and sugar) for free, it ain't worth it.

Re:No story here... (2)

Cyclone66 (217347) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069038)

How can you possibly be for an open source only law?
Isn't America the land of the free? As in freedom not free code! Restrictions are just bad.

"Restrictions are just bad" (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069112)

You'ill find that there are a whole load of restrictions when doing ANY work with government, these restrictions are there (in general) to protect the public interest.

An example being anything to do with the defense industry is very tightly restricted.

You talk about freedom without realising that this is about freedom, freedom of government to have control over the code that keeps it running.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069101)

I oppose forbidding DMV workers from being able to copy and paste between windows.

not quite so simple (4, Interesting)

Unordained (262962) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068959)

notice that they also asked that research not be put under GPL-like licenses, under the assumption that government-funded research should be resold afterwards ... personally, i don't appreciate giving money to the government, in the form of taxes, and then having to buy back from them what they discovered thanks to my money ...

i'll agree that laws like this can be bad -- wouldn't want to restrict stuff too much ... but consider their reasons aren't just financial: in the case of Peru, they were very much interested in having the ability to fix code themselves, look through it for spyware, and write their own, based on what they had access to, if necessary. open standards may not be the norm, but when you have full access to the source code ... even non-open standards can become so. (reverse engineering of open-sourced software, mostly because somebody forgot to comment their code?)

note that they are also trying to promote the idea that open-source = no funds, which is not true. red hat and mandrake (and many others) have shown that open source is not without rewards. note also that the french government is getting their linux from mandrakesoft, which, lest i be mistaken, is a french company ... the argument about taxes is weak in this case: the french government will be getting linux (free) and support (not so free) from mandrake, and they'll collect taxes back from that same company ... promote the creation of tech jobs in france, etc.

so it's not completely loaded -- it is against open source, partially, under the veil of being pro-choice ...

Re:No story here... (2)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068961)

The real story here is a paralell to the enlightenment of slaves via the reading to them the bible, namely Exodus. Giving them religion was supposed to keep them in line, but instead taught them about freedom and gave them a will to escape.

Only in government (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068974)

If a company stipulates an Open Source requirement for a contract and your company does not provide Open Source solutions, you dont try and force the company to change their requirements citing "Freedom to choose" etc etc. It seems government contracts have become cash cows to be milked by large corporations. What ever happened to "government for the people" and getting the best value for money for the tax payer?

Places where open-source-only *may* be appropriate (3, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068996)

(I can't take credit for this, since I read it, but can't remember where, so I can't attribute, either.)

The problem comes when government at any level distributes information in any electronic form. At that point, the issue isn't really Open Source as much as it is Open Formats and Interchange. For a large part, and IMHO Microsoft is one of the greatest offenders, proprietary software tends to entrench itself with proprietary formats.

As I view government information available in electronic form, I want the freedom to choose what software to us. If the government publishes in proprietary formats, they have abridged my freedom of choice. In fact, in doing this they meddle in the market, granting certain companies competitive advantages over others, based on their software choice.

Sticking with Open Formats and Interchange is the only way that the government can avoid forcing choices on citizens. It's the only way they can avoid reducing competition in the marketplace.

If Microsoft (and other similar software makers) could avoid their desire for proprietary formats, this wouldn't be an issue.

An Open Source law for government misses the issue, completely. Even so, it may well accomplish the correct end. Still, it would be better to be on target.

Don't buy the propoganda (2)

Sanity (1431) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069083)

They claim to be in favour of software choice, but what choice do you have when your government standardizes on closed software and protocols? The answer is none.

Ensuring that your government standardizes on open protocols, file formats, and software ensures that there will always be a choice, since anyone can produce competitive implementations of such software. The same is not true if your government requires that you use something like MS Word. Yes, you can argue that you could use something like AbiWord, but it really isn't a practical way to create or read MS Word documents.

The only way to ensure freedom of choice is to use open protocols and software.

Re:No story here... (2, Insightful)

daniel_howell (457947) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069100)


Quite apart from the campaign trying to dictate how governments should release their research results there are three different things here. The campaign seems to avoid them in welter of vague sounding language.

1) Open file transfer standards
Governments need to be able to be sure they can transfer their data without being reliant on one company. And this has to include guarentees that all future versions of the software will use an open standard as well.But that's not the only factor that needs to be considered.

2) Cost
Laws that say government departments should look at the cheapest option seem reasonable to a tax payer like me.

and the biggy:

3) Security
How does a government know that the black box software it just bought doesn't have a backdoor alloing the CIA to read every file they store on it? They don't. So a law that says 'only use software where we can examine the code' is justified on the grounds of National Security. The Initiative for Software Choice doesn't seem to mention this at all.

If they want to compete in the government sector under 'pro-open source' laws nothing is stopping them, but any company that can't meet these three criteria shouldn't be getting government business in the first place.

Just a coincidence?-) (0, Offtopic)

Dexter77 (442723) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068924)

"Microsoft and other software companies are ramping up a lobbying effort that aims to convince governments to think again about adopting open-source software"

"Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled. Satan and his followers fought against Jesus and his followers."

Oh no, I'm not against M$, the analogy is just too easy to see :)

Re:Just a coincidence?-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068968)

EXCELLENT analogy, sir. Too bad the whole Holy Bible crap is a work of fiction (a rather good work of fiction, I'll admit -- good enough to swindle millions upon millions of gullible lemmings like you into believing in a story a few drunk guys wrote around a campfire a couple of thousand years ago).

Open formats/protocols (5, Insightful)

Jondor (55589) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068929)

While I personaly like and use open source I don't have the illusion that this goes for everybody.
What I would like the goverments to do is to define open fileformats/protocols and only accept/buy software which supports these formats 100%.

Ofcourse this also means that ALL govermental communication should use these formats and nothing else. This may not be the end of closed source, but at least it levels the playing field and should brings competition back where it belongs: comparing price and quality.

Re: Open formats/protocols (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068963)


> What I would like the goverments to do is to define open fileformats/protocols and only accept/buy software which supports these formats 100%.

I agree wholeheartedly. Letting the public be at the mercy of one company's whims is nothing short of criminal.

We should actually be pushing for the adoption of standards rather than for the adoption of open source per se.

Re:Open formats/protocols (2)

imr (106517) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068967)

Right but deals with those compagnies tie you up. It's not only a matter of open format, it's a matter of independance.
To have laws that oblige administrations to go in the direction of the biggest independance for them and therefore for their government in a matter of administration is a sane decision.
On the other hand, I don't think this is true for every part of a country's organisation. Civil rights for example are outside the scope of a country's independance. That's why the human rights declaration is universal, it's beyond politics.

Re:Open formats/protocols (2)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069035)

That means Windows is out the window because it is not POSIX compliant and certified, so is Linux, *BSD, and Mac OS X.

It is one thing to follow the standards close but still have divergence from it for the good.

So -- you want the government to set the standards (2, Interesting)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069053)

Are you serious? Do you know what you are asking for?

POSIX perhaps?

This is a sure way for everyone to loose (money, time, etc.). It levels the playing field TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. Forget innovation. Forget change.

I'd rather have the evils of MS, Oracle, etc. than the true evil that government oversight would bring with it.

Re:So -- you want the government to set the standa (2)

Jondor (55589) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069120)

I didn't say they have to develop it, just that it has to be open and free. For all I care they choose the latest MS-Word DOC version, as long as I can download a file with the complete description of the format and am free to implement it without royalties or restrictions. (Not that I think DOC files are the way to go, but that's an other point of discussion.)

Choice... (1, Redundant)

Zemran (3101) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068930)

Calling this the "initiative for Software Choice" reminds me of the way communist countries called themselves "The Peoples Republic of..." as if the people have a say in what goes on. You take away freedom but try to give the illusion that you are doing the opposite. Everyone over the age of 2 can see through the lie just as anyone can see this is not about "software choice".

They get to use a .org? (1, Troll)

killerc (462845) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068931)

How surprising that a commercial lobbying group is using a .org address.

Re:They get to use a .org? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068952)

How surprising that a commercial lobbying group is using a .org address.

.org is not TLD for "non-commercial organizations". It's a TLD for "anyone who isn't a .company or a .networkoperator."

Why is this such a bad thing? (1)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068933)

I can understand them lobbying against making laws that would mandate OSS. After all, choice is a good thing, even if we do hate monolopies like MS who are backing it.

After reading throught the CompTIA site I feel a little better about this move, but I'm still concerned about how it may be misused and augmented to meet the needs of the big boys on the block that stand a lot to lose to Open Source Microsoft.

Re:Why is this such a bad thing? (1, Troll)

aminorex (141494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068956)

Choice is not a good thing. It is just a thing.
A bad choice is a bad thing. A good choice is a
good thing.

If I put a gun to your head and take money from
you (i.e. taxation) and then give it to Bill,
Bill may think it is a *good* thing, while you
may think it is a *bad* thing. I will refrain
from this judgement, and leave it to you to decide
whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.

Intel? (1)

lameland (23851) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068936)

Why would Intel get involved in this? Since the majority of Linux & Windows machines run on Intel CPU's, it seems that they should stay out of the Linux/Windows battle.

It looks like AMD has taken Intel's spot as the favorite son of Redmond lately. Do you think this could be part of a plan to get back in Microsoft's good graces?

Re:Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069005)

I was wondering about this as well, I cannot think of any valid reason.

Because... (2)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069030)

The reason is that open software promotes hardware choices as well as software choices.

What platform does Linux run on?

What platform does Windows run on?

Also, if you want to control the hardware platform (aka Palladium), then its important to give people the feeling that they have no choice in software.

Re:Intel? (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069113)

The reason why Intel is getting involved with this is easy. The AMD 64-bit architecture chip, the "Hammer" is already being embraced by the Linux community (and undoubtably other parts of the open source community) while the 64-bit architecture chips of Intell are riddled with errors or something else that is bad... I'm not sure because I haven't read allot about Intel's 64-bit efforts...

terrorist/freedom fighter paradox (1)

merc_sa (35777) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068941)


Now the last story is about China moving forward toward open source. Where you have a government
with a penchant with crushing dissent supporting open source which prides itself on dissent.

and now moved onto this current story where megacorps is now lobbying for freedom of "choice"
from legislation that dictates that government must use open source software..

as usual, what you see depends on where you stand...

Public funds pay ??==?? public software? (2)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068947)

Maybe microsoft is just trying to keep it hidden that (in the us) when the goverment buys software... it becomes public domain... atleast... thats how it was years ago...

Re:Public funds pay ??==?? public software? (2)

jmv (93421) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068994)

when the goverment buys software... it becomes public domain

Public domain is fine for MS, what they don't want is that software to be GPL'd.

US Government Copyrights (5, Informative)

Slak (40625) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068948)

I've often wondered how US Government agencies (such as the NSA with SELinux) can legally GPL code. According to the US Code Section 17 Chapter 1 Section 105 (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/105.html):


Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise


So I'm not sure that these companies don't have a point. I would think this indicates that the government cannot extend GPL code, as the GPL is based on copyright (er, copyleft). Granted, I have but a limited understanding of Copyright Law and the legal basis behind the GPL. I would like to see this issue explained, however.

I would think that any changes the US Government (or its agencies) made to GPL code would have to fall into the Public Domain. By the same token, if the NSA were to make an UltraSecure Windows OS, then their modifications would not be assignable (as US Government works do not enjoy copyright protection) to Microsoft and would also fall into the Public Domain (just their diffs, not the whole work).

Obviously, US Code Section 17 Chapter 1 Section 105 does not preclude the government from merely using Open Source (or any form of software, for that matter) without extending it.

Cheers,
Slak

perhaps no GPL, but then, anything? (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068970)

if you are correct, and the US government cannot put their research findings under GPL ... then the argument that they should 'stear clear of the GPL [implied: in favor of other licenses]' is useless: the government couldn't charge for the stuff even if they wanted to (public domain) so ... why do these companies care, except to say that GPL is bad?

Re:US Government Copyrights (1)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069077)

Perhaps the answer there is not published to protect national security. In this day and age you may find that much work is done and released in a reasonable time frame (for the government) fo say 10 or 20 years back into the public domain. That's reasonable isn't it?

Come to think of it -- isn't that reasonable for a corporate GPL utilization as well? Does the GPL require release in a specified window of time? Anything noted as "timely" is vague.

Good (1)

johnburton (21870) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068949)

There is nothing wrong with open source. What is wrong is trying to force it on people either through legislation or the GPL.

You have it backwards... (3, Insightful)

Badanov (518690) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069059)

Open source only laws as they apply to government information will insure access to government documents and information regardless of who sells the software. If Microsoft (and that is who we are speaking of) sells a propreitary solution to, as an example, a county government for accessing property records on line, you know for a definitive fact they are going to require their products be on the desktop of anyone who wishes to access this information. (I can see some arguments coming that governments can require MS to allow any browser to access records, but that would entail MS not being able to sell their latest and best technology, and they could conceivably tell a governmental body that it is their way or perhaps a software audit is in order? As it is now in some courts, you MUST have MS Office to access some court records, you do NOT have a CHOICE!) Open source on the other hand, which hold to open standards will only require a browser of ANY kind, or in the case of documents, some accepted standard; there are no backroom deals, no threat that MS nazis will appear at your door demanding to see CDs and licenses, no security headaches, no threats that 'upgrades will force other upgrades, and no being locked into a hostile company's proprietary and ultimately damaging formats. It is simply a means of enforcing a concept of general and free access to government through the internet using open standards, which Open Source adheres to stringently. I guess some folks love of Microsoft products keeps them from understanding the nature of open source software, and makes them see things backwards, and not for what they are. Pity...

Steer clear? (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068950)


> they do mention that publicly-funded research should steer clear of licenses such as the GPL.

Actually, the GPL is how publicly funded research should be licensed. These people are doing nothing more than lobbying for an entitlement.

Re:Steer clear? (2)

Slak (40625) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068966)

You could make a case that government funded research is better suited to be released under a BSD licence. Probably a stronger case for putting government funded research directly into the public domain.

As an aside, I am upset that government funded research in the area of drug development is allowed to be patented by drug companies. At least the patents are supposed to expire (and do so quicker than copyrights do). Although the drug companies seem to have found their own tricks for extending the life of their patents, but that's another story alltogether....

Cheers,
Slak

Re:Steer clear? (1)

mrfiddlehead (129279) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069022)

This is one area where I disagree with the GPL. Publicly funded research resulting in code should be made available using something like the BSD license with *no restrictions*. The GPL has its place in the world, don't get me wrong, but not everything should necessarily be restricted by this license.

There are grey areas.

Re:Steer clear? (1)

Hugh Kir (162782) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069044)

I agree. Anything which is developed using public funds should be freely available to the public (within sane limitations, of course- I don't mean we should be handing out nukes to the public). Unfortunately, at the moment, such is not the case. Even when research is funded by tax dollars, it can still cost a pretty penny to obtain it. Interestingly enough, one of the people who argued most vehemently for the idea that publicly funded research ought to be freely available to the public was Newt Gingrich. I didn't agree with him on much, but on that he was dead on.

Re:Steer clear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069136)

Actually, the GPL is how publicly funded research should be licensed. These people are doing nothing more than lobbying for an entitlement.

How do you mean "entitlement"? Classical entitlement programs (medicare, social security, welfare) cause taxpayers to become a revenue stream for specific groups, usually under the guise of moral authority. I don't see how, for example, BSD style licenses for publicly funded software generate any revenue for software companies.

GPL-like licenses essentially prevent any private group from turning gov't code into a profitable product. The only people in the business of GPL code are really selling service and support. They have little incentive-beyond PR-of contributing to the development of those projects.

Other open source licences, including public domain, BSD, etc, allow a group to pick up a package, fork it off from the public development, and make improvements with some liklihood of recovering their costs. That has already resulted in innovations like the progression from Mosaic to Netscape.

I use publicly funded roads on a regular basis. Should this make my cargo public property?

Black spinning globe? (1)

hammerm (571962) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068954)

Has anyone noticed that the animated globe spinning around the CompTIA website is black? Its like the vision of the world after they've had their way with us.

Bad Idea (4, Interesting)

deke_2503 (569986) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068957)

"'When public funds are used to support software research and development, the innovations that result from this work should be licensed in ways that take into account both the desirability of broadly sharing those advances as well as the desirability of applying those advances to commercialized products,' the group stated."

Basically, the taxpayers' money should be used to finance "commercialized products" that make money for somebody else...

"In a recent speech delivered to the Government Leaders' Conference in Seattle, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates likened the concept of open source to anti-capitalism. Warning developing countries against using software based on the GPL, Gates said those who put development time into it are denying themselves the benefits of essential taxes."

And we all know that anti-capitalism is..communism. I knew those Chinese were onto something with their Linux.
However, this is not actually true. If a government uses taxes to fund research/development of software, the benefit ti the said government is software--why should it care how it is licensed, as long as it is functional?

Re:Bad Idea (2)

aminorex (141494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068973)

I think you misunderstand. The argument is
in favor of BSD-style licensing for the products
of publically funded research. This is motivated
by the desire to keep their formats secret, so
that they can continue to crush all potential
competitors.

CompTIA? Linux+? (1)

fire-eyes (522894) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068962)

Boy, what a conflict of intrest.

I know what 'linux cert' I won't ever be touching then. Thanks for making my choice easier, CompTIA.

Campaigns Against Open Source...? (5, Interesting)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068972)

How exactly are they campaigning against open source? To me it says rather - if not very - neutrally that what they want is that open source, semi open source, and closed source and their licensing methods should co-exist. Also, I share their opinion that it would be very stupid to make organisations choose from only what is available under open source.

I do think that it is a big plus for many (or most) products if it is an open source one. Even if it was true in all cases, some closed source products can still be superior. There are cases and specialist areas in which development under closed source can be done with bigger and better resources, which eventually results in a better product.

...and I must say that I prefer open source a lot... and still I think these proposed open source -only laws are utterly stupid.

Kinda funny (2)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068975)

It is kinda funny that CompTIA would have any problem with Open Source software since they have a Linux+ certification.

Bruce Perens has a good reply to this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068978)

The Register posted a good reply to this a few days ago, taking the "Software Choice" argument apart paragraph by paragraph.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/26616.htm l

Other recent comments (1)

Observer (91365) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068980)

See Saturday's /. [slashdot.org] referencing Friday's Bruce Perens piece inTheRegister [theregister.co.uk] .

Karma: NaN (mostly affected by meddling slashcode maintainers).

I'm enjoying this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4068988)

I don't know about anyone else around here but I'm really enjoying watching M$ squirm. I seriously belive that they are shitting their pants watching their monopoly disappear from under them at an extremely fast rate!

Open file formats (5, Interesting)

nuggz (69912) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068992)

I think the idea is fully documented file formats that we can edit with alternate applications.

I don't think we should legislate free software, because quite honestly if MS has the best solution for that task, we SHOULD use it.

What we should have is that all file formats should be clearly documented and have a non discriminatory royalty free, patent free licence to use in competing products. Then there wouldn't be an arguement.

Govt. research and the GPL (0)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 12 years ago | (#4068999)

I'm sure i'm going to catch flack for this, but i don't care.

Like it or not, corperations pay taxes, too. They pay a lot more in taxes than you or I do. They also slip money to the candidates, but that's besides the point.


The point IS that, because they paid a significant portion towards the research they have every bit of right to use it as you and I do. This is why it makes more sence to have what the government release be either BSDL or public domain. While I know many of you are going to say "what about embracing an extending?!! Death to MS!!", well, other software companies are closed-source too.


The point of licensing under BSDl for example is NOT to become the one, true, version, BUT to become prolific and standard. If what you made is good enough that many people adopt it, then it'll become the standard. The "internet" would not have become so prolific if TCP/IP had been under the GPL because then noone could really use it besides *BSD and Linux.


Re:Govt. research and the GPL (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069026)

There are over five hundred thousand Slashdotters.

Of these, probably four hundred thousand paid more taxes than Microsoft did in 1999.

Not all together- EACH slashdotter paid more than Microsoft did- because it paid no taxes in 1999 due to stock options trickery.

Don't jump to reassuring but unwarranted conclusions. The truth is worse than you think...

Re:Govt. research and the GPL (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069081)

Fine, how's this? I dislike the GPL. I dislike Linux. While, yes, I believe in free sources, I also don't want to close any doors. Ideology doesn't feed a family. If i can make more money off of my code later, then I want to. I work in a govt research lab this summer. Everything I do they own. My current project is under the GPL, but only because we used a snippit of GPLd code. I could rewrite it, but i'd be tainted for looking at it, wouldn't i? If it were BSDL to begin with it wouldn't be an issue.

Re:Govt. research and the GPL (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069138)

Not saying that your wrong, but you need some kind of proof when you make a statement like that. I find it hard to believe that MS paid less than $20,000 in taxes. But I could be wrong.

Free help for "Software Choice" (5, Insightful)

standards (461431) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069002)

I love these guys... they're so honest. But their "principles" need some help...:

"Procure software on its merits, not through categorical preferences"

Maybe they could say "Please don't judge our product on the license agreement! Our license is designed to maximize our stranglehold on you... and if you disallow our software due to it's license, well, we won't be able to take advantage of you".

"Promote broad availability of government funded research"

Perhaps instead they could say "We'd like to package up taxpayer-funded research and sell it back to the tax payers! All for profit! Please don't take that away from us - because we'd hate to have to pay for more research."

"Promote interoperability through platform-neutral standards"

Perhaps they could say "Don't place standards on us, because we want to try to monopolize the industry. If the standards are open source, how can we lock in our customers?"

"Maintain a choice of strong intellectual property protections"

Maybe it'd be better to say "Don't weaken our intellectual property, because we spent so much money on research! We need to recover our research burden. Of course, much of the research came through tax-payer funded research grants, but we still want it all. After all, we're in it to make as much money as we possibly can, and a legal monopoly is our best approach."

Quote from the site (2)

HappyPhunBall (587625) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069008)

"Governments are best served when they can select software from a broad range of products based on such considerations as value, total cost of ownership, feature set, performance and security."

Hmmm...maybe I am a bit biased, but to my ears that is an overwhelming nod of support to Open Source products. To paraphrase: "We stronly encourage the use of FreeBSD"

The truth comes out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069013)

backed primarily by Microsoft and Intel, is lobbying against Open Source-only laws
So much for 'Lintel'. You can bet your boots that in reality Intel is every bit as much against Linux as Microsoft, even if its support engineers are happy to provide information for compiler optimisations.
And what does this mean... the primary maker of CPUs, along with AMD (ahem) which is hardly friendly toward Linux, are going to be making a 'security' encryption standard into their products which will likely be as hostile toward free software as get-awayibily possible.

Heres an idea... (1, Troll)

Talez (468021) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069016)

Instead of lobbying for MS-only or GPL-only laws, how about lobbying for the politicians to stop wasting our fucking dollars and use what WORKS.

Re:Heres an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069098)

Say goodbye to Corel then. Does anyone use their crap besides the government?

Another approach (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069017)

As I posted over at NewsForge, I think a better approach would be to ban purchasing from companies that have been found to have violated anti-trust laws, as long as they have a certain percentage of market share. Once there is more competition and the market share is less lopsided, they can resume purchasing from the (former) monopoly.

You have to wonder if Microsoft would also protest if someone attempted to get a law passed that forbids using open source, calling it anti-capitalistic or an intellectual property destroyer or such. I think Microsoft would only lobby against something when they see a threat to their revenue. They're only interested in preventing damage to the computer ecosystem when they're the ones who would bear the brunt. I don't think they give a rat's ass about what's in the best interest of customers, only theirs.

Already too late to put the genie back in (2)

Aliks (530618) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069020)

"You are known by the calibre of your enemies"

Disruptive innovations have usually won the game by the time incumbents start to take them seriously.

Even though they are avoiding the words Open Source everyone knows that is what is being targetted. I think the only result of this campaign will be to raise the profile of Open Source still higher.

Developing new standards (1)

Mika_Lindman (571372) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069032)

Developers of commercial software that may not typically publish their source code often contribute technology and intellectual property needed to develop new standards.

Yes, and don't we all love the way Microsoft, Macromedia, RealAudio, Apple and such develope new standards?

Re:Developing new standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069054)

SGI: OpenGL.
Apple: Firewire, QuickTime3D (see Quesa).
Microsoft: Errr. Hrm. Okay, never mind. ;)
Macromedia: Flash file format.
Sun: NFS, SPARC design standards (contributor), etc.

And so on, and so on.

- The Watchful Babbler

Stalmann told me it wouldn't happen (3, Interesting)

famazza (398147) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069034)

About two year ago, in a FreeSoftware presentation by Richard Stalmann (did I spelled it correct?) I have asked him if he have ever considered the possibility of liberty restricting laws, such as DMCA, affect GPLed softwares, Free Softwares or even any kind of Open Source.

He told me that this possibily does not exist and that DMCA exists to protect copyrighted material that, in his opinion should, be protected. He told that Free Software is Copylefted and would not have any risk of being affected by such laws.

Unfortunately he was wrong. In the last year I saw two initiatives trying to ban FreeSoftware from US. I know that he don't have the obligation to preview such things, but it should be better if we have more "gurus" that are able to preview these kind of problems.

About all these attempts to ban FreeSoftware from US, all I have to say is that I'm really sorry that there's people in the government that can't understand that FreeSoftware is about Freedom and this is one of the base concepts of democracy. Don't US government consider itself democratic?

Not GPL'ing public research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069041)

Hard to argue with that -- since that kind of research is a public good, it only makes sense that efficiency is maximized by providing as broad a swath of potential uses as possible, and GPL definitely forecloses many options for profitable use.

The whole thing's gotta give Stallman apoplexy, though.

Fundamentally Dishonest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069045)

Why must Microsoft and Intel speak through a front group? Why can't they just say it themselves? Something fundamentally dishonest about such an undertaking. Could this be considered as a subtle attempt at mind control? To make others believe in this small piece of fabricated reality? Such are the pieces of our lives during these barbaric times.

We need a public domain entity (1)

crosbie (446285) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069048)

We need a new entity, the public domain, recognisable by law which can receive donations of IP.

At the moment the originator of the Open Source license has to be this entity (hence the code isn't truly public domain).

I'm really gona lose Karma for this but... (3, Interesting)

SuperCal (549671) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069057)

I hate to say this seeing as I just got the automatic +1 score, but hey... what's a little karma among friends.

I'm kinda glad to see something like this. While I don't think some of these Open Source regulations are as bad as maybe a commercial only regulation, I still think that these are bad policies. I never want my local government to have their hands tied in choosing the most appropriate platform. Many of these laws, even if the legislators don't want to admit it are simply anti M$ laws, but they could hurt other companies as well. Anyway back to the point. I can think of several examples were using commercial solutions would save money over the long run. Basically I think anytime you regulate away choice you are hurting your self. I policy, encouraging Free Software is much more appropriate.

Call me a cynic... (5, Interesting)

Woodie (8139) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069058)

OK -

call me a cynic. But, this whole freedom of choice thing can't be underscored. GPL is great, if you want to put your software under it, feel free to do so. Just don't demand that I do the same. Information doesn't want to be free. Information doesn't _want_ anything. Information just is. People want information for a variety of purposes.

Unfortunately the US government is somewhat restricted from being a copyright holder, and patent holder for good reason. As if the government doesn't have enough power already, what with laws and everything... Try to imagine if they could be patent holders and copyright holders. What better way to cripple free speech and innovation?

And all this jazz about China using Linux. They're using you alright. China is not adopting Linux out of any altruistic sense of empowering the people. They are adopting it because it is not controlled by a corporation which is based in a potentially hostile foreign nation. China using Linux isn't about software - it's about politics. "Oh, look - we can get free software & brownie points, while divesting ourselves of foreign interest."

Sure, Linux may be the next best thing since sliced bread. GPL might be the next best thing too. But keep in mind that some of us still like to buy our loaves of bread whole, and slice them ourselves. Choice is good. Forcing your brand of "freedom" down anyone and everyone's throat == bad.

I can understand you all wanting the governemt to use OSS systems in building government systems. In fact, I'd lobby for that too. On a business, and social level it makes a lot of sense. But, guess what...? Sometimes OSS isn't always the right choice for the job. Shoehorning the wrong tool into doing the job is a big mistake. Options need to be considered rationally - not religiously. Of course, if you're used to kludges solving your problems - that might be OK.

Bah!

go to the website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069063)

Comptia zone and flood their mailboxes with useless drivel, much like what they are espousing on the site. The form is not auto-clearing so you can innundate the assholes with junk mail, through their own form. Do it today, do not delay. Give these commies hell!

Empire strikes back (0)

imperator_mundi (527413) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069065)

It's ipotizable that an army will buy some hardware (tanks, airplane) without knowing exactly how it works, and without any chance of getting this knowledge, even paying, and last but not least that is controlled by a corporation (that for all but one country is a foreign corporation)? Hard to think.

Can Microsoft give a serious answer to the people concerned by this matter?

That's a serious issue that could take some market share away from Microsoft, and worst could create a solid alternative to the dominance of windows in the desktop (I have no idea of the number of pc used by the governement around the world but i'm sure it's pretty much).

What can also MS do? Avoid restrecive laws by invoking the freedom of choice and let the its impressive marketing machine do its work.

who's the liar here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069078)

MS and other companies are trying to stop laws from being passed that would FORBID closed-source solutions in government.

I really wish the open-smarm -- er, open-source zealots would admit that not every tactic used to support open-source is a good idea. LEGISLATING the use of open-source is no better than legislating the use of closed-source: it's tyranny of a different color.

MS Uses Unix Protocols and claims them as IP (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069089)

ah people please remember that most communication protocols in windows are directly from unix..

Samba people why are you not correcting this big error?

MS is attemtping to patent their version of Unix and other opensource protocols as their own..why are we not raising cain about this?

Complete Idiocy (1)

cioxx (456323) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069097)

CompTIA should stick to issuing useless certificates to would-be web developers and network engineers so they can hang it on their basement walls.

I've worked for a major IT Training corporation as an account executive back in the boom of the dot com era, and have a first hand account of the idiocy that CompTIA puts out, labeled as training materials. 50% of their A+ cerificate holders can't even properly fix simple hardware related things.

On an unrelated note, compile this [comptia.com]

Food for thought [XOR] Thought for food (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069108)

I know most /.'ers are fierce open-source advocates, but I think that some serious thought should be given to whether the value of (we) programmers is diminished by giving away their (our) work.

Simple case: /. has its own GPL engine for this site. Futhermore, sites like Plastic have deployed that same engine, and put it to commercial use.

Now, let's just *pretend* that /. is having some financial problems. Doesn't it seem like it would be good if /. could have more secure financials by selling copies of its code?

I work full time on my MP3 streamer Andromeda [turnstyle.com] and I tried begging for donations for years, but less than 1% ever give anything voluntarily.

Not every 'free' project is going to have the good luck of finding a sugar-daddy to pay the bills. How is an independent programmer supposed to buy food?

Might be the wrong solution to a bad problem (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069110)

Simply making it mandatory for govt agencies to use OSS IS anti-choice, but a highly visible and political one destined to make headline news and bring on the wrath of the Ayndroids, as compared to all the subtle subterfuge and skulldugery, tie-ins and bundling that goes into maintaining and extending a PC platform monopoly (You can use any software you want, as long as it's Msft).

But there *is* a choice... (1)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069114)

Peru said they won't allow _proprietary_ software. All companies like Microsoft have to do is make software that does not use proprietary code-- they can still keep their precious proprietary software and sell it in the consumer and private business markets.

...The "software choice" is theirs to make!

CompTia? hypocrates! (0)

bafreer (592306) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069125)

Isn't it funny that a company that promotes its exams as a standard (A+, Network+, LINUX+) could be so blatently against Open Source.

Are their any alternatives to Comptia in the standard test area? (preferably companies that won't squash own freedoms!)

...but have you seen SINCEREchoice.com? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069129)

http://www.sincerechoice.com [sincerechoice.com]

I love these pseudo-grassroots movements.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4069135)

Businesses and their PR/Marketing scum have had a long and profitable history of underwriting these supposedly "grassroots" uprisings that just happen to serve the interests of the Corporation.

I was once an jr. art director at a large ad agency whose largest client was a well-known brewery (you've drunk there product, I guarantee). The state of Oregon had some type of referendum on the ballot to ban non-return containers. MegaBeer bankrolled an enormous media campaign (TV, radio, newspaper ads) opposing this entirely sensible measure, and set up a phony "grassroots" organization called "People for Sensible Container Laws" (or some such thing. It was at that point that I knew I had chosen the Dark Side of the Force.

The interesting things about this sordid episode (and the one out of my past) are as follows:
1. MegaCompany chooses to hide its face behind a supposedly disinterested 3rd party.
2. Disinterested 3rd party is a spontaneous uprising of the little people.
3. Their position is always "sensible" (contrasted with the "extreme" position of those they are opposing).

I don't have a problem with M$ opposing a law that hurts their interests; it is the disingenuousness of their efforts that really gets my goat.

Government and Software (1)

dubious9 (580994) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069140)

While I agree that open source shouldn't be shoved down anybody's throat, I wouldn't oppose legislation requiring the best price/performance ratio for software usage. It's required for the military (ie product competition) why not software?

If Microsoft can undercut Linux, then by all means, use it. But since it never will, I don't want my tax dollars wasted on a brand name, especially since you have a cheaper alternative with at least as much functionality.

Its a really clever disguised movement. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069143)

I think that this movement is supposed to have a side effect. Its just an attempt to make Open Software look bad and frightening. I dont think many will read it all and draw serious conclusions of off it. They will rather look att the big picture of the message.

Open Source = linux = free software = BAD!

This is something that should be fought hard. To use linux insnt the same as developing software of off GPL software. If you merely use say linux as a desktop and java to build special apps for journaling and such you are in no obligation to return any code you have developed by yourself, only altered and code that contains lended code.

You need to get the goverment to get the real story or they will believe anything Software Choice and that fat campain contribution tells them to.

I don't mind (4, Insightful)

NorthDude (560769) | more than 12 years ago | (#4069146)

If government software are open-sourced or not.
What I do mind however is if their document format are open or not.
If they are, it is "easy" to change from one application to another.
But if you have to reverse-engineer every document-type, it gets harder.
What really bothers me is the content, not the media.
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