Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oregon Bill Would Require Open Source Consideration

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the commonwealth dept.

United States 269

VeniDormi writes "I just found out that House Bill 2892 was introduced in the Oregon House of Representatives by Representative Phil Barnhart. The summary: 'Requires state government to consider using open source software when acquiring new software. Sets other requirements for acquiring software.' Rep. Barnhart has a few comments on the bill." A NewsForge story has more information, including some words from Rep. Barnhart.

cancel ×

269 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Pr05t (-1, Troll)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451636)

First taking advantage of my subscription post!

Re:First Pr05t (-1, Troll)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451830)

If people start moderating subscribers down (who have first posts), It'll be a DISINCENTIVE for people to get /. subscriptions.

Ah yes, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451641)

Another favorite Open Source plan of attack- when you fail in the regular marketplace, try to get legislation to force people to use your crappy stuff.

Re:Ah yes, (1)

Visaris (553352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451659)

The key word here is "consider."

Re:Ah yes, (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451730)

Somehow I think legislating something as a viable choice is much nicer than forcing imposed rules about how we can and can't use our computers. *cough*DMCA*cough*DRM*COUGH*

Re:Ah yes, (1)

mgessner (46612) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451739)

What a ridiculous post.

How did anyone mention failing in the regular marketplace? Who, mentioned in the article, is an OpenSource writer?

How do you figure someone sinister is behind this action?

Go back to your cubicle at Microsoft, Bill.

That's a good start (4, Insightful)

Visaris (553352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451642)

I'm pleased. Open source should be considered. And at the same time, I'm glad they didn't take things too far and require the use of open source. This is a positive influence yet doesn't seem too restrictive. Good for them :)

Re:That's a good start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451722)

You are like the other "yes men" on /.. More gov't intervention is BAD. If they don't consider OS to begin with, they don't need to be where they are... but to REQUIRE it? For Pete's sake, am I the only one that feels the gov't controls too damn much already?

Re:That's a good start (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451766)

Umm . . . yeah, it's so restrictive of my freedom that the state government is requiring itself to consider open source solutions.

This has nothing to do with requiring businesses to consider open source, just the state government of Oregon. It has nothing to do with your rights.

Re:That's a good start (1)

DixonData (625177) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451776)

In this case "the government" is the Oregon state government, and the only one they're putting restrictions on is themselves. They're not going to go to your house and tell you to use open source.

Will point out glaring gaps in opensource software (5, Interesting)

poopie (35416) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451838)



Requires state government to consider using open source software when acquiring new software. Sets other requirements for acquiring software.


In many cases where highly specialized applications are required, the consideration of opensource alternatives will show that while linux has multiple nice desktops, multiple nice office suites, multiple nice browsers, multiple nice email clients... it still has a number of fronts to work on.

When you compare all enterprise commercial apps against the most mature and most turnkey opensource ones, you'll find a lot of projects with good intentions but little functionality compared to commercial offerings.

The free software world is all about code and component reuse and sharing, and the attitude of 'hope someone can find use for this thing that I wrote - if it doesn't meet your needs or doesn't work, let me know and I might choose to do something about it... better yet, can you help? Here's the sourcecode'

If the government is committed to hiring software developers to *MAKE* opensource software work by *ENHANCING* it and *EXTENDING* it's functionality, then... HORRAY! We all Win.

...Is there such a thing as a FREE SOFTWARE LEECH?

Re:Will point out glaring gaps in opensource softw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452003)

if it doesn't meet your needs or doesn't work, let me know and I might choose to do something about it... better yet, can you help? Here's the sourcecode'

I'm embarrased at how much your post reminds me of me.

Gaps are everywhere (5, Insightful)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452066)

The issue is what you can do when you find a gap and who benefits from plugging the gap.

In the opensource world you can either try to rally the masses or hire your own programmers to fill a gap. The new code then gets returned to the community for possible future use and refinement. (Or it may remain so unique that no one else can gain any use from it.)

In the commercial/proprietary world you usually wind up having to convince the software owner that this is a gap worth filling in. Then you have to wait through the release cycle or pay them extra to do the work for you. At the end of the day the other company owns the fix and you end up re-buying it each time you get another license/upgrade.

(If it's a customizable API then you're exactly where you were with the open source stuff we're you're paying programmers to do the work for you.)

At the end of the day you're probably going to have to pay for a programmer, it's just a question of what return you get on that investment.

In essence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451891)

...they are considering considering Open Source?
Why not just consider using Open Source? Screw the deals with Microsoft and Dell, why can't government be trusted to get what computers/OSs it needs, while not being a whore to companies? Why must it be law to consider it? Why can't they just consider it? Have they not considered the ramifications of such a pitiful act?

Come on...consider it!

How does MS feel about this? (5, Insightful)

mgessner (46612) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451649)

It'd be interesting to know what Oregon's northern neighbors in Redmond think about this.

It's a baaare faced challenge to the quality of M$'s products.

Go OREGON!

Re:How does MS feel about this? (2, Funny)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451727)

It'd be interesting to know what Oregon's northern neighbors in Redmond think about this.

You know, I think Washington should activate their National Guard and invade Oregon over this. That would be really fun to watch on TV. I know, we have that as the 8:00 lead-in to the war in Iraq at 9:00. Dyn-o-mite!

Re:How does MS feel about this? (4, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451852)

You know, I think Washington should activate their National Guard and invade Oregon over this

I can see it now, Idaho will send human shields in to Oregon to protect valuable hiking grounds and fisheries. The French of course will not support Washington. Berkeley will pass a resolution to pout and not bath until Washington backs down. Meantime the Oregonian leaders will be out in Elmira with Ken Kesey chillin with some good jane wonderin what all the fuss is about. It would then be up to the white supremecists in Portland to defend the state.

Re:How does MS feel about this? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451889)

...quality of M$'s products.

I think they are looking at things from a pure financial viewpoint rather than quality. Living out here on the Left Coast (Northern Nevada, to be exact), we hear quite a bit about the horrible shape Oregon is in financially. They actually shortened their public school systems' operating schedules due to budget shortages. Joe Taxpayer wouldn't vote for the pittance of a state sales tax the legislature was considering that would have prevented this.

Re:How does MS feel about this? (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452064)

It's a baaare faced challenge to the quality of M$'s products.

Or it could be a barefaced challenge of the prices that M$ asks. I mean, if the Oregonans (?) could point to a different CD and say something like 'Sure, you make nice programs, but that one is free', you can bet your ass that M$ would cought up some discounts...

thats all well and good (3, Insightful)

NedTheNerd (652808) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451650)

thats nice but we need people that know how to use compouters in goverment first :)

Re:thats all well and good (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451700)

RTFA!

The open source bill -- HB 2892 -- is likely to end up in front of the General Government Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jerry Krummel, who sells Linux-based computer security systems for SAGE, Inc. when he's not busy legislating and is, therefore, likely to be a friend rather than an enemy.

Re:thats all well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451824)

Looks like another Lo-Flo scandal to me.

Re:thats all well and good (3, Interesting)

kamelwalk (633417) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451753)

While your comment is amusing...there's also a real crisis there. Government CAN'T get good IT people, or at least can't keep them (I work in IT for the government, so I have to be careful here :). Seriously, if there's anyone on the planet that you would want to have the best IT people it's your government...so they provide better services to the constituent. The problem is, the government just flat-out can't afford to keep IT people. They have no problem getting entry level people, which is where I began three years ago. Government jobs are fantastic if you're just getting into the field...you'll get LOTS of experience. Take me, for example. I run a Win2k network with Win2k servers, Red Hat servers, Cisco switches and router, SCO Unix server, and an NT server. I am the one-man IT department. It's great because I'm getting lots and lots of experience doing lots of different things. However, at some point the value of the knowledge I'm gaining here will be outweighed by what I could make applying the knowledge that I have in the private sector, and I'm gone! Not to digress from the main thread or anything, but I just wanted to insert my 2 cents in here.

Re:thats all well and good (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451905)

With 3 yrs...and experience like that....it is getting about time you considered quitting straight govt. job, and go back to working for them as a contractor....do the same thing for real $$'s.....

Re:thats all well and good (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451906)

That was then. The government can easily get its fill of IT people now. Unfortunately, they have budget crunches; so it is incredibly hard to hire people.

The long term problem for government IT isn't the wages, it's that the government tends to promote people for political reasons not skill. The government gets good entry level people, and they weed out the best.

Re:thats all well and good (1)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452047)

Cute. Maybe you should check out some of the computer forensic tools that the US Air Force has published:
  • md5deep [sf.net] - Like GNU md5sum, but can work recursively, do matching, estimate remaining time, etc.
  • foremost [sf.net] - Recover files based on their headers and footers

Note to Roblimo (-1, Offtopic)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451654)

If you want people to read Newsforge, stop running ads that put Mozilla into a endless loop of reloading.

What happened (0, Offtopic)

jfmiller (119037) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451657)

Ok, what was the deal with this story showing up on the front page in red with a posting date of "the mysterious future?" I know the the editors can post date a story, but why did I (and presumably the rest of the world) get to see it?

JFMILLER

Re:What happened (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451693)

Check the story on the front page posted at about 11:30 AM EST.

Re:What happened (1)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451703)

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/06/154824 5&mode=thread&tid=124

I would gladly welcome this in my state (4, Insightful)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451658)

As Illinois is currently facing a 5 billion deficit. While I would rather first see all the pork barrel projects come to an end, I know that would never happen. That would be like Microsoft cutting Internet Explorer out of windows.

Re:I would gladly welcome this in my state (4, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451779)

Sorry to say, but I highly doubt that such a law would result in making anything more than a microscopic-size dent in a $5 billion deficit. The TCO for open-source vs. proprietary systems isn't a slam-dunk either way, it has to be judged on a case-by-case basis against the value that each provides.

Re:I would gladly welcome this in my state (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451890)

This is especially true in government applications where the code is 99% custom anyways.

Eg; I work for a company that writes and sells computer dispatching and records systems to cops and firemen. I see no CAD systems on sourceforge. They simply dont exist, and wont because much of the code required is very site specific and customized. It's a niche market that open source, for all its virtues, cannot fill.

Now if they want to run Red Hat Advanced Server on the backend instead of HP-UX or WinNT (which is what we offer now), more power to 'em, but it's still a few hundred bucks in a half-million dollar contract. A bit like pissing into niagra falls to warm it up.

Re:I would gladly welcome this in my state (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452014)

Agreed.

Blagojevich seems hell-bent on cutting, cutting, cutting -- and seems equally willing to let the Chicago Sun-Times to set official policy. (There was an editorial in the Sun-Times on Monday about Illinois employees cashing out their vacation days, and the next day -- Tuesday -- the Governor implemented an Executive Order denying state workers the ability to do this. This makes the governor look even more clueless than he apparently is.)

Anyway, I work for an Illinois agency where the IT manager is determined to get rid of everything -- everything -- non-Microsoft. At one time we had a nice mix of technologies -- and managed to keep costs and training costs at a minimum. Now, we're a 100% Microsoft shop, paying $$$ for software, licensing, and even more for training. A bill like this would at least give folks like me a bit more of a voice when suggesting software and licensing alternatives to top-level management.

CmdrTaco - US flag desecrator and anti-Delawarian! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451660)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] , the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states.

The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sf.net]

This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

first a.c. post
fuck karma whoring subscriber monkeys

Re:CmdrTaco - US flag desecrator and anti-Delawari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451709)

the rest of the USA does not give a damn about Delaware either, so quit yer whining ya wimp...

Re:CmdrTaco - US flag desecrator and anti-Delawari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451942)

What's this Delaware you speak of? Some sort of fine china?

How can you be so sure of yourself? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451927)

Maybe Taco's an anti- Rhode Islander.

That's perfectly understandable.

hmm (1, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451664)

Well, we are closing schools and perhaps shortening the school week to 4 days [although we aren't, as of yet, as fscked as California]. Might be an idea to get software that is like, you know, cheaper than the standard suites - especially if you only need the capabilities of one of the programs within the suite.

hope it passes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451665)

but it will probably be FUDDed to death by Bill borg & co. Inc.

i wish this bill all the luck and hope it passes and spreads all over the USA...

This is reasonable (2, Insightful)

HeelToe (615905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451670)

I think government should be compelled^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hrequired to look at all alternatives, but not forced into anythiing.

On the related topic of what license should software carry if government funds its creation, I feel like open source should be a requirement.

Of course, this opens up all the little issues like, well, if it's truly open sourced, Canada could use it against us in an upcoming war.

Re:This is reasonable (1)

The Lord of Chaos (231000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451893)

Of course, this opens up all the little issues like, well, if it's truly open sourced, Canada could use it against us in an upcoming war.

And that's about the only thing Canada could you use against the states in a war given the state of our military equipment and that our last few helicopters have been crashing into our carriers...
Jeez Louize, you've been too much South Park!

Re:This is reasonable (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451896)

I think government should be compelled^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hrequired to look at all alternatives, but not forced into anythiing.

This is funny, since the basis of government is the use of force to coerce people. Why not give them a taste of their own medicine?

What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451673)

...Oregon is just about as socialistic and liberal as Sweden.

Re:What a surprise... (2, Funny)

wembley (81899) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451728)

Yeah, but who wants to get an Oregonish massage?

Re:What a surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451996)

Or an Organian meatball?

A concern... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451677)

I don't know that I agree with this. I'd like to think that governments/corporations/etc choose open source software based on its merits and advantages, not because they are forced to. I mean, sure it gets more exposure for open source, but is forced exposure what it needs? (or wants?)

Open Source? More like Openly Racist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451682)

The Open Source movement, otherwise known as 'Free Software', has been a topic of considerable debate on the Internet's most controversial site. The majority of this debate has centered around the technical merits of the software, with the esteemed editors argueing against adopting Linux by employing the full depth of their considerable intellects, and the other side hurling death threats and similar invective. This has allowed many who would not otherwise receive quality information about Open Source software to be made aware of many of its ramifications, but one issue has been left alone: The overt racism that is deeply embedded in the movement.

Allow me to explain.

Alan Cox; Richard Stallman; Bruce Perens; Wichert Akkerman; Miguel DeIcaza.

What do you see in this list of names? Are there any African-Americans on it? Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a self-respecting black person would have! No Maurice, no Luther, no Lil' Kim. There are many other lists such as this, you can see one here. Flip through each page, do you see anything other than white faces? Of course you don't, because Open Source and its adherents are ardent racists and they absolutely forbid access to the sacred 'kernel' by any person of color.

Lets look at another list, this time a compendium of the companies using Linux. Are there any black owned companies on that list? Nooooooo. How about these companies? They all have something to do with Open Source software, any of them owned by an African-American? No again. Here is an extensive collection of photographs from a LUG (Linux User Gathering) meeting, more can be viewed at that link. What is odd about these pictures, and every other photograph I have ever seen of a LUG meeting, is that there is not one single black person to be seen, and probably none for miles.

More racist overtones can be found by examining the language of Open Source. They often refer to 'white hat' hackers. These 'white hats' scurry about the Internet doing good, but illegal, acts for their fellow man. In stark contrast we find the 'black hat' hackers. They destroy the good works of others by breaking into systems, stealing data, and generally causing havoc. These two terms reflect the mindset of most Linux developers. White means good, black means bad. Anywhere there is black, there is uncontrollable destruction and lawlessness. Looking further we see black lists that inform other users of 'bad' hardware, Samba, an obvious play on the much hated Little Black Sambo book, Mandrake, which I won't explain except to say that the French are notorious racists. This type is linguistic discrimination is widespread throughout the Open Source culture, lampooned by many of its more popular sites.

It is also a fact that all Unix 'distros' contain a plethora of racist commands with not so hidden symbolism.

It can hardly be coincidence that the prime operating system of choice of the 'open source supremacists' - Linux, features commands which are poorly disguised racist acronyms. For example: 'awk' (All White Klan) , 'sed' (shoot nEgroes dead), 'ln' (lynch negroes), 'rpm' (raical purity mandatory), 'bash' (bring a slave home), 'ps' (persecute sambo), 'mount' (murder or unseat nubians today), 'fsck' (favored supreme Christian klan). I could go on and on about the latent racist symbolism in Linux, but I fear it would take weeks to enumerate every incidence.

Is there a single unix command out there that does not have some hidden racist connotation ? Suffice it to say that the racism pervades Linux like a particularly bad smell. Can you imagine the effect of running such a racist operating system on the impressionable mind ? I don't have to remind you that transmitting subliminal messages is banned in the USA, and yet here we have an operating system that appears to be one enormous submliminal ad for the Klan!

One of the few selling points of Open Source software is that it is available in many different languages. Browsing through the list I see that absolutely none are offered in Swahili, nor Ebonics. Obviously this is done to prevent black people from having access to the kernel. If it weren't for the fact that racism is so blatantly evil I would be impressed by the efforts these Open Sourcers have invested in keeping their little hobby lilly white. It even appears that they hate the Japanese, as some of these self proclaimed hackers defaced a web site with anti-Japanese slogans. Hell, these people even go all the way to Africa (South Africa mind you, better known as White Africa) and the pictures prove that they don't even get close to a black person.

Of course, presenting overwhelming evidence such as this is a bit unfair without some attempt to determine why these Open Sourcers are so racist. Much of the evidence I have collected indicates that their views are so deeply held that they are seldom questioned by the new recruits. This, coupled with the robot-like groupthink that dominates the culture allows the racist mindset to continue to permeate the ranks. Indeed, the Open Source version of a Klan rally, OSDN (known to the world as Open Source Developer's Network, known to insiders as Open Source Denies Negroes) nearly stands up and shouts its racist views on its demographics page. It doesn't mention the black man one single time. Obviously, anyone involved with Open Source doesn't need to be told that the demographic is entirely white, it is a given.

I have a sneaking suspicion as to why their beliefs are so closely held: they are all terrible athletes.

Really. Much like the tragedy at Columbine High School, where two geeks went on a rampage to get back at 'jocks', these adult geeks still bear the emotional scars inflicted upon them due to their lack of athletic ability during their teen years. As African-Americans are well known for their athletic skills, they are an obvious target for the Open Source geeks. As we all know, sports builds character, thus it follows that the lack of sports destroys character. These geeks, locked away in their rooms, munching on stale pizza and Fritos, engage in no character building activities. Further, they interact only with computers and never develop the level of social skill that allows normal people to handle relationships with persons of color.

Contrasted with the closed source, non-geeky software house Microsoft, Open Source has a long, long way to go.

Troll 1 of 209 from the annals of the Troll Library [slashdot.org] .

+5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452021)

classic.

I know why they are doing this... (2, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451690)

This must be a Washington - Oregon rivalry, that is manifesting itself at the legislative level.

That is a fancy way of saying "Screw you Bill Gates, and your f'ing Seatle company".

Re:I know why they are doing this... (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451795)

"Screw you Bill Gates, and your f'ing Seatle company"

Didn't Gates hometown end up doing this? I remember reading somewhere about Windows not being up to the task of town management while Gates house was being built. Haven't found the article yet.

The Stream (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451706)

The undulating wood descends
to the rhythm of mountain streams...
If you want to find the source,
you have to go up, against the current,
tear through, seek, don't give up,
you know it must be somewhere here.
Where are you, source? Where are you, source?! ...

I write code for government agencies (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451707)

This means nothing. This is a no-tooth bill that has nothing to do with increasing open source usage, but merely placating a bunch of lobbyists.

Here's how it goes when an agency is looking to buy software:

- They decide what they want, and which vendor to get it from. They seek a budget for it.

- The rules say they must let contractors compete on the bid, so they put out an RFP (request for proposals).

- They word the questions in the RFP in such a way as to make sure that the only product that will be acceptable is the one they originally planned on.

I see this day in and day out. Just this morning I read an RFP. They were looking for an RMS system to complement their police dispatching system.

The first requirement was: Must work with the existing dispatching system.

Well, the only RMS out there that works with the dispatching system is the one from the vendor of the 20 year old dispatching system. The whole RFP process is a beurocratic circle jerk.

Now if all the systems were 'open source', would it make a difference? Not really, since we'd be unlikely to rewrite our RMS for each and every bid. An open format for data transmission would be nice, but a pipe dream, since every agency in the country has their own way of managing the data.

So while this is a nice warm and fuzzy bit of legislation, it wont affect how the system works at all. If they put out a contract for a bunch of OS's, it'd read "Must support DirectX 9" or some such to pigeonhole it into what they already decided on.

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451751)

The site in my example was in Oregon, btw.

And its worth noting that there was never a law that said they cant consider open source solutions, and they have in the past. I've seen plenty of linux and samba in the wild.

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

Ummagumma (137757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451778)

This isn't just endemic to the politicians, and other beurocracies (sp?). I work for a small, highly specialized software company, and we sell our products to giant multi-nationals (yes, business sucks right now :) ). They do the exact same thing - thier boards, and large shareholders want a process in place for choosing new software, but they always word thier RFP with a specific piece of software in mind (sometimes our, sometimes not). Point is, just by looking at the RFP, you can usually tell which vendor will win the project at the end of the year long eval and purchase cycle. I can't imagine how much $$$ they'd save, if they would just skip the whole RFP process to begin with, as its already been decided before hand.

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451895)

The first requirement was: Must work with the existing dispatching system.

I don't know the specifics around this particular situation, but this on the surface seems like a reasonable requirement. If they have to run both systems side by side for some duration of time, then it could make sense for this compatability be important. Again, not to say that this isn't some circle jerk, but just on the example that you gave, it doesn't seem to unreasonable. The general gist of your statement though certainly rings true.

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451977)

Well, it actually isnt really a reasonable requirement. While our particular dispatching and records systems are linked, it's limited to calls for service data being transferred from the cad, which basically works like a light viewer for the dispatching data.

For all intents and purposes, they're two completely seperate applications with little data to realistically share.

I mean a cop filling out an arrest report has nothing to do with a dispatcher sitting answering the 911 line, save him writing "This officer was dispatched to ...." in the narrative.

Re:I write code for government agencies (3, Funny)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451959)

They were looking for an RMS system to complement their police dispatching system.

I can't see RMS complimenting anything, let alone his hippie software complementing the dispatching system run by the MAN! :)

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451984)

Hmm, so would open source make it easier for a standardized system to propogate to other agencies? I'm not familiar with the programs that they use, so I don't know if that would be feasible; however, I feel it might make it easier for standards to be kept, if they all see and use the same source code, and don't go to different vendors on the whim of an administrator.

Re:I write code for government agencies (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451987)

They were looking for an RMS system to complement their police dispatching system.

Here it is. [punkcast.com] Their dispatching system had better GNU/Something or he probably won't give it any complements.

Re:I write code for government agencies (1)

lessthan0 (176618) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451988)

Guess what? I write code for government agencies, too, and we don't rig our RFPs from the start. If that is what you are doing, maybe you should get your local media to report on it because someone is screwing up big time.

There are certainly government agencies and/or department heads at the local, county, state or federal level that "cheat", but that is not how it is supposed to work. And it does NOT work that way where I work.

Would a lot of the system selections end up with the same result if you didn't fudge your RFPs? Maybe, since many vertical apps (like police dispatch) don't exist yet in the open source world, but you can at least make the process fair.

Woo Hoo!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451711)

"Consideration"
Did you see that ... Hot Damn
Suck it M$!!!!

You need legislation for that... (2, Insightful)

airrage (514164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451714)

I suppose I become, year after year, more of a libertarian: the less government the better. Why should one have to legislate this sort of thing?

Should we also put for legislation that governments must consider using aluminum-foil stop signs instead of metal? Isn't the stewardship of tax money impetus enough to find the "best" solution for a given municipality.

Of course the argument is two-fold: if open-source is so fantastic why does it need to be legislated -- like some sort of quota system. Yet, the flip side, which will hopefully avoid many similar posts is that their is a certain structual momentum that doesn't easily allow for change, much like racism I suppose.

When I grew up it wasn't a law that children wore bicycle helmets. Of course, helmets weren't readily available either. But you know what that made us? Stronger. Surer. More aware of our limitations. Now a child goes out into the world wearing full, active-camo kevlar and runs cycles through traffic with abandon. The point: it was better before the law. But as the parenting got worse, the laws got tougher.

So, now again, we are being parented by the government. We are not simply smart enough to decide that helmets are good thing individually -- we must have intelligencia decide it for us.

To wit, I think this is a poor idea on all fronts.

But I could be wrong ...

~Airrage ;)

Re:You need legislation for that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451773)

We are not simply smart enough to decide that helmets are good thing individually -- we must have intelligencia decide it for us.

The impact of bicycle helmets on bicycle related injuries is a hotly debated topic. The hot debate is about whether there is any epidemiological impact of helmet use on injuries. The general suppression of cycling by helmets is, however, well documented. Impose helmet laws, and about half as many people ride bikes.

That is alright because lack of helmet use kills far more people than obesity and lack of exercise, right?????

Right???

YOUR OPINIONS ARE AS USELESS AS KATE FENT'S VAGINA (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451777)

Lots of people have gotten some use out of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451928)

I feel you owe her an apology.

Re:You need legislation for that... (2, Interesting)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452017)

Well, at least the intelligentsia hasn't outlawed poor spelling! :)

In this case, I think putting a requirement to consider or prefer open source software is a wise use of tax money. The collection and spending of taxes seems to be an inevitable activity, so why see if we can maximize the potential benefit for everyone? Supporting open code supports a code commons that all citizens can enjoy without spoiling it for others.

In fact, it is only pragmatism that suggests that unless national security is at stake that we insist the govenrnment use only public domain, BSD, or GPL software. If our tax dollars are being spent to install, maintain and use software, we ought to have as much right to inspection as possible to evaluate that spending.

Also, like many others, I believe the argument that says that TCO is lower in predominantly Free Software shops. And a large part of the fixed costs of Free Software-based systems is overcoming the inertia you mention.

This law, like all others, needs an expiration date. There are too many laws and rules on the books. I have to wonder if most of the people charged with creating laws, executing those laws, and determining the validity of the laws have even read them all.

Isn't the stewardship of tax money impetus enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452050)

Isn't the stewardship of tax money impetus enough to find the "best" solution for a given municipality?
Oh please!
More like impetus to feather one's nest while yammering on about the "free markets", "level playing fields", and "rising tides lifting all boats".

Re:You need legislation for that... (1)

sixdotoh (584811) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452081)

I couldn't agree with you (the parent post) more. I'm going to assume I'm younger than you (at age 17), but I too see the amount of rediculous warnings. Check this [osha-slc.gov] one out, about OSHA warning of workers killing each other with nail guns.

Government regulations cannot protect consumers, workers, or whatever from stupidity and cannot replace commen sense. As if local governments have enough problems, regulations, and paperwork to meet . . . if they feel that open source is right for their particular instance, great, but if not, why muddle the process, unless there is some budget crisis or something!

Great bill, but... (4, Insightful)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451716)

Why is it important to enact a bill to say that the state should consider anything? I could work as an employee of some state controlled IT department and say, "I didn't choose the open source product because the sky is blue, but I did consider it." and be in compliance with this law (assuming it gets passed). It's a nice political statement, but nothing more.

Re:Great bill, but... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451881)

Well it is state worker mantailty. Working for the State is what you do wrong that gets you fired. You can do a bunch of good things while working for the State if you do one thing wong you will get fired. What this bill tells the state workers that you wont get fired for considering Open Source Products (such as being labled a comunist, or radical), It help the state workers know that if there is an open sorce tool out there that seems to get the job done, then they should feel free to use it without having to worry the fact it is OSS, will give them trouble in the future.

Re:Great bill, but... (1)

lrodrig (609126) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451947)

I think it's a step in the right direction. If they are forced to "consider" open source, they have to document their reasons for or against using open source every time they have to procure software...

Lameness factor (1)

m.e.l.l.e.n.t.i.n.e (305369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451736)

How lame is it that they don't even consider using open source software? Sounds like they know too much. =)

I hope this passes (1)

rfz (534875) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451746)

This is one of the most important steps the government can take to make good use of free software. Evidently, most free software projects have no motivation to join government biddings and, therefore, are left out from the decision-making process. It is only natural that the government would consider using free software just as often as it would consider using proprietary software.

Re:I hope this passes (2, Interesting)

DenOfEarth (162699) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451807)

I think this is actually a lousy thing, and points out the inherent lack of value that governments place on certain things. In a democracy, the way it is supposed to work is that the politicians find the best solution to the voters problems, using the voters money in the most efficient manner. If the government decides to spend way more money to do the same things, they should, in theory not be re-elected...unfortunately, that's not always the case, and potentially money saving things like open-source are ignored. So, now the government spends MORE money putting through bills that say stuff along the lines of "let's save money"...pretty stupid really, but I guess that's what government is all about.

And on the border... (5, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451748)

And on the border of Oregon and Washington State, the tanks are massing for an invasion of Oregon.

The Govenor of Washington was heard to refer to this operation as "Operation Make Bill Richer"...

Correction (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451770)

(d) To guarantee the succession and permanence of public data, it is necessary that the state's accessibility to that data be independent of the goodwill of the state's computer system suppliers and the monopoly conditions imposed by these suppliers;

The "s" at the end of supplier of course is a typo.

/. Nerds (0, Troll)

m.e.l.l.e.n.t.i.n.e (305369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451813)

I can picture the eyes of thousands of Linux nerds light up as they see "open source software" and then realize how close Oregon is to Redmond, WA. Why else would we get all these stupid comments about Bill Gates in a open source software thread?

Oregon and Linux (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451818)

I wish this was happening for a better reason, but
our budget mess has to be a driving force.
The State of Oregon is really hurting money wise.

When I worked for the Univ of Oregon Bus Office
Linux was was not a consideration. Maybe this will
raise the visibility of linux. It may be comming
at a good time. The VAX running VMS are getting old.

Interview, Please! (4, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451819)

I bet slashdot could get an interview with him.

government cheese (2, Interesting)

elohim (512193) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451820)

The US government loves the low bidder. If an open source software candidate is free, and support costs are comparable to a closed source alternative, open source is going to win every time. I know of at least one example where the government's stinginess has backfired when pursuing the low bidder, but that's top secret. The difference with software, I think, is that the lower cost alternative is often better!

Prize offered (2, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451871)

$100 for the first politician to do the same thing....in the great State of Washington.

*tumbleweed rolls slowly by*

What, no takers?

Re:Prize offered (2, Funny)

TechnoVooDooDaddy (470187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452070)

uh... chances are MS has already out-bid you...

Haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451876)

You zealots have to get bills passed to get states to use your software! Too funny.

Probably a mistake (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451879)

Most state governments have open, fair bidding processes for new software, etc. made by a knowledgeable group of experts.

What does it say about Open Source (not necessarily free, especially when considering total cost of ownership) when the state has to pass a LAW compelling folks to consider it. This sounds like more bearocracy forcing agencies to jump through ever more hopes, costing taxpayers more. Will there have to be a special agency set up just to index all available OSS options out there so that when a new purchase is being considered, unknown (probably for a reason) OSS can be considered?

Just like in private business, if there is a viable OSS solution, there doesn't need to be a LAW forcing agencies to consider it. Sounds too much like affirmative action.

Noooo!!! (1)

craw (6958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451886)

Rep. Barnhart says, "I am a long-time lurker on Slashdot, so I have been aware of the [open source] issue for some time.

I bet he's a freaking Anonymous Coward! Or worse maybe MEEPT!!!

Yeah. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451887)

They should be forced to consider organic as opposed to artificial dildos, too.

budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451911)

It makes sense. They're doing everything they can to save money now that they have a huge budget shortfall.

I saw this coming (0)

otterpop378 (254386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451972)

When I spoke to him a few weeks ago, we were discussing the whole thing, along with DSL issues, slashdot, etc. (yes, he reads slashdot). Go Phil!!

Government sales support the software industry (1)

_fuzz_ (111591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5451976)

I think it's good that governments consider open source. But at the same time, the government buying comercial software supports my family.

The company I work for sells a lot of software to state governments, the federal government, and foreign governments. At a time when most businesses are tightening their belts, government sales have become more important to keeping the company in the black. If sales drop too much, I could lose my job. So while I like the idea of the government considering all the options, I also like the idea of the government supporting the software industry.

One other thing to note: we sell very litte software without consulting and maintenance attached to it. Our customers don't want to dink around with stuff without support. They want someone to come in and set it up for them. So even if governments have to consider open source software, they're not likely going to go after something that doesn't have a commercial backing of some sort.

I want all bananas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5451979)

up my ass by the end of the work day.

The BSA should be happy! (1)

manyoso (260664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452024)

They have not mandated the use of Open Source software, rather they've guaranteed that Open Source will be one of the choices. This is after all Microsoft's position WRT the software ecosystem ... right? ;)

They should also be happy that Oregon has laid down clear and necessary conditions on the requirements for state purchased software, thereby insuring that Oregon residents always have access and recourse to State owned data. Clearly, both Open Source and proprietary software are *capable* of meeting these conditions ... and it is upto the proprietary developers if they *choose* to compete in delivering software to Oregon's government.

I'm writing a letter to my Governor and legislator to see if they might consider introducing a similar law.

Sow the wind... (3, Interesting)

DSP_Geek (532090) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452028)

...reap the freakin' whirlwind.

"Before he was elected to the legislature, Barnhart was a member of a local school board that was threatened with a software audit by Microsoft. Barnhart says, "It would have cost $60,000 just to perform the audit."

It looks like MS just made a New Friend. Licence 6.0 is making similar friends in the corporate world, too.

Francois.

Just remember... (3, Informative)

circusnews (618726) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452030)

This is a bill, a proposal for a new law, not a law. I would encourage every Oregon resident reading this to write your state senitors/reps [circusnews.com] and encourage them to support this bill. Letters from out of state can also be helpful, even if they are not counted as highly.

Excellent Political Strategy (3, Insightful)

Java Ape (528857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452040)

We've seen this before in a variety of guises. Nothing new here.
  1. Politico from state with budget shortfall and M$ introduces pro-open source legislation. Total cost 30 minutes to scrawl it on a napkin and send it to his secretary for typing.
  2. Politico voices strong support for bill, makes vaguely disparaging remarks about M$
  3. M$ sends representative to "discuss" the issue, reiterate the fine qualities of M$ software, and generally defuse the situation.
  4. Eventually there's a generous political contribution, and an offer to provide M$ products at "special discount pricing", possibly with an imdemnification against existing liscense violations.
  5. Politico suddenly sees the light, disavows any allegience with open source, and dissapears in a shiny new Mercedes.

The only interesting part of this is how good a settlement M$ will have make to shut this guy up.

This would make it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452060)

...the second assisted-suicide bill to come out of the Oregon house :-)

Easy, M$ rivalry fanatics.... (1)

Johnny_the_Boy (650729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452061)

I highly doubt this change is a WA/OR rivalry. We've been trying to make ourselves the "Silicon Forest" for the past 6-7 years. We loooooooove Intel, and part of the reason our unemployment rate is so high right now is because when the economy tanked, all the dot-com companies that were subsidized here tanked as well. This is simply because (as other Oregonians pointed out) we're facing a billion-dollar budget shortfall, and the taxpayers won't pass a sales tax/income tax increase/property tax increase/etc... Basically, it's just a response to a very bad governmental finacial situation, not a conflict with Redmond. I clarify this because NOT EVERYTHING IS A CONFLICT WITH MICROSOFT. Try to expannd your world-view, especial if you're supporting things that are "open"...

State of Oregon: government agencies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5452073)

I work in IT for one of the largest State of Oregon agencies, as a state employee (not contractor). They repeatedly shoot down any suggestions of open source software for any reason that we may present. It is always the same argument: "not ready for prime time", "no support", "too many bugs". We have regularly submitted articles, reports, analisys, and documentation to the contrary. They won't have it. Unless it is "IBM" or "Novell" they don't want it.

Darn economy. Come on jobs, come back to Oregon so I can get back to the private sector...

This is probably not going to do jack poop (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452075)

I used to work in IT support/development for the State of Oregon. The management there are the same brilliant geniuses that bought something like 200 Pentium Pro Overclock chips for $200/each from our Holier-than-thou vendor while the street value was closer to $80-100. To this day, they are still sitting on top of a crate in an unused conference room. They will use ANYTHING that their vendor (think Volt) tells them to use, and pay what they tell them to pay. This legislation won't get very far.

Hey Barnhart... (3, Funny)

PsychoKiller (20824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5452080)

Rep. Barnhart says, "I am a long-time lurker on Slashdot, so I have been aware of the [open source] issue for some time. I've been convinced for a long time that Windows is a difficult program -- wasteful and expensive." And, he adds, "The little experience I've had with open source has been very positive."

Get back to work!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?