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Embarrassing Governments Into Adopting Open Source

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the don't-worry-they'll-print-more-money dept.

Software 459

caitsith01 writes "An effort is currently underway to embarrass the Australian Federal Government into adopting open source software. As this story explains, the Australian Democrats have put questions on notice in Parliament that will require all government ministers to disclose how much money their departments spend on Microsoft products each year. The idea is to force open source issues to the fore by showing just how much money Microsoft receives from the government. It could be a smart approach - the average taxpayer knows little or nothing about OSS, but will rapidly form and express vocal opinions about the government wasting money. The article also mentions that a bill may be introduced to Federal Parliament to mandate the consideration of open source solutions (you may remember this story about an Australian state trying to introduce similar legislation). Some quotes from the article: "What the country doesn't need is to be tied into a profit-maximising licensing system, and the way to combat that is to get government to break out of the paradigm." On the other hand, the (right wing) Liberal Party criticises suggestions that use of open source should be compulsory as "hi-tech affirmative action.""

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459 comments

fellatio (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496850)

see subject

GNAA Proudly hates opensource (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496851)

That's right. You opensores fools think you are hot shit, right? False. It's been proven that "Open Source Model" is not the catch-all solution for everything. Don't fuck with the government. They know what to do. They don't need a bunch of unshaven GNU hippies telling them what to do or what software to use. What's the point of showing how much money is spent on Microsoft Software? It's clearly money WELL SPENT simply because Microsoft software WORKS. All the arguments about "Lunix is free" are complete and utter bullshit. Linux/OpenSource is only free if your time is fucking worthless.
When are you GNU hippies going to get it through your thick heads? Stop forcing your shit on everyone else, for fucks sake.
Do you ever wonder how much money would it take to "upgrade" all of Australian government to these new "Lunix desktops", how many countless hours will be spent educating them how to use inconsistent GNU interfaces and annoying crashing mess that current selection of "desktop software for linux" represents? After spending more than 5 minutes on a "Linux desktop" anyone with an IQ of more than 20 will run like HELL AWAY FROM IT.

I dunno if you hippies are too busy changing backgrounds on your desktop to notice, but Windows XP is a FINE and STABLE OS, which supports a wide range of common hardware that everyone uses, including USB devices, etc. Last I checked you still couldn't configure X11 to use a built-in laptop PS/2 mouse and USB mouse without rebooting/restarting X/whatever. Yes, you know what I mean. I have a laptop running X11. I buy a $20 optical USB mouse for it. I want to plug it in, and have it automatically work. As it is right now, it doesn't even work after fucking with text files like /etc/X11/XF86Config for hours.

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________________________________________________
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
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| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
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| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

MOD PARENT UP +5 INFORMATIVE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496900)

Sure, he's a Gay Nigger troll, but he makes valid and interesting points about GNU software.

GNAA EARLY PrOST SYSTEM (-1, Troll)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496852)

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________________________________________________
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
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| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
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| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
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| ____a,___jk_ GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_|
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

Re:GNAA EARLY PrOST SYSTEM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496892)

Well I am outraged!!! Ah aha arghhss..s

What a sec. I realy don't care! I fact I am just bored and came here and found this lamer post and realised. That this guy is a bigger loser then me! He probably had this post sitting in his wordpad waiting for him to paste it and he sat here for upwards of 15 min hitting reload on his IE till this article came up.

Thanks for making me feel good about my self and the lack of lameness I have acheived of late when compared to you.

Re:GNAA EARLY PrOST SYSTEM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496962)

Who are these GNAA fools, and why don't they have anything better to do?

Re:GNAA EARLY PrOST SYSTEM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496992)

Gay Niggers Eat Pigs and Fly on Penises Made of Ham and Brown Ham, Because They're Gay Niggers

Re:GNAA EARLY PrOST SYSTEM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497018)

They are teenage white trash giggling in front of their screens all day long because they posted peepee, poopoo, fuck, dick, gay and nigger, instead of doing their homework and getting good grades at school.

where's the payback ? (4, Interesting)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496855)


The democrats are usually a non-event, being third party in a two party state, like the liberal party in the UK.
However their founding motto is "keep the bastards honest", and I hope their new policy will include looking for Microsoft payback (election campaign contributions anybody?) as I am sure this will be fruitful.

Re:where's the payback ? (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496869)

What do you mean payback?

I am glad to see them doing this sort of thing... even if the system is effectively two party this type of action is a good way for minor parties to raise issues that the major parties would basically ignore.

Re:where's the payback ? (4, Insightful)

dmiller (581) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497047)

I'd say that asking hard questions about spending is exactly "keeping the bastards honest" and has nothing to do with "payback".

but this begs a bigger question... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496862)

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over the ThumbDrive. He eyes darted back and
forth like a stone man and he sighed gay breaths
as he attempted to shove the device filled with the
entire line of eBooks into his anus. His geek house
trembled with fag vibrations coming from his crack
but then- his doorbell rang, whistling the tune
from "Matlock" throughout his hovel.

"Damn" he howled in a gay, sepulchral voice and
slipped on a pair of pastel slacks. He trapsed to
the threshold of his cold abode and grabbed the
greasy doorknob that was shaped like Birdman.
With a slavish sigh, he opened the door to see
none other than Adam Sessler himself!

A gay gasp escaped from Chris's dork lips and
Adam began to speak. Quickly, Chris snapped at him.
"Damnit for the last time you vagabond, you're not
supposed to be here!" The revolting nerd slammed
the door in Adam's face, but the Game Master
quickly shoved his iron boot inbetween the door
and the wall, wedging it open. "I have come for you,"
he spoke in a cold tone; electric arcs coursed
between the spikes in his cockneyed bleached hair.

Adam howled as a blast of mystic Boohbahs
emanated from his busy shirt and slammed
Chris down the hall and into a Microsoft Digital
Picture Frame. Chris grunted and swiped nerd
dust and sheetrock from his arms. He rose to
his feet and watched in horror as Adam brandished
a weapon made from 3 Xbox controllers tied
at the ends. "Oh my word! Game peripherals!"
the dork bellowed; the stench of Cheetos and
Diet Dr. Pepper wafted from his geek teeth.
Instantly his palms began to sweat at the very
sight of them, as if the grease from his McGriddle
hadn't slicked them up enough.

Chris tried to run from his game-playin' adversary,
but it was too late. Adam swung the weapon above
his head and threw it at the King of Nerds,
entangling his legs and forcing him to the floor.
Adam pulled a cestus made from PS2 DVDs
out of his Spice Girls backpack and rushed Chris.
He swiped at his turdly back over and over, causing
streams of cold blood to squirt from his flesh.
"Oh god, the horror, the HORROR!" Chris moaned
as Adam butchered him relentlessly. A old Brit with
one eye and a cockneyed accent burst into the
room and started kicking Chris in the side.

Chris was just about do die when... he rose from
his bed. It was just a dream! He laughed and
took a sip of more Brawls Guarana, hoping he
wouldn't fall asleep again. "Time to plot..." he
grumbled and shoved yet another pin into his
Leo Laporte voodoo doll.

Not quite ready (5, Interesting)

egg troll (515396) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496866)

Admittedly the cost of buying software is a valid concern. Yet its not the only one. There are also costs such as training and lost productivity. While Linux and the BSDs are excellent server OSes, I hope the Australian government would think long and hard before adopting them for workstation use.


As much as I love Open Source (I'm typing this via Moz on FreeBSD!), I don't think I could recommend it to Sally Secretary quite yet. Its still got a bit more polishing to do. In Gnome, for example, I occasionally get a dialog box that says " occurred. For more information, click on the help button." Naturally there is no help button.


Hopefully, though, a widespread adoption of it as a server OS will encourage those working on its workstation aspects to really get a move on so we can rid the world of MS products.

Not quite ready-Freedom of Budget Act. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496877)

" As this story explains, the Australian Democrats have put questions on notice in Parliament that will require all government ministers to disclose how much money their departments spend on Microsoft products each year. The idea is to force open source issues to the fore by showing just how much money Microsoft receives from the government. "

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the budget and expense sheet already available to the general public?

Re:Not quite ready-Freedom of Budget Act. (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496916)

Whether it is or not, by asking the questions on notice in parliament the various ministers will be forced to stand up and tell the parliament how much they have spent on MS products. The point is to highlight the facts in a very public forum.

Need for training at early stages (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496905)

It may not be ready for secretaries etc... but there is a big difference between getting a site licence for MS Office and paying M$ jillions of dollars for MSDN subscriptions, ongoing support etc etc etc because your entire back end runs on their software.

I think a key issue is training of technical people. Most people on ./ are probably *nix aware and skilled, but there are a huge number of people who do technical diplomas and the like and never even see a non-MS system.

A move for more open source in government should be coupled with a push to bring non-proprietry software back to the core of computer related education. I'm lucky in that I have a Comp Sci degree from a university that has a strong focus on Unix and its derivatives, but I know a lot of people who are trained purely in MS and Oracle stuff.

Re:Not quite ready (3, Interesting)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496918)

"Not quite ready" is almost irrelevent. It would be true with closed source, but with open-source software, end-users can put their resources toward getting the features they want, rather than toward paying Microsoft every few years.

And the nice thing about OSS is that you don't really need to do mass upgrades to new major versions -- if it's cheaper to make (for example) Linux 2.0 support IPSEC, that's a possible option. It's not a possible with Microsoft (or many closed-source solutions).

Re:Not quite ready (4, Interesting)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497010)

It would be true with closed source, but with open-source software, end-users can put their resources toward getting the features they want, rather than toward paying Microsoft every few years.

You mean, they can check-out the file via CVS, make their enhancement, and then submit their changes to Linus ?

You know we're talking about secretaries, don't you ?

And the nice thing about OSS is that you don't really need to do mass upgrades to new major versions

Let's not take the RedHat vs. Microsoft example then. RedHat drops old versions a lot faster than MS.

You know, if MS doesn't do it, there is probably one reason: It does not make big bucks. And remember all the distros out there are made by companies that care about big bucks also.

Re:Not quite ready (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496920)

I hope the Australian government would think long and hard before adopting them for workstation use.

The longer and harder you think, the more time gets wasted. You lose nothing when givng Linux a try.

I don't think I could recommend it to Sally Secretary quite yet.

How did your Sally Secretary learn to use Windows and Office? Osmosis? I doubt it. Trining isn't a factor for normal users.

In Gnome, for example, I occasionally get a dialog box that says " occurred. For more information, click on the help button." Naturally there is no help button.

In MS Office, Sally frequently gets "It appears you are typing a letter" message. Does she know how to turn it off? Is there a toll free MS support number she can contact?

What about " Program performed illegal operation. Instruction could not be Read" messgaes? Those pop-ups? Those BSODs? Does BSOD come with a Help button?

Please.. think before you troll.

-

Re:Not quite ready (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496973)

You lose nothing when givng Linux a try.

Maybe if your time is worth nothing to you. To me, my time is better spent doing other things than "giving Linux a try," like, for instance, shagging my girlfriend.

In MS Office, Sally frequently gets "It appears you are typing a letter" message. Does she know how to turn it off? Is there a toll free MS support number she can contact?

Here's exactly what happens:

It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?
* Get help writing the letter
* Just type the letter without help
* Don't show this tip again

What part of "don't show this tip again" don't you understand? ENGLISH MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU SPEAK IT?

Ahem.

What about " Program performed illegal operation. Instruction could not be Read" messgaes? Those pop-ups? Those BSODs? Does BSOD come with a Help button?

I guess Kernel Panics don't come with help buttons either? Last time I used Linux the freaking panel crashed instantly after login.

Please.. think before you troll.

I think you're the troll here. Don't be a cunt.

Re:Not quite ready (-1, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497054)

Hi there, Mr.Egg Troll a.k.a Anonymous Coward...

To me, my time is better spent doing other things than "giving Linux a try," like, for instance, shagging my girlfriend.

I see now. Secretary Sally is your girlfriend, and you use Windows, read Slashdot and still have the time to er.. shag. Great! Completely believable.

It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?
* Get help writing the letter
* Just type the letter without help
* Don't show this tip again


Haha.. you missed the point. When Sally opens up another letter and says:
Dear Egg Troll Shaggy,

she gets
* GEt help writing this letter, all over again!

What part of "don't show this tip again" don't you understand?

And what part of Egg Troll are you, my friend?

ENGLISH MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU SPEAK IT?

I don't speak them, I simply screw them. The English, I mean, if you understand them.

I think you're the troll here. Don't be a cunt.

Again! You really got to CuntTroll yourself. Control yourself man.... Secondly, are motherfuckers always female? Something terribly wrong with your English, Logic and Thinking. Oh, I forgot.. you're after all, Egg Troll at Slashdot. Carry on.

-

Re:Not quite ready (4, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496976)

Please.. think before you troll.

Huh, what do you expect from someone whose username is "egg troll", and URL is "http://www.microsoft.com" ? ;-D

Re:Not quite ready (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497035)

>You lose nothing when givng Linux a try.

Yes, you do. The first thing I would be concerned about is that no distribution of Linux has a GUI widget for all the things Windows or OSX does. That means lots of command line work, which will not sit well with users who expect, and at this point should get, lots of easy to understand GUI stuff.

So if some organization test drives the current version of Red Hat or Mandrake and finds it lacking (afterall its their decision and they have windows to compare it to) there may be little chance that they will review Linux in the future.

I don't like how Microsoft recently called Linux its #2 threat. I realy hope people aren't expecting an MS-like product from the get go.

The server side is a completely different story, but that first impression on the desktop ends of things is very important.

Compared to commercial offerings OpenOffice is not a mature product, KDE/GNOME do not have GUIs for a lot of functions, driver support can be a big headache, etc.

I think there will be a time when Linux on the desktop will be a lot of a mature product aimed at technophobes, but from what I've seen from the current versions of Red Hat and Mandrake it just ain't here and pushing them as "windows killers" this early in the game is asking for a humiliating market defeat.

Re:Not quite ready (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496938)

I hope you've reported that bug :)

Or fixed it!

Gnome and the rest of the open source apps are *really* nice now. Both my parents use linux now(and like it better). Neither of them are very heavy computer users but it seems to have worked better for them.

No spyware, system crashes, viruses, less spam, less advertising. Overall I think that improves productivity.

Of course I tailored each of their systems to them. Gave them assistance for a few days. But I did that for windows anyway(and spent longer at it).

Apps like email, web browsing, office stuff are *very* similar to windows programs.

Custom applications designed poorly(dependant on a single platform) are the main things holding people back. Many custom programs can be filled with open source programs.

Wine, win4lin, and vmware can be used in the transition to linux.

Have fun!

Re:Not quite ready (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496965)

Actually, I think the difficulty of use of open source software is a little over-rated.

Most of my users can barely use Windows anyway - any administration tasks are the responsibility of the IT people - which is no harder in Linux/BSD/etc than in Windows - often easier.

There are open standards to support most of a businesses needs (LaTex (Klyx, etc)), HTML, Postgresql, Mozilla, etc.

Any custom applications will need to be written by someone paid for by the government anyway - why not base them on an open platform?

Granted, its slightly more difficult (thought by no means impossible) to accomplish all this as a small business (you have to interact with the rest of the world - deal with word documents, etc), but a government is big enough to say "either send us stuff in compatible format, or don't deal with us".

Its a case of short term expense, for long term freedom of choice, and control over your standard operating enviornment.

smash.

Re:Not quite ready (1)

allrong (445675) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496994)

I really wish that I could stop Sally Secretary from using Microsoft Office. My job would be much easier if they didn't use Office to publish documents to the web.

Working in an Australian government institution, I don't think our lives improved when MS software was pushed over the Unix technology many of us prefer.

Re:Not quite ready (3, Interesting)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497000)

I don't think I could recommend it to Sally Secretary quite yet. Its still got a bit more polishing to do. In Gnome, for example, I occasionally get a dialog box that says " occurred. For more information, click on the help button." Naturally there is no help button.

So what do secretaries do when the get the BSOD or the "out of memory" screen? No one is asking secretaries to install Linux on their computers so I don't really see it as that big of a deal. As long as there is an icon on the desktop for the programs they need there shouldn't be an issue.

As for some countries that choose to allow only open source within the governement, I don't see a problem with that either. I understand that there should be a choice but requiring open source is often a security issue more than a monetary one. I'm not going to say Linux is inherently more secure (although I personally believe it so) but any security issue that may be present can be secured immediately by a government employee instead of having to wait around for Microsoft to supply a patch.

What about the trade gap? (5, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497005)

Whats the cost to Australia of all that money going to the USA when some of the money could go to employee people in Australia to make OSS practical for all aplications?

USA gets less money
Australian unemployement goes down.

Whats wrong with OSS for sally?

Re:Not quite ready (2, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497034)

I've worked in places where the OS is irrelevant and where staff enter the company barely knowing how to use Word. I'm sure that a competent IT department could create a Linux setup that a generic staff member would have no greater difficulty in using than any similarly generic Windows or Mac system.

Much more important is legacy application support. If your main database only has Windows clients then you're mostly stuck unless you want to put a lot of time into testing it with VMware, or whatever.

Re:Not quite ready (1)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497040)

I like that about Europe. It seems like the people there really have a voice. If they can pull this one off, I'm on the next boat.

If I tried to organize something like that here, depending on who I was, I might either a) be taken into custody and labeled a terrorist, b) be taken into a custody and labeled a lunatic, or c) be taken into custody and shot in the back of the head.

Microsoft has the bucks to pay big minds just to think up shit like how to avoid this. I'd be willing to bet that those few heads that get paid by Microsoft to sit around and do just that have a combined higher IQ than the entire British Parlaiment.

A crappy post, I gotta admit, but I'm tired and this article is cool. FreeBSD and Mozilla here too...

Now to your point about how people can't learn to use KDE or GNOME...

If they can't, THEY should be shot.

It would be more of a challenge than when Windows 95 came out -everything all new- the crazy little mouse thingy that did all new shit; except KDE is just great and way better and it kicks ass, even though I prefer Blackbox and hotkeys. KDE and GNOME have 1000's of toys and ways to make it work that blow away windows GUI forever and ever.

KDE is way better than XP interface ;P. Even my mom likes it, and she can barely use an imac.

They make those "Obscure X-11 Window Managers For Dummies" books. I think. Well they should if they don't.

The "oh no it will cost a bazillion to train everyone" argument is crap. Full desktop environment is pretty mature now. Look at OSX, just look at it. Who can complain?

Anyway, more power to them. I know one thing is for sure, I'd hate to see the number that the US governement spends on Windows. Imagine all the hungry kids it could have fed. I wonder how that makes Microsoft feel. Probably very fat. If the American public knew about it all I'm sure we'd see bumber stickers like "God Bless America AND Linux", but thats about as far as the support would really go. What makes us tick makes us tick. If our own country is so full of stupid people who can't discern a hamburger from some broccoli when it comes to the prospect of a quadruple bypass, lettem rot I say.

The only argument now is about how incompatable Windows 2003 is going to be with our b0x3n. Only this time, we have a little hindsight to reckon with before we let the chance to make an early difference slip through our hands.

Only logical argument? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496870)

Is it every government's argument that open source is better simply because it is cheaper? I sincerely hope they find a good bunch of sysadmins to run that stuff, because if the government computers break down or are improperly maintained, they'll have an even bigger financial mess on their hands than when they were bleeding cash on their Windows machines. But will they still save money in the end--even after they have spent $$$ to re-train their employees on Linux? Heck, Windows may not be cheap, but at least it is easy to maintain, and more people know about it.

Re:Only logical argument? (2, Interesting)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496914)

I sincerely hope they find a good bunch of sysadmins to run that stuff

They don't need any more sysadmins. Just sysadmins who know Linux. To Windows sysadmins, sure, Linux looks difficult to use. If you already know it, it's a fairly logical system. Plus, it's easier to maintain more Linux systems per sysadmin than Windows systems because you aren't forced to use a GUI for everything.

But will they still save money in the end--even after they have spent $$$ to re-train their employees on Linux?

I know people who are not extremely computer literate who use Linux for their every day tasks with no problem. Web browsing and typing up documents is easy. I don't know too many people who know most of MS Word's features - they end up having to look up the advanced ones. Same will go for on Linux.

Great. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496872)

Welfare for the army of pimply faced, socially inept sysadmins that will be necessary to maintain this open source cluster fuck. No, yah computah hasn't crashed theah mate, jus' tha winder managah. Just a zip inta the CLI, vi tha jackeroo, an' ya up an runnin'. Ain't that moah fun than usan XP? It nevah lets ya tinkah 'round with stuff like this caz it doan' crash like Linux dahs. Ah, forgat a modprobe, stahtX...huh....gimmie a minaht heah, mate....

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496912)

Tell me, what satisfaction do you get out of posts like that? What's the point of defending Windows? There's a very large army of sales drones ready to do exactly that - they don't need 'help' from amateurs like yourself.

You know... (4, Funny)

craenor (623901) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496878)

If various governments survive the embarrassment of Sexual Infidelity, Corruption, Law Breaking and various other political plagues...

Do you really think you can embarrass them by their choice of Operating System?

Re:You know... (1)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496888)

No... but the press certainly can. These kinds of stories make for a publicist's nightmare.

Re:You know... (1)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497017)

Our prime minister ("Honest" John) isn't even slightly embarrassed about the lack of WMD in Iraq or the lies last year about boat people throwing their kiddies overboard, so I doubt that _anything_ would embarass him.

Yes, indirectly. (2, Interesting)

chadjg (615827) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497028)

I think that rich societies, the U.S. in particular, squawk a lot about how horrible it is to have a lying, cheating, or boozing president. I also think that they will only whine until it starts hitting the cash supply. Even if the TCO of the Microsoft solution is somewhat better than the open source alternative, it may not be better macro-economically. If you are going to spend serious money, you might as well spend it at home. If the above guesses are true, and unless our Australian friends enjoy making us Northwest U.S. people rich, then yes, it is possible to embarrass them into using a particular OS. This is assumes a rational legislature and discounts the recreational value of having Balmer fly down just to kiss your ass every three years.

Good idea from the democrats (1)

aerojad (594561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496879)

They have the right idea in this to sell the idea of open source to the public. A vast majority of them will never understand the difference, but they will definately understand the universal language of dollars and cents. I really can't think of a logical argument that can be made against this, really.

Wrong strategy?? (3, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496880)

Australian Democrats have put questions on notice in Parliament that will require all government ministers to disclose how much money their departments spend on Microsoft products each year.

The question to ask is:
How much money does Microsoft spend on each minister. That would be truly embarassing, specially in the US.

-

Re:Wrong strategy?? (2, Flamebait)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496926)

"How much money does Microsoft spend on each minister. That would be truly embarassing, specially in the US."

Do you see US politicians being embarrased about being bought by Big Corp? I don't. Quite the opposite, actually. The entire cabinet is full of old-boy club members handing out favors to each other. And nobody cares.

I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497008)

The question to ask is:

Why are you such a gasbag?

Huh? (2, Funny)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496883)


affirmative action: "an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women"

That's a bad thing?

Re:Huh? (1)

CurlyG (8268) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496921)

According to the right, both here in Aus and abroad, affirmative action is right up there with state-sponsored medical care and unemployment benefits in the stakes of Ultimate Idealogical Evil.

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496939)

or

affirmative action: descrimination against an individual based on his/her race, creed, sex etc.

how "affirmative" affirmative action is is based on whether you are descriminated against or not. Consider this, university admissions, you have a rich blond hair blue eyed hispanic and a poor asian kid, affirmative action helps the hispanic kid.

Being asian, i wouldnt like that too much. descrimination is bad in any way, shape or form.

Re:Huh? (1, Troll)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496990)

"descrimination is bad in any way, shape or form."

As some US President said (Truman?), this is like freeing the slaves from their leg irons and then expecting them to have a fair chance of winning a 100 metre sprint.

'Discrimination' may well have value in righting wrongs.

Alternatively, we could consider the statistics. A vastly disproportionate number of whites get into top universities compared to other races. Either you contend:
- (a) there is some natural genetic reason whites do better (i.e. eugenics ownz)
- (b) there is some sort of bias at the universities
- (c) there is some socio-economic reason other races struggle to get to university and to do as well as whites on their SATs or equivalent

I would hope (a) is unacceptable to you. I think you will find (b) and (c) are more likely explanations - so what do we do about it? Leave things be?

The irony wasn't lost (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496948)

But I thought it was better left unsaid. Apparently 'affirmative action' is now a dirty word. Or two words.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496949)

it is when "minority groups and women" get accorded privledges just for being a member of minority, instead of on merit.

Re:Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496986)

That's a bad thing?

Yes.

Affirmative Action is the crutch that society's dregs use to prop themselves up. There is a natural order to life, and political correctness is an artificial attempt to subvert this.

Fact: Niggers are animals, and deserve to be treated as such. Look at what 'Affirmative Action' has done to our inner cities. Crack houses. Ghettos. All excused by the middle class leftists who live in their safe white intellectual world, far away from the neighborhoods these coonskin marauders have destroyed.

Fact: The disabled are feeble, and don't deserve to have their seed remaining in the gene pool. Mongs, Spastics, Cripples, Dyslexics. All hideous twisted creatures with a menagerie of mental problems. Their arrogance and expectance to be elevated above the status of common man is sickening. They should not be allowed to breed. For even if they have the possibility of raising a normal, healthy child, they shall do their best to abuse genetic therapy to turn the child into a grotesque mirror of themselves.

Fact: Smackheads, Alcoholics and other drug addicts should NOT be rehabilitated. They should be eliminated. A swift bullet through the back of their heads would be far more humane than letting these sallow-faced zombies lurch spasmodically about the sidewalks of our inner cities, preying on the good upstanding citizens whose ability to defend themselves has been stripped away by decades of politically correct litigation. They choose to live like animals, and deserve to die like animals.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497025)

"All hideous twisted creatures with a menagerie of mental problems."

Whew! Good thing you don't have any mental problems.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Flying-Cow-Man (686404) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496991)

In a way, yes. Affirmative action is illegal in many areas simply because it is the opposite of Equal Opportunity Employment. EEO mandates choosing the best person for the job, regardless of disability, background, ethnicity, blood type, etc... whereas affirmative action mandates hiring (or using) people/resources ONLY from a particular area, in order to promote the use those minorities. AA is most widely publicised for its role in integrating the african american population into the european workforce is the US, after equal rights were granted but no white employers wanted to take the first step. It's sad that it's necessary, but sometimes people need to be given a gentle push in the right direction. I suppose it's human nature to be afraid of something different.

"Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go and break all the Windows in Bob Carrs office."

"But how will you clean up the glass?"

"Glass?"

Reasoning? (2, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496884)

Shouldn't Open Source be promoted by better virtues? I love the whole Open Source community, but adopting any software just because it's not made by a Monolithic Evil Corporation (tm) is just bad planning because:

1) Some rinky-dink Open Source programs are just as buggy as their closed source couterparts. Having just been a TA for the last little while, I know some of the horrible coders who will be unleashing their pet projects anytime now.
2) Some closed source applications do a pretty decent job and are overlooked. Corel Office has served me well for years, with minimal headaches.

Software shouldn't be entirely judged by the ability to see its source code, but by its performance when push comes to shove.

I can't help getting the feeling... (5, Insightful)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496887)

...that the desire for independence from the US is going to be an increasingly important factor in driving Linux/OSS adoption throughout the world. I mean, "government wasting money on Microsoft products" wouldn't have such a ring to it in the US now, would it?

Usually you don't find government adopting new tech earlier than private enterprise, but with Linux it seems to be working the other way (or at least both ways). And I'd say that a major reason for that is anti US sentiment.

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (2, Insightful)

Stinky Glen20 (689507) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496944)

Hmmm. I can't help but agree with you there. I don't know whether it is an Anti-US sentiment (implied dislike) but perhaps a feeling that the US isn't quite so predictable as she used to be.

I'm a firm believer in the best tool for the job - open source or not, so I don't think open source software should be used for its own sake. However, I could imagine many governments (or companies) would like to have some perceived control of their own technical destiny.

Open source is a simple way to reduce reliance on third-parties, be they countries or corporations... assuming of course you have downloaded the source and not just the binaries before the sanctions kick in !

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496952)

yeeeeah stupidd amerikaaans dieee

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496956)

Yes but you see the Australian Federal Government doesn't want independance from the US. It wants to be the 52nd state.

" And I'd say that a major reason for that is anti US sentiment."
Microsoft for a lot of people represent everything that is bad about America, domineering, insulated, arrogant and imperial.

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (1)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497001)

Yes but you see the Australian Federal Government doesn't want independance from the US. It wants to be the 52nd state.

Maybe, but this bill is being introduced by the opposition, and I don't think they share the government's viewpoint. I have no idea what public sentiment is on the issue. Could any Australians here clue us in?

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497013)

Yup as an Australian I can tell you that public sentiment on OSS v CSS is "What?"

If you are talking about inside the industry then that is a different matter but the "Public" doesn't know and doesn't care.

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (1)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497039)

Oops sorry that wasn't what I meant. My question is, does the Australian public think Bush and co. are imperialist bastards or lovable role models? (Obviously somewhere in between, but where exactly?)

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497045)

Generally they think Bush is an idiot, and a bit of a joke, they are however more scared of the people behind him.

On the other hand over the last four or five years, they have become a touch more xenophobic thanks to a government that has played on any division they can to stay in power.

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (3, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496961)

the desire for independence from the US is going to be an increasingly important factor in driving Linux/OSS adoption throughout the world.

You nailed it! Just think at the resentment to H1Bs and the French in the US. Imagine Microsoft and Sun were French companies. Would the US think long and hard, and ponder over Gartner reports before jumping to Linux?

Jacques Chirac donating a few billions to unemployed Americans 'cos they lost their jobs to French giant Microsoft! Yeah.. now I can see resentment from both sides.

-

Re:I can't help getting the feeling... (4, Insightful)

GammaTau (636807) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496989)

...that the desire for independence from the US is going to be an increasingly important factor in driving Linux/OSS adoption throughout the world. I mean, "government wasting money on Microsoft products" wouldn't have such a ring to it in the US now, would it?

I think it's more about independence than anti-US attitude. In the current world independence and anti-US attitude have something in common but in the end, they're two very different things.

One example is the city of Munich that switched from an American vendor (Microsoft) to another American vendor (IBM). The difference is that the former makes the city dependant on a single foreign company while the latter simply provides good service for an open platform. Choosing an American vendor doesn't seem to raise many concerns but depending on one American vendor does.

Software at the Government Level (1, Insightful)

$calar (590356) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496897)

I wouldn't say that governments need "affirmative action" for open source. It has one great thing going for itself in this downed global economy: cost effectiveness.

But we've seen many stories like this in the past here on /.

I like what the German government is doing in terms of funding open source. This way, you can get something just as good as proprietary for a nominal cost to everybody (government, by the people that is) and it gives something back to the people, just like any other government program.

This is the panic office, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496898)

section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure.

i'd rather... (3, Insightful)

Comsn (686413) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496903)

a detailed report of what the government spends on what.

computers? thats a small minority of what the government spends money on, i'd like to see how much money goes to other stuff... corporate welfare perhapse?

Re:i'd rather... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496927)

You have a point here, sir. Mod Parent Up.

In the great state of California, for example, Governor Joe Davis has spent a huge portion of our budget on welfare for the hordes of illegal immigrants flooding our job market. This is not flamebait; this is fact.

So, in relation to this article, I can't see how a government could spend even a fraction of a percent of its budget on computers. Therefore they should stop worrying and stop acting so childish.

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Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496919)

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Two sites... (4, Interesting)

pen (7191) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496922)

Two sites to check out are egovos.org [egovos.org] and this one at netaction.org [netaction.org] . There's also the other side [softwarechoice.org] .

intesring boobies read (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496924)

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Affirmative action? (1)

m_chan (95943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496930)

I am uninformed as to the nuances of Australian political wranglings, but this statement:
the ... Liberal Party criticises suggestions that use of open source should be compulsory as "hi-tech affirmative action."
strikes me as contradictory and/or distracting to the intent of the query:
Arthur Chesterfield-Evans has questions on notice with all state ministers requiring them to reveal their departments' expenditure on Microsoft products
It seems that budgetary disclosure would be of benefit to everyone involved, especially those tasked with finding the most affordable and efficient software/hardware solutions. Would someone enlighten me as to the connection between the inquiry(ies) and as to whether or not there are open-source initiatives that are compulsory?

I seem to hear the words, what's it gonna take for me to put you in this car today?

Re:Affirmative action? (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496975)

Did you RTFA? ;)

There are two things here. One is an attempt to embarrass the government by making them state on the record how much they spend on MS software. The other is a push for some sort of law relating to OSS and government procurement, possibly including provisions to give preference to OSS, all other things being equal. So, there is criticism from the conservative side of politics that such a law should not include preference for OSS as this would be unfair to other companies such as MS.

Kapish?

Re:Affirmative action? (1)

m_chan (95943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497053)

Yes, I did (specific and related), but I could not see how it those articles specified clearly that any bias towards the purchase or acquisition of open-source solutions was a mandate.

My original question was posed because I wanted background as to what, if any, Arthur Charles-Evans might be promoting as an indivdual cause. I googled a search on him and skimmed a couple of interesting [onlineopinion.com.au] articles [abc.net.au] , but I would not pretend to think that a cheap google search would grant me genuine insight regarding the situation; my question was genuine.

It seems he has an issue with the delay and/or protocol regarding release of information. I like the fact that he has an issue with it. I want to know more.

Pauline Hanson (1, Funny)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496931)


If Pauline Hanson (assuming she's still around--people like her never seem to go away) responds to this in any way, I hope someone down under posts her comments.

I haven't had a good laugh in a while.

-- MarkusQ

She's currently in court for electoral fraud. (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496982)

And is probably a tad occupied with that.

Should give you a laugh anyway (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497007)

That she's on trial, I mean. It seems funny now. Hard to remember that back when she was first around there was a genuine fear that right wing extremists would control the balance of power in Australia.

Oh wait, they do...

The liberal party is right.... (4, Insightful)

sstrick (137546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496932)

I actually think the liberals are right on this one. Open source should not be mandatory, however neither should Microsoft.

End of the day governements, like all organisations need to use the right product for the right job. It is not a bad idea for government departments to have to investigate open source solutions however to make them mandatory is madness.

Huge MS license spend... (5, Insightful)

Goonie (8651) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496993)

The Democrats aren't talking about making open source solutions mandatory.

The point of this exercise is to look at how much the Australian government spends on Microsoft licenses (at a guess, multiple tens of millions of dollars annually), and ask whether it would be a better use of those funds to enhance open source software so that it meets government requirements. Tens of millions of dollars annually employs a lot of people...

Re:The liberal party is right.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497043)

You don't think having your goverments documents stored/locked into a proprietry format controlled by a single corporation might have some bearing on whether it's the best tool for the job or not?

Open source shouldn't be mandatory but open formats should be and that means MS office isn't the best tool for the job.

Why do they call it "embarassing"??? (1)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496936)

They're just pushing for transparency and greater accountability! "Downtrodden open source software" is another piece of nonsense I noticed. Quite effective at preventing getting the message of open source across.

The oppression industry is quite good at playing the name game. Look at how entrenched "piracy" has become.

Wasting Money??? (2, Interesting)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496940)

the average taxpayer knows little or nothing about OSS, but will rapidly form and express vocal opinions about the government wasting money.

I no it is a futile point to stress, but spending money on software is not necessarily a waste of money. Software developers, IT staff, network technicians, Linux gurus all look to the layman like a big fat waste of money.

The problem isn't that the Australian government is spending money on computers and software, but that the world's richest and one of the most politically powerful man on the earth has the government in a vice with its OS and other monopolies.

There is a good argument that it would be better for Australia to go the OSS route. It would help encourage the local development of software, etc.. The problem is not that people working on or developing software get paid.

There is a second extremely powerful implied argument in the article in that people don't really know how much MS gets from the government. If the government tallied up their bill, they would be shocked. As it stands, MS is able to hide its take in the cost of hardware, or other parts of the ledger.

This is not executed very well (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496943)

The way this is worded, that they are particularly targetting Microsoft products, makes this look less like a cost-cutting measure and more like a witch hunt.

Now, I'm no Microsoft supporter, but wouldn't it be much better for government officials to talk in more generalized terms? Don't attack Microsoft, attack the whole idea of a cash-strapped government using software that requires exorbitant licensing fees and overly restrictive licenses. Why not attack Oracle? Or Peoplesoft? They are just as bad as Microsoft is, just not quite as rich.

As far as mandating open source software across the board, that's a bad idea as well. What if there is no suitable open source project for the task at hand? Should the government fund its own open source project to create one? Sort of goes against the whole idea of saving money and decreasing beuracracy. Forcing the government to limit itself to software produced through one particular business model over another is pretty silly, IMO.

Re:This is not executed very well (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497002)

Oracle and Peoplesoft maybe good examples of Closed Source Software Companies being bastards, but their name recognition for the average user is pretty much zilch.

Microsoft is a target that everyone knows and curses at one time or another. Its a perfectly acceptable example when explaining to the layman.

yikes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496946)

ever seen that movie with jack the kangaroo kickin some butt. damn them crazy australians. it's the kangaroos who are gettin all the fine pussy.

why right wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496950)

Why is the Liberal Party being described as right wing?

Re:why right wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496966)

left wing conservative. hello. you can be both. left wing liberal or right wing conservative. do you remember a diagram your government teacher drew on the board?

Re:why right wing? (1)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496995)

Because they are aligned more closely with the ideas of liberalism than the other parties. Isn't that obvious by the name?

Re:why right wing? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497024)

Usually in the United States, the term "liberal" is reserved left-wing politics (whether these politics are actually liberal is a completely different question). In pretty much all of the rest of the world, however, the term "liberal" refers to anti-government free market type philosophies, where as left-winged politics falls under labels like "labour" or "social"-whatever-ism.

So yes, a European or Austrailian "Liberal" party actually does match more closely the policies of U.S. Libertarians/conservatives.

Re:why right wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497037)

Why are Americans so stupid? Is it really that hard to look up the definition of "liberal" (as in "liberalism")?

Liberal Party = Arch Conservatives (5, Informative)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497030)

The Liberal Party in Australia has morphed over the decades into something like your Republican Party only more right wing.

The Labour Party is usually considered by the Libs as a bunch a commies ... and yet they also have right wing tendencies (sometimes very).

The Democrats are made of left wing refugees from the Liberal Party and right wing refugees from the Labour Party. Sort of. Though I cried when they got rid of their leader Natasha Stott-Despoja ... a hot chick.

The Democrats (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6496960)

Who?

Bwaa haa haa!

They won't exist after the next election!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Maybe if the Greens or Labor had said this I could take it seriously.

HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!

Microsoft will quake in their boots.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Re:The Democrats (2, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497038)

Actually Labor has some pretty good IT policies, too. They seem to understand the Internet a lot better than the current govt., and they are somewhat pro-Linux etc. etc.

True what you say, even though people are modding you down - I feel the Democrats will be no more after the next election. Their votes will no doubt go to the Greens, though.

It costs more when it is free (0)

dicepackage (526497) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496971)

Does anybody remember the article on Slashdot a while ago? It said that it costs more money to use an open source OS in business and schools because of teaching and support costs are much higher. I'm all for open source but I think this might play a big factor in deciding which is more cost efficient. If the cost turns out to be the same in the long run then companies will want to stick with what they are familiar with and people will continue to use Windows.

Odd behaviours coming from governments (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496996)

In any organization, the value of using Microsoft, Mac, Linux, or any other OS can always be debated. That is, some software just runs better on this or that platform, some tasks are performed better by this or that OS ... It's just a matter of picking the best option for the job, and compare the TCOs and rendered services of each options. There's usually nothing political or religious about such a decision process, despite what Microsoft, Mac or free software zealots would like to make it.

But ...

For certain organizations, like governments, there are 2 issues that should overshadow all the other : (1) the issue of governmental independance from third party vendors and other countries, and (2) the issue of information integrity and security for agencies such as secret services.

Just imagine you're in a position of power in a (non US) government, and you know nothing about computers, and someone tells you you have a choice between software that you can have total control over that's free (as in speech), or a piece of software from a notoriously greedy US vendor that has a notoriously shitty track record for computer security, what would you do ? I don't know for you, but it wouldn't cross my mind one second to use the latter. I'd rather be sure my country's computers can be totally independant from any country or vendor, in peace or war time, even if that may mean paying more for auditing the entire free software suites I use, or adapt it to the country's needs. The investment is a one-off then the country is free. Cases where Microsoft or other proprietary vendors would be chosen over free software should be kept to the strictest minimum, when no other alternatives are available.

All the above is valid for the US too : of course, they don't run the risk of one day being at war with themselves and suffering from embargoes, but they still have the situation where a public organization is at the mercy of a private one for a critical part of its operating resources. And just imagine, if some country drops a bomb on Redmond (N.K. comes to mind), how long do you think the US could continue functioning ? 6 months, 1 year ? Isn't odd that the country that created ARPANET to be resilient to anything that could happen in the country runs it with computers that have software installed from one sole vendor ?

So this is what I don't understand : how come governments even ask themselves what the right choice is in the matter ?

OSS... Free as in compulsory (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 10 years ago | (#6496999)

OSS = tasty software, good, feel happy

comparing it to affirmative action: head explodes

run, duck for cover, wait for better philosophers... current crop not up to job...

Really, I'm on a huge OSS-Lovin' kick right now, but let's not get all commie about it...

America won't like this... (1)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497006)

If the Australian government starts to use free software, it definately won't be on America's good side. They oppose it and anyone who supports it as much as they opposed communism in the fifties. Why? Because both posed a threat to the multinationals that reside there.

Re:America won't like this... (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497033)

The Australian Government won't start using OSS, just because it is Un-American.

Asking the wrong question (1)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497020)

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like this is asking "how much do you spend on printers?" and then when they talk about their $5000 lasers coming back saying "but you can get a printer for $150!". It's just asking the wrong question.
They should be asking "what is the total cost of running your IT systems?". But that would be hard work and require the Democrats to think and not get them good headlines or a nice clear number (ie. $X million to MS vs. $0 on OSS) that Grandma voter can understand.

Note I'm not saying MS is or isn't cheaper when you look at the TCO, but TCO is the question that counts.

Never fear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497021)

With a man with as great an understanding of all things technological as Richard Alston at the helm of the Communications Ministry, this can only inspire reasoned debate and serious discussion...
With this being the guy we have to thank for the digital TV debacle, does anyone actually think that anything will come of this? In every decision involving a great wad of taxpayer cash (digital telly, mobile phone spectrum sale) it's sure as hell not the people that benefit.

Re:Never fear... (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497055)

Let's not forget he is also The Register's Official World's Biggest Luddite. I was on a radio program once and I managed to call him an idiot live on air, it was quite satisfying even though the presenter had to rapidly disclaim my comments.

So far he has screwed up:
- digital TV
- broadcast rights for sport
- broadband
- Internet censorship
- Telstra crushing all with its massive monopoly
- the independence of the ABC
- failure of government to come up with any kind of plan for spam

What a man! Order of Australia is in order, I feel.

Open-source should not be legislated (3, Insightful)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497027)

I'm of the firm opinion that open-source software should not be legislated for. Instead, it should compete on its own merits.

However, I'm also of the firm opinion that, at least for government documents, the format of the data should be, by law, an open format. That is, a format that is completely and openly described, and with an open-source viewer (as a reference implementation).

Furthermore, the software products that government workers use should, by default, save in the open format, without loss of functionality. In other words, "Save As..." doesn't cut the mustard.

Once that is in place, applications will be able to play on a more level playing ground. Furthermore, there won't be the risk of documents being lost because there is no longer any software available that can read them.
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