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CCAGW Misreads Mass. Policy, Open Standards Generally

timothy posted about 11 years ago | from the amateur-clowns-vs.-professional-clowns dept.

United States 534

mhrivnak writes "The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste made this press release blasting the Massachusetts policy decision to move to Open Source. They explain why Linux is a 'monopoly,' how this policy is 'socialist' and why 'The old Soviet Union could not have done this any better.' The CCAGW has been previously informed about the benefits of open source software in government. Tell them what you think!" The CCAGW is at least not completely one-dimensional; the group is also opposed to mandatory embedded snoopware. Maybe they don't realize that conventional closed-source software has big costs worth avoiding.

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Kinda makes you wonder... (4, Interesting)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 11 years ago | (#7109793)

If CAGW was paid off like the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution [wired.com] or if they are just a bunch of idiots generally speaking.

Since CAGW is allegedly concerned about federal dollars they'd probably REALLY shit to see my federal agency now switching over to open source (via Zope). And it's not just us, here's a whole list of federal agencies switching to CMSs powered by Open Source [workforce-tools.org] . CAGW better get ready with their FUD machine.

The group must be a conservative "think" tank... (0, Flamebait)

Atario (673917) | about 11 years ago | (#7109830)

...else why complain about the government spending less (or nothing) for software? Answer: their MS stock would plummet.

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (3, Interesting)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | about 11 years ago | (#7109946)

If CAGW was paid off like the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution...

Bingo. See the comments from LWN [lwn.net] (the comment titled "Money trail from Media Transparency").

CAGW gets money from the same folks ("John M. Olin Foundation" and "The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.".

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (2, Insightful)

SubtleNuance (184325) | about 11 years ago | (#7109970)

CAGW is a Right-Wing partisan GOP mouthpiece. Screaming about Communists is right up their alley. Why is /. parroting the BS propaganda of professional spinsters?

Wanna hear a joke? (1)

r_glen (679664) | about 11 years ago | (#7109796)

"Linux is a monopoly"

Thanks CCAGW, I needed a good laugh.

Re:Wanna hear a joke? (1)

loginx (586174) | about 11 years ago | (#7109924)

It's true though.
Linux is a complete monopoly over 5% of the desktop market... this should be illegal... aren't there anti-trust laws against that?

Re:Wanna hear a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109953)

You know what's even funnier?

They didn't actually say that.

Which you would know if you had actually RTFA.

Re:Wanna hear a joke? (5, Informative)

aggieben (620937) | about 11 years ago | (#7110014)

"Linux is a monopoly"

Thanks CCAGW, I needed a good laugh.


It's clear that you didn't RTFA.

I would like to point out that the only time the word "monopoly" appears in the press release was in the following sentence:

It is ironic that Massachusetts, as the only state remaining in the lawsuit accusing Microsoft of antitrust violations, is creating its own state-imposed monopoly on software.

For the others of you who did not RTFA, I would also like to point out that the CCAGW was not criticizing the value of using open-source open-source itself, but rather the decision to exclude all other competitors in the bidding process. If they were excluding all competitors to the benefit of a for-profit corporation (Microsoft would be a good example), the criticism would be the same, and the process would be unethical at best, illegal at worst. Why is it suddenly alright to do the same thing with open-source vendors and projects?

Here's the sum-up of the press release for those of you who still refuse to RTFA:
Open-source software = good, admirable
state mandated zero-competition = bad, socialist

Re:Wanna hear a joke? (2, Funny)

brian woolstrum (129212) | about 11 years ago | (#7110037)

I would also like to point out that the CCAGW was not criticizing the value of using open-source open-source itself, but rather the decision to exclude all other competitors in the bidding process.

Really? Did they say Microsoft was not allowed to bid on providing open-source software?

Re:Wanna hear a joke? (1)

SoIosoft (711513) | about 11 years ago | (#7110054)

If you actually knew what the word monopoly means, you'd know that it was actually used correctly.

From dictionary.com [reference.com] :

# Law. A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party.

So, in fact, they used the word correctly.

I agree.. (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | about 11 years ago | (#7109799)


"The state's taxpayers deserve nothing less." -CAGW President Tom Schatz

Dear Mr. Schatz,
I agree 100%, but not in the way you may think :)

The site www.cagw.org is running Apache/1.3.12 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.6.5 OpenSSL/0.9.6e ApacheJServ/1.1.2 [netcraft.com]
mod_fastcgi/2.2.10 on FreeBSD.

Re:I agree.. (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | about 11 years ago | (#7109849)

"The state's taxpayers deserve nothing less."

I'm sure it's a misquote. He probably said "The state's taxpayers deserve nothing, or even less."

Really!? (1)

farquharsoncraig (711336) | about 11 years ago | (#7109808)

Mabey they should be renamed the Council Against Citizens for Government Waste

Soviet (-1, Troll)

Luigi30 (656867) | about 11 years ago | (#7109809)

In Soviet Union, open source migrates YOU!

Brought to you by the letters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109811)

M....S....F.... and T

Re:Brought to you by the letters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110020)

Lucky Strike! L. S. M. F. T!

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

aligma (682744) | about 11 years ago | (#7109815)

There always seems to be something about Soviet Russia or clusters in the posts lately ... Come on posters, give the Slashdot trolls some credit, they can figure out how to write trolls without your help.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

oolon (43347) | about 11 years ago | (#7109880)

Basically being "soviet" I guess is as unamerican as you can get and it fits into the following.

As said by Gandi

First They ignore us
Next They call us names
Then they attack us
Then we win.

So this is a stage two, currently we are on stage 2-3.....

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109997)

http://www.jokemonster.com/quotes/quotes/m/q103630 .html

if you're too lazy to RTFL (read the fucking link) the quote is actually
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110005)

If you people can't go through life without quoting this (as though being ignored or called names magically makes you a winner), can you at least learn to fucking spell "Gandhi"?

And the ones who write "Ghandi" are even worse. As if putting random h's after g's makes you some sort of genius.

There's also usually posts along the lines of.... (3, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | about 11 years ago | (#7109991)

"You're new around here, aren't ya"

I'll leave you to ponder this for a while....

On the topic at hand: Linux is a monopoly"???

A bit of research [reference.com] (Although, they're running linux [netcraft.com] , so it may be a conspiracy) :

monopoly:
1. Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: "Monopoly frequently... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals" (Milton Friedman).
2. Law. A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party.
3. a. A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
3. b. A commodity or service so controlled.
3. c. Exclusive possession or control: arrogantly claims to have a monopoly on the truth.
3. d. Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled: showed that scientific achievement is not a male monopoly.

1. Maybe if SCO get's their way...
2. Maybe if Microsoft have their way...
3. Err, see above...

While I don't use Linux at present (although I have experimented with it on both x86 and PPC hardware) I favour OS X. Of Windows, OS X, and Linux, the three OS's are different in so many ways due to creation and control factors of all aspects of the product. A very small amount of research will highlight these differences, and who does exert control of development and code. When I read something like this and imagine the time and effort (and maybe cash, who knows) put into and this comes out, it really makes me wonder does sanity prevail: does the majority rule, or are all the idiots just on the same side?

It's not our fault... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110032)

They said Soviet Russia in the article...really, they did!

"Soviet Russia" jokes are not Offtopic in this discussion. After all, they just called linux names.

Maybe they haven't heard... (5, Funny)

Xformer (595973) | about 11 years ago | (#7109817)

Socialism is just a red herring. ...or maybe that's Communism.

Oh crap, now I'm confusing Clue quotes... heh :-)

"Monopoly" description slightly misleading (5, Informative)

mopslik (688435) | about 11 years ago | (#7109818)

The actual quote is:

"It is ironic that Massachusetts, as the only state remaining in the lawsuit accusing Microsoft of antitrust violations, is creating its own state-imposed monopoly on software."

So, while misguided, the CCAGW isn't exactly calling Linux a monopoly, but rather the government of Massachussets.

Re:"Monopoly" description slightly misleading (4, Insightful)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | about 11 years ago | (#7109912)

The description in slashdot may be misleading, but the way it was used by CCAGW is even more wrong. I mean wrong in the plain semantic sence.

Monopoly on software means that only a single person/organization may produce software and has nothing to do with who buys what.

The state of massachusets is not creating a monopoly on software because they are not decreeing that only a single person/organization may produce software.

I think in this case the CCAGW is much more misleading, than the slashdot story.

Re:"Monopoly" description slightly misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109985)

The state of massachusets is not creating a monopoly on software because they are not decreeing that only a single person/organization may produce software.

Exactly. They are just saying they want all of the software to be produced a certain way. Open source. A lot of "normal" people, who might in another sense be considered intelligent, do not realise that open source isn't just 1 company. That linux has tons of different vendors. Until somebody can explain to them what Open Source exactly IS we will keep seeing misguided comments and efforts like that put forth by the CCAGW.

Re:"Monopoly" description slightly misleading (1)

utlemming (654269) | about 11 years ago | (#7110043)

Damn...this is going to screw me up in my poli sci classes. Now instead of Mass. being a Commonwealth, I will have to refer to her as being kernel 2.4? Or is 2.6? Does that mean if the SCO suit goes through the correct answer will be SCO? Oh my life used to be so much simpler....

Windows! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109820)

Click here. [67.37.26.90]

Re:Windows! (1)

aligma (682744) | about 11 years ago | (#7109840)

Whats the idea behind that?

Rule of Thumb (1, Offtopic)

Nate B. (2907) | about 11 years ago | (#7109826)

"Intelligence is a constant. The population is increasing."

Re:Rule of Thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110033)

I would mod this up to insightful...hell it might be a modern postulant like Pi or sumpin

It seems like they would want lindows (1)

stroustrup (712004) | about 11 years ago | (#7109831)

since they love and hate linux and microsoft equally.

Fake organization obviously indirectly funded by.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109832)

Microsoft

In Soviet Taxachusetts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109834)

...governement waste is when you spend less taxpayer's money.

Re:In Soviet Taxachusetts... (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109857)

Umm, no, government waste is when you make policies that impede the ability to use the best and cheapest tool for a certain task, and wind up having to pay someone to reinvent the wheel for you.

Government using linux, good. Government forcing the use of linux and ignoring sound procurement procedures, bad.

Re:In Soviet Taxachusetts... (1, Funny)

rampant mac (561036) | about 11 years ago | (#7109956)

"Government using linux, good. Government forcing the use of linux and ignoring sound procurement procedures, bad."

I work as a civilian for the government, but moving to Linux is a BAD idea in our office.

When a virus/worm hits our LAN, my productivity sky-rockets. I have close to 468 FreeCell games completed on this computer; This is something I can not easily part with. I'm at the 98% percentile regarding this winning streak, a reboot and reinstall would destroy my statistics. Linux is not an option.

Ha... (1)

DaBjork (575727) | about 11 years ago | (#7109835)

All I have to say is: HA people shouldn't say things about stuff they know nothing about.

HA people? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 11 years ago | (#7109876)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's entirely possible that every last one of these dweebs is, in fact married, and not even *somewhat* available.

Re:Ha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109890)

and you shouldn't comment until you rtfa

Can't find any (1)

Santos L. Halper (591801) | about 11 years ago | (#7109841)

Hmm...I see no flamebait potential in this story...

Misread? (4, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109843)

Who misread what?

You do realize that people can disagree with your pro-linux attitudes, and many do, and for good reason.

From the release.

"Governor Mitt Romney must put a stop to this boondoggle," CAGW President Tom Schatz said. "People mistakenly refer to Linux as 'free' software because it can be freely altered and distributed. Yet while the software itself is free, the cost to maintain and upgrade it can become very expensive. Like all procurement decisions, the best policy on the use of software is to place all products on equal footing. It is critical that taxpayers receive the best quality programs at the least cost."

I agree. Government policies that close doors to competition are bad. Linux might work in some situations, but not in others. There are plenty of good software packages out there to use, and plenty of specific packages for government, that wont exist in OSS until someone is paid (gobs of cash) to write them.

Re:Misread? (2, Insightful)

brian woolstrum (129212) | about 11 years ago | (#7109897)

Yes, some of those packages would have to paid for ONCE to be written. Why is tax money being wasted by buying software multiple times when new releases of the same old crap come out, at high costs, when nothing is added except for a few features (that usually aren't needed), new security holes, bigger harware requirements, and lost productivity as users have to readjust to where options have been moved to?

Re:Misread? (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109945)

Most government IT work has shit all to do with desktop OSS's. If an agency needs a bunch of machines for word processing, fine, go with a linux vendor. If they need some custom work that only exists for Windows, go that route.

The key is placing all potential vendors on equal ground, and not preferring one over the other because of ideology.

I want to see linux adopted in government. I write software for government agencies (public safety, police and fire specifically), and I've been pushing the bosses towards porting some of our major products towards linux.

But I want to see linux win out because of technical merit, not because of capital F free or some other jingoistic nonsense.

Re:Misread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109909)

Who misread what? [snip lucid reasoning]

Misread would imply at least one reading. This however, is slashdot, where people like you, who not only read but understand the F articles, are despised as the cheating truth tellers you are

Re:Misread? (3, Insightful)

cblood (323189) | about 11 years ago | (#7109923)

"I agree. Government policies that close doors to competition are bad. Linux might work in some situations, but not in others. There are plenty of good software packages out there to use, and plenty of specific packages for government, that wont exist in OSS until someone is paid (gobs of cash) to write them."

But Open source is the the only software that can be independenty audited, and should be required for government work. Any thing else is a black box that could be filled with back doors or other nasty suprizes

Besides open source projects do not give the author a monolopy on any given project. If some one fails to deliver, another vendor can pick up whrer they left off with minimum disruption.

Re:Misread? (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109962)

No, you can audit closed source. The auditors would just sign an agreement not to disclose the source.

If some one fails to deliver, another vendor can pick up whrer they left off with minimum disruption.

And maximum cost. This is about taxpayers dollars. If corporations want to do such things with private cash, be my guest.

Re:Misread? (5, Informative)

orkysoft (93727) | about 11 years ago | (#7109949)

I think the state wants to only consider software that uses open data formats, whether the software is open source or closed source. The data formats must be open.

This means that no-one is excluded from competing for the software contracts, as long as their software uses open data formats.

It's not unfair, and it is indeed the least that the people deserve. Proprietary data formats will become very expensive in the future. The Slashdot-post example of this is the proverbial Word 95 document that is hard to import into a newer version of MS Word without loss of something. (Note: I haven't checked that myself, I just see it posted here over and over again.)

Re:Misread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110019)

Microsoft Office went through a significant file change between 95 and 97 requiring users who switched back and forth between those two versions to save the files in a dual-version mode that would almost double the size of the files. Since Office 97 only very minor changes have occured and documents from Office 97, 2000, XP, and 2003 (as well as the Mac versions since Office 98) can be exchanged without any significant loss (maybe some formatting here and there).

Talking about something from 6 years ago is just about as good an argument as saying that Mass. is creating a monopoly.

Re:Misread? (1)

Otter (3800) | about 11 years ago | (#7109989)

Yeah, at a minimum this doesn't appear to be some industry front group, but sincere anti-spending activists. If you're convinced they're wrong and can back it up, do it politely and carefully and you may well wind up getting them on your side. Certainly, a deluge of hate mail from shrieking Lunix fanatics isn't going to help anything.

Besides, I've been a Linux user and contributor far longer than almost all of the shriekers and it's not obvious to me that they're wrong.

Re:Misread? (2, Insightful)

SubtleNuance (184325) | about 11 years ago | (#7109998)

listen buddy, the CAGW is a Pro-Capitalist right wing front group. Its the "whatever is good for GM (MS in this case) is good for America(TM)" party line, these jokers are as transparent as they come. They are not interested in saving taxpayer's money, they are interested in seeing rich-people pay less taxes by turning rank-and-file Americans AGAINST the very concept... "Look Marge, the CAGW says their a-wastin' our taxes, all the gummint does is tax and waste.. hiccup".

Give me a break, in this day and age, are Americans still blinded by calls of "communist"? I realize that your Civics class cum indoctrination sessions made Communism != Democracy, Freedom and Puppies(tm), but really, havent at least SOME of you picked up a PoliSci text?

Please, next time -- EVEN If you are NOT a Communist -- next time someone misuses the idea, or does a knee-jerk 'communist/socialist' drop, PLEASE correct them.

Monopoly (3, Funny)

ctour (645366) | about 11 years ago | (#7109850)

I didn't know you could have a state-imposed monopoly on free stuff. I wonder who funds this group...

Wow.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109853)

Even citizens can be bought too...

Yeah! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109855)

Finally, someone had the balls to say that Linux users are no-good dirty commies!

FUD no doubt...but whos behind it? (1)

russelr (47210) | about 11 years ago | (#7109860)

This statement fits the definition of FUD. The question is, who is behind it? It sounds remarkably Microsoft inspired!!

Sure it is :rolleyes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109861)

Everyone knows that large international corporations like IBM love nothing better than communism. *cough* morons!

It hurts to read that nonsense. (4, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 11 years ago | (#7109863)

How many companies can provide the Windows set of "solutions": 1.

How many companies can provide OSS solutions: many. And new entrants have very low barriers of entry to try to do so if they feel so inclined.

Talk about misunderstanding (in purpose?) the meaning of the word monopoly.

Honestly, what are those people smoking? WHo are they supporters? Who advises them in IT matters? And in anticompetitive legal matters?

Can somebody send them one or two of the many fully documented cases (Amazon, Munich) in which Linux based offerings were cheaper than closed source based ones?

Please, can somebody educate them in case the barbarities they are saying come out of ignorance and not of knowing misrepresentation?

Re:It hurts to read that nonsense. (3, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109903)

You realize that 99% of government has nothing whatsoever to do with some office worker typing letters in word or open office.

There's metric shitloads of custom code for specific tasks written for Windows. Theres shitloads of it for unix. There's shitloads of it for other mainframe OS's.

Ideally, they'd choose the best platform and tools for the task at hand, and not bog the process down by ideology at the taxpayers expense - which is the concern, and the basis for the comparison to socialist russia.

Re:It hurts to read that nonsense. (1)

timothy (36799) | about 11 years ago | (#7110015)

"You realize that 99% of government has nothing whatsoever to do with some office worker typing letters in word or open office.

There's metric shitloads of custom code for specific tasks written for Windows. Theres shitloads of it for unix. There's shitloads of it for other mainframe OS's."


Maybe we could do with a few less metric shitloads of government, or at least we could use requirements for openness (Sunshine laws generally, things like the FOIA) to make clear what all those shitloads of custom code are being used to do to the citizenry that paid for them.

Just because the State is presently doing a lot of things (the "tasks at hand") doesn't automatically mean the State is right to do so, or has an automatic right to keep doing them. What tasks? Why are they at hand? They may (occasionally) start out right, looking for tranquility, prosperity, etc, but along the way governments tend to stretch, get bloated, and do a lot of silly or harmful things. Transparency and justification seem a lot more important than up-front costs here, though those matter a lot too.

If they're going to do things with software (and they will, this era -- software is inextricable, as you point out, from the various things States like to do to their humans), governments *in particular* ought to be doing them in the open to the degree compatible with continued human existence and happiness, as well as fiscal prudency.

timothy

Re:It hurts to read that nonsense. (1)

SoIosoft (711513) | about 11 years ago | (#7110039)

I'll probably get modded down for comments that aren't pro-Linux. But this needs to be said. And what you don't realize is that many government workers are trained to use the Windows operating system and the software for it. The cost to switch everything over to Linux is pretty high compared to the cost of upgrading the existing systems. From dictionary.com [reference.com] : Law. A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party. In fact, them referring to the Massachusetts decision as a monopoly is quite correct. Many companies provide software for Windows. Remember, when you're switching operating systems, you're not only switching the operating system, but switching the software you use for your tasks. All they're asking is to evaluate the costs in each situation and not exclude other solutions (including Mac OS X, *BSD, Linux, Windows, BeOS, etc..) from the process. That's only fair. If Linux turns out to have the lowest cost to provide a certain service, this group would have no problem with it. The problem here isn't the CCAGW. The problem here is the Linux zealots who think that Linux is ALWAYS the best solution and that Microsoft is ALWAYS the problem.

put a stop to this boondoggle (0)

EpokhusMinimalist (691947) | about 11 years ago | (#7109873)

Massachusetts Socialists..... I hate Massachusetts Socialists!

new title (1)

aligma (682744) | about 11 years ago | (#7109877)

Boondoggle CCAGW Misspeaks English, Generally Can't Comprehend Communication

Soviet russia could do MUCH better... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109881)

At least they had brains, unlike Amerika since the 50's.

Come on, really? (3, Funny)

Snoopy77 (229731) | about 11 years ago | (#7109887)

Do we have to have the Soviet Russia jokes in the articles as well now?

Re:Come on, really? (1)

brian woolstrum (129212) | about 11 years ago | (#7109919)

How about reverse Soviet Russia Jokes.

In Soviet Russia Government owns Corporations. In Amerika Corporations own Government.

Freedom and Liberty = Communism ? (2, Interesting)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 11 years ago | (#7109894)

I find it funny, or at least scary, that right in the US, some people are equating something "free" with "communism". Someone should explain this one to the founding fathers of the US. Also, can someone please explain to me what boondoggle is?

Re:Freedom and Liberty = Communism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109936)

can someone please explain to me what boondoggle is?

It's like pork [google.ca] , only more so.

Re:Freedom and Liberty = Communism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109993)

I find it funny, or at least scary, that right in the US, some people are equating something "free" with "communism".

I find it funny that neither the person who posted the article originally nor the vast majority of posters so far in this thread have actually read the article they're complaining about.

(Hint: They didn't equate something "free" with "communism". RTFA)

Re:Freedom and Liberty = Communism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110059)

I think if you mentioned Communism to the Founding Fathers they would give you a collective - "What you talkin' 'bout Willis." Karl Marx was still a baby when James Monroe was President and the term Communism wasn't coined until John Tyler was President and the rest of the founding fathers were dead.

Wow, good thing they exist! (2, Funny)

flashbang (124262) | about 11 years ago | (#7109895)

"Yet while the software itself is free, the cost to maintain and upgrade it can become very expensive"

Yeah - good thing they didn't have to FIRST pay for the software, and THEN have to pay to upgrade and maintain it. Sheesh. Microsoft would never make you do that...

Um, what? (1)

Infernon (460398) | about 11 years ago | (#7109900)

"Governor Mitt Romney must put a stop to this boondoggle."

I'm sorry, but I don't respond to people who use the word 'boondoggle'.

Re:Um, what? (1)

flashbang (124262) | about 11 years ago | (#7110011)

I was hoping for "hogwash" - but that didn't show up. I guess boondoggle will have to do.

Listen up, dweebs. (0, Flamebait)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | about 11 years ago | (#7109906)

I'll keep it short so you can get back to getting cheesy-puff cheese all over your size XXXL Linux Penguin shirts.

1. They didn't call Linux a monopoly.
2. The policy is idiotic, and the press release is at least reasonable, if not a little overboard.
3. Mandating the use of a particular piece of software over all others, regardless of the specific need or evaluation process, is idiotic. They should fire that asshole immediately.

Thanks for listening.

Government waste? (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#7109911)

A switch from linux to ms would be something to complain about (wastefule, monopoly, insecure, etc.) but this? And anyways, the government by nature (another topic for another time) is wasteful and this, if anything, is not the kind of waste to be complained about.

I ahve NO problem whatsoever with their release (1)

hajo (74449) | about 11 years ago | (#7109913)

What is soo wrong with them asking the government of Mass to keep open the choice to use other OS's than Linux? Being a BSD / Linux user as well as a Mac OS9 / OSX and Several flavors of windows user (You can throw in BeOS as well) I have something good to say (As well as something bad) about each of them. What elected jerk is going to make a law deciding that an agency should use a specific piece of software regardless of the requirements of the job.
This is one of the reasons why government needs to be shrunk. (I ahve never seen a politician propose that seriously though...)

Blowing his own T (1)

donnz (135658) | about 11 years ago | (#7109915)

Maybe they could read this [nzoss.org.nz] and suggest improvements [slashdot.org] to the case being made.

Most technologically inept state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109921)

I guess they've never been down here in Mississippi ;)

Re:Most technologically inept state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110007)

Yeah, that's why here in Alabama we say that crossing the state line into Georgia is going forward one hour, but crossing into Mississippi is going back fifty years. Crazy time zones!

Now I'm Wondering (3, Interesting)

FractusMan (711004) | about 11 years ago | (#7109926)

I'm just curious; I'm not very political in the head. But it makes me wonder, honestly, about politics when I read things such as this. Who, exactly, informs people in power of technical details? Is there a department that specializes in informing people in power of the What's-What of computers? Do they just listen to anyone who wants to yammer at them and assume they're telling the truth? The big question I'm getting at is: Who tells the Governor about the difference between Windows/Linux/Mac/Solaris/etc, in terms of price/impact/uses/etc?

Re:Now I'm Wondering (1)

flashbang (124262) | about 11 years ago | (#7110042)

I don't know - Airport Magazines? Those darn things cause so much trouble. ("Listen team, I saw this article about... and I thought if we shifed to ...). Those things are a disaster.

CAGW position reasonable and consisten (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 11 years ago | (#7109927)

The position taken by Citizens Against Government Waste makes sense. They simply believe that it's wrong to mandate one particular system. As much as I dislike MS and its products, I agree with that. In MANY cases, it makes sense to use something other than Linux or other free software. The total cost of ownership and use are what should matter to taxpayers, NOT the religious issues which are so important to many in the free-software movement.

Re:CAGW position reasonable and consisten (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7109987)

Slashbotters dont realize there's more in the IT world than just linux and windows. This law shuts out macs, commercial unixes, various mainframe OS's, embedded softwares, etc, etc...

This law may as well say all public employees must wear birkenstocks and all cops drive electric golf carts to help save the whales. Use the most appropriate tools for the job.

Uh oh, RMS will be upset. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7109929)

>The ?Freeware Initiative? will require that all IT expenditures in 2004 and 2005 be made on an open-source/Linux format.

They misspelled GNU/Linux :)

PACs (4, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | about 11 years ago | (#7109934)

I don't know about anybody else, but whenever I come across some "organization" with a pretentiously-honorable-sounding yet ambiguous name, my bullshit detector starts ringing. Organizations like Council Against Government Waste, Freedom Foundation, American Heritage Institute, Alliance for Good Government, etc., are usually fueled and funded by some polarized corporate interest.

Re:PACs (1)

flashbang (124262) | about 11 years ago | (#7110064)

All your PAC are belong to us.

Sincerely,

Big Corporations

Romney and the State (4, Interesting)

Cpl Laque (512294) | about 11 years ago | (#7109939)

If you are not from Mass. let me tell you a little about it. 75% is registered democrat yet we always elect republican governors. Why ? Who know or state house is 90% Dem as well.

The major problem we have here is patronage and not just at the state house level. Its not uncommon to see 3 or 4 generation all working at the same state job(for example the T(commuter rail)).

My guess is someones brother must be an MCSE and too dumb to learn anything new. There is a huge "right to work" sentiment here esp. if its paid for by tax dollars. Some times we go so far left here I have to lean right. We have a huge tax problem similar to California. I think its a little worse sometimes. (Excise tax anyone?)

But I would really like to see Free Software and Linux flourish here in Mass.(Birthplace of GNU).

Communist for open source (1)

seriv (698799) | about 11 years ago | (#7109960)

First of all, let me say I think that open source is a wonderful thing. I disagree with almost all of their arguement, except for the socialist part. This is a capitalist country, and 'open' is not a word commonly associated with capitalism. This does not change my feeling that Mass. should use open source software, I mean come on, it is more secure! I thing we need to waste the CCAGW if anything.
-Seriv

There isn't anything really bad in that statement (1)

SoIosoft (711513) | about 11 years ago | (#7109961)

I'm sure I'll get modded down for what I'm about to say. But I may as well burn the karma I have to set the record straight. Think about it. If a state decided it would only consider closed source operating systems for use in government computer, Slashdot would be up in arms about it. And rightly so. They are not saying that Linux is a monopoly. They are saying that the government is preventing open competition at all. Requiring a use of a certain operating system, whether it's Linux or Windows, is blocking competition. All they want is in any case to consider all the options, be it open source or closed source. It's nice to know that Slashdot so grossly misrepresents what's stated in the article. They're not asking to kick out Linux or anything. All they're asking for is that all the options, open and closed source, be considered. That's not too much to ask.

RTFA (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | about 11 years ago | (#7109971)

If you read the article, they aren't saying "Linux is a monopoly." They're saying that the state of Massachusetts would be in effect responsible for creating a monopoly, insofar as it would be restricted to a single "vendor."

This view is a little simplistic, of course -- obviously, lots and lots of people make free/open source software. But I do think it has some merit.

Suppose the gov't mandated open source software, then discovered that none of the open source database software available to them could meet the standards of their applications? Would it then fall upon the government to contract somebody to write the code that would bring PostgreSQL up to par with their existing Oracle installs?

Also, what if MS SQL Server is just the best tool for the job at hand? It's pretty darn fast. You may prefer another product yourself, but that doesn't mean there's anything really "wrong" with MS SQL. It's a totally viable contender. So why tell government organizations that they CAN NOT use it?

In fact, I'm extremely leery of the idea that the government should be allowed to single out a particular business/vendor and say "we will not consider this alternative," while considering all the others. If it's permitted to do that, what criteria should the company meet before it can be excluded? (Obligatory paranoid example: Suppose it was because the CEO was gay?)

The support issue is pretty relevant, too. This brings back the hoary old question, "Is Linux ready for the desktop?" And we're talking dollar values now. If it turns out that your average Joe Shmoe with a government job can't figure out AbiWord as easily as Microsoft Word, then what will be the cost of training those employees to use the new software?

What will be the cost to convert existing documents to file formats that the new software can support?

What will be the cost of supporting the new software, versus supporting the old? Shouldn't the people of Massachusetts be shown some figures before a decision is made?

Who's to say some support contractor won't come along and charge the government an arm and a leg for "advanced Unix experience," compared to what they'd pay to support Windows? I mean, it is the government, right? When did a contractor ever fleece the government?

I'm not trying to say that any of this proves that switching to open source is a bad idea for Massachusetts. But I do think that, if what this organization is saying is that the taxpayers should be asking questions and demanding answers, then I'd kinda tend to agree.

Mod parent up! (1)

WhoDaresWins (601501) | about 11 years ago | (#7110022)

I totally agree with what he is saying instead of plain zealous folks. Do you really want Linux to win by being in such a one sided field? Linux should stand on its own merit as should any commercial software.

Are you sure their name isn't... (1)

tbase (666607) | about 11 years ago | (#7109972)

...Council for Wasted Citizens Against Government? I'll have what they're smoking.

Socialist Government (4, Insightful)

stewart.hector (87816) | about 11 years ago | (#7109982)

Why do americans *seem* to fear a socialist government?

They probably don't know what it means anyway. clueless.

They seem to think socialism == communism.

Which is wrong.

Re:Socialist Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110047)

Yes, we understand perfectly what it means.

socialism = bad
communism = worse

Neither works really well because humans are naturally lazy creatures who will depend on someone else if given the chance. Add that to typical government corruption and you wind up with a big clusterfuck.

Nice Site (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 11 years ago | (#7109984)

I just used their online form to email my reps to stop mandated DRM.

Theres the link Write your representatives [convio.net]

They are smoking from the same (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 11 years ago | (#7109988)

crack pipe as Darl.

How about let's do a little investigation here.
Who pads their coffers?? Could there be a few M$ bucks in the CCAGW kitty??

Free Software means you are free not to use it (1)

AveryT (148004) | about 11 years ago | (#7110003)

It is no longer free if you are forced to use it.

Why not let GNU/Linux/BSD/etc stand on its own merits? Does it need the crutch of government mandates?

calling /. editors... (1)

X_Bones (93097) | about 11 years ago | (#7110017)

"Linux" is not a monopoly, and the press release does not claim it to be. The CCAGW press release says that every state IT purchase for the next two years, with no exceptions, must be Linux/OSS; this is what they claim is the monopoly (I'm not sure I agree with their view, but it's certainly a point of contention). There's worlds of difference here... instead of being nutcases like the writeup suggests with its slant, the CCAGW may actually have a valid issue with Mass. state government policy.
It took me a whopping total of thirty seconds to read the entire press release, surely I can expect the same of whoever took the time to do the writeup (and whoever was supposed to review and edit it).

The Soviet analogy is preposterous. (-1, Troll)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about 11 years ago | (#7110034)

That group should have known that in Soviet Russia, open source mandates the use of YOU!

Welcome the penguin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110049)

I for one welcome my new open source overlords!

All hail the peguins

Re:Welcome the penguin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110061)

All hail the peguins

Doesn't Linux come with any spellcheckers?

My email to the group (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7110050)

My email to the group:

***************
Just a few comments re your press release on open source software.

(1) Open source cannot be a monopoly because anyone can write it or supply it at any price (the free market) The difference between open source and closed source software is that open source software can be changed/improved by the government in any way it likes and by hiring anyone it likes or doing the work itself (whichever is cheapest... again the free market) That is impossible with closed-source software- only the manufacturer can change it, if it wants, and at the price the manufacturer chooses.

(2) Anyone can offer support services for open source sofware. If one group charges too much, use a different group-- the free market again. You will find many different companies ranging from small ones to IBM offering such services.

In contrast, only the manufacturer of closed-source software can properly support the software because only it can fix bugs and issue enhancements to its own, secret code. Not so for open source.

Your press release was startling in missing these important facts and this unfortunately damages your group's reputation.

**************
NOTE: I am a Canadian but I feel it's worth pointing these things out to my Mass. neighbours. I hope my American friends will do the same favour should they see similar errors in Canadian hands.
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