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The Economist on Open Source in Government 331

Posted by michael
from the birds-eye-view dept.
locarecords.com writes "The Economist has an excellent article about Microsoft attempting to undermine the Open Source and Free Software movements. Particularly interesting are the issues relating to proprietary software and government and how other countries are mandating free software in government software projects."
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The Economist on Open Source in Government

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bame Flait (672982) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @07:35PM (#6953969)
    Looks like the Department of Defense has actuallygiven the nod [egovos.org]to open source - or at least recognized its existence.
  • by trompete (651953) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @07:41PM (#6954017) Homepage Journal
    That's all good for us as end-users and customers, but an open documents format would be suicide for company like Microsoft.
    I'm glad that Opera, Mozilla...etc,etc,etc and Apache server kept Microsoft from controlling the HTML standards completely!!
  • Rubbish (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gonoff (88518) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @08:05PM (#6954122)
    It uses every font installed on my computer - whether I boot Linux or Windows. It does them in every size and the printed output looks the same as any other word processor.

    Yes, there are deficiencies. It doesn't have a database or email/calendar programme. I'm not sure what I would use for the former but I know they are debating it in their mailing lists. For email/calendar there is Mozilla. That's not perfect either, but it's the only browser I use.

    I recently gave a copy to a nurse at work who wanted MS office but was not going to pay that sort of price. I installed OOO on her laptop and she took it home. The only verbal assistance I gave was a reminder to save things to .DOC .XLS or whatever format when bringing files to work, or emailing them to people.

    I asked how it was going after a couple of weeks. The reply was "it just works".

  • by dark-br (473115) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @08:26PM (#6954207) Homepage
    The Brazilian government plans to migrate from
    Windows to Linux 80% of all computers in state institutions and state-owned
    businesses, informed the daily newspaper "Valor". This will be a gradual
    migration, that will begin with a pilot project in one ministry and which will
    be completed over a period of three years, according to official sources cited
    by the financial daily.

    The goal of the migration is to save money by finding alternatives to
    expensive proprietary licenses. Highlighting the gradual phase-in approach
    that the Brazilian government has adopted, Sergio Amadeu de Silveira, the
    president of the National Institute of Information Technology, stated that "We
    are not just going to do a hasty migration". He proceeded to say that "our
    main concern is the security and the trust of our citizens. The biggest
    resistance to any change comes from the existing cultural inertia".

    The government, De Silveira explained, created two weeks ago the "Chamber for
    the Implementation of Software Libre" to pave the way for the upcoming
    migration.

    A small part of the 2,095 million reals (about USD $700 million) that the
    Brazilian government budgeted for information technology spending goes to
    Microsoft, owner of the Windows OS. The government's decision to adopt Linux,
    according to De Silveira, will boost the popularity of the operating system
    among businesses and consumers. Moreover, it will foster the production of
    local software and "democratize access to knowledge", said De Silveira.

  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @08:41PM (#6954264)
    Microsoft would not exist in the way that it does without a particular type of government granted monopoly called - copyright. It is not like other property rights which have natural limits in supply and demand, it is an atrificial one where Microsoft controlls all the supply. It is not true to free market philosophy any more than slavery was in the 1850's. Yeah they bought and sold those slaves like commodities, yeah the economic strength of the plantation system rested on slavery, yeah the business men who ran it were universally considered educated and ethical - and just doing normal honest business - but it was all bullshit. Slavery had to go, it had always been a burden and was always far more about controll rather than property - but as society entered the industrial age our society could no longer bear the social restrictions allowed by slavery.

    Well now we are entering into the information age, and copyrights are looking far more like an untenable and eternally unenforcable restriction every day and less like a property right every day. They are not about property, commerce, freedom, or markets - but controll, and so is Microsoft and the other's like them such as the RIAA who have held themselves accountable to the same forces.

  • by FireBreathingDog (559649) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @08:42PM (#6954265)
    I think what the guy was saying re: although I have no idea what Apache has to do with HTML was that Apache, as an HTTP server, has nothing to do with HTML, the document format, in the same way that Apache has nothing to do with the GIF format, the JPEG format, or any other MIME type (nothing to do other than serve it up, that is).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2003 @10:05PM (#6954516)
    In europe for a politician to be paid by a company to visit one of its presentations in order to influence the political decision making process is seen as corrupt. People can and do loose their jobs for accepting freebies which come with strings attached.
  • Re:Economy 101: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @10:35PM (#6954619)
    Lots of people rag on "captialism" without realizing that what they are complaining about is the shortfallings of our own systems from being capitalistic. Government intervention is necessary to remove corruptions like monopolization from the system. And "we, the people" are needed to remove corruption from the government.
  • by Daengbo (523424) <daengboNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @03:05AM (#6955575) Homepage Journal
    Similarly, The ICT Ministry of Thailand [ict.go.th] has recently commited to 50% use of Linux in gov't within 3 years. They also have a low cost computer program [ict.go.th], which comes preloaded with Linux.
  • by Pig Bodine (195211) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @07:59AM (#6956196)
    For the Economist that was a pretty honest article. Considering the crowd that was about as close to a rousing endorsement as you're likely to see.

    The Economist has been guardedly positive about open source for quite a while now. They advocated the anti-trust suit against Microsoft and they were covering Linux with a positive spin even back then. And every few weeks I see a big IBM ad on the back cover with Linux in big, bold letters. I'd say they are as big a booster of open source software as you will find in the non-tech oriented press and in this they have been consistently ahead of the trend. Now it seems that they have an open source related article every week or two.

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