[nSLUG] Open Source Desktop Apps

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 19:28:59 ADT 2009


2009/8/5 Jim Haliburton <jim at on-site.ns.ca>:
> Recently  I was told that a CIO type committee was formed in the provincial
> government IT management.  I have also heard that they have advised the
> politicos that Open Source Software is "not sustainable".  Now I believe this
> is plain and simply incorrect.
>
> What I am asking is for this groups help in countering this claim.  I hope to
> be able to prepare a bound copy of an alternative position showing the
> sutainability of Open Source.  I want to be able to debunk every myth and MS
> FUD that they can present.

Well, this is a great idea, and I applaud your efforts.

However, I would suggest that this work has already been done. Rather
than recruiting a loose-group of techies, most of whom have no
relation to the gov't at all, go for the leading lights. Just a quick
google, but some places to check out are:

http://goscon.org/ -- Gov't open source conference
http://eaves.ca/2009/02/25/wedding-open-source-to-government-service-delivery/
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135797/Group_to_push_open_source_in_U.S._government

This last one states:

"Members of the Open Source For America coalition, which launched
Wednesday [July 19th, 2009], include Google, The Linux Foundation, the
Mozilla and Debian projects, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro
Devices (AMD) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)".

And you can even count on the support of the President of Brazil:

http://opensource.org/node/443

And I am sure that a few more minutes of research will yield many more.

If you truly want to spearhead a grassroots campaign from the ground
up, you're going to need to motivate people with cold hard facts,
because "I was told" and "I have also heard" some stupidity attributed
to some unnamed gov't dept. is guaranteed to generate nothing but a
lot of sarcasm and yawning.

Keep in mind, also, that if this alleged committee is ready to believe
that open source is less sustainable than commercial software, it
means one (or both!) of two things:
- they are stupid, or at best grossly misinformed
- they are beholden to some private interest

Either way, attempting to go against that will be difficult and may
net you some powerful enemies.

Best idea, IMHO, is to ask everyone to contact their MLA simply to
say: "I support the use of open source/free software in gov't in order
to help safeguard public data, while at the same time saving tax payer
money". (Note that when I talk about "safeguarding public data", what
I mean is: properly securing the private and sensitive data which the
gov't holds about all of us, but which BELONGS to the public, i.e. the
taxpayer).

Best of luck,

-D.



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