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Representative Phil Barnhart of the Oregon state legislature in March introduced a bill that would compel the state to pledge to strongly consider Linux and other open source programs in all future purchase decisions. Regardless of what you think of Microsoft's newly released Windows 2003 server, Linux or any other piece of software, it's worth taking a closer look at what Barnhart is asking of the state. There is no better advice for the world's software users than to consider the alternatives.
This kind of puts an end to any argument that support of open source isn't as good as that for closed source.
Microsoft, who constantly claims that they can support you better, won't even be interested in your Windows NT problems soon. Pretty remarkable for what is currently their most often used server OS.
It's time people realize that while you don't have the source code, you're at the mercy of the company that produces it. What happens if the company goes bust, changes direction, or simply decides they can't be bothered anymore?
The bill is unnecessary. Oregon's own department responsible for acquiring software for the state already does so on a "value-for-money" basis. In fact, they testified against the bill earlier in April. Right now, no law, rule or regulation prevents any governing body from going out into the free market and acquiring the software products they need. Not one. Laws, such as those proposed in Oregon (and in Texas), only reduce choices, not increase them. This can never help taxpayers, especially when the best option might be unavailable because of legislative preference or bias.
This is exactly what the Industry lobby said. Think about value for money basis for a moment. The more you spend, the more value you get, right?
Open Source software is different from other software in that it does not have full-time paid industry lobbyists who make sure the state is buying the 'right' software.
Open Source software is underrepresented at the State level.
All software takes work to use. All software needs some level of support. Only Open Source software does not require per user or machine license fees.
HB 2892 makes use of this distinction.
Before anyone spends my tax dollars, I want them to make sure they have taken the time to learn if Open Source will work. It is wasteful not to do this.
Consider this also. Every document, piece of work, communication and other effort that gets encoded into a proprietary software will need to be paid for -- forever.
Is this really what the government should be doing?
Think about Office work now. Open Office is done, it works and does have those fees.
At some point there is a payoff for doing the work to move to Open Office. The State will be in business for a very long time. Should we not begin the move sooner rather than later?
Do you really want to keep paying and paying for the software that your government uses (to tax you BTW) when you know they can begin to end that process?
There are 50,000 workstations in Oregon. If you just consider Open Office, do the math. Over the next 2-5 years, all of those workstations will see at least 1 upgrade. How much money will go to Microsoft for basically nothing?
Should we not justify that expense?
I can't see how mwendy can say that choices will be reduced with this type of bill being passed. IT budgets are, IMHO, badly managed because the MS option is taken almost automatically and alternatives from other companies or open source/free software ignored. This goes unchecked because to many people outside IT, including financial directors, Computing = Microsoft and this allows bad decisions to slip though.
IT is the only area of a business which seems to allow a junior member of staff to enter the company into a long-term legal agreement with a supplier of software which will involve committing to expensive software license agreements without question. This happens each time a EULA is accepted. That isn't how I want my tax dollar managed, and as a taxpayer I would welcome any effort by government to find cheaper and more flexible alternatives.