[Linux-aus] Greens battle Microsoft

Brent Wallis bw at wallis.id.au
Thu Jul 31 18:45:01 UTC 2003


I must stress that my comments below should _not_ be misconstrued
as opinions about political parties... rather, a comment on the possible dangers of using the political arena to achieve a "forced" outcome for
FOSS acceptance...

Leon Brooks <leon at cyberknights.com.au> wrote/quoted ..
>     THE Greens have signalled they are willing to lend their
>     political muscle to Democrat moves to introduce open source
>     preference legislation.

IMHO this is "dangerous territory" for FOSS in general and is in direct opposition to one of the fundamental tennants of the FOSS development

ie: "Need creates feature and function which enhances use" ("natural selection for code that displays the same features as our biological model").

Nowhere in FOSS does anyone practice "forced use" and survive. This seems to be a key reason why the overall software quality is higher. 

Forcing FOSS in "preference where practical" could produce very low acceptance rates because the phrase _implies_ acceptance of something less than "better".

>     Greens hold key parliamentary seats in several states where
>     the Democrats are introducing the Bills, and are politically
>     sympathetic to laws that challenge the power of big business.

Careful, leveraging senators with minority mandates when trying to force "restrictions" into a particular arena breeds more enemies and suspicion than friends. 

>     Describing Microsoft founder Bill Gates as "a bit of a robber
>     baron", NSW Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon warned the legislation
>     would anger US trade lobby groups. 

Last time the "MS are evil dogs" comment was raised on this list, howls of protest ensued, and rightly so. Is this sort of comment something FOSS (majority thereof) want to be party too? 

>     Greens in NSW and South Australia are backing Democrat Bills
>     that call for open source to be used in preference to
>     proprietary software "where practicable".
> Interesting dilemma: if the US trade lobby groups agitate, they get seen
> as US Imperialist interfering old baggages; if they don't, the 
> legislation goes through with little opposition.

IMHO if this gets through, we lose and if it doesn't we lose as well. 
I form this opinion because the idea will create public debate which highlights an argument that restricts freedom and suggests Open Source is the silver bullet (whether users like it or not). 

The FOSS movement will have employed a tactic used by MS. What's more, a savy journo would only have to take a stroll through the Democrats Offices and find a few Windows installs, and all bets would be off. 

Remember, small errant issues like a Win2K server operating in the offices of a Democrats/Greens senator would be all it would take to create fuel for the MS PR people. 

It would be like someone handing the keys of a Porche to my daughter...*shudder* :-|. 


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