[Linux-aus] What a waste!

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Wed Oct 1 19:21:01 UTC 2003

I speak for myself, not for the excellent organisations of which I am a 
member, and quote from this article:


> 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. 

Tom, you've got that last bit completely bass-ackwards. Linux is not 
always free to purchase, but it is very rare for the ROI to be other 
than a big improvement on MS-Windows - which to cut through a lot of 
bulldust is what it would be replacing in Massachusetts.

I charge half as much again as a typical MS-Windows technician for my 
Linux work, and I'm so busy I have to turn people away because the 
Linux-based results are so much better than any proprietary ones 
they've ever seen.

The ROI results for OpenOffice.org, the office suite that MA will be 
replacing MS-Office with, are even more astounding. Fetch a copy of 
OpenOffice.org 1.1 yourself and try it out. Proper crash recovery, no 
viruses, scads of extra features including PDF and Flash output, and 
getting even better while you wait.

Both of these products are examples of one of the strongest forms of 
Open Source, the GPL or "Free (as in speech) Software".

> 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.

If it's a monopoly, you should be able to name the company or political 
force which is in control of it. Can you?

Not a hope! Open Source is not a brand, it is not a production line, it 
has no office, no secretariat, no board of directors, no legal 
department, no shares.

Open Source is people. Lots and lots of people. People combining their 
efforts and building on each other's work instead of hiding and WASTING 
it, or working to destroy each other as proprietary software makers so 
often do.

Massachusetts' actions will not form a monopoly, they will BREAK an 
existing, entrenched, CONVICTED monopoly. Microsoft and their lackeys 
claim to only want a level playing field, but on any modern playing 
field they are the 800lb gorilla and everyone else is a capuchin 
underfoot. Is that fair?

Should we stand back, as we have been doing, and let all of the 
corporate capuchins be crushed in the name of "free market" and 

> most studies conclude that acquisition costs represent only 5 to
> 10 percent of total cost of ownership.  Maintenance, training and
> support are far more expensive with open source than proprietary
> software. 

Go and have a look at who FUNDS those studies (and if not directly, then 
have a look at the organisation's biggest customer), and then have a 
little think about who the government WASTES most IT funding on.

Then go and read some real studies. Perhaps some which include the costs 
of fighting viruses and worms, perhaps some which count the cost of 
regular crashes, lost data and lost privacy. Not even the esoterica of 
trying to count the WASTE in re-invented wheels, a WASTE which CAGW 
seem particularly hostile to.

You've been duped, Tom Schatz, and the quicker you wake up to having 
been suckered, the less damage will be done - to you, and to those you 

If you do not recant swiftly, you will be written off and backwatered as 
irrelevant "opinion for hire" (like Citizens for a Sound Economy, the 
Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, the Cato Institute, and so on).

The very words and phrases you chose - like "communist" - to hurl at 
Massachusetts IT department could have been ripped out of a Microsoft 
PR statement; they resonate with the same feelings, attitudes and 

Start thinking for yourself! Start fighting the immense government waste 
which spending on proprietary software represents. Money spent on 
making Bill Gates richer is WASTED, has to be spent again and again as 
new versions roll out. Money spent on tailoring and growing Open Source 
Software to suit Massachusetts is an investment which will yield not 
only for MA, not only for every American state that follows in their 
footsteps, but potentially for every administration and business in the 

Even if you never understand this, even if you oppose the new paradigm 
with all of your might, it will succeed as surely as life itself 
succeeds in reclaiming denuded soil. Anyone wanting to give FOSS a push 
these days has to run.

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Committee Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Committee Member, Linux Australia

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