[Linux-aus] Fwd: FYI & Comment - Latest version of Democrat Open Source Bill

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Thu Sep 18 12:08:01 UTC 2003

On Thu, 18 Sep 2003 11:38, Con Zymaris wrote:
> * Preference should be given to technologies for which there is is a
> case to be made that local industry can benefit, and that imports can
> be replaced, helping improve our woeful balance of trade in ICT.

Microsoft have already pre-neutralised this one as stated. They claim 
that most of the money from Microsoft sales stays in the country.

This claim is true only when viewed in one very special way, but can in 
turn be hobbled by requiring that *complete*local*autonomy* of the 
software be an officially meritorious attribute.

If phrased intelligently, the ruling will mean that because any local 
developer can fork KDE, KDE would automatically be preferred over 
MS-Windows or CDE unless and until Microsoft properly Opened MS-Windows 
or Sun Opened CDE, despite the largest single group of KDE developers 
being in Germany.

If phrased carelessly, Microsoft or Sun need only offer source access 
rights (on RAND terms) for one bazillion dollars to any "qualifying" 
Australian developer in order to evade the ruling.

> I do believe that some affirmative action is not a bad thing, as the
> entrenched players would otherwise be immovable. Most governments
> already have purchasing policies which not only favour entrenched
> vendors, they _mandate_ these vendors' products.

If that's so, perhaps we should start by simply requiring that all such 
mandates be expressly eliminated? Any exceptions granted would have to 
be explicitly argued on a case-by-case basis.

For example, changeover costs would have to unequivocally exceed ongoing 
costs in each case if the applicant wished to retain a specific 
product. That way, if a department produced inflated changeover costs, 
all we need do to press our case is offer them a more reasonable price, 
plus some conditions that protect us against malice (e.g. subject 
white-anting changeover efforts and driving up costs, subject getting 
underquotes on ongoing costs and then allowing them to "blow out" to 
real figures on the day).

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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