[Linux-aus] MEDIA RELEASE: OSIA agrees with NSW Opposition on Danger of Reliance on Single Vendors

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Thu Oct 14 14:59:01 UTC 2004

[Feel free to disseminate to other lists]

OSIA Agrees with NSW Opposition on Danger of Reliance on Single Vendors

Australia -- 15th October, 2004

The NSW Shadow Minister for Commerce, Chris Hartcher, reportedly warned 
the NSW government of the dangers of locking government agencies into 
single vendor products.
"Locking a government agency into a situation where it has only one 
possible support provider now and into the future comes with obvious 
risks," warned Hartcher, who cautioned the government against making rash 
decisions when licencing software products.[1]

The NSW Department of Commerce has launched a tender for Linux Enterprise
Software & Services. Linux, an alternative to the Windows operating system
supplied only by Microsoft, is available from dozens of vendors, including
Novell, Sun, Red Hat, Mandrake, Unisys, Silicon Graphics, Debian and

An OSIA spokesperson, Steven D'Aprano, said "We thank Mr Hartcher for
raising this important point. As tax payers, we are greatly concerned
about the waste of government funds on overly-expensive software products
when there are more competitive, lower cost alternatives, and it is
gratifying that both the Government and the Opposition have recognised the
dangers of vendor lock-in and the importance of having multiple suppliers
of software products."

D'Aprano pointed out that the computer hardware industry has pushed prices
down and performance up over the last few decades. "Competition is good
for the industry and good for the consumer. If you are using a standard PC
running Microsoft's systems, chances are the software is as expensive or
more so than the computer itself. While hardware vendors have been
competing on price and features, certain software vendors have been
enjoying the fruits of virtual monopolies: higher prices, lowered customer
service, and virtually no innovation."
"Open Source software like Linux is changing all that. Unlike other
single-vendor operating systems, Linux is distributed under a licence that
guarantees the right of new vendors to compete directly on a level 
playing field. No single vendor can lock out the others."

"OSIA understands that the NSW government is seeking to establish a panel
of ten Linux suppliers. That means ten independent vendors all fiercely
competing to give the best value for tax-payers' dollars. The dangerous
alternative is the legacy platform Windows. There can only ever be one
vendor of Windows:  Microsoft. Ten vendors on the Linux panel means real
competition and better pricing. One supplier on a panel means lock-in and
monopoly pricing," concluded D'Aprano.


[1] Reported in IT News:

- - -

About Open Source Industry Australia Limited.

OSIA is the industry body for Open Source within Australia. We exist to
further the cause of Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in Australia
and to help our members to improve their business success in this
growing sector of the global Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) market.


Spokesperson/Contact: Steven D'Aprano
Phone: 03 9621 2377
Email: media at osia.net.au

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