[Linux-aus] Help with a political approach to Open Source please :)

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Thu Oct 6 15:23:01 UTC 2005

On 10/5/05, Pia Waugh <greebo at pipka.org> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Over the next 3-6 months I will be approaching several high profile state
> and federal politicians  on behalf of Linux Australia to speak about the
> social and economic reasons why Open Source should be on the
> Australian political agenda.

I'm not sure whether this fits within your brief; that said, a topic
that has been in the spot light since 911 is national security.  OSS
has a few advantages to offer Australia's national security.

      - diversity is a common sense approach to risk management.  We
all know the rationale for this one; I found it interesting that
besides the economic reasons for the Munich OSS migration, the other
key reason put forward was that, post-911, there was a strategic need
to reduce software mono-cultures [1].  In this, their main concern was
the growing monoculture of Microsoft Windows operating systems in
their government infrastructure.  Due to the decline in the number of
commerical customer-grade operating systems available these days, open
source operating systems are now a necessary part of any plan to
introduce diversity.

That argument may have been a well constructed straw man, as Windows
does not have a monopoly on infrastructure equipment, but Slammer,
Blaster, etc have shown that too many Windows workstations can create
an infrastructure problem.

      - Howard has stated that our national security 'relies on aid'
[2].  The implication is that other nations poverty is our security
risk; so it is in our national interest to ensure these countries
enjoy the information age.  By choosing to use open source solutions
here in Australia, we ensure that our neighbouring developing nations
have a range of software solutions that they can deploy at relatively
low cost, and that interoperability with Australia is not going to be
an issue -- letting them leap-frog into the digital age.

Collaboration on open source projects increases the person-to-person
relations, building strong relationships between Australians and our
neighbours.  We would not be so dependant on `aid' if we are
considered, in the hearts and minds of the terrorists, as the good

As an interesting aside, a few years ago there was an paper written
regarding why Aid organisations should use free software; here is an

"Sending information in Microsoft Word format to correspondents in
Eritrea is analagous to Nestle advertising baby milk powder to Indian
mothers." [3]

1. http://www.kbst.bund.de/Anlage304109/pdf_datei.pdf
2. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200509/s1459911.htm
3. http://danny.oz.au/freedom/ip/aidfs.html

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