Highly unlikely

Story: It's Time for Obama to Come Out for FOSSTotal Replies: 23
Author Content
amadensor

Oct 20, 2009
11:54 AM EST
Considering the amount of money and support that comes from Microsoft, it is highly unlikely that they will come out in favor of FLOSS. Microsoft as well as Gates himself have been huge supporters of the Democratic party and their causes. I think the only hope for FLOSS is a third party.
bigg

Oct 20, 2009
12:00 PM EST
I doubt it has anything to do with money. FOSS is an "eyes glazed over" topic for the vast majority of voters. He would do just as well calling a press conference and reading the telephone book. The simple fact is that nobody cares.
softwarejanitor

Oct 20, 2009
12:11 PM EST
@amadensor @big You are both partially right... It is about money for the few people who care (Microsoft)... But the average voter doesn't care. They are just clueless.
gus3

Oct 20, 2009
12:24 PM EST
*bites tongue hard to avoid TOS violation*
jdixon

Oct 20, 2009
12:46 PM EST
> *bites tongue hard to avoid TOS violation*

The whole article and thread is a TOS violation waiting to happen. :(
Bob_Robertson

Oct 20, 2009
1:08 PM EST
Jd, nonono, it's not a TOS violation if Microsoft is the foil. Especially Microsoft's money.

I have to side with Bigg on this one. The use of F/OSS just isn't a nationally political issue. And I really don't want it to be one, either.

As a taxpayer, I'm glad when taxes are not spend on proprietary software. I appreciated Peter Quinn(sp?)'s efforts in Massachusetts, and SE-Linux, because they're situations where I agree with the actions and reasons given.

But as soon as it becomes a "political" issue, we're going to get a bunch of low-lifes looking for how they can benefit from one side or the other, and we'll quickly be afflicted with software licensing and a regulated Internet.
caitlyn

Oct 20, 2009
3:22 PM EST
I agree that this is a non-issue to most people. Most people have no clue what FOSS or FLOSS means or even the issues behind it. I also agree that it's probably best that way.
Steven_Rosenber

Oct 20, 2009
4:48 PM EST
Maybe FSF can ship Obama a laptop with Gnewsense on it?
caitlyn

Oct 20, 2009
5:51 PM EST
Very few laptops work with GNewSense. Most have at least one chipset that is proprietary. The one exception I am certain would work is the Lemote Yelong, a MIPS based system that RMS uses. The 800MHz processor speed would probably make it an unimpressive choice.

Personally, I'm an Open Source pragmatist, not an FSF purist. I have no problem with a well configured laptop or netbook with a popular Linux distro as a gift for the President. I think he probably would prefer a U.S.-based one. Fedora, maybe? OpenSUSE? Something like that.
moopst

Oct 20, 2009
6:06 PM EST
Any gift to the President becomes the property of the US Govt. I doubt he'd even see it.
Bob_Robertson

Oct 20, 2009
7:37 PM EST
> I think he probably would prefer a U.S.-based one.

Don't see any reason why, in fact Ubuntu would hook into that whole "first ethnic president" thing that was such a big deal a year ago.

Maybe get his grammar school in Indonesia on the OLPC list?

Unsolicited gifts are going to be tossed in the nearest bomb-bucket, sad to say.
caitlyn

Oct 20, 2009
7:57 PM EST
Quoting:Maybe get his grammar school in Indonesia on the OLPC list?


It was a Catholic school IIRC, not a government-run one, so that might make it easier.

Quoting:Don't see any reason why, in fact Ubuntu would hook into that whole "first ethnic president" thing that was such a big deal a year ago.


Maybe, but he is the American President, after all, and has talked a lot about creating jobs in this country. {No, I'm not going to discuss his policies. I think job creation is a goal that transcends left/right or political parties and is hopefully decidedly non-controversial.}

Quoting:Unsolicited gifts are going to be tossed in the nearest bomb-bucket, sad to say.


If sent directly, yes. If arrangements were made through your Congressional representative, probably not. You would have to have a Congressional representative who is sold on FLOSS, of course. I don't know if there are many of those in either political party.
jdixon

Oct 20, 2009
9:28 PM EST
> I don't know if there are many of those in either political party.

The only two I know of who might be approachable on the matter are Boucher and Paul (ironically, one from each party).
montezuma

Oct 20, 2009
9:45 PM EST
Actually McNealy was fingered early on for this:

http://www.betanews.com/article/Obama-taps-Suns-McNealy-for-...

Bad choice in my considered opinion.
Scott_Ruecker

Oct 20, 2009
10:13 PM EST
If we can talk about the government using more FOSS then I think we will be alright, I say that as much to myself as to anyone because I chose to post this story. This is where I get fuzzy on the TOS because of how I see what FOSS can become.

If the ideals of Free Software can help make my government and as a consequence our society better, then I am all for it. But the slinging of situational daggers that has become the standard of political existence handicaps any debate or deliberation on the matter. No one, not even me, can make it through a conversation about FOSS and government without pigeonholing ourselves and our audience just to make a personal point.

The specific individuals currently or not currently serving in our government have little to do with the philosophy behind wanting to embrace or install FOSS ideals in our government. It has to start as a societal issue which then finds fruition in the government(s) we choose to be governed by.

Because that issue , what FOSS can ultimately do for us, all of us, is immeasurably bigger than just our how our government could or should operate. Its not just how our technology or government could or should operate but how our society could or should operate, which would be expressed in the forms of government we create for ourselves.

I feel like I just channeled, I have been trying to find the right words to express this for some time now. It is this issue that I believe will either be the wall that FOSS can never climb, or the wall that FOSS finally brings down to the benefit of all mankind..

I believe in FOSS so much that I think it can change the very nature of our existence.

caitlyn

Oct 21, 2009
12:36 AM EST
@montezuma: I agree with you. Sun never fully embraced Open Source. Mr. McNealy is not a FOSS advocate by any stretch of the imagination.
Sander_Marechal

Oct 21, 2009
3:49 AM EST
@Scott It's not just about the ideals of FOSS. It's also about money.

Government IT projects have a horrible track record of going over budget, performing poor and generally being a large collection of problems all ready for TheDailyWTF. That's costing the tax payer millions, if not billions.

The cost benefits (not just acquiring, but TCO) and supporting local vendors instead of the big billionaires should be a much easier point to drive home for representatives and tax payers. And if in the process some of the FOSS philosophies rub off on the government, that can only be a good thing :-)
Bob_Robertson

Oct 21, 2009
11:42 AM EST
> and generally being a large collection of problems all ready for TheDailyWTF.

The bureaucratic incentives involved make such over-runs and inefficiencies the rule, rather than the exception. Time to break out the _Yes, Minister_ tapes again.

> And if in the process some of the FOSS philosophies rub off on the government, that can only be a good thing :-)

I worked at NASA for a while (contractor) and Linux was alive and well and growing. Very much in the mythical "Gee, I have to get something working right now" situations.

And, as we all know well, it worked every time. There was one heck of a deep knowledge of UNIX there, which helped matters.
hkwint

Oct 21, 2009
11:57 AM EST
Quoting:FOSS is an "eyes glazed over" topic for the vast majority of voters.


It doesn't have to be this way. Maybe the people in the US could try it the French / Italian way:

http://www.april.org/en/european-parliament-2009-elections-a...

and if you succeed, your president may even talk about Free Software at a Free Software conference - just like Lula of Brazil did;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBE1Ux-saqA

Sadly I don't speak Portugese, but the president of a country _understanding_ the merits of FOSS is truly what might change the world.

My own country doesn't fare to bad either. Basically because some 'left wing' party proposed to prefer OSOSS (open source software and open standards) in 2002. A unique thing happened: All members of parliament, including all right parties, accepted this proposal (normally the right parties are always against ideas of the left parties and the other way around).

Seven years later and OSOSS in NL government is happening slowly. Slowly because of some resistance from proprietary vendor alliances (usual suspects), the government being locked in and the continuity of their services being the primary objective - maybe some technical difficulties, and some people in government who adopt slowly to change. But nonetheless it's really happening, step by step. Sander can probably tell more about this, since he's involved in this whole thing it seems, but I joined the presentation of NoiV (Netherlands open in Connection) at T-Dose and I heard great stories about things which are changing slowly.

I started an article about open source in Dutch government about a year ago (!) but I should still finish it. However, I want it to be correct, and as I'm only a hobbyist FOSS user and not really involved in the issue, it's a bit hard to know all that's going on.

And then I've been trying to track progress of FOSS in China, but that battle is lost. This is where it's really turning political, so let me just provide the link of a really great story (probably the best Linux-story I read this past year) and you can read for yourself how 'they' sold out (hint: Who 'they' are is not really certain, read the article and you'll understand). Suffice to say I was _really_ p*ssed after reading the article. However, what's truly unique, is that all Linux websites remained silent about these issues, but CNN did care. Thanks and kudos to them. So here comes the biggest Linux failure of the last decennium, another story which makes clear it's not all about the money. One you should read, IMHO.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/...

OK, now you know why there aren't nice Chinese government supported Linux distro's.
Bob_Robertson

Oct 21, 2009
12:13 PM EST
Ok, a couple other things.

First, "it's not their money." So the cost argument isn't going to be all that effective once the cameras are turned off.

Second, here in the US it's much harder to argue "home grown software" because, sad to say, Microsoft is a US company.
hkwint

Oct 21, 2009
12:58 PM EST
Thanks Henke.

I knew the Belgian government has lots of problems, and as they're human, they make wrong decisions from time to time. I didn't knew it was this bad however.

How on earth could this have happened - especially in Brussels? After all, isn't it in Brussels that they decided government projects above €100.000 or so should have a public tender? Didn't Belgium also set itself the goal of using more open source & open standards? Isn't it true that their government already has issues with "shortage of money to spend"? This truly is a sad day.
softwarejanitor

Oct 21, 2009
1:18 PM EST
@Bob_Robertson Microsoft may be a "US company" because of where their headquarters are, but they are sending more and more of their software development work overseas to cheaper countries, so one could probably make an argument that they may not be that "home grown" anymore.
Sander_Marechal

Oct 21, 2009
3:42 PM EST
Quoting:Sander can probably tell more about this, since he's involved in this whole thing it seems


Somewhat involved yes. I'm pretty immersed into all things related to ODF. I know people in NoiV, NLNet Foundation and the OpenDoc Society. I am also involved in a sizeable MS-Office to OpenOffice transistion. Unfortunately I am not allowed to write publicly about that (yet).

Quoting:After all, isn't it in Brussels that they decided government projects above €100.000 or so should have a public tender?


I don't know what has been agreed on a European level, but for The Netherlands at least it's anything over € 25.000
Bob_Robertson

Oct 21, 2009
3:54 PM EST
> Unfortunately I am not allowed to write publicly about that (yet).

Keep notes!

That's the kind of project that can make converts!

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