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  • up on some of the places who have started to use OSS in government with some real, hard numbers to back up the cost savings claims? Aside from the obvious savings of the initial purchase cost, all software costs real money in terms of training and support. I don't much care for M$ but the OSS zealotry has gotten a lot worse in the last few years, to the point of being very unappealing to many people. 50 different support contracts vs. 1 is not compelling either.

    In the short term, it is highly unlikely th

    • by Ovid (2709) on 2003.05.10 13:41 (#19991) Homepage Journal

      I tend to lean towards the open-source end of things simply because being able to audit the code has plenty of benefits that I won't belabor here. I am not a free software zealot, however. Some free software is great. Some free software is miserable. That's not what bothers me here.

      My concern with Minnis' actions is that she personally killed this bill rather than allow an open debate on the topic. Would OSS and free software be a boon to government? Who knows? However, I would much prefer that there be open discussion on this issue rather than her unilaterally taking it upon her self to stifle such discussion. It's not as if this is some nutty idea like a bill to label many war protesters as terrorists (such a bill was actually proposed here in Oregon). It's a reasonable attempt to save some money and, as such, deserves reasonable discussion.

      • Discussion, sure, but I don't see how legislating the matter forcing them to consider OSS is a viable path to getting such a discussion. It seems the antithesis of OSS in fact. I'd rather see those who wish such consideration by governments to produce some real economic data which they would be unable to ignore. Turku, Finland [] and their ministry of finance would be a fine place to begin collecting data on the fiscal benefits of considering OSS as a cost-cutting solution to M$. Talk is cheap and generally on

        • This week's Economist [] has an article [] that relates to this, tangentially. It notes that Amazon is saving $20 million due to a move towards linux. It also mentions how Google is saving money by using open source as well as commoditized hardware.

          I would dearly love to have an alternative to using WinXP but "it's what the students want" and so I'm deploying it to my computer labs (that's the very short story).

          As you wrote, until we see some hard numbers it will be difficult to prove to PHB's that OSS is a goo
          • Amazon is a tech company though and that's a vasty different population compared to the average government office filled with paper pushers and those not terribly interested in how the computer works. The same goes for google.

            Do I disagree that OSS is good? In some situations, yes. M$, for all its flaws, knows its market and how to market to them and have never tried to introduce ludicrous legislation to force people to consider their software [ not that I'm aware of anyway ]. Until one of the big outsou

          • It notes that Amazon is saving $20 million due to a move towards linux. It also mentions how Google is saving money by using open source as well as commoditized hardware.

            Yeah, stories from Amazon, Yahoo and Google are tangentially interesting, but not particularly relevant to government IT spending. Governments are not corporations. They have similar concerns when it comes to managing a network of thousands of users, but that's really where the similarity ends.

            As a matter of high level government p