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[seul-edu] Re: [OS:N:] Good Post on Open Source

chris calise wrote:
Hello Everyone.
The good fight goes on.

Here is a post from Oregon Rep. Phil Barnhart,
introducer of H.B. 2892

...  The Microsoft
people simply had no desire to work out a compromise. The answer to my
question of their lobbyist, "So, you just want this bill to go away?"
was an unequivocal, "Yes." The answer to their question of me, "Have you
given up on Open Source Software for Oregon?" is an unequivocal, "NO."

I welcome your comments, thoughts and suggestions. Please feel free to
contact my office if there is anything my staff or I can do for you. It
is often a frustration but always an honor to serve you.
Thanks for forwarding that!

Rep Minnis said publicly, as she killed HB 2892:
> ... let me make it clear that this bill died for a simple reason: it is
> a solution in search of a problem. As stated in the 2001 Oregon Revised
> Statutes §291.038(3):
> "Rules, plans and specifications shall be formulated to insure that
> information resources fit together in a statewide system capable of
> providing ready access to information, computing or telecommunication
> resources. Rules, plans and specifications shall be based on industry
> standards for open systems to the greatest extent possible."
> Furthermore, §291.038(8)f clearly defines open systems:
> "Open systems’ means systems that allow state agencies freedom of choice
> by providing a vendor-neutral operating environment where different
> computers, applications, system software and networks operate together
> easily and reliably."
> I appreciate Mr. Barber's efforts to encourage state agencies to use
> open-source software and I share his desire to save money at all levels
> of state government. However, state agencies already have the ability
> under existing law to use open-source software.

But it seems clear to me that §291.038(3)'s mandate of "open systems
to the greatest extent possible" is not being fulfilled, since
Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office do not provide a vendor-neutral operating environment. Indeed, MS Windows and MS Office are increasingly hostile to competitors. IMHO this section should effectively prohibit the adoption of MS Office 2003 if more neutral options such as OpenOffice are available and suitable.

Perhaps leading by example would be appropriate here. Have any Oregon legislators considered switching their computer systems to open source? If not, let's see if we can coax them into trying it. The least painful step would be to install OpenOffice.org1.1beta on their Windows systems, and try it out side-by-side for a while. Once they're over that hurdle, switching to Linux would be a lot easier.

I've been helping the OpenOffice.org team sort through their incoming bug reports (see http://kegel.com/openoffice/ for why & how you should do this, too :-), and I would *love* to hear from any legislators whether OpenOffice's 1.1 beta meets their needs for office suite software, and if not, how it falls short.

[I'm sending this Rep Bernhardt, too.]

- Dan

Dan Kegel