[LINK] ACS calls for government open source mandate
brd at austarmetro.com.au
Mon Feb 2 09:55:02 EST 2004
ACS calls for government open source mandate
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is calling for the federal government
and the opposition to put in place policies that support open source
software in an effort to boost the creation of local IT jobs in Australia
and reduce what it estimates as a $14 billion ICT trade deficit.
Speaking at the ALP Conference 'fringe event to debate the future of
Australian IT industry' in Sydney, ACS president Edward Mandla told CEOs
from more than 30 IT vendors that if the government wanted to get serious
about addressing the decline of ICT jobs it should mandate open systems.
"Australia has a very strong open source community and it is unsupported. I
call upon the ALP [and the government] to adopt a policy [as part of] its
election platform of supporting open source. It will change the ICT deficit
[thereby creating more jobs]," Mandla said.
Fringe event organiser and Shadow IT Minister Senator Kate Lundy at times
sailed close to advocating a government mandate for open source systems -
however never actually spoke the words. Rather, the open source sell was
left to New South Wales Minister for Commerce and Labor factional power
broker John Della Bosca. Della Bosca, in no uncertain terms, told the
assembly of bosses that the NSW government was in the process of breaking
down proprietary vendor lock-ins.
"We have been dumb buyers of IT for a long time. We want to become better
buyers, users and sellers of information and IT. We are moving away from
proprietary software - a controversial decision onto open source. It's a
suck-it-and-see exercise," Della Bosca said.
He added that NSW is also in the process of reworking "clumsy" intellectual
property disclosure provisions that inhibited smaller local firms in
competition with multinationals.
Asked what he thought of the ACS proposals, Microsoft Australia managing
director Steve Vamos said that customers did not require new laws to assist
them in choosing software. "I think that the freedom to choose the solution
that is best value for money and best meets your needs is the overwhelming
driver. You cannot predict where technology will go - and to legislate for
a particular technology hasn't been done before and there's good reason
why. In the mid 80s we would have Unix on every desktop in Australia if the
government had legislated for an open system. The argument was that IBM was
a monopoly with its mainframe software and we should go to open systems. In
the end Unix found a really large place in the market based on value for
money and its purpose, not anything else. It's what customers choose,"
If you have any trouble sounding condescending, find a Unix user to show
you how it's done
-- Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame)
brd at austarmetro.com.au
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