debate about Free software for the ACT Government

Richard Cottrill richard_c at
Tue Apr 23 20:44:15 EST 2002

It sounds like it could be a great idea. If the government were to take some
of the cash it spends on proprietary, closed, for-cost software, and spend
it on development/support for free software it uses then Canberra wins in
many ways - like working towards a critical mass of development/developers
that is necessary for the IT enterprises it keeps bleating about.

I'll just put a whinge in here about how most of the companies attracted by
Gov't tax breaks seem to fill their offices with sales people rather than
the R&D folks who create wealth for a city (the Government's real aim); the
DSTO offices which shoot the whole 'critical mass' concept in the foot by
doing a silly proportion of their work in secret; a massive lack of
better-than-used-car-salesmen entrepreneurs in Canberra; investors never
seem to make it out of the big cities (even if 'venture capital' weren't a
dirty term); and so on.

Of course I have every reason to expect that if this is ever adopted it will
be by largely ignorant politicians bleating about has-been buzzwords without
understanding what the hell they're talking about. From there the
politicisation of the topic is but a fairy step to the side, and then all is

I hope for a change by parts towards free, open software cross the world. I
expect (at best) a nasty political quagmire in Canberra; or (most likely) a
bit of hot-air where politicians (and hopefuls) can schmoose with a largish,
well-organised, politically active group of voters.

(worried that I found myself more cynical than The Register yesterday)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: linux-admin at [mailto:linux-admin at]On
> Behalf Of Alex Pollard
> Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 11:06 AM
> To: linux at
> Subject: debate about Free software for the ACT Government
> The ACT Labor party might soon hold an informal public debate
> about replacing
> Microsoft and other closed-source software in the ACT Government
> with Free
> software.
> I suppose we're interested in suggestions for venues and times,
> and possibly
> even participants. Are there any certifiable Microsoft Engineers
> out there
> who'd like to volunteer? :-)
> You can send ideas to luke.ryan at
> Alex

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