[clug] What sort of OSS legislation would you like to see

tmc at dreamcraft.com.au tmc at dreamcraft.com.au
Sat Aug 9 09:38:37 EST 2003

My take on the whole OSS vs proprietary software is two fold.

Legistative measures:

1. ALL govt departments must use software that complies with publically
available and non-patent standards for data exchnage and communications -
that is data interchnage formats, communications protocols, etc. Under
shuc a schema govt departments must consider any systems that meets the
specifications and requirements.
2. How to make sure that we get the best value for money as "shareholders"
aka taxpayers: this one is many part:
- force a change in the rule for tendering, which would mean that a tender
evaluation process must include the cost of any "exit strategy" should a
vendor for whatever reason (real or imagined) lost the contract/ceased to
be the best option/screwed up.
- chnage the tender rules so that the vendors MUST give an estimated cost
of maintainace and patches etc over the WHOLE LIFE of the system,
including decommissioning process (as opposed to above - ditch + replace
in a hurry)
- hold vendors financially accountable for any budget blow-outs, thuis
forcing them to submit realistic pricing, etc. This is important
especially if the cost was NOT listed in the tender ;  if so, tough -
vendor pays to cover it - ie lateness, lack of functionality, etc.

1. Educate the decision makers about Open Standards, vendor lock-in and
about that the Open Source process is about. This combined with open
standards legistlation will make a difference.
2. Educate by poiting out/demonstrating alternatives - PC's/Macs/wherever
on hardware side and Proprietary/OSS on the software side.
3. Push for more balanced corriculum in the TAFE/Uni/etc environments.

> I agree with Brad that trying to use legislation to control
> organisational decisions is flawed...
> My take on 'what to do next is different' [and yes, education about IT
> & OSS is a good idea too]
> 1) there are no CONSEQUENCES for all those (poor and good) decisions to
> lock-in vendors or go propriatory.  How do we make _personal_
> consequences to all those CIO's etc signing cheques??  Some sort of
> comparion or audit process is the start - but look at the ANAO, good
> reports, but no ability to cause/mandate change or 'bring offenders to
> book'.
> 2) The is no 'OSS versus anything/anyone' battle [but the reverse is
> true] What I understand to be happening, is we'd like to see some sense
> brought into IT purchase decisions. [Yes, there are many 'religious
> bigots' for whom "OSS (or MS or Apple or xxx) is the truth, the light,
> the way"]
> I've writing a piece on this but have to go North [Brisbane] for a
> week. Will post it when I get back.
> cheers
> sj
> Steve Jenkin, Unix Sys Admin
> 0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
> PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
> On Fri, 8 Aug 2003, Brad Hards wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> All that said, I still think that the concept of OSS legislation is
>> fundamentally flawed. Education would be better, and is necessary in
>> any  case.
>> Brad
>> Version: GnuPG v1.0.7 (GNU/Linux)
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