[clug] US Australia Free Trade Agreement

Robert Brockway robert at timetraveller.org
Wed Apr 7 15:15:14 GMT 2004

On Tue, 6 Apr 2004, Alex Satrapa wrote:

> 1) Given that the Federal and most State governments are
> Microsoft-shops, it will become impossible to do business with

I've contracted to the Queensland government and I can say for sure that
OSS is alive and well there.  My contact with other state governments at
the time suggested this was also true elsewhere.

The South Australian bill which endorsed government agencies to look at
OSS as a viable solution and a similarly proposed federal bill are a
start.  Seems to me the future of OSS is brighter than it was a few years
ago (admittedly certain apsects of the FTA are concerning).

> Government agencies if one doesn't use Microsoft products. The DA, DMCA
> and FTA will grant Microsoft a monopoly over all Government

While contracting to the Queensland Government the issue of "equal
availability to government services for all Queenslanders" was a common
one when projects were being planned.  This specifically forced those
redesigning a couple of departmental websites to make sure the sites were
standards compliant so that those accessing the sites from non-MS browers
would not be disadvantaged.

If any company gets a "monopoly over governement" then an inability to
lodge my tax return really will be the least of my problems.

I think the future of OSS is rosy.  Things are really looking up, despite
suites by The SCO Group and other problems.  Compare the way OSS is seen
now to how it was 5 years ago.

Governments the world over are seeing that OSS has implicit in it
guarantees of freedom.  Governments in Australia, and many other countries
are encouraging choice in software.

I don't think it is popular at the moment to have a positive view of the
future but my analysis of the software industry over many years leads me
to believe that although we are seeing increased opposition from some
quarters the industry is moving back towards a position of balance.  I now
commonly hear people in the street raise the same concerns regarding
propriatory software and certain large companies that many of us were
raising 5 or 10 years ago:  Concerns about privacy, concerns about
monopolisation, you know the ones.

If the people in the street, who have nothing to do with computers except
to use them as consumers, raise these issues without being prompted you
can be sure the message is out there.

Anyway, I have work to do :)


Robert Brockway B.Sc. email: robert at timetraveller.org, rbrockway at uqconnect.net
Linux counter project ID #16440 (http://counter.li.org)
"The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens" -Baha'u'llah

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