[clug] Internode dumps FOSS for MS Exchange

Hal Ashburner hal.ashburner at gmail.com
Tue Feb 16 22:14:02 MST 2010

On 17/02/2010 3:20 PM, Chris Smart wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 3:18 PM, Lana Brindley<lanabrindley at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> I really am much more on the side of "this free software jag is cool, I want
>> to use it" idea, than the "Microsoft is evil, so I'm going to use Linux
>> instead" camp. I can't help but think that those who are here simply because
>> Linux != Microsoft will probably find some other band wagon to jump on soon
>> enough. Google-bashing, maybe?

Google bashing is easy.
Google built a business in part on finding a way to make Free software 
proprietary by distributing access to the software on their servers 
rather than the software itself thus obviating the legal requirements of 
the GPL to make their changes available to all. Without that GPL dodging 
insight, no google.
Then there are the very real privacy concerns.
Then there is their market power when it comes to online advertising.
Then they've wasted hours of my life with their consultants ringing me 
to 'invite' me to undertake a lengthy job interview process like so many 
scientologists.... (Funny how much this has calmed down since I left NICTA).
And you should notice what address I'm posting this from when reading 
the above to see the true force of it...

The point for me is not to replace microsoft, or apple, or google, or 
Sun, or Oracle, or IBM or HP or Google whoever. The point is to not 
allow these companies the market power to unduly influence my choice.
Software patents do this. As do proprietary file formats. Standards with 
submarine patents. etc. In short, platform control Any form of 
anti-competitive, vendor lock-in is bad.
Then when you have the ATO requiring the purchase and use of one and 
only one company's software to pay my tax I tend to feel very, very 
strongly about that.
As long as someone has the choice to compete on reasonable terms, be 
they Free software authors or some proprietary startup where the barrier 
is simply the time and expertise required to write the software well, 
rather than some other artificial barrier designed to prevent this I 
have no problem.
Gmail follows the relevant rfc and I can move to another email service 
whenever I want. I presume google are honest enough to allow me to 
easily forward my mail to that new account if I choose to do so.
I dislike facebook and wave because you can't do this. You're either 
tied that company utterly or you take no part in it at all. Now imagine 
if you need an account on some service like this in order to do your job 
or interact with government.
Proper, open and Free standards aren't just good, they're absolutely 
essential. When one company controls the platform relied on by others, 
be that the Operating Sytem, essential Gui libraries, an overwhelming 
share of an essential application such as a web-browser

Microsoft's market influence wasn't and isn't the disease it's just a 
symptom. If we'd replaced them with IBM or Apple we might have had a 
slightly different set of symptoms but no cure for the restraint on choice.

Oh, don't fall into the "no choice" trap. There's always another choice. 
Even for an absolute monopoly like the supply of water you could put 
pots out to catch the rain. The test is how much influence one company 
has on your choice through means other than the quality of their 
product. Or to put it another way, how hard would it be to get a good 
market share against that company if your startup had a product of 
equivalent or better quality? After all even if it were absolutely 
compulsory all software came from company X we could still /choose/ to 
become Luddites and live in the woods. Company X would argue with a 
straight face that this and the existence of bic & reflex demonstrate 
there is no monopoly.

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