From: Andrew Plato (aplato@private)
Date: Thu Jul 31 2003 - 06:27:54 PDT

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    > Open source software, in contrast, basically just sits there on its 
    > merits, with no one to sell it. Only really pro-active civil 
    > servants go 
    > out of their way to seek out these lower-cost alternative solutions 
    > instead of just accepting one of the commercial suitors that 
    > show up on their doorstep.
    This just isn't true Crispin. There are plenty of system integrators and
    consulting firms pitching open source solutions to public groups. My firm
    does. Many others do as well. 
    > This bill levels the playing field by forcing civil servants 
    > to at least 
    > *consider* open source alternatives where such exists. They 
    > don't have 
    > to choose them, they just have to demonstrate that they 
    > considered open 
    > source alternatives, and found cause that some proprietary 
    > solution is actually better.
    They already ARE considering these technologies. I know of at least two or
    three public entities here in Portland that use Linux and BSD machines in
    many places. Why do they need some law telling them to consider what they're
    already using? 
    > On the "bad/good for the economy" front:
    > * IMHO open source solutions would save the State 
    > government a *lot*
    > of money. Money for commercial software is being wasted by State
    > govt. merely because the government consumers of IT don't know
    > that they could save money by chosing these relatively obscure
    > alternatives.
    > * IMHO, government use of open source software would 
    > increase money  spent on local consultants to do customization, at the 
    > expense of money spent on commercial licenses which mostly just leave the
    > state. So increased use of open source strengthens local
    > economies: think globally, act locally.
    > * IMHO Oregon's software industry is richer than most in the open
    > source sector. In contrast, Washington's economy is clearly
    > dominated by Microsoft. So this bill is good for the Oregon
    > economy, and bad for the Washington economy. I'm ok with that :)
    1. Commercial sales are also good for the economy. System integrators,
    resellers, and other local retailers make money from selling commercial
    products just the same as they make money from selling open-source
    solutions. The margins may be different, but there is still money to be made
    on both sides. Therefore, not all the money in commercial sales leaves the
    state. Plenty of it stays right here. Smart manufacturers realize that and
    have channel resale programs for local resellers. 
    2. Open source solutions are ALREADY being pitched by local consultants. My
    company does a lot of public work. We have numerous public contracts.
    Sometimes we pitch open-source solutions, sometimes commercial. We pick the
    best fit for the job.  There is simply no reason for anybody to be forced
    into ANY position. The State ALREADY has the freedom to use open source. And
    there is already a wide assortment of consulting firms and system
    integrators, like Anitian, pitching open source solutions. 
    So honestly, I really don't know why we need this "jihad."  
    Honestly, this whole cause seems to be motivated by a very few people who
    want to force themselves into the decision process without following due
    process. The procurement process is working fine. My suggestion would be
    that those interesting in seeing more open source solutions in the public
    sector band together and respond to various public Request for Proposals
    (RFPs) and DEMONSTRATE that open-source is a cheaper alternative. Heck, most
    RFPs hugely weigh cost. If you want to get open-source in the public sector,
    follow the process and respond to RFPs. You should have no problem winning
    contracts and helping your state save money. 
    Andrew Plato, CISSP 
    President / Principal Consultant 
    Anitian Enterprise Security 
    503-644-5656 Office 
    503-644-8574 Fax 
    503-201-0821 Mobile 

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