On Tue, May 04, 2004 at 03:44:00PM +0100, Bryan O'Donoghue wrote:
> Perhaps the best thing to do here, is require the Minister's department to
> furnish either the ILUG or interested members of it, with the
> report/documentation as to where the government 'looked' into the total
> cost of ownership of Open Source solutions, so that we could formulate a
Putting in Freedom of Information requests may prove fruitful in that
regard, but I would say the first thing to do is to write a detailed
policy document. If people got together and wrote a reasonable,
well-worded, well-argued, peer-reviewed document that could be drawn
upon then there is something to start with :)
Currently a lot of people only know that they are pro-open-source (or
worse, just plain anti-microsoft) because of (and I don't mean that
these apply to everyone, just some); self-righteous need for
vindication, discomfort with big-business in general, philisophical
objectsions surrounding personal freedoms and so on and other such
But what's needed is hard and fast numbers and argument, a simple
document people can reference which details how OpenSource benefits
the Government, how it supplants investment such as Microsoft, how
it can create more jobs and how it can be leveraged to drive our
economy and give us a leading edge. The arguments need to be economic,
rigourous and inscrutable.
Go to the Government with a document that points out that OpenSource
solutions are usually more finely-tuned on a local basis, that they
requires a local, more valueable, skillset, that it's harder to
outsource this kind of employment and they'll listen. Point out that
it's an emerging field, and the world (albeit slowly) is moving that way
- we should get in at the start and develop a reputation. Point out that
the Government is already using Open Source, and make case-studies and
praise its use where it is.
Catalogue the Irish Open source community, and show that we are
disproportionately active. Point out the use of OpenSource in Academia
and so on. And wrap it all up with some simple policy initiatives that
the government can put into bills and an opposition into manifestoes.
They especially like it when you make their lives easier.
That's what they listen to!
> If after a reasoned rebuttal, where we assume that we can 'prove' TCO is
> lower with Open Source alternatives, the Minister and Department continue
> to proceed with what seems like a commitment to Propiatery software, in the
> face of reason, al-la E-Voting, it's time to lobby the opposition.
I don't think TCO is lower, and that's a factor. From a Government's
economic point of view, it is better to give Microsoft (who in turn keep
employing lots of locals and exporting through us) the business than say
RedHat (who don't - and hence represent a risk). This is why the changes
will be incremental and small, but you start by getting them on-side to
the very idea of it in principal at least.
> Perhaps, the easiest thing to do, is to forego the whole 'reasoned debate'
> thing and have some rabid members of the opposition shout "J'Accuse" from
> the rafters.
Watch *nothing* happen! All politicians know in this country, more than
anything else, is to never give in to the other side - no matter how
much sense they make.
Colm MacCárthaigh Public Key: colm+pgp at stdlib.net
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