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[News] European Commission Admits Procurement System is Brokenp

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EU Commission: Open Bids Favor Proprietary Software

,----[ Quote ]
| In a recent report of the European Union's IDABC agency, numerous software 
| tenders in Europe run against regulations in that they favor proprietary 
| software. If it were up to the IDABC, the tendering organizations would be 
| liable for these practices.   


In Canada, the govt. got /SUED/ for choosing Microsoft. How times change.


In need of software reform

,----[ Quote ]
| Even though they succeeded in making it run not only on Windows but on MacOSX
| and GNU/Linux, their publisher, Dreamcatcher Games, felt that the market for
| MacOSX and GNU/Linux is not worth it for them to publish the game for those
| platforms. Why did they think that? Because they were reading the press
| releases that were funded by Microsoft saying that all game purchases from
| retail outlets are applications and games meant to run on only the Windows
| platform.      
| [...]
| Unless you purchase a copy of GNU/Linux from a retailer, they all believe
| that you are purchasing software to be run on Microsoft Windows (unless they
| are from the MacOSX shrine aisle). This is the biggest area in need of reform
| that I am aware of and something needs to change.  


UK Government: Closed Minds on Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| To its eternal shame, the UK Government uses far less open source than most.
| Worse, it seems to have a closed mind to the whole idea. That's evident in
| the guidelines that have been released to aid in the interpretation of
| amendments to Computer Misuse Act (CMA) of 1990 with respect to “unauthorised
| access to computer material” (aka cracking)...    


The UK has wasted over $4 billion on failed IT projects since 2000

,----[ Quote ]
| The Guardian is reporting that the United Kingdom government has flushed over
| £2 billion (More than US$4 billion) since 2000 on failed IT projects. IT
| projects fail.  
| [...]
| And imagine if before the UK government went into these projects if it's cost
| of failure was hugely mitigated upfront by zero licensing costs and the
| chance to fully evaluate technology before adopting it.  
| It's called open source. Heard of it?


Lawmaker blasts U.K. government on Microsoft policy

,----[ Quote ]
| "A member of Parliament of the United Kingdom has launched a stinging
| attack on the U.K. government's IT strategy, saying that it has given
| Microsoft too much control.
| John Pugh, who is a member of Parliament, or MP, for Southport and a
| member of the Public Accounts Committee, was speaking in an
| adjournment debate on Tuesday that he had called. The aim of the
| debate, he said, was to explore the alternatives to using Microsoft
| software, including open source."


Feds revise IT procurement model

,----[ Quote ]
| The federal government has launched version two of the SourceIT
| model contracts and user notes aimed at simplifying procurement of
| information technology 12 months after the first version.


Governments slammed for anti-competitive software tendering practices

,----[ Quote ]
| A leading Australian open source advocate has called for an end for to
| tender lock-outs of competitors to Microsoft, claiming the practice
| is costing Australian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each
| year.


Calls for ICT consumer watchdog in Uganda grow

,----[ Quote ]
| Wire Lunghabo James, an ICT consultant with Linux Solutions Uganda, concurred
| with Wasukira and added that the consumer body in question must be a vibrant
| one that will be capable of safeguarding the interests of the consumer.


Kenya Linux Group Challenges Procurement Policies

,----[ Quote ]
| After losing out on many software tenders to the government, the Linux
| Professional Association (LPA) will engage the Public Procurement Oversight
| Authority (PPOA) in Kenya over procurement rules, according to the
| association chairman.
| The association members have been locked out of government tenders because
| the requests for proposals are usually skewed toward Microsoft products,
| therefore locking out open-source software developed locally, says LPA
| Chairman Evans Ikua.


The Tragedy of the Anti-Commons

,----[ Quote ]
| Misapplication of “value for money” requirements when purchasing software
| results in poor value for money - Government purchasing policies for software
| tend to support the creation of monopolies.
| Government purchasing has effects on the price paid by citizens for the
| product purchased. In some cases purchasing produces volume which permits
| scale discounts and therefore a net benefit to citizens who also purchase the
| product. However, in the case of lock in software* Government purchasing can
| create a monopoly in the software which leads to increased costs for citizen
| purchasers and a net detriment for society as a whole. It is not appropriate
| for value for money policies to be assessed on a per acquisition basis when
| software is being acquired. Doing so will almost certainly create net costs
| for the community when considered in the aggregate.
| [...]
| Government procurement can both create and reinforce a monopoly in goods and
| services which it is acquiring. Anecdotal evidence suggests that bureaucrats
| look at “value for money” type formulae and assess it against the cost to
| Government on a purchase-by-purchase basis. This approach is fine in respect
| of goods and services which are easily substitutable (such as hammers,
| screws, cars etc). In respect of goods which are specifically designed to
| prevent substitutability - eg devices which are not designed to be
| interoperable it is an extremely hazardous approach. If those goods also tend
| to be a natural monopoly (such as software in general, but particularly that
| which is designed not to be interoperable) this approach is absolutely the
| wrong one.


It's not about choosing, but about having a choice.

,----[ Quote ]
| Yes. Try to understand that fantastic quote from Yasmin Mahmood, Microsoft
| Malaysia's (current) Managing Director. This was reported by Tech&U, which is
| currently leading the pack as the most reliable source of Microsoft
| propaganda. What's wonderful is that they quote Yasmin word for word without
| questioning what she really means. It makes hilarious reading.



Interview with NOiV's Maarten Wijnen-Meijer on Study on Gov't Acquisition of OS
Software - Pick Your Brains

,----[ Quote ]
| A Dutch study has recently been translated and published in English, "The
| acquisition of (open-source) software", by Nederland Open in Verbinding
| (NOiV), which finds that in Europe, gratis software does not require
| tendering and so gratis Open Source software can be freely downloaded without
| having to go through the usual purchase process. If service is required, that
| service would, however, require going through the normal purchasing process,  
| but as a separate matter.      


NL: Use of Open Source software requires no European IT tenders

,----[ Quote ]
| European public administrations that want to use software that is offered for
| free, such as Open Source software, do not need to organise a call for
| tender.  
| [...]
| According to Wijnen-Meijer the translation is well-received. "At a recent
| Open Source conference in the US, copies were picked up quickly by companies.
| We also have had requests from cities and ministries in Germany and Greece."  


My Visit to Sun

,----[ Quote ]
| Phipps went on to say that one of the main reasons prospects and customers
| are uncomfortable with this open source approach is that it fails to align
| with their expectations of how software is obtained. They're so accustomed to
| the bid/procurement process accompanied by the stereotypical sales rep
| proffering half-truths about the product that they literally feel anxious
| when offered the gift of free software. Furthermore, they're so used to an
| adversarial relationship with sales reps that they are bewildered about how
| to respond to a sales approach that is more collaborative and focused on user
| satisfaction, which is, of course, a prerequisite when what you sell is
| support.

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