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[News] South Africa Under Another Attack by Intellectual Monopolies

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IP Act puts profit first

,----[ Quote ]
| Open access is not a mere buzzword in government; it is actually policy, such 
| as the policy on free and open source software use in government. But the Act 
| works against such policies. It promotes software patents so that software 
| can be commercially exploited.    
| Rens points to the major problem with this: "This requires universities and 
| research councils to obtain software patents; however, SA patent law does not 
| permit software patents." An oversight, maybe?  
| So, in the future we could see declines in innovation emanating from 
| publicly-funded research as the focus on profit and IP management stifles 
| research. But, we could see increases in research and development coming from 
| the public domain as public servants view profit from patents as incentives 
| for further innovation. Let's hope for the latter.    



Should software be patented, or free to the public?

,----[ Quote ]
| Application software, which is what most people think of first when the word
| software is mentioned, is commonly written using advanced programming
| software tools, which ease the task of converting a desired function into
| code. High-level human-readable code, whether produced in this way or written
| directly in a programming language, is known as source code and can be
| analysed by software programmers to understand the techniques used in the
| software. The source code must be compiled (converted to machine code) or
| interpreted to be run on a computer.


Out of Africa Something New - and Bad

,----[ Quote ]
| Despite the fact that South Africa is at the forefront of open source usage,
| it seems to be taking a very bad turn as far as open knowledge is concerned:
|     The Intellectual Property from Publicly Financed Research Bill was signed
|     into law yesterday.
| This stems from a mistaken belief that:
|     the best way to get research re-used for the benefit of the economy is to
|     lock it down, and award a monopoly to one person, rather than opening it
|     to everyone.


Microsoft muscles in on Unisa students

,----[ Quote ]
| Students at the correspondence-based University of South Africa (Unisa) will
| be required to sign up for a Microsoft-provided email address before they are
| able to receive correspondence from the university.
| The required email address is part of the first phase to build the MyLife
| portal to foster a “sense of belonging” among students, the university says.
| Phase two of the project will see the university encouraging students to use
| other “Microsoft live services such as social networking facilities … online
| file storage, and Office Live workspace”.


We’re more committed to ODF than ever: SA government

,----[ Quote ]
| Open standards are critical in ensuring that the South African government
| both avoids vendor lock-in and promotes democracy. This is according to South
| Africa’s minister of home affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
| In a prepared speech for the opening of the recent Second International ODF
| conference in Pretoria, Mapisa-Nqakula said that the department of home
| affairs was “forging ahead to make open standards a priority” to ensure
| future ability to process and share documents “using formats which have
| significant impact on the efficiency, interoperability and accessibility of
| public services”.


ODF Workshop in South Africa

,----[ Quote ]
| I attended last week’s ODF Workshop in South Africa, and I really enjoyed the
| event. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people who work with ODF in
| governments around the world, exchange experiences on migration, talk about
| the new features on ODF 1.2 and talk a lot about other things that I really
| appreciate as interoperability and open standards adoption worldwide.
| Brazil was represented by Paul Maia, from Caixa Economica Federal and Carlos
| Machado of SERPRO. I had the opportunity to make a brief presentation about
| the main features of ODF 1.2 that we’re developing at the OASIS ODF TC.


Pretoria ODF Users Workshop

,----[ Quote ]
| What always strikes me at such gatherings is the passion of those who have
| committed to adopting ODF. You get people who have decided for all the usual
| reasons that ODF makes sense for their use, or that of their department, or
| their agency, or their government. We’re seeing interesting and varying
| bottom up, top down, and middle out patterns of adoption in different parts
| of the world.


ODF Going Global

,----[ Quote ]
| Marino Marcich of the ODF Alliance pointed out that there are now
| organisations from 62 countries represented in his membership, and I'm left
| with the strong of impression of a growing global community of practice in
| governments of every kind, both politically and geographically. From small
| roots ODF has grown to both a global movement and a strong technology,
| spreading wherever fair-minded people are willing to take a stand. It's been
| worth the trip.


Sweden: ODF made national standard

,----[ Quote ]
| The Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) approved the Open Document Format (ODF)
| as a national standard, the ODF Alliance reported this week.
| "Sweden now joins Brazil, Croatia, Italy, South Korea, and South Africa as
| countries whose national standards bodies have formal approved this
| standard", the ODF advocacy organisation writes in this week's newsletter.


Brazil begins using the Open Document Format

,----[ Quote ]
| The Brasília Protocol (now translated to English) started the process of
| implementation of the Open Document Format (ODF) within the Brazilian
| Government. The Protocol was signed during the opening of CONSEGI 2008 by
| Bank of Brazil, Serpro, Dataprev, Post Office and Telegraph State Company
| (ECT), INPE (Institute of Spacial Researches), INPI (Institute of
| Intellectual Property), Ministry of Exterior Relations and others. All the
| institutions who signed the protocol are assuming the commitment to use the
| ODF standard, make it available to society-at-large, exchange documents
| between themselves in this format and to share solutions in open format. The
| news is on ODF Alliance website.


ODF approved as Swedish Standard

,----[ Quote ]
| Without making a press release or public announcement the Swedish Standards
| Institute has formally approved ODF 1.0 as a national standard. Only the “SS”
| prefix in SS-ISO/IEC 26300:2008 give away the status of the document.


Brazilian Government Formalizes its Intention to Adopt ODF

,----[ Quote ]
| Some very significant bodies of the Brazilian Government and government-owned
| corporations have just signed an agreement to adopt Open Document Format as
| their standard format for the exchange of electronic documents.


Melaka City Council's OSS migration and savings

,----[ Quote ]
| In our ongoing series of Free and Open Source Software deployments in
| Malaysia, OpenMalaysiaBlog is proud to highlight the efforts of the City
| Council of Melaka. They were one of the first few departments to migrate
| completely to OpenOffice.org (98% of their 300 hundred seats. They need to
| retain a few copies of MS Office for some difficult proprietary files). Back
| in 8 December 2006, the Mayor of Melaka, Y.Bhg. Dato’ Haji Zaini bin Mohd
| Nor, presented "Successful Deployment Of OpenOffice In The Public Sector
| Seminar" and was very enthusiastic about OpenOffice.org.


The State of Kedah moves to OpenOffice.org

,----[ Quote ]
| A case study submitted to the Open Source Competency Center by the Center of
| Information Technology, Office of the Chief Minister and State Secretary of
| Kedah, has indicated that OpenOffice.org has been installed in 70% of the
| computers in the Kedah state government agencies. There are currently 2,202
| installed seats and by the looks of it, the numbers will just keep rising!


The entire State of Pahang moves to OpenOffice.org

,----[ Quote ]
| Its just been made official that the State of Pahang is migrating all its
| productivity suites to OpenOffice.org. This succint memo from the State
| Secretary of Pahang entitled "Perlaksanaan Penggunaan Perisian OpenOffice.Org
| Di Semua Agensi dan Pentadbiran Negeri" (translated: "Implementation of
| OpenOffice.org suite in all State Agencies and Administrative centres")
| outlines the reasons for migrating, the benefits and how to proceed.


French hospital migrates to OpenOffice.org

,----[ Quote ]
| According to this French article, the French hospital of Thiers is migrating
| its 150 desktops to OpenOffice.org in order to spend money on training
| instead of licenses.


Huge Success for the ODF Community

,----[ Quote ]
| OpenOffice.org, which is just one implementation of ODF, is currently being
| downloaded more than 1.2M times per week and being distributed by popular
| hardware products like the Asus Eee PC. Government organizations around the
| world are adopting OpenOffice.org and/or ODF and have started to help each
| other with their adoption challenges. Thus, ODF has become a "market force"
| that can't be ignored anymore. Thus, again, congratulations and thank you to
| all the people who have contributed to the success of OpenOffice.org and ODF
| so far! Well done!

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