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[News] Free/Open Source Promoted in Italy, But UK Clogged Up by Microsoft Cronies

  • Subject: [News] Free/Open Source Promoted in Italy, But UK Clogged Up by Microsoft Cronies
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2009 02:17:22 +0000
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.9
Hash: SHA1

Engineering Group and Ingres Agree to Business Partnership to Strengthen Open
Source Offering in Italy  

,----[ Quote ]
| Engineering Group, Italy’s leading IT services company, and Ingres 
| Corporation, a leading provider of open source database management software 
| and support services, announced today a new business partnership designed to 
| strengthen its joint open source database and business intelligence offering 
| in the region.     


Newham CIO sheds light on Microsoft relationship

,----[ Quote ]
| With the government promising to use open-source rather than proprietary 
| alternatives (if there is no significant cost difference in products and 
| services), I asked whether there will there be a Socitm/local government 
| pushback against central government policy on open source, if Steel thinks 
| open source is behind?    
| However, Steel said that his personal opinions were not Socitm policy.
| "I will quite freely express my views, but they are in no way Socitm policy," 
| said Steel. "Socitm is interested in promoting and using open source." 



This isn't “Open Source”

,----[ Quote ]
| The piece is entitle “Open Sauce”, but it ought really be called “”Open
| Source””, since its author, Richard Steel, the CIO of Newham, seems to have
| such distaste for the concept that he can't bring himself even to write the
| words without sanitising them between the quotation marks.
| He is reacting to the UK Government's Action Plan on open source, and I'd
| like to react to those reactions.
| Mr Steel writes:
| I don’t like the term “Open Source”. It’s misleading; what many people mean
| is “anything but Microsoft”; few businesses actually use open source
| directly – they buy software derived from open source that has been
| commercially packaged and sold with support, which, in practice, is little
| different to licensed software.
| Well, no: there's nothing misleading in the term. It's tightly defined by the
| rigorous and well-understood Open Source Definition, which has nothing
| whatsoever to do with “anything but Microsoft”; indeed, Microsoft actually
| has some OSD-approved licences – the Microsoft Public License and Microsoft
| Reciprocal License: so does this mean that Microsoft is pushing “anything but
| Microsoft” too?


Promoting Microsoft...

,----[ Quote ]
| This is the same man who originated the term "doing a Newham" - ie the
| process of feigning interest in Linux to get, ahem, 'preferential
| arrangements' with Microsoft.  
| This is the same man who, in line with Newhams MoU with Microsoft, starred in
| Microsoft's "Get the Facts" roadshow.
| As Dr John Pugh MP has stated, "Microsoft is *very* close to the UK
| Government, and they intend to stay there".
| Richard Steel's appointment as President of Socitm is a very canny play from
| the multiply-convicted monopolist.
| Of course the contractual obligation to promote Microsoft in the UK Public
| Sector will not affect either his credibility, or his bias-free ability to
| perform this new role, nobody could possibly think that, could they?  


If a Linux interoperability deal is done in a forest, and no one is around to
witness it, does it really exist?

,----[ Quote ]
| During a visit to the KommITS conference in Sweden, Richard discovered the
| following information: “I note that Novell has a local arrangement with
| Microsoft, which resells its version of Suse Linux to enable Linux
| exploitation on a Windows platform!” The exclamation mark is his own, and
| suggests genuine surprise at hearing the news of Microsoft and Novell’s
| entanglement.
| It would be easy to suggest that any CIO must have had their head in the sand
| not to have been aware of a small agreement that Microsoft and Novell entered
| into a little while ago, but also I think one also has to accept that for a
| great number of senior IT executives this sort of information just isn’t as
| fascinating as open source followers think it is.
| [...]
| Conspiracy theory alert: Newham is one of Microsoft’s flagship local
| government accounts in the UK following its controversial decision to sign a
| ten-year agreement with Microsoft after ditching plans to move to an open
| source environment. Clearly, Newham has less reason then to be interested in
| Linux and Microsoft’s relationship with Novell than other organizations (it
| also explains why Microsoft’s SLES voucher-wielding sales team hasn’t been
| breaking down the door).


Newham has a cow over Microsoft MOU

,----[ Quote
| However, Newham has supplied the INQUIRER with internal studies that it says
| do demonstrate that its decision to commit to Microsoft was justified. The
| studies were performed by Socitm, a private public sector consulting firm of
| which Newham COI Steele is a vice president. the INQUIRER will report on
| these findings in due course.    
| Meanwhile, the original MOU is enlightening. As well as claiming the deal
| would enable Newham to achieve high rankings in Audit Commission assessments,
| it committed Newham to moving all "competitive technology" to Microsoft,
| regardless of the feasibility of such a move.  
| It also required Steele to promote Microsoft software.
| See attached file: Memorandum of Understanding.doc


Is This the Season of Porcine Aerobatics?

,----[ Quote ]
| Two of the darkest moments for open source in the UK involved the loss of
| major public projects. The first was Newham Borough Council, which ran a
| high-profile trial of open source only to ditch it at the last moment, after
| magically receiving an offer it couldn't refuse from Microsoft – which cynics
| suggested was the main motivation for the open source exercise in the first
| place.    
| This was bad news for free software, because it enabled Microsoft to do two
| things. First, it could claim that an independent body had tried open source
| and found it wanting, and secondly, it was able to use Newham as a showcase
| for its public sector technology.  
| In some ways, the second defeat was even worse. It involved a massive
| contract with the NHS that was far-reaching in scope...


War of words breaks out over Microsoft MOU

,----[ Quote ]
| The salutary lesson to draw from our dealings, Richard, is not whether you
| can trust the press. It is rather a lesson in managing expectations, a
| process every CIO should know well.  
| The expectations you invested in your 2004 deal with Microsoft, as enshrined
| in the memorandum of understanding, were also unrealistic.
| To recap, the original MOU said the use of Microsoft software would "improve
| Common Performance Assessment results and Star Ratings" measured by the Audit
| Commission.  
| The analysis presented in the INQUIRER on Friday demonstrated that this
| expectation had not been met.
| When we asked you about this on Friday you told us there was a new MOU. Now
| you accuse us of twisting your words.
| How would you prefer to describe what happened to the original agreement? If
| it has not been scrapped, perhaps it has been decommissioned, recycled, sold
| on eBay?  
| Having been told you had drawn up a second MOU with Microsoft, we were
| clearly interested to learn what new terms you had agreed in the public
| interest. You said it was confidential. But the first MOU was deemed fit for
| publication under FOI rules.  
| You also said the first MOU was only ever a three year deal. But the document
| was accepted by a Council vote as part of a 10-year deal.
| Now four years since you signed the original agreement it is proper for us to
| ask how well the public money you are giving Microsoft is spent.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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