Thursday, June 26, 2003

The Politics of Technology

The Register reports ("Aussies back Open Source attack") that legislators in Australia's state of South Australia are poised to pass a law mandating the use of Open Source software. Why are they doing this? Because they're technologically ignorant. Even open source advocates are freely admitting that "There is not a lot of understanding among parliamentarians about open source, (and how it differs from) open systems standards" (Michael Gadiel, the IT Committee chair of the New South Wales Labor Council and an OSS advocate).

If the legislature were proposing that only Microsoft (or only proprietary) software could be used then you can bet the street agitators would be out in force. But evidently such things as security and support have little meaning to politicians with no technical skills whatsoever. The OSS people are cheering but they should realize that the tables could turn with the drop of a campaign donation.

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