EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.18.13

Governments Increasingly Leaning Towards Free Software in the Wake of NSA Scandals and Economic Pressures

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New examples of governments’ embrace of Free/libre software, despite bribes from software oligarchs like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle

NOT only South Korea ponders a migration to freedom-respecting software. Quietly (for fear of interference from software oligarchs) some governments around the world are moving to Free/libre programs, one program/piece at a time. Several people have told us that they are aware of this happening in Finland and it sure is happening in the UK. Among the migrations that we are publicly told about here are some that made headlines.

We previous wrote about what Microsoft was doing in Hungary (Ballmer got egged there for corruption) and now there are signs of an Hungarian shift towards Free/libre software [1], based on this English translation. There was something similar happening in Polynesia, where the same source says activists worked to make a difference and “the local Linux Users’ Group had distributed 5000 CDs” [2]. Watch how GNU/Linux usage soared to double-digit (%) figures. In the United States, as one might expect, things are a bit more murky [3,4] as proprietary software oligarchs have a lot of influence (they usually come from there and they have moles in positions of power).

In the UK, the Universal Credit chief cannot keep lying [5], so moves to Free/libre software are seen, echoing what we see in Budapest (Hungary) [6]. We previously compared the UK and HU (Hungary) policy, saying that it was not being actively followed. This in itself is a form of corruption. There are a couple of new articles in europa.eu about Hungary’s slow embrace of Free/libre software [7,8]. This is a logical move [9], which is being followed by south American countries [10], US allies like Australia [11], and even the US itself [12] (to a limited extent, usually in the military industrial complex which wants real security only for itself). Over in the government France, where mischief is seemingly more common than people care to realise [13], there are sign of progress also [14].

Given these slow strides towards software freedom it is easier to become optimists and hope that within a few years taxpayers will get to see (and use or even redistribute) the software that are paying for. For the public sector the rules should be very different from whatever applies to private businesses. Governments, for example, are liable if not indebted to the taxpayers. Citizens’ interests and collective will should drive procurement. We now know (with evidence) that Microsoft bribes government officials in exchange for pricey deals (IBM and Oracle also got caught), so we expect many deals to be signed for the benefit of corrupt politicians, not the nations which they claim to represent.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Latest Hungarian Revolution
  2. The FIght For Free Software In French Polynesia

    It may seem strange to think of war in a tropical paradise but it’s happening, thanks to M$’s global conspiracy to prevent free use of personal computers. In 2008, the local Linux Users’ Group had distributed 5000 CDs of FLOSS and caused quite a spike in usage. Wintel fought back but today

  3. Open-Source Benefits to Govt Outweigh Misconceptions, Report Says

    Security challenges, lack of education, interoperability concerns and licensing and legal concerns are some of the top obstacles government officials see for adopting open-source software in agencies, according to a survey in a recent report from GovLoop.

    In the survey of 233 government professionals, 73 percent mentioned security issues, 60 percent lack of education, 58 percent interoperability concerns and 50 percent licensing and legal concerns. They survey focused on U.S. respondents but also included some respondents from outside the U.S.

  4. Koha wins trademark stoush with US defence contractor

    After a protracted legal battle, the Horowhenua Library Trust, the birthplace of the open source Koha integrated library system, has succeeded in preventing an American defence contractor from poaching its trademark.

  5. Open source ‘wasn’t available’ two years ago, says Universal Credit chief

    The head of delivery for the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) flagship welfare reform project, Universal Credit, has said that the department didn’t adopt open source and web-based technologies at the beginning of the project because “such things weren’t available” two and a half years ago.

    Howard Shiplee told the Work and Pensions Committee this week that the department is now using open source technologies in its enhanced version of Universal Credit, which was initially developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and will be rolled out nationally by 2017 for most claimants.

    The existing system being used in pathfinder pilots and developed by the likes of IBM, HP and Accenture will be largely be replaced by the digital version.

  6. Budapest District Loves FLOSS
  7. Budapest district debunks misgivings over open source

    Habits and anxieties are holding back public administrations from switching to free software, says Tivadar Karay, head of the IT department of the 18th district of Budapest. The district commonly uses this type of ICT solutions, and has been for the past five years: “For pretty much everything, there is an open source alternative. Fear is unnecessary.”

  8. Hungary’s open source centre kicks off website

    The Hungarian government’s resource centre on open source unveiled its new site in mid-November, kicking off the next phase in the centre’s activities, focussing on information dissemination. Last week the centre organised its first conference in the capital Budapest, opened by Gábor Fekete, deputy secretary of state. In the next few weeks, the centre’s six staffers will be travelling around the country, presenting on the advantages of free and open source in the country’s largest cities, Győr, Szeged, Debrecen and Pécs.

  9. Using Free/Libre Open Source Software Is A “No-Brainer”

    It’s obvious but there are still some people who don’t understand that FLOSS is the right way to do IT:

    Using software you can run any way you want is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can examine in detail to see how it works is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can modify is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can distribute is the right way to do IT.

  10. Roundup: Ecuador open-source software, Brazil antitrust, Venezuela TDT applications

    An open-source software forum has been held in Ecuadorian capital Quito, with a focus on how governments in the region can collaborate to develop open-source…

  11. Open source option wins WA cloud deal

    The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research will today take ownership of a private cloud solution built almost entirely of open source technologies to prepare for an influx of researchers over the coming weeks.

  12. Federal Agencies Embracing Use Of Open Source Software Code

    Federal agencies that previously relied on expensive, built-to-order software are now following a growing trend to embrace open source code.

  13. French agency caught minting SSL certificates impersonating Google
  14. French Isère department encourages open source use

    The Isère department in France’s Rhône-Alpes region is encouraging its public administrations to use free and open source software. In October, the Secretary-General of the prefecture sent a letter to all local authorities. The letter included a warning to make sure procurement requests do not include discriminatory requirements.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  2. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  3. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  4. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  5. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  6. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  7. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  8. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  9. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  10. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  11. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  12. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  13. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  14. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  15. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  16. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  17. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  20. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  21. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  22. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  23. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  24. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  25. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  26. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  28. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO



  29. Team UPC Has Run Out of Arguments, So Now It's Just Writing Anti-Brexit Rants With Testicles in the Headlines

    Nothing has worked for firms that crafted and lobbied hard for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); after necrophilia a new low is being reached



  30. Making the Patent System About Productive Actors (Again), Not a Bunch of Law Firms and Trolls

    The US patent system is going out of shape and out of tune, just like the EPO when Battistelli came to it, dismantling the rule of law and even judges whom he did not like


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts