11.28.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Nichi Vendola Helps Microsoft Take Over Italy (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nichi Vendola
Image by Foto Giovanni

Summary: One culprit in the selling of Italy’s future to Microsoft gets named; this problem is not only Italian

“STOP” on zona-m.net is an interesting blog which reports from Italy, particularly about topics related to OpenOffice.org (and now LibreOffice). A few days ago it did some excellent reporting about Nichi Vendola and Microsoft [1, 2] and it is probably worth laying out in isolation as follows:

  • Italian Left Leader signs Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft

    Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English).

    Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !.

    On its own website, SEL says “we believe that for a modern party speaking of copyleft, Free Software and Net Neutrality is as necessary as speaking of jobs, environment, economy and civil rights”. Among the more than 100 political candidates supporting Free Software at the latest regional elections in Italy there were several SEL representatives. The Florence section of SEL even presented a motion to promote Free Software in Florence http://www.sinistraeliberta.eu/articoli/sel-per-il-software-libero-al-comune-di-firenze] in January 2010.

  • Nichi Vendola explains (but does he?) his Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft

    The day after signing a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft, Nichi Vendola, president of the Puglia Region, published an explanation on the website of its party. These are my comments to the main parts of that article.

    Vendola: “Who is the enemy for Puglia and for Italy? Is it Microsoft, or any other software giant?”

    Stop: The first enemy is lack of competence and interest in ICT by Public Administrators. Is this the case with Vendola? Maybe not, but frankly this explanation isn’t enough to be sure, even if there are some good parts in it.

  • Italian region asks for help to avoid software lock-in… to Microsoft

    Today, after the initial surprise caused by knowing that Left party leader and president of the italian region of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, has just signed a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft offering an explanation that, alas, doesn’t really explain much, we started to know something about the content of the deal (because the bigger, problem in this whole business, much more of the presence of Microsoft, is lack of transparency).

    The Region of Puglia published a press release titled, more or less, “Protocol of understanding between the Region of Puglia and Microsoft. Vendola says: (this is for) technological neutrality (a summary of the press release was also published by Italian newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno.

Microsoft clearly relies on corruptible people who would rather serve Microsoft and not serve the public. It is worth naming these people to put pressure on them. Nichi Vendola appears to be one such person and as this fine new article puts it, the problem affects more than just Italy (the author previously showed how it’s done in the UK with the “Everything Microsoft” CIO, Richard Steel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]):

The reason Microsoft’s EU numbers don’t add up is that the EC has spent only half the total amount it had alloted under its €49m contract for desktop software.

When on signing the contract in 2008 the EC estimated its cost per user per year would be €125, it fell well short of the total contract value. It sounds like a super deal when you say it’s a third cheaper than it is.

It better had sound like a super deal as well if the EC wants to justify spending millions on Microsoft software while still fighting the software giant in court over its monopoly abuses.

Discount on software which takes away one’s freedom can be worse than no discount at all because its purpose is to ensure lock-in at all costs.

As another blogger put it the other day (in relation to KINect):

It looks like Microsoft is admitting that it needs to look like a bully even if it really isn’t at times; why?

Well, that’s just Microsoft, a control freak. Italy was smart enough to shoot down the “EU Patent” and to move to Free software more quickly than some neighbouring countries. Hopefully the likes of Nichi Vendola will be seen for what they are — an impediment to Italian autonomy and freedom. More stories about Italy are appended below.

Related posts:

Update: Glyn Moody wrote a rebuttal to poor damage control from Vendola:

What on earth is he talking about? After having made an unjustified choice to sign a deal with Microsoft (one whose terms haven’t even been revealed, as far I can tell), he tries to simply avoid the central question “Why?” by saying in true Tony Blair fashion that it is time to move on, and that it’s not about competitors, but about the iPad and fibre optic cables, the price of apps and Net neutrality. He then changes subject yet again by bringing in the topic of Italy’s digital divide.

Now, closing the digital divide is certainly a hugely important undertaking, but if anything can do that it is *free* software, which can be distributed to everyone in Puglia – to every school, and to every business. Microsoft’s offerings are precisely the last thing that will close that digital divide.

Indeed, the divide is there largely *because* of Microsoft. By virtue of its monopolistic hold on the desktop market it has been able to impose artificially high prices on a sector whose marginal costs of production are zero. This implies that that natural price of software is also zero – as is exactly the case for free software. Anything higher than zero makes the digital divide deeper – which means that Microsoft’s inflated prices have helped excavate not so much a digital divide as a digital chasm.

So Signor Vendola’s bizarre “explanation” of his move – which, of course is a non-explanation, and the Italian equivalent of saying: “ooh, look, a squirrel” – is in fact a superb reason why he should in fact be supporting open source, just as his party professes to do on its Web site.

[...]

The message is clear: Italian free software activists must (a) continue to pile on the pressure until he cancels this deal with Microsoft, and (b) non guardare lo scoiattolo.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  2. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  4. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  5. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  7. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  9. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  10. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  12. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  13. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  15. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  16. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  17. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  18. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  20. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  22. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  23. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  24. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  25. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  27. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  28. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  29. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all


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