Bonum Certa Men Certa

Exploring the BECTA-Microsoft Relationship

BECTA's mischiefs with Microsoft are a serious issue that was covered here before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This morning we did some more research and came up with the following interesting findings.



We thought it would be interesting to see how many former Softies there are inside BECTA as it would make good business sense for Microsoft to push their ex-employees everywhere they can. Kent LEA, for example, are busy adopting everything Microsoft as fast as they can.

“We thought it would be interesting to see how many former Softies there are inside BECTA...”So we decided get a list of BECTA seniors and then do some googling for each. That, we assumed, would be handy in identifying suspicious appointments. Members of the board are listed here and those who attended a recent meeting [PDF] are: Andrew Pinder, John Roberts, Graham Moore, Stephen Gill, Derek Wise Stephen Crowne, Niel McLean, Tony Richardson, Ian Adams, Alan Cowie, Jane Williams, John Landeryou, Mark Wallbank, Roger Parr, Leigh Fish, John Newbigin, and Doug Brown.

On the agenda in that May 2008 meeting:

"Board members explored how Becta should engage with Microsoft, and secure benefits on behalf of the education sector, particularly around flexibility and price; and how the Board should support the Executive in the planned discussions with Microsoft."

It also says: "Action: A small group of the Board (John Roberts, Steve Gill, Graham Moore and Andrew Pinder) to support the Executive in its discussions with Microsoft..."

Finally: "Summing up, the Chairman said the Board was broadly content with progress so far. The forthcoming meeting with Microsoft was an important opportunity to deal with the outstanding issues."

Why is Free software hardly explored? We'll come to this in a moment.

It is worth adding that they do not tell taxpayers how much is being paid to Microsoft. Part of the agreement is that it must remain secret in order to prevent comparisons or backlash. However, for purposes of public procurement it's not only ludicrous but also illegal.

School boyHeading this body is Andrew Pinder, whose Wikipedia biography contains to a link to an article ("Government Gateway is not a 'Microsoft puppet'") where he tries to dissociate himself from Microsoft.

Here is how he describes "Open Source" in one context or another:

"Typically [teachers who run IT] would be people who have a real passion about Open Source — as if open source is any different from any other software — it's just the pricing structure is different, that's all. "

He also compares it to a religion:

"It's a religion, it's a real belief, and again they have a belief about bits of technology that are going to change things. What they don't do, however, is organize things properly."

A known Microsoft puppet [1, 2, 3], the Yankee Group, uses similar analogies. Its founder, Howard Anderson Framingham, wrote in an article last year: “Open source is not a movement; it’s a religion. It is a set of principles and practices that let everyone share non-existent or semi-existent intellectual property. Remember the Communist Manifesto: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” It is this generation’s Woodstock.”

There seems to a shared foundation of open source insults and smears.

Going back to Andrew Pinder, Wikipedia states: "In this role, he gave a speech at the CBI in November 2001,[3] and spoke at a Microsoft-sponsored Government Leaders Conference in Seattle in April 2002, where he famously announced that the government's target of putting all services online by 2005 could cost 800,000 public sector employees their jobs.[4]"

Also: "He oversaw the rushed implementation in 2001 of the Government Gateway, a project for putting all the government services on-line, which was built by Microsoft in just 15 weeks and initially locked out all browsers except Microsoft's own Internet Explorer.

"The deal also involved Microsoft using UK government intellectual property to build products for other governments in order to recoup some of the costs of building the technology. The rate of return was to the tune of 22% of their gross sales of the intellectual property, which Pinder hoped would "give us quite a lot of money".[6]"

“This makes BECTA seem a tad hostile towards Freedom, which it describes as "religion" instead.”Another BECTA board member, Ralph Tabberer, is seen in this article where he states: "We are looking forward to a productive working relationship with Microsoft over the next three years and we will work closely together..."

To sum up, as Wikipedia puts it, "The current chairman of Becta holds the view that "open source is [no] different from any other software -- it's just the pricing structure is different, that's all. But [its supporters] have a passion. It's a religion, it's a real belief."[2]"

Overall, it's disappointing. This makes BECTA seem a tad hostile towards Freedom, which it describes as "religion" instead. It prefers training children for one foreign monopolist's pipeline rather than have them acquire actual skills. Education is about skills. If there is any clannish pattern here ("religion" so to speak), it appears to be this type of cronyism that's so prevalent in BECTA's decision-making.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

EPO Staff Explains Why It Cannot Issue EPC-Compliant European Patents (in Other Words, Why Many Fake Patents Get Issued)
chaos inside
 
Chris Rutter, Winchester College, Clare College choir, Arm Ltd, underage workers & Debian accidental deaths
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 25/02/2024: Blocking Crawlers and Moving to gemserv
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 24, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, February 24, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Objective Objection at the EPO
No more quality control
Links 24/02/2024: More Sanctions Against BRICS, Software Patents Squashed
Links for the day
Microsoft's Demise on the Server Side Continues Unabated This Month
Netcraft says so
Bonnie B. Dalzell Explains Her Experience With Richard Stallman
new essay
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: OpenBSD Advocacy and Nonfree Firmware Debated
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth & Debian Day Volunteer Suicide cover-up
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 23, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, February 23, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Links 24/02/2024: EA Planning Layoffs and 'Liquor Regulators Are Seeking Revenge on Bars That Broke Pandemic Rules'
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: In Defense of Boilerplate and TinyWM Broke
Links for the day
Microsoft's Pearls of Wisdom: Layoffs Are Growth
Microsoft boss: layoffs are "long-term growth."
[Meme] Hide the Bodies
hiding EPO's role in funding Lukashenko
Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)
Huge corruption
Microsoft Lacks a Solid Strategic Plan Other Than Buying Its Own Stock (and Paying Staff in Shares)
Beware and be cautious of bubbles
Debian trademark canceled
Debian trademark canceled
Links 23/02/2024: Feed Aggregator and 2 Years of Invasion, Alexei Navalny’s Mother Blackmailed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/02/2024: Getting 'Sick' of Modern Tech and Deletion of One's Reddit Account
Links for the day
Links 23/02/2024: 227 Microsoft Layoffs Noted in Santa Clara and Disaster in Rivian
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 22, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day