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The Hon. Joe Fontana, P.C., M.P., hosts Open Source event on Parliament Hill
It is great to see that some members of parliament are taking the time to learn more about FLOSS. While this introduction to the event focuses on using FLOSS to save money, it also provides an opening to discuss some of the policy issues facing our part of the software sector.
I am including below a letter I wrote to the MPs office introducing myself. I also sent a letter to my own MP's office informing them about the event and requesting that they go. In my case my MP is well aware of my interest in FLOSS as a practitioner and a policy person. I recommend that other people reading this write a letter to their MP as well, forwarding the invitation information and quickly informing them why it is important to you as a constituent that they be informed about FLOSS.
From the invitation posted to the OCLUG announce list:
In my letter to the MP's office I grouped together things which I thought were bad (IE: DMCA type legislation) as well as things which I thought was good (IE: how FLOSS removes much of the threat of software copyright infringement). It was suggested in another forum that I might have wanted to group these into "good" and "bad" to make my position clear. I am curious what other people think, and whether the things that are bad for FLOSS are bad generally and the things that are good about FLOSS are good generally.
If you attend the event, please consider posting your thoughts and letting us know so we can link to you.
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 11:09:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Invitation about Open Source..
Dear Kevin Langlands,
I received an announcement through OCLUG http://oclug.on.ca/archives/ oclug-announce/ 2006-June/ 000178.html
I wanted to introduce myself, and to hopefully set up a future meeting.
I'm the Policy Coordinator for CLUE, Canada's Open Source advocacy and education group http://www.cluecan.ca/
I'm the co-coordinator for Getting Open Source Logic INto Government (GOSLING) http://www.goslingcommunity.org
While I would like to attend the session, I would also like to speak with you, other MP staff people, as well as MPs, about some of the policy issues our sector is facing. While the vendors seem to do a good job at promoting the business case for the use of Open Source, much of the discussion of the policy benefits of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), as well as the policies which threaten FLOSS, are left to groups such as those I am involved in.
(1) Software Manufacturing / Software Manufacturers : This is a term used to refer to that subset of the software economy who use analogies to compare software to the production, distribution and funding of tangible products. Software, as a non-rivalrous intangible, has traits that are very different from tangible products, including the fact that software has a marginal cost of zero. These traits are harnessed by FLOSS through Peer Production, Peer Distribution, and not charging royalties.
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