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FOSS in the News
The census debacle is illustrative of how entrenched propietary software is in our public servvice. My question now becomes, "How much money is changing hands?"
We have an obligation to ourselves and our countrymen to try to ensure there is no re-occurrance of this problem. We have an obligation to enusre that our public servants work for our benefit and not their owm. Perhaps we can get our pariliamentarians to have a look at the deparmental budgetary processess and ensure the bureaucrats are working for our benefit. One way would be to make purchase of proprietary software a "show cause" where there are alternatives. Imagine public servants obliged to do the right thing or be fired.
If anyone is interested, on BBC World today begins a 2 part series entitled "The Code Breakers". It airs 4 times this week and Part 2 airs four times next week. Here's the BBC World site blurb:
"For years Microsoft has dominated the world of computing, but its software is beyond the reach of many in the developing nations. This 2-part series investigates that the poorest countries are now changing tack and using Free/Open Source Software (FOSS)."
All information and times can be found here:
Laptop Magazine is a good example of the mainstream IT media's approach to FOSS. It's neither hostile or friendly and generally responds to what its readers are doing.
Until recently the magazine hasn't done much on FOSS, but a couple of articles have indicates one more example of FOSS perception moving from curiosity to gadget to mainstream.
In an article published online, last month OpenOffice.org was named the magazine's top download of the month and received an editor's choice award:
Election online chat: tell us what you think about the election. - If anyone is wanting to chat about the election with fellow Digital Copyright activists, please join the channel #DigitalCopyrightCanada on irc.oftc.net.
Globe and Mail: Liberal MP's fundraiser causes controversy - This Globe and Mail article by Roma Luciw about Bulte's fundraiser tonight contains this gem:
Green Party election platform to include support for open source - Policy would mandate government to move away from proprietary software [ITBusiness.ca]
Sony Hit With Canadian Class Action Suits - With Sony slated to appear in a New York courtroom on Friday to seek approval for its class action settlement for the rootkit fiasco, its Canadian arm is now facing several Canadian class action suits. The Merchant Law Firm, based in Calgary, launched class action suits in both the Ontario and B.C. courts yesterday (Ontario brief, B.C. brief). This follows a less-publicized class action launched in Quebec against Sony last November. All of these cases arise from the rootkit issue. The briefs make for interesting reading as the Canadian cases raise a long list of legal issues including the violation of Canadian privacy law, breach of contract, violation of the Competition Act, and a host of tort claims.
Open Source and the Canadian Election - As most Canadians know at this time, we're in the middle of an election campaign, the vote is January 23.
I don't know whether you consider open source to important enough of a public policy matter to make it an election issue, but consider this: The Green Party actually has as specific policy the goal to:
Require federal departments and agencies to transition to open source or free software for general applications, and provide free tech support to Canadian companies who also use this software.
Postal codes by federal ridings (2003 representation order) file (PCFRF) tools - I have had a few people ask about it, so I decided to publish the tools I created. If you use this, please let me know and please send any enhancements.
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