“it is in the public interest that the state of New Hampshire consider using open source software in its public computing functions.”
That’s from the preamble of a bill that just passed through both houses in the state’s legislature. The preamble is concise and eloquent touching on everything that’s wrong with Wintel without mentioning M$ and “partners” by name. The writing is on the wall. Monopoly can take a hike in NH.
The “amended analysis” is short an to the point:
“This bill requires state agencies to consider open source software when acquiring software and promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies. This bill also directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on principles of open government data.”
Let’s hope this is just the beginning of software freedom in IT in New Hampshire and other states. Monopoly has no place in IT anywhere and least of all in IT that is supposed to be working for the common good of residents. IT cannot serve two masters, M$ and the residents. The bill seeks to cut costs and ensure reliability of the systems of government.
Those who argue the cost of monopoly is trivial are in disagreement with NH:
“The cost of obtaining software for the state’s computer systems has become a significant expense to the state;”
Those who argue that M$ sets the standard are in disagreement with NH:
“It is necessary for the functioning of the state that computer data owned by the state be permanently available to the state throughout its useful life;” Note: They are concerned with the life of data not the life of M$’s software or Wintel’s hardware. For the greater certainty:” To guarantee the succession and permanence of public data, it is necessary that the state’s accessibility to that data be independent of the goodwill of the state’s computer system suppliers and the conditions imposed by these suppliers;” Oh, M$, I feel your pain. They actually use the term “platform-neutral”:“It is in the public interest to ensure interoperability of computer systems through the use of software and products that promote open, platform-neutral standards;”
Icing on the cake: ” It is also in the public interest that the state be free, to the greatest extent possible, of conditions imposed by parties outside the state’s control on how, and for how long, the state may use the software it has acquired; and
(g) It is not in the public interest and it is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy for the state to use software that, in addition to its stated function, also transmits data to, or allows control and modification of its systems by, parties outside of the state’s control.”
Doesn’t that just sound like the Four Freedoms echoing in the halls of government?
If the most thick-skulled fan of lock-in still does not get it:
“II. The general court further finds that:
(a) The acquisition and widespread deployment of open source software can significantly reduce the state’s costs of obtaining and maintaining software;
(b) Open source software guarantees that its encoding of data is not tied to a single provider;
(c) Open source software enables interoperability through adherence to open, platform-neutral standards;
(d) Open source software contains no restrictions on how, or for how long, it may be used; and
(e) Since open source software fully discloses its internal operations, it can be audited, at any time and by anyone of the state’s choosing, for internal functions that are contrary to the public’s interests and rights.”
Estimates are that using FLOSS will cut expenditures by $300K per annum which funds will be allocated to staff who will work for NH.