There is a petition asking the government of the USA to increase usage of FLOSS. While I agree with that general goal the wording of the petition is a bit strange:
Lower the national debt by expanding the government’s use of Free Software such as GNU/Linux and LibreOffice.
The U.S. federal government is being taken advantage of by many unscrupulous software vendors who charge the government far more for proprietary software, and technical support for that software, than is warranted. There is a very large community of volunteer software coders and Free Software/Open Source based U.S. companies such as Red Hat Inc. and Google Inc. that provide far more cost effective solutions. These solutions are most often provided with the software’s source code, so the federal government will never be locked in to a single vendor or software provider. We recommend that the government appoint people of great moral character and ethics who are also familiar with Free Software to advise the government on this shift (e.g. Dr. Richard M. Stallman of Boston, MA).
It’s just too complex while not mentioning many important factors beyond cost. Keep it simple. I would have proposed something like:
The Government of the United States of America Should Use Free/Libre Open Source Software
- the government is running a large budgetary deficit,
- the government spends billions of dollars annually on information technology,
- FLOSS is a cooperative project of the world to provide and to share software that can be used, examined, modified and distributed at low cost for many kinds of computer hardware,
- besides price, FLOSS has many advantages over closed source software for reliability, security and performance,
- the United States is a world leader in development and usage of FLOSS, and
- many organizations have increased performance while reducing licensing and operational costs using FLOSS.
We, the people demand the Government give preference to FLOSS in all planning, purchasing and hiring for IT from now on.
Go ahead and support the petition any way. The message should be clear enough and the effect should be the same. There are indications that the administration of President Obama is leaning that way but a little push would not hurt.