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Re: Open source and government

by Mutant (Priest)
on Apr 05, 2006 at 14:02 UTC ( #541393=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Open source and government

I'm also skeptical about the article. One part I especially disagree with is this:

One of the champions of Linux and free software in a major state agency chose to purchase Windows XP desktops for everyone in the agency. I've heard that man speaking at National Conventions for Government CIOs exalting the benefits of free software.
There are hundreds of reasons why you might choose WinXP over Linux on the desktop, and it doesn't have to include one OS being better than another (whether it's just in the decision-makers opinion or not).

The whole "only a moron would use Windows" type of attitude wears pretty thin, and often hurts the cause of Open Source. Even advocates of one particular OS (or language, or app) may have to choose an alternative, because that was the best choice at the time. When money and jobs (including your own) are on the line, you have to choose whatever works best, even if it's only better because a certain company holds an illegal monopoly. Yeah it might suck, but can't always be fixed, so you just have to work around it.

To me the difference between a good techie and an excellent techie is that the latter understands the reality of business. While most good techies can see the "ideal" technical solution right away, someone with more understanding of how business works is able to compromise to fit in with the reality of the situation. I think this is why so many all-techie start-ups fail - they go for an amazingly brilliant, near-perfect technical solution or product, then find no one actually wants it, or can afford it.

Ok, I'm rambling now, but hopefully you get the point :)


Comment on Re: Open source and government
Re^2: Open source and government
by DaWolf (Curate) on Apr 05, 2006 at 15:17 UTC
    Mutant++

    The whole "only a moron would use Windows" type of attitude wears pretty thin, and often hurts the cause of Open Source. Even advocates of one particular OS (or language, or app) may have to choose an alternative, because that was the best choice at the time. When money and jobs (including your own) are on the line, you have to choose whatever works best, even if it's only better because a certain company holds an illegal monopoly. Yeah it might suck, but can't always be fixed, so you just have to work around it.


    This is the kind of paragraph that makes me feel proud about our profession. It clearly shows wisdom when talking about software and takes away the horrible stereotype that OSS advocates are some kind of barbarian horde that trashes around anything that even looks like a commercial software.

    One personal experience I can share with you is about the International Free Software Forum (which it's 7th edition will take place here in Brazil in a couple of weeks, with YAPC::Brasil::2006 as a part of it - read more here).

    I first attended the Forum last year and before I went I've heard all sorts of stories about people being thrown out the meetings because they were advocating windows and such.

    The difference between what I've heard and what I've actually saw was huge. The feeling of this kind of meeting is extremely friendly and people share knowledge and simpathy all around (ouch, again excuse my rusty english).

    That's why I believe that taking away this kind of stereotypes - just as Mutant did - is vital for our survival as Open Source Developers.

    Regards,

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