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Re: [Fsfe-uk] BECTA discriminate against FLOSS?

From: Paul Tansom
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BECTA discriminate against FLOSS?
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2004 00:34:06 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

** ian <address@hidden> [2004-01-04 00:17]:
> On Sat, 2004-01-03 at 22:22, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > > Anyone that sells any MS products is effectively working for MS.
> > 
> > OK, in that way.  But I don't sell MS software (OK, I did buy it in the
> > case of Visual Basic, but that's because it is /the/ best GUI
> > development package in my opinion for what I want, no FLOSS equivalent
> > comes near it).
> Whatever the reason, you are in effect backing MS - not knocking it, we
> sell MS produce because we have little choice in the matter. We do have
> a choice though in what we actively promote.
> > > Its very difficult to be in the IT business and on principle sell no
> > > MS product. The way I look at it is that its a necessary evil to stay
> > > in business that enables me to shift away from MS. It also gives a bit
> > > of even-handedness. We will supply what ever the customer wants
> > > because we know both systems and we can give even-handed advice. In
> > > fact, if all purchasers who had to buy MS products but preferred free
> > > software bought from companies like mine, a) we would be in a better
> > > position to promote FLOSS and b) It sends a message to other companies
> > > that there is a marketing edge in supporting FLOSS.
> > 
> > Agreed, and that's why I don't like total "anti-MS" stances.  What a
> > customer (or client, or friend) needs is something which will do the job
> > they want, and I am doing them no favours if I insist on only
> > considering one part of the products available.
> Paradoxically you could be damaging the shift away from MS :-)

It is very difficult not to support/promote MS when you are supporting
or selling computer products. As an example, I was advising a potential
customer on buying his first PC for a possible business venture (he had
used them at work some years previous, but he is pretty much a newbie
otherwise). I couldn't sensibly advise Linux on the desktop, but did
outline the options in the office suite market. He was undecided, but I
expected him to go for MS Office because it's what everyone else used.
In the end he was swayed by some friends and on impulse bought a machine
from PC World. Now he is back to me because the machine came supplied
with StarOffice and he feels he's made a mistake. He is trying to get on
a course, but they only teach MS, he also had someone round to do some
one to one work, and as soon as they saw StarOffice it was a case of
"Oh, I can't work with that, it's not Office". So now I am working on
sorting out the most economical way of getting the MS package on there.
I've explained it will do everything he needs, but there's no answer to
where to get training in the package. I'm no trainer myself, but I did
talk to some local colleges about evening classes in it once, but they
weren't interested.

** end quote [ian]

Paul Tansom | Aptanet Ltd. | http://www.aptanet.com/

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