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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: [discuss] Open source software News

From: ian
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: [discuss] Open source software News
Date: 01 Aug 2003 08:47:06 +0100

On Fri, 2003-08-01 at 07:36, Paul wrote:

> This is exactly what we have been doing in the UK. Over here we have a
> really awful position in that a good chunk of our GPR is thrown at MS.
> Roughly 110 million UKP is just given to MS for the licences in school
> (if a school is signed up, they have to pay - not on a per machine
> basis, but on a per student basis. If they're signed up and don't have a
> machine, they have to pay).

Not quite accurate. On MS Schools agreement they pay by machine not per
student but they currently have to pay for machines not running any MS
Software. Currently under investigation with the OFT.

>  The NHS gives somewhere approaching 55
> million to MS with other services providing a large chunk (

The deal was £70m over three years for an enterprise agreement IIRC.
They will of course also be paying for Windows on any new machines they
but and perhaps for other products not covered by the enterprise
agreement. Since Sun bought Star Division with all the rights to Star
Office for $70m, it puts things into perspective.

> Universities
> are approaching 90 million p.a.).

Then add, the civil service itself, defence, Inland Revenue, DSS etc and
I should think that as a whole it must be over £500m per year. And
that's just the public sector. Imagine if the Gov put £500m into free
software projects - I doubt there would be any applications of any
significance that would not have free software support within 2 to 3
years. Of course many small businesses would then adopt free software
lowering their costs and also stimulating that sector by increasing
business to business trade. After that reduce to £100m a year for
maintenance and save £400m a year. Use that £400m to recycle machines
and give them to kids in schools for home use that are on free meals and
haven't got a computer. Provide on-line support and encourage these kids
to take part in community software development projects. Government
environment policy, inclusion policy, improved IT education and
stimulation of the small business sector supported in one fell swoop
without costing the tax payer anything. Anyone vote for me at the next
general election :-)

>  There are a couple of glimmers of
> hope. The UK Police have come over to Linux (all new work stations and
> terminals will be linux based) and more educational establishments are
> spending their money more wisely by not giving it to MS and using Linux
> instead.
> The big problem we have over here is that the Government decided that MS
> should be the provider to education 

Not really, they just never really thought about it, went with the flow
so to speak and are clueless about what to do about it now we are in the
position we are in.

> MPs don't give a damn

Some do, I have had several questions asked in the house by my MP Brian
Jenkins, related to MS issues in education. Bob Blizzard is another and
there is a LibDem chap too.

> should they, when 95% of all UK machines are Windows machines - and
> quite a few don't understand the first thing to do with computers let
> alone the massive waste of money which is given for broken, insecure and
> downright dodgy software from MS)

You also have to see this from their perspective. To them weapons of
mass destruction and the NHS waiting lists are a higher priority. When
they start getting a lot of complaints each week in their post bags from
constituents they'll take notice which is why political lobbying is
important. Likely to be more effective if it is measured and balance
rather than emotive though.

ian <address@hidden>

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