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Open Source In Public Sector Meeting Opposition

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the why-pay-if-you-don't-have-to dept.

Businesses 425

Open Source movements have been gaining popularity everywhere, but not everyone is happy about that. Johans wrote to mention a ZDNet Asia story discussing a controversy within the Malaysian computer industry over the government's 'Public Sector Open Source Software Masterplan. From the article: " ... the government has stated that its first choice in IT procurement are infocomm technology solutions developed on the open-source platform. It states that 'in situations where advantages and disadvantages of open-source software (OSS) and proprietary software are equal, preference shall be given to OSS' ... However, some industry consortiums have stepped out to voice their concerns over this policy." Meanwhile, Anonymous Coward wrote to mention a Fox News article entitled 'Massachusetts Should Close Down OpenDocument', calling the attention of journalists to the 'huge mistake' that Massachusetts is making by switching to OpenDocument. From that article: "Officials in the state have proposed a new policy that mandates that every state technology system use only applications designed around OpenDocument file formats. Such a policy might seem like something that should concern only a small group of technology professionals, but in fact the implications are staggering and far-reaching. The policy promises to burden taxpayers with new costs and to disrupt how state agencies interact with citizens, businesses and organizations."

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425 comments

Pendergast is a lobbyist. (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675804)


The Fox News article is by James Pendergast, hardly a friend of open source. More of his FUD-laced Fox articles can be found here [techleadership.org].

If you don't want to read any more of his tripe at least look at the Founding Members [techleadership.org] of his organization... ah Microsoft. He's just a shill protecting MS' monopoly.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (0, Redundant)

pureseth (917220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675863)

So Microsoft is behind the fight for OSS, they want to be alone in the world, along with being on top of the technology business. People are getting smarter, MS is going down. The benefits of OSS are inevitable.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (5, Insightful)

SimilarityEngine (892055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675867)

That's the same impression I got when reading this article. For example:

In a letter to Governor Mitt Romney about the policy, Citizens Against Government Waste righlty (sic) pointed out that, "Not only will this mandate undermine free market competition and drive up costs, it will also curtail the ability of the people and government of Massachusetts to benefit from future innovation."

Rightly? I think the issue is far from settled. I'd argue that encouraging the use of a common standard would enable competition, by preventing lock-in to a specific vendor. But hey, there I go refusing to look at things in the same short-sighted way as the reporter...

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675956)

But hey, there I go refusing to look at things in the same short-sighted way as the reporter...

Hey now, calling him a reporter is an insult to reporters...

Well, I'm not a reporter, but if I was I'd be insulted :)

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (5, Insightful)

Shelled (81123) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676010)

"Not only will this mandate undermine free market competition...."

Free market? Do these people even read their own bullshit any more? The OS marketplace and document 'standard' are owned by one convincted monopolist the current administration let off the hook. What free market? It's a meaningless boogeyman term these nitwits spout nowadays by reflex, much like "save the children" and "burn the witches".

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (4, Insightful)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676103)

Along the same lines...

Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation. The state has a disaster in the making.

*cough* Excuse me?

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (4, Interesting)

pivo (11957) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676163)

From http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=America ns_for_Technology_Leadership [sourcewatch.org]

Americans for Technology Leadership was founded by Jonathan Zuck in 1999 as a "grassroots" organisations for concerned consumers who want less regulation in the technology sector. It also campaigns on general tech issues such as spam.

It has been frequently described as a Microsoft front group.

ATL's domain name, techleadership.org, is registered to the Association for Competitive Technology. The site is hosted by Thomas E. Stock and Thomas J. Synhorst's LLC, TSE Enterprises. Synhorst is a founding member of the DCI Group, a Washington DC-based strategic consulting and lobbying firm which has counted Microsoft as a prime client for a number of years.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (1)

SimilarityEngine (892055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676142)

Do these people even read their own bullshit any more?

What's worrying, of course, is that plenty of not-too-well-informed people do read their bullshit, and although (naturally) savvy /.ters (I heard they exist) don't fall for this crap, a significant number of people in management/politics etc. (especially outside of Mass.) might. Sigh.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (5, Insightful)

Eslyjah (245320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676157)

Open Source Software is the free-market response to closed, expensive software. THAT is what the author does not understand.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (5, Insightful)

arkanes (521690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676173)

The bullshit that comes out of these peoples mouths is increcdible. The entire article focuses on the fact that since Microsoft won't supported OpenDocument, it makes interoperability much harder for everyone - MA won't be able to use Office anymore, businesses and citizens will have to get new products to interoperate with the government, etc. Okay, fine. All that is to an extent quite true. But how the hell can they claim that it somehow subverts competition in the free market when *one* company refusing to support this standard blocks *all* interoperability?

People keep focussing on the problems with OO.o vrs Office, including a totally irrelevent dig at Calc (that doesn't match my experience - at my last job I downloaded and used Calc to data munge some Excel spreadsheets because Excel would lock up for 5 seconds every time I opened or closed the "find" dialog. Nice)

There's plenty thats just plain wrong, too. PDF *is* an open, documented standard with, as far as I know, no patent issues preventing outside implementations. Notably, non-Adobe PDF implementations don't have to rely on difficult and time consuming reverse engineering to interoperate.

And he claims that, up till now, bidding on technologies has been open and merit based.... but he thinks that they should mandate Office. Right. Thats right from the mothership - "Cross platform means NT *AND* 98!". You can implement any "merit based" technology you want, as long as it Microsoft based.

God. So much lying.

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (1)

Kafka_Canada (106443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676187)

Free market? Do these people even read their own bullshit any more? The OS marketplace and document 'standard' are owned by one convincted monopolist the current administration let off the hook. What free market? It's a meaningless boogeyman term these nitwits spout nowadays by reflex, much like "save the children" and "burn the witches".

...and "the current administration."

Re:Pendergast is a lobbyist. (1)

multimed (189254) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676153)

Exactly--like many "tech journalists" he doesn't seem to actually understand the words he uses. For example, in the very beginning, he talks about the mandate requiring Open Document File Formats. He even bolded the words. Then he turns around and writes pretty much the rest of the article as if OpenOffice were what is required and nothing else is allowed--which is absolutely false. The whole point is to require open formats so any vendor can create a competing product. Either he's just dumb and spitting out words or he's being intentionally misleading.

On a related note, are there more really bad "tech journalists" out there who just don't understand technology or are shills for some company or trade group than in other areas of journalism or does it just seem that way?

Relative FUD ? (4, Interesting)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675957)


the great thing about having an uncommon name like Ms Strzalkowski [tripod.com] quoted in the article, is that a quick Google search for Strzalkowski and Microsoft reveals a certain Tomek Strzalkowski [microsoft.com] who appears to be friendly with the Beast. I wonder if they know each other?

Fox News promoting a corporatist agenda? (2, Informative)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676125)

Say it isn't so. That... That'd be like calling the Houston Chronicle a propaganda organ for the Oil and Gas industry! ;) (If you think I'm at all exaggerating, it took them over three weeks to report anything about Enron after all the national news media outlets started covering it, and it wasn't even on the front page.)

It is an OPINION piece (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676133)

... it is an OPINION piece under the "Views" section of the site. You should have noticed that in the header.

And if you don't believe me, go to www.foxnews.com and click on "Opinion". It will take you to this article.

-everphilski-

Re:It is an OPINION piece (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676155)

Would Fox News carry an OPINION piece from the Open Source camp? Unlikely. In that case it's just progaganda.

Is Pendergast such a foe to open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676162)


      I found this article in which Pendergast paints a positive picture of Firefox as well as Google. Why would be bash open source in one article, yet write good things about it in another?

http://techleadership.org/~techlead/news/062305.sh tml [techleadership.org]

     

Well if Fox News says so (1, Flamebait)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675836)

Then it must be true. Except for the approximately 85% of the time when it's some kind of propaganda or outright lie.

Re:Well if Fox News says so (1, Offtopic)

asoap (740625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676036)

Then it must be true. Except for the approximately 85% of the time when it's some kind of propaganda or outright lie.
What'chu talking about Willis?

Fox news is fair and balanced! Even there fancy shmancy graphics say so. Therefore it must be true. Isn't that enough for you?

Just because they are the only news company in the world that mixes opinion editorials and news seamlessly doesn't mean anything.

+5 Sarcasm

Re:Well if Fox News says so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676067)

It doesn't bother me so much that they lie.

It bothers me a lot that people believe their lies.

Action based on such deceptions is bound to create a lot of needless suffering.

Hey, OSS people, don't rock the boat!! (2, Funny)

achurch (201270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675837)

My super-sparkly Palladium Wristwatch I got from Microsoft will get splashed and start bluescreening again!

Who'd of thought? (1, Redundant)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675838)

Just like US and European based companies, Asian companies that make their money licensing proprietary software think open source is bad. Remarkable coincidence. In the meantime, Fox News publishes an opinion piece in the guise of a news story from an organization whose has a founding member named Microsoft. Guess what? The organization says OpenDocument is a very bad decision for Massachusetts. Bonkers, I would have never called that one.

Misportrayal (4, Informative)

abb3w (696381) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676089)

In the meantime, Fox News publishes an opinion piece in the guise of a news story

While I despise Fox News for any number of reasons, this is a misportrayal. The piece is posted in their editorial department at http://www.foxnews.com/views [foxnews.com] — as of 10:45 EST it's the lead over there. While I would certainly agree that a more responsible news organization [nytimes.com] would label such pieces [nytimes.com] more clearly and prominently on the actual article page, rather than letting the attentive figure out that the "MORE VIEWS HEADLINES" implies that this piece is yet another "Views" piece, it's not a particular breach of journalistic propriety. That is to say, it's as well (or poorly) labeled as any of the other pieces of crud from their editorial department. Fox's editors should be flogged, but not for this any more than the rest of their execrable web site.

"Fox News... we report, you decide" (that Fox is full of... something, anyway).

Blind knee jerk self-defence reactions.. (4, Insightful)

loconet (415875) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675845)

.... and to disrupt how state agencies interact with citizens, businesses and organizations.


Isn't that the main point of an open format document? To make it easier for the involved parties to interact!

Re:Blind knee jerk self-defence reactions.. (1)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676061)

there you go again using logic and common-sense. Weren't you asked to uninstall them in the last memo?

Re:Blind knee jerk self-defence reactions.. (1)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676117)

here is the faq directly from Mass http://www.mass.gov/portal/site/massgovportal/menu item.59254d74c0e831c14db4a11030468a0c/?pageID=itdt erminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Policies%2C+Standards+%26+L egal&L2=Open+Standards&L3=Open+Formats&sid=Aitd&b= terminalcontent&f=policies_standards_opendocformfa qs&csid=Aitd [mass.gov] Scroll down to L. Implementation Issues 2. QUESTION: If the Final ETRM V. 3.5 is adopted, won't state agencies need to work with private sector organizations and citizens on a case-by-case basis to work out ways to convert documents back and forth and to troubleshoot problems? The impact of this process on critical agencies like those within the Executive Office of Human Services who depend on the interoperability of their respective IT systems with other branches of state government, particularly the judicial and public safety sectors, will be unacceptable. ANSWER: The Final ETRM V. 3.5 does not apply to documents that the Executive Department receives from external entities. Agencies outside the Executive Department with which EOHHS does business are not subject to Final ETRM V. 3.5. Current data exchanges between EOHHS and its partners outside of EOHHS will not be affected by the Final ETRM 3.5 Data Formats section because the Open Document Format standard applies only to office documents, not to pure data exchange between systems. To the extent to which agencies exchange documents created using office applications with outside agencies, ITD understands that there can be no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to implementing the Final ETRM Version 3.5. Each agency will create its own implementation plan taking into account the possibilities and limitations of its communications with outside parties.

What twat wrote that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675846)

Shoot him - do it quick, or maybe nice and sllooowwww...

How so? (2, Interesting)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675848)

Meanwhile, Anonymous Coward wrote to mention a Fox News article entitled 'Massachusetts Should Close Down OpenDocument', calling the attention of journalists to the 'huge mistake' that Massachusetts is making by switching to OpenDocument. From that article: "Officials in the state have proposed a new policy that mandates that every state technology system use only applications designed around OpenDocument file formats. Such a policy might seem like something that should concern only a small group of technology professionals, but in fact the implications are staggering and far-reaching. The policy promises to burden taxpayers with new costs and to disrupt how state agencies interact with citizens, businesses and organizations."

Does this Anonymous Coward has any studies done that show going towards Open document is a burden to tax payers? I can make a same clain without doing any studies. In the short term it may involve new costs but I think in the long term, it makes cheaper for not having to pay for commercial software licenses. This may be a benefit to the tax payers. How's that?

Re:How so? (1)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675905)

If you were going to submit a story from Fox news, would you want to take credit for it?

Re:How so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675909)


If you read the your own copy/paste-d text correctly, you'll see that the anonymous coward is quoting from the article ...

Re:How so? (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675915)

Keep in mind the submitter is simply reporting what Fox News posted...the submitter is not claiming the news story is right, just that it's out there. Fox News in general, and James Prendergast/Americans for Technology Leadership specifically is publishing the propaganda. And to go further, it's obviously a FUD piece directly from Microsoft (Microsoft is a founding member of the organization Americans for Technology Leadership [techleadership.org]).

Check out the OpenDocument author... (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675849)

It's James Prendergast.. Who's he? Well, he works for Americans for Technology Leadership [findarticles.com]. And who are they? Well, last time they made the news, it was for a letter writing campaign [sourcewatch.org], in support of Microsoft, in which thousands of largely identical letters were sent, including a number from dead people.

Can you say "Astroturfing"?

Re:Check out the OpenDocument author... (1)

smutt (35184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676172)

Follow the $$$$. Microsoft is a founding member of Americans for Technology Leadership.

Other founding members:
        * Association for Competitive Technology
        * Citizens Against Government Waste
        * Cityscape Filmworks
        * Clarity Consulting
        * CompTIA
        * CompUSA
        * 60Plus Association
        * Small Business Survival Committee
        * Staples, Inc.

Translation (5, Insightful)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675851)

"We can't figure out how we can make money from this move, It must be bad for every one, and by everyone we mean us."
Of course microssoft and friends are upset, office is there big cash cow, and if Mass pulls this off and saves some money, then there is every possibility more states will follow.

Two options (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675855)

1) Switch to an open file format now and deal with the problems and cost while they're still managable.

2) Lock yourself more tightly into vendor-owned file formats and either keep paying the vendor-tax forever or make a far more troublesome and expensive switch to an open file format later.

fox... fair and balanced! (4, Informative)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675859)

I'm wondering if you pulled the thread through far enough starting with Fox News, then the reporter, all the way to the source of and the reason for the article warning about dangers of OSS that you would find some Microsoft shill pulling strings.

Oh wait, I just Googled James Prendergast, author of the story. Hey!, Guess what!, he's Executive Director of ATL [google.com], a virulently anti-OSS organization and web site.

Hey slashdotter's, you might want to visit that web site [google.com] a few times, and make sure you always have a fresh page by hitting SHIFT-F5!

WTF Fox?!? Fair and balanced news indeed!

Re: Nice detail on their page (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675919)

You've just GOT to love this little gem...

The article titled "ATL's opposition to the proposed Mandate of Open Office and Portable Document Format (PDF) formats as contained in Enterprise Technical Reference Model v.3.5." links to a PDF.

Re: Nice detail on their page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676017)

If you look at the link to the article on the foxnews homepage underneath it says: "Opinion: Mass. endorsement of 'open' file format bad for America" doesn't seem like they're hiding anything

Re:fox... fair and balanced! (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675941)

You do know that it says, at the bottom of the article, that he is the Executive Director of ATL. It isn't like fox is trying to hide who he is.

Re:fox... fair and balanced! (0, Offtopic)

LinuxOnEveryDesktop (14145) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676100)

It isn't like fox is trying to hide who he is.

Sure... Fox never hides anything, or lies, right? I mean, except for their super-biased, right-wing, crappy reporting. Well, no, I take that back. You can't call what Fox does reporting. Any resemblance with proper journalism has long, long gone. Fox is simply a mouthpiece for right-wing zealots who live in some sort of alternate universe where black is white and white is black. And the war in Iraq was totally justified ('these people threatened to kill my dad! Boo! They must be terrorists!') and going perfectly great (nevermind the civil war in Iraq, thousands of casualties, or the enormous budget deficit that is going to make us totally dependent on China, if it hasn't already).


Yeah, right.


Thanks, fox and friends. You're well underway to destroy our free society.

Re:fox... fair and balanced! (1)

Kaihaku (663794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675993)

I'm confused...for some reason shift-F5 isn't working for me...

I wonder what could be wrong with Safari? :D

Re:fox... fair and balanced! (1)

rossy.co.uk (755784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676016)

Yeah, and they would never use OSS: $ HEAD http://www.techleadership.org/ [techleadership.org] 200 OK Connection: close Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 14:43:05 GMT Accept-Ranges: bytes ETag: "6c01ea-4e8d-433933f4" Server: Apache/1.3.33 (Unix) mod_auth_passthrough/1.8 mod_log_bytes/1.2 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 mod_ssl/2.8.22 OpenSSL/0.9.7a PHP-CGI/0.1b Content-Length: 20109 Content-Type: text/html Last-Modified: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 11:58:44 GMT Client-Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 14:43:04 GMT Client-Peer: 65.254.39.124:80 Client-Response-Num: 1

Re:fox... fair and balanced! (1)

LinuxOnEveryDesktop (14145) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676134)

Indeed. Netcraft says:


http://www.techleadership.org/ [techleadership.org] was running Apache on Linux when last queried at 29-Sep-2005 14:57:28 GMT.


OS Server Last changed IP address Netblock Owner
Linux Apache/1.3.33 (Unix) mod_auth_passthrough/1.8 mod_log_bytes/1.2 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 mod_ssl/2.8.22 OpenSSL/0.9.7a PHP-CGI/0.1b 29-Sep-2005 65.254.39.124 Global Net Access, LLC


Figures. Perfectly in line with the usual treacherous behaviour of the 'fair and balanced' political right.


Funny banner on their site (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676108)

"FRAUD ALERT! Internet scams have been popping up on the Internet to exploit people's generous nature in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CLICK HERE FOR MORE"

How can a scam be an Internet scam if it doesn't pop up on the Internet?

Strike two.

Nice quote (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675864)

Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation. The state has a disaster in the making.

Can't anyone compete on writing applications that output these formats?

Lies! (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675865)

Officials in the state have proposed a new policy that mandates that every state technology system use only applications designed around OpenDocument file formats.

Mass. has made it abundantly clear they are not standardizing on the OpenDocument format; they are mandating open formats. They have stated that only document formats based on published specifications that are not controlled by a single company, nor encumbered by restrictive licensing, will be used.

That means most documents will probably be made available in PDF for the masses, and internal editing will occur with another standard, such as OpenDocument. If Microsoft were to hand over an unencumbered XML file format to a standards body, Mass. could quite possibly standardize on that format instead.

This is just more disinformation. Not that I'm accusing Fox of spreading disinformation, mind you. After all, they are the only Fair and Balanced out there.

Fun, fun, fun... (1)

Avyakata (825132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675870)

Coming soon: TV anchors proclaim that Linux is a devil-worshipping cult and should be outlawed in all of New England.

Re:Fun, fun, fun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675977)

Linux is a devil-worshipping cult
You're thinking of BSD.

FOX... (4, Interesting)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675874)

FTfoxA: "Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation."

Yeah, open standards hurt innovation. You know, it's not like groups like ANSI exist to try to re-standardize fractured languages with open standards that have evolved quickly and represent what the people who are using the language want. But hey, it's not like any language with an open standard ever caught on (C, C++, LISP, Ruby, etc.)

But you know, FOX most likely says that evolution is evil too. At least, as far as the public (schools) are involved...

Re:FOX... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676023)

"Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation."

This is so lame it escapes mot people. Its so far off that youre left hanging speechless. How could any competition occure on a market where only one company controls the format used? Its dandy to standardize on the .doc format but all hell breaks loose if anyone dares use anything other than that. Its just to much to fathom.

We should scream at the top of our lungs to every possible person out there. Microsoft and any other possible vendor is 100% free to implement this standard and there are nothing stopping them from doing so except their wish to keep customers locked into the .doc format. Its Microsoft who refuses to use or deliver an open format, not the other way around.

Open formats for every aspect of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675875)

My true belief that information should be free and all formats should be open. For example the stupid argument about whether to use Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.

In the end it only hurts the pockets of individuals and companies alike, reduces productivity hides the cost of upgrading and confuses the market in general.

Costs (5, Funny)

spurtle15 (899792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675876)

The policy promises to burden taxpayers with new costs...

Boss: How much is the software going to cost?
Tech: Um, it's free.
Boss: How about all the manpower hours?
Tech: Alright, we'll shutdown the Quake server for the time being.

Fox News! (1, Funny)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675893)

Editoral^w^w^w^w^w^w Advertising space for hire!

Seriously, does anyone take fox as a news source theese days? Its like a tv version of those magazines where you get a free positive article for every ad you pay for.

Wake up call (2, Interesting)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675898)

Hey you so called (politically) conservative geeks - here's a pretty blatant attempt by Fox news to pass of an industry slug as a journalist. Now think about Fox news doing that with the Israel/Palestine issue, covering any American Democrat, or any other international affair.

In short, wake up - Fox "news" is feeding you B.S.

Re:Wake up call (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676160)

Point of clarification, the article is in the 'Views' section of the Faux News website. That is their editorial section, so it is not a "news" article.

Equal Opportunity Software Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675916)

Didn't they learn the first time around how bogus this is? "All things being equal, we will give the scholarship to the black student before the white student". Which evolved into "Well, as long as the non-white student graduated high school, we'll give him the scholarship"

I'm not trying to be racist, it's just stupid to give preference to one over the other "in all situations" when someone considers them "equal". How about we just stick with "best tool for the job", and let the people who are hired to choose the best solution, do just that. It's what they get paid for. They don't get paid to pick open source software if at all possible, even if it means firing half o their staff and/or forcing them to relearn everything they already knew.

**insert linux zealot response that you have to relearn everything with new releases of closed source software anyways *cough* bs *cough*

Looking ahead... (1)

commo1 (709770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675920)

The real issue here is that someone has to step to the plate (Munich, State of Mass, etc...) in order for this type of testing to take place. Opponents of open-source don't realize that an open standard is just that: a standard. A standard is something that will be updated, and in this case will probably be something that will include backwards-compatibility as an important part of further development and ratifying of the new standard. Closed standards have little of this type of accountablility. Imagine if the OpenDocument 2 standard say 3 years from now indicated that there would be no backwards compatibilty. Huge uproar woudl arise, much dicsussion and pondering would take placeand commn sense would prevail. Now imagine what Microsoft has done in the past, and will continue to do in the future. Microsoft need a revenue stream to survive and will continue to develop products aimed at replacing, rather than complementing, their predecessors, rather than building on them and allowing for higher levels of interoperability and ease of transition.

Americans for Technology Leadership (2, Interesting)

Ukyo (21427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675921)

Jim Prendergast is executive director of Americans for Technology Leadership.

Before everybody goes crazy about the Fox News article, consider the source. American for Tech Leadership is a what it amounts to a PAC for different tech companies. Guess who is one of their major contibutors??

You guessed it, Microsoft.

http://www.techleadership.org/about/ [techleadership.org]

So don't act all surprised when you see what amounts to a Microsoft spokesperson saying that Open Source formats are going to "cost too much" or "take too much effort". Fox News should be ashamed to run this "ad" as a news story; but when I come to think of it, everybody else does it too.

It's an OPINION article. Under the "Views" section (2, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676115)

It is an opinion story. Go straight to the base web site, www.foxnews.com, and click on opinion. BAM, you arrive at this so-called "article".

The blind leading the blind around here...

-everphilski-

Favorite quote (4, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675925)

" The Massachusetts policy would instead direct contracts to just a few technology providers, while many would be locked out."

An interesting sentence that exemplifies the hypocrisy ripe within his arguments... we all know Open source is open and anyone can choose to support it as a 'technology provider'. Whereas Microsoft hand picks those companies it approves to have access to the information needed to be a good provider of it's technology.

This doesn't make any sense. In fact IMHO reality dictates that the situation is exactly opposite to this statement, excepting the fact that existing MS providers would have to adopt the Open format if they want to continue being a provider.. a choice they can freely make, but to say they would be 'locked out' is a flat out lie.

What? Fox news shilling for powerful businesses? (2, Funny)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675938)

I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say. What's next, acting as a mouthpiece for government talking points/propoganda?

The PROOF is in the .... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675943)

pudding, so they say, and this type of FUD is proof (or close enough) for the State of Mass. to know that they are doing exactly the right thing. Despite the fact that it makes me giddy to see the MS machinations squeeling like stuck pigs, I think this sort of FUD, and the resultant outcries are just the thing that will slowly turn the world to look at F/OSS. This, I believe, is due to the fact that if F/OSS wasn't worth looking at, wasn't a threat to the juggernaut that is MS, then there would not be this outlandish FUD going on.

While I feel sad that such pains must be endured, I'm glad to see the MS machine slowing down, losing some ground, and perhaps looking a bit pale in the face.

Free market? (1)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675961)

Since when has the office software business been a free market? Its ruled by a convicted monopolist, who has been proven to use anti-competitive actions to protect the assests and investments of its stock holders. How can a civil servant be expected to put out a tender for office software, when there is no market, just one, megalithic monster? (and a couple of OSS alternatives)

Damn this makes me angry (2, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675973)

The policy promises to burden taxpayers with new costs

Hello? Microsoft office costs over $300!! And that's just for the "standard" edition.

Idiots.

Re:Damn this makes me angry (2, Informative)

SoccerManUNLV (827697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676116)

Not to mention that the migration to Office 12 for Mass would cost $50 Million, and the full cost extimated for the OpenDoc and applications that support it was $5 million. The numbers themselves explain the biggest advantage to the whole deal.

A website!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675975)

Never knew AC had a website!

Ten years I could have argued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13675987)

Don't switch our organization over to Windows 95! Windows 3.1 and WordPerfect, Lotus 123 is doing everything we need.

Just vote "No" to: big evil scary CHANGE.
Let's all stop evolving and stay where we are...nice and comfortable where everything more-or-less works and we have to reboot once a day.

Re:Ten years I could have argued... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676007)

Heh, too cowardly to post this under your real ID, eh?

Re:Ten years I could have argued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676080)

Darn right...heck I'm still using 2.4 kernels everywhere
(I may even have a couple of 2.2 embedded systems out in the field)

I resist change, but I acknowledge it exists.
(I also drive a 1987 Honda Accord...runs real nice)

Grrrr....Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 8 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

Welcome to the New Conservative Party (1, Flamebait)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13675991)

We promote free markets by encouraging anticompetitive practices, and attacking new entepenerial buisness models.

We secure free society by taking away your rights.

We create peace and foriegn support by making unnecisiarry enemies of both the world leaders and populus.

We strive for small government by spending more than any other administration in history.

Fox + Microsoft (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676005)

The FoxNews hatchetjob on open document formats is written by the Exec Director of a Microsoft lobbyist [sourcewatch.org]. Anyone who gets any news from Fox needs to set their "taint [cpan.org]" bit. As in "Fox News: 't ain't never true!".

Lies! (3, Insightful)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676033)

That may have been the most lies and misinformation that I have ever read in one place. Some choice comments:

"In other cases, the OpenDocument solution may cost more and provide less, but agencies and citizens will have to pay the price and make do."
Yup, definatley costs more, being free and all.

"It may be that an array of exceptional, low-cost OpenDocument applications will emerge in the coming years."
*Ahem*... http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]
That's about as low-cost as they come.

"Many technology writers, in fact, have cast a skeptical eye on OpenDocument and applications that support the format. George Ou, writing on ZDNet, recently compared the new Open Office Calc product to Microsoft Excel and found it lacking, writing, "[i]f someone from Open Office can explain why it takes more than 100 times longer to create and load spreadsheet documents and why it uses up several more times memory that Microsoft Excel to work with the same data, I'd love to hear it.""
So, OpenOffice Calc isn't as good as Microsoft Excel, and therefore the OpenDocument standard is no good...

One more.

"Until now, Massachusetts' citizens and government agencies have been well served by a competitive, merit-based procurement process for technology services."
And they still could be. He forgets to mention that the OpenDocument format is in fact open and therefore anyone can support it. Microsoft could make a product that competes here just as easily as anyone else (or more easily, considering the money they have to throw around).

I could go on and on. The entire article is horrid, anti-open source propaganda.

Malaysian Microsoft Shills Involved (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676037)

As a Malaysian, I know those who are trying to lobby the government against its OSS policy are Microsoft shills. They pretend to be "independent" but are in fact loyal Microsoft devotees, on the agenda of their corporate master. Do not be fooled.

Classic FUD (1)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676057)

First, claim OpenDocument costs more and then whine about the implications (my emphasis):

Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation.
Don't say it is an attack, that'd make you look more stupid. Never mind that there's no logic whatsoever in the statement.

How about a strawman argument about something unrelated:

Many technology writers, in fact, have cast a skeptical eye on OpenDocument and applications that support the format. George Ou, writing on ZDNet, recently compared the new Open Office Calc product to Microsoft Excel and found it lacking, writing, "[i]f someone from Open Office can explain why it takes more than 100 times longer to create and load spreadsheet documents and why it uses up several more times memory that Microsoft Excel to work with the same data, I'd love to hear it."
And that's the fault of a document specification? Let's make a wish...but wait, there's more comedy:
It may be that an array of exceptional, low-cost OpenDocument applications will emerge in the coming years. Such innovation would be welcome by anyone, but these applications should have to compete on merit and cost. They should not be given an arbitrary leg up that shuts out other vendors and forces government agencies to settle on under-performing technologies.

Eh? Are we trying to say that Microsoft products are the market leaders because their file formats are superior? That if those nasty OpenDocument apps get help from dimwitted politicians it amounts to market interference? No, it can't be! Surely Microsoft paid them off, er, made valuable campaign donations to ensure they wouldn't be swayed by a load of dirty geek hippies?

After that, the attempt at scaremongering Adobe about PDF going the same way is just hilarious. And mentioning CAGW is bad PR, James, they've already been outed.

...in other news (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676074)

Ozarka, Dasani, Oasis and Sparklettes have joined forces in opposition to the public water system citing anticompetitive behavior and enormous public risk of disease and terrorist threat.

Does it really matter what format you use? (1)

p_conrad (118670) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676079)

It's not like translating documents from one format to another is rocket science. Does anybody really believe in a Post-Microsoft future where all the worlds documents are unreadable because the secret died with the MS borad of directors? Even PDF, which is a major pain, is crackable. What's the big deal?

Author's name.... (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676084)

Massachusetts Should Close Down OpenDocument
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
By James Prendergast


Did anyone else read that as "James Pederast"?

Uh. this is an OPINION article!!!! (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676088)

... If you dont believe me. Go to www.foxnews.com, and click on "opinion" (don't take the submenu). It will take you to this article.

Theres nothing wrong with an opinion article saying that he is against the switch to open source formats (he makes a few valid points - the exception of Adobe Acrobat products and the fact that OO Calc does truly suck).

-everphilski-

Wow (1)

f0rtytw0 (446153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676090)

I mean I expect to see stuff like this on Fox "News" but when I actually do see it it blows my mind. I love the confusion between OpenOffice and OpenDocument, not the first time we saw that argument used wonder where he got that one. I applaud my state doing this and I'm sure my uncle in Arizona would wish his state would do the same. For several years he had trouble opening the word documents that were sent to from the state (he worked on the big horn sheep project). It seems he didn't have the correct version of Microsoft Word and would need to update but his computer was too old for the current version.

Look at the homepage (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676107)

before you blast foxnews for trying to pass this off as news, look at the homepage. Under the link to the article it states: "Opinion: Mass. endorsement of 'open' file format bad for America"

How difficult is it for MS to just... (5, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676111)

How difficult is it for MS to just add OpenDocument support?

The article mentions ease of interoperability, claiming that everyone should use Microsoft Office since everyone else uses Microsoft Office.

THAT'S NOT INTEROPERABILITY! That's a monopoly! Microsoft is well aware of that fact, too, which is why they DON'T want to support OpenDocument. If they did, then people would be able to choose a different office suite and still be able to maintain working relations with others. Suddenly everyone has choice, and that's a bad thing!

Maybe this is just the spark needed to light a fire under MS's ass. Either they or the state of Massachusetts is going to have to crack, and I'm betting they will. It's trivial to add OpenDocument support to MS Office. Of course, once they do, they'll open the floodgates to personal choice... so maybe they'll bite the bullet and wait out Mass.

Disclaimer: I'm not an anti-MS zealot. I merely go with what is in my opinion the best tool for the job. I run Windows XP, Firefox and OpenOffice.org.

Bullshit! (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676118)

The policy promises to burden taxpayers with new costs and to disrupt how state agencies interact with citizens, businesses and organizations.

I'd ask Pendergast what these "new costs" are, and what he means with "disrupt how state agencies interact".

"Worse, the policy represents an attack on market-based competition, which in turn will hurt innovation. The state has a disaster in the making."

Competition!? I thought government agencies were obligued to inform the citizens, not to force them to buy products!

Open Source is BAD! M'Kay?! (2, Interesting)

Dino (9081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676119)

No where in the FOXNews.com article did James Prendergast list a specific complain against what OpenDocument doesn't have to offer. He has some quotes about how "[Open Office Calc] takes more than 100 times longer to create and load spreadsheet documents and why it uses up several more times memory that Microsoft Excel to work with the same data" and how "Microsoft keeps expanding into XML and metadata and OpenDocument may have trouble keeping up." If you read the article, you get this feeling this guy is a frothing, super-capitalist munchdog who really rates communism. Those FASCISTS!

Seriously though, my take is that "open" standards foster competition but can supress innovation when they are unable to grow and adapt. I'm not familiar enough with OpenDocument to really comment, but I do wonder how it stacks up, feature and architecture-wise against say WordOffice/PDF. Is OpenDocument really that far away from XML and metadata? Seriously...

Is it obvious or not? (1)

Wubby (56755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676121)

Would I be overstating the obvious with this:

There seems to be too much acceptance in the public of the idea that the market is more important than the commons. We accept that too much government is a bad thing, but have we entirely forgotten or ignored that exceedingly large business is even worse?

And I recognize that "too much" and "exceedingly large" are subjective terms, but I'm concerned with the balance. When news goes corporate before public good have we lost the battle for our rights? You can say that these companies don't have a political agenda, but money IS an agenda, and unfortunatly, our government revolves around money. This is were finance reform becomes and issue of your rights vs. company rights.

I'm sorry to say it, but they will win that one. The reign of government are held by the same people who have held the reigns of business, and they are hacking away at anything that will slow them down.

I'm not nieve enough to think that OSS will solve all the worlds problems, but it at least has the advantage of giving the people control (should they accept it). Letting businesses write the laws (which many lobbyists do before handing it to a congressman) is designed to keep the revenue stream flowing, the public good be damned!

*sigh* I don't think that made much sense.

</RAMBLE>

Awry XML facts in the article (3, Informative)

displague (4438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676136)

In another commentary, David Coursey, a columnist for eWeek, expressed concern about moving the state to OpenDocument formats.

"I am concerned that by requiring OpenDocument that Mr. Quinn [state CIO] may be aligning Massachusetts with what becomes a second-rate file format as Microsoft keeps expanding into XML and metadata and OpenDocument may have trouble keeping up."

mjohansson@bang:/tmp$ file test.odt # OpenDocument file saved from OpenOffice Writer
test.odt: Zip archive data, at least v2.0 to extract
mjohansson@bang:/tmp$ unzip -t test.odt
Archive: test.odt
testing: mimetype OK
testing: Configurations2/ OK
testing: Pictures/ OK
testing: content.xml OK
testing: styles.xml OK
testing: meta.xml OK
testing: Thumbnails/thumbnail.png OK
testing: settings.xml OK
testing: META-INF/manifest.xml OK

Notice how OpenOffice lags behind in technology, while Microsoft moves toward XML and meta files.

Re:Awry XML facts in the article (1)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676197)

My experience over the years has been that David Coursey is a total MS fanboy, and is often exceptionally undereducated on the technology or simply facts at hand. The fact that Ziff-Davis even pays this guy shocks me to no end.

Is OpenDocument perfect? No. Is it easier to build accessibility to it? Yes. Would it be less costly to continue to retrofit current screenreaders in Windows? Of course.

All this harping on about not meeting standards or being left behind is a matter of comparing technology feel to technology knowledge. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants to be able to take apart and put back together the information they have. I agree. Given the current XML sludge that comes in a standard Word doc saved as XML on my machine with Word 2003, I can't exactly disagree.

Cost to taxpayers? (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676140)

Oh God no!! Gee, I wonder what taxpayers pay every year for the government's use of M$ software? A temporary expense to provide more affordable, more open standards accross our government is a GOOD THING. And Let me tell you Open Source knows a little something about a GOOD THING(R).

Hate to say it.. (2, Informative)

pherthyl (445706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676148)

Microsoft shill or not, I think this James guy has a point. I don't think anyone can really deny that openoffice is just not as advanced as the MS Office suite. Sure openoffice has several key advantages, but the local bureaucrat is not going to care that openoffice runs on multiple platforms when they're stuck on windows and suddenly can't properly load documents.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for this to work, but I just don't see it happening. Openoffice just isn't that good yet. (Unless there is another mature office suite supporting Opendocument and importing MS Word that runs on windows). Even for my own personal use, which is a couple letters, a couple presentations, and a couple lab reports, Openoffice is a pain to use. I use it almost exclusively when I can, mostly because I don't want to pirate MS Office anymore, but I routinely run into things that are harder or impossible to do in Openoffice than in MS Office.

So yeah, good luck Massachusetts, I hope you succeed, but I wouldn't count on it.

A good idea for a law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676165)

How about a law that punishes journalists for reporting facts based on a press release, or a companys marketing claims.

There are laws about truth in advertising, so why not laws about truth in journalisim.

the press touts that they are the guardians of truth and freedom, but more times than not they are just spinning some special intrest group or companys line. and totaly ignore the facts.

Reuse open source code (1)

matthewchen (917942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676174)

One of problem that I have with the open source is that how to search for the code snippets that I can reuse in my open source projects. Finally someone who developed an open source code search engine called Codease (http://www.codase.com [codase.com]). Play with a while, seems it understands code well and I can search for function defintions, function calls, and even the class definition, try search for "trie" and immediately give me the examples in the open source project. Hope they can cover more projects and more languages.

Nicely done slashbots (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676177)

In approximately 40 responses to this article, I have seen the term "FUD" used about half a dozen times, and I have seen the author of this article attacked based on his opinions about MS in another 20 or so. Then there are the attacks on Fox news...

Not that any of it is wrong mind you, but would it be possible for some of you to actually refute the points, instead of resorting to the all too common "MS SHILL!!!!!" response.

Disrupt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13676180)

... for good.

A crazy proposal - encourage closed source gov (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13676191)

Perhaps we should be encouraging the government to be closed source.

After all, the last thing we want to do is make it more efficient and less costly for the government to regulate and tax us. Does anyone think for a second that if the government saves money that their tax bill will be lower, or their services will be better?

Also, free software adoption is being driven by free market forces - I would love nothing more than to see Microsoft get stuck in the "bureauocratic" and political sectors, while the rest of the free market latches onto Linux and kicks ass.

Not to mention that governments total lack of spending controll would certainly drive up costs in the marketplace for everyone else who uses Linux services.

As much as I despise them, perhaps MS is doing us a favor here?
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