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Lobbyists Urge South Australia To Drop Open Source Bill 248

Red Wolf writes "The Age reports that South Australia has caused eyebrows at the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC) to be raised in concern, with the organisation writing to Premier Mike Rann over a proposed Open Source software bill. The ISC, by its own definition, is a "global coalition of large and small companies committed to advancing the concept that multiple competing software markets should be allowed to develop and flourish unimpeded by government preference or mandate"."
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Lobbyists Urge South Australia To Drop Open Source Bill

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:10AM (#6220832)
    A few comments:

    1. The Linux kernel does support Token Ring, it was probably disabled on your distro for some reason.

    2. ext2 does not need defragmentation.

    3. Your lawyer is an idiot. You only need to release source code under the GPL if you are releasing the binaries; if it was a purely internal development then the source can be kept private. Secondly the GCC license does not and never has said that everything compiled with GCC must be open source.

    I say again, your legal beagal is an idiot. He did not actually read the GPL, he just pontificated on something he did not understand. Because of that you have wasted a lot of time and effort doing something unnecessary.
  • by weeble ( 50918 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:12AM (#6220836) Homepage
    Your lawyers obviously do not have a clue what they are talking about.

    Compiling software with gcc does not require you to release your software under the GPL.

    If you are developing 'in-house' and are not releasing your software you do not need to release the source code.

    If you use someone else's code, of course you have to comply with their licence. If that is the GPL and you want to sell your code as well as their code I should think you would have to release it.

    If you incorporated a piece of Windows's code into your application, do you not think that you would have to comply with Microsoft's licence???

    Linux has had Token Ring support for a long time; this looks like more FUDing and Trolling.

    Ext2 is a well written filesystem and does not require constant defragging like Microsoft's filesystems do. This is lack of knowledge on your own part. I have a number of file and database servers running ext2 and ext3 that have been up for a number of years, while being heavily used and still only have 3 to 6% fragmentation.

    Sorry to all others for responding to such an obvious Troll; however some fool had moderated it up.
  • by peachpuff ( 638856 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:25AM (#6220880)
    "So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available. Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent 'touching up' Linux to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors."

    Always ask your lawyer before you sign the deal. Besides, "making the changes freely available" means giving people the source code if you give them the binaries. You don't have to give the binaries or source to anyone except the investment firm. The GPL also makes it clear that you and the investment firm can separately agree that they will not redistribute the binaries or code.

    "Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released. This was simply unacceptable."

    Replace your lawyer--he can't read. The GPL does not require you to license things under the GPL simply because they were compiled with gcc.

    If you don't believe me, read it [] yourself.

    And stop trolling.

  • by bakes ( 87194 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:34AM (#6220906) Journal
    this Bill is a simple one, and yet, it has the potential to do great things for our state. It requires procurement people in public authorities to consider the alternative of using open source software, and wherever practicable, using open source in preference to proprietary software.

    It says that if OSS is not practicable for whatever reason, don't use it. But it must be given a fair go.

    Nothing wrong with that. Not prejudiced to either side (open or closed) in my view.
  • by mhifoe ( 681645 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:44AM (#6220925)
    Whilst I haven't done any background checking on the Initiative for Software Choice I think what they seem to be saying is that the best tool for any particular job should be picked.

    The lobby group consists of these people [].

    It's the usual suspects (MS included). A bill which requires Open Source to be considered will harm their business model. Therefore it must be stopped. Note that the bill doesn't prevent the use of proprietary software, it merely requires people who procure software for the public sector to consider open source. That sounds like software choice to me.

  • by dazed-n-confused ( 140724 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @05:47AM (#6220932)
    FYI, "this ISC mob" is Microsoft.

    See Bruce Perens' article MS 'Software Choice' scheme a clever fraud [] for a reasoned demolition of their stance.
  • by HardcoreGamer ( 672845 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @06:15AM (#6221017)

    ''The article doesn't detail the intricacies of the law...''

    No need to guess about the bill - here's the text of the proposed legislation. See the bold text for the important part:


    [Advance (1)]

    South Australia

    [Prepared by the Parliamentary Counsel on the instructions of the Hon. I. Gilfillan, M.L.C.]

    BILL 2003

    An Act to amend the State Supply Act 1985.



    Part 1â"Preliminary
    1. Short title
    2. Amendment provisions

    Part 2â"Amendment of State Supply Act 1985
    3. Insertion of Part 3A
    Part 3Aâ"Special provisions relating to supply operations of public authorities
    17A. Principle applying to the procurement of computer software

    The Parliament of South Australia enacts as follows:

    Part 1â"Preliminary

    Short title
    1. This Act may be cited as the State Supply (Procurement of Software) Amendment Act 2003.

    Amendment provisions
    2. In this Act, a provision under a heading referring to the amendment of a specified Act amends the Act so specified.

    Part 2â"Amendment of State Supply Act 1985

    Insertion of Part 3A
    3. After Part 3 insert:

    Part 3Aâ"Special provisions relating to supply operations of public authorities

    Principle applying to the procurement of computer software
    17A. (1) A public authority must, in making a decision about the procurement of computer software for its operations, have regard to the principle that, wherever practicable, a public authority should use open source software in preference to proprietary software.

    (2) In this sectionâ"
    "distribute" means distribute for free or on payment of the reasonable costs of distribution;
    "open source software" means computer software the subject of a licence granting a person a rightâ"
    (a) without any limitation or restriction, to use the software for any purpose; and
    (b) without any limitation or restriction, to make copies of the software for any purpose; and
    (c) without any limitation or restriction, to access or modify the source code of the software for any purpose; and
    (d) without payment of a royalty or other fee, to distribute copies ofâ"
    (i) the software (including as a component of an aggregate distribution containing computer software from several different sources); or
    (ii) a derived or modified form of the software, (whether in compiled form or in the form of source code), under the same terms as the licence applying to the software;
    "proprietary software" means computer software that is not open source software.


  • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Informative)

    by uroshnor ( 443541 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @06:23AM (#6221036)
    Whilst MS is probably a player in this, keep in mind that the South Australian State Government's IT is almost totally outsourced to EDS ( who are a ISC member, and a MS solution parter at a very big way ).

    EDS's revenues in the SA State Government Cotnract would be impacted by an open source direction , as EDS derives revenue both from selling software and hardware to the government, as well as supporting the systems.

    As EDS is a major sized player, one of the ways they derive revenue is by screwing commercial developers down on price, and then selling to their customers at as high a price they can get away with.

    Extensive use of OSS/Free software would impact this because they would have reduced capability to pad their revenue.

  • Be Pro-Active (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnuguru ( 301000 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @07:18AM (#6221154) Journal
    The Premiers website =R amsay

    The Premiers email address.

    Mod this up quicksmart ;)
  • How do geeks lobby? (Score:3, Informative)

    by thogard ( 43403 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @07:49AM (#6221232) Homepage
    Anyone know how to do our lobbying?

    Is there anyway we could get a good speaker that is sort of local to go talk to some of the more undecided politicians? Maybe Rusty or Tridge? These two bring money into Australia and some of that can be directly tracked to South Australia.

    LinuxSA [] has a bit more on the propsed law.

    This law will get passed if the local goverment understands that supporting open souce does being in people all over the world through things like [].
  • Re:Few Things (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:33AM (#6221425)
    The Bill is not being proposed by the SA Government. Rather, it is a private members Bill being put forward by the Australian Democrats, one of the smaller but very significant parties in Australia.

    The Bill is being addressed to Mr President because it has been put introduced to the Upper House of the SA parliament (like the US or Australian senate).
  • Re:Few Things (Score:2, Informative)

    by Cluestick Enforcer ( 682056 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:10AM (#6221696)
    I know about the Democrats, but I was unaware about the Two - House system of SA (as I live in QLD, where there is only 1).

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur