[Fsfe-ie] Open source 'too costly' for Irish e-gov

Aidan Delaney adelaney at cs.may.ie
Fri Apr 30 14:23:30 CEST 2004

On Thu, 2004-04-29 at 23:49, adam beecher wrote:
> That the article discusses open source and not free software is entirely
> beyond my control. ;)
> I'll leave it with you to analyse, I'll simply say that I think Hanafin has
> it all bass-ackwards. It would be interesting to hear what the government
> "looked into", and how they went about it. I hope they didn't ask the LGCSB
> for advice...
I'm not sure if she's incorrect

> > "The use of open standards is critical to the government's plans," she said.
At last the government is getting it right.

> > "But it is important to remember that open standards are not the same as
> > open source."
Which is quite true.

> once fully constructed, needs to last for several decades and must therefore
> be upgradeable. "Using open standards gives us that option."
Again a true statement

> She added that the government had looked into the long-term cost of various
> architectures and had determined that using only open source software could,
> in the long run, be more expensive. "The long-term cost of open source may
> outweigh the short term savings," she said.
Could be...getting shaky here.  I'd like to see the quotes.

> Open standards software products are designed to be interoperable with
> software from other manufacturers, but can be proprietary technologies.
> Companies like IBM and Microsoft -- huge advocates for strong intellectual
> property law and by extention proprietary software -- are supporters of open
> standards, particularly Web Services architectures. The pair, along with BEA
> Systems and Verisign, even founded the Web Services Interoperability
> Organization (WS-I), which promotes the technology.
WS-I technology is only available royalty-free to other WS-I members. 
The WS-I sounds like a good idea, but unfortunately they're not for open
standards, just shared standards amongst a closed group.

page 5
section 2 b (1)

So it's not even open standards, as I understand open standards to be.

> The open source software movement, meanwhile, is not focused on pushing
> common technical standards, although many in the movement support such
> initiatives. Open source backers aim to create a market where software code
> is open to development and modification, which can in some instances
> undermine interoperability.
Um.....kinda true, but not true at the same time.  This is a broad
statement like "all Irishmen are drunk", which makes the statement
pretty useless.

> The question over open source or open standards in Irish e-government is
> especially pertinent now that work on Ireland's long-awaited Public Services
> Broker has commenced after BearingPoint won the contract. When completed,
> the Public Services Broker -- which is also now called reachservices -- will
> serve as a kind of central nervous system for Irish e-government services,
> linking practically all government departments and agencies so that
> information on citizens can be shared.
Blah, blah...I don't really care...  They can start out with closed
source software but if they use true open standards (i.e. not WS-I) they
have no barrier to move to OSS or FS in our case.  We then just have to
make a stronger case for the adoption of FS, or better still get the
consultant who advises the Minister drunk :)

There's nothing outrageous in this statement except the claim that the
WS-I promote open standards.  I suggest we don't get offended by the
possible perception of an insult to the FOSS community and simply point
out that the WS-I do not produce open standards like the W3C etc...
Aidan Delaney 	email: adelaney at cs.may.ie
		web:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney
		gpg:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney/public_key.asc
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