And our tax money goes to?! Microsoft, congrats!

Here’s a screenshot from www.prefecturabrasov.ro, the official website of Brasov City Hall (prefecture), picturing the usage of Microsoft Word documents on a government scale.

prefectura

It seems to me a bit peculiar that a government institute purchases proprietary software out of public budget money. I’ll take the opportunity to endorse some of the points Jim Willis advocated at the eLiberatica FLOSS conference. Here are a couple of slides:

DSCF8165

Government needs to get out of the business of trying to predict the applications that citizens want” – good one!

DSCF8150

Tax payers pay for the software“. Interesting… why pay when there’s a pretty decent, usable, FREE alternative out there?

Use OpenOffice.org

I thought it would be a good idea to ask the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology or the Ministry of Interior and Administration Reform (since I’m not sure which one of them is responsible for this) to check out the Romanian OpenOffice.org project and train their employees into using OO, since all the documentation is free.

And if they really feel like buying something, than buy the Open Office CD.

Thank you Mr. Minister for considering my request.

(via Marius)

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4 Comments »

  1. There might be couple of questions to be asked:

    Did they acquired a license for Office ? This would fall into a “don’t pirate Office, use Open Office” campaign
    Second, “What is interoperability for European eGovernment Services?” http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/5313/5883 with an awesome achievement
    The promotion of the Open Document Exchange Format initiative on the IDABC policy on formats will allow electronic documents to be exchanged among authorities, citizens and business in such a way that would not force the use of specific software products and would ensure universal readability of documents.
    Don’t think .doc is very compliant to Open Document Exchange Format ;)
    Think

    European Commission
    Directorate-General for Informatics
    DIGIT/01 - European eGovernement services (IDABC)
    B-1049 Brussels
    Fax: +32-2-299 02 86

    should be notified.

  2. Mihai said

    I guess they acquired a license, that’s not the point.

    I’m thinking more of a “Microsoft Flicks” campaign :)

    Like a website where you can post evidence of government using proprietary software. They’ll have to do the right thing in the end.

  3. The goverment should be supporting open source as a matter of principle. Microsoft ?

  4. Mihai said

    Principles may sometimes be unmeasurable. Money is pretty measurable. And my guess is you could spend some tens of thousands $ to get a Town Hall network to run a Microsoft solution.

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