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ITBusiness.ca: The Debate: Open Source

Apr 16, 2003, 16:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Shane Schick)

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"TIG: Why do you think so many governments are considering these kinds of policies and proposals?

"[Bob Kramer]: Well, I think that to a certain extent a number of governments have been told that it's cheaper, although there's been a number of studies both in the United States and overseas that have raised that as a question. It really depends on what application you're looking at, what kind of software and what kind of environment it's acting in. You have to take in the total cost of operating the software, not just the actual purchase price or the licensing fees. If you only look at the licence fee, sure, software that doesn't charge licensing fees is cheaper than software that does. On the other hand, if you look at the total cost of operation, including training, support, instalment and service and so on, there has been a series of studies that have shown that in some cases it's proprietary software, and in some cases it's open source...

"TIG: Why are so many governments considering these policies now, like in Peru and the state of California?

"[Bruce Perens]: The policy that they've been attacking in Peru is just a reaction to not having any choices for the software that's used in government. What the governments are saying is, 'Well, gee, if we're going to have one vendor who just wants to charge whatever they want, who doesn't necessarily give us what we're interested in, maybe we should use free software instead.' That community is one that gives us more control. No government is really considering any preference laws. That is extremely deceptive. The real situation is that governments are considering rules that would allow their purchasing departments to consider or choose free software as well as proprietary software. That's not something Bob Kramer... and his crew should really be fighting, but they are..."

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