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CNET News: Army to Gates: Halt the Free Software

Mar 10, 2004, 17:00 (23 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ina Fried)

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"Microsoft has been mailing free copies of its pricey Office productivity software to government employees, but CNET News.com has learned that at least two federal agencies are warning recipients to return the gifts or risk violating federal ethics policies.

"Since the launch of Office 2003 last year, Microsoft has given out tens of thousands of free copies of its flagship software, which retails for about $500, to workers at its biggest customers. The giveaway was expanded to government workers this year, but ethics offices at the Department of the Interior and Department of Defense have said the offers constitute unauthorized gifts and must be returned...

"The issue comes up as many governments are looking at open-source alternatives for Office and the Windows operating system. The British government has been evaluating a switch to the Linux OS, while open-source software is also being eyed in Korea, China, India and even at some local agencies in the United States..."

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