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Microsoft Government Open Source Software The Almighty Buck Politics

Microsoft Lobby Denies the State of Chile Access To Free Software 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the lockin-leverage-legislate dept.
walterbyrd writes: Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software. "An independent member of the Chilean Parliament, Vlado Mirosevic, pushed a bill that would allow the state to consider free software when the authorities needed to purchase or renew licenses. ... A while later, the same member of the Parliament, Daniel Farcas, proposed another bill that actually nullified the effects of the previous one that had just been adopted. To make things even more interesting, some of the people who voted in favor of the first law also voted in favor of the second one. ... The new bill is even more egregious, because it aggressively pushes for the adoption of proprietary software. Companies that choose to use proprietary software will receive certain tax breaks, which makes it very hard for free software to get adopted."
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Microsoft Lobby Denies the State of Chile Access To Free Software

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:36PM (#47723233) Homepage Journal

    Who kowtowed to any lobbyist, regardless of which one it happens to be.

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:40PM (#47723269)

    If they're anything like American legislators they just let the lobbyists write the laws so they are free to put on an act of serving their constituents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:45PM (#47723303)

    should always equal OSS/Free/Libre software.

    - Usually better software quality.
    - Prevents monetary kickbacks.
    - No stupid license fees (an evil in itself)

    In this regard, I am in agreement with RMS.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:47PM (#47723311) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, well I was responding to the tone of the summary that suggested that Microsoft was entirely at fault(as if lobbying in Chile were illegal or something), and didn't even make any room for the people actually pulling the vote. You can play as complex and nuanced a perspective as you want. I'm not opposed to that at all.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:49PM (#47723327)
    So Microsoft has to resort to such legal tactics in order to get people to use Microsoft software.
  • Details? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:50PM (#47723341)

    Not to be a party-pooper but there isn't anything at all in the article about what "the Microsoft lobby" actually did or not. Only that a politician that were against the free software support law from the start managed to get a contrary law passed a while later.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:54PM (#47723361)

    It is difficult to tell from either the summary or TFA if that is even true. The summary is horribly written (what is a "prolific magazine"?) and uses the word "bill" and "law" interchangeably. ALL countries that have income tax allow software purchases to be deducted, so I don't see why that is thrown in. These tax deductions apply to Open Source (which is not necessarily zero priced) as well as proprietary software. TFA would be far better if it had more facts, and focused less on trying to generate outrage.

  • Well, wait,,,, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @02:58PM (#47723387) Journal

    By my understanding, tax breaks being offered on something only mean that you effectively only get some percentage of the money back that you spent on that thing.

    But if you aren't spending any of your money on that thing in the first place, even if it would give you a tax break, aren't you still further ahead than if you did spend the money when you can only get part of it back?

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:11PM (#47723487) Homepage

    All government data needs to be open to auditing. Thus any government data needs to be stored in open formats that can be examined and manipulated with tools that can be sourced from multiple parties. Furthermore, the government should not be in the business of helping entrench particular software monopolies.

    The nature of the binaries being run is really just a side show.

    It's the DATA that needs to be open.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:15PM (#47723531) Journal
    There are many reasons why proprietary software is sometimes the better choice. In some cases the TCO will be lower, or the software is easier to use for office workers (like it or not, Windows / Office is pretty much what employees will already be familiar with). It may be easier to find support staff for some proprietary software. And in some cases, the proprietary software will simply be of better quality, more reliable, or a better functional fit. Also, I fail to see why license fees are evil.

    With that said, I think governments should use open standards for data, document storage and interfaces where available, and avoid products (proprietary or otherwise) that do not support such standards.
  • Old ways (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:28PM (#47723623)

    Nobody bribes the old way.

    Your spouse get consulting job, your son gets contract to discover effects of Moon's light on frogs population.
    That's how is done, just look at the transfer of government money into lucrative contracts for private companies.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:30PM (#47723655) Homepage
    Linux: we're faster, cheaper, and just as easy to install and use as windows, plus we come with an ecosystem of thousands of applications that do exactly what yours do, but are also free.

    Microsoft: You make an excellent point, and we certainly wish we had time for a formal rebuttal but for right now we're too busy shoveling cash into foreign governments and municipalities. you see, with the departure of steve ballmer, our failed cellular endeavor, our failed search engine, our failed cloud computing service, our failed apps store, our failed windows 8, our failed mp3 player, and our recent mass firing we had to do something. Just dont think about how this relates to the restructuring. it doesnt really, we're the same company as before, just a bit more immediate and desperate.
  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday August 21, 2014 @04:14PM (#47723991) Journal
    Any is too much.
  • Excuse me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @04:23PM (#47724049)

    "Munich and Linux debacle"? Looks like you misspelt "success story" there, and nevermind the political backstabbing.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:15PM (#47726045)

    Big business does push for libertarian ideas, such as the idea that government stay off their back. Big business wants a small weak government in general, a government where they can control the regulations. The only time you see big business backing a bigger government is in areas where they prefer the workers to pay the bill or where they can take advantage of government as a customer (such as big military for big profits).

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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