Linux in Europe
Posted Mar 10, 2005 23:49 UTC (Thu) by grouch
Parent article: Linux in Europe
All this evidence leads us to believe that Europe is now the undisputed leader in developing strategies for migration to Linux and open source software. In the process, it has created a vibrant open source economy, as well as a strong awareness among its population to resist controversial laws favoring large software monopolies and their commercial agendas. The tide is unstoppable. Let's hope that other regions will follow Europe's example.
It also leads me to believe that the United States is well on its way to becoming a self-made ghetto. We allow nonelected entities to establish walls around our ideas, our publicly-owned data, and our public institutions. We then pay our feudal duties to these lords for the privilege of having ideas, accessing our data, and interacting with our public institutions.
Patents have been transformed from compensation for the costs of creativity and incentive to expend the resources to be inventive, to being claims upon whole classes of ideas, weapons with which to threaten economic ruin for being creative, and which require only the expenditure of resources necessary to file the patent and litigate or threaten litigation against those who cannot afford to research the patent claim or afford legal defense.
Our data, from taxpayer records to medical records, is largely locked inside the proprietary formats of a convicted monopolist. Data owned by the public and held in trust by federal, state and local governments is routinely and apparently thoughtlessly presented online in ways which require the use of this convicted monopolist's products. (My own state of Kentucky presents records of the state legislature online in the private .DOC format, which are produced using public funds and presented via a publicly funded webserver). As taxpayers, we will have to fund the conversion of this data to whatever formats the monopolist chooses to produce or fund the conversion of this data to open, public formats.
Somehow in the last twenty years or so we have replaced representation by election with representation by dollars. Those with lots of dollars get lots of votes to create laws for themselves. Those with few dollars get no votes and must pay for the privilege of even accessing information about what their government is doing.
Keeping public data locked within private formats and protocols ensures that all access to that data includes a payment to the private gate-keeper. Keeping education locked into using the monopolist's product via license terms that exclude FOSS ensures that future generations are even more inured to the omnipresence of the private tolls on public data. Keeping patents on ideas ensures that the penalties for creating ways of escaping the private walls are too great for the subjects of the fiefdoms.
Government at every level is merely the caretaker of our data. We need our data in open formats and travelling by open protocols in order to be sure our governments are doing their jobs.
"To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indespensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible free software."
-- DR. EDGAR DAVID VILLANUEVA NÚÑEZ
Congressman of the Republica of Peru.
The use of GNU/Linux in government, including education, fosters open formats and open protocols. This directly threatens corporate fiefdoms and the erection of toll gates between the subjects of those fiefdoms and government. We need it adopted while those who wish to increase their power of influence need it quashed.
to post comments)