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Letters to the editor

US Government Discriminates against Non-Microsoft users

From:  Tim Mattox <tmattox-AT-mac.com>
To:  support-AT-grants.gov
Subject:  US Government Discriminates against Non-Microsoft users
Date:  Wed, 20 Apr 2005 20:54:26 -0400
Cc:  letters-AT-lwn.net, observers-AT-macobserver.com

To whom it may concern,
 
I am a Ph.D. student in the USA with over a dozen publications, who has
not used a Microsoft OS in any significant amount (no more than a few
hours total) in the last 5 or 6 years. I was greatly disturbed today to
find out about the move by the US Federal Government to require the use
of a Microsoft Operating System to apply for any federal grants. See
this webpage for a glimpse of the problem:
http://www.grants.gov/DownloadViewer
 
Here is an open letter from a fellow academic that describes the issue
in greater detail:
http://homepage.mac.com/gregcook/sanity/C1454260176/E6579...
 
I find it very disturbing, and outright wrong, that the US federal
government will soon require that I give money to Microsoft (either for
Virtual PC, or a version of Windows itself) to be able to apply for
grants through grants.gov. Microsoft was convicted of abusing their
monopolistic position in the USA. This is just wrong in so many ways
that I am at a loss for where to start.
 
The NSF Fastlane system should have been used as a model for how to
approach this "all federal grants" system. Fastlane doesn't require any
particular operating system to use, basically it needs just a web
browser.
 
I find it a slap in the face that the maker's of PureEdge posted a
whitepaper (http://grants.gov/GrantsGov_UST_Grantee/!SSL!/WebH...)
saying they have chosen to just let
Microsoft's Virtual PC package solve their problem of supporting
Macintosh users. Virtual PC is not a particularly inexpensive piece of
software! And it's not available on so many other operating systems
that are actively in use today. And to say that, oh, in MS Office 10 it
will be included makes the horrible assumption that I'd buy MS Office.
I use LaTeX (among other free/open source programs), like most other
academic researchers for my publications work. I don't use, and don't
ever intend to buy another Microsoft product until they are actually
held accountable for their criminal activities as an abusive
monopolistic company. But even then, I would have been "getting along
fine" creating journal publications and doing my research work without
the use of Microsoft products.
 
Please point me to an alternative to PureEdge for using grants.gov, or
tell me what is being done to solve this problem. What is the timetable
for PureEdge, or more importantly grants.gov, being usable on these
operating systems: Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, MacOS X,
and MacOS 9
 
P.S. - There is an ongoing discussion of this issue at these links:
http://www.macintouch.com/marginal09.html#apr14
http://www.macintouch.com/marginal10.html
--
Tim Mattox - http://homepage.mac.com/tmattox/
  tmattox@mac.com - http://aggregate.org/KAOS/

Comments (2 posted)

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