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Govt guidance would guarantee our geek credentials

8 July 2004 ATTENTION: IT REPORTER

Govt guidance would guarantee our geek credentials

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today called on the Government to follow its Australian counterpart in providing a simple, low-cost encouragement to the 'open source' computer industry.

Canberra has announced it is to publish a new guide designed to help federal government agencies evaluate open-source products alongside their proprietary rivals. Unlike corporate products such as Windows and Outlook, operating systems such as Linux and email programs such as Pegasus Mail are built on open-source code. Computer enthusiasts (geeks) prefer open source because they say it is less prone to viruses, is more cost-effective, is more easily controlled by users and is not bundled with other software for marketing reasons.

"Our Government should learn from their Aussie counterpart on this, otherwise they'll soon be much bigger geeks than us," said Nandor, the Green Party's IT Spokesperson.

"Seriously, a comparative guide to open source for the public sector would be a cheap and tangible way for the Government to provide some encouragement to our domestic open source industry and to declare some sovereignty over our national cyber-environment.

"You only have to look at Weta Digital to see a significant and innovative local company that has built its success on open source; their entire system is built on Linux.

"So it's about time we saw our Government proudly announcing a new bulk order for software from the local open source industry, rather than yet another deal with a hegemonic multinational corporation.

"There's been half-committed comments on open source from the Government for a while and the Greens were pleased to see 'the open letter' on the subject from the E-govt unit at the beginning of last year. But the messages we are getting from the industry are that government agencies are not up to speed on the benefits, both to the Government and the local IT industry, of investing in locally developed open source platforms and programmes," said Nandor.

ENDS

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