[oclug] Parliament refuses to give Linux a fair chance
bistros at videotron.ca
Wed Aug 29 13:48:31 EDT 2001
On Tue, 28 Aug 2001, Richard Tomkins wrote:
> Geez Bill. I guess I really pressed your hot button.
Apologies if my somewhat emotional response was inappropriate. It was not
intended to be personal.
The tone of your response under reflection, was quite neutral and guarded,
therefore in my haste I assumed you were yet another person slagging
government technology people as too stupid to come in out of the rain. In
addition, your post seemed to rationalize and justify the Library's
If you've been on courses with government techs, they generally really do
know their stuff - in a Microsoft-centric world. I've been on security
courses with people from RCMP, CSE & CSIS, and they REALLY do know what
they are doing.
They are quite ignorant about the open source world from a usage /
programming / application standpoint, and yes, they just don't get it.
Ignorance however is not indicative of stupidity - it is just lack of
education, exposure and familiarity. If you are subscribed to Security
Focus, Bugtraq or other security related lists, as well as most SysAdmin
mags, many of the CISSP-penned articles point to Linux / OSS as a tool of
the devil(s). Which, sigh, it is.
Good black hat crackers work in Linux / FreeBSD / Open Source because they
learn more from open source than from prohibitively expensive reverse
engineering of proprietary products. The enterprise-level information
systems manager's fears are somewhat justified by circumstantial evidence.
It's just easier to spoof packets in Perl/Linux than VB/Win2K.
That being said, I strongly feel that acceptance issues with Linux lie not
at the technical staff level, they lie above at the IT manager level.
Which in government terms is out of the real IT people and into the
bureaucrats. Bureaucrats fear learning and they fear new things. New
things require effort, and most bureaucrats HATE effort. They hate things
where their staffers know more than they do, and they fight new things
with every ounce of effort they can summon (obviously saving their budgets
for legal battles).
Bureaucrats also hate situations where they can not find someone to blame
for problems. Open source software puts the source in your hands, and
places final responsibility for application success or failure on your own
head. If something doesn't work, you CAN fix it. With Microsoft-style
proprietary products, if things don't work, you can blame Microsoft - and
if you have to explain the failure, you can always say "We bought the
best, from the biggest company and if they can't make it work no one
can". They know quite well they will not get fired for purchasing from
Lamothe/Budmirovic and company are near and dear to my heart
philosophically. I really support the little guys who risk all to take
open source software to enterprise clients. I have an innate sense of
justice that makes me apoplectic with rage against a government section
that flouts legal rulings, and dismisses fair competition. Besides,
Milan's posts to the list are some of the most lucid, well reasoned and
accurate I've ever seen.
Your post gave me the impression that superficially, you could see your
way to rationalizing the logic of the decision of the Library via
substantive issues. If so, I still support my original response (minus
any personally directed comments).
To me, the substance of the issue had nothing to do with the
course of action taken by the Library, it was only fear, laziness,
irresponsibilty and blatantly unfair practices. If a fair open bid had
been run, and Lamothe/Budmirovic had lost on a level playing field I would
not have made my comments.
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