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[ox-en] Re: Governments using Free Software

Stefan Merten wrote:
Hi Graham!

Nice to read you :-) .

5 days ago graham wrote:
Stefan Merten wrote:
If we think that peer production is subversive to capitalism then who
is protecting capitalism? Classicaly this was a task for the state.
However, nowadays at least in the EU the states are quite in favor of
Free Software and things like OpenAccess.
This seems a very unreal statement to me. The state is in favour of Free
Software in roughly the same way it is in favour of direct democracy: it
would be a nice idea in theory, and we must say we like it, but in
practice it must not be used.

Well, in Germany (most of) the state is against direct democracy...

As far as I know there is no German government department which has
switched to use of free software (I believe there are some French ones
which encourage use of Openoffice, but no more).

Indeed there are a few. From my memory: The Bundesverwaltung switched
to Free Software - though I think at the moment the enemy gains ground
again. Munich switched. Smaller communities like Schwäbisch Hall(?)
switched years ago. There is an official general policy for the German
government that Free Software is to be used if possible - though it is
implemented to various degrees (that is why simple people like me can
try to make a difference ;-) ).

I guess this policy is from the KBSt_ which also has `English pages`_.
See `list of OSS projects`_ for at the moment 102 OSS projects.

.. _KBSt:

.. _English pages:

.. _list of OSS projects:

The EU favors Free Software because the EU doesn't like to be the
appendix of an US monopolist. And also because the EU government sees
business chances for EU companies around Free Software. 

I do not believe any
government in the world makes use of Linux internally apart from Venezuela.

I guess you are wrong.

I think you are misled ;-) (especially if you seriously think the EU
favours free software!!)

A small amount of singly-free (rarely doubly-free) software in minor
parts of government, especially where it just involves a switch from say
Sun to IBM is hardly a profound change. My impression is that at best
governments have got better at finding ways to say free software is good
without actually using it. I do not at all have the feeling that the
last few years have been ones of improvement. I do agree there are
regional, not national, governments where free software is in use by
policy: munich, extremadura and partly some other spanish regions. In
other regional governments (brazil in particular) I believe the policy
has been reversed. Worldwide it does not seem much.

 And I stand by my statement about Venezuela (though it is also
premature: I should have said, it has a seriously intended policy of
switching to Linux, and is actually fighting back against the resistance
it meets).

I used to believe that free software was a kind of poison pill for
capitalism: that the economic advantages of using it would be so great
that it would be unable to resist using it. And I thought that included
the state, especially in the South. I now see instead that it is so
poisonous that it is rejected before it is swallowed. Unless it has a
fully capitalist form (eg. produced by IBM employees for wages and
distributed with their equipment, in IBMs original commercial model from
the 60s) it disrupts capitalism too much. IT managers' power depends too
much on the money they spend, on the contacts they have exclusively with
particular companies, for them to accept it. It blocks the flow of
capital and power within the firm, and within government departments.
The only way it can be accepted on a large scale within governments is
as part of a change of power relationships inside governments, that is
as part of a revolution of the old type. On a small scale, sure, they
can run websites on it. Who cares?

Contact: projekt

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