|FROM ||Ray Connolly
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Open Source Rally Cry/Call to Arms
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From: Ray Connolly
Subject: [hangout] Open Source Rally Cry/Call to Arms
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 10:47:22 -0400
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Computer Programmers Rally for Bill
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:22 p.m. ET
August 15, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Comparing their cause to America's fight for
independence from England, computer programmers rallied Thursday to support
a proposal that would require the state of California to purchase more
Michael Tiemann, chief technology officer for Raleigh, N.C.-based software
company Red Hat, led about 30 protesters from the Linux World Conference &
Expo to a podium outside City Hall. He urged politicians to adopt the
Digital Software Security Act, a month-old proposal gaining support among
hackers, civil libertarians and people opposed to Microsoft's dominance of
the global software industry.
``Government and monopolists want to take away our right to write software
and use computers as we want to use them,'' Tiemann said to marchers, mainly
shaggy-haired men in T-shirts and jeans. ``Open source is the true spirit of
democracy, and we must preserve it.''
The proposal would require California state agencies to use open-source
software such as the Linux operating system as an alternative to proprietary
software such as Microsoft Windows. Tiemann and several other open-source
enthusiasts wrote the proposal and published it online, but they're asking
programmers around the world to suggest changes.
Open-source programs can be downloaded from the Internet for free, and they
don't require users to pay licensing fees. Installing Linux on servers has
saved Amazon.com, 7-Eleven, Deutsche Telekom, the Chinese government and
other groups millions of dollars.
Mainly because of the reduced cost, government agencies and corporations
around the world are switching to open-source software to run databases and
manage e-mail. According to research firm A.D.H. Brown Associates, about 20
million people are using the Linux operating system, the most popular
example of open-source software.
But the Computing Technology Industry Association blasted the notion that
California adopt an open-source approach. The Washington-based trade group
said the proposal would stifle innovation in corporate America and cause
``unintended repercussions for California, its (information technology)
industry and its citizens.''
A Microsoft spokesman refused to comment on the bill but said the world's
largest software company supported the CTIA's position.
Microsoft's snubbing didn't surprise protesters. Many worried that Microsoft
could extend its dominance in operating systems and Internet browsers to
gain access to personal data stored on computers, including passwords or
financial information. They feared digital privacy bills introduced earlier
this year, including one to put government-mandated anti-copying mechanisms
in consumer electronic devices.
``They're all in cahoots -- Microsoft, the government, corporate America,''
said protester Mike Collins, 48, a computer consultant in Austin, Texas, who
sported a tattoo of the Linux penguin logo on his calf. ``We are at a
pivotal point. We need open source now more than ever.''
But the rally's sparse attendance may underscore challenges facing the
proposal. Only about 30 of the 15,000 Linux World attendants marched to City
Hall. Open-source enthusiasts are known for their libertarianism and disdain
``Programmers are more comfortable in front of a keyboard, not at a
podium,'' said Raj Nagra, 33, a network specialist who supports the proposal
because he's seen significant cost savings after installing Linux-based
systems for the city of Fresno. ``They'll submit code and maybe they'll send
a check to support their cause, but they probably won't take their cause to
New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
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because it's either fair use or useless....