Getting into politics?

Szilveszter Farkas szilveszter.farkas at
Sat Jan 17 23:08:05 GMT 2009


I'm looking for your advices regarding a pretty tough question: is it  
okay for a LoCo to get into state politics?

Please let me introduce you the situation in Hungary. Last year the  
government signed a 4-year, 25 + 10 billion HUF (more than 165M USD)  
deal with Microsoft for licensing proprietary software covering the  
government, all state offices, universities, schools, students and  
teachers (yes, it covers almost the whole nation). This deal got some  
attention by the international media, but only because of "the egging  
of Steve Ballmer" at a Hungarian university:

The deal was brought to justice by the Hungarian "Economy Competition  
Office" because the exact wording of the tender (that was won by  
Microsoft and its retailers) said: "Microsoft or equal software" - it  
goes against any common sense (and I'm pretty sure even some laws) to  
name a company in a tender by the government. But the court said it  
was okay.

Now, a few days ago another tender of the same value (25 billion HUF,  
around 120M USD) was announced, and we were not surprised to see the  
exact same wording like last year.

So a bunch of people and businesses, who are involved with FLOSS in  
Hungary, plan to write an open letter to the prime minister  
questioning him about the situation. Is it okay for a LoCo to sign a  
letter like this? Or we should rather keep working, and avoid any  
political issues?

I really hope you could help us with some ideas about the situation...  
We're a bit desperate, because we see other European governments  
switching to FLOSS solutions, and ours locking itself into the  
proprietary world even more.

Best regards,

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