To promote Open Source in Flanders/Belgium, you need to be on Microsofts payroll ???

Marc marcsje at fulladsl.be
Mon May 5 21:49:33 BST 2008



Dear,


The engineer  that promotes Open Source in the Northern region of 
Belgium (Flanders, 6 million people) works part time for Microsoft and 
part time for the Ministry of Education.

I feel these two jobs don't go together: I have nothing against 
commercial products, but it must be difficult to defend both at the same 
time.  I know this engineer works for Anytime Anywhere Learning 
(Microsoft  http://www.aal.be) and for 
http://vrijesoftware.klascement.net , a website that is only partly 
devoted to Free Software.

This engineer needs to serve conflicting interests.


" I do not call this corruption yet... "  but I suggest it every day.... 

I have "invented" stories like "USB stick with email addresses of 
100.000 teachers from the Education Ministry found at Microsoft", but 
both the ministry and Microsoft Belgium seem to like these stories ...

Even Head of the Ministry of Education, Mr Vandenbroucke pronounces real 
strange statements like "Somebody that promotes free software acts 
against Microsoft, so you can not say something bad about the 
situation".  When I talk about the story of the USB stick, Vandenbroucke 
says I'm just spreading gossip.  Well, I may suggest it every day, and 
the minister (also called "secretary of state") gets nervous, but I keep 
smiling.



I feel that this job should be done by an independent promotor, because 
when a specialist from a free software company would execute this job, 
he would also have access to the list of schools/teachers, and would be 
the first guy to propose them "My firm can install all software in your 
school, we're the best ..."   Strange enough, at the Ministry, they must 
be tangled up not to be sensitive to those arguments...

The engineer defends his position in a very strange way.  He says he 
uses free software, and has installed at least 70 extensions in Firefox. 
Other free software people say "He is a good free software guy" ....  On 
the other side, he is proud he implemented a license system for 
Microsoft products in Belgian education system that might be used all 
over Europe, because it makes usage of Microsoft products cheap(er). 



-- 
LINKS:
Responsible Minister Vandenbroucke
http://www.ministerfrankvandenbroucke.be/
Education department, administration:
http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/




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