To promote Open Source in Flanders/Belgium, you need to be on Microsofts payroll ???
marcsje at fulladsl.be
Mon May 5 21:49:33 BST 2008
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
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).
Responsible Minister Vandenbroucke
Education department, administration:
More information about the sounder