[Ubuntu-PH] re FOSS Bill

Zak B. Elep zakame at ubuntu.com
Thu Nov 16 17:34:33 UTC 2006

On 11/16/06, Tonyo Cruz <tonyocruz at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nakagugulat ang mga (hopefully) initial reactions sa PSIA position
> paper on the FOSS Bill. But I think we still have to read the FOSS
> Bill first -- para makapagbigay ng mahusay-husay na comments. I will
> get a copy of the FOSS Bill and post it to the list.

A link would be enough:  http://plug.free.net.ph/articles/fossbill2006

> Offhand, I am quite surprised that the terms "competition" and
> "freemarket" are being used in the posts. Precisely because of a lack
> of a genuine "freemarket" and the monopoly of Microsoft and
> proprietary software kung bakit ipinupush ang Bill. Tingin ng Bayan
> Muna, masama sa pangkalahatan ang ganitong sitwasyong umiiral ngayon.
> In any situation, monopolies suck. And in situations where there are
> monopolies, there is no real "freemarket" or "competition". Another
> reason why monopolies are bad or intolerable to FOSS is any monopoly's
> refusal to admit mistakes, or to be intimated that there's something
> better. FOSS is for a genuine competition and a free market.

I'll agree with the last statement, but my in my initial reading of
the FOSS bill, is still leaves some things to be desired, like the
combination of defining both open standards and FOSS in the same bill;
I would rather see two bill that complement each other, rather than
just one all-encompassing commandment.

> If only for the billions of pesos we could save for a number of years,
> methinks the government should migrate to using FOSS. Security-wise,
> the databases of Landbank, GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, Census, etc. should
> be resistant to various possible assaults that are unfortunately
> mainstays of proprietary software.

While security has always been seen as a strong advantage of FOSS, it
is not an absolute surety for FOSS to be recognized as such.  In fact,
many FOSS systems does not make any warranty of fitness for a
particular purpose at all; it is the prudence of both the user of the
software, as well as its developer, that upholds that `unwritten
contract' of security.

> Hopefully, we could get this discussion forward and find possible ways
> to make the FOSS Bill to make Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu more accessible
> and attractive for government, corporate and consumer use. I really
> wish Ubuntu and FOSS enthusiasts would develop from being fringe
> (exclusivist) groups into truly mass movements teaching and helping
> people wean away from expensive proprietary software and the world of
> commercialized ICT.

Are you implying here that FOSS cannot be commercialized?  If so, then
you are quite mistaken, quite indeed.

FOSS makes no economic impact whatsoever.  What we perceive as its
`economic' value is actually a political one, born out of the idea of
`computing in complete freedom.'  Hence FOSS presents neither a boon
or bane by itself alone when it is placed in the economic context: the
economics arises when the scale tips.

It would be quite a curiosity as to how one FOSS distributor can
charge a very high sum for every distribution (heck, perhaps just as
expensive as getting a bundle of Windows Vista AND Office,) and still
be in the quite legal position to carry on with it (in the case of the
GPL, it explicitly allows you to even sell the software at any price
you may name!)  Indeed, I can charge you 1000 pesos per Ubuntu CD
(hell, even sell it off Ebay; it has been done) and still come off
clean, exactly because FOSS by itself alone has no economic value.

What then, gives FOSS its true economic value?  It should not be so
hard to find out.

Zak B. Elep  ||  http://zakame.spunge.org
zakame at ubuntu.com  ||  zakame at spunge.org  ||  zak at orangeandbronze.com
1486 7957 454D E529 E4F1  F75E 5787 B1FD FA53 851D

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