[ubuntu-uk] Fwd: [Fsfe-uk] Early Day Motion for Parliament on FLOSS

Toby Smithe toby.smithe at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 20:22:53 GMT 2006

And here is the letter:


Dear Greg Clark,

I am a pupil at the Judd School in Tonbridge, and I feel that the
school abuses Microsoft's monopoly, and fails to benefit from the
wonders of free and open source software. I feel very strongly about
this, to the extent that I have written two essays (and am soon to add
a third) on the matter, which you, should you be so inclined, can read
at http://tibsplace.co.uk/.

Free software and the proliferation of open standards is crucial to
global adoption of technology, and to ensure that anything created
today is still usable, or readable, a hundred years into the future.
With proprietary formats, such as Microsoft's .doc, or their Windows
Media Format, this may not be the case; and there are very viable and
open alternatives to both, with the Open Document Format (for
documents), and Ogg (for media). 

My school does not take advantage of either of these. Furthermore, they
do not discourage the spread of Digital Rights Management software,
which (as we learnt from the recent Sony BMG "rootkit" scandal), is a
terrible blow to the heart of liberty. Again, there is plenty of
information on this on the internet, but a good starting place is
http://www.defectivebydesign.org/en/about. I can see you voted against
ID cards, and I am completely with you on that. I hope to see that you
can see where I am coming from here, as well.

However, I see you have not signed the Early Day Motion 179, Software
In Schools
(http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=31752), and I
urge you to do so. This is based on the following information, which I
have taken from a recent e-mail on the gnome-uk list. GNOME is a free
software desktop environment for UNIX based operating systems. You can
learn about it at http://www.gnome.org, and you can read the e-mail

Here is the extract:

      * Schools receive questionable advice on IT procurement from
BECTA, the government agency responsible for the use of IT in
      * BECTA's framework agreements look only at the long-term
financial performance of suppliers, seriously hampering the involvement
of SMEs and ignoring the risk that schools could become locked into
expensive and restrictive contractual arrangements.
      * Lists of approved suppliers are very limited both in number and
variety - only only fifteen suppliers for non-curriculum software for
example, none of which has any commitment to open source software.
      * BECTA's own case studies found considerable savings in cost for
schools using open source software.
      * Government policy claims to promote a level playing field for
open source software.  This is not happening in schools because BECTA's
advice is partial and inconsistent.

Based on this information, I urge you once again to add your name to
Early Bird Motion 179, tabled by John Pugh MP.

Yours sincerely,

Toby Smithe


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