Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Linux in Government: Outside the US, People Get It

Filed under
OSS

Major governments outside the United States either have adopted Linux and open-source software or have begun the process that will lead to adoption. Open-source software, especially Linux, has spread globally to countries and regions that regard it as the best model of software development and an engine of economic growth. Governments see adoption as a way to exploit a promising trend.

Interestingly, the US government appears to favor a company it deemed a monopoly over Linux and open-source software. While technically educated Linux and open-source work forces have grown in Germany, China, Brazil, India and Hungary since 2001, the US government has done nothing to keep pace with the rest of the world. Only a decade ago, the US held a technological edge over Europe and Asia in all areas of IT. Today, the once burgeoning IT industry in the US has given way to its competitors, especially China and India.

In my travels and work with governments, I have seen only one organization oppose Linux and open-source software. Regardless of where I go, Microsoft shows up and argues against open source. If the opposition doesn't call itself Microsoft, then it calls itself the Business Software Alliance or some other alter-ego.

One would think that the United States government eventually would conclude that not only has it lost its lead in technology, but perhaps the ugliest American of them all shows up as our de facto representative. Personally, I would rather have Condoleezza Rice's State Department showing up at technology hearings in foreign governments rather than Microsoft.

Finally, one might consider that by destroying its competitors, Microsoft has weakened the US technology sector rather than strengthening it. Look around and we see a technology sector suffering so badly that US universities have seen enrollment in computer sciences drop to nil. Additionally, the once well-trained US information technology workforce has aged, moved into other industries and suffered from the influx of foreign competitors.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

It Turns Out RISC-V Hardware So Far Isn't Entirely Open-Source

While they are trying to make it an open board, as it stands now Minnich just compares this RISC-V board as being no more open than an average ARM SoC and not as open as IBM POWER. Ron further commented that he is hoping for other RISC-V implementations from different vendors be more open. Read more

Perl 5.28.0 released

Version 5.28.0 of the Perl language has been released. "Perl 5.28.0 represents approximately 13 months of development since Perl 5.26.0 and contains approximately 730,000 lines of changes across 2,200 files from 77 authors". The full list of changes can be found over here; some highlights include Unicode 10.0 support, string- and number-specific bitwise operators, a change to more secure hash functions, and safer in-place editing. Read more

Today in Techrights

Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?

Microsoft has had an adversarial relationship with the open-source community. The company viewed the free Open Office software and the Linux operating system—which compete with Microsoft Office and Windows, respectively—as grave threats. In 2001 Windows chief Jim Allchin said: “Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer.” That same year CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer.” Microsoft attempted to use copyright law to crush open source in the courts. When these tactics failed, Microsoft decided if you can’t beat them, join them. It incorporated Linux and other open-source code into its servers in 2014. By 2016 Microsoft had more programmers contributing code to GitHub than any other company. The GitHub merger might reflect Microsoft’s “embrace, extend and extinguish” strategy for dominating its competitors. After all, GitHub hosts not only open-source software and Microsoft software but also the open-source projects of other companies, including Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services. With GitHub, Microsoft could restrict a crucial platform for its rivals, mine data about competitors’ activities, target ads toward users, or restrict free services. Its control could lead to a sort of surveillance of innovative activity, giving it a unique, macro-scaled insight into software development. Read more