A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

When I read the NY Times article Balancing Linux and Microsoft about Bruce Perens and his new initiative, Sincere Choice, which is a response to the recent Initiative for Software Choice, which Microsoft sponsors, I came to think of Jack Worthing’s closing words in “The Importance of Being Earnest – A Trivial Comedy for Serious People“, Oscar Wilde’s 1895-classic:

“On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

Microsoft = Earnest ? Hmm.

The Initiative for Software Choice encourage governments to consider the following “neutral principles”:

The rhetoric is strong. They almost shoot themselves in the foot a couple of times, for example here: “Governments are best served when they can select software from a broad range of products based on such considerations as value, total cost of ownership, feature set, performance and security.” Exactly! So, why put up long-term licencing deals, which by nature takes away the choice?

The Global Software Choice Tracker on their site is useful, but a bit too selective.

Sincere Choice sets up parallel principles:

To spot the difference, one must read what they mean. For example, they write: “Intercommunication and file formats should follow standards that are sincerely open for all to implement, without royalty fees or discrimination. […] No user should be required to use a particular product simply because other users do. Competing products should interoperate with each other through open standards.” Naturally, this would not, I assume, apply to Microsoft-policy.

Choice and exit must go hand in hand. Freedom is to be able to choose either, and to have a voice about the choice.

I have invited Bruce Perens to Copenhagen for yet another conference, we’re setting up, on 30 October. I’m still looking for someone from “the other side”, so we can get a counter-part to Perens. Any candidates?

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