I know this isn’t a new story, but French police are switching their desktops from using Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox. They’ve also switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org. Now this is progress; c’est fantastique (sorry). France seem to be the only country in Europe to actually recognise there is an alternative to using Windows, IE and MS Office (hey, a new acronym – WIM). I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with using Microsoft solutions, I’m just saying that it’s wrong when everyone uses Microsoft solutions. It’s like putting all your eggs in one basket, although it’s already happened around the world (MS advocates/employees, I’m posting this using Windows and Firefox and have Microsoft Office Outlook open).
Also, the French financial government department are evaluating a move to their desktops to Linux. Considering Microsoft’s ad campaigns about “lower TCO with Windows”, you’d think financiers among all people would know about TCO, wouldn’t you? It remains to be seen what their decision will be.
Also, considering the latest draft law to open up DRM submitted by French MPs (see my previous post), it seems the French know where it’s at, and are pushing in the right direction to create open standards.
Before the Microsoft and Apple people start yelling at me again, I’m not against proprietary software. I use proprietary software and open source stuff every day (both willingly). I think there is a place for proprietary and a place for open source. What I don’t agree with is when companies lock open source solutions out of new and emerging technologies, by closing their standards and patenting stuff.
Open standards are great. Think about it; the only reason the internet is as popular as it is today is because it is based on open standards. TCP/IP, HTTP and HTML can all be understood and built into by any platform. Imagine what it would be like if one company controlled all these standards with, say, a patent. Open source would immediately be locked out for a start, if a patent was involved, and other companies would end up having to pay fees. People would have to pay this parent company to set up a website, to use their technology. We’d be in a mess, basically.
So make your choice about what solution to use. Choose the solution that is best for the job, whether that be a proprietary solution or an open source solution. But, please, be aware of the alternatives and if you’re pushing the next-generation internet, make it an open standard. Thanks, the [open source] community thank you, and it’ll probably be more popular too.