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Kako su unaprijedili ekonomiju Colorada Open source-om

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Aleksandar (Sasa) U.
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icon Kako su unaprijedili ekonomiju Colorada Open source-om24.01.2003. u 18:27 - pre 231 meseci
Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Bill Owens observed that our state government is in a financial bind. On account of TABOR, raising taxes is almost impossible. Our state, unlike the federal government, has a constitution that prohibits deficit spending.

The only remaining course is to reduce expenditures. As a concerned citizen, I've come up with a plan that will not only reduce spending, but also improve the state's economy.

Start with computers. I haven't been able to find a census of computers owned by the state government, but in 1999 Colorado had 62,000 "full-time equivalent" state employees, according to the 2001 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

It seems safe to assume that there's at least one state computer per state employee, and that the computers have an average life cycle of three years, so the state probably purchases about 20,000 new computers every year. It also seems safe to assume that at least 95 percent of these come with a Microsoft operating system and that at least half of them come with Microsoft applications like Works, Word and Office.

So it would appear that the average state computer might have about $200 worth of Microsoft software. Run that across 20,000 new computers a year, and that's $4 million a year that leaves our state to enrich people in the state of Washington.

If the state just switched to Linux (or free BSD, for that matter), most of that money would stay here. Further, with the state setting the example, many local governments (162,000 employees in 1999) would doubtless follow suit.

The transition would not be entirely smooth, of course; there would be a need for new software and trained technicians. With a market in Colorado, our state would develop a pool of expertise that would restore our status as a hub of high-tech. And, as we grew our pool of expertise, our private enterprises would feel more comfortable moving away from Microsoft - again, less money to Washington and more money here.

Let me confess that I use a Linux system for my daily work, but I am not promoting it out of self-interest. As long as most of the world uses Windows and its associated programs, then most of the viruses, worms, trojan horses and other computer vexations will be written to attack Microsoft systems. More Linux users would just make Linux a more attractive target for these jerks.

Thus, on a personal level, the more Windows users, the better for me because it makes my personal computer more reliable, and I can get more work done in a day.

But as a concerned citizen, I have to think about what would be best for our state, and escaping from Windows and moving to open-source software would reduce governmental expenses and improve our economy.

Indeed, just the effort would improve our economy, even if Windows and other Microsoft products continued to infest Colorado computers after all was said and done.

Consider this, from a Dec. 9, 2002, story in the Wall Street Journal: "In India, where at least one state government endorsed Linux recently, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates last month announced a $400 million gift of donated software and business-development aid."

That story went on to say that "In South Africa, a Microsoft offer to provide software for 32,000 schools came just days after that country's National Advisory Council on Innovation called for the government to adopt open-source software to build local programming skills and avoid sending hard currency to the U.S. to pay for Windows."

So if Colorado started making noises about doing the same thing - moving to open-source software like Linux to build local skills and reduce currency exports - we could expect Microsoft to respond in the same way. Millions of Microsoft dollars would flow into Colorado, just as happened in India and South Africa.

There's no way we can lose with an announcement that the state will consider shifting to Linux.

If the state government makes the change, we save money, develop a local reservoir of expertise, and become a center for software developers, some of whom might strike it rich.

The other possibility is that the state government would get bought off by Microsoft donations. That would mean fewer dollars departing from our state, leaving more in circulation here.

In either case, Colorado comes out ahead. So I don't know why the governor didn't propose this last week. It could be that he's been busy promoting his secretary of technology, Marc Holtzman, for the presidency of Colorado State University - so busy that they just haven't had time to talk about technology and Colorado's economy.

-- Preuzeto sa *,36%7E73%7E1123977,00.html

With a PC, I always felt limited
by the software available.
On Unix, I am limited only by my knowledge.

--Peter J. Schoenster
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