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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 7 May 2002

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Bahu
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: .Doc disaster

What's all this talk about standards? The IT industry has
never really been about standards, for over 10 years that I
have been in IT its been compatibility that always drives

What do the people we work with or communicate with use?
There is little point wasting everyones using the coolest
little word processor when you are recieving Word docs your
can't read. In some business being unable to read quotes,
offers or otherwise could be big bucks lost.

Do you know how long it takes as an IT Admin to convert a
floors worth of email from one format to another or to
explain the problem to users and people who might send your
organistation documents?

Simple as that, I'm not saying it is right just the way it
is. The ideal world versus the real world.

From: Peter
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Government Documents

Regarding file formats used by governments, as well as the
security / virus risks you rightly point out, there is also
an issue of access.  The government of the day doesn't own
the information - it is merely the custodian of information
belonging to the community.  So what right does the
government have to lock it away in a secret proprietary
file format.  A format that citizens may only access after
buying Microsoft software.  This was covered by a Peruvian
congressman in a link you provided yesterday.

It would be interesting to hear why our government uses
proprietary file formats in the face of these issues.

From: maddogmut
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Standardisation in Peru

The Peruvians are pushing for open source and open formats
for use in Government parliaments. The following letter
makes a very interesting read for those of us not convinced
by M$'s protests of the sky falling in whenever some
country's parliament has the audacity to actually think
about whether M$ is right for them:

From: Shannon
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Peruvian Congressman vs. Microsoft FUD

Inspired article on The Register detailing Peruvian
rebutting every argument Microsoft had against using open
source software in Peru's public sector.

Somebody should bring this to the attention of our Minister
of IT. Long read, but worthy.


From: Tim Hill
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Peru example

As has been pointed out by 3 other people at this time, our
government and it's ministor responsable for IT and IT
development shuold be made aware of this.

    So I'm certain that if all of us that thinks why dosn't
our government do this tells them our thoughts, they might
get the message.

     I will be writing tonight, who else will be?

From: Russell Brown
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: It's not all bad

While most government departments seem to be
utterly hooked on MS Word, there is at least one area
where Microsoft didn't get all the pie.

Gen-i was given specs for functionality and
performance for the overall solution for the forthcoming
e-government portal (launching July 1) and left to make
decisions on merit, rather than somebody's sales
pitch. So it runs off SQL Server, but the business logic
is in Java and the web server platform is Linux/Apache.

This all seems reasonable - I'm not sure the public
sector should *have* to use open source as a matter of
principal, just that it should be considered on its merits.

Meanwhile, try opening up on of those official
government Word documents in a hex editor. You may
be surprised at what you find ...

From: Sarah Nelson
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Peru

Oh come on.  Would you rather be in an office in Peru
trying to use Linux and Star Office,  or in New Zealand
using Microsoft XP and Microsoft Office???  There will
NEVER be ANY standards in corporate or governmental IT...
you think it's bad now... wait 10 years and see what a
combination of Open Source systems do to the landscape...
you'll be begging for the good ol' Microsoft days then.

From: Shannon
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Re: Peru

Oh, come on indeed. I don't think *anyone* will be "begging
for the good ol' Microsoft days."

There will "NEVER be ANY standards in corporate or
governmental IT"? Hmm, a lot of corporations already
standardise, whether it is closed or open source. As the
subject line was "Peru" I can assume that you were
referring to this article:

If you had read that article, you would have seen that
certain standards had indeed been set. These included:

Free access to public information by the citizen.
Permanence of public data.
Security of the State and citizens.

"What the Bill does express clearly, is that, for software
to be acceptable for the state it is not enough that it is
technically capable of fulfilling a task, but that further
the contractual conditions must satisfy a series of
requirements reguarding the license, without which the
State cannot guarantee the citizen adequate processing of
his data, watching over its integrity, confidentiality, and
accessibility throughout time, as these are very critical
aspects for its normal functioning."

Your opening two sentences appear to slight either open
source software, Peru, or both. You seemed to have missed
the point of the article.

Now, would you rather be in an office in New Zealand trying
to use Microsoft XP and Microsoft Office, or on a beach in
Hawaii using Linux and Star Office? :)

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