Taiwanese government PCs to be Linux ready

It makes interesting reading the report that the Taiwanese government is mandating the PCs that are deployed in their departments must be Linux ready. As expected, Aaron (the ZDNet reporter) has got the BSA talking head to respond. And on cue, they have given their spin.

Let’s consider the comments:
BSA: “There are many different distributions of Linux, and the intention may not be to ensure that every variant of Linux would be supported.”

I think Mr BSA is not giving credit to the procurement folks who I am sure will, when calling for tender, specify standards to be compliant with. A good standard will be the LSB 3.x (now an ISO standard – ISO 23360). If anything else, the fact that the TW government even has something like this puts them way ahead of the Singapore IDA who continue to downplay and brush off Linux.

BSA: “Otherwise, very few computers will be able to meet the requirement.”

This is after Mr BSA acknowledges that the LSB will be good to be compliant with. Linux supports – with or without LSB – a whole lot of more hardware than that usual proprietary OS. For him to say “very few” is clearly trying to deny the existence of a whole firament of chipsets that these PCs are built upon and Linux works with very well.

BSA: “… said the new hardware requirement might reduce choice and increase cost for the government. He noted that it might potentially be more expensive to acquire hardware that are compliant, and exclude PCs that can be used in non-Linux environments.”

Huh? It is a government procurement opportunity. Does he honestly think the manufacturers would be keen to REDUCE the amount of choice? Expenditure by governments around the world help significantly in the sales of IT hardware/software and it is in the *selfish* interests of the manufacturers/vendors to make sure that their HARDWARE and SOFTWARE works well for the government. Calling your bluff here, Mr BSA.

BSA: “If the policy is intended to cut costs in IT expenditure, the government should stay technology and brand neutral, … It should avoid targeting specific areas or brands, as policies would always lag behind industry trends.”

Why is it that I can configure to my heart’s content and wallet’s ability hardware from, say, Dell, and yet I cannot choose Linux for it? Mr BSA is being dishonest here by hiding the details of the monopolistic OEM contracts that one of his paymasters has imposed on OEMs. How would governments remain “technology and brand neutral” when the products on offer only come with one particular OS and OEMs who ship machines without that OS, get penalized via reduced marketing funds, blacklisting from marketing events etc etc?

Eternal vigilance is important to ensure that these spin doctors are shown up for what they are and for the truth to prevail. May I humbly suggest that he views: Truth Happens.

A wonderful benefit the Taiwanese government mandating Linux is that now there will be even more PCs and associated hardware that will be Linux-ready and not be so tied-in to the other OS. How does this then *REDUCE* choice? It clearly is the best possible scenario to make sure that the vendors make their hardware as OS agnostic as possible. This could possibly be the best tipping point decision to help an even wider Linux adoption.

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