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seldon77
December 6th, 2006, 01:03 PM
FAMILY FIRST MLC, Dennis Hood, will made submissions in the South Australian Legislative Council today - calling for IT funding criteria to be opened up, so that our school children can benefit from the Free and Open Source Software 'revolution'.

Ubuntu CDs were also given to all South Australian Parliamentarians.


TEXT OF SUBMISSIONS

Matter of Interest
Hon Dennis Hood MLC
6/12/ 2006
I would like to speak today about Free and Open Source Software – something once dear to the heart of the Hon Ian Gilfillan.
Last week, it was reported that the French parliament was dumping Microsoft products in place of Open Source software. The move came after successful transitions by their Ministry of Agriculture and Police.

Starting in June of next year, French deputies will use desktops and servers running Linux instead of Microsoft Windows; Mozilla's Firefox Web browser in place of Internet Explorer; and OpenOffice - a free open source alternative to Microsoft's Office software. Documents will be saved in a non-proprietary Open Document format.

As an aside, I note that on March 31, 2006 the National Archives of Australia also settled on the Open Document format to ensure long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers.
A detailed study concluded that the move will result in “substantial savings despite the associated migration and training costs”.

Free and Open Source software is being produced, as I speak, by developers all over the world – many of them in South Australia. The majority of these developers are volunteers, donating their time and energy to improve and give away free software. And it is free in every sense of the word – free from any licence costs, but also free in the sense that it can be used, copied, studied, modified, improved and redistributed with little or no restriction.

With developers all over the world freely and constantly improving the software, it is little wonder that many Open Source solutions are now outpacing Microsoft solutions.
I want to focus primarily on the Linux Open Source Operating System – a free competitor to Microsoft Windows. There are various 'flavours' of Linux, including Red Hat, Novell Suse, Mandriva – amongst others. One of the most popular at the current time is called 'Ubuntu’ Linux.

'Ubuntu', in the African Zulu and Xhosa languages loosely means 'humanity towards others'.

First released in 2004, this software collection is backed by Canonical, a non-profit company founded by Mark Shuttleworth.
Mark Shuttleworth made his fortune as a software developer in the dot com era, with a company which was built on Free and Open Source Software, supplying digital encryption services internationally to banks.

Mr. Shuttleworth, who is also the second space tourist, decided to contribute back to the Free and Open Source software community, and Ubuntu was born.

The Ubuntu distribution has topped the ranks of Linux Distributions downloaded from the Internet since it's release and is developed by a world wide community specifically with the ordinary computer user in mind.

On behalf of the South Australian Ubuntu Users Group, I suggest two concepts to promote Free and Open Source Software as a 'way forward':

First, that we should open the IT funding criteria. Funding for IT in schools is often focused on acquiring and maintaining Software Licenses. The use of Free and Open Source software allows the spending to be refocused in education and training. Incidentally, I see it’s been reported that Indiana is moving 22,000 of its students from Windows to Linux platforms.

Second, South Australian schools and libraries need somewhere to try out Open Source software. A publicly accessible facility is required where businesses and community groups can test these technologies to learn about whether they are suitable for their purposes. Western Australia, with the OpenSource WA Demonstration Centre, and Victoria have both undertaken projects to boot strap their free software sector. It would be great to see something like this in South Australia.

I encourage members to try the CDs I have distributed to their offices, and encourage a further uptake of Open Source software for South Australia.

viper
December 6th, 2006, 02:51 PM
About time,that sounds gr8 lets hope the rest of the Country follows suit.