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News Posts In Category <em>   Federal Policy</em>

News Posts In Category Federal Policy

December 19th, 2010

Senate Exposes Gaping Hole in Conflict-of-Interest Law

Senate panel ban seen as double standard.

Just days after I opened an exploration of the way humans view conflict of interest, and how their personal self-interest makes understanding the way this topic is approached in different contexts, the Washington Post publishes a front-page article that exposes the kind of conundrum I'm planning to look into.

The Senate, you see, has no laws restricting the investments its members can make into companies whose fortunes their votes may affect. In particular, they may freely invest in companies that are major players in specific industries overseen by Senate committees. In the Post article, the industry is defense, and the committee typically has "inside knowledge" into the defense systems that will be built, and which companies will benefit from their votes.

This seems strange enough, but as the Post article points out, the Congress has passed laws that prohibit such investments by those appointed to run the agencies — such as Defense — that will let the contracts to carry out the Senate's decisions. Not only that, but such laws have long been on the books to regulate investment behavior by rank-and-file Federal employees.

    
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July 1st, 2010

White House Freezes IT Projects To Revisit Wasteful IT Contracting

White House, citing waste, freezes IT projects - Computerworld. Wow... this was certainly good news, especially given my rabid views on the subject, as often expressed on Mars in the past. Federal IT spending is grossly mismanaged and embarrassingly costly, driven as it is by decisions made by IT "Beltway Bandits" rather than by knowledgeable Federal managers. Virtually all of the IT contractors are in bed with Microsoft, so you find a strong monopoly of Microsoft solutions at Federal agencies. And yes, Microsoft products are the most expensive to maintain over time, and Office is ridiculously expensive and overkill as a tool for every desktop. Worst of all, IT contractors typically sell solutions that further lock Feds into the Microsoft ecosystem, thereby shutting out the feasibility of implementing less expensive solutions based on open standards. A good first step... Now let's see what becomes of it.
    
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February 4th, 2010

Government Going Apple?

Government going Apple? - Security Systems News. I guess I missed this little tidbit from last fall, courtesy of Security Systems News. If true, it sounds like there at least a few Federal IT execs who are beginning to listen to reason, rather than being always feeling like they're on the defensive about Macs.
    
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January 12th, 2007

EU Study Confirms The Positive Economic Impact of Open Source Software

EU study says OSS has better economics than proprietary software

Wow, I wonder if I can get my hands on this one… According to this ArsTechnica post, the European Union has released a study on the economic impact of open source software (OSS) and found it to be good. Naturally, Microsoft, Adobe, and others with business models tied to high-priced proprietary software will disagree. As ArsTechnica reports,

In a section titled “User benefits: interoperability, productivity, and cost savings,” the study’s authors (researchers from five European universities) make the claim that OSS is a less-expensive alternative to proprietary software…. “Our findings show that, in almost all the cases, a transition toward open source reports savings on the long-term costs of ownership of the software products,” says the study’s authors.

As one of the report’s recommendations, the EU is encouraged to change its policies that tend to favor proprietary software and instead do more to pave the way for OSS adoption. Unless you’re a stockholder in one of the software companies mentioned earlier, this is great news!

ArsTechnica also published this interesting chart:

EU Study Finds Open Source Software Less Expensive

    
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November 11th, 2006

Can We Resume The Antitrust Trial Against Microsoft Now, Please?

Slashdot | Time For Anti-Trust 2.0? This question is spot-on. Microsoft remains totally out of control, apparently believing it can crush whatever competitor it likes and being intolerant of any competition whatsoever. No standards are good enough for Microsoft, which must always invent its own as a way of controlling the standard. They're still going at this whole-hog, and except for Apple and its iPod/iTunes combo, nothing has beaten Microsoft when it enters a market. Google may yet win the web search/online apps game, but that still leaves Microsoft with huge shares of critical pieces of IT infrastructure, as well as a monopoly on corporate desktops. Yes, please! Let's resume the antitrust trial once the Republicans go away.
    
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March 31st, 2006

LXer Reports on Active Microsoft Lobbying to Undermine Working Systems at Homeland Security

LXer: Working Linux Emergency Response System Undermined at Homeland Security by Microsoft Lobbying Replacing LAMP systems with Windows systems is Microsoft's call-to-arms, and they are on the march with that song at Homeland Security. We all know that Department made the stupid decision to standardize on Windows platforms after it was formed, and despite challenges to that decision, they proceeded. Do you feel safe yet? Now, LXer reports that even a perfectly good LAMP system such as this one is being dismantled because it's not a Windows system. This is how are tax dollars are spent, folks: Propping up Microsoft! It's gotta stop!
    
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February 13th, 2006

Wash. Post: Federal Grants System Excludes Mac Users

New Grant System Excludes Mac Users From today's Post comes a welcome story highlighting a grievance I had raised last year... namely, the OMB-led e-Gov system, grants.gov, was built only with Windows users in mind. There are workarounds for Mac users, but they're definitely second class citizens.
    
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January 7th, 2006

InfoWorld: Time for a class-action suit against Microsoft?

InfoWorld Daily | InfoWorld | Time for a class-action suit against Microsoft? | January 5, 2006 04:55 AM | By Tom Sullivan It's great to see a discussion like this springing from one of the top IT news magazines. With the failure of the Federal antitrust trial to make Microsoft pay for their many misdeeds, perhaps consumers will actually realize that the security problems in Windows computers is Microsoft's fault and demand compensation.
    
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December 18th, 2005

LXer asks Congress To Investigate Administration’s Support of Microsoft Here and Abroad

LXer asks Congress To Investigate Administration's Support of Microsoft Here and Abroad It's about time! I hope Congress listens. We definitely need an investigation, since the Justice Dept., State Dept., and Commerce Dept. all have seemed way too cozy with the illegal monopolist in the last few years. It's not anti-American to be anti-Mi
    
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December 14th, 2005

New Jersey college student newspaper adviser ousted for using Apple Macs

New Jersey college student newspaper adviser ousted for using Apple Macs Another incident that makes me think that old-fashioned prejudice is alive and well among some Windows users. It may take civil rights law intervention to put an end to this kind of foolishness.
    
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December 9th, 2005

Bush Administration sides with MS in Korea Ruling - (Of course they do)

Bush Administration sides with MS in Korea Ruling - (Of course they do) The Bush administration on Wednesday protested South Korea's decision to fine Microsoft roughly $32 million and order the software company to redesign portions of its Windows operating system. "Korea's remedy goes beyond what is necessary or appropriate
    
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Just Say No To Flash