BSA Claims Open Standards Will Increase Costs

from the bsa-fud dept

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization that has never shied away from pushing as much FUD as possible to protect its main backers (proprietary software companies like Microsoft and Adobe), is at it again. Just a few months ago it sent a letter to European politicians that didn't even pass the laugh test, making claims like "royalty free" software meant that it was "non-commercial." Its latest is to warn the UK government what a grave mistake it would be to support open standards and royalty free software, bizarrely claiming this would "increase e-government costs." Yes, by using open standards and royalty free software, the BSA insists costs will go up. Why? Because it limits the market (i.e., keeps BSA's biggest supporters out of the deal). But, by that logic, going with a proprietary solution would almost certainly increase costs even more, by limiting potential suppliers down to an even smaller number who support that proprietary standard. A government's role in promoting openness means that it should absolutely support open standards and royalty free licensing. It's too bad the BSA refuses to recognize why that's true.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    The eejit (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    IT WILL increase e-governemnt costs, don't you see, Mike? They won't get money from the companies the BSA represents! How can you not think of the Children, Mike?

    (The preceding is a public service announcement on behalf of the Anonymous Cowards that are lurking around here. The above comments are not representative of the current poster, who went insane last week).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    Just another clear example that money rules everything. Gotta love the *cough* great *cough* US of A!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Jon Bane (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Fucking public interest!?! How does it work?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:56pm


    I donít know whatís happened to BSA lately. They used to make such great motorcycles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Jay (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:23pm

    Re: *Sigh*

    They make better washers and dryers with all the spin they do...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    GeniusFace, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Business idea

    Someone is totally missing out here. Who wants to start a whole new internet that will use proprietary communication standards with me? It's an open market, no one to compete with for big government contracts and licensing deals. I think I will get the BSA to crunch some numbers for me while I develop my pig-latin proprietary protocol.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:33pm

    I hear that!

    Ever since I installed Open Office, I've barely been able to make ends meet. I've even picked up a second job just to support my open-source software habit. But you gotta not spend money to make money, amiright?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    ForgottenVoter (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Oh god..

    Here we go.. "BSA strongly supports open standards as a driver of interoperability; but we are deeply concerned that by seeking to define openness in a way which requires industry to give up its intellectual property, the UK government's new policy will inadvertently reduce choice, hinder innovation and increase the costs of e-government," BSA "claims" that FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source Software) will destroy the economy and cause e-government costs to go up. What I'd like to know, is where do they get this level of stupidity? I think BSA should also claim that FLOSS will cause tooth decay, tornadoes, rotten tomatoes and Diet Dr. Pepper to taste like Regular Dr. Pepper (oh, wait.. that one is more true than not..)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:26pm

    One of the biggest problems that lurk for both government and for places like libraries is storage. It seems every so many years all the major makers of propitiatory software change it all up. Either you re-back up everything you already did or you let it go in the trash and forget about storing it or ever using it again.

    The stronger case can be made for FLOSS having longer duration in both reading those old files as well as retrieval of them.

    There's no annual tax on Linux type stuff for the individual but likely there will be for the government. Still even if they have to pay it will be far cheaper than the software houses BSA will claim to represent.

    Many governments are going FLOSS. Not to long ago, I read an article where Russia was going to it for education and possibly government too.

    There's a lot to be said for better security in Linux as a default than there is in Windows as most every one runs admin to avoid the headache of re-logging in as admin to do installs. While much of the problem isn't just software but users too, it is far too easy to get malware with Windows as the prevalent majority is for Windows.

    As long as Windows is getting is money from businesses that want access to it for datamining purposes and paying that annual fee, Windows will never be secure as it is a move against the income stream that provides them money.

    You can be sure after the change up, BSA will be around checking computers looking for illegal software on machines. It's a typical practice after the changeover. Before the change over date, bunches of sales reps will be all over the place trying to make good deals if they don't go. One of the business that was changing over held the notification up they were changing till after the fact, just to keep the sales reps from wasting everyone's time with the continual and long visits. It appears that too is in the play book. Any way to hinder the changeover. If sweeteners don't work then they go the other route with the change over company losing it's favored status; meaning that if they go back there are no bargains but the full price of software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    abc gum, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Oh god..

    " ... FLOSS will cause tooth decay, ... "

    I think lack of floss can cause tooth decay

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    DeAngelo Lampkin (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Both "sides" seem silly to me.

    Insisting on open standards all the time is as absurd as insisting on proprietary standards all the time.

    In some cases one manner is going to provide the best return on investment and in other cases the other will. Yes, sometimes propitiatory software IS cheaper than OSS, when you measure expense by more variables than immediate license costs.

    -DeAngelo -hassle free sharing and voting - hassle free sharing and voting of Sheen!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Fucking public interest

    Well, when a self-interested alliance loves money VERY MUCH (and are married!), they have ways of expressing that love (married love, that is!) physically. Unlike the way that your mom and me express it, theirs is more of an "outward" expression which tends to surprise the public interest, which hadn't really expressed any sort of affection for either the alliance or its money.

    This outward expression of this love (not till you're married!) is called "fucking public interest." I know it sounds confusing and possibly a little gross, but when you grow up (and move out, etc.), you'll understand as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    someone (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Both "sides" seem silly to me.

    It might be true that "sometimes propitiatory software IS cheaper than OSS" but do not confuse software with standards.

    With open standards both proprietary and OSS vendors can make software that meets the standard. This gives consumers and governments a wide range of software to choose from(contrary to the BSA's false claims) and in many cases helps promote innovation. Look how open standards allowed Internet to grow if you need an example.

    When a government chooses to use a proprietary standard for documents(as an example) then said government is also choosing to force citizens to PURCHASE the proprietary software that supports that standard so they can communicate with the government.

    Seems to me the BSA is simply trying to get governments to choose software that forces its citizens to then purchase said software that conveniently happens to be sold by BSA supporters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 8:55pm


    I'm offended.

    I know I have some schizophrenic tendencies but that is no reason to bash me at all.

    I am telling ya, AC is a good guy in a Borg kind of way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    The eejit (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 12:58am

    Re: Re: Both "sides" seem silly to me.

    I'm pretty sure that's an antitrust issue right there, couched in a 'BUT...BUT...GOVERNMENT!!!!!' argument.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Stan, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    Just a thought

    They don't want us to put money on mens but in softwares !
    Mens aren't theirs source revenue !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Both "sides" seem silly to me.

    I don't buy your statement. Not even with the current US dollar. Using a closed standard that requires propriety software that comes with an End User License Agreement that says the software publisher can revoke license to use the software at any time potentially ending legal access to your own data because it's stored in a proprietary format has the potential for vendor lock-in and being held hostage. Where with an open format there is no secret to accessing the data so you can even hire a programmer yourself to get it if there ever is any issue also many software publishers can implement the format. Proprietary and open are simply not equal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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