Overhype

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
fud, open standards, software

Companies:
bsa



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.

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  1. icon
    someone (profile), 2 Mar 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.


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