Mass. Taxpayers Hurt by Proposed Software Monopoly

'Open-Source Software Preference Means Closed Minds,' Schatz Says

Sep 30, 2003, 01:00 ET from Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -. The Council for Citizens Against
 Government Waste (CCAGW) today criticized Massachusetts Chief Information
 Officer Peter Quinn for his stated intention to move all state and local
 government computers to open-source operating systems.  The "Freeware
 Initiative" will require that all IT expenditures in 2004 and 2005 be made on
 an open-source/Linux format.  Proprietary vendors will be effectively barred
 from competing for state contracts, limiting competition and raising costs.
     "Governor Mitt Romney must put a stop to this boondoggle," CAGW President
 Tom Schatz said.  "People mistakenly refer to Linux as 'free' software because
 it can be freely altered and distributed.  Yet while the software itself is
 free, the cost to maintain and upgrade it can become very expensive.  Like all
 procurement decisions, the best policy on the use of software is to place all
 products on equal footing.  It is critical that taxpayers receive the best
 quality programs at the least cost."
     "It is ironic that Massachusetts, as the only state remaining in the
 lawsuit accusing Microsoft of antitrust violations, is creating its own state-
 imposed monopoly on software.  Under the state's proposed "Freeware
 Initiative," there would be no exceptions to the rule permitting only open
 source/Linux software.  The old Soviet Union could not have done this any
 better," Schatz added.
     While the initial open source software may be "free," most studies
 conclude that acquisition costs represent only 5 to 10 percent of total cost
 of ownership.  Maintenance, training and support are far more expensive with
 open source than proprietary software.
     "Massachusetts is proving itself the most technologically inept state in
 the nation.  In addition to attempting to impose a socialistic procurement
 system, the state's record keeping on the Microsoft lawsuit was so abysmal
 that the judge in that case substantially reduced the proposed reimbursement
 of the state's cost," Schatz concluded.  "It's time for Governor Romney to
 bring Massachusetts into the twenty-first century by dropping the lawsuit and
 opening up the procurement process.  The state's taxpayers deserve nothing
     The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of
 Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit
 organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement
 in government.

SOURCE Council for Citizens Against Government Waste