January 5, 2004

Open Letter to the Government of Newfoundland, Canada

The cost of moving the standard word processing software for the Government of Newfoundland to Microsoft Word will cost millions of dollars in
tangible and intangible costs, lock the province into insecure, bug-ridden, proprietary software, and buck a global trend towards free software, with
absolutely no benefit to either the Government or the taxpayers of Newfoundland. There exists the opportunity for Newfoundland to continue to be the
Canadian leader in cost-saving ventures by becoming the first Canadian province to embrace free, open-source software as part of its IT policy, and
investing the millions of dollars saved on proprietary software into local industry.

Though no longer a resident of Newfoundland, I feel an obligation to my home province. It has come to my attention that the province is considering
moving to Microsoft Word as a standard for word processing. I must implore those in responsibility to address the travesty that would result from that
decision, and examine alternatives that would be of significant benefit to the government and its constituents, such as cost savings, increased
security, and greater software stability.

In the current age, the global movement is away from costly proprietary software. Software from Microsoft in particular has proven itself a haven for
costly viruses [1], the costs of which may be accurately estimated and are astronomical [2]. This cost may only be mitigated with equally expensive
virus protection software, which is fundamentally unnecessary for free, open source software such as Linux, OpenOffice.org, and Mozilla [3].

Link: linuxtoday.com


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