In what is a coup for open-source advocates, many foreign governments are ditching Microsoft and embracing open-source software. No doubt they are all collectively crapping their pants at the thought of Microsoft and the NSA in bed together sharing information. But, if you want to put your cynical hat on for a minute, let’s perhaps reveal the real reason for getting all open-sourcey.
It saves them a ton of money in future Windows upgrades.
No, let’s not be so cynical. I’m sure they had national security considerations in mind when making the switch. And I am typing this very article on OpenOffice, so I have absolutely nothing against the principle of open-source.
However, it’s interesting that none of the governments are choosing to trust Apple when going out shopping for new computers. Is it because they think that the fruit shop is also in bed with the snoops, or is it because the price of one Mac computer requires selling your child into slavery?
Instead, they turn to Linux – the free open-source operating system, which has come a long way over the years. If you like analogies, look upon Linux as the geek kid at school desperately wanting to be just like the two popular kids, Microsoft and Apple. Linux is shoved into the corner as everyone flocks around Microsoft and Apple. Now years later, the shoe is on the other foot. Linux is the big kid on the block, and Microsoft & Apple are a bit less popular because of their daddy, NSA.
For a long time, Germany has been obsessed with privacy. They were the country that kicked up an enormous stink in the courts when the Google Street View cars tried to get onto German roads and streets. As a result, the only thing you can see on German Street View are the blurred out windows in major cities, and no Street View at all elsewhere in the country. If you look for my house, you will get a good view of my roof.
And when the NSA scandal blew up, it was Germany who was in the lead in condemning the US. I am sure that has had a lot to do with Munich City Council switching everyone over to Linux. The fact that they saved almost 12 million Euros didn’t hurt either.
Just Coincidence or Something More?
Who else is jumping on the Open Source bandwagon? Well the UK is considering it, but being typically British, they have to form committees, and sub-committees, and study the whole thing to death, until it has been flogged as the proverbial horse. Oh and it MUST have a PowerPoint presentation. Otherwise, it is not a study. No sir. And tea breaks. Must have tea breaks in that study.
The Brazil now requires Open Source email (link in Portugese). Wait, isn’t Brazil where Glenn Greenwald (the journalist who is working with Edward Snowden) lives with his partner? Again, coincidence? Does Brazil think that the NSA is reading the emails of Brazilian citizens?
My, the stack of coincidences seem to be stacking up. Or am I just being paranoid?