(Washington, D.C.)―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 less.”
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