Wednesday, October 22, 2003

In the New York Times "Students Find $100 Textbooks Cost $50, Purchased Overseas"

The EU are getting in on the ID card game now, with ministers agreeing on a scheme to introduce "an EU-wide health identity card able to store a range of biometric and personal data on a microchip by 2008."

Wired had a slightly shorter story on electronic voting on Monday than the one I posted earlier. The voting machine companies want to spend money on a PR campaign to convince people their machines are sound, though they are apparently also considering introducing some version of the paper audit trails their critics have been asking for. David Dill said: "The voting machine industry doesn't have a PR problem. It has a technology problem. It is impossible to determine whether their machines, in their current form, can be trusted with our elections."

NewFactor are reporting that Massachusetts has directed the state's chief technology officer to choose open-source and open-standards technologies whenever possible. That's likely to have a bigger impact on Microsoft than all the battles the state has fought on the antitrust front. Massachusetts is the lone state still fighting the Microsoft antitrust settlement, so that is likely to have influenced their decision.

As a colleague recently commented, this story has been hijacked by the open source and the closed source camps.

The original idea was the state should encourage open formats not just open source code. Open formats would mean user access to source code, whether the software was proprietary or not. I guess this is slightly academic because arguably the only really open format software is open source at the moment.

Speaking of Microsoft a report at the weekend suggested that the music buying feature in Windows XP might well violate the company's antitrust settlement of 2001. The company has also launched a PR campaign aimed at Australian MPs, "in the wake of Democrat Bills in the South Australian and federal parliament, that would require governments to give preference to open-source software over proprietary applications."

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