Microsoft

  • I enjoyed POSS2016 in Paris Last week, I presented the current status of the EU-funded research I am working on these days, that is DiDIY (Digital DIY), at the Paris Open Source Summit. I have already reported about that side of the conference on the DiDIY blog, but I found many more interesting things at POSS 2016.What I heard at POSS 2016 about OpenDocument and Free Software in Public administration is so important, in my opinion, that I put it into a separate post.
  • (no, not really but…) In December 2014, italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi annunced soldipubblici.gov.it, a Web portal that provides official Open Data on public spending (“Soldi Pubblici”, that is) in Italy. Within a few hours, an italian Hacker, [![spesa software dei comuni italiani Leonardo Maccari, set up an unofficial blog, that automatically fetches and plots certain categories of data from that portal, making them much easier to understand.
  • At the end of 2010 Nichi Vendola, leader of the Left, Ecology and Freedom party and governor of the Italian Region of Puglia became a hot topic among the Italian Free Software Community for presenting, almost in the same day, a regional law for promotion of Free Software AND a partnership between Puglia and Microsoft, a company not exactly known for loving Free Software. Very soon both news, though interesting for what they revealed of Vendola’s way to handle communication, were forgotten, for obvious reasons: Italians have plenty of much more urgent and understandable problems to worry about while Vendola is, I presume, much more concerned with what to do at the next political elections (he’s a likely candidate for the Prime Minister post) than with regional regulation of software.
  • In April 2011 (1) I read an article entitled With information technology, more and more young people become their own managers, about a Forum at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome devoted to “Youth Communication in the Social Media Age”. During that forum, says the article, Mr Pier Luigi Dal Pino noted that “computer technology comes to the rescue of the new young entrepreneurs who, more than any other previous generation, are now able to grasp its true value in terms of productivity and efficiency.
  • Last week Nichi Vendola, leader of Italian left party SEL and current president of the italian region of Puglia signed a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft. In the same day Vendola announced that, in this very week, the Puglia Regional Council will issue a regional law on Open Source Software. The way this story is evolving is relevant for all citizens (including those who couldn’t care less about software!), both in Puglia and abroad.
  • The day after signing a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft, Nichi Vendola, president of the Puglia Region, published an explanation on the website of its party. These are my comments to the main parts of that article. Vendola: “Who is the enemy for Puglia and for Italy? Is it Microsoft, or any other software giant?” Stop: The first enemy is lack of competence and interest in ICT by Public Administrators. Is this the case with Vendola?
  • Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English). Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !
  • On October 6th, 2010 Microsoft published a short video on Youtube titled “A Few Perspectives on OpenOffice.org”. The video is about “Some thoughts from OpenOffice.org users and why they switched back to Microsoft Office” (OpenOffice.org and its offspring LibreOffice are “free-as-in-freedom” alternatives to Microsoft’s Office productivity suite. They have no license costs and natively support OpenDocument, an international standard format for office documents). When it first appeared, I simply ignored the video.
  • The commitment with which certain companies try to make the problems caused by their products and practices a general issue for which they have no fault, that is something that should be fixed by others with public money, is impressive. I just had a good laugh reading a BBC report about the latest, exceptional idea on how to fix the huge problems caused worldwide by virus-infected computers (that in the great majority of cases run some version of Microsoft Windows):
  • March 31st, 2010, is “Document Freedom Day (DFD), a global day for document liberation”. Local events have been organized all over the world to “educate the public about the importance of Free Document Formats and Open Standards in general”. Indeed, Free as in Freedom file formats are essential in a world that depends so much on digital technology as ours: they are necessary to preserve our culture, our memory, our data and lots of our public money.