Doug Dingus, an applications engineer in Portland Oregon, filed this report for Newsforge.
Despite reports to the contrary, the Oregon Legislature is continuing to debate the issue of Open Source software use in State government. HB 2892 has already been though a General Government Committee hearing despite strong lobbying efforts from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Computing Technology Industry Association, and the American Electronics Association (AeA). This is a big win with more to come if we can all continue to support this bill.
A lot of progress has been made, but in order to move forward HB 2892 needs permission from the Speaker of the House, Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village), for a work session to finalize the bill. Minnis is not expressing support for any new development of HB 2892 despite widespread and growing support for the bill.
Support for HB 2892 has reached beyond technical circles, clearly indicating this is a simple business issue, not just a technical one. Many people have worked hard to get HB 2892 where it is today. We need this kind of support to continue while the Oregon Legislature is focused on the issue.
HB 2892 is a bipartisan bill aimed squarely at improving the economy of the State of Oregon.
- LHB 2892 will reduce the state's annual cost of computing through a reduction in software license costs made possible by the use of Open Source software where it makes sense. Schools using the approach now are already seeing the savings.
- HB 2892 will provide new job opportunities. Many of these new jobs will be here in Oregon where we currently have a surplus of high-tech talent looking for work.
- HB 2892 reinforces the ethical use of taxpayer dollars by encouraging the use of freely available software when it makes sense to do so.
- HB 2892 will have a dramatic impact on future computing costs over time as lock-in to closed software and data products are reduced in favor of open software and data products.
Many members of the legislature support this bill for these and other reasons, and are eager to see it move forward to the house for a vote. However, they face strong opposition from Republican House leaders who continue to receive the attention of the industry lobbyists during this critical time.
This high-level opposition to HB 2892 has little to do with what is best for the Oregon taxpayer and everything to do with what is best for the established software vendors seeking to continue to profit from lock-in at the government level.
The only real opposition to HB 2892 comes from special interests that only want to continue to protect their annual revenue from one of their biggest customers - the State of Oregon.
This does not have to continue! HB 2892 deserves to be heard and not quietly killed by lobbyists. We have the attention of the Oregon Legislature in a big way right now, making this a very important time to act. The State of Oregon is looking hard to save where it can in this difficult business climate. This and your continuing support in the form of a short phone call, letter, e-mail or fax to your representative as well as the Speaker of the House will help HB 2892 continue to move forward through the legislative process.
Find your Oregon State Representative here