Our friends have initiated a petition to educate New Zealanders about the state of our government IT procurement, and its complete capture by proprietary interests.
We in the NZOSS do not want to see our government mandate the adoption of open source software - that would not make sense. We believe that would be a natural consequence of our government "levelling the playing field" for software procurement by mandating compliance of all software procured by government with relevant vendor-neutral, royalty-free open standards.
The scourge of proprietary standards, particularly those created by default by Microsoft Office (DOC/X, XLS/X, PPT/X, etc.) is insidious: in effect, the NZ government currently mandates the use of Microsoft Office by all citizens wanting to collaborate effectively with government. Many other compliance requirements for the private sector require that businesses and organisations use specific vendor-proprietary applications and computing platforms (like Microsoft Windows). This is anti-competitive and could easily be remedied by simply requiring government software suppliers to conform to existing open standards. This will also have the positive side effects of increasing competition for government software procurement contracts, lowering prices. It also has fundamental accessibility advantages: making it possible for the private sector and citizens to comply with government communication requirements using lower cost (and no-cost) computing platforms and software.
We encourage you to add your name to the petition!