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Oregon Open Source Bill Killed By Lobbyists?

by chromatic
May. 2, 2003
URL: http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1051876782142831.xml

Ken Barber, original author of Oregon HB 2892 writes this Oregonian editorial wondering why, in a state that needs to spend less without raising taxes, the Speaker of the House would silently and procedurally kill a bill to recognize Open Source software as a viable option for procurement.

Rumor has it that the American Electronics Association put a lot of pressure on Speaker Minnis behind closed doors. That may or may not be true. Speaker Minnis has not made her reasoning known. On the other hand, in the original testimony before the General Government Services committee, the AEA claimed a membership of 3000 companies.

When pressed, the AEA representative admitted that he had no idea how many of the member companies supported or objected to HB 2892. The AEA hadn't polled their members. Of course, browsing their member directory reveals companies that do support and produce Open Source software, such Sun, SGI, Agilent, and Axian (home of Coop, one of my favorite Linux authors).

I can't prove one way or another whether the AEA acted as all of its members would wish it to act — or even if the AEA did anything to convince Speaker Minnis to kill the bill. Still, I'm a little disheartened that the bill wasn't even brought for a vote before a committee.

Meanwhile, the Riverdale school district here in Portland will keep saving money while the Oregon Legislature and Multnomah county try to find money to keep the schools open.

chromatic manages Onyx Neon Press, an independent publisher.

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