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[edlug] the letter to acomp RK CDs


Anand and myself have brain stormed a letter to accompany Bob Kerr's OpenOffice CD's he plans to send out. Here is the text. Constructive comments are welcome but I intent to complete it this weekend. After talking to several members at the pub (more later) we feel that it would be best signed off "EdLUG Committee".


Jan 26th 2004

Dear fellow resident,

Thank you for taking the time to examine this Open Source software package. We are delighted to be offered the chance to show that Linux and other Open Source Software (OSS) projects can make a substantial improvement in the daily function of local and national governments. Even when not used its existence can foster a more open and reduced cost environment.

The Edinburgh Linux User Group (EdLUG) has been promoting, and providing free technical support for, OSS in Edinburgh and the Central Lothian region from 1998 through to the present. In that time we have seen OSS develop from a hobby into a substantial force in public and private sectors. This expansion in usability and the range of available application software has been accompanied by the adoption of Linux on a large scale by main stream companies, such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Novell and Hewlett Packard. OSS has also been adopted on the large scale by local and national government in areas such as Munich, Brazil and, recently, Israel.

OSS today is free, easy to use and of high quality. It has proven effective in reducing IT costs in almost every area it has been deployed. Even in government areas still using MicroSoft products, significant saving has been won from the larger vendors through competitive pressure from deployable Open Source alternatives. The open model of software development has introduced new paths of software adoption by public and private institutions. These include:
Affordable development of bespoke applications;
Piecemeal deployment of new applications, through extensive interoperation with existing and commercial applications;
Control of the software upgrade cycle; and
The freedom to separate hardware upgrades from those of software.
In each case, OSS has great potential to reduce cost and, as important, to increase control of costs.

Where it is used, councils and governments have found that Open Source software increases participation in politics. It also reduces costs and increases uptime and reliability. Even the interactions with the public are improved. (While many government departments are saving substantial sums by emailing out MicroSoft Word documents rather than using traditional postal methods. To interact with these systems the public is faced with the overhead of a proprietary program suite.) Now thanks to Open Source Software, backed by Sun, OpenOffice.org (the free MicroSoft Office replacement) is available not only on the World Wide Web but in every lending library in Scotland.

The introduction of freely copyable OSS in public lending libraries is a European first and shows Scotland's leadership in OSS in the community. We urge you to consider the greater use of OSS in local and national government. In the end open, transparent, cost effective software benefits everyone through lower costs and greater control.

Remember that the software on this CD only scratches the surface of the vast range of free, reliable, easy-to -use OSS, which already exists, and is ready to run on existing computers. OSS today gives institutional and individual users ever greater control of the cost of computing, and the quality of their software applications.

Yours sincerely,



This time she's the lesser of two evils.


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