Open source advocate gets telling off

Microsoft is refusing to comment on whether or not it has complained to employers of people who signed a letter to the government advocating the use of open source software.

Microsoft is refusing to comment on whether or not it has complained to employers of people who signed a letter to the government advocating the use of open source software.

The letter, at www.openz.org, is addressed to ministers Paul Swain, Pete Hodgson and Trevor Mallard, who hold IT-related portfolios. In the past month the number of those who have signed the letter has grown from 30 to more than 230, many IT and telecomms professionals. The letter aims to get the government to consider a policy of favouring open source software for government computing.

One of the people who signed the letter told Computerworld that Microsoft complained about it to their employer. The person, who spoke to Computerworld on condition of anonymity, says the complaint went to the marketing department of their company. They were reprimanded as a result.

Letter organiser Christchurch-based David Lane, director of Egressive, says he has been told of a similar case at another company.

Lane, says he has also had emails from five resellers, who deal in Microsoft and open source products, offering support, but not wanting to put their names to the letter because of possible reaction from Microsoft.

"I think there is still some what of an element of apprehension around not wanting to do anything that is seen to cross Microsoft," he says.

Microsoft spokeswoman Carol Leishman says she won't comment on "rumour and speculation" and is focusing on the launch of Windows XP and nothing else.

Meanwhile, Lane says there is a move afoot to establish a national organisation for open source vendors in New Zealand.

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