Bill Gates' Linux Attack Money and the Resignation of Peter Quinn

by Tom Adelstein

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One of the top stories of the year at LXer warned mightily of Microsoft's capabilities to change the political landscape to its advantage. I spent three years researching the material in that article and spoke to so many government people that I had to keep maticulous records.

My first glimpse of the political machinery behind Microsoft came when I helped sponsor a bill in Texas to open IT procurement to open source and free software. My sponsoring senator was John Corona. At the time, all we wanted to do was get some budget money freed up to use in areas Carol Strayhorn, the state comptroller, was cutting from social services.

Part of my research involved tracking budget cuts and finding spoilage in the state budget. But then, I did one better. I went down to the county hospital and saw a doctor and got some medicine. It took two days waiting in line to see the doctor and two days waiting in line to get the medicine. People died waiting and that's in America.Thousands of people milled around sick in those waiting areas.

I met people with cancer who had no choice but to wait because they had no other way to get their medicine. The sites and sounds will always haunt me.

But back on the floor of the Senate in Austin, representatives from all over the country; people that had nothing to do with Texas, testified in their two thousand dollar suits about the evils of open source software. It was a finely tuned and well rehearsed progression of Microsoft shills that spoke with furry against letting the state Department of Information Resources use Apache.

So, the State of Texas cut social services and continued funding overdue and over-budget IT projects using Microsoft technology. No matter where I go and no matter to whom I show the benefits of using free and open source software in the government, Microsoft is there.

Remember Peter Quinn, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and Senator Marc Pacheco

Anyone doubting the power of Microsoft, should consider what we wrote at the end of June 2005. We've brought it back to demonstrate its relevance and rewrote pieces to tie in the events of the last few weeks. But the documents we uncovered are still in place. The people within Microsoft's grasp politically are still listed. This isn't a story you scan. This is one you read.

When you finish reading it, ask yourself if any company should be allowed to conduct business the way Microsoft has.

And remember what Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote preceding the Standard Oil Monopoly litigation:

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That in its essence, is Fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power.

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