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Re: [Australia-public-discuss] [free-software-melb] Video/audio from pat

From: Russell Coker
Subject: Re: [Australia-public-discuss] [free-software-melb] Video/audio from patents talk and committee hearing
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2012 16:59:32 +1100
User-agent: KMail/1.13.7 (Linux/3.2.0-1-amd64; KDE/4.6.5; x86_64; ; )

On Sun, 12 Feb 2012, Matt Giuca <address@hidden> wrote:
> While I like free software, I respect the right for people and
> companies to keep secrets, if they wish. I prefer to let the market
> decide: if you want to lock up your software, then I won't buy it, but
> that doesn't mean I should be able to stop you from doing so.

I believe that software which is used by the government, which the government 
compells citizens to use (EG for communicating with government agencies), or 
which is needed to interpret data published by the government (IE for reading 
anything from should at the minimum have the source available via 
escrow.  If in 30 years time someone wants to view old government data that is 
published in MS-Excel format (as happens a lot on then we 
shouldn't be denied access if MS stop selling the software.

If MS won't put their source in escrow then MS software should be prohibited 
for such use.  MS can keep their secrets, but a ban on all government 
purchases should be the result if they choose to do so.

The same applies for all data which has government legislation that demands it 
be kept.  This includes financial reports and all manner of medical data.

It is simply unacceptable that if a medicine on sale now turns out to give an 
increased risk of cancer in 20 years time it might be impossible to access all 
the data related to the production of the medicine and the people it was 
prescribed to because MS decided to change file formats (*).

It is also unacceptable that a company like James Hardy might choose an almost 
obsolete version of MS-Office to store financial data in order to make it more 
difficult for lawyers representing people with lung cancer to present a good 
legal case.

(*)  I have some knowledge of how things work in a medical company and I 
believe that this sort of thing will be a real problem.

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