Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Free, EU-funded Open Source sofware

Neelie Kroes, the blogging Commissioner for the Digital Agenda is boasting on her blog "OPEN SOURCE HELPING TO AVOID THE DIGITAL BLACK HOLE", about CASPAR the EU funded open source system.

Spiffing stuff no doubt, she points out that,

Until now mountains of data such as official records, museum archives and scientific results has been unreadable or at risk of loss because newer technologies could not read it or make it understood to current users.

If you’re like me and have ever lost access to family photos or old documents, you
will know the frustration of dealing with incompatible technologies. So it’s very exciting to know we can beat this problem now, and that everyone can have access to the solution.

I wonder how much this free software is costing us? Oh look here we go,
EU funding: € 8 800 000

Now I lose photos, but I could use Flickr - cost to the taxpayer €0
I lose documents, but I could use google docs - cost to the taxpayer €0

And so on.

And lord love me, they are free to use.

Please don't get me wrong open source software is great stuff, and we could argue all night about how much patents effect its development.

But to suggest that CASPAR or Cultural, Artistic and Scientific Knowledge Preservation, for Access and Retrieval, to give it its full title is free to use is dishonest, it is like describing the NHS as free. No it isn't.

They just don't realise that they have no money except that they take of individuals and private companies.

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