It really bugs me how everyone around me (kids and wife getting back into schooling during lockdown) is constantly talking about "Zoom" this or that... I run/take part in video conferences every day but haven't used Zoom (or any other proprietary service) in well over a year.

We're indoctrinating our entire population into thinking that they can't function without the miracle (**spits) of Zoom/MS Teams/Google Hangouts/Webex, etc. Well, that's bullshit. Talk about sowing learned helplessness & foreign corporate dependence. Why aren't our national educational authorities (yes, NZ Min of Ed, looking at you) organising a far more cost-effective, proven, *local* services for education, like using BigBlueButton? They have *no idea* what they're doing with regard to tech.


It is my fourth week at MoE and I have already pointed out to more than one person that designing a system that *requires* 'the public' to pay a fee to a US multinational in order to interact with their elected governments institutions invalidates the Ministry's focus on equitable outcomes for all...

They may stop inviting me to meetings soon :-)

@carl_klitscher fight the good fight, Carl. We need you to win, not those threatened by your superior grasp of reality and their own rules.

To be fair, most of the people I've dealt with so far are very aware of the issues and there is a significant amount of Open Source software being used within the environment.

There are a couple of challenges though... the first being the incredibly tight integration of MS Teams... it has just enough of everything in one place for people to interact irrespective of location to the point where no-one even questions it... and you can't just replace bits of it with alternatives!

The downside of that is that when part of it breaks (and it does) it all breaks and everything grinds to a halt... and then there are the security issues... but those negatives still haven't hit the majority of users yet. Unless we can generate an integrated FOSS package to match we are going to be struggling with that one.

The second issue is around license packages... currently I have software package 'X' that can be deployed on Windows or RHEL and the decision was to run it on windows 'because the license was free' (in the no cost sense)... I've pointed out that there is still a charge but the windows license is absorbed by MoE whereas the RHEL license is carried by the project... pure accounting drivel but that is how this stuff is costed out.

I need an accountant to tell me how to get round that one!

@carl_klitscher we need to demonstrate how gov't is cross-subsidising expensive stuff ruining the digital ecosystem just as surely as dairy farmers are ruining the analogue one: by not being held responsible for the real cost of their actions. We need to show them that their accounting games have real repercussions, not the least of which is a) making us completely hostage to US corporate interests, and b) strangling our domestic IT industry. Both are total disasters for NZ's future prosperity.

@carl_klitscher that's the thing. It's gov'ts and agencies that need to coordinate to build those things. No one has either the means or the motivation. Gov't should pay for it - if they do, they'll still save money. But we need to show them why their bet on Microsoft, FB, Google, SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Salesforce, & ESRI, etc. is a big fat loser. It'll happen eventually, because of the odds.

@carl_klitscher But many will suffer as a result. If they listen to us beforehand, they can hedge against total disaster.

@carl_klitscher no. All you can do is teach them to be suspicious of the very foundations of their entire (edi|arte)fice. Microsoft is not a trustworthy partner. We need to show people who, to date have been blithely indifferent, the ample evidence of that.

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