Supply the poor government with some much needed transparency

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Brenno de Winter needs your money to force the government to become transparent. On June 11, he will organize a benefit in Amsterdam of which the proceeds will go to this war chest.

During his recent attempts to figure out how many local governments are using so-called Free and Open Software, several of these governments have been actively conspiring to thwart De Winter’s efforts. They ‘forgot’ to send some of the required documents, billed him for their time, and 22 municipalities and three provinces outright refused him the documents they are obliged to send, forcing him to start a separate law suit against each one of them.

De Winter expects costs to run up to EUR 7,000, an amount he is unable to cough up himself. If you can spare some cash, you can send some his way to bank account 4241287 c/o Stichting Vrijschrift in Workum. You can also visit the benefit event at the Pick-up Club at the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam, which starts at 5:30 pm on Thursday, June 11, and which features an introduction to WOBing by De Winter, and a debate about transparency between journalists, hackers and civil servants.

I am an adviser to the Stichting Vrijschrift (Scriptum Libre in English) and can tell you they are legit. Their only weakness is their unwillingness to toot their own horn, so let me list some of their feats:

  • Instrumental in defeating software patents in the EU
  • Acquired financing for GPS devices for the Dutch chapter of Open Street Map
  • Working to convince the government of the benefits of open educational materials, such as text books that any teacher can edit and improve.

(More info at Iusmentis (Dutch). About the picture, is it normal that spray bottles like this one have an extra grip for a sixth finger?)

1 Comment »

  1. The arguments against software patents have a fundamental flaw. As any electrical engineer knows, solutions to problems implemented in software can also be realized in hardware, i.e., electronic circuits. The main reason for choosing a software solution is the ease in implementing changes, the main reason for choosing a hardware solution is speed of processing. Therefore, a time critical solution is more likely to be implemented in hardware. While a solution that requires the ability to add features easily will be implemented in software. As a result, to be intellectually consistent those people against software patents also have to be against patents for electronic circuits. For more information on patents and innovation see http://www.hallingblog.com.

    Comment by Dale B. Halling — May 31, 2009 @ 1:36 am

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