The following are details of Ubuntu (and Free and Open Source software) being mentioned in the South Australian Parliament.

Family First

The following is a proposed speech ('Matter of Interest') to be given the the South Australian Parliament, Legislative Council, by a member of the Family First Party.

It was prepared with help from PaulSchulz and JanetHawtin from AustralianTeam.

A story in Computerworld on the speech can be found here:;1496417232

Ubuntu Weekly News:

Matter of Interest - Hon Dennis Hood MLC

Given on Wednesday, 6th December 2006

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: I would like to speak today about free and open source software, something that was once dear to the heart of the Hon. Ian Gilfillan. I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery this afternoon of Mr Paul Schulz, who is a key supporter of—

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins): Members should not refer to people in the gallery.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: Thank you, Mr Acting President. Last week it was reported that the French parlia­ment was dumping Microsoft products in place of open source soft­ware. The move came after successful transmis­sion by their Ministry of Agriculture and Police. Starting in June next year, French deputies will use desktops and servers running Linux software instead of Microsoft Windows; Mozilla's Firefox web browser in place of Internet Explorer; and Open Office—a free open source alternative to Microsoft's Office software. Documents will be saved in a non-proprietary open document format. As an aside, I note that on 31 March 2006 the National Archives of Australia also settled on the open document format to ensure long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers.

A detailed study concluded that the move will result in substantial savings, despite the associated migration and training costs. Free and open source software is being produced as I speak by developers all over the world and, indeed, many of them are operating in South Australia. The majority of these developers are volunteers, donating their time and energy to improve and give away free software. And it is free in every sense of the word—free from any licensing costs, but also free in the sense that it can be used, copied, studied, modified, improved and redistributed with little or no restriction. With developers all over the world freely and constantly improving the software, it is little wonder that many open source solutions are now outpacing Microsoft solutions.

I want to focus primarily on the Linux Open Source Operating System—a free competitor to Microsoft Windows. There are various `flavours', if I can put it that way, of Linux, including Red Hat, Novell Suse, Mandriva, amongst others. One of the most popular at the current time is called Ubuntu, which is Linux as well. Ubuntu in the African Zulu and Xhosa languages loosely means 'humanity towards others'. First released in 2004, this software collection is backed by Canonical, a non-profit company founded by Mark Shuttleworth. Mark Shuttleworth made his fortune as a software developer in the dot com era, with a company which was built on free and open software, supplying digital encryption services internationally, primarily to banks. Mr Shuttleworth (who was also the second space tourist, in fact) decided to contribute back to the free and open source software community and Ubuntu was born.

Ubuntu distribution has topped the ranks of Linux distribution down loaded from the internet since its release and is developed by a worldwide community specifically with the ordinary computer user in mind. Indeed, I note that the business card of Mr Paul Schulz says `Linux for human beings'. On behalf of the South Australian Ubuntu users group, I suggest two concepts to promote free and open source software as a way forward. First, that we should open the IT funding criteria. Funding for IT in schools is often focused on acquiring and maintaining software licences. The use of free and open source software allows the spending to be refocussed on education and training.

I note that it has been reported that Indiana is moving 22 000 of its students from Windows to Linux platforms. Secondly, South Australian schools and libraries need somewhere to try out Open Source software. A publicly accessible facility is required where businesses and community groups can test these technologies to learn about whether they are suitable for their purposes. Western Australia, with the Open Source WA Demonstration Centre, and Victoria have both undertaken projects to boot strap their free software sector. It will be great to see something like this in South Australia. I encourage members to try the CDs I have distributed to all their offices today and encourage a further uptake of Open Source software for South Australia, as it represents a real alternative to very expensive systems that Microsoft produces.

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