[K12OSN] OT: Required use of IE by State DOE

Peter Scheie peter at scheie.homedns.org
Thu Mar 15 16:45:53 UTC 2007

This is a long route, but I don't know that there's an alternative.  Get to know your 
local state reps.  Explain how IE-only plans of the DOE will shut out ALL the Macs in 
schools, since IE isn't being maintained for Mac any more, how the modern approach is to 
code to open standards so people are not locked into specific vendor's products.  Remind 
those reps that 20 years ago, all the various mail services--Sprint, CompuServe, AOL, 
etc.--were proprietary and didn't talk to each other.  The Internet changed all that, 
and that's why it stomped those proprietary services.  The DOE's approach is a reversion 
back to proprietary approaches that don't do the job.  Get the reps to understand that 
the DOE's strategy will end up costing the schools MORE money because they'll have to 
buy expensive equipment (Windows boxes) just to accomodate the DOE's shortsightedness.

Then ask the reps to help the DOE adopt a more open approach, e.g., something that 
complies with W3C standards rather than just accomodating one vendor.

(There's an idea brewing here: Having government officials say they have great 
connections with a private business, such as your CIO has done, reminds me of the line 
from Styx's "Too much time on my hands": "I've got dozens of friends and the fun never 
ends, that is, as long as I'm buying".  Government shouldn't really have close ties to 
any vendors.  Private businesses, sure, they can have ties with whoever they want, they 
have no obligation to be neutral.  But government is different.  Unfortunately, it 
sounds like your CIO doesn't quite grasp that.  Who *doesn't* have good ties to their 
vendors?  The vendors are supposed to be your 'servants', although there's a price.)


David Hopkins wrote:
> All,
> This is off-topic, but apparently the DOE for Delaware is developing 
> software (paying for the development) which will require the use of IE 
> in order to be used.  When asked why, the response is typically of the 
> form 'because that is what we want'.  Now, this is going to impact the 
> use of K12LTSP (or the adoption of anything that is not MS-centric).  
> So, has anyone come up with a legal requirement that would make 
> requiring the use of a specific browser by a specific vendor on the 
> vendor's hardware illegal?  I don't see how Section 508 can be used to 
> get around this, but perhaps someone on the list knows something.  
> Delaware is a very very very MS-centric approach to IT.  In fact, the 
> Delaware CIO boasts about the close ties of Delaware and MS.  He was 
> formally the Verizon lobbyist to the state.
> We are a small enough state (2 degrees of separation for most people) 
> that if there is something questionable about the proposed approach, it 
> can be changed but only with really good reasons.
> Sincerely,
> Dave Hopkins
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