A Florida legislator's efforts to insert pro-open source/open standards language into a bill that would create an enterprise information technology office in the state's executive branch were foiled by lobbyists from Microsoft, according to Linux.com.
After his software engineer son convinced him open source and open standards would save the state some money, Rep. Ed Homan added 26 lines of text to Senate Bill 1974 that advocated the state's adoption and implementation of systems that support open formats. Within 24 hours, the story says, Microsoft's "Men in Black" descended upon the Florida Legislature to convince its members that Homan's addition to the bill was not a good idea.
The Linux.com writer urges readers to take up the cause of open standards in Florida. Since open source projects don't have the money to bankroll high-powered lobbyists, it's up to developers and informed citizens to educate their lawmakers.
Today, ZDNet blogger Dana Blankenhorn echoed the sentiment and expanded the call for help:
We'll need effective lobbyists in every state capitol, as well as Washington. Until then, the law will be tilted in favor of the proprietary folks... The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it's high time open source squeaked.