All the usual suspects except IBM (IBM) rounded themselves up on July 22, 2009 and started something called Open Source for America. Here we have Sun (JAVA) and Oracle (ORCL), there we have Red Hat (RHAT), and in this corner are Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO) working together. From the moutains to the praries, sea to shining sea, so to speak.
A number of companies in this same group has specialized in starting and funding innocuous sounding front groups in the European Union (EU) for years. There is also a long list of these information-technology (IT) suppliers' camp followers saluting the stars and stripes along with Google, IBM, Oracle, Sun and Yahoo. The group must feel that now that a Democratic government has taken over in the United States, a government that is more like European governments according to some political pundits, the front-group marketing technique will be effective in Washington.
The front includes some of the same propagandists that brought you Meritalk back in March 2009 but apparently that did not work out so well. The lead quote in the Open Source for America press release is not from an information technologist but from a PR person employed by lobbyists called Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc. (MVC). MVC’s website is under construction (maybe waiting for stimulus money :) ) but a web site called Political Base says MVC
“is a government affairs lobbyist company that focuses on clients' strategic planning, message development, coalition management and corporate positioning.”
Similarly Meritalk used or is using a Washington PR firm named O’Keefe & Company.
I am not sure what all the belt-way BS even means but why can’t these IT companies speak for themselves? Why do they need a front group? Apparently Scott McNealy’s white paper about open source to President Obama got lost in the inbox of the Department of Justice anti-trust lawyer investigating the Sun-Oracle-Java-license whatever.
Make no mistake; this is bunch of enterprise software marketing guys and related software intellectual-property attornies and magazine salesmen trying to make a buck off the government. I have no problem with that but it’s jingo patriotism for them to use such a bogus name when all they are doing is just angling to get a piece of the stimulus pie.
At least there is no waving American (or EU) flag on Open Source for America’s web site.
-- Dennis Byron