California local governments cooperate… to employ more lawyers

This AP story about California local governments suing Microsoft for monopoly pricing in their sales to city and county governments is interesting.  It is not clear why any of these plaintiffs need Windows.  A lot of their desktops are probably still running Win98.  One can argue the relative merits of GNU/Linux versus WinXP but it is obvious that GNU/Linux and the free OpenOffice suite are more powerful than older versions of Microsoft products.  In a state with thousands of unemployed programmers you’d think that these governments could have cooperated to hire 100 programmers to port some of their Windows-only applications to Web-based or GNU/Linux apps.  Instead they cooperated to hire 100 lawyers so that they can shackle themselves to Microsoft for another 10 years but at a slightly lower price.

[Back in 1997, I proposed that the Federales hire Linux developers instead of using Microsoft Word to write anti-Microsoft complaints.  It has been seven years and still our government prefers to hire lawyers rather than programmers.  Can we blame children if they decide to go to law school rather than doing something that will add to the G.D.P.?] 

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