Why is public and charity money paying for the private sector’s marketing?

The workshop I went to recently and the ICT Champions in general (“Website Under Development” – release early, anyone?) seem to be funded by public and charity money. As I mentioned, the worst thing was all the needless promotion of certain companies’ products, so why are they promoting private products instead of being neutral and open?

That’s bad for Britain, bad for the competing products that are co-produced by the Voluntary and Community Sector and bad for the VCS workers because it trains them in single-tool methods instead of transferable skills. Let the private sector pay for their own adverts! Why can’t we stop making this mistake?

Which brings me to the other problem with that ICT advice: well-meaning common-sector businesses like ours can’t update it autonomously, for two reasons:

  1. All the texts I saw were under various Non-Commercial and No Derivative licences which make them hazardous or unusable to IT support businesses.
  2. Particularly on Free and Open Source Software, the advice is at best misleading and unhelpful. This is very frustrating: based on our private work and success in explaining things, I’m sure we could do better, but for various reasons, no-one is paying for us to publish that. Instead, someone’s paying to publish statements like “There’s no such thing as ‘open source'” written by someone from an association that includes Microsoft and Oracle.

Again, why is public and charity money paying for the private sector’s marketing? Why is it published under blocking copyright terms, scattering broken glass across the path just built? Where can we get funding to publish our explanations?

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