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Australian open source advocates are gearing up a two-pronged attack against proprietary software, and their actions have caught Microsoft's attention.

Legislators in South Australia have proposed a bill that would require government offices to use open source software "where practicable," Australian IT reports. The State Supply (Procurement of Software) Amendment Bill is backed by Democrats who are confident that the legislation will pass in both the upper and lower houses.

Microsoft has lobbied to fight the bill, which could come before the Legislative Council by next month. Lobby group the Initiative for Software Choice has been writing to South Australia MPs, calling on them to block the bill.

Open source promoters in New South Wales are not being left behind in the fight against proprietary code. The NSW Labor Council IT Committee this week held an information session for legislators to help them understand more about software choices, Australian IT reports.

"There is not a lot of understanding among parliamentarians about open source, (and how it differs from) open systems standards," Michael Gadiel, the IT Committee chair, told the Aussie news site.

Microsoft Australia's Martin Gregory made an appearance at the debate, carrying the company line about choice, choice, choice.

Software should be picked because of its strength as a product and overall value, Gregory argued.

Er, that seems to be what is going on here.

Australia is not alone in its fondness for open source code. A number of governments around the world have started looking at Microsoft alternatives with ever-increasing vigor, most notably in Europe, South America and Asia. ®

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