Computers at Campaign HQ of US Presidential Hopeful Wesley Clark Run Mozilla

Tuesday November 11th, 2003

chrisgeleven writes: "There was a post on General Wesley Clark's '04 Campaign Blog (he is running to be the Democrat Party candidate for U.S. President) stating what technology and software the campaign staff uses to run its campaign.

"A quote from the post: 'Here at Clark HQ, we're using a lot of open source technology. When our IT team was setting up computers for everyone, a good majority of them outfitted with OpenOffice and Mozilla. We're also using Thunderbird as our main mail client and Squirrelmail for the travel team. Those who refuse to give up their copies of Outlook are required to surrender their laptops for examination before being allowed to plug them into the office network.' Sounds like there is a pretty good possibility that this could be the first presidential candidate to use Mozilla!"

The weblog entry was made by Cameron Barret (of CamWorld fame), who is the Blog Strategy Guy for the Clark campaign. Note that the post never explicitly states that Clark uses Mozilla.

#8 Pandering, Brown-nosing, Astroturfing

by superyooser

Wednesday November 12th, 2003 4:03 AM

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"Why worry your pretty little mind about details like that when you can focus on his hair, her flashy smile, the color of his suit, etc."

That "etc." should *include* the subject of Clark HQ's blog entry. This is like "Boxers or briefs?" or "PCs or Macs?" It's trivial, meaningless, inconsequential stuff. I think it's foolish to *assume* that the decision to use open source software was 1) based on any ideological principle(s) of the Open Source/Free Software/anti-IP, electronic freedom, etc. movement (which could be good *or* bad, IMHO, depending on Clark's specific objectives and motivations) or 2) a decision personally initiated or strongly pushed by candidate Wesley Clark himself.

This blog/virtual press release is such transparent pandering. They all but admit that the announcement of their policy is in response to the story on Linux Journal (posted on Slashdot <…>) which was about what server platforms were being used by presidential candidates. Some Slashdotters made disparaging remarks about President Bush for using a Windows server, and apparently, alert Clark campaign strategists took notice. To regard a campaign organization's choice of web servers or any other software as a significant political issue is ridiculous, but it seems to have real sway with some geeks.

Blogs that are run by political campaigns are part of the campaigns themselves. They are tools of pure propaganda. That's not to say that their information is necessarily false; just that they're desperately trying to win your favor.

Notice exactly what the blog entry says and what it does *not* say: a majority of the computers were "OUTFITTED" with OpenOffice and Mozilla. The blog says nothing about *removing* or not also installing Microsoft Office on the computers or about making Mozilla the default browser. Moz and OOo are free, so it's no big deal for IT to deploy them across the network and announce to the world: "We've got Open Source appz throughout Clark HQ! We are über 1EE7 633X5!" If IE and Office icons are still where they've always been, the users may never actually *use* the new apps! Most people don't even know what all is on their computers.