MS attacking government use of "open source"

David Edwards dpe at
Thu May 23 09:19:42 PDT 2002

On Thu, 23 May 2002, Andrew Shewmaker wrote:
> I find myself wanting to write letters to my representatives, etc., but
> then I think to myself that it will all work itself out.  It may work
> itself out, but perhaps my real reason for not doing something is that
> I don't feel like it will make a difference.  I'm from Idaho and this
> state appears to have little power to affect anything.  Of course, not
> doing anything is a good way of guaranteeing that I don't have any
> affect.

As someone who lives inside the beltway, and has met numerous
congressional staffers, I've discovered that there's a hierarchy to how
seriously (US) congresscritters take attempts by their constituents to
express their views...

At the bottom of the list is a phone call leaving a message with a
staffer. While this does get recorded, it probably won't be remembered.

After that comes the 'form' email (email that closely follows a
'recommended form' provided by anyone from Microsoft to the EFF),
followed closely by 'individual' emails (which don't).

Above this is a phone call to your actual representative.

Next is a form letter, on paper, with a stamp and everything.

And near the top of the list is a 'real' letter to your congressman.
Lots of people threaten to write their congressman, but very few of
them actually do.

When you actually send paper mail to your congressman, you will almost
always receive a response letter acknowledging your concerns, and if
you're polite and reasonably coherent, it's fairly likely your
congressman will skim over both your letter and the response some
staffer has written to it.

I strongly encourage you to put pen to paper (or print out the email
you'd otherwise send), and mail your representative (and senators)
in congress. Be polite, make your main points in the first few paragraphs
and then expand on them in the body of your email, and try to keep
concepts simple (remember, mail gets heavily screened by staffers whose
job it is to filter out the obviously abusive and/or incoherent).

More information about the Beowulf mailing list