Since the launch of Vista several governments and government agencies around the world have said publicly that they will not use it, including the US Department of Transportation and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. But we need to make sure that the space this creates is filled by free software operating systems like GNU/Linux.
In some cases, governments are instead moving to other kinds of proprietary software. This is why we need to emphasize the freedom of free software operating systems like GNU/Linux and not just their technical advantages (as represented by the term “open source”). What we want is not the rejection of Microsoft in particular—we want governments to acknowledge the ethical ramifications of their software choices and leave proprietary software behind entirely.
Though the rejections so far are good news, we shouldn't get complacent. In some cases these Vista bans are being presented as only temporary measures, with Vista still under long-term consideration. We still need to let our government officials know that we support free software.
If you are a Massachusetts resident, you can let Governor Patrick know that you want the Commonwealth to free itself from proprietary software interests for good by going to http://devalpatrick.com/issue/freesoftware and endorsing the issue.
What can be done in other states, and other countries?