AtG: Conroy launches tech pricing probe, Linux Australia name debate continues

A parliamentary inquiry will look into the higher prices paid by Australians for technology, and the Linux Australia debates rolls on and on.

Higher mark-ups on hardware and software have become an accepted reality for the average Australian consumer, but that could all change, thanks to a parliamentary inquiry announced by Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy over the weekend. The impetus behind the inquiry is Labor MP and federal member for Chifley Ed Husic, writes Laura Parker on sister site GameSpot AU.

Husic pointed out the usual price-hikers — Adobe, Apple, Canon, Lenovo, Microsoft — in a speech to parliament last month.

Could this be the end of the Australia tax? My own experience from Canada is not optimistic on this front; things were marked up above US prices, and the border was only an hour's drive away. Rather than being an Australian- or Canadian-targeted mark-up, it seems to be more "not the US"-based.

It should be interesting to watch the vendors explain their pricing policy, though, especially for digital goods. I'm looking at you, Adobe and CS6 pricing.

Meanwhile, discussion and flaming has continued over the issue of whether Linux Australia should change its name.

A summary of the discussions until Friday is over on ZDNet Australia, or you can wade into the mailing list itself and let the spiky tone wash over you.

The prime example of a conference that would be better served by a name change is PyCon Australia,. Its organiser Chris Neugebauer wrote: "I believe that something like 'Open Source (Communities) Australia' indicates that the organisation encompasses free and open-source projects beyond Linux. It seems to me that with such a name, it would be clearer that the organisation covers the Python community in Australia, also the Drupal community — many communities — and not just the Linux Community."

The retort to which, from David Newall, was: "If the Python community are put out by our unashamed attachment to our Linux roots, might we not be better to cut them loose and use our energies (and finances) to support a more grateful and less embarrassed group? Might sound harsh, but give it fair thought."

On a more positive note, if you were looking to head to PyCon Australia, early bird registrations are now open, and the conference has secured a deal with Wrest Point Casino for accommodation.