Citrix: NOT an Equal Opportunity Provider

I work for a local government. Local governments–and governments in general–are supposed to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. In an effort to accomplish just that, my county is moving slowing towards the use of open source IT solutions (open source=FREE). To that end, I’ve completely integrated to a Linux (Ubuntu) desktop environment. Unfortunately, some government agencies are still caught up in the pay-for-service mentality by subscribing to Windows-exclusive products such as those provided by a company called CITRIX, namely GoToMeeting. In my capacity as grant writer for my job, I’ve been closely involved with Federal and State funding opportunities, and the need to attend several online workshops (i.e., “webinars”). Much to my dismay, early on I realized that due to the operating system I currently use (Linux based), and the fact that these government agencies have assumed that everybody on the planet is a Microsoft junkie, I’ve been technically barred from attending these events. I consider this to be nothing short of discrimination.

I’ve contacted Citrix several times asking them to open up their protocols to make it possible for Linux users to at least ATTEND (if not sponsor) webinars using their product. No dice. In a polite but firm way, their response is always a slight variation of “we do not support other operating systems. Sorry.” I’ve also contacted the government agency(ies) in particular, requesting that in the future they think beyond the box (so to speak) when determining who their service provider(s) will be, and realize that not everyone interacting with them is a Windows user. The latest response I received left me quite aghast. It went something like this: “[we] will not be using another Webinar provider. All [agency] Subrecipients should plan to have compatible windows software so they can participate in future webinars.” If this doesn’t take the cake!

Now don’t take me wrong. I’m not a militant-type person. I firmly believe in the old adage, “live and let live.” However, when I see injustice being perpetrated whether by action or omission, my feathers get really ruffled. That’s why I decided to create this group. Perhaps there are others out there like me who have had similar frustrations, if not with this particular company, with others in a similar way. Maybe, just maybe, if enough voices are lifted things will change (as if…). At any rate, I invite you to share your experiences, voice your opinions, vent your frustrations, whatever.