Weblog:   The Growing Politicization of Open Source
Subject:   You don't start negotiating with your bottom line
Date:   2002-08-16 11:38:27
From:   Jesse E. Tilly
If we were talking about laws that were out of committee and the only thing left to do would be to sign the bill, then I'd agree with Tim and his colleague. However, the California proposal is just that, a proposal. Like every publicly announced law, it will be changed, compromised and modified before it is signed. Software Choice advocates need breathing room. By taking the radical side, we can compromise with things such as "doesn't have to be GPL, but source must be made available through a neutrally approved request process, ala Freedom of Information Act".

When I wrote Rep. Isakson (6th district, GA) about this issue, with regards to the US' support *against* the Peruvian bill, I called up the image of Raytheon selling "closed source" missles. No Air Force general would take a bid from a company selling product that could not be pulled apart by the government workers using it. I think the same should hold true for software. Not just the data (open file formats, etc), but the whole system needs to be open. Transparency is already a big part of government operations. Why should software be held in exception?

As for the title of the piece, "Growing Politicization of Open Source", I say good. Professor Lessig made excellent points in San Diego with regards to our (i.e. open source writers/users) silence. And it's funny to think that being politically charged is considered being radical. Radical is blowing yourself up in a mall for your cause. Radical is painting a building (ala the DE Green Party).

Having opinions and expressing them in a public forum is an American citizen's *duty*. We shouldn't fail to exercise the right, lest we lose it.

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  • You don't start negotiating with your bottom line
    2002-08-16 12:19:49  stend [View]

    I agree with the point I think is being made in the second paragraph here. Just as I don't want my tax dollars spent by the government on physical equipment which can only be serviced by the vendor, neither do I want them spent on virtual equipment (software) which can only be serviced by the vendor. Does it need to be Open Source? No, but that isn't a bad starting position, when the desired destination is for the government to receive complete, and permanent, access to the source code for all software which it purchases, with the right to disclose this source to third parties for the purpose of maintaining the software for government use.

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