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Library of Congress Explores Ways To Release OS Software

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the all-about-transparency dept.

Software 40

An anonymous reader writes "The Library of Congress has established an internal process to start creating more open source software which will make it easier for software developers and sponsors within the Library to produce software that can be freely redistributed to users worldwide. The Library has released some open source software to this point, concentrating on developing tools that support digital preservation processes, including the secure transfer of digital files. This includes the release of a full suite of digital content transfer tools that support the Bagit specification."

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Leave it to government to come up with that (0, Flamebait)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956550)

Why can't they just use source forge like everybody else?

So.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956694)

Didn't RTFA, did you?

BTW, They're designating the software created by staff as Public Domain in the comments, but in repositories that don't offer that category using the least restrictive category they provide, typically BSD.

Publications of the US Government are typically in the public domain.

I, for one, welcome our new code-sharing librarian overlords. For the most part code writ at taxpayer expence should be made available if possible so the taxpayers can use it for themselves - and other government agencies can as well without duplicating effort and expense.

Re:So.... (0)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956770)

So.... they can still use sourceforge.
Specially because sf.net is limited by the US laws concerning exporting software to certain countries.

Re:So.... (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957804)

Is this kinda like the shirt with the RSA code that could be treat as a munition if a forigner saw it?

Re:So.... (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958156)

I agree with you but with one exception. US taxpayers shouldn't be funding software development in other countries. Although Software produced by the US government should be public domain inside the US I don't support the idea that it should be so outside the US. I would support treaties that allowed sharing of government produced software between countries as long as it's an equal arrangement and I would support code being GPL as that would force foreign entities to share (at least in theory).

Personally I think the best solution is that all taxpayer developed code be licensed as GPL and US businesses have a granted exception to use the code under a BSD license.

Third world aid (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958856)

Considering the negative effects of varous forms of Foreign [census.gov] aid [census.gov] on the recipients and the prevalence of skimming by graft, it wouldn't bother me if the US goverment hired some foreign codemonkeys instead. It's better for them and better for us.

The problem with your plan is that if a foreign corp contractor contracts to write code for the Navy, another foreign corp can't use that code for the CIA because they don't have the right to publish it Public Domain so they can't use it. Look - it's not the crown jewels of intellectual property, it's mostly minor applets or business intelligence for .gov organizations that are highly custom. But if it becomes a beautiful suite of APIs and frameworks that incidental to its main purpose advances the art, where's the problem?

Military Coders (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962938)

I am a coder, I run a development team, and I work for the U.S. Government in the DOD. All code I create is the property of the U.S. Government and can be used by all other military branches. We have our own Forge. And, while technically, it is PD...

Nanani boo boo, you can't see it.

Seriously, though, there is a process for vetting this stuff and making it available, but no one in government is motivated to review it for release. And even though most of the code (99.9%) is mundane, it will never see the light of day in any outside repository.

here's what i think of their internal proces ... (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956760)

... they should just Bagit

bag it [thefreedictionary.com] Slang
1. To cease discussion of an issue: Finally in disgust I told my debating opponent to bag it.

Re:Leave it to government to come up with that (2, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956762)

By a few of the entries, looks like they do. Though more accurately, people are creating OS projects based on LoC standards.

Sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]

Re:Leave it to government to come up with that (2, Informative)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956920)

Why can't they just use source forge like everybody else?

You mean http://sourceforge.net/projects/loc-xferutils [sourceforge.net] .

why isnt' there a digg button? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956562)

I don't want to tweet, I don't want to poke, I just want to digg!!! WHERE IS THE FUCKING DIGG BUTTON?!?!!!??

Re:why isnt' there a digg button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957396)

I don't want to tweet, I don't want to poke, I just want to digg!!! WHERE IS THE FUCKING DIGG BUTTON?!?!!!??

[oooooooooooo]
[o [digg.com] o]
[oooooooooooo]

The perfect unit! (1)

Noren (605012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956588)

Once we know how much software this program creates, we can finally express amounts of software in the universal "a Library of Congress worth of" units!

How many Libraries Of Congress... (2, Funny)

Maow (620678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956732)

How many Libraries Of Congress will the source code amount to?

Or is it easier to measure it in VW Bugs? Football field lengths?

I'm confused.

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (2, Informative)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956816)

Since an ordinary cheap consumer electronic storage device will now store it's entire contents it would make sense that they would turn to writing bloatware to preserve their status

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (2, Informative)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957086)

"if digitized and stored as plain text, 20 terabytes of information (10 in other quotations)"

~Wikipedia

I wouldn't consider at least 5 $150 hard disk drives exactly cheap...

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958004)

No; but it hasn't often been the case, historically speaking, that you could store a LoC(or period equivalent big serious repository of knowledge) for the price of a not-especially-thrilling week's wage...

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958722)

Then pray tell, what hyperbolic adjective would you use to describe the purchase of 1 LOC?

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30959018)

I'm not willing to trust Google Book's OCR efforts just yet. Good for building a fulltext index, perhaps, but definitely not good enough to ditch the high resolution scans. Besides, many of the more interesting, and rare specimens to be found at LoC have footnotes, typographical oddities, diagrams, and plates that defy conversion into Unitext-- to say nothing of Ascii.

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956866)

How many Libraries Of Congress will the source code amount to?

One, by definition. This is going to be quite useful.

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957228)

How many Libraries Of Congress will the source code amount to?

It depends. Are we talking a metric LoC or an imperial LoC?

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958016)

A metric LoC is a LoP(Library of Parliament).

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958452)

I thought those came in pints.

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30959524)

no, Elephants come in pints.

Re:How many Libraries Of Congress... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30964644)

Actually an imperial LoC is a BL [wikipedia.org] . A metric LoC is BndF [wikipedia.org] .

So what happens if... (4, Insightful)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956752)

I think this is great news, but what happens if inadvertently some of this software infringes on a patent or two?

Re:So what happens if... (2, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956932)

You see, Oliver...

In this life, one thing counts
In the bank, large amounts
I'm afraid these don't grow on trees,
You've got to infringe a patent or two

You've got to infringe a patent or two, boys,
You've got to infringe a patent or two.

Re:So what happens if... (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957082)

I think this is great news, but what happens if inadvertently some of this software infringes on a patent or two?

The same thing that happens when any other open source infringes on a patent. Absolutely nothing unless or until the patent owner decides to sue somebody. There is no hole ripped in the space-time continuum, nobody is going to get arrested, nothing will self-destruct.

BTW--The Library of Congress != USPTO. Copyrights are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and copies of the works are stored in the Library of Congress; Patents and Trademarks with the USPTO. There is no "office of intellectual property". Know why? Because, legally, there's no such thing.

Re:So what happens if... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957100)

Same as every other software that infringes on a patent or two? Some patent troll gets richer but hopefully some politician cares enough about the library of congress to do something about it. At least the odds are better than going after companies or individual contributors.

Re:So what happens if... (4, Interesting)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30957108)

Maybe somebody with pull will finally realize how stupid software patents are and get them abolished?

Re:So what happens if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957210)

Does anyone know the status of our Library of Congress deal with Microsoft Silverlight from about two years ago? I kind of wrote LoC off as a viable long term historical resource since then.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/24/1939214

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2008/02/library-of-congress-to-use-microsoft-silverlight-in-3-mil-deal.ars

faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956772)

i'm sure you want slammed in the ass by your local pizza guy, you fat fucking nerds.

Re:faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956880)

It's true. CmdrTaco personally signed off on the "share on facebook" and "share on twitter" slashdot icons. Malda likes sharing, whether it be source code, his ass, or slashdot stories.

Re:faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956988)

You accidentally the whole troll?

1 libraries of congress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957004)

I can't understand the meaning of this without a reference to how many libraries of congress this equates to.

In Sourviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30957878)

Libraries of Congress store multiples of YOU!

U.S. copyright office requires IE 6 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30958128)

I find it ironic in a sad shoot myself in the head sort of way that the copyright.gov requires IE 6 and does not work with the firefox. I was trying to copyright some material today ( graphic art not software), and was finally forced to run windows xp using vbox with windows 6 on linux to be able to upload the images.

Kick Silverlight To The Curb First, Start Fresh! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30958172)

Perhaps they could start by consulting someone like RMS and Linus rather than involving themselves with Microsoft and proprietary software:

"Taxation without web presentation
The Library of Congress recently signed a deal to accept 3 million dollars worth of "technology, services and funding" from Microsoft towards building a new website powered by Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in."

"Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of Congress' new website. How is that compatible with the principles of democracy or librarianship? It's taxation without web presentation. And how exactly is that a quantum leap forward? (If the LOC really wanted to make a quantum leap, it would open up its data.)"

* http://www.librarything.com/thingology/2008/02/taxation-without-web-presentation.php [librarything.com]

Silverlight lockins - references with links re: Silverlight
http://boycottnovell.com/2008/02/24/silverlight-ooxml-sharepoint-and-more/ [boycottnovell.com]

LOC / Silverlight news
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Stewart/?p=724 [zdnet.com]

Do your own searches for more references:
"library of congress" silverlight
"library of congress" silverlight site:boycottnovell.com
etc.

So, LOC, does this mean you'll redo any portions of your site(s) which feature Silverlight, which is proprietary (troll posters need not bait us by mentioning the useless Moonlight plugin which did not work when major media outlets streamed stuff like the Olympics which required Silverlight, where was Microsoft's big ball of interoperability goodness then? Nowhere! Linux users were scrambling all over posting VLC and other type of workarounds. this is about FREEDOM, not % of population using a certain OS)

Over the top a little bit (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30958938)

I liked what you said, but you should dial the emphasis back just a skosh, k? I know it's important but you're not going to sway many minds if you're creeping people out.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30958688)

How many LOCs could a LOC produce if a LOC that could LOC would?

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