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Basque Country Gov't Decrees State-Produced Software Should Be Open Sourced

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the if-they-can-why-can't-texas? dept.

Open Source 38

New submitter lsatenstein writes with this snippet from The H:"The regional government of Spain's Basque Country has decreed that all software produced for Basque government agencies and public bodies should be open sourced. Joinup, the European Commission's open source web site, cites an article in Spanish newspaper El Pais [English translation], saying that the only exceptions will be software that directly affects state security and a handful of projects which are being conducted in conjunction with commercial software suppliers."

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Europe, bad? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40192919)

Now we wait, for people to say that the US is the land of the free; ignoring that these days the EU is doing way more for their citizens than the US. (Acta, Net Neutrality, and so forth)

Re:Europe, bad? (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40192945)

Except this is already policy in the United States. All computer programs that are "works of the United States Government" enter the public domain upon publication. This includes the VistA electronic medical record system developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Plenty of hospitals use VistA [wikipedia.org], which is written in MUMPS, because that's better than not knowing whether a patient has had the shot for mumps.

Re:Europe, bad? (2)

galaad2 (847861) | about 2 years ago | (#40193151)

Except this is already policy in the United States. All computer programs that are "works of the United States Government" enter the public domain upon publication.

maybe that was wishful thinking but then why is the Federal Reserve Bank/ US Treasury prosecuting and convicting people and getting them to admit to "theft" of public domain stuff (some accounting program)?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/29/usa-crime-fed-idUSL1E8GTBG120120529 [reuters.com]
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-18/man-said-to-be-charged-by-u-s-in-federal-government-computer-data-theft.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:Europe, bad? (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about 2 years ago | (#40193231)

I think quite a few of 3-letter agencies would beg to differ.

Re:Europe, bad? (2)

Dragon Bait (997809) | about 2 years ago | (#40193643)

I think quite a few of 3-letter agencies would beg to differ.

The 3-letter agencies mostly likely put classification (confidential, secret, top secret) on their code which falls into the same category as the summary's the only exceptions will be software that directly affects state security .

No, most US funded software not OSS (4, Informative)

dwheeler (321049) | about 2 years ago | (#40194567)

No, you're completely wrong, this is not the current policy of the United Stated federal government.

It's true that when a US government employee develops software, as part of his official duties, it is not subject to copyright in the US (with a few tiny exceptions). But that doesn't mean it actually gets released to the public; in almost all cases it is never released to the public. (Sometimes it does, like expect and Security-Enhanced Linux, but most of the time it doesn't). Even more importantly: most software developed using government funding is developed by contractors, not by government employees, in in most cases the rule about government employees doesn't apply anyway.

For the details of when software funded by the US government can be released as OSS, see this:"Publicly Releasing Open Source Software Developed for the U.S. Government" by Dr. David A. Wheeler (me), Journal of Software Technology, February 2011, Vol. 14, Number 1 [thedacs.com].

Now it's true that a few small parts of the US government do have such a policy. In particular, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's source code policy does share the code with the public at no charge by default [consumerfinance.gov].

I do agree that when "we the people" pay for the development of software, then by default "we the people" should get it (unless there's a good reason for an exception, e.g., it's a classified weapon system). Sounds like a good idea. It's even a good idea for the government itself, because it will greatly enable competition for future work (building on past work) and reduce redevelopment (because it'll be easier to find previously-developed stuff). But that's something people need to press for... don't assume it's already happened.

Ask for "release government-funded software as OSS by default" - don't assume it's already happened.

Re:Europe, bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40192999)

I can't tell if this is a toll? The problem with US govt. funded works, is the lack of a simple & standard distribution method.

Re:Europe, bad? (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 years ago | (#40193191)

The EU is an economic basket case for 'doing way more for their citizens' and may soon cease to exist. This new move sounds a little like Nero fiddling to me.

Re:Europe, bad? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193317)


CIA Factbook

EU Economy

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$15.39 trillion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1

(Hint: the last part is the important part. "country comparison to the world: 1" 1 means one. first.)

Re:Europe, bad? (1)

toolo (142169) | about 2 years ago | (#40197633)

The EU is not a country. If it were a country and the members were states - the EU would be in a lot better shape than it is now.

Re:Europe, bad? (2)

Stolly (1812300) | about 2 years ago | (#40193369)

The EU is not under threat. The Economic Union that spawned the Euro, perhaps. The two are not the same.

Re:Europe, bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40194451)

I'd pay more credence to your sagely prediction if you first demonstrated that you understand that a region of Spain (a country in southern Europe and a member state of the EU) is not the EU (a union of countries, not a region of Spain. Posting anon because I don't want people to think that I know you.

Re:Europe, bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193343)

US citizen's don't want the government to do more for us. It's unconstitutianal. We'd rather, they just get out the way.

(roman_mir, still having trouble logging on)

Re:Europe, bad? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 2 years ago | (#40194983)

The problem is when you get the worst of both worlds: the government does not help you and does not get out the way...

Re:Europe, bad? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40193561)

Now we wait

We wait mainly for the Basque government to change, now that their opposition is going to be so well-financed. I'm guessing there will also be a rash of media stories saying the Basque government is "anti-jobs" or "ineffective" or "anti-business".

The story is the same all over the world: You don't go against the Family (the "Family" being powerful corporations).

Re:Europe, bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40195251)

In the USA the government refers to its citizens as consumers, consequently striping them of there rights of citizenship. Corporations are the the most powerful citizens, and the non-virtual citizens are deemed a liability at times other then during war.

google for "open basque" (5, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | about 2 years ago | (#40193007)

Everyone do a google image search for "Open Basque"...

That's what I call open sauce.

Re:google for "open basque" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193077)

Well, she doesn't look very basque to me but you know what we say about them in this land: A basque is born where he fucking wants xD

Re:google for "open basque" (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about 2 years ago | (#40193139)

I tried it, but with my super-new opt-in no-porn super filter, I get a lolcat soaking up the rays.

Can't show a nipple in 'merica: causes rape, I hear.


Re:google for "open basque" (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40193465)

Note: 'merica gave you the choice to "opt in", and you took it.

You've nobody to blame but yourself, as per American freedom design.

Re:google for "open basque" (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#40193487)

Can't show a nipple in 'merica: causes rape, I hear.

Depending on where you are .. talking about nipples causes rape.
And given that your post is available to be seen all over the US of the greatest country Anywhere .. you have just raped several libraries of congress worth of people.

Re:google for "open basque" (1)

mattr (78516) | about 2 years ago | (#40194085)

Okay that was pretty f***ing funny.

I didn't know a basque is a kind of corset lingerie..!


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193043)

you clicked me!

oisdmnfuiqerimnfiuenfr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193277)


Susan Sontag (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193303)

Nobody is saying that Africa needs diversity.
Nobody is saying that Asia needs diversity.
They are already 100% diverse.
People are only telling White children in White countries that they need diversity.
White Countries will be 100% diverse when there are no White people left.
Diversity is a code-word for White genocide; anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

Why the exceptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193451)

... the only exceptions will be software that directly affects state security and a handful of projects which are being conducted in conjunction with commercial software suppliers.

While this certainly is a step in the right direction, it is clear that the people deciding this:
1. Don't really have a clue, since they still believe in security through obscurity (since state security can *never* be achieved through open source, because then "the bad guys" will also have the source code!)
2. Have no balls, because ultimately they do not dare risk dumping their "commercial software supplier" (read: MS/Adobe/SAS/etc). Instead they add exceptions (which really should be called loop holes) to keep up appearences...

Actually, I really hope the above analysis is turns out to be false. But I fear that it is just business as usual; all talk, no cake.

License? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193477)

I wonder which license they'll use?

Hopefully they won't decide to go the route of the British government and make up their own (which is basically Apache but also, don't break UK law .. oh, wait, UK law already says don't break UK law).

I'm also a strong believer in at least minimal copylefting of Government source, or it's all too easy for the government to spend millions writing a piece of software and then have it sold back to them in a shrinkwrapped package.

Extremadura precedent (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40193597)

Maybe they can take a page out of Extremadura's experience [slashdot.org] in moving to Linux. And if they are moving to Debian, just adapt the Debian Free Software Guidelines. In fact, they, and other Spanish provinces, could use exactly what Extremadura is using, suitably altered to their own needs.

Actually, as I pointed out yesterday in the thread about US financial software whose source code was pilfered by a student, all governments should make their software GPL - ideally GPL3, so that it's there as a public use software, and nobody who wants to close it after enhancing/altering it can legally do it. Normally I oppose the GPL in that it effectively ends up doing everything to sabotage business plans, even if that's not its goal. But for governments, where the ownership is the taxpayer/public domain, it's in my opinion one of the rare cases where the GPL makes more sense than any of the other FOSS licenses out there.

Re:Extremadura precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40194361)


The software should be put in public domain, never ever ever the GPL.

Can you imagine how bad this could end up being? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40193945)

This is merely the imaginings of my brain, But I'm assuming the software was built using templates. Templates made by someone that was paid less than it costs to make a cheese sandwich. A person, who by definition, has NO investment in how efficient or well designed the software is because it's a one off project. Now imagine your the company that was contracted to build this software. You are basically using the software equivalent of Lincoln Logs and paste. When that source code is requested, EVERYONE will see how mind boggling bad it is. I would hire a lobbyist the moment I read about this. And a ton of lawyers to stop them from showing just how unnecessary your company really is.

Separatism to the end :) (0)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#40195309)

Breaking news: In a unique twist, The Basque Separatists, in their newest push for the region's differentiation and autonomy, are declaring the need for open-sourcing the governmental software. Such ideas are almost universally looked down upon by most countries and their thriving government contractors and suppliers. Having apparently gained widespread influence over the lawmakers in the region, the push is a further step in furthering the separatist agenda.

Re:Separatism to the end :) (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40198671)

Given that another Spanish province Extremadura has gone Linux, the Basque guys could do something different. Heck, they could go w/ Windows 8 - few organizations seem willing to go that route, and if ETA does it, it's not likely that the rest of Spain will follow. In fact, given that ETA has been recognized as a terrorist organization all these years, they could live up to their reputation by forcing all government work in Basque Country to be done in Windows 8 without touchscreens. In return, they could get a new source of funding - from Microsoft.

Re:Separatism to the end :) (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#40198723)

Bad attempt at humor on my end is bad. News at 11. I love the idea of ETA pushing Win 8 w/o touchscreens :)

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