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Tim O'Reilly Bashes Open Source Efforts in Govt

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the time-to-get-out-the-lart dept.

News 681

mshiltonj writes "Tim O'Reilly wrote a little piece about his worries about the politicization of the Open Source community, specifically the Digital Software Security Act. He calls it a bad idea, saying, 'No one should be forced to choose open source, any more than they should be forced to choose proprietary software.'"

There's a tremendous difference between what government should be allowed to do and what individuals should be allowed to do. O'Reilly is attempting to blur the distinction, a common rhetorical tactic but one which does not advance his argument. As far as I can tell, his only argument besides this is that if the citizenry pushes for the government to use Free software, companies will push back to use proprietary crud. This argument doesn't hold water - every company selling proprietary software is lobbying the government all the time, have been for years, and they aren't going to stop just because we do. CNet carries news today that Microsoft has pressured the NSA to drop development of Security-Enhanced Linux. I can only imagine what sort of pressures might have been brought to bear behind the scenes, perhaps Microsoft threatened to cancel the NSA's site licenses of Windows and Microsoft Office. But in any case, there's no such thing as "mutual disarmament" - if we back down we'll just get smashed by the continuing efforts of companies pushing proprietary software.

But back to the government/individual distinction. Individuals, for instance, shouldn't be required to disclose their private papers to anyone who asks. But government should: that's the foundation of our freedom of information laws, and they exist for a good reason - keeping an eye on government is a necessary thing. Saying "People should be free to keep their papers private" as an argument against government FOI laws is just a stupid strawman, unworthy of further debate. And that's what O'Reilly's argument against California's proposed law is as well.

Governments play by different rules. They need to be fiscally responsible, transparent to the public, and promote the public commonwealth whenever possible. Using Open Source or Free Software in government promotes all three of these goals, and if Microsoft or any other corporation doesn't make quite as much money when the government alters its standards for software procurement... so what? Companies who make shoddy products do lose business when the government ups its standards, and they have the same choice as any business does: either produce better products, or lose the government's business. In this case the shoddiness comes in some of the most important areas as far as software goes: open access to the code, to ensure the software that we the citizenry pay for is doing what it is supposed to be doing, but the rationale would be the same if the government mandated a certain level of bug-free-ness or a certain level of performance for software - you can shape up and continue selling to the government or you can ship out. Your choice.

O'Reilly seems to be promoting the agenda of Microsoft's Software Choice campaign. He's a business man; perhaps there's a reason we don't know about. But whatever his motives, his lame arguments are no reason to stop pushing for governments to use Free or Open Source software wherever possible.

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goatse! (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083497)

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle this is my last troll for a while

Re:goatse! (-1)

Bitter Old Man (572131) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083542)

I didn't know the Rolling Stones were a hip-hop band... or is this post not by the Rolling Stones? If it is, it's nice to see you guys pushing the musical boundaries, although I hesitate to praise your efforts to associate with a musical style pioneered by filthy negroes.

Opensource (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083508)

The anti-open source movement. Where no gnus is good gnus.

Frist Pots! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083510)

Suck it!!

Re:Frist Pots! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083524)

fuck a goat.

Tim O'Reilly is the man (-1)

Bitter Old Man (572131) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083521)

Nobody should be forced to use open sores. Death to all OSS homos.

What bunk (5, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083526)

Come on, O'Rielly has no interest in pushing anything Microsoft. He's just saying that the government should use the best tools for the job, and not belabor it's choices with (more) bureaucracy.

Re:What bunk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083574)

Imagine that - using the best tools for the job!

Beware the folks who capitalize the O and S in "open source" or the F and S in "free software." Reminds me of those who capitalize the H in "he" when referring to Jesus.

Re:What bunk (4, Insightful)

crimoid (27373) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083635)

I couldn't agree more. Restricting the government to use only open-source software is simply insane.

While I agree that the government needs a certain level of transparency, I don't think that this transparency should filter down to every level of their orgainization. Does the public have a RIGHT to know the government's network infrastructure? Does the public have a RIGHT to know what data is on every civil servant's hard drive? I think not.

Requiring complete transparency is not only highly impractical (think of the cost to the taxpayer)), but it is also unnecessary. Within the bounds of law the government should be able to do what they need to do to get their job done. If that means using Windows or Office or some other proprietary software so be it.

Re:What bunk (2)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083703)

By law, the public has a right to know the government's network infrastructure unless it is deemed "secret" which iirc requires lives to be at stake if the knowledge was public.

I agree that such rights are perhaps overreaching, I'd much rather have them overreaching rather than under...

Re:What bunk (1)

DLR (18892) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083653)

That may be, however the part of the "job" of government is to be run by the citizens, at least in the US. Any information held by the government is held in trust for us. Open source software is just another aspect of keeping that information public. And since it is open source, the government is able to make sure that the software meets the government's needs, either by changing the software itself, or hiring someone to do so for them.

Can only GM mechanics work on the Abrams and Bradley vehicles? Can only Bell Hellicopter personal repair the Apache? Why should software be measured by a different standard? Besides, Microsoft is going open source to a limited degree. So, let Microsoft make their source code accessable if they wish to continue to do business with the government!

Re:What bunk (2)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083683)

Can only GM mechanics work on the Abrams and Bradley vehicles? Can only Bell Hellicopter personal repair the Apache?

Only them and/or the Army mechanics they trained... you don't want someone who has no knowledge of the vehicle doing maintenance on it.

Re:What bunk (1)

SpamJunkie (557825) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083676)

I agree. Competition in the marketplace is an integral part of the United States. It promotes innovation. To software companies the government is just one big customer.

And forcing the government to use open source is a decidedly communist idea.

Re:What bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083756)

communist yes but not in the big red dog way.

communism is a great ideal but hard to pull of on a full society level without corruption as in russia etc.

nothing wrong with communism here.

people working for the people and being happy doing so doesnt sound like a bad thing to me.

Re:What bunk (2)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083709)

how many MS "learning", "reference", and nutshell(TM) books does OReilly sell that are directly related MS product? How much direct and indirect leverage does MS have with him as a result?

I don't know the answer to the second question, but the answer to the first is "a lot". So he does have an interest in pushing things related to MS. He also has an interest in pushing Java, Linux, Perl, Python... etc. But MS makes up a large percentage of his publishing. When you can mess with a mans means to make a living, you can influence his decisions. It would not surprise me if MS has put the squeeze on OReilly in some form or another, enough to tilt his opinion towards the "middle ground".

I have no idea if this is the case here, but I do not take what he says at total face value because there could be so many other factors that play into this.

Re:What bunk (1)

smd4985 (203677) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083717)

I absolutely agree with O'Reilly. Mandating open source software adds to the bureaucracy. If the bill passes, then future officials will have to deal with more red tape ("well, we can't choose the best software product for our needs because it isn't open source.") Competition is good at all levels.

Susheel Daswani
Open-Source Software Developer

O YA! (-1)

xdfgf (460453) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083529)

Slashdot sucks.

And the world ... (0, Troll)

gowen (141411) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083534)

... says "Well, Duh", and moves on.

OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0, Insightful)

doomdog (541990) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083540)

OpenSource cheapens the value of developers because it lets users become accustomed to getting something for nothing -- the exact same failed model of the dot-coms....

If you want to be idealistic, OpenSource is great. If you want to sell your code or your programming services, OpenSource does not put food on the table...

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083559)

Mod parent up.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (2, Insightful)

palmech13 (59124) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083572)

Tell that to the employees at Red hat.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083625)

Yes, because we know that Red Hat will eventually grow to feed all programmers world-wide.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the QWZX (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083725)

No but it does show as a developer you can get paid to work on open source software. The is no closed source software that can "eventually grow to feed all programmers world-wide".

The money for open source will come from support, not software sales. Redhat has a good buisness model, and hopefully they will be able to make it in a market place currently very hostile to anything not M$. They are partnerd with some great companies like IBM so you will see them move up the server foodchain from low end hardware for routine tasks (mail, proxy, firewall...) to big data crunching tasks.

Ask youself this, if you work for a company and youre using open source software (OS/Office Suite/whatever) in addition to the employees at Redhat and IBM how likely are you to hire one or two developers to create a more effecient environment. Now if you work for an MS shop how likely are you to hire any developers??

the fact is both models will work (for different companies) but open source has shown the power developers have to shape the industry, not weakend us at all..

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (2, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083576)

No it does not, one company pushing closed standards hurt developers. Becuase there can be no innovation the IP holder does not approve.

Open source allows developers to fine tune applications for their clients, If I am X company I would be more likely to hire a developer who could rewrite and retune an applicaiton because its open source. If I am Y company locked into closed source I am not likely to hire a developer because what can he do for me?

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083592)

That's a foolish argument. Open Source _does_ put food on your table because it:

1) allows you to improve your skills
2) expands the audience of your work (which could lead to more sales of your _closed_ source work).
3) expands the software market for _everyone_

Think man, think!

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083629)

no it does not.
its the same thing as if a large percentage of lawyers doing pro bono work. if they all i that lawyers fees would drop and they would all loose out in the long run.
same thing for doctors -- if they all started doing diagnosis for free they would be on the street instantly.
whats up with programmers ? why are they so stupid as not to see the obvious ?

Exactly wrong... (1)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083755)

In your example programmers are like musicians and their product is the played song (with no copyright restrictions).

As such -- anyone can play anyone elses music.

Anyone can improve on anyone elses music.

The top 1% will get paid for playing.

The next 9% will form bands and work for peanuts.

The bottom 90% will either starve or learn to wait tables.

Of course your points stand:

1. Everyones skills will improve
2. The audience for your work is huge -- of course they are all listening to the top 1% or in a small case the next 9%.
3. The market is expanded incredibly. Garage bands are all the rage. If you can wait tables and play you may even survive.

Did I miss something (I'm not a good waiter).

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083610)

more like in your opinion open source does not put food on the table. alot of open source companies are doing okay - some are even doing great. what you fail to realise is that for years closed source companies were loosing money and "werent putting food on the table" but you all seem to forget about that.

not to mention if the gov't buys something like redhat advanced server or advanced workstation they will be PAYING for it, because those higher end versions cannot be downloaded.

and another point is that just because this makes the gov't buy open source software - so they can actually debug it and make their data * OUR DATA * a little safer doesnt mean microsucks bloated bug infested code cant be opened up for just the gov't developers

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (5, Insightful)

oddjob (58114) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083620)

Actually, if the government were required to use only open source software, it would suddenly be possible for open source to put food on lots of tables. You may not be able to make money selling the code, but the government would need tons of support, custom development, and other services, which is where open source companies have always planned to make their money.

And dont forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083658)

The government employees would also write open-source software.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (2)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083627)

If you want to sell your code or your programming services, OpenSource does not put food on the table...

hmm, interesting. Are there any starving OpenSource programmers out there? If your living in seattle and your hungry I'll buy you a sandwich.

-ps Thank you OpenSource coders for not being greedy and sharing your wonderful software.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083733)

yes there are a few.
one is even living as a homeless bum.
a nd his experiences : amm othLaundromat.html

send him a sandwich. he needs it.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083746)

>Thank you OpenSource coders for not being greedy
>and sharing your wonderful software

Since when is wanting to make a living "being greedy"?

OSS hackers need housing and food, too.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (1)

scalveg (35414) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083628)

Congratulations, you have now explained the faulty reason why YOU do not contribute to open source.

Now please continue and explain why public agencies should have their software choices dictated to them, or why people who believe that free software are tools that the world deserves to build bigger and better things instead of a way to make a few bucks should change their mind?

Chris Owens
San Carlos, CA

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083631)

Untrue. I make my money on Open Source easily. Just not by selling licenses. Planning, deployment, tech support, customizations, etc. etc. The code is just a side effect of countless billable hours of those activities. Open Source is a great way to make money if you are a consultant with programming skills.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (2, Interesting)

doomdog (541990) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083689)

To further elaborate:

The basic model of the web was to give away information, services, valuable goods, etc. for free, to anyone who cared to take them. The costs were covered by massive amounts of venture capital, money earned from previous successful IPOs of (worthless) internet companies, and banner advertising.

Initially, things went well because the web was new and people were willing to throw money at anything that had a remote chance of becoming an established player. However, we've all seen that it didn't last very long -- and now, even the banner ads aren't generating enough revenue to cover web site expenses.

The only profitable models on the web right now are subscription-based services and commission-based services (i.e. E-bay). The model of getting something for nothing simply does not work (unless propped up in the short term by someone else's money).

The same thing has happened with open source software: you give it away for free, then try to make money with consulting services, support, etc. -- which are nothing more than the "banner ads" of open source. Is there any company that uses Open Source as their business model that makes money? I seriously doubt there ever will be... Maybe IBM could be shoehorned into this category, but in reality, they are simply using open source as a way to sell more hardware and consulting services -- things they would have sold anyway if open source didn't exist.

If individual programmers want to release their source code to the world, that's their choice. But to actively lobby ALL developers to release their code under the socialistic GPL license is just morally and absolutely wrong.

I think it would be much more productive if the community were to place their efforts in getting DATA FORMATS to be standardized and interoperable. That way, products would have to compete on features, instead of allowing a proprietary data format to lock in the users.

Re:OpenSource will hurt developers in the long run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083693)

Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of all paid work hours on software is spent on maintainence and customization. This type of work applies to open-source as well as closed-source code, thus it wouldn't change much in an all open-source world. In fact, the "standing on the shoulders of giants" effect of using open-source could make it far easier for people to be more productive in the kind of software they produce for hire. As an independent contractor, I see open-source as my best chance at lifetime employment.

Programming free software put food on my table (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083749)

Like 99.83% of all professionel programmers, I sell "my programming services", not the software I write. I.e. someone with a software need pay me to implement a solution. I get paid for my work, my employer get his problem solved, and as a side effect, software is created. I and my employer distribute the software freely in the hope someone will improve it, thus giving both of us additional features for free.

It would make perfectly sense for a government to try to get the same benefits as my employer does.

Michael's finally gone over the cliff (5, Insightful)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083549)

O'Reilly seems to be promoting the agenda of Microsoft's Software Choice campaign. He's a business man; perhaps there's a reason we don't know about. But whatever his motives, his lame arguments are no reason to stop pushing for governments to use Free or Open Source software wherever possible.

Seriously, Michael, this is really childish. Tim O'Reilly has done fantastic work for the community, including even publishing some of his company's books for free on the internet, and all you can think to do is make sly accusations about his "motives."

Grow up, Michael. People can disagree with each other without having to resort to implicit "He's bought off!" accusations. It happens all the time in the real world.

Re:Michael's finally gone over the cliff (5, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083595)

Also, O'Reilly is still being consistant with his position all along, that freedom to choose between licenses is the most important freedom in software development. O'Reilly has always defended the rights of developers to choose GPL, BSD, or proprietary licenses at their own choosing.

Methinks someone did not read his other writings before speculating about motives.

Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083616)

i'm a bit tired of the childish bullshit too.

i used to love this place and even had it as my homepage for a looong time. Now, i have to wade through worthless front page stories and the Ed.s' "tack-on" elitist, personal opinions.

Re:Michael's finally gone over the cliff (5, Insightful)

Salamander (33735) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083667)

If michael's "every action implies an ulterior motive" theory were correct, we'd have to wonder what his ulterior motive is. Does michael perhaps have some vested interest in promoting open source, like for example drawing a paycheck from a company that is associated with open source? Yes, of course he does. Sellout! Astroturf! The sky is falling!

Get real. O'Reilly is taking a principled stand, knowing that it will alienate many of his friends. I respect him for that. By contrast, I have no respect for michael's ad hominem attacks.

Hey Michael (2, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083552)

Is there some reason why you can't just post the article and then, if you have some comments about it, follow up with a post like the rest of us peons?

I mean, that would allow us to post replies and maybe discuss your position. Instead, we're sort of left with you commenting from on high. Then again, I notice that the /. editors almost never post unless it's to clear up something about /. itself (is that some sort of policy?).

Still, I think you should come join the rest of us if you want to editorialize.

Re:Hey Michael (3, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083593)

That's because he'd be moderated down to "Troll" or "Flamebait" down to -1. This way, he can deliver his "insights" from on high.

Re:Hey Michael (-1, Offtopic)

Rydia (556444) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083606)

Does it really matter if he puts it in the body or in the threads? You're still free to comment on it either way, and even if he did post to the thread, he probably would just make a statement, not a discussion.

Re:Hey Michael (1, Offtopic)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083678)

Does it really matter if he puts it in the body or in the threads? You're still free to comment on it either way, and even if he did post to the thread, he probably would just make a statement, not a discussion.

Except this way we end up with a mess of threads will different parent "replies" rather than a single neat thread for interested parties to follow. Suddenly, a majority of the discussion is about Michael's POV rather than O'Reilly's (more deserving, IMO) article.

Really, there's no good reason for Michael to make his observations in the actual story unless he (a) can't post in the forum to to some policy or (b) he is trying to place himself above the fray, were he'll be more sure of being read. immune to moderation and free from any cohesive replies (and, incidently, from having to defend his statement).

Re:Hey Michael (-1, Offtopic)

dave_mcmillen (250780) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083714)

Is there some reason why you can't just post the article and then, if you have some comments about it, follow up with a post like the rest of us peons?

Still, I think you should come join the rest of us if you want to editorialize.

Yes, Heaven forbid that one of the EDITORS should editorialize.

My opinion (2)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083554)

I don't think that all of these laws are created equal. The ideas that governments should be required to have access to the source code makes concrete economic sense if you are in Peru but the case for California is a little less convincing. Governments need to run efficiently and have standards-complient software.

One concern I have might be that Open Source mandating laws could end up being repealed under heavy lobbying and if the legislature mandates the technologies used, maybe they might mandate Microsoft. So I think that O"Reilly has a point, but that the danger is greater in Cali than in Peru.

Yes, governments play by different rules. (4, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083565)

If an individual wants to restrict himself to Open Source, there's absolutely no problem with that, so long as it does not contradict any previously-signed-and-still-active agreements on his part not to do so. People are allowed to behave as ideologically as they choose, within pretty broad limits.

However, there is no excuse for a government doing so. Governments are supposed to be more responsible than that -- and to require a drastic litmus test that completely ignores more important issues, such as "is this the best tool for the job given our budget", is arrogance and foolishness.

*No* license restrictions? (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083566)

So, should government organizations not be allowed to make *any* policies of what licenses they will accept?

Or is it just the requirement to be able to switch vendor for support and development (which is what an "open source" requirement really means) that should not be allowed as a policy?

WHAT?!?!? (1)

no_nicks_available (463299) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083567)

Open source advocates are zealots? No @#$%@#$ way!

At least there are a couple of them (read article) that have an ounce of common sense, unlike the typical /. poster/moderator.

thank gawd (2, Interesting)

boola-boola (586978) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083568)

...This is something I've been worrying about, that anti-corporate zealots would turn the Open Source movement into something just as bad as the major corporations/monopolies.

I'm rather quite relieved to hear Tim O'Reilly of all people sharing the same opinion as me: that as good as open-source is, it should _NEVER_ be forced on people. That in essence destroys the 'freedom of choice' that is the driving force behind open-source. (hey, it rhymes...)

It is good that some of the "big players" are already thinking ahead about this, in case one day we actually do topple the big corporations (I'm not holding my breath). I wonder what RMS' and Torvalds' opinion of the matter is.

Re:thank gawd (2)

nathanm (12287) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083748)

I wonder what RMS' and Torvalds' opinion of the matter is.
This is pure conjecture, but based on their previous writing, I think it would be something like this

RMS would go on a long tirade about how open source isn't the same free software, insisting they change the wording of the bill to say free software, and Linux must be referred to as GNU/Linux.

Linus would probably just say "I don't care."

"Bashes"? (1)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083570)

To be perfectly honest, no, I have not yet read Tim's snippet. However, I don't think that "Bashes" should be used..I know that this isn't necessarily an objective news medium, but I think that a lot of Slashdot readers agree with him, as I've noted from recent related articles. He's not bashing the act, just stating that the act is no different than what the software giants were doing previously with their economy of scale. Just because we're on the morally correct side (moreso than say Microsoft, kindly proprietary software vendors do exist) doesn't justify shutting out other solutions.

If you love something, set it free. If the governments proposing similar things would step back from regulating the choice of software solution and let logic prevail, a lot of times they would end up using OS solutions anyway.

Gawd Mike! (5, Insightful)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083577)

There are people in Government too, should they not be allow to choose whatever suits their job best? If someone found a VB application that does exactly what they want it to do, why should they be forced to use something that doesn't fit their needs correctly because it runs on a closed source system? Its unfair.

There are lots of programs that people are familiar and comfortable with and there should be no law mandating that they can't use them. You shouldn't criticize these guys [] until you stop doing the same thing.

Burnt Karma keeps me so warm...

Tim or Bill? (2)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083590)

Man, when I first read the article title I thought it said "Bill O'Reilly (of FOX News) Bashes Open Source Efforts In Govt" and I was thinking "Oh God, please don't tell me we're going to start hearing about 'socialized software development'!"

This ain't a very good start of the day for me (10:30a is too early in the morning for me)...


open source procurement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083599) rs/fardfars/far/01.htm#P5_473

read the Federal Acquisition Regulations

Full, fair and open procurementis ALREADY THE LAW.

*Sigh* (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083601)

Leave it to Michael to miss the point right under his nose.

Companies who make shoddy products do lose business when the government ups its standards, and they have the same choice as any business does: either produce better products, or lose the government's business.

Sheesh, Michael, READ YOUR OWN FREAKING WORDS. Yes, that's the way it should be done. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about "affirmative action" for software. Screw using the best solution, we're going to require open source whether it's the best solution or not.

If you want to advocate that all government DOCUMENTS must be in an open format, then that's a reasonable stand most people can get behind.

But to argue on the one hand that Government should be required to use open source no matter what, while on the other hand arguing that the government should always use the best products is nuttiness as best, and idiocy at worst.

Re:*Sigh* (0, Troll)

Jonny Ringo (444580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083757)

I just wanted to vote that Linux is the best software for the government to use. :-)

Open souce is the way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083614)

The government should choose open source simply because open source solutions are cheap. One redhat cd and a cdrw are all you need to equip the entire government with redhat. Its the best value for the money and since its my tax money I want a say. Opensource solutions are also easier to customize since you can modify whatever you like all you need is some skills and or money to buy people with said skills. You cant really change windows now can you. Anyone who hasu used opensource prodects will tell you they are not much is at all worse then proprietary tech because they are designed to compete with the microsofts of the world. There isnt much if anything that cant be done with Linux as opposed to Windows and for much less money.

OS != cheap (1)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083685)

In software it has NEVER been the cost of the software that is the expensive part of the solution. This is an argument you will loose.

If the argument was that you use Product X because it's cheap then Oracle wouldn't be where it is today.

If the argument was you don't use Photoshop because MS Paint is cheap (free/etc.) then you wouldn't be in business today.

The argument has to be use product X because it's cost effective.

If you can't sell it on cost effective don't force it on me. I pay taxes as well.

It comes down to clout... (1)

OSgod (323974) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083618)

And O'Reilly has it -- he is usually well thought out, not always right but usually close.

Now who are you Michael?

Frankly, I agree with O'Reilly in the big picture. I agree with you a bit as well -- in that open source should lobby. We need to apply the "be careful what you ask for" rule here. I still say you don't want the overhead of government in open source, regulating open source or touching it in any way. Do you not remember the golden rule of government? What I touch I can tax and regulate.

In the US the best government is the least government.

Affirmative action (1)

Ducon Lajoie (30475) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083619)

You know, to me this whole things brings the same feeling as the debate on affirmative actions for minorities or disabled persons.

It's really touchy and there are always going to be people for and against, no matter how you turn the queston.

Fuck the v-cade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083630)

username binladen
password donkeyfuck

Fuck the vcade []

Question: (2)

Vengie (533896) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083632)

If Microsoft were to allow the governemnt employees involved, witn NDA's, to see the source for said MS products...would microsoft qualify as "open source?" The government isn't mandating FREE software...but open source software....and theoretically, this is due to wanting to see the 'flaws and limitations' first hand.....

excuse the typo...please... (2)

Vengie (533896) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083656)

please excuse my lame typo. government. a large object (read: k-6 400 case) fell on my hand last night and i am typing with one hand. (save the obvious pr0n jokes.....)

Re:Question: (0)

GimpyTheWonderPickle (585527) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083719)

If Microsoft were to allow the governemnt employees involved, witn NDA's, to see the source for said MS products...would microsoft qualify as "open source?"

No. They would also need to be able to modify the code however they need to fit their particular use. To add/remove functionality(bloat) if they so desire. What good is seeing all of the features/bugs if you can't modify them to fit your specific needs.

The simple point is.... (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083636)

For one thing, a democratic government has no right to privacy unless national security is at stake. All doings within the government should be disclosed to its citizens, so that they can properly, responsibly perform their democratic function of selecting the government.

If it is not a threat to national security (opening up opportunities for hackers or other exploitation of a flaw in the system) then this should be extended to software. They can legislate that this material cannot be used elsewhere, but we have the right to know everything they do - a system that distributes SIN numbers, a system that ID's us, a system that handles billing for a government agency - we have the right to know the algorithms and flaws in the system as they effect us and they are accountable to us. They may copyright the functional use of this data to protect the investment of time by those who created the system, but this data should still be freely available information - just not actually compiled and used.

At least in theory. In practice everything I've just suggested is preposterous and impractical. But in theory this is the level of information we deserve from our government.

Besides, at the very least the government should stay at open, universal standards, so that there is no cost of entry into the study of politics. Personally, I believe that every library should have a TV stuck on C-Span and a computer linked to government websites containing existing and pending legislation, as well as information on the operating methods of all those responsible for acting out the government's will. 100% unlimited access to information on political discourse and the doings of a democratic is a right, or else the system is a fraud. A destitute bum should have the ability to find out whatever his government is and has been doing if he chooses to. Whether or not he does is his decision. That's freedom. That's democracy.

Again - this is ideal, and theoretical. Not practical. But we deserve to know everything our government does, no matter how insignificant. Since their code is an extension of themselves implementing the policies they set forth, then we need that too. How else can we make a truely informed decision, as is our right and duty in the democratic process?

Dammit, Michael (2)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083637)

Tim O'Reilly Bashes Open Source Efforts in Govt???

You fscking twit.

Had you even read/bothered to comprehend the submitter's blurb you would have seen that O'Reilly is advocating a non-preferential approach to software selection. He wants a level playing field. Period. He wants to avoid launching the Open Source world into the same shitty realm of back-slapping, handshaking, sure-thing-old-chum crap that we're fighting against right now.

He is not Bashing Open Source Efforts. Ye gads, why on earth are you slandering Tim O'Reilly, of all people? He's on our side!

Would you please, please, please show a modicum of journalistic integrity, and make at least a cursory effort towards real reporting?

Re:Dammit, Michael (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083668)

Would you please, please, please show a modicum of journalistic integrity, and make at least a cursory effort towards real reporting?

That sir, is a very tall order around here. i'm not sure i see it happening any time soon.

"Choice" in government (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083639)

In a democracy, the People make their choices in an election.

If the DSSA is passed, the Government has not been forced to use Open Source by some outside force. The Government, as representative of the will of the People, has chosen to use Open Source.

Re:"Choice" in government (1)

neocon (580579) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083743)

It is a democracy (or rather, a democratic republic). But surely you wouldn't argue that that makes any law which passes a good idea, would you?

What are you talking about? (5, Insightful)

Clue4All (580842) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083645)

O'Reilly is attempting to blur the distinction, a common rhetorical tactic but one which does not advance his argument.

Actually, he's advocating using the best tool for the job, and that zealous fanatics that insist on using Open Source everything will get us nowhere. Your implications that O'Reilly is being paid off by Microsoft are childish, to say the least. What article have you been reading?

Software vs. Storage Format (5, Insightful)

daoine (123140) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083647)

I think one of the main problem with this issue is that it focuses on the wrong things. I don't think there should be any regulations on what type of software a government entity uses.

However, I *do* think it's important to focus on the format of the public data. Anything that is public property should not require proprietary software to access. I shouldn't have to buy MicroSoft products to read public documents.

Looking at it from that angle, Open Source is just one aspect of the solution. Documents could be produced in text, postscript, pdf, html -- there are plenty of formats with free readers (accessors) - which I think is the important part. That way, those creating the docs can use whatever tools they feel are best for the job, but those reading the documents aren't locked into those same tools.

Government Waste (1)

kraksmoka (561333) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083652)

If we mandate Open Source in government all of us will benefit! Not that Open Source is always gratis, but think of the savings in the great beaurocratic halls of waste, $800 a head for Windows and MS Office, when OpenOffice would suffice.

I'm in Miami, where we have the most corrupt government in the USA. Our county manager was bought by Oracle, who after a year of committees and studies and what have you, chose them over PeopleSoft to create a county wide database.

The difference in cost was quite a few millions, not chump change. What made the episode even more shameful, was that the county's DBAs recommended the PeopleSoft system!

Fact, Open Source is typically a less expensive liscencing option. That's your money they're spending.

Why most people like free software (1)

karb (66692) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083655)

I have never met a serious geek that didn't really, really like free software.

I have also never met a serious geek (although there are some around) that likes free software because they have delusions of grandeur about all software being free.

I (and many others) like it because it works best in many situations.

However, I'm using commercial software right now. It works better for what I'm doing. I'm a pragmatist, at heart, which is what you need to be if you want to be a good software engineer.

What the hell is the submitter thinking? (1)

WaxParadigm (311909) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083659)

These laws would be just as bad as the opposite: requiring the gov't to ONLY buy closed-source sw, or only use sw that is provided by a company, with support, yadda, yadda, yadda.

These restrictions are unthoughtful tinkerings into the world of SW. The people making decisions on which SW to use should be able to consider all the SW available and able make a decision (to use the best one). This shouldn't be regardless of the license...but that's one of the "features" of the SW to consider to see what is best. It's just dumb and ignorant to say "you much use only open source".

Some morron had to take a perfectly good article by Tim, but a bad spin on it, and add paragraphs of illogical comments (that couldn't be modded down).

I was a better person for having read Tim's article...but reading the /. version of it has taken all that away, plus some.

-I'm now a dumber person.

Let's put our OSS money where our mouth is.... (5, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083660)

I have a lone Linux box in a sea of NT boxes here at the Corps of Engineers. That box was put here because I was able to code a few dynamite apps that have since proven to be invaluable to the Corps.

It was the services that I was able to provide to the Corps that mandated inclusion of Linux into our infrastructure. I was able to more with my open source tools than the NT guys could with theirs.

I would not have wanted this box here by any method.

If you believe that Open Source can trounce proprietary methods based on its merits then you need to be against mandating Open Source.

All we need is a Microsoft disciple being FORCED to use OSS and being turned off forever. That converts no one.

Second Source (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083661)

No company should really be buying Microsoft products. A basic tenet of survival is to always have an available second source for any vital components. This assures several things, amongst them being
1) competition for available market by the suppliers and therefore reduced prices
2) no hostage situation where you end up at the whim of your supplier
3) reduced possibilities of the supply disappearing due to problems within the supplier

These basic tenets were long ago abandoned by those following a Microsoft Solution TM.

An Open Source TM solution is much better. The right to run and modify the code cannot disappear. Anyone can be hired to work on and improve the code and you get full access to any contributions.

As a consumer of operating system and office products, open source, or operation with a fully public and multi-sourced interface, is the only way to go. The requirement of a fully public and open interface for programming against and database format should be the basis of buisness management, private and public. All suppliers should be required to demonstate full interoperation and replaceability before being considered.

A sad story. (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083663)

"We didn't fully understand the consequences of releasing software under the GPL (General Public License)," said Dick Schafer, deputy director of the NSA. "We received a lot of loud complaints regarding our efforts with SE Linux."

First i have a hard time believing that the NSA didnt read and interpret the GPL license before they begun.

And where has those complaints been coming from? I cant see any other company that would suffer from a secure linux effort other than Microsoft. I would love to know just what happened behind the scenes and how high up this went before it got ugly.

Considering the amount of work they spend on helping people to secure Windows the GPL should be a non issue unless politics and probably some very influencial people are behind this.

Its a real ugly battle and i do hope the real story gets out soon.

Michael's knee-jerk relflex... (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083664)

As far as I can tell, his only argument besides this is that if the citizenry pushes for the government to use Free software, companies will push back to use proprietary crud.

Michael, you really should read what you are trying to criticize. It does seem that "as far as you can tell" isn't very far.

Tim's two main points are:

(1) More choice is better than less choice. Forbidding to use commercial software == less choice.

(2) In many (but not all) cases governments should behave rationally and use the best tools available to do a task. Very often commercial software IS the best tool. Forbidding to use it doesn't seem very rational.

O'Reilly MIsses the boat...again (4, Insightful)

dh003i (203189) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083670)

Again, O'Reilly has missed the point.

his is not about OSS / FSS software on anyone. Its about transparency in the government -- about the people's right to know.

The people have the right to know exactly what source code the government is using to protect them. We have the right to know what code protects our privacy in, for example, records which are ruled sealed.

Lets say that your daughter's molested and a trial occurs, in which she testifies. For her protection, her testimony is sealed; if an electronic copy is made, it is cryptographically sealed. If this is done using proprietary software, we the citizens have no way of being assured that it is really secure. If the software used to do that is OSS / FS, then we can check and make sure.

This is a somewhat important example, but the same principal applies to even trivial things. We, the citizens, have the right to know exactly how the software our government is using works; at least where it pertains to us.

Obviously, military top secret stuff is different; though it certainly need not be based on proprietary technology -- nothing prevents the military from modifying OSS / FS software and then keeping those modifications secret within the division. As that doesn't really count as distribution; i.e., in house modifications are not considered "distributed". Its only "distribution" when you make it available to the general public.

That is why the government mustI use OSS / FS, because of our right to know.

An additional benefit is cost-effectiveness. Our tax dollars pay for this stuff, and in almost all cases, OSS / FS is a cheaper solution, both in terms of initial price and total cost of ownership.

Getting close to being blackholed, Michael... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083674)

Your going to be joining Katz pretty soon the way your stories are going...

He's wrong... (2)

Autonomous Crowhard (205058) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083684)

This is the same as welfare or Widows and Orphans laws. They are intended to give those that do not have deep pockets a chance to compete against those with deep pockets [] .

In open software's case there are people willing to volunteer to lobby but they just don't have the resources to appeal to a congresscritter's wallet^H^H^H^H^H^Hsenibilities.

In the end, something has to be done to level the playing field. Laws like this will do just that.

The big question is: Why is O'reilly doing this? Has Billy Deep-Pockets gotten to him? Or is he worried that laws like this will make it difficult for him to make a profit int he future?

All software? (1)

metoc (224422) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083694)

Does this mean that the California government cannot buy ANY software the doesn't have open source?
That would include software upgrades to:
Cisco IOS routers
Traffic light controllers
Motherboard BIOS
Government owned telephone switches

So the mantra will be I am not buying software upgrades to "insert name of device with buggy software here" because the manaufacture isn't open source.

Now is the time to start making Linux powered phone switches, traffic controllers, and routers!

an alternate solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4083700)

Well if the government should use the best tools for the job, which is generally accepted as a good idea, perhaps there ought to be some assurance that they are the best tools, so perhaps there should be no assurance that the source code be distributed to all the public, but perhaps the source ought to be distributed to the government agencies that use the software, especially if it's security-dependent. Go ahead and let them use microsoft, but let them see the code. Not only will this allow the government agencies to see what holes there may or may not be and fix them if necessary, but it will also serve to dissuade companies that are afraid to disclose their source code.

Personally, I'd just go for open source code in the first place, though. No, individuals should not be forced to use open source code any more than they should be forced to use proprietary code, but the fact is that the government is not an individual and doesn't necessarily follow the same standards

Take, for example, the case of a person in the military. He are not guaranteed a jury by his peers, but rather a military courtmarshal trial should he be accused. Civilians would cry out at that suggestion, but for security and political reasons, members of the military are tried in military court.

Requiring open source software is a good idea for the government, not because we lilke linux, but because the people deserve to know that their government is using secure software, and the only way to guarantee that is to allow them to look at the source. There are a lot more "good guys" who would look over the source to notify agencies of any holes than there are "bad guys" who would break into a system for destructive purposes.

Open source also allows the government to modify code for its specific purposes. It also allows that modified code to be posted where security companies can look at it to check it for errors.

At that point, security companies can propose bug fixes and charge for their time, defeating the argument of software for nothing. The good part about open source software is not that it's free to own and maintain, but that it's free to modify and debug.

Reminds me of a quote... (1)

sukottoX (601412) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083707)

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I don' t want my data locked up (3, Insightful)

alext (29323) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083713)

Surely if O'Reilly followed the Peruvian campaign he must have understood that the goal is to ensure that public data remains public, and that that implies openness in formats?

He seems to skate over this and just characterize any policy for open source as arbitrary prejudice.

Openness in requirements is important, just don't forget what the key requirements should be.

Kneejerk Slashdottism (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083718)

That's the OP in a nutshell.

O'Reilly's argument isn't "the right tool for the right job". His argument is that requiring the use of Open Source in government is a losing strategy for Open Source because it polarizes the software community and encourages vendors of proprietary software to fight back harder with legal weapons.

There's nothing wrong with pushing Open Source use in government. But accomplishing by law what can't accomplished in a fair procurement market (which should be mandated by law) is a recipe for Open Source to become the affirmative action software--unable to compete on its merits, it succeeds by political hackery

Best tool for the job (2)

GCP (122438) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083721)

I love open source software. There's a lot of proprietary software I love, too.

I don't want myself told that I have to use an inferior tool just because it's open source. I don't want my government to have similar restrictions.

If open source is better, then let it *compete*. If free (price) and open source still aren't enough to persuade users to switch, then maybe it's not yet as good as its proponents claim it is, and maybe that's where they should focus their energies.

Government Requirements (2, Insightful)

kris_lang (466170) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083722)

It's not a question of forcing anyone to buy only open source or only closed source software. That thrust of questioning obfucates the underlying issue. The actions of governing bodies ought to be accessible to the governed and there should not be any imposition of closed or proprietary standards required to interact with our government.

Documents should be available in non-proprietary formats, and documents required to be submitted to governmental agencies should not be forced to have to be in proprietary formats. This should be a basic requirement for our governing bodies at the federal, state/commonwealth, county/parish, and city levels.

If proprietary software should have to compete to meet these obligations. The smart way to insert open source software components is not to claim that open source is inherently better (even though it obviously is), but to show how open source meets the standards of an open governing system.

Closed systems are too often present at all levels. I can understand that scholarly journals may have requirements that manuscripts be submitted in the word processing format of their choice and on the preferred media of their choice. Those are just the rules of the game you have to play if you choose to publish in peer reviewed journals. At least the mathematical journals accept LaTex. And some printing services prefer Quark files for their layout services. That's their prerogative. However, all citizens have to interact with their governments at time. And the gov't ought not to impose the requirement that anyone wishing to submit proposals under requests for proposals or wishing to submit legal documentation be required to use proprietary data interchange formats. Proprietary formats require the use of proprietary software which may cost some citizens too much. It is not just for a government to keep some of their citizens out of the game.

And this lack of justice is the key reason that open formats should be used. And the fact that open source software can best meet the usage of open formats is the best reason that open source software ought to be used.

Backing up mike ... (0)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083726)

i personally think most of you guys arent reading what the man said. he said that basically open source needs to fight. and guess what we dont have 45billion in liquid cash to throw at politicians like some "other" companies and interests do. (and if you think microsofts "software choice" will support anything other than microsofts own software your high!)

open source companies and software advocates need to start fighting any way they can. and public opinion is the first battle. california not too long ago made a really screwed up software choice about a month or two ago (READ: ORACLE) and now the open source sommunity is using that for there own advantage. as they should.

and since we are on the subject im going to ask each and every one of you a Question. Do You Want YOUR personal data kept on windows boxes ? i mean REALLY? are you comfortable having all the unpleaseant people of the world being able to get access to your personal data ? cause ill tell you what - im not , and having open-ED source software that can be patched quicker and more effectively than by some company who wants to start a panick and then "sell another soulution to the issue". think about it. im not even saying i dont want microsoft software on the boxes. just i want something that can be viewed and fixed pre-emptively if need be. and if microsoft doesnt want to have employees of the state of CA sign NDA's and open their source to make US safer - they can take a flyin leap off a bridge.

michael... poor, sad, little michael... (3, Funny)

trix_e (202696) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083728)

It's too bad the Authors don't have an 'Anonymous Idiot' option when they post something.

michael, it's crap propoganda like this that makes it even harder for open source advocates to maintain credibility.

You deserve the Katz'ing that you're getting.

Huh? Just another requirement. (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083732)

Uh, how is access to source code (and/or the freedom to modify it) any different from the usual list of product requirements? If propriety software vendors want the business of the government, then they'll provide the features the client wants. I certainly wouldn't want my government procuring military vehicles, for instance, without specification sheets and the ability to repair them, etc.

The details of the source code license can be hammered out seperately, or on a case by case basis, as most features are (e.g., one restriction might be that nobody but the originating company may use the source for commercial profit - which would be fine for gov).

Of course this doesn't need to be legislated as an absolute. IIRC, the Peruvian proposol only says "use open source if there is no better proprietary software that suits the purposes". Nobody is saying "use open source period, end of story, never ever ever ever use proprietary software". That's ridiculous. Where openness of code and protocols and formats is critical, access to source code is just another client requirement.

No way. (1)

Snar Bloot (324250) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083734)

Requiring "industry", especially government, to use only Open Source will never work. Sorry, Open Source won't, so fire away.

Look, I work for a state government (not CA). While I think it should be allowable to USE open source software, the IT department is still going to have to set and enforce certain standards.

Plus, there's an awful lot of vertical applications out there that governments need. It's not like it's all Windows and Office, folks! Ever think about all the different functions in a government? Building and maintaining roads, issuing licenses, handling welfare payments, collecting taxes, issuing tax refunds, tracking the use of every type of agricultural product under the sun, providing for the public health, administering prisons, hospitals, running a court goes on and on and on.

Sure, encourage open source, but require it? Never. Too many niche areas.

O'Reilly is right (2)

Preposterous Coward (211739) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083736)

The government's role (idealistically, at least) is to serve the people, and IT is a set of tools that helps achieve that end. The government should be using the set of tools that best allows it to do that. Certainly free software has a lot going for it, in terms of both cost and the availability of source code, but there may be cases where for one reason or another proprietary software is simply the best solution.

To take a hypothetical example, what if defense contractors were unwilling to open-source missile-targeting software because it considers that information part of its proprietary competitive advantage? Do we want to put the government in the position of saying no, we can't use the best targeting package, we have to use whatever open-source option is available? That seems hugely irresponsible.

O'Reilly is right that open-source options should always be among the products considered for procurement, but to require them is a mistake. It ignores the fact that IT decisions (engineering decisions in general) entail tradeoffs -- between functionality, cost, usability, training difficulty, support, compatibility, performance, and many other factors -- and that mandating open-source solutions may require unacceptable levels of compromise on other dimensions that might be more important in a given situation.

Don't force open source, force to open the source (2)

mocm (141920) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083737)

The government shouldn't necessarily force the use of OSS, but rather make it a requirement to have full access to the source of a product they intent to use.
The difference would be that the software manufacturer doesn't need to change the license, but will have to make the source code available for review by the public. That doesn't mean that they give away their software. They still have the copyright and any use of the code without a license would be illegal.

Mantra (3, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083741)

Sorry if I don't go along with the mantra, but I think that O'Reilly has a valid point. Legislating open source in government is not the answer.

I think a better solution would be a competition, ala defense procurements. The government lists what it needs, and everyone shows up and demonstrates what they can do. If open source can do everything the government needs, at a fraction of the price, then you have you solution. You could even put in place a performance to cost ratio to determine value. (ie- This product can 90% of what this other product does, but costs $250,000 less. Is 10% worth $250,000?)

I'm not saying that the procurement process isn't flawed, just that legislative mandates have historically spawned unintended consequences at a prodigious rate.

He's right, at least partially (2)

Dark Nexus (172808) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083747)

The proposed law in California seems about as draconian as it's inverse would be.

I see no mention of a clause that (IIRC) Peru's proposed legislation has, that allows proprietary software to be used if there's no open source project that fits the project.

Instead of buing the round block for the round hole, they'll have to take a square block and slice & dice it until it's round?

Then there's the simple fact that Open Source isn't automatically better.

Let's face it, no matter how many Open Source projects are equal to or better than proprietary equivalents, there are still numerous pieces of proprietary software that are currently better than any Open Source equivalent.

At least one country realized this (Norway, IIRC), and just mandated that Open Source be considered along side Close Source programs.

Let them all stand on their merits (price, polish, support, ease of use, et al), and as long as the file formats are open, let the best software (for each job) win.

Open source in government (1)

MrCawfee (13910) | more than 12 years ago | (#4083752)

i personally believe that when the government has a duty to support American companies, and unfortunately if this passes it will serously limit the options of government to do that. In times like now where the economy isn't doing too well historically government spending increases to boost the economy, and unfortunately if they aren't going to support a corporation, RedHat or Microsoft, then one of their inherited obligations of helping the economy is going to suffor.
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