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UK Govt Warned: Don't Buy GPL

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the just-download-it-instead dept.

Linux Business 806

JPMH writes "ZDNet is reporting that a UK IT industry body backed by Microsoft, IBM, Intel, BAE Systems and other high-tech heavyweights has urged the UK government not to commission open-source software, and particularly not software covered by the General Public License. According to Intellect, which lobbies for about 1,000 UK IT companies, the requirement of open-source licences for software funded by the government could have a negative impact on competition for contracts, the quality of the resulting software and even the confidentiality of government departments. In particular, Intellect recommends that the government drop the GNU General Public License (GPL), the licence upon which the GNU/Linux operating system is based, from its list of acceptable default licences for government-funded software, and steer clear of the GPL generally."

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806 comments

Fifth post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246316)

No GPL? Wah.

Hard to buy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246331)

That which is free.

Re:Hard to buy (5, Informative)

sxe_p06 (576333) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246414)

Don't automatically assume free (as in beer), just because of the GPL license. Remeber, a GPL'd piece of software _can_ be charged for, as long as the source is included or available to all parties.

yes, but (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246516)

Equally hard to profit from.

I'm confused! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246333)

IBM is GOOD, because they are making SCO look like fools, but now IBM is BAD, because it wants to make money from its software.

What should I do??

Re:I'm confused! (2, Funny)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246408)

You can continue to hate microsoft and get modded up on /.. Nothing's changed there..

Re:I'm confused! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246505)

Try running around screaming and yelling.

Re:I'm confused! (1, Funny)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246534)

If you're looking to Slashdot for the 'correct way to think', you came here confused. Don't blame the inhabitants.

Re:I'm confused! (5, Funny)

The J Kid (266953) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246583)

It's Thursday, so we like Enterprise Linux, so this is bad news. But it's
July, so this is good news. But the day of the week is odd, so we're
supposed to only bash Microsoft and SCO. But the 1 of the digits in the day matches 2 digits
year, so we only especially entrench ourselfs against critisism the GPL. But it was
posted AFTER 18:00, so this is good news.

Got it?

Well, of course. GPL is severely restrictive. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246338)

These are taxpayer dollars we're talking about. Shouldn't they be spent on something where the user is completely free to modify - either licensed BSD, or public domain? Kudos to this lobbying group for standing up for the beleaguered UK taxpayer (Tony Blair sure doesn't).

Re:Well, of course. GPL is severely restrictive. (3, Interesting)

TimmyJoeB (5950) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246370)

Wow!! So if I want to use the software for my own personal gain and charge to use my version, I can. Then I can get FREE software research. Yea!

Re:Well, of course. GPL is severely restrictive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246436)

Why not? Taxpayers paid for it.

Tell them that... (2, Funny)

AzrealAO (520019) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246493)

when you head up to the local military base to take an M1A1 Abrahm's for a test spin. You're a tax payer, you paid for the damn thing, about time they let you drive it, right?

Re:Tell them that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246528)

If it weren't a limited resource, and it didn't kill people, they probably would. You drive on the roads you pay for, play in the parks you pay for, send your kids to the schools you pay for, etc.

Re:Tell them that... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246578)

Not to mention it costs money in terms of fuel and maintenance to drive one, and they would most likely require that you have an escort, which takes someone away from doing something else.

Re:Well, of course. GPL is severely restrictive. (0)

TimmyJoeB (5950) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246540)

So you do not mind paying for research and project that help Microsoft and IBM. The are very large companies. I guess one could say that each company could get a hold the software equally, but then would their not be various format and versions of the same thing? What if by chance I develop the greatest widget based on a BSD licensed widget ( here using widget in the abstart sense ) and Microsoft develops one that pushes their agenda of constant upgrades. And is totally incompatible to mine. Theirs sucks but you are going to buy their and ignore mine. The public is not served and the mega corporations make out like a bandit. But you and every one else are left to pay for both the original development and now the new inferior version Microsoft is dishing out.

If the widget was GPL'ed, Microsoft would not be able to push me out. My great work would be notice and used and others coudl jump on my bandwagon abd the public is enriched.

Re:Well, of course. GPL is severely restrictive. (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246517)

Yes, this is exactly what tax funded government research is for.

You probably don't realize the wealth of information that is already public domain from government research.

And I agree, these government projects should be BSD licensed or public domain. GPL is too restrictive (eg. you can make BSD-licensed software GPL, but you can't make GPL'd software BSD-licensed).

IBM too? (1, Redundant)

dfiguero (324827) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246342)

This is weird

Re:IBM too? (4, Interesting)

thoolihan (611712) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246432)

It might seem strange at first. But consider this a body that IBM backs. It's not like they have a controlling vote. If this move is too drastic, they could pull out of the body, but that's unlikely. I think most of IBM's software that runs on GNU/Linux is commerce based, like Websphere. Gov't isn't going to load up on websphere. IBM is probably just as happy to sell the UK Gov't stuff running on AIX or Windows.

-t

Re:IBM too? (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246457)

IBM may have some influence over this group but I doubt that they agree with this recommendation. This is clearly Microsoft FUD.

Re:IBM too? (1)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246500)

IBM is a member of Intellect, but it did not say IBM was against the GPL.

Just because you are a member of a group does not mean you always have to agree with the majority. (and in this case, the majority are companies that do not develop GPL code)

But in this case since IBM is an 800 lbs. gorilla, Intellect added it in there to look good .. after M$ ,of course, in company listing.

Re:IBM too? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246582)

Just because you are a member of a group does not mean you always have to agree with the majority.

Unless of course the group is the United Nations, and the majority is the United States.

big surprise.. (5, Insightful)

jspectre (102549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246346)

they'd rather sell you their closed source buggy software at over-inflated prices. did you expect "industry leaders" to suggest otherwise?

All I can say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246347)

...typical.

That's pretty weird (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246351)

Considering that IBM sells solutions powered by Linux. Am I missing something critical here? Perhaps this was not a unilateral action by the member companies, but instead an action taken by whoever is nominally "in charge" of the consortium?

Re:That's pretty weird (1)

oZZoZZ (627043) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246443)

IBM is a member of the group, they could have simply been out voted in the group, and the news site is putting IBM's name on it to make the group look more influencial than it really is.

Re:That's pretty weird (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246448)

IBM also sells WebSphere. In fact, the linux push is aimed at getting more people to buy WebSphere. This way, IBM makes money from hardware and software. If you pass a law mandating GPL software, you can't buy WebSphere. Without a law mandating GPL software, nothing stops the government from buying linux servers from IBM AND buying WebSphere.

GPL doesn't always mean linux.

Re:That's pretty weird (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246449)

But are they saying to disallow GPL or just not to force use of it? There's a big difference there... The latter makes sense to me.

I doubt it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246450)

I mean, look at what IBM did with castro [yahoo.com] last week.

Re:That's pretty weird (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246486)

Remember that this group represents roughly 1,000 IT companies, so it's possible that IBM in particular may not agree with the stance.

Note, however, that IBM could still (and probably would) participate in open source projects. What this group is saying is that open source shouldn't be the default licensing scheme for publicly funded software. Taking that view, this could provide an opportunity for IBM to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Re:That's pretty weird (4, Insightful)

Jennifer E. Elaan (463827) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246510)

Well, the article states that an IT group backed by 1100 companies, including IBM, put forth this motion. I strongly suspect IBM hasn't even heard of this.

I would even go as far as to suspect that IBM's Linux services division would be upset at this.

From IBM's own mouth, they make over 80% of their revenues on custom integrations and support, which means that GPL software is a good choice from their perspective. Proprietary software wouldn't make them much more money.

Ding Ding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246352)

Ok, let's have a clean fight here: nothing above the belt and no biting!

BULLSHIT! (1, Troll)

boy_afraid (234774) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246356)

This is BULLSHIT! This is just going to make me more determined to make my GPL application better than commercial and stuff it in thier face and and say, in a Nelson mocking attitued, "HA ha!".

Re:BULLSHIT! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246521)

I look forward to using your well written GPL notepad clone.

Whose side is IBM on? (3, Funny)

buck09 (212016) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246357)

On one hand, they do tons of work on GPL'ed software, now here they are against GPL code.

What gives??

Re:Whose side is IBM on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246423)

They're on whichever side is going to make them money. Just like any other company out there.

Any other questions you want answered?

Re:Whose side is IBM on? (1)

QuackQuack (550293) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246455)

This is typical behavior for a large corporation whose right hand doesn't know know what their left hand is doing.

IBM is soooooo big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246495)

When it sits around the industry, it really sits around the industry... err, uh, both sides.

Re:Whose side is IBM on? (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246529)

IBM belongs to this group. That is not the same as controlling the group. This is a Microsoft FUD campaign. Nothing more.

Re:Whose side is IBM on? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246577)

It's very simple really. They're just trying to keep a seperation between church and state. Isn't Linux a religion? ;)

what a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246358)

just shows you how many bumchums billy boy has

Please explain more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246362)

There has been a few similar stories around, is the problem that they're saying not to allow GPL/OSS or that they're saying not to force GPL/OSS? It's not very clear to me at least.

Good Sense (5, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246363)

Of course this makes sense. The government's job isn't to promote systems programming and advance the art of science behind information technology.

The government is there to hand out taxpayer money to corporations.

It's so obvious.

Good Idea (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246365)

Considering all the SCO IBM news and IP claims I wouldn't be overly interested in tying my gov. software to GPL either.

That's like Ronald McDonald... (2, Funny)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246368)

telling you not to buy Kentucky Fried Chicken.

DUH.

Re:That's like Ronald McDonald... (1)

Dante (3418) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246430)

Or Jim Jones telling you not to drink the Kool-aid?

Re:That's like Ronald McDonald... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246553)

No, not at all. More like Jim Jones telling you not to listen to David Koresh... although that'd be odd since they lived decades apart.

Its a bitch (4, Insightful)

sh0rtie (455432) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246373)

when your competion give away their software (and a good lot of free help too) is it fair that these firms should go out of buisness (the 1000 lobbying), i thought captitalism was supposed to work where the cheapest/most efficient solution wins , those that can't play , don't.

interesting times indeed

Capitalism is dying (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246488)

Well now that companies are turning countries into virtual communist controlled economies by lobbying for (and getting) extentions to copyright laws, requirements for manufacturers to implement digital restrictions, and tariffs on blank media, expect more of the same in the future. Ironically, socialist operating systems such as Linux and BSD are the only way to avoid a communist future. Linux is socialist software and is not communist in any way, much like the American Heart Association is a socialistic organization and not associated with communism in the least. Capitalism is dead!

Re:Capitalism is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246541)

Capitalism dying??? Hello! Think of the DMCA whose only goal's to pierce through our pants to get up to the last penny!

You call that communism?

Yes, don't buy free software! (2, Funny)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246377)

I'm happy to see Microsoft is looking out for governments worldwide, and not just here in the US.

Re:Yes, don't buy free software! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246497)

You don't buy it.

Re:Yes, don't buy free software! (2, Funny)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246547)

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm a little fuzzy on the human custom of exchanging currency for goods and services.

BSD is the way to go (2, Troll)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246379)

The GPL license COULD potential open a business up for a lawsuit, and anyone who reads Slashdot knows that GPL-lovers are very quick to cry for censure of any company suspected of violating the license.

The safest, and most appropriate license for government-funded and government-created software is the BSD license.

Microsoft agrees. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246496)

Wanna know why network fingerprinting tools have such a hard time differentiating BSD and Windows? Becuase their TCP stack is the same code! Same with Wind River... the BSD license is corporate welfare with a bow on it.

Re:Microsoft agrees. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246539)

haha GPL weenie :)

Re:BSD is the way to go (1)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246520)

What, we're going to cry out for them to sue themselves for releasing software under the GPL? Or we're going to cry out for them to sue companies that try to rip them off?

Yes, the BSD license is better for government-produced works, though technically, they should all be 100% public-domain. But not for the reasons you give.

This just goes to show... (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246380)

that M$ is behind the current SCO/IBM situation. They can only copy things that others have done. Now they (M$) are trying to kill OSS just like Netscape and taking a page out of IBM's FUD from the 70's to do it with.

Re:This just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246531)

I would imagine if there is someone behind SCO it would be Sun Microsystems. They would have the most to gain. And it looks like thet are trying to take that advantage...given the ads they've started recently to capitalize on the situation.

With any luck... (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246383)

this report will get ignored in the aftermath of the war. Blair isn't Mr popular now anyway, and you have to remember that lobbying groups in Parliament are 10 a penny.

Maybe the Open Source Community should have one too.

Re:With any luck... (2, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246552)

you have to remember that lobbying groups in Parliament are 10 a penny.

You must have gotten quite a deal. Over here, they're a dime a dozen.

Anyone else see that other story?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246384)

I could swear I saw another story above this one, but was told to move along when I clicked on the Read More. Looks like I beat the subscription system!

ITS SIMPLE VOTE CP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246388)

This is what happens in a capitalist society. This november give the communist party another shot.

They aren't all like Kim Jong. Just look at the good its done for China and Vietnam. Communists support Linux and OSS, they fight for the citizens rights without taking them away, and almost everybody is guaranteed a job. Now with capitalism you're a slave with your rights constantly under threat.

Please think before you vote.

Vote Communist. [cpusa.org]

IBM (3, Interesting)

Lord Kholdan (670731) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246401)

Is there a sonyesque powerstuggle going on inside IBM that results in left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing?

Re:IBM (2, Insightful)

praedor (218403) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246475)

So what else is new? In the OS/2 days, there was an internal segment of IBM that loved OS/2 and promoted OS/2 while at the same time another segment of IBM was doing almost everything in their power to destroy OS/2. Schizophrenia at IBM is not unheard of.

understandable (from they 're point of view) ... (5, Interesting)

DataShark (25965) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246404)

fact is: opensource is changing the IT industry economics and IT providers should adapt or die ...

as usual some people really don 't get it (not a big deal - dynossaurs got extint anyway) and will try all sorts of dirty tricks like this one ...

I hope as an european netizen and taxpayer that EC watch bodies look very wel at this kind of tricks ...

Other than that - lots of good publicity for OpenSource ... (anyone in it 's sane mind really believes that OSS is inherently bad and insecure ? got tell that to NSA, NASA, ESA, IBM, the City of Munich or google ...)

Cheers from Portugal

In other news ... (5, Funny)

Frater 219 (1455) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246407)

  • British Bloodletters' Association and the Snake Oil Forum have issued a joint statement decrying the use of surgery and medicine in UK hospitals.
  • Mercenaries Union has called for a more aggressive foreign policy "to protect national interests".
  • The Direct Marketers' Association is continuing to lobby against effective anti-spam regulations on the grounds that they "will prevent the expansion of your penis^W^Wour industry."
  • The Royal Mad Scientists Society has petitioned for an end to BSE prevention efforts, staging street protests with the slogan "prions are people too!"

So, is IBM good or bad? (1)

banal avenger (585337) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246412)

I still fail to understand, here we have IBM for LINUX (supposedly) in the SCO suit, then against LINUX in the UK. Can someone enlighten me as to if there is more than the usual "anti-LINUX corporations" stories than there appears to be?

I'm about to tangent out here, but, It's like there is no way out. The current options are Windows, or any of a number of UNIX or UNIX-like-variants. Almost all of the UNIX variants are tied up in various infighting , and Windows is dominated by domination. Can't I just use a free, license free, drama free, and lawsuit free version of Mac OS 9?

Re:So, is IBM good or bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246471)

It's neither.

IBM is a corporation. Corporations aren't good or evil, they're profit seeking entities with a responsibility to their shareholders to actually make money. They aren't there for altruism, they're there to provide jobs, a stable economy, the flow of money, etc.

IBM is taking advantage of open source; open source is taking advantage of IBM. It's a win-win situation for the most part. To think that there won't be disagreements along the way, or that IBM won't look out for IBM first and foremost, however, is foolish.

And apparently the UKG is supposed to overlook... (5, Insightful)

lord sibn (649162) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246413)

"Hi, we don't like having to compete with these guys. Could you please help us destroy our competition? If you do this, competition between the existing installations will improve! Really!"

"Don't buy GPL" (2, Insightful)

presroi (657709) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246419)

* Don't sponsor RMS
* Don't send a gift to Linus
* Never buy a beer from the OSI guys
* [your 'I misunderstood the topic,too'-line here]

Hmm.. (0, Flamebait)

The J Kid (266953) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246421)

The group of names mentioned, (MS, Bea, and IBM) are probably not themselves lobbying, but a GB-lobby group...

So don't go trashing IBM for this, as I'm sure that being part of this GB-lobby group has some other advantages which do 'profit' open source products (from IBM, or otherwise).

But that all aside, this is a pretty silly situation, as other parts of the UK goverment have endorced Open Source software.

But hey, this article only states that the lobby group has lobbied against, but that isn't very dramatic is it?

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246424)

What's great about this document is that it basically says:

(1) OSS won't make us money.

(2) Therefore, you shouldn't use it. Because, um, it won't make us money.

(3) That would suck for us.

Okaaay.

IBM? Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246434)

Why would they want the UK government to get a geek, a few x86s, and the Apache source?

They'd be stupid to want that.

What they really want is the UK government to buy some big IBM iron, an IBM-trained geek, and the support contract for the open source software that goes on yonder iron. ;)

Last year we all predicted 2003... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246460)

...to be the "Year for Linux".

Well boys and girls, it *is* the year for Linux... to be crushed that is. Linux has finally arrived, and is on the radar scopes of everone who previously dismissed it as an inconsequental academic curiosity. The world needs a "villain" to scapegoat for the economic problems plaguing practically every developed nation right now, and Linux and the open source movement are just too handy to overlook by those kinds of people who wish to profit by inventing a new enemy that needs conquering.

No big surpises (1)

rowanxmas (569908) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246461)

So after reading the article and a little thinking, this seems pretty obvious. What they article seemed to be implying was that any work that the government commissions to a company would be open-source. So, if the govt were to order a database program, that program would be open-source, and the company would have a tougher time selling it to somebody else.

This is nice for us, because more stuff goes into the public sector. Not nice for companies because they can't profit twice on a lucrative govt contract. This would definitly include IBM. So, remember that IBM needs money to fight lawsuits, and they would like the govt to fund them for the development of software and then make more money by selling it to us.

Don't put too much into the list of supporters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246464)

In Denmark the IT-industry organisation is controlled by Microsoft. Their role in the danish EUCD implmentation was not supported by several of their big members.

Someone please elaborate ... (1)

DarkRabbit (27941) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246466)

ZDNet is reporting that a UK IT industry body backed by Microsoft, IBM, Intel, BAE Systems and other high-tech heavyweights has urged the UK government not to commission open-source software...

I don't understand, this means not to fund open-source projects (which would suck) - it doesn't mean they can't use them, right?

Before you get upset about this... (3, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246467)

Before you get upset and say "The UK is no longer allowing open-source!", consider this:
  • Apache is not licensed under the GPL.
  • Perl is not licensed under the GPL.
  • PHP is not licensed under the GPL.
  • MySQL is dual-licensed (i.e. you can buy it with a non-GPL license.)
  • Few (if any) Java technologies are licensed under the GPL.
  • (Obvious) FreeBSD is not licensed under the GPL.

From the list above, you can see that some of the most popular open-source technologies are not GPL. "Recommending against the GPL" does not mean "Recommending against open source."

Just something to keep in mind...

NEWS FLASH: Fox warns against locking henhouse (5, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246468)

A study commissioned by the fox, today issued a strong warning against putting a lock on the henhouse. "Locks are dangerous things. They can pinch your fingers. They cause changes in behavior that are undesirable."

Simple equation (5, Funny)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246484)

Number of mentions of the word innovations per page is roughtly equivalent to the probability that this report was funded and ghost written by Microsoft.

Lets see: 3 mentions in 4 pages. MS probabilty factor - 75%.

The real point (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246492)

the requirement of open-source licences for software funded by the government

If the UK government is required to buy open source, it can't buy WebSphere/WebLogic etc. Without such a requirement, they can continue to buy linux and IBM can sell them WebSphere.

This is bad (0, Flamebait)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246498)

The UK's position as a world leader will be severly impacted by following advice like this.

And this in turn means that the french terrorist apologists probably would be strengthened. Therefore it's a really bad thing.

Microsoft, IBM, Intel, BAE Systems (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246511)

These are obviously all indigenous UK companies that need to be protected, by the UK tax payer!!!!!

Makes sense to me (1)

thgreatoz (623808) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246518)

All cynical comments about big corporations aside, it actually makes sense...basically, (from what I gathered) the UK government's proposed regulation would require that any software developed for the government be released under the GPL. This would mean that if a company wanted that big government contract, they would have to release, for free, software they could sell repeatedly otherwise. Essentially, it'd be a one time sale.

They're more inclined to listen to South Africa (3, Insightful)

zptdooda (28851) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246522)

I have a feeling the UK's loyal friends within the Commonwealth will have a different opinion [slashdot.org] .

The Commonwealth looks like it's verging towards a common strategy.

"The OEE and the DTI are considering establishing open-source licence terms as the default for government-funded software"

This sounds like it's swinging the pendulum even further than South African plans.

"When the Government decides to develop software using a restrictive licensing base, such as the GNU GPL, (it) should be aware that this would prevent it from deriving commercial gain ..."

Which would be bad because we all know how much of our software we buy from the British government.

Dont do it (2, Insightful)

pchasco (651819) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246542)

I love open source. The GPL is great. But don't force anyone to use it. That defeats the purpose of 'free' software. If someone decides to use open source software, it should be because it is better than the alternative. It shouldn't be because there are no alternatives.

Corporations pay taxes too... (4, Interesting)

Zergwyn (514693) | more than 10 years ago | (#6246557)

I have to agree completely with a previous poster, who suggested that the BSD license would be the most appropriate. Government contracts are paid for by tax dollars ultimately, and in the end a large percentage of that comes from business as well as from individuals. Having had to fill out taxes for my business for the first time last year, I can tell you that the IRS (or whatever the tax collecting body for your government is) certainly requires a large chunk of change. Therefore, I believe it only fair that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from software developed with government dollars.

I don't believe a closed source license is a good one at all, but likewise I don't think the GPL is the best idea either. Either putting it directly into the public domain, or using a BSD style license is the best solution, IMHO.


NOTE: This is for discussions of software being *developed* with government dollars, not when bidding is going on to use existing software for a contract, which is a whole different issue. But when development is done with everyone's dollars, it should be open for use by all.

Fireman helps dog bite vitcim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246561)

Sweeet, my first ever opportunity to be a /. grammar nazi.

"UK Govt Warned: Don't Buy GPL"

When I read this, I got the idea that the UK government had warned people not to buy GPL software, which was scary to say the least.

Fax your MP. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246563)

Seriously, don't content yourself with ranting here, exercise your political opinion where it counts, and Fax Your MP [faxyourmp.com] about this blatant abuse of our political system.

We all know that Open Source raises the bar for the rest of the industry, encourages competition rather than extinguishes it; make sure your MP does too, and that if he or she doesn't present your view, you may be more chosy with your vote next time round.

Try reading the article first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6246587)

Intellect said it has no objection to the use of open-source licences as such, but is strongly opposed to the use of the GPL. The group argued that the GPL's conditions would prevent the government from profiting from its software, and could estrange proprietary software companies. "When the Government decides to develop software using a restrictive licensing base, such as the GNU GPL, (it) should be aware that this would prevent it from deriving commercial gain from any subsequent derivative programs and prevent or severely limit the opportunities to work with commercial companies on such projects," Intellect said in the response paper.

They are against GPL not because it's open source, but because it's too restrictive. In other words, because it's not free enough.

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