Weblog:   The Growing Politicization of Open Source
Subject:   Public vs. Private Freedom
Date:   2002-08-16 11:19:30
From:   cford
Tim's correspondent wrote:

"Whether you want to argue on moral grounds of personal freedom, or the practical grounds of generating a backlash, this seems like an extremely counter-productive strategy for Open Source advocates to be pursuing"

If the state of California adopts a "Free or Open Source" only policy, I don't think it will abridge anyone's personal freedom. By design, government agencies don't enjoy the same freedoms they exist to protect, and that's as it should be.

While I don't believe that the state should necessarily preclude any consideration of proprietary software, I do think they ought to be compelled to consider freely available alternatives, and should they choose a proprietary package, then they should give compelling reasons why it was chosen over the free option.

I think that government agencies ought to be subject to intense public scrutiny, and I believe the public would be better served if the software they used was subject to the same level of scrutiny. As long as they're storing all manner of data about me and my family, I'd like to have the option to see how secure that data is, and offer a fix when flaws are found. I think the motivation for individuals to ensure the security of their personal information is greater than the motivation of corporations to expend valuable resources on fixes that won't directly generate much revenue.

Still, one wonders if this whole thing wasn't inspired by California's recent debacle with Oracle.