Weblog:   The Growing Politicization of Open Source
Subject:   Limiting Choice or Raising the Bar?
Date:   2002-08-16 11:47:22
From:   wandernotlost
Limiting customer choice and placing restrictions on licensing of software used by govenment entities are not necessarily congruent. This type of restriction establishes a base level of openness required to do business with the government. In the same way that a factory might be audited to ensure that it meets regulations and minimum standards of quality - or any other metric - these restrictions could ensure that the software used by the government is independently auditable, usable, and modifiable by whomever the government deems appropriate. This is not limiting choice, but merely setting a standard that companies must meet in order to do business with the government. Granted, it is a standard with large implications, but it may be appropriate considering the importance and private nature of the information the government handles. With a baseline of openness, citizens can determine to some extent the level of risk their private information is subject to, and lobby to secure systems that could potentially expose their data. To look at this from a different perspective, closed-source software limits citizen choice, in that it denys citizens this type of access.