Weblog:   The Growing Politicization of Open Source
Subject:   What about the quality of the open source
Date:   2002-08-16 12:55:52
From:   korwin
The open source advocates want the government to require open sources for every product it purchases. The reason - the government should be allowed to do with the product as it sees fit to. There are couple questions that nobody raises though:

1. Should the government specifically prohibit buying products that are based on GPL license? Reasons: the government will be forced to release the right fur use to any modifications it might do. Can you imagine NATO general signing off the approval to release back to the community the missile guidance software?

2. How come nobody talks about any quality standarts that the software should conform to? If the government is to mandate software policy, shouldn't it first establish quality standarts, before even talking about open sources? There should be government standards that the software conforms to, like the cars crash tests. And anybody that writes programs should pay a fee to pass these tests. What company will be willing to pay for such tests? Or the government should sponsor the open source programs and discriminate the closed source ones?

The open source advocates say: "why buy a car that has it's engine cover welded?" Let me ask a question: "Why force the government to buy cars that were made by thousands of unknown people?".
Meanwhile, if we continue the car analogy - why doesn't anybody require Ford to build open standarts cars and provide their designs back to the community? Why doesn't FSF require that any car, bought by the government, to have it's blueprints published somewhere on the web? Oh, don't forget also the blueprints of the tools and machines used to build the car as well.

I work as a programmer. I love my work. And frankly, i don't know how to do anything else. But i don't want to write open source. I admit the code i write - it's not a genius' work. But it's something i did. I'd like to have the choice what to do with it. And i'd like to be able to compete for any contracts. If the government mandates that it should have access to the sources of my program in order to buy it - so be it. But they should not force me to release these sources to the public.

It's all about choice. However, it looks to me that in fact it's not about my choice as a developer nor it is about the government's choice, but about the FSF choice.

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