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Weblog:   The Growing Politicization of Open Source
Subject:   What about the quality of the software purchased by the government
Date:   2002-08-16 16:15:02
From:   pkobly
Response to: What about the quality of the software purchased by the government

"But if the government is forced to impose a quality standards first, before source openness, i would expect to see the proprietary software companies to react first and in fact deliver software that is compliant with those standards."


1) How do you propose that a determination of compliance with quality standards be made? A set of black-box tests by the government? A bare assertion from the vendor?


2) Why do you "expect to see" something where you have actually consistently seen the opposite? How quickly did Microsoft respond to the recent major SSL certificate authentication problems in IE? How quickly did the KDE team respond to the same problems found in their code?


Answer: After a week, Microsoft still hasn't fixed the problem. Within 90 minutes, the KDE team had fixed Konqueror.


"You don't require Ford to publish their blueprints because "it wouldn't do most people any good whatsoever". You do require though that Ford cars are acceptable safe. And everybody is happy with this situation."


Ford _is_, however required to release some information about its cars. It is required to release specification and design information about its safety equipment so that said equipment can be evaluated and tested. It is required (recent FTC decision) to release specifications of the computer diagnostic ports, so that hobbyists and non-Ford authorized mechanics are _able_ to maintain their Ford vehicles. Ford is not permitted to stop after market parts cloners from producing replacement parts for Ford vehicles. Ford is not permitted to disallow Ford owners from reselling Ford vehicles. Ford is not permitted to disallow Ford owners from lending their vehicles to friends.


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