Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Sep 2017 21:20 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source

Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

Today, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

Good initiative, and a complete and utter no-brainer. Public money, public code.

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RE[3]: This old chestnut again
by kwan_e on Sun 17th Sep 2017 11:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This old chestnut again"
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

"And yet startups keep popping up and use open source software. Open source software is just as much a way to decrease barriers to entry as it is for big companies to get free stuff. Tell us a way to decrease barriers to entry for startups without open source.


Same thing applies everything in life.
"

No, it doesn't. Software is a completely different beast.

Think about Heartbleed. Sure, it was a silly vulnerability to have let through. Was it really the end of the world? The problem was identified quickly, the bug located quickly, then the bug was fixed quickly. Trying getting that with closed source software. You can't even have the conversation and must hope the vendor will allocate resources to it.


You are talking about the quality of software, if you can guarantee software is free of bugs, the fact that something is open or closed is irrelevant. [/q]

No, I'm talking about the ability to improve the quality of software over time. Something that is closed is relevant. Look at all the government code running on mainframes. They have bugs, just like all software. They cannot be fixed because the people doing the support aren't able to either.

Also I'm pretty sure governments can obtain access to source code via NDAs, so it's not as closed as you imagine.


That's not the point. The point is who gets to audit. Having a handful of people to audit is not the same as getting hundreds of people to audit.

"How is software developed for public services "coding for fun in their spare time"? This is about source code developed under public contract. Now you're just having your bone to pick with open source instead of coming up with a relevant argument.


Or replacing existing closed software with open source alternatives, some of which is developed by community for fun in their spare time, i.e. no dedicated test teams, or unit tests, etc.
"

You know there are such things as contracts, and there are such things in contracts where one party can stipulate the other party do certain things. In this context, there's nothing stopping the government from stipulating that the contractor's job is to also make whatever open source they're using more tested.

With closed source software, you can't even put that in a contract because that company can't gain access to the third party library code without a huge cost.

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