Should governmnet software be Open Source?
Derek J. Balling
dredd at megacity.org
Wed Mar 8 20:02:12 UTC 2000
At 11:37 AM 3/8/00 -0800, Seth David Schoen wrote:
> > At 10:52 AM 3/8/00 -0800, Brice, Richard wrote:
> > >Public domain and Open Source are not the same thing... No problem with
> > >that.
>But public domain is one form of Open Source; see below.
Fair enough, BUT, I think the discussion was centering around "using some
open source license" and "releasing it into Public Domain".
Public Domain allows end-users FAR greater lee-way (they can close the
source on their forked-tree if they like and go private) than a
conventional Open Source License would do.
>Well, the Regents of the University of California, a public corporation of
>the State of California, certainly hold a lot of copyrights.
Either (a) they shouldn't be allowed to do that with taxpayer-funded works,
or (b) all it takes is for someone with money,balls,time,energy to tell
them to get stuffed and dare them to fight it in court. :)
>I think you are confusing Open Source with copyleft; there are lots of Open
>Source licenses which are not copyleft licenses, such as the BSD license.
The problem is that it is a LICENSE at all. Using gov't-funded software is
not something the gov't CAN license. It's a right you have, since you
paid for it. You can't license a right. I have the right to do what I want
with <gov't code>, whether that be closed it, open it, sell copies of it
verbatim, what-have-you. For the gov't to have a License, then you (a)
cannot use it if you are a minor, since you cannot legally agree to the
license, and (b) you have to agree to terms and conditions. There are no
acceptable terms and conditions for using taxpayer-funded code.
Unless you know of the "Do Anything" license, which has OSI approval which
says "You can download this code from me and literally do whatever you want
with it. This is MY code, but you can do whatever floats your boat with it."
 Acknowledged that the government CAN and DOES do things that the laws
of the land say explicitly that it cannot do, regulating firearms being a
classic example of such.
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