Should governmnet software be Open Source?

Rick B. Dietz rbdietz at
Wed Mar 8 21:13:49 UTC 2000

The issue to the IRS was not that it was competing with commercial
services, rather it was making interaction with an existing government
beaurocracy easier for citizens for nothing over the internet.  Intuit was
saying, wait a second, we like this ugly bureaucratic mess just the way it
is because we profit from it as an unneccessary middleman.

You seem to suggest that a bureaucracy such as the IRS should not try to
improve its services in light of advances in technology.  That is an
argument for greater centralization, inefficiency and stagnation.

My main point is that Opensourcing gov't software will likely have the
same impact as the gov't making software freely (0$) available.   It will
improve gov't services and efficiency and threaten private interests which
profit from the bloated and less than user friendly interface our
institutions currently present.  If it threatens private interests with
enough cash, opensource in gov't software won't happen.

Rick Dietz

On Wed, 8 Mar 2000, Derek J. Balling wrote:

> I don't know, but I'd have to agree with Intuit on that one. The gov't has 
> no business entering into the commerce space. What hardware/OS platforms 
> does the "official US tax software" run on? If its only on Windows, can 
> Apple and Be,Inc. sue the government for exclusionary tactics?
> Bad idea all around. Free market rules.
> At 03:28 PM 3/8/00 -0500, Rick B. Dietz wrote:
> >Is anyone familiar with the IRS's effort to create free (as in beer) tax
> >software?  As I recall, Congress shut this project down at the behest of
> >Intuit, et al.  The argument was the same as that often made against the
> >USPS, government intrusion in the market space of what would otherwise be
> >a profitable private enterprise.  This position would seem to be very much
> >a hinderence to the adoption/creation of free (as in freedom) software as
> >well by the gov't.
> >
> >Rick Dietz

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