[PublicPolicy] Open Source Publishing Survey

Bastien Guerry bastien.guerry at data.gouv.fr
Tue Jun 16 05:33:42 UTC 2020

Hi Shimon,

Shimon Shore <ShimonS at most.gov.il> writes:

> We want to do a survey within the Israel Government IT departments as
> to attitudes toward publishing code to Open Source and what prevents
> them from publishing.
> Have you ever done such a survey?

in France, we did not conduct such a survey but that's a good idea,
and we could certainly learn a lot from your initiative.

> Anything that would help us to put a survey together would be
> appreciated, including any survey results you may have.

>From my own experience (i.e. direct discussions with public agencies)
here are the main blockers:

- A fear that sharing the code will allow anyone to modify the system
  the code is used for.

- A fear that sharing the code will allow anyone to modify the code
  itself (as if github.com was some sort of Wikipedia for code.)

- A general fear that "sharing" equals "loss of control".

- Security concerns: showing the code is exposing flaws.

- "Dignity" concerns: showing the code is showing how bad you are at
  writing it.

- A variant of the above is to wait for the code to be ready: "Let us
  finish writing the documentation and then we'll share the code." Of
  course, nothing happens in these cases.

- Legal concerns: showing the code will perhaps expose some copyright
  infringement issues.

- "Loss of opportunity" concerns: if I share the code, someone will
  perhaps reuse it and make money out of it.  It is very difficult to
  explain that this may lead to a virtuous circle, it is often simply
  perceived as "wrong".

- Lack of know-what on the free software licences and know-how on how
  to publish code.

- Lack of clear positive incentives for doing so.

That's what comes at the top of my head right now.

I hope this is somehow useful.

 Bastien Guerry

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