Subject: Re: Software as a public service
From: "Sergio Montoro Ten" <sergiom@knowgate.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 20:55:21 +0100

I agree that most probably there is much more free stuff comming out of the
US goverment than from EU projects.
After all, when you receive EU funds for a Sixth Framework Project (or the
like) usually you are not forced anyway to make the output publicly
available.
My point was more that as there is fewer lobbyst preasure in Europe, it is
easier for goverments to promote free software without being much
critisized.

Two steps should be taken among goverments :

1st) A definition of what may be considered "public interest" and what may
not.

I won't say that Linux is like a golf resort. Maybe it is only used by a few
people but it has an economic impact on nearly all the society.
On the other hand I am not sure that an accounting application should be
paid by the french goverment.
Althought it could be arguer that, since you have the legal obligation to
keep your accounting books, then the goverment should, at least, provide you
a free way of doing it (this was an actual case in Spain when HispaLinux
demanded the social security because the mandatory program for paying taxes
ran only in Windows).

2nd) An international agreement about what can be funded and what cannot.

Let's imagine that someone wants to clone a Silicon Valley in Europe. He
could put enought public money for the creation of a network of enterprises.
I don't think that this would be fair play. Much as it is illegal that the
italian goverment gives money to Alitalia. Goverments must not (in general)
favor one organization over another (even foundations). Or, at least, it
must not be done before stablishing the rules of what everybody can fund
(like what happens in some medical research).
I think that the final situation will be something in the middle, like
public transportation, where you have the city council paying for cheap
buses and subway but also private owned taxies.

Last, about Bricklin's survey, it would be nice it software lasted longer.
And, as he points out, it is even a neccessity in some cases.
However, it is my belive that the fact that software becomes obsolete much
more rapidly that physical infrastructures does not make it less usefull for
the public as a whole.



----- Original Message ----- 

> Sergio Montoro Ten wrote:
> > I'd like to propose the topic of discussion:
> >
> > Should a goverment pay a software development for its release as Open
> > Source?
>
> Good topic.
>
> I'll go ahead and stick my neck on the chopping block with the
> not-very-well-considered edict proposal;
>
> All Software Developed At Public Cost should
> be at the LEAST fully Free. If not in fact,
> public domain.
>
>
>