[TriLUG] White House response to FOSS petition?
hunteke at earlham.edu
Thu Feb 2 01:17:08 EST 2012
This whitehouse.gov petition caught my eye before I was able to push the
delete key on a recent list email. While I'm generally and
philosophically a proponent of FOSS, I also consider myself a
pragmatist: sometimes the existing FOSS solutions just don't cut it, if
they even exist. While I'm personally willing to put up with its myriad
shortcomings, perhaps because the philosopher in me believes it's the
right thing to do long-term, or because I have the (potentially
necessary) technical know-how, often FOSS solutions just don't or won't
work for "most people" (for various reasons, right or wrong).
To me, a government supporting (through use, needs, developers, paid
support, etc.) FOSS is a sexy prospect. The aforementioned
"philosophically right thing long-term" suggests that only good can come
of something like this because FOSS generally lacks development funding,
large enough user-bases to beget cost-effective support/training,
advertising dollars, and is, by it's very nature, difficult -- if not
impossible -- to subvert.
On the other hand, the cynic in me wonders just how much governments
rely on various backdoors only afforded them because software vendors
have closed-source software.
Then the realist in me looked at a few US budgets. It is unfortunate
that the poster's argument for FOSS in government hinges on "lower[ing]
the national debt": my readings suggest that software costs barely
register when compared against larger costs, like the cost of an employee.
All this is to say that I'm curious what an official White House
response to this petition would look like. I'm happy that someone
brought it up (potentially to the national stage), and I hope it gets
some attention, but I doubt any action will be taken.
Would anyone else be interested in a response?
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