Open source for governments

— 1:34 PM on August 12, 2002

Should governments be limited to purchasing open source software? That's what one group of open source advocates thinks, and they're trying to drum up some support in California. C|Net has the details:

Named the "Digital Software Security Act," the proposal essentially would make California the "Live Free or Die" state when it comes to software. If enacted as written, state agencies would be able to buy software only from companies that do not place restrictions on use or access to source code. The agencies would also be given the freedom to "make and distribute copies of the software."
The obvious monetary benefits of the plan could resonate with voters who may have more difficulty wrapping their heads around why open source software can be more secure than its closed source counterparts. Still, the proposal doesn't take into account the cost of retraining, migration, or compatibility with other systems.

I'm all for using the best tool for the job, but is limiting the pool of tools that a government can choose from really a good idea?

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