Open source for president? Get real

We're voting for a president, not a software preference. There are bigger issues in front of the U.S. president than whether the government adopts open source.

I've seen a lot of noise over the past year about which presidential candidate would be best for open source, most recently this blog post in TechRepublic suggesting that Barack Obama would be better for open source.

I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, but anyone looking to the U.S. presidency to make any material difference for open source needs to pass the bong around one more time. It's not going to happen.

Yes, there are things that a president can do to create an atmosphere accommodating to open source, or other technology choices like Net neutrality. But let's be clear: there are far bigger issues in front of the U.S. president than whether the government adopts open source (and, regardless, the U.S. government is already adopting open source at a rapid pace , so who needs a presidential preference for open source?).

I personally could not possibly care less whether John McCain or Obama use Linux. It has never entered my mind. I'm much more concerned with their policies on domestic and international issues, like health care, Iraq, etc.--you know, things that have the potential to help or hurt lots of people.

If a U.S. president has limited impact on the economy--you and I impact the economy more than a presidential speech because we're the ones working, saving, and starting new businesses--then why would we expect them to make much of a dent on technology policy? Would I like McCain and Obama to use open source? Sure. I'm just not going to think about that when I vote.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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