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Governments are part of the free market

Demanding that software has its source code freely available for inspection and modification is no different, really, from other government procurement demands.

In response to the July 22 Perspectives column by James V. DeLong, "Open source or no: Let the market decide":

The major point you are missing in your arguments is that the openness of open-source programs is an important factor in itself, both in regard to security and code quality, but also in regard to basic civil questions such as the transparency of government.

I don't think you would cry foul when governments make other kinds of formal demands on their software procurements, such as the level of service a supplier must be able to provide or support for specific formats or interfaces.

Demanding that the software in question has its source code freely available for inspection and modification is no different, really, from other demands that governments or private organizations make on their procurements.

So, if governments conclude that using open source is one among many demands that they feel the software they procure must meet, then it is exactly what you ask for: letting the market decide. Unless, that is, you think that a free market demands customers to have expectations of the software they buy.

Christian Schaller
Oslo, Norway