Via the LBW mailing-list:
Free Software activists in the UK put up an E-Petition which demands that publicly funded software should be released under an open-source license such as the GPL.
The text says:
“Software written using public funds should have it’s source code published under a distribution licence that has been declared Free by the Free Software Foundation, rather than remaining a closed secret.
This would allow for more of the public to benefit from the development of the software since the code would be available for anyone to use and improve. Furthermore, compatibility with other Free licences (such as the GPL) would promote rapid development and reduced costs through the reuse of existing code.
An open development model would also allow the public to be more informed of the progress and quality of these projects, which so frequently seem to end up severely over budget.”
I find this petition sensible. When the state funds software with public money – which is tax-money – then at least the UK-citizen should also benefit from it.
I wonder if there are any other open-source activists in Germany who’d like to start a similar petition? Although I’m afraid something like that won’t be possible in Germany. Just think of GIS-data: The good quality GIS-data is created by government-funded organisations and instead of releasing it freely to the public they keep it for themselves, licensing it for an enormous amount of money to parties which can afford it.
But considering all the government’s IT-disasters in the past years (the Army’s infrastructure, Hartz-4 software et al) it would put up a good control for us tax-payers what’s done with our money.