[clug] What sort of OSS legislation would you like to see

Brad Hards bhards at bigpond.net.au
Fri Aug 8 17:04:44 EST 2003

Hash: SHA1

On Fri, 8 Aug 2003 16:25 pm, Martijn van Oosterhout wrote:
> > "fair and equitable consideration must be give to OSS alternatives in
> > all purchasing decisions" in clearly necessary.  My current thinking is
> > something that makes OSS options the "default" solution, and puts an
> > onus on the Public Service buyer to prove that the default is not viable
> > if he wishes to buy a proprietary product - what does the list think of
> > that?
> IMHO, you don't want to force it down people. That just gets people
> offside. Better start simple and obvious and work your way up.
Public sector acquisition is based on "best value for money". If you want to 
influence purchasing, it is probably best to make people evaluate "value for 
money" in a particular sense. For example, if you want to force open formats, 
make sure that the cost of each option includes an assessment of what it 
would take to retrieve the information if the government lost the right to 
use a particular tool without notice (eg everything has to be printed out at 
the time of generation, and rekeyed), or that the value (stuff you're 
getting) of each option includes a full and complete description of the file 
/ network formats. You can probably come up with something similar ("what is 
the cost of second source support contract if the prime contractor goes 
away", or enforcing source code escrow for acquisitions, and then taking the 
cost of escrow into account as well) for OSS as well.

Note that this wouldn't normally need to be done as formal legislation. 
Purchasing guidelines are normally done by Chief Executive instructions, at 
least at Federal level. There may be something similar at state/local level - 
possibly some form of Disallowable Instrument.

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