[clug] Your Best arguments please

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at anu.edu.au
Mon Aug 11 23:19:58 EST 2003

At 1:37 PM +1000 2003/08/11, Antony Wuth wrote:
>Gough, Chris (Chris.Gough at cit.act.edu.au) wrote:
>> >> Michael.James at csiro.au wrote:
>> > 1) Documented protocols and formats should be pushed for anywhere.
>> >	Once the goal-posts are cemented in position,
>> >	let OSS and proprietary duke it out, we will end up with a mix.
>> What's to stop a vendor simulating closed formats with obscufication,
>> creating a new "public" protocol for every tender (but keeping
>> parser/generator code propietary). Should some kind of weight be given to
>> the number of existing alternative software products (alternate vendor and
>> OSS) that can verifieably read / write a given "public" format.
>Require 3 separate / independent implementations of the protocol / data
>format. You would need to have procedures to verify that the
>implementation was actually independent (so MS doesn't just write 3
>different .doc viewers & claim them as independent) On top of this there
>probably should be the requirement that the end client is guaranteed
>future access to at least one implementation of the protocol / file
>format viewing / use code for the lifetime of the data stored / created
>in the system (ie for potential FOI data 30 odd years)
>This would pretty much require at a minimum code escrow (potentially
>expensive) or better still at least one of the implementations to be OSS
>which means the end client could effectively implement their own code

It doesn't have to be Open Source Software but almost any push in that direction is going to benefit end-users.  Simple requirements like using open standards is enough to be beneficial.  I don't think you have to invent stuff here.  You don't need 3 viewers.  There are lots of open standards around.  It's not a big deal.

MS Word for instance is not an open standard, it is proprietary, closed and not documented and occasionally even MS Word can't open its own files.  As long as the standard is more open than that it is a plus.

I don't think you have to go out of your way to promote OSS.  If a company wants to create software to open standards in order to get a contract, great, what's wrong with that?  If a company is prepared to allow it's source to be "published" in order to get a contract, fine (it doesn't even have to be any kind of open license either).

The critical thing here is not OSS, it is getting some of that openness into government tender requirements.

Kim Holburn 
Network Consultant - Telecommunications Engineering
Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering
Australian National University - Ph: +61 2 61258620 M: +61 0417820641
Email: kim.holburn at anu.edu.au  - PGP Public Key on request

Life is complex - It has real and imaginary parts.
     Andrea Leistra (rec.arts.sf.written.Robert-jordan)

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