2 Apr 2003 chromatic   » (Master)

Open Source in Government:

Tomorrow, Oregon House Bill 2892 (also here) goes before the General Government Committee for discussion. If successful, it will then go before the Ways and Means Committee, then to the House floor for a vote.

I'm particularly interested in the discussion of open standards and document formats. Open Source and Free Software have several advantages here. The text of the bill mentions a few. Here's what I see:

  • Data will remain accessible where proprietary software might change document formats and licensing terms.
  • It is possible to switch vendors, as no one vendor can sell software to read documents of that type exclusively.
  • Citizens are free to choose software from several vendors to access public documents. It's possible they can run this software on their choice of computer at their choice of location -- home, work, a free lab, a library, a government office. This is immensely important: the cost or availability of a software package should not be a barrier to public involvement.
  • Where possible, the government should encourage development of resources for the public good. Support and development resources should go toward projects and knowledge that is freely accessible to the public, not locked away in one company or another.

Anything I've overlooked?

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