[ubuntu-uk] [Fwd: [SWLUG] Open government IT projects]

Steve Hill steve at nexusuk.org
Mon Jan 22 17:08:35 GMT 2007

Disclaimer:  I'm not an Ubuntu user, but I was pointed at this response by 
Andrew Price so thought I would join the list to reply in the open.

> Interesting idea, I think I might sign it. Just one thing so, could you 
> give me some examples of the programs this would apply to - just want to 
> know what I'm asking to be freed up by putting my name on there.

I'm thinking of any government IT project in general, excluding things 
like military projects in which national security would be harmed by 
embracing an open development model.  So stuff like the (massively 
overbudget) NHS database, etc.

The general thought is three-fold:

1. As tax payers, we have paid for some source code to be developed, so 
unless there's a really good reason, shouldn't we be allowed the use of 
that code?

2. By choosing a suitable Free licence, it is possible to reuse code (both 
from old government projects and from other Free projects), which would 
hopefully reduce the ongoing costs of developing these systems.  Using 
existing, high quality code as the basis for projects may also enable 
smaller businesses to compete with the large companies who have been used 
previously to build software for scratch (e.g. EDS).

3. An open development model would allow technical members of the public 
to see what the state of a project is and what problems are being 
encountered.  Also, for things like the biometric passport database, 
security is very important, and I for one trust the security of open 
systems more than closed systems (whilest I may not agree with databases 
like this, if I'm going to be required to submit data for storage in it I 
want to be sure that data is as secure as possible).


  - Steve
    xmpp:steve at nexusuk.org   sip:steve at nexusuk.org   http://www.nexusuk.org/

      Servatis a periculum, servatis a maleficum - Whisper, Evanescence

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