David A. Wheeler's Blog

Fri, 20 Jul 2012

Release government-developed software as OSS

I encourage people to sign the white house petition to Maximize the public benefit of federal technology by sharing government-developed software under an open source license. I, at least, interpret this to include software developed by contractors (since they receive government funding). I think this proposal makes sense. Sure, some software is classified, or export-controlled, or for some other specific reason should not be released to the public. But those should be exceptions. If we the people paid to have it developed, then we the people should get it!

It is true that many petitions do not get action right away, but that isn’t taking the long view. Often an issue has to be repeatedly raised before anything happens. So just because something doesn’t happen once doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a “default share” policy so it is possible.

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