California Open Source Bill: A Really Bad Idea

Posted by Eric Mon, 12 Aug 2002 00:00:00 GMT

According to CNET (via LWN), IBM, RedHat and several others are backing a bill which would prohibit the California government from purchasing proprietary software. If this is true, these companies have taken leave of their senses.

I write free software for a living, and I would be adamantly opposed to any such legislation. This is bad strategy (it would only alienate potential users), bad policy (there aren't open source products in many important markets), bad politics (it makes the sponsors look like self-serving fools without even a chance of victory), and bad business (running to the government when you can't compete in the market is tacky).

I have a hard time believing that RedHat is this dumb--or that IBM is this united behind a single proposal--so I'll wait a few days and see if CNET is misquoting the sponsors. But if the bill really says what CNET claims, I'm ready to oppose it.

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