If Software Is Funded from a Public Source, Its Code Should Be Open Source | Linux Journal
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-02-05
"If we pay for it, we should be able to use it....
But it's important not to overstate the "free as in beer" element here. All major software projects have associated costs of implementation and support. Departments choosing free software simply because they believe it will save lots of money in obvious ways are likely to be disappointed, and that will be bad for open source's reputation and future projects....
Moving to open-source solutions does not guarantee that personal data will not leak out, but it does ensure that the problems, once found, can be fixed quickly by government IT departments—something that isn't the case for closed-source products. This is a powerful reason why public funds should mean open source—or as a site created by the Free Software Foundation Europe puts it: "If it is public money, it should be public code as well".
The site points out some compelling reasons why any government code produced with public money should be free software. They will all be familiar enough to readers of Linux Journal. For example, publicly funded code that is released as open source can be used by different departments, and even different governments, to solve similar problems. That opens the way for feedback and collaboration, producing better code and faster innovation. And open-source code is automatically available to the people who paid for it—members of the public. They too might be able to offer suggestions for improvement, find bugs or build on it to produce exciting new applications. None of these is possible if government code is kept locked up by companies that write it on behalf of taxpayers...."