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Sun's McNealy Wants Obama to Push Open Source 176

CWmike writes to tell us that Sun's Scott McNealy is pushing for the Obama administration to adopt a much more open-source friendly policy similar to what has been done in Denmark, the UK, and other countries. "Although open-source platforms are widely used today in the federal government -- particularly Linux and Sun's own products, Solaris and Java -- McNealy believes many government officials don't understand it, fear it and even oppose it for ideological reasons. McNealy cited an open-source development project that Sun worked on with the US Department of Health and Human Services, during which a federal official said 'that open source was anti-capitalist.' That sentiment, McNealy fears, is not unusual or isolated."
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Sun's McNealy Wants Obama to Push Open Source

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  • Scary idea... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#27018311)

    Some good examples are IBM's JT400 toolkit (, Java and Firefox of course, and some examples like the jtds driver that outperforms Microsoft's own. ( Some may argue that OpenOffice is superior to program for as well.

    Lets not forget the Knoppix cds that are used specifically for tightening network security.

    If the government gets more on-board it will be a great contribution at least for motivation behind Linux. We'd also see some inevitable contributions as they assign their resources to projects like Wine for interoperability, Pidgin for communication, Nagios for enterprise monitoring and starts exploring Lotus or enterprise groupware apps for Linux.

    The scary thing would be the amount of potential leverage it could give FOSS for stuff like patent suits. It could actually make the government bias in the opposite direction!


  • Re:Anti-capitalist? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:49PM (#27018663) Journal

    This is McNealy quoting an unnamed "federal official" regarding an unnamed project at some arbitrary point in the past. Feel free to go all pretzel like over it if you wish, but it seems far more likely to me that any lack of progress "open source" (however McNealy defines that...) has made is more likely due to cozy relationships between politicians their favorite vendors than the ideological hang-ups of some bureaucrat.

    I've developed software as a DOD contractor. It's a very big government so I can't claim to speak for every case, but my experience was that the DOD doesn't give a flying **** what licenses are involved in their systems. They want it Tuesday. Right, wrong, whatever... Tuesday.

    But hey, it's Friday and beating up on fictional government merchantilists is fun.

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) * <> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @11:58AM (#27023113) Homepage Journal

    Fire departments they don't bill you for responding to a fire at your home or business. Schools again socialized, yes you pay taxes, but the government provides the schools, the teachers, the school itself, athletic fields, etc. Not convinced, what about all the the rural electric companies owned by local and regional governments.

    These three services were actually privately provided at first: Benjamin Franklin started a commercial fire company, schools were restrictively private in the old British "public school" system copied by the American colonies, and power companies were often private enterprises in my father's day, even up here in Soviet Canuckistan (;-))

    None of them stayed private: the competition between fire companies caused widespread public revulsion, as did the restriction of schooling to only the upper class in egalitarian America, and power companies didn't scale. One died because they were seen as immoral, the second as a conscious choice of the voting (and school-bond-buying) public and the third from technical reasons.


Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser