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Where Open Source fits in New Zealand
Posted on 13-Jul-2016 16:18 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.

NZ Open Source Society president Dave Lane is a frequent and articulate promoter of his cause. He can also be a scathing critic of proprietary software.

In keeping with the Open Source philosophy, his presentation from this yearís ITX conference is online.

You can read the slides, or hit the S key to see the slides and his speaker notes.

Laneís presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You can copy, adapt and share the work to your heartís content so long as you credit the author.

Itís well worth a read if you need a crash course in Open Source. It also works as a refresher.

Lane starts with a tidy definition of Open Source:

ďWell-defined technical specs available at no cost online, created via a transparent process, by multiple parties, with no royalties, no discrimination, and extensible via a well-defined process.Ē

Later he says:

We donít want to mandate open source software. That would be counter productive.

This is a good point. Other countries have mandated open source software in the past. It hasnít always been successful. Better to create the right climate to let software flourish than to dictate what people use.

Also, once you start dictating software choices, the whole business becomes open to commerical capture from the team with the best lobbying.

Not only that, there are times when proprietary software is the best tool for a specific job and should be left in place.

More important, mandatory Open Source runs against the whole idea of openness. Instead of making userís decisions for them, it is better to put rules in place so they can make their own choice, the best choice without being constrained.

All we want is a level playing field for software, based on mandated compliance with open standards, as you would expect in just about every other marketplace.

The commercial world often has a better understanding of this than government.

Open source software will succeed on its own merits, just as it has on the web ó which is perhaps the aspect of the digital world most dominated by open standards, but itís already dominated the mobile world, the cloud, the supercomputer and the emerging Internet of Things.

Filed under: Business Apps Tagged: open source, software

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