2009. december 14., hétfő

Open Source Has Nothing to Do with Open Government

One of the interesting consequences of the Open Government Directive has been a burst of enthusiasm by some of the open source software proponents and vendors (see here and here) who have immediately established a link between the use of open source and the directive.

For those who have been following some of the vintage discussions about government and open source, this will probably sound like a déjà vu. I honestly thought that people had finally given up pushing the confusion between open source and open standards or open formats, but here we are again.

I would argue that open government data and open source software have nothing to do. Commercial software can produce and use open formats today. What needs to be open is the data and not the software used to process it. Open source software has its own pros and cons and if governments feel they need to take positive actions to encourage or even mandate its use, so be it, but please do not claim this will make data any more open.

I could have taken this argument a few years ago, when Microsoft and other commercial vendors were holding to their proprietary data formats, but now that those battles have been fought (nor sure who has won though), let’s focus on what really needs to be open.

Andrea DiMaio