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LinuxWorld Expo: Linux Crowd Marches for Intellectual Property Freedom

Aug 15, 2002, 21:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Singer)

By Michael Singer

A hoard of Linux supporters including Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann marched through the streets of the city Thursday to lobby for the newly proposed Digital Software Security Act (DSSA).

Under the moniker of 'OPEN SOURCE NOW,' the marchers traveled from the LinuxWorld Conference here and convened on the steps of City Hall.

The group thanked California for being one of the states willing to stand up to Microsoft in the anti-trust trials, but wants the state to take it one step further and back the DSSA.

"The notion of promoting open-source software in state government, that's a great idea," said George Balgos, who represents San Diego Assemblyman Juan Vargas. "We like it in concept, however, we'd like to do a little more research."

The proposal was drafted by Walt Pennington, a lawyer in San Diego, in response to a number of pieces of proposed and existing legislation that limit civil liberties and programming freedom such as SSSCA, DMCA and UCITA.

The proposed act will require state agencies in California to only buy software from companies that do not place restrictions on use or access to source code. The agencies would also be given the freedom to make and distribute copies of the software.

Currently, for software to be acceptable to the state, it must not only be technically capable of fulfilling a task, but the contractual condition for purchase and/or licensing must satisfy a series of requirements regarding the license.

The DSSA has three objectives; security and open standards, obtaining the greatest value for funds spent, and stimulation of competition within software development, support and implementation.

Similar marches are scheduled for today in Peru, Germany, UK, New Zealand, and Finland.