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Government Technology: Eric Raymond [An Interview]

Sep 22, 2000, 20:14 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Marcotte)

"Q: Local governments face software challenges not shared by the private -- "

"A: -- In fact, you could argue that governments have a unique obligation not to use closed-source. What's the logic behind the Freedom of Information Act? If government should be transparent, why should that stop at the software?"

"Q: Beyond the transparency issue, many local governments face similar software challenges. How can local governments utilize the open-source development model?"

"A: If they would pool their resources, rather than treating these pieces of software as territory, their costs would go way down. What we ought to see is 100,000 Apache [Web server] groups."

"Q: If someone in government wanted to start an open-source project, how would he start?"

"A: First, learn the culture. Go out and understand how the community works. Participate in an existing open-source project yourself. Learn the tools. Learn the communications style. Learn the platforms. Go hang out at a Linux or FreeBSD users-group meeting. Do that for weeks, if not months. Learn the culture. There will come a point at which you will understand instinctively what you need to do, then act -- not before."

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