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CNET News: Open-Source Battle Rages in Oregon

Apr 09, 2003, 22:00 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lisa M. Bowman)

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"A group of open-source advocates and critics will meet behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon, in the first of at least two meetings in search of a compromise on what could be the first bill in the United States to encourage the use of open-source software by a state government.

"The bill, introduced by Oregon Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, last month, would require the state to consider using open-source software when buying new programs. Although the bill does not specifically mandate open-source software over proprietary software, the bill does say it cannot be excluded from the selection process. The bill, HB 2892, also says open-source options can 'significantly reduce the state's costs of obtaining and maintaining software.'

"Although the bill is in a nascent stage, it's quickly drawn the ire of companies, including Microsoft and the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC), a group that's popped up in the wake of similar legislative efforts in other countries. Opponents of the bill say governments can already choose open-source software, and they worry that the legislation could set a dangerous precedent of a government mandating certain types of software over others..."

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