Salon.com [Premium]: Buy Linux. It’s the Law

[ Thanks to GNUTroll for this link.

[Editor’s Note: This article has been posted on Salon.com as
part of its premium package, which means you need to subscribe to
the online magazine to view it in it’s entirety. While
Today normally refrains from providing links to non-free
articles, so many contributors submitted this article it was
decided to make an exception in this case. Providing a link to the
story is not an encouragement to subscribe; we’re just pointing out
that the article is out there. -BKP]

“Walt Pennington is a tort lawyer and a member of the San Diego
Linux Users Group, and that’s about it. He’s not an author, a
politician or a nationally renowned free-software evangelist. A
Google search on “Walt Pennington” gets about 200 results, a Nexis
search less than five — and every article there is new, having to
do with what seems to be Pennington’s only claim to semi-fame: his
recent idea that the state of California purchase only open-source
software for its governmental operations.

“Perhaps because of Pennington’s obscurity — his everyman
persona — his idea is receiving considerable attention in the
software industry. For years, open-source software programs such as
Linux — for which all the underlying code is made publicly
available — have been making waves in the software marketplace,
challenging even such behemoths as Microsoft. One of Microsoft’s
biggest markets is government; California alone spends billions of
dollars a year on information technology.

“For a nobody — just a concerned citizen — Pennington has, so
far, shown a lot of political savvy. Just look at the name of his
proposal: the Digital Software Security Act. It has that pleasing
hollowness of most legislative labels these days, a name that’s
intentionally vague as to the bill’s actual purpose. Pennington’s
use of the word “security” is a red herring. When you talk to him
about his idea, he doesn’t argue that the state should use
open-source software because open software is more secure — or, in
fact, better at anything — than closed software; instead, he says,
open software is cheaper and its licensing conditions less
restrictive than proprietary software, and the state shouldn’t be
wasting money on expensive code that it can’t tinker with…”

Link to Story Excerpt

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