Free or Open Source Software Licenses for State Developed Software? (3 Responses)

Hello Senator,

I was wondering if the idea that state developed software should be released under free or open source licenses is on the radar at all in the legislature. I.e. have you or your colleagues been exposed to the idea before and if you have what are your thoughts on it?

I see that you use open source software for your site and, while trying to see if this question has been asked, I see a suggestion from someone to use github (btw. there are other public git repositories — officially picking one vendor here as a matter of state policy isn’t wise I think), but what I’m asking about is, should not the Massachusetts departments that develop bodies of software release it with an appropriate license so that the public can examine and use that code?  I’m wondering if you are familiar with the arguments for and against the idea and if you’ve had discussions with members of the Free Software Foundation, whose offices are not far from the state house.

In case you are not familiar with the arguments, the Free Software Foundation Europe has a letter they’re campaigning with over there now: https://publiccode.eu/openletter/  (I saw this on a recent debian linux newsletter, which is what prompted me to ask you this question.)

And here are Richard Stallman’s more in depth thoughts on the issue: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/government-free-software.html

Regards,

Mike

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    Will Brownsberger
    State Senator
    2d Suffolk and Middlesex District