Groups lobby for, against open source use in gov’t

Writing for, Matthew Broersma noted the Initiative for Software Choice, a lobbying effort spearheaded by a group called the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). The group is funded by several prominent hardware and software developers including Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

The Initiative for Software Choice aims to put pressure on governments against using open-source operating systems like Linux. It claims that government policymakers shouldn’t “discriminate between developers that choose to license their intellectual property on commercial terms and developers that choose not to charge licensing fees.”

Regardless, the push is on in the United States and abroad to use more open source software, with an increasing emphasis on government organizations to cut IT costs and to avoid being locked into proprietary IT schemes. The state of California, Germany, Peru, U.K. and France have recently made moves in that direction as well.

CompTIA’s efforts are an interesting contrast to a rally that took place last week in San Francisco, Calif. on the eve of LinuxWorld. Coordinated in part by Linux developer Red Hat Inc., the effort hoped to raise the awareness of California legislators to open source software.

The rally backed the Digital Software Security Act (DSSA), drafted by a San Diego lawyer named Walt Pennington. Pennington’s legislation would require government offices in the state to use software with freely available source code — to protect itself from potential security risks and to avoid being locked into doing business with a single vendor.