It's not always about open source

The open source fight in Massachusetts, as partisan as it may have become, was in the end about politics. A Democrat lined up against the Republican because the Republican had lined up that way. It had little to do with the merits.

Over at eWeek Steven Vaughan-Nichols is aghast at news that Massachusetts CIO (and Open Document Format advocate)  Peter Quinn has resigned.

Microsoft Wins, Open Standards Lose is his headline.

Well, maybe in the short run. But in fact, it's time open source advocates learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes it's not about you.

A month ago I noted how partisan this battle was becoming, with Democrats taking Microsoft's side and Republicans the side of open source. So what really happened, and what does this resignation really mean?

First, the resignation should have been expected. Quinn's patron, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, has decided not to seek re-election. Rumors of a Presidential run have reached across the pond, in part because Romney's late father, George Romney, did the same thing in 1968. (The press loves that kind of thing.)

Romney's run will likely be based in the West (he ran the Salt Lake City Olympics before becoming Governor) and open source, as an issue, might be a nice quiver to have in the bow there. (You never know what they might ask about in those Presidential primary debates.)

Meanwhile, back in the Bay State, the leading Democratic contender is Attorney General Thomas Reilly, who fought the Microsoft anti-trust case until the last dog died. November polls showed him besting any Republican in the state, even Romney himself.

What do the previous three paragraphs have to do with open source? Absolutely nothing. Like I said before, sometimes it's not about you.

The open source fight in Massachusetts, as partisan as it may have become, was in the end about politics. A Democrat lined up against the Republican because the Republican had lined up that way. It had little to do with the merits.

The open source trend, in government and out of it, remains intact.

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