'

Open source as a government mandate

Those in open source believe that the adoption of open source cuts costs and improves service delivery. So why not put politics where your beliefs are?

Rep. Pete Stark, Democrat of California
Should open source, or at minimum open standards, be mandated by the government?

Most here say no, but there is an increasing momentum for it on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here, Rep. Pete Stark has proposed a bill to mandate interoperability among Electronic Health Records. Open source advocates like Medsphere cheer.

"Cost and interoperability barriers imposed by proprietary vendors have prevented most healthcare providers from adopting health IT systems," said president Mike Doyle in a press statement. "Americans cannot afford to wait any longer."

Over in England, the country's IT purchasing authority is finally adding open source providers to its list of approved vendors. That's far from a mandate, far even from a level playing field, but it's a start.

Other countries are moving more firmly in the direction of an open source mandate, from the Netherlands to Brazil. This is one reason open source companies like Sun are so high on Brazil.

As we saw last week in Canada, the idea of mandating open source seems to resonate most with leftist parties. But many of those most involved in America's open source movement are politically conservative.

So we're left with this bit of dissonance, your politics resisting what your business sense most desires.

Those in open source believe that the adoption of open source cuts costs and improves service delivery. So why not put politics where your beliefs are?