Open source becomes irresistible political force

Open source is now as politically popular as mom, apple pie, and Sully Sullenberger.

As I noted last month I have been amused, writing this blog over the years, to watch the political progress of open source.

When I first started here open source advocates were considered the fringe. People would look at advocates like Richard Stallman and think "hippie." The very idea that Linus Torvalds was not a billionaire, and had no desire to be one, was seen as creepy.

As open source grew, it became a political cause for government. Massachusetts' struggle to endorse the ODF file format in 2006 is a reflection of this. Politicians were lined up on both sides, each accusing the other of being in the pocket of the interest they supported.

Over the next two years I covered efforts to knock down open source within government, replacing the public record VistA system with a proprietary application. Reformers fought back but even as late as last year they seemed to be fighting an uphill battle.

Today, thanks in part to the recession, the situation is different. Open source is now as politically popular as mom, apple pie, and Sully Sullenberger.

You may remember that, hoping to solidify their lead in the polls, the British Conservative Party put a favorable mention of open source into their campaign manifesto last month.

The governing Labour Party has now bowed to that wisdom, promising to support open source as an economy measure. One can be cynical about the government's motives, but the political lesson seems clear.

Maybe Microsoft wasn't the Borg at all.

So let me conclude with a challenge. Can anyone find any statement by any politician from 2009 attacking open source? If you can, how popular is he (or she)?

Or has resistance to open source really become futile?