I sought to ask what the new Administration's policy may be toward open source. What resulted was a lively discussion of the President's politics and positions.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. The economy, the reputation of the nation, and the strength of its tech sector all impact open source. Any President has power in all those areas.
But what I sought to elicit was a discussion of the specific policies he may have toward open source. It's possible many commenters did not think it matters much.
There is much this President can do for, and to, the open source movement.
It's likely I missed some important issue in the list above. Please feel free to bring it up in the talkbacks.
What I attempted to point out last week is that the President's policy in these areas remains unformed. But there have been recent hints in both directions. Many cheered the appointment of Julius Genachowski as FCC chair. The same people booed the appointment of Mignon Clyburn (above) to another FCC seat.
Similarly FOSS advocates charge that the Administration's close ties with the RIAA and MPAA threaten open source by extending copyrights forever, by seeking to make copyright payments universal for everything, and by creating a coercive enforcement regime.
We don't yet know where the broadband money in the stimulus will go. Will it go into the pocket of incumbents and be wasted, as happened to the old Gore tax? Or will we get new wireless superhighways in rural towns, and new unlicensed frequencies for WiFi and WiMAX?
Regardless of how the President and his appointees choose to come down on these questions, they will all have a powerful impact on the development of open source, or lack of it, over the next years.
So read the tea leaves. What should the Administration be doing to enhance or degrade open source? What will he do?