Love him or hate him, Barack Obama will be President into 2013.
So far the President's record on open source is mixed. (Picture form P2PNet's coverage of the President's evolving copyright stance.)
The Administration counts as a user of open source, with some of its Web sites running Drupal. The Administration has made moves which seem supportive of open source, both in health care and the military.
On the other hand the Free Software Foundation finds itself on the opposite side of the bar from the Administration in the case of a music-sharing case.
FSF operations manager John Sullivan writes that the RIAA's position is a direct attack on free software, and aimed a special dollop of bile at Vice President Joe Biden, practically calling him the copyright industry's answer to Dick Cheney:
Joe Biden recently spoke at a MPAA luncheon. He adopted the entertainment industry’s loaded “piracy” language, saying, “It’s pure theft.” Biden also assured the MPAA that President Obama would find the “right” copyright czar.
Sullivan's fight is really with the RIAA and MPAA, which he charges want to change copyright to "an ordinary physical property right" by extending its terms to eternity and making every file transfer subject to payment.
Sullivan is warning that kids are already becoming afraid to distribute disks with Linux, fearing teachers doing the work of the copyright police.
My own view is more nuanced. I believe Sullivan is deliberately making a "slippery slope" argument that equates the Administration's support for copyright law, which open source depends on for its own protection, with opposition to open source.
However, I find myself increasingly at odds with the President on issues like torture, banking, and his latest FCC nomination. The honeymoon is over and it's time to support the man when he's right and fight him when he's wrong.
So I'm willing to be convinced that President Obama hates open source. Can you convince me?