Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Open Source versus Proprietary Software

Much ado has been made over the adoption of open-source software in government operations, and how that potentially impacts the adoption of proprietary software in the private sphere.

There are two primary issues that I see with this interpretation of events:
1. Government operations need to run with as much transparency as possible, so as to work in the citizens' interests.
2. Private sector businesses tend to follow the actions of larger, public sector businesses. The latter category includes the government.

Enough text has been typed - oftentimes half-baked, seldom fully-formed - on both sides of this issue to fill the libraries of the world many times over. The simple fact of the matter is that government should use the most open solution to any given problem possible to remain accountable to the public. If those solutions are polished enough to be adopted by the general public, then perhaps those are areas where proprietary solutions deserve to fail. The effective lifetimes of proprietary solutions should not be artificially kept afloat, lest public standards grow stagnant and obsolete. Many a government web site has fallen by the wayside simply because the administrators decided on a decades-old management model, then fell victim to proprietary lock-in that kept it from being developed into the ruthless model of efficiency that - as a government site - it should be.

I take issue with the notion that open source software costs proprietary software in the public sphere. Under any circumstance, source transparency must be maintained to provide governmental transparency. Despite all that I've implied, what happens in the private sector need not affect the public sector, nor vice-versa.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spotlight Categories

A great deal of technical assistance has been rendered to the general public on Ubuntu Forums in the past two months. As such, I'm proud to introduce the new Category setup for my Spotlight: Ubuntu Forums section. The categories shall be as follows:

* Glaring Spotlight (for items of personal concern)
* Question of the Month (for overlooked questions that should be relatively easy to address)
* Technical Spotlight (for those who provide the best technical assistance for Linux)
* Gaming Spotlight (for those who contribute to gaming on Linux)

The general idea is that areas that need to be addressed will be followed by those who address issues particularly well, so as to end on a positive note.