Big Apple Considers Taking Bite from Open Source

While Oregon, Texas, and Oklahoma hash out their policies on
open-source software procurement, the City of New York is quietly progressing on its own fact-finding mission on the advantages and
disadvantages of open source, LinuxToday reported on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning, the Select Committee on Technology in Government
for the New York City Council led a meeting on “Oversight – An
Examination of Municipal Policies on Open Source Software
Procurement.” The meeting, chaired by New York City Councilwoman Gale
Brewer, sought to address the question on what, if any, legislation
might be needed regarding the purchase of open-source software by the
city.

No legislation has yet to come up regarding this issue, and Council
staff members were quick to point out that “there is still a lot of
fact finding to do.” But the meeting did fall into a mirror of the
debates currently going on in the Oregon State House regarding that
state's proposed open-source legislation. The NYC debates, however,
were described as “polarizing” by participants, but not rancorous.

The proposed legislation in Oregon would, if passed, stipulate that
any software procurement process in that state would also have to
include bids from open-source software projects. Brewer's committee is
taking the first steps towards exploring whether such an option would
be feasible for New York City.

If the goal of the meeting was fact finding, that goal was certainly
reached, according one of the private citizens who helped the
Committee organize the event. Bruce Bernstein, President of the New
York Software Industry Association, said that the debate in the
meeting drew down to the two sides that are present within his own
organization. NYSIA, Bernstein said, considers itself netral in this
debate, because among its membership there are pro-open source and
pro-proprietary camps.

NYSIA assisted the Committee in gathering particpiants for Tuesday's
meeting. “We thought it was good that all of these issues were aired,”
Bernstein said.

Brian Proffitt is managing editor of sister publication, LinuxToday. The complete version of this story can be found by clicking here.

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