Hein (fub) wrote,

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Peru to promote usage of Open Source Software by the government

The Peruvian government voted in favour of a law to promote the usage of Open Source Software by the government. An overwhelming majority voted for this law (61 for, 0 against and 5 abstentions). I am not aware of any other country in which Open Source is promoted on a national level.

The translated text of the bill is here. I found one of the reasons for the law very interesting: it is pointed out that the usage of OSS is good for national security. I'm pretty sure Microsoft and other closed-source vendors will contend that OSS is more prone to hacking attempts (because the source is publicly available), but of course they forget to mention that security-through-obscurity never works.

The idea is that access to lots of important information should not be dependent on access to software by foreign companies (as is the case with, for instance, Microsoft's products).
Think about that. According to the Department of Defence, software is a munition. You can't export strong cryptography from the US (which is why every Linux distro has a 'non-us' branch in their package tree that contains such things as PGP). And you can't even export a copy of Windows XP to Iran -- because that country is on the black list.

So if Peru were to get on the bad side of the US, all of their information could potentially become inaccessible to themselves. Worse yet, who is to say that the closed-source vendors didn't build in backdoors for the NSA and CIA?
If that sounds funny to you, then I have a little story to tell you. I have this on good authority. Back in the late 70's/early 80's, the CIA made a deal with Wang -- Wang would install a backdoor in their systems for the CIA, and the CIA would ensure that their systems would be bought by all US allies. This was accomplished via bribes, brothels and blackmail. When I worked on the photo digitising stuff in the early 90's, every government agency was just replacing their Wang systems because they had become outdated.

It remains to be seen how this move works out for Peru. Still, I not with keen interest that Peru is one of the countries in the Transpacific Socialist Alliance (basically, a Nanosocialist alliance) in the Transhuman Space setting from Steve Jackson Games. Open Source Software is a nice step up towards Nanosocialism...
Tags: futurology, society, technology

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